Contrary to what is currently popular opinion in the Overwatch community, Echo is not an overpowered hero.
Echo fills an interesting role between a back line assassin, and a flyer like Pharah. It’s easy to mistake Echo as an overpowered hero because of the sheer amount of abilities she possesses. But her flexibility alone does not mean she is broken.
After reviewing her kit in-depth, I firmly believe that she is a balanced hero. Let’s go over some misconceptions people have with Echo.
Reinhardt players have nothing to fear
A major critique people have with Echo is how she makes Reinhardt feel unplayable. I completely disagree.
Yes, her ability to quickly take on different angles of attack and harass Reinhardt gives her the upper hand, but it doesn’t negate Reinhardt’s value as a tank. Pharah, Bastion, and Junkrat were all considered Reinhard counters at some point. Yet, people played Reinhardt effectively against these heroes.
Why? Because a good Reinhardt player understands that they can’t deal with every damage hero in the game. They learned how to play around Reinhardt’s shortcomings through good positioning and shield management.
Let’s assume that a competent Echo has an advantage over Reinhardt. I would argue that this is a positive thing because it promotes counterplay.
It’s no doubt that Reinhardt has been a staple pick in competitive Overwatch for a long time. Having other tanks be picked in order to deal with an enemy Echo should be encouraged.
A great example is Orisa and Winston. Orisa can fight off an Echo a lot better with her abilities, and can make Echo’s burst almost negligible. Winston can shield-dance around her damage, and dive into the enemy back line instead.
Is Echo’s ultimate overpowered?
Echo’s ultimate has been by far the biggest worry for most people. Many players enter the PTR training room and criticize how fast Echo can charge up ultimates while copying another hero with her own ult. Truth is, it’s not that strong.
When I play Widowmaker in the training room, I hit almost every headshot and feel great. When I enter a competitive game and try to do the same thing, I shoot air. So of course when you’re playing in the training room, you can easily copy Reinhardt and charge up 2 Earthstatters by whacking stationary training bots. But in reality, this would rarely happen in-game.
Echo’s ultimate naturally encourages her to play aggressively. This makes her playstyle somewhat predictable. As players understand Echo’s ultimate, teams will learn to do one of two things. They will disengage and wait out her ultimate, or focus her down before she even gets to abuse her new form.
Soldier:76 has you in his sights
With Echo’s dynamic vertical movement, many people worry that Echo is just a stronger version of Pharah. This is far from the truth.
Echo can’t spam her damage from far away, or have consistent splash damage like Pharah. This means she has to play close to midrange to execute her damage combos. This allows Soldier:76 to deal a lot of damage, and gives him more opportunities to land Helix Rocket.
Also, Echo shines most when she can beam down targets who are under half health. However, Soldier:76 can easily heal from Biotic Field and strafe most of her projectile damage. This makes him a great counter pick to Echo.
A hacker will always beat a machine
Sombra hasn’t been an amazing pick against Pharah, as competent Pharahs could easily avoid getting hacked if they kept their distance. Echo floats lower and has to play closer than Pharah. This gives Sombra plenty of opportunities to get a hack in and keep Echo on the ground. Many of Echo’s critics have failed to notice that Sombra is also the perfect counter to Echo’s ultimate.
Let’s imagine that Echo copied your fellow Zarya and was quickly building up Graviton Surge. Competent players know that Echo has a limited amount of time before she returns to her regular form. So in response to Echo’s ultimate, Sombra players will know to pre-emptively hack Echo, or use EMP.
I believe this creates an interesting game dynamic. Just as Zenyatta players learned to outplay Sombra EMP, Sombra players can learn to outplay Echo’s ultimate.
Echo may not have been the support hero that the community wanted, but I believe that she adds an interesting element to the game. One thing I deeply appreciate about Blizzard is how unique they make every character. In terms of design, Echo feels unique and fills an interesting gap between a back line assassin and a flyer like Pharah.
At a glance, it’s not crazy to worry about the sheer amount of abilities she possesses. But if we collectively take the time to understand how she plays alongside other heroes in the game, I think everyone would understand that Echo is not overpowered.