Sigma: Theorycrafting with Overwatch’s 31st Hero
With Stage 4 of the Overwatch League set to kick off this Thursday, fans have been given a few Developer Update videos to tide them over. The most recent one announced a brand new tank hero, named Sigma, will join the Overwatch cast very soon. We’ll go over everything you need to know about Sigma, including some first thoughts on possible synergies!
Sigma is a scientist who specializes in astrophysics, with a particular interest in gravity. However, an experiment gone wrong left him mentally unstable. He soon awoke to find he had become a test subject. Talon, the antagonists of the Overwatch universe, bailed him out in hopes they could manipulate Sigma’s impressive gravity-bending abilities. In-game, he is classified as a “barrier tank” according to Jeff Kaplan’s latest Developer Update. In the jargon of the Overwatch community, he will likely be categorized alongside the likes of Reinhardt, Orisa, and Winston in what we call the “main tank” role. His abilities utilize gravity and allow him to manipulate the space around him in a way that we’ve never seen before in Overwatch.
Hyperspheres: Sigma’s primary attack are the Hyperspheres, which are two small gravity balls that travel a set medium distance before detonating. These can be fired in a 2-round burst fashion, and they can bounce off of surfaces like walls if they haven’t traveled too far.
Kinetic Grasp: Sigma’s Shift ability is a small forcefield that he channels in front of himself. The field lasts a couple of seconds and will absorb any projectiles that touch it. After the channel is complete, Sigma converts the damage into a shield for himself. (Cooldown: 14 seconds)
Accretion: Sigma’s E ability allows him to gather some debris from his surroundings and form them into a chunk of rock. He then forcefully launches the mass forward, dealing around 100 damage and knocking an enemy down. (Cooldown: 10 seconds)
Experimental Barrier: Sigma’s right-click is a 1,500 health shield he can propel and recall at will. The shield is similar in size to Reinhardt’s and must be regenerated if broken. Note: If the shield is deployed but not taking damage, it will not regenerate! Recalling the shield will allow it to recharge.
Gravitic Flux: Sigma’s ultimate ability unleashes the full power of his gravity manipulation skills by levitating himself and lifting up enemies in a large area and suspending them midair. After a brief pause, he slams his helpless foes to the ground, dealing about 100 damage.
As a main tank, Sigma is intended to be the front line for a team and his Experimental Barrier makes him both defensive and flexible. Unlike Reinhardt, Sigma has a significantly more dynamic range on his shield, allowing him to constantly reposition his shield in a way that other tanks cannot. Moreover, his ultimate denying potential is considerable when his Kinetic Grasp is off cooldown, as the ability can deny all projectiles such as Pharah’s Rocket Barrage or McCree’s Deadeye. He can also use Accretion to knock away dangerous targets, such as a Genji with Dragonblade, or a Doomfist charging a Rocket Punch. Fans of Hanzo’s old Scatter Arrow ability may find some fun toying with the angles that can be exploited using Sigma’s Hyperspheres, which do decent damage at close range. Because of the insane utility in his kit, Sigma is an excellent playmaker that boasts solid defense, ultimate denying abilities, respectable damage, and an ultimate that puts Zarya to shame (we still love you, Zarya!).
Possible Synergies and Counters
After some testing on the PTR, I have some thoughts on where he could fit in the meta.
First of all, since Sigma will be released not long before the 2-2-2 lock drops, I will consider him within that context. With that out of the way, let’s talk about McCree. The utilization of both Sigma’s ult and McCree’s ult together is just…wow! I’m adding this combo to the list of coolest combos in the game (Genji/Zarya, Hanzo/Zarya are also on there!). Ultimates aside, McCree and Sigma could work well together since Sigma can get flankers off of McCree using Accretion or send a barrier his way when McCree gets focused down. Protecting vulnerable teammates is called “peeling,” and Sigma will excel at it. This next pick may surprise some, but I believe that Orisa may also be a worthy duo for the Talon scientist. Her combination of rapid-fire damage from her Fusion Cannon and resistance to and deliverance of crowd control from her Fortify and Halt! Abilities make the two a difficult tank pairing to take down.
As far as counters go, range will be the name of the game. Sigma’s abilities are strong, yes, but they do not go any farther than medium range. Heroes like Hanzo can destroy his barrier from range and not be in any real danger from Sigma, so he will have to rely on his teammates to care of any business beyond his somewhat short reach. High mobility heroes like Tracer could potentially give him trouble as well, since his Hyperspheres are a bit awkward to use at very close range, and Accretion’s short cast time can make it hard to reliably CC her.
Blizzard have done a phenomenal job with their newest hero. I suggest that you try him, especially if you’re a fan of playmaking tanks. I look forward to seeing what the pros can do with Hero 31, but unfortunately, we will have to wait until after Season 2 Stage 4 of the Overwatch League, since he will not be involved. You can test Sigma out now on the PTR for PC.