Overwatch’s Jan. 21 Experimental Card patch notes: Echo, Zenyatta nerfs tested

Overwatch’s Jan. 21 Experimental Card patch notes: Echo, Zenyatta nerfs tested

Beams, pistols, and orbs are getting tuned down this week.

Anyone who’s played a game of competitive mode in Overwatch over the past few weeks has likely seen an increased use of Echo, Tracer, and Zenyatta. These three heroes can work together to mow down tanks in a matter of seconds. And after noticing this trend, the developers are targeting the trio in Overwatch’s Jan. 21 Experimental Card. 

While the proposed nerfs aren’t massive, they do aim to tone down how oppressive heroes like Echo seem in a competitive environment. As usual, these changes are experimental and will be tested by players before being pushed to the live servers. They may not be sent to the live servers in their current state or at all. 

Hero changes 


  • Tri-Shot ammo reduced from 15 to 12.
  • Focusing Beam duration reduced from 2.5 seconds to two seconds.

Professional and high-level players have been locking in Echo in competitive games for the past month, wreaking havoc with the aerial hero. These two nerfs act to “lower her sustained damage output without impacting her burst damage potential against squishier targets,” according to the developers. 

By reducing the ammo of her primary weapon and tuning down the Focusing Beam, Echo players will have to be more mindful of their ability usage. 


  • Pulse Pistol minimum/maximum damage falloff rescaled from a 13 to 23 meter range down to a 12 to 20 meter range. 

Tracer has been a popular pick to run alongside Echo in speedy, dive-heavy compositions. Her dual pistols are best at close range when Tracer is able to put an entire clip into an enemy. The Pulse Pistols can, however, do significant damage at mid-range, which matters for aerial heroes like Echo or Pharah. 

This new change means that Tracer’s damage will start to scale down at 12 meters instead of 13. Her damage will also be rendered pretty much useless by 20 meters instead of the previous 23. 


  • Orb of Harmony projectile speed reduced from 120 to 90.
  • Orb of Discord projectile speed reduced from 120 to 90. Damage amplification reduced from 30 percent to 25 percent. 

Support mains have been enjoying the renewed era of Zenyatta in competitive mode, but it seems like that time is coming to an end. Both Zenyatta’s Orb of Harmony, or healing, and Orb of Discord, or damage amplification, will take longer to apply to both enemies and allies. Most importantly, Discord is losing five percent of its damage amplification. 

“Zenyatta has been a bit too effective at enabling team-wide damage output lately so we’re taking some power out of the Orb of Discord by reducing both its total damage amplification as well as the speed at which it can be applied over long distances,” the developers said. 

For Zenyatta players, this means that orb application will feel less instantaneous and more consideration will be necessary for orb placement. Other players on a team with Zenyatta will notice that Orb of Discord is less wildly impactful when used against an enemy, especially high-health targets like tanks. 

These changes can be tested by selecting the Experimental Card on Overwatch’s home screen. The developers will keep a close eye on feedback from players and will likely implement these changes on the live servers within a week. 

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