What does Hero 27 mean for 'Overwatch'?
How is Swedish engineer and squire Brigitte Lindholm going to change the current meta?
How long have we waited for this? Too long! Are we disappointed? No! According to the masses on Twitter, Kotaku, Facebook, Reddit, pretty much every media forum there is, Brigitte is exactly what we were hoping for. First, let's take a look at her abilities.
Her primary ability, Rocket Flail, is a powerful strike with her weapon. It swings around, having the potential of hitting multiple foes at a time. That's not the important thing about this ability, however; you activate your passive ability Inspire, where every hit you land, you heal your teammates and yourself in a small radius around you. Similar to Moira with her need to deal damage to recover her healing, the more damage you do, the more healing your team will get. One hit with her flail will heal 16 points per second for a total of 5 seconds. Just one hit will heal a Tracer back to half health! A drawback, however, is she doesn't do a great deal of damage with this, at only 35 damage per swing. It's not hugely important for a Support character do a whole load of damage with just their primary weapon, though.
Her next ability, as listed on the official website, is Repair Pack. This is where Brigitte takes after her father, Torbjörn Lindholm. She throws out repair packs, much like her father's armour packs, and these heal her teammates, but to make her more of a support character, her Repair Packs heal her allies and then provide armour for any extra healing that passes an ally's maximum health. This will heal 150 health with up to 75 armour on top of that. Now imagine this paired with the healing that comes from dealing damage to enemies. Oh yes. Now these don't stay on indefinitely, it only lasts five seconds and the armour will drop off when your pack returns to you, however any health recovered will stay. With Zenyatta, as long as your ally is in your line of sight, you can keep your Orb of Harmony on them for as long as you like. Brigitte doesn't have that luxury but only has a short cooldown for her specific healing since she has the ability to area-heal. However, what's really fun, particularly in the PTR currently on No Limits, a whole team of Brigitte's can keep each other pretty much invincible and keep a Pharah in the sky no matter what.
Another ability Brigitte has gifted us with is Whip Shot. This is where Brigitte throws her primary weapon in a straight line wherever your reticle is directed. This deals a fair amount of damage (70 points) but it's most handy in its knockback ability. Think of the environmental kills you can get with this. The flail reaches an enemy that is 20m away, as measured in the Practice Range by yours truly, and is very handy indeed. Not only can you boop enemies off the map but you can stop dives. Here's a scenario: You're on Volskaya Industries on defence. You know the enemy Winston is about to jetpack into your team and wipe the floor with you. What's wonderful about the Whip Shot is that with precise timing, you can boop him mid-jump and stop the dive right there. This is one of the reasons why Brigitte is such an important addition to compositions now; she's a direct counter to the dive meta that is currently sweeping Overwatch.
Next we have her Barrier Shield. Much like Reinhardt's Barrier Field, Brigitte has a small shield that she can deploy as her secondary ability. Unlike her godfather, her shield is only big enough to protect her and anyone standing directly behind her. Her shield can withstand an astonishing 600 points of damage. This doesn't sound very support-y, I hear you say. No, it doesn't. The thing that makes Brigitte so unique and so well-received is that she's a hybrid character. She's essentially a Tank-Support. YES, the flex players are rejoicing. One of the issues with Overwatch currently, in my humble opinion, is that many people are very stuck in what class they want to play. Some players only play Tank, some only DPS and others only Support. Gets a little stale after a while. Oftentimes you'll be stuck with a stubborn Genji or a poorly chosen Zarya, and my god, you're getting so frustrated that no-one wants to fill what is essential to the team composition. This is why flex players are so admired. You might not be the best Zenyatta but this person can fit into being Lucio in a pinch and they're a great D.Va! Bringing it back to our newest hero, the beauty of Brigitte is that those of us who are Tank mains or Support mains have the opportunity to try something new. She is by no means as damage-oriented as Moira or Zenyatta, but she provides more burst healing than both of them provided you play her well, whilst being nowhere near as squishy as the other Supports. She is incredibly self-sufficient which is very appealing to those of us who like to play characters like Sombra and Tracer. A handy tip: it only takes five shotgun shells from Reaper to break your shield. Best to avoid him or stun him as soon as you can.
Brigitte has a useful ability called Shield Bash, one of the biggest life-saving moves she can use. With a meager damage of 50, she can dash forwards with her shield, striking an enemy and stunning them for 1 second. This shield bash is so powerful it will stun Reinhardt when he's mid-charge, though if you do this as he's charging at you, you'll still be knocked back a little. Shield Bash will break through barriers like Orisa's and also stops Genji's Deflect. A nice combination with Shield Bash is your Whip Shot, provided you're near an Environmental Kill area such as the edge of Ilios. Bash your enemy and immediately strike them with the Whip Shot, sending them flying off the edge. Believe me, it's fun. Like all other melee abilities, this move also cuts through D.Va's Defence Matrix.
At last, we have Brigitte's Ultimate Ability. This is called Rally and it wholly completes her paladin character likeness. Once you activate this, it will generate 30 armour per second, up to a whopping 150 armour, and this will last for 10 seconds, staying on you and your allies until it is depleted by damage. This also allows only Brigitte to move at a heightened speed. Having played around with this a little bit in PTR, this Ultimate can be paired with some really amazing strategies. For example, activating this ability prior to an ally Lucio's Sound Barrier will give you a maximum of 900 health. If your ally is a Torbjörn, if he has a full Armour Pack, your Repair Pack and his Molten Core activated with your Rally, he will have 1000 health, can you believe it, 1000 health?!
Now we need to move on to hard counters to our newest hero. One of her biggest counters is Sombra, for sure. When Brigitte is hacked, she is almost no help at all to her allies. Her only ability that she can use is her primary ability, Rocket Flail. Doomfist also offers a big counter as his Rocket Punch will go through your shield and also cannot be stunned when he's using that on you. As long as you are aware, Pharah shouldn't be too hard an opponent provided you are using your Shield effectively and, if you're confident, you could knock her out of the sky with your Whip Shot. Be extra wary of any sniper, and Symmetra's sentry turrets as these also inflict damage on you rather than your shield.
I've already touched on how Brigitte can counter the dive meta and often stop it in its tracks, but what compositions can we expect with her? She's the first Support that functions well on the front-lines, giving her Tanks and DPS an opening whenever she stuns an opponent. Having a Mercy paired with a Brigitte is a good idea as Mercy could have specialist protection when she's in the middle of a Resurrect and a focus healer paired with a burst healer is always a nice addition to any team. It's likely that a Pharah would be a good ally as Brigitte can keep an eye on her whilst she's in the sky or focus on the team whilst a Mercy boosts her.
Each day that passes, Brigitte has the potential to be nerfed or buffed even further in the PTR. Just this past day she has already had some bugs fixed and a slight nerf. Hopefully it won't be long before she's put into the game so everyone can enjoy her in ranked!