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Monday, May 16, 2016

How to Counter and play against D.Va

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Hana "D.Va" Song, can disrupt any setup and block any projectile based ultimate in the game. She comes in second to Winston in Mobility for tanks, but still has an amazing amount of close range damage. D.Va will harass and punish static setups for heroes like Widowmaker and Hanzo, making it impossible to get strong peaks. When playing against a very strong D.Va it will feel as if the pressure is never stopping, the mech is always flanking, and by the time you react to her you have already ceded the tempo.

Let's take a look at D.Va's numbers to better deal with her: Having 500 Health Points in her Mech, 400 of those points being Armor makes it very hard to actually kill her Mech.  The Fusion Cannons the MEKA Suit come armed with are serious threats in close range shooting 7 blasts per second, each firing 8 pellets that will do at least .5 damage or 3 when in close range (giving her up to 24 Damage per blast fired). 

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Defense matrix is the star skill for any D.Va, when used properly. Defense Matrix is a 3 second duration that blocks every projectile fired at or around the defense matrix (this includes Barrage, Whole Hog, Graviton Surge, Pulse Bomb, etc). Because D.Va can block every projectile based ability in the game, shutting down a D.Va is no small feat. When you factor in that the cooldown on Defense Matrix is 10 seconds, it is quite easy for D.Va to consistently use it and negate your teams power-plays.

When D.Va is ejected from her mech she only has 150 Health Points all being standard HP. Her ultimate recharge turns into "Call Mech" ultimate, allowing her to pilot a new MEKA suit when its charged. D.Va's Light Gun is also a decent weapon. Having no damage or distance drop, it does 14 damage per shot can head shot and fires 6.66 rounds per second. This Light Gun can still be a threat, do not ignore a D.Va outside of her mech. 

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Most noteworthy for D.Va's amazing tempo creation abilities is her Boosters. Having a 5 second cooldown that begins when activated, they last for 2 seconds and can be cancelled at anytime. This is where D.Va gets her amazing mobility from. Exploiting the short downtime of this ability is critical to scoring a kill on the MEKA suit. Remember this ability can knock heroes off cliffs, ledges, or bump them into disadvantageous positions. It also will deal a minor 25 damage on impact, and ?cannot hit a target more than once?

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Finally on D.Va's Self-Destruct is the strongest damage from an ultimate in the game. Dealing 1000 damage in a 20 meter explosion distance, D.Va's mech when critical will kill any hero not behind a wall or barrier (note: Standing behind even just putting a market stand between you and her mech will prevent the damage). D.Va can also use her Boosters to quickly get the MEKA suit into an enemy setup for a Self-Destruct that is impossible to avoid. Be aware of D.Va's position and always be ready to turn tail and run from this ability.

The key to shutting down D.Va is never let her isolate targets on your team, D.Va excels at small skirmishes where she can either pick off a hero or create discord and leave an opening for her team to seize tempo. Working in pairs consistently will force D.Va to work with her team more concertedly, which can open up space for a hero like Widowmaker. Much like Winston, her goal is create havoc and open an opportunities for her team by drawing attention. Map awareness is critical when playing tempo disrupters like D.Va.  Actively take efforts to protect your snipers and supports from her when on defense. If preemptive the threat D.Va brings is heavily mitigated by being ready - coupled with the pairs or trios system, some of the team will still be ready to respond to simultaneous aggression while D.Va is dealt with. If you cannot shut down D.Va's attempts at flanks or disruption, flank her team and disrupt their tempo. If able to get enough picks, or create enough pressure, it will naturally force D.Va to fall back and deal with you before perusing more. If she doesn't, she will isolate herself.


Hard Counters to D.Va



Genji (High Difficulty)


Operating a lot like Tracer would, Genji's high mobility and burst damage allows him to kite and out maneuver the D.Va. His Skurikens are incredibly strong at both long distances and up close. Each Shuriken does 28 damage, leading to both primary and secondary fires doing 84 damage total. Against D.Va, the Alternate fire shooting a fan of 3 skurikens can be used twice as often as the primary fire (3RPS for Primary, 6RPS for Secondary). Because the Fan is more spammable, and when combo'd with a melee and swift strike will dish out incredible damage (84 from Shurkiens + 30 Melee + 50 from Swift strike = 164 damage in less than a second). This allows Genji to instantly dispose of D.Va when she has left her Mech, or push her out of it.

Most hard counters against D.Va rely on putting your team in a position to stop the D.Va's advances, and negate her discord. However Genji is amazing at intercepting D.Va and stalling her out, or Flanking and killing D.Va's teammates. Being able to avoid any advances D.Va could try to make, Genji is well suited to avoid D.Va and go about his own game-plan. Being consistently mobile and map aware the key cruxes to playing Genji well, and are also the keys to shutting down D.Va in an offensive sense.

D.Va thrives on tempo, Genji does more so. With one of the highest skill floors and ceilings Genji is the strongest hero at gaining tempo and translating it into objective time. Being able to wall climb and double jump Genji can access almost every vertical location on the map. Using Wall Climb and double in sync can allow him to hide near ceilings for short periods of time and pick enemy heroes. Using the combo mentioned above will almost one shot every hero - be sure to use a fan while closing the distance to soften targets up or use deflect on the escape to kill frantic players. 

Once D.Va has died a few times because she has no team to back her up, because they are dealing with Genji - she might consider stopping him; the Mobility factor then allows Genji to quickly evade her advances if properly map aware. That is the ultimate key to defeating heroes that seek tempo through discord - being aware of their advances and potential routes gives you a consistent one up on the mental game. If D.Va refuses to deal with Genji, and no other threat has come to stop him, feel free to terrorize the enemy back. Eventually if enough picks occur as Genji the enemy team will be forced to group up and push as larger groups or one large group.

Unlike Reaper, Genji should always avoid protecting his back line if he can. There are better heroes at this because of their outright burst compared to Genji's harassment based damage. Using your fan in close proximity to soften targets up is key to securing the kills. Be careful about careless use of deflect as it can be the only ability to save Genji sometimes. Lastly steal D.Va's lime light by killing her team better than her.


Mei (Medium Difficulty)


D.Va will always have a very hard time against Mei because the ability to slow her down, and create artificial terrain changes to lock D.Va in, or give her team a wall to hide behind. Add that Mei is among the few that can harass at long range, and still have  a strong effect at close range. Even if Mei does get isolated she is able to use her Cryo-Freeze to stall D.Va while teammates arrive to assist.

Mei's primary strength against D.Va is her natural inclination towards stalwart defenses. Any flanks or advances by D.Va can be easly walled off - if D.Va over commits or gets through most likely she used boosters to do so and Mei's Endothermic Blaster will stop D.Va cold. Dealing moderate damage at 45 damage per second, it applies a stacking slow that eventually stuns the target by freezing them. If D.Va recently used her Boosters, she will have no way to escape and will quickly be focused down by you and surrounding teammates. 

As mentioned above Ice-Wall is amazing at manipulating the lay-out of the map. Even when on the offense, Ice-Wall can create advantageous angles for your team, or wall off defenders completely. Against D.Va ice-wall may be flown over, but not all heroes can follow her. Being relatively spammable ability with a 4.5 second up time, and 10 second cooldown - Ice-Wall will consistently shut down attempts from D.Va from flanking. Do not forget the dual purpose of walling off her escape if you can isolate her. Being aware of the map will allow Mei to decide whether to wall off or wall in. Remember at all times that a well timed Ice-Wall give Mei's team a new wall to hide behind when D.Va ults. Walling the moments before it explodes is key because you do not want it to fly over if boosted, or the wall to expire before it explodes. 

Never forget when your life is under threat you have Cyro-Freeze to quickly heal up. If D.Va manages to isolate you with the upper hand, its all a ruse because of block. Simply block and call for help - D.Va either stays and dies to support or flees and has effectively wasted some time. Because you are so well equipped to deal with D.Va alone do not be afraid to roam alone. Mentioned above, Mei can shut down the Self-Destruct of the mech with Ice-Wall, but if Mei is alone or targeted by the Mech simply block the explosion.

Mei is a defensive response to D.Va - not only because she is a Defensive specialist, but because her tool-kit absorbs and negates D.Va's tempo. Usable on the offense as well, Mei will give her team room to work with and close off key angles. Mei literally freezes any tempo created by D.Va, and can flip the tempo on D.Va's team when D.Va is dead. Remember the power to negate D.Va's ultimate with a well timed wall.



Roadhog (Medium Difficulty)


Chain hook is one of the only reliable ways to stun D.Va out of Defense Matrix. Most other stuns: Flashbang, Reinhardt's EarthShatter, etc. Have a "Projectile" element that can be absorbed by the Matrix. Chain hook, being Hitscan, will go right through the Defense Matrix and stun her out of it. Coupled with his self-healing and terrifying DPS, D.Va will have to mindful of where Roadhog is and avoid him at all costs.

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Another defensive response, Roadhog rely's on his ability to hook D.Va to help his team shut her down. Chain hook having a insanely low cooldown at 6 seconds gives Roadhog the ability to consistently shut down D.Va as she flanks his teammates. Remember this ability can be used through Defense Matrix and can setup a quick kill on D.Va's mech.

Roadhogs true power as a hero is a self-sustaining pick engine that creates heap of tempo. This is still an effective method of dealing with D.Va, but if you can pick heroes like Tracer, Genji, or Reaper they will always be better. Primarily use Roadhog if you need a stable foundation to consistently shut down D.Va while other heroes help finish her off. 

Roadhog sits right in the middle of mobility for tanks, so favor him in situations where your tank needs to be moving occasionally. Chain hook is the most important reason why Roadhog shuts down D.Va. Use hook to stop defense matrix, hook her support if she has one near by, and hook her when she tries to boost away. Never let D.Va escape your clutches. 


Reinhardt (Medium-Hard Difficulty)

Creating a stable foundation for your team, Reinhardt is excellent at protecting your team from D.Va's assaults and Ultimates. Barrier Field is one the best abilities at negating her ultimate because of its large width/height, and it has 2000 HP being able to absorb all of the self-destructing mech. If D.Va is just harassing and pressuring using her mobility with Boosters, she has to stray away from Reinhardt. Being able to Charge her Defense Matrix, or simply swinging away in close range.

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Similar to Roadhog but more immobile in nature, Reinhardt is a strong defensive answer to D.Va. Using his Barrier Field will completely negate D.Va's ultimate or flanks. D.Va can never risk getting into any skirmishes with Reinhardt when he stands in the way. As Reinhardt you have extra responsibility to be aware of both your team and the enemy teams positions. When Reinhardt rotates the direction of his shield there is additional openings for enemies. However when properly aware Reinhardt can effectively shield his team and protect them from D.Va's flank. Be aware that Barrier Field when Destroyed will go on cooldown for 4 seconds and respawn with 500 HP - where as sheathing it will heal 225 HPS after 1 second.

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Charge can be used similar to hook and interrupt Defense Matrix, or even when D.Va has committed too far and you can charge her further into your team. Again be aware of positions of enemy and friendly heroes as a poorly timed charge leaves Reinhardt and his teammates vulnerable. However when used properly is can shut down and out-right kill D.Va. If you are unable to setup a Barrier Field to negate a D.Va's Self-Destructing mech you can Charge it away from your team. Not ideal, but can save your team.

Reinhardt is a more stationary and defensive response to D.Va. Shutting down her chaotic methods of creating tempo by giving teammates a strong hero to stand around. Barrier protects Reinhardt and his teammates not only from D.Va's advances, but also her Self-Destructing mech. Charge can quickly end any hopes D.Va had of picking off a teammate, and act as a last ditch effort to save his team from that self-destructing mech.


Soft  Counters to D.Va


Reaper (Medium-Hard Difficulty)



D.Va will always have a hard time against targets that can burst her down quickly, Reaper is explicitly one of these Heroes. His Hellfire Shotguns do incredible damage at close range, firing 2 blasts per second, with 20 pellets per blast that deal 2 to 7 damage per. This gives Reaper, in close proximity, 280 damage per second (140 per blast, at 2 per second). Even with D.Va's innate armor on her Mech, Reaper can shred through it in less than 3 seconds. Couple this damage with his tool-kits mobility and he is a very strong answer to D.Va.

While Shadow-Step itself is not useful against D.Va, it is a key ability to deal with her team. Playing Reaper gives you two deviating methods to deal with D.Va. Utilizing your mobility with Shadow-Step to consistently pressure her team and force her to react to you, gaining tempo control. Having a 10 second cooldown this ability is amazing at navigating the peripheries of the map and finding victims for your Hellfire Shotguns. If Reaper is consistently successful in picking key heroes, such as supports or snipers, D.Va will have to turn tail and deal with you. If she doesn't, there won't be follow up from her pressure and she has isolated herself for your team. Because D.Va has to use her boosters to get in for flanks, and Reaper should have Wraith-Form available when he flanks, D.Va's tempo creation  relies on follow up; Reapers doesn't. Use this to your advantage and force D.Va's hand.

Assuming there is already a hero creating havoc in the enemies back lines already, Reaper is a strong choice to protect snipers and supports from D.Va. While in a vacuum Reaper shouldn't really be sticking with his team, even if you are defense Reaper should naturally poke out and find picks. However assuming a world where D.Va is creating hell on earth for your back line, and there is already someone harassing the enemy; Hunt that D.Va down and set traps with your squishies. D.Va has no offensive counter play to Reaper in close quarters, all her responses are defensive and afford Reaper chances to push her away or kill her.

Remember as Reaper you either steal the tempo from D.Va, or you negate hers. In general Reaper excels at the former response, but be ready to adapt to the flow of the game. D.Va is a tempo controlling hero with high mobility and Defense Matrix, but she lacks self-sustain and uses her escape as a entrance. Even if D.Va has a Mercy paired with her, Reaper is uniquely good at just walking through her and popping that said support. 

Zenyatta (Medium Difficulty)


Although very weak to D.Va in isolated situations, Zenyatta should strive to be around teammates at all times, especially ones like Roadhog or Reinhardt. Using his Orb of Discord D.Va becomes a very easy target to burst down, even when inside her MEKA suit. Amplifying damage on the effected target by 50% (or 1.5X multiplier), Orb of Discord is an amazing ability to help take care of high health threats.

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Proper use of Orb of Discord is why Zenyatta would be picked in response to a D.Va getting out of control. Giving his team a easy way to deal with her quickly, even heroes with low damage per instance but high dps (i.e. Tracer) can do it. Orb of Discord has no cooldown when used, but will unlatch from the target when they broken LoS from Zenyatta for 3 seconds. However in a world where D.Va is pressuring his team, Zenyatta should not have a hard time teaming up with another hero and keeping his Discord Orb on D.Va.

Again Zenyatta is not a 1v1 answer to D.Va, few heroes are. Rather Zenyatta amplifies his teams damage, and augments their ability to quickly deal with D.Va and prevent any meaningful pressure from her. Remember you are a very squishy target with 50 HP and 100 Shields, so pay extra mind to your position and consistently buddy up.

McCree (Medium Difficulty)


The go to Tank hunter, McCree is strong at dealing with D.Va, between the 420 damage one fan of the hammer can do and the stun his Flashbang creates allows him to dispense of D.Va. However because D.Va comes with Boosters and Defense Matrix (which can absorb Flashbang) D.Va can avoid and escape McCree when played properly. Because of this McCree will usually need teammates to help him deal with D.Va.

If D.Va is having a strong game and consistently pressuring your team, McCree is well equipped to help them shut her down. While he could do this on his own, a strong D.Va player will avoid risky confrontations with McCree and only engage when she can get the Flashbang and Fan absorb'd by Defense Matrix. If you wait for D.Va to pounce on teammates, and then pounce on her you can quickly dispose of her.  Again one Fan will do 420 damage in 1 second and leave her Mech extremely low on health, being a naturally big target if D.Va did advance on McCree's teammate with Boosters the second Fan is guaranteed to hit and remove D.Va from her mech.

Because McCree is a more immobile duelist, relying on advanced map awareness and positioning I feel that this matchup may be a wash. I might remove/change this section for launch as I feel there is a lot of experimentation and game data to properly understand this match up. D.Va can always be more aware, and avoid risky situations saving boosters to escape and advancing more methodically. Thus, McCree may be suspect as a counter.

Use McCree to supplement the ability to kill D.Va when she is harassing the flanks, or commits to a full on skirmish. The ability to quickly stun is very handy, but can be negated with Defense Matrix so position to avoid it. McCree should have troubles catching an aware D.Va, so use teammates to bait her out and prevent any successful pick attempts.



Junkrat (Low-Medium Difficulty)

Steel Trap is an absolutely amazing against a careless D.Va. Over commiting to a chase, your team can use this ability to control her and kill her, making D.Va think twice about how she executes her plays, and may negate the threat from her entirely. However, because D.Va can always just avoid Junkrat or steel trap it is not guaranteed to work. 

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Junkrat is primarily a strong hero at securing room to push with grenade spam, or locking down attackers routes to objectives through the said grenade spam. However against highly mobile flanking tempo heroes, such as D.Va, Steel Trap is amazing. Having forethought and map awarness allows a good Junkrat predict the movement of D.Va and have a trap ready to snap on her when she moves to harass key backliners. Quickly pounce during this 3 second root, and D.Va will be left flipping out of her mech helpless and surrounded by very unhappy heroes.

Junkrats tool-kit around mobility and verticality are very important in all cases, against a D.Va its slightly more. Hieght gives Junkrat additional vision and reaction time, and when in confrontations with D.Va Junkrat using Concussive mine can still fire grenades down while he is ascending; D.Va cannot shoot while she is boosting.

Junkrat is a jack-of-all-traits response to D.Va, giving his team ways to shut down her tempo disruption and ways to isolate D.Va from her team through effective grenade spam. Remember every ability Junkrat has can be absorbed by Defense Matrix if thrown out during it, so be preemptive, read into the map, and enemy movements.


Pharah (Low Difficulty)


Although Barrage and Rockets are Blockable by D.Va, these responses are defensive in nature and still give Pharah presumption in any duel. Using Pharah's more consistent mobility allows her to avoid D.Va if necessary, but also punish D.Va if she over commits and chases Pharah into her Team.

Pharah does not have to go out of her way to counter D.Va, by naturally existing on the map and exploiting veritcality D.Va has to go out of her way to avoid Pharah. If Pharah is left unchecked above D.Va, she will be forced to retreat and use Defense Matrix to shield her team from incoming rocket fire. Ultimately this has snapped tempo back from D.Va, and will inherently make gaining it back through playing D.Va significantly harder. Any flanks will leave D.Va vulnerable to Pharah, or leave D.Va's team.

D.Va cannot chase the Pharah in vertical planes because D.Va cannot fire while boosting, but Pharah can while using both Jump and Hover Jets. Consistently exploit that Pharah's playstyle is naturally hard to counter from D.Va's perspective, and she will consistently be on the backfoot. Remember all your rockets and ultimate are blockable by Defense Matrix, but baiting out bad usage can open up the one second needed to eviscerate D.Va and her team.

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