Why Old Mercy Does Not Counter GOATs

POSTED BY POWERHAUS December 10, 2018 in Overwatch Discussion
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The dominance of the GOATs meta is unquestionable. Theory-crafting and speculation has led prominent members of the Overwatch community have voiced their opinion on what changes should be made in order to counter the composition. One suggestion is to revert Mercy back to her original state with resurrection as her ultimate. This idea, which was made popular by the Your Overwatch YouTube Channel, has both been ridiculed and supported. The side in favor argues that since the meta revolves around heavy team wipe ultimates, then a huge resurrection would be perfect for wasting all of those resources. The side against has various points which include meta forcing and incorrect analysis. This article is a formal response to the matter as well as established reasoning from someone who has spent years as an Overwatch player, coach, and viewer.

Mercy’s History in the Meta

First and foremost, bringing back mass Resurrection would not counter GOATs. To understand why, one must look back into the history of Overwatch meta. Simply put, the Overwatch meta evolved as follows:

Season 1: Genji meta

Season 2: Beyblade (Reinhardt, Zarya, McCree, Reaper, Lucio, Ana)

Season 3: Triple Tank

Season 4: Introduction to Dive (Ana and Zenyatta variations along with some Pharmercy).

End of Season 4-6: Lucio/Zen Dive

End of Season 6-11: Mercy gets reworked and starts the Mercy meta

Season 12 was a bit of a mix, but it was strongly GOATs

Season 13: GOATs

Pre-rework Mercy never once was strongly in the meta during the competitive seasons. Only map-specific compositions that included a Pharah had Mercy in the lineup. Why is this? The answer is her ultimate; it was weak.

What Made Mercy Weak?

It was widely accepted among the professional and high-elo community that Mercy was a weak hero throughout the first six seasons of Overwatch. What made it this way? How could the potential to bring back your entire team be considered a weak ultimate? It all came down to ultimate economy and how it worked with the previous version of the hero.

The hide and resurrect strategy that was commonly used in matchmaking was actually quite poor in the higher level of play. This is because good players had multiple ways of dealing with the basic tactic.

One big way huge res was countered was by planning out the ultimate in advance. This is something in-game leaders do anyways, and resurrection was quite the easy one to play around. The player would understand that the enemy team would play to die from a strong win condition ultimate such as Graviton Surge. The team against the Mercy would then engage and execute the ultimate without investing much else. Mercy would come in to resurrect her five teammate, and either die or succeed. If she succeeded, the opposing team would easily wipe the completely grouped up enemies with another ultimate.

Another option, especially with flankers, was to recognize that the Mercy was hiding. A Tracer could go search for the Mercy hiding and take a one versus one. The fight more than often would go in favor of the tracer.

Alternatively, they could recognize the mercy was hiding, and take the six versus five without ultimates. If the Mercy came in to resurrect, then they would have all their ultimates available to them to again wipe the completely out of position team. No main healing means it would be incredibly unlikely to win the fight.

Finally, in the niche occasions Mercy was run, huge resurrections were rare. Often times, the support player would bring back one to three people in order to keep the tempo in a fight. This was often done on control points where Pharah was popular and ultimates were not as important as the mechanical fights. This was called a “tempo res.

Why Would Old Mercy Not Counter GOATs?

Mercy would not counter GOATs for multiple reasons. GOATs is the best composition for both mechanics and ultimate economy. Implementing Mercy into GOATs as a variation would put your team at a support ultimate deficit. Additionally, it would decrease the overall damage of the composition with not much healing in return.

The most commonly used variation of GOATs right now is one featuring Zenyatta. This is because of Discord and Transcendence. Discord increases the damage of a composition without damage characters, and Transcendence gives huge benefits for ultimate economy, much more than what resurrection would give.   

While Mercy does have damage boost, it only goes to one character on the team. The amount of damage you lose far outweighs the amount of healing you receive with a theoretical Old Mercy variation.

But what about Mercy not implemented in a GOATs composition? Could she counter GOATs in a team build centered around high damage and range? For the same reasons it does not work well now, it would not work with Old Mercy either. There is far too little margin for error when running something which is meant to counter GOATs. It is almost impractical except in map-specific circumstances. Here are the reasons:

  1. There is too much presence on either the objective or against the Mercy’s tanks.
  2. The ultimates with GOATs are far easier to execute and rotate than those of DPS ultimates.
  3. There is too much sustain, health, and armor compared to the damage output of even the highest damage compositions.

While it is not impossible to run counter GOATs, it is highly unreasonable when a team can just run GOATs themselves and get far higher value for way less input.

What Will Stop GOATs?

Unfortunately, the root of GOATs’s problem lies in Brigitte. The sustain and utility she provides are far too high to not implement her into most team compositions. While it is hopeful to think that someone will discover a composition to destroy GOATs, Brigitte’s sustain is only getting stronger in the next patch. It seems that either she will need to be nerfed further, or another hero will need to surpass her.

One idea I personally have is to either create or rework a hero’s passive to negate armor. On a current hero, it would probably be best to put this passive on Reaper instead of his current health steal. This would also properly define his role as a tank and armor buster.


The idea of reverting Mercy for the sake of countering GOATs sounds logical at first glance, but a short reflection of meta history can remind us why this would definitely not work as a counter. If Mercy were to return, she would return based off being a high damage pocket or because they once again changed resurrection to be overpowered. For now, she will remain as arguably the weakest healer.

Remember, this is evaluated at high levels of play as well as organized matches. It is well known that Old Mercy was quite popular throughout seasons four through (early) six because Lucio and Zenyatta were too difficult to pull off in mid-tier matchmaking. It was much easier to run either Mercy Zenyatta or Mercy Lucio in solo queue, but it was not optimal.

Thank you for reading my input on the current #ReworkMercy Trend. I really wanted to give a proper response explaining why this would not counter GOATs as so many people have been on social media being unprofessional and rude about the idea. It is always good to brainstorm about how to fix the game. Ridiculing each other is no way to make progress.

Mercy probably will not get reverted, but should she be? What would actually counter goats? To engage with me, follow me on Twitter @Neowyld.