Overwatch 2’s Latest Patch Kills One Of Its Most Famous Strats

Overwatch 2 is bringing a lot of sweeping changes in its season nine balance patch, and some of them are controversial. Between giving every hero a passive self-heal and every character getting a health buff across the board, Overwatch 2 feels like it’s shifting from a team-based shooter into one that values hero independence. Will any of this stick? We’ll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, one hero is getting a rework that feels emblematic of the whole patch, and it looks like it will undermine one of Overwatch’s longest-running combos in the process. The Pharah and Mercy dream team is dead, folks.

You can find the full season nine patch notes below, but the tweaks that Pharah is getting in particular are worth spotlighting. The first is that she can no longer endlessly maintain her flight, as her fuel doesn’t recharge while airborne. This means Pharah will have to land on solid ground periodically to refuel before launching herself into the sky to once again rain down rockets on the enemy team.

To compensate for this, Pharah is also getting a new ability called Jet Dash that gives her horizontal movement on top of her usual vertical launch and hover. Blizzard says in the patch notes that this “empowers more individual plays” while also making it much harder for Mercy, who has been her airborne damage-boosting and healing partner for as long as Overwatch has been around, to keep up with her.

The community seems mixed on the change. The combo (known to players as Pharmercy or Pharmacy) has been a thorn in a lot of Overwatch fans’ sides for years. Two airborne heroes raining down damage-boosted rockets on the enemy team is one of the most reliable ways to get kills or just disrupt opposing forces. The only reliable counter for it is with precision hitscan characters like Soldier: 76 and Cassidy, and dealing with the flying bomb machine becomes a full-time job.

But despite hitscan players feeling a collective weight off their shoulders, Overwatch 2’s shift into independent plays and devaluing teamwork has been a sore spot for many with this patch. Seeing one of the most notable team composition staples get washed away feels like a bad omen for the future of Blizzard’s balance philosophy. Big, sweeping changes are scary for a competitive game like Overwatch 2, and Blizzard choosing to make all these changes in a live patch rather than a temporary Experimental card mode means that everyone has to get used to all these buffs and nerfs real quick. We’ll see how things play out when the patch goes live later today, February 13. The full patch notes are as follows:

COMPETITIVE PLAY UPDATES

Developer Comments: With your feedback, we’ve made new improvements to Competitive Play that aim to provide more transparency into your progress after every match, plus we introduced a new skill tier and new Competitive Rewards to earn.

Skill Rank Reset

  • Given the significant changes to our heroes and the addition of a new skill tier, this reset is designed to give all players a chance to climb higher than ever before.
  • All roles in Role Queue and Open Queue in Competitive Play have been reset to Unranked.

Placement Matches

  • Placements have been rebuilt from the ground up. Your predicted rank will be displayed after each placement match.
  • You must complete 10 matches in a role to receive your Skill Rank for that role.
  • Winning your placements will have a significant impact on your final rank.

Competitive Updates

  • Competitive Updates have been reworked. Instead of requiring five wins or 15 losses to get a Competitive Update, updates now happen after every match.
  • Going forward, the Competitive Updates page now hosts information about your ranks in Role Queue and Open Queue, as well as your progress toward Competitive Point rewards.

Skill Modifiers

  • Modifiers now appear on the Competitive Progress page after each match.
  • Skill modifiers provide information on how much a rank will gain or lose progress after a match, including win or loss streaks, rank instability, and match favorability.

New Skill Tier – Champion

  • A new rank has been added above Grandmaster, called Champion, that is more exclusive than any other rank in Overwatch. Only an exceedingly small percentage of players will ever occupy this echelon of Competitive Play.

Versus Screen

  • The range of ranks for players in a match of Competitive Play is now displayed on the same screen where both teams are shown with their name cards, player icons, and titles.

New Grouping Requirements

  • Bronze through Diamond Players may group with other players within 2 Skill Tiers of their own Skill Rank.
  • Master players may group with other players within 1 Skill Tier of their own Skill Rank.
  • Grandmaster players may group with other players within 3 Skill Divisions of their own Skill Rank.
  • Champion players may group with only one other player within 3 Skill Divisions of their own Skill Rank.

Art & UI Updates

  • Skill Tier and Skill Division art for rank icons have been redesigned for improved readability.
  • The Competitive Skill Tier legend has been redesigned to include updated and new relevant information.

Competitive Points

  • Each win now grants 10 Competitive Points.
  • Each draw now grants 5 Competitive Points.
  • Each loss still grants 0 Competitive Points.

Competitive Progression

  • Competitive Challenges that award additional Competitive Points at the end of the season have been replaced with a new Competitive Progression system.
  • Every match grants progress toward your Competitive Progression meter, and after earning 30 you will receive an additional 100 Competitive Points.
  • Wins award 3 progress toward your Competitive Progression meter. Draws and Losses award 1 progress.

Competitive Rewards

  • Jade Weapon Variants have been introduced.
  • Each Jade Weapon Variant costs 3000 Competitive Points to purchase.
  • All players will start this season with a balance of 0 Competitive Points.
  • All existing Competitive Points have been converted into a new currency, Legacy Competitive Points.
  • Each Golden Weapon Variant now costs 3000 Legacy Competitive Points to purchase.
  • At the end of a Competitive Year, any remaining balance of Competitive Points converts to Legacy Competitive Points.

Matchmaking Rating

  • At the start of this season only, the internal Matchmaking Ratings for all players have been adjusted to push players closer to the normalized average (approximately at Gold 3).
  • Matchmaking Ratings have been decayed. The higher the rank, the more it has been decayed.
  • Most players will start at a lower skill rank and division than their most recent rank.

Competitive Challenges

  • Competitive challenges removed. Rewards and progress for Competitive Play are now displayed on the Competitive Progress page and titles are rewarded at the end of the season.

GENERAL UPDATES

PLAYER PROGRESSION

  • Added a new set of visual upgrades. Hero/Game Mode badge upgrades start at Level 500. Progression Level badge upgrades start at Level 2500.
  • Wrecking Ball title rewards are renamed from “Champion” to “Champ” to align with Junker Queen’s usage of the title (and to avoid confusion with the new Champion rank).
  • Adjusted amount needed to level up certain sub-badges for Mauga and Illari.

FRIEND ENDORSEMENTS

  • The endorsement is only eligible if you’re in the match for a set duration.
  • Endorsements are subject to the configured cooldown period of 12 hours.
  • Endorsements are subject to cooldown even if you unfriend the recipient.

SETTINGS

  • Added a feature for controller/keyboard users that remembers what you had focus when backing out of screens.

CROSSHAIR UPDATE

New Reticle Types have been added.

  • Square
  • Box
  • Line
  • Triwing
  • Falloff

New Reticle Dots have been added.

  • Ring
  • Square
  • Triangle
  • Cross
  • Heart

New Reticle color options have been added.

  • Brown
  • Dark Red
  • Light Red
  • Light Purple
  • Gray
  • Teal

HERO UPDATES

GENERAL

Developer Comments: Season 9 features changes to the fundamentals of Overwatch 2 gameplay that affect every hero. We’ve heard the community feedback around some gameplay pain points, and these changes are in response to many of those.

Most damage-dealing projectile sizes have been increased by a new global modifier added to their base size.

  • +0.05 meters for hitscan projectiles with a high rate of fire or spread (e.g., Tracer’s Pulse Pistols or Reaper’s Hellfire Shotguns).
  • +0.08 meters for hitscan projectiles that are more precise (e.g., Cassidy’s Peacekeeper or Soldier:76’s Heavy Pulse Rifle).
  • +0.05 meters for travel time projectiles that are shotguns or have a very high rate of fire (e.g., Roadhog’s Scrap Gun or Ramattra’s Void Accelerator).
  • +0.10 meters for travel time projectile with a speed greater than 50 meters per second (e.g., Zenyatta’s Destruction Orb).
  • +0.15 meters for travel time projectile with a speed less than or equal to 50 meters per second (e.g., Pharah’s Rocket Launcher).
  • Very large projectiles with a base size greater than 0.5 meters have been excluded from these increases (e.g., Orisa’s Energy Javelin or Reinhardt’s Fire Strike).

Hero combined HP (base health/armor/shields) increased by 15-25%.

  • 150-175 HP heroes increased by 25 HP.
  • 200-300 HP heroes increased by 50 HP.
  • 300+ HP (Tanks) increased by 75-100 HP.
  • Each hero’s precise health increases are listed in their patch notes below.

Ultimate Charge

  • All Ultimate ability costs increased by 10%.

Regenerative Passive for All Heroes

  • All heroes now regenerate 20 health per second after 5 seconds of not taking damage.

Support Role Passive

  • Now reduces the delay before regeneration begins by half (2.5 seconds).

Damage Role Passive

  • Reload speed bonus on elimination has been removed.
  • New role passive: Dealing damage reduces enemy healing received by 20% for 2 seconds.

Quick Melee

  • Damage increased from 30 to 40.

TANK

D.Va

  • Pilot health increased from 150 to 175.
  • Mech armor increased from 300 to 375.

Self Destruct

  • Explosion maximum damage increased from 900 to 1000.
  • Inner explosion radius (range for maximum damage before falloff begins) increased from 4 to 6 meters.

Doomfist

  • Health increased from 300 to 375.

Rocket Punch

  • Max impact damage increased from 50 to 75.
  • Max wall slam damage increased from 30 to 40.

Junker Queen

  • Health increased from 300 to 375.

Rampage

  • Wound damage over time increased from 60 to 90.

Mauga

  • Health increased from 300 to 400.

Orisa

  • Armor increased from 275 to 350.

Ramattra

  • Health increased from 200 to 275.

Reinhardt

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.
  • Armor increased from 250 to 275.

Rocket Hammer

  • Damage increased from 85 to 100.

Charge

  • Wall impact damage increased from 225 to 275.

Roadhog

  • Health increased from 550 to 650.

Sigma

  • Shields increased from 200 to 275.

Winston

  • Health increased from 200 to 225.
  • Armor increased from 200 to 250.

Tesla Cannon

  • Damage increased from 60 to 75 damage per second.

Primal Rage

  • Punch damage increased from 40 to 50.

Wrecking Ball

  • Armor increased from 100 to 175.

Zarya

  • Health increased from 100 to 175.

Particle Cannon

  • Primary fire beam width increased from 0.15 to 0.2 meters.

DAMAGE

Ashe

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

B.O.B.

  • B.O.B.’s weapon damage increased from 14 to 17.

Bastion

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Cassidy

  • Health increased from 225 to 275.

Deadeye

  • Initial damage rate increased from 130 to 150.
  • Damage rate increased from 260 to 300.

Echo

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Focusing Beam

  • Width increased from 0.2 to 0.25 meters.

Duplicate

  • Maximum combined health value increased from 300 to 350.

Genji

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Dragonblade

Swing recovery decreased from 0.9 to 0.7 seconds.

Hanzo

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Storm Arrows

  • Damage increased from 65 to 75.
  • Cooldown reduced from 10 to 8 seconds.

Junkrat

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Frag Launcher

  • Base projectile size reduced from 0.25 to 0.2 meters.

Mei

  • Health increased from 250 to 300.

Pharah

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Rocket Launcher

  • Recovery reduced from 0.85 to 0.80 seconds.
  • Projectile speed increased from 35 to 40 meters per second.
  • Explosion self-damage reduced from 50% to 25%.

Jet Dash

  • New Secondary Fire Ability.
  • Provides a quick horizontal boost in the direction Pharah is moving.
  • 8-second cooldown.
  • Added a setting to activate Jet Dash on Double Jump instead.

Jump Jet

  • Now restores 50% of Hover Jets fuel and can briefly overfill the maximum fuel amount.
  • Vertical boost height reduced by 20%.
  • Cooldown increased from 10 to 14 seconds.

Concussive Blast

  • Cooldown decreased from 9 to 7 seconds.
  • Explosion now deals 30 damage to enemy targets.
  • Explosion radius reduced from 8 to 6 meters.
  • Knockback reduced by 10%.

Barrage

  • Now instantly refills Hover Jets fuel.

Hover Jets

  • Speed boost increased from 20% to 40%.
  • Now requires landing to recharge fuel.
  • Can now be activated without fuel to slow your descent.

Developer Comments: Pharah has a significant update that empowers more individual plays and shifting her movement capabilities from high up in the air to more horizontal movement that can cover distance quickly.

Reaper

  • Health increased from 250 to 300.

Sojourn

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Railgun

  • Secondary Fire base projectile size reduced from 0.1 to 0.07 meters.

Soldier: 76

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Sombra

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Symmetra

  • Shields increased from 100 to 150.

Photon Projector

  • Primary fire beam width increased from 0.2 to 0.25 meters.

Torbjörn

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Tracer

  • Health increased from 150 to 175.

Widowmaker

  • Health increased from 175 to 200.

SUPPORT

Ana

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Baptiste

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Brigitte

  • Health increased from 150 to 200.

Rocket Flail

  • Damage increased from 35 to 45.

Illari

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Kiriko

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Kunai

  • Base projectile size reduced from 0.18 to 0.15 meters.

Lifeweaver

  • Health increased from 175 to 225.

Lúcio

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Soundwave

  • Damage increased from 25 to 35.
  • Knockback increased 12%.
  • Movement lockout duration increased from 0.3 to 0.45 seconds.

Mercy

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Guardian Angel

  • Active duration on jump/crouch cancel reduced from 1.5 to 1 second.

Sympathetic Recovery passive

  • Health recovered increased from 25% to 40% of healing dealt.

Moira

  • Health increased from 200 to 250.

Biotic Grasp

  • Secondary fire damage increased from 50 to 65 damage per second.
  • Secondary fire target acquisition radius increased from 0.6 to 0.7 meters.

Zenyatta

  • Health increased from 75 to 100.
  • Shields increased from 150 to 175.

MAP UPDATES

JUNKERTOWN UPDATE

  • New nighttime lighting theme.
  • New building near the first point to provide more cover & block long sightlines.
  • Added a water tower near the first point to block sightlines from upper choke positions.
  • Added more vehicles near the cliff to provide additional cover & block long sightlines.
  • Reduced the cliffside path to tighten the space and reduce the overall footprint of the area.
  • Removed a small health pack on the second area balcony that was easy for defenders to overuse.
  • Added vertical beam at second choke point to promote movement out of the upper floor & make the choke easier to defend.
  • Widened and added cover in a hallway in the third area to make close quarter fights easier to maneuver.

Developer Comments: We’ve added more cover—including new structures—to help counter some of the long sightlines around the first checkpoint. Additional changes in the third area allow attackers to push through certain chokes more easily.

BUG FIXES

GENERAL

  • Fixed an issue with some shadows that could appear jagged when on any setting below Ultra.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented your skin from changing when using the Change Skin option in Hero Select if you had a Loadout selected.
  • Fixed a bug with Golden Weapons being marked as unspecified and not being purchasable.
  • Fixed a bug with some callouts for pushing the payload playing at incorrect moments.
  • Fixed an issue with Wall Climb failing in some situations.
  • Additional bug fixes for general stability and performance.

MAPS

Antarctic Peninsula

  • Fixed lighting in some areas of the map.

King’s Row

  • Fixed areas of the map that were missing collision.

Midtown

  • Fixed some locations that could cause some heroes to become stuck

Shambali Monastery

  • Fixed a location of the map that displayed incorrect textures.

HEROES

Doomfist

  • Fixed a bug with Meteor Strike that could result in Doomfist getting inside the environment.
  • Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented Seismic Slam’s damage from going through turrets.
  • Fixed a bug that could prevent Doomfist from acquiring Overhealth in some cases.
  • Fixed a bug where Rocket Punch left a small window of time open to use abilities.

Echo

  • Fixed an interaction when Duplicating Bastion that prevented the Duplicated Configuration: Artillery’s shots from landing if Duplicate ended before they landed.

Lifeweaver

  • Fixed a bug that prevented Tree of Life from healing Reaper when in Wraith form.

Lúcio

  • Amp it Up now goes on cooldown if interrupted by stun during its cast time or when dying while it’s active.

Mauga

  • Fixed a bug with the burning applied by Mauga not being removed when picking up a health pack.

Orisa

  • Terra Surge now correctly pulls in and damages enemies that are on uneven slopes/collision, as long as Orisa has a direct line of sight, they will get pulled/damaged.

Roadhog

  • Fixed a bug with Roadhog’s model becoming distorted with some skins during the Heroic Highlight intro.
  • Fixed a bug with Pig Pen displaying a Junkrat icon when pinged.

Sombra

  • Fixed an interaction that prevented Hack from being interrupted by Rocket Punch or Shield Bash.
  • Fixed a bug where Sombra would enter Stealth while escorting the robot in some situations.

Torbjörn

  • Fixed a bug with disabling the Interact Cancel Deploy Turret setting causing you to only destroy a deployed turret and not toss out a new one when the ability is used.

Winston

  • Fixed a bug with Primal Rage that interrupted the ability to attack if the Ultimate was initiated while Jumping and using Melee at the same time.

Zenyatta

  • Golden weapon tint should now properly be reflected on all skins.
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