Symmetra’s current state leaves her in an odd spot; she’s a support who doesn’t heal, a strategic character who’s only applicable to a few choke point situations, and she doesn’t do a whole lot in terms of DPS either.
However, Symmetra will be getting a serious makeover here pretty soon, and PC players have already been able to get a taste for what she’ll be like in the PTR, where her new kit is currently available. Some abilities have moved around and some have been modified, but all of these change-ups are going to have some crazy implications for how Symmetra mains will act on the battlefield, and will give her a much bigger role in the meta.
Once you see Symmetra’s new kit in action, it’s easy to see how drastic the changes they are. Her new and improved Photon Barrier, for instance, can now hold off an entire defense as you make your way forward, or could halt a defending team from poking at yours with a Widowmaker. A well placed Photon Barrier is also going to be great for when you want to shut down long-range players, or maybe just need to buy some time in a retreat.
If it sounds too good to be true, the Photon Barrier will definitely have its disadvantages. The crux of the Photon Barrier will be in its horizontal nature. On a map with multiple avenues for the attacking team, it could be easy for enemies to get around an otherwise well-placed shield. This will also be a problem if you’re trying to spare your teammates from a D.Va bomb and not everyone ends up behind protection. So if an infinite Reinhardt shield sounded too powerful, it will definitely still have its workarounds.
The changes being made to her Photon Projector and Turrets are really what bring her into the Damage category, though. The straight-shooting primary fire really challenges you to play her more actively, and that combined with the super lethal secondary fire makes her great in both up close and medium range fights. You have to lead your shot a lot with the secondary fire, however, which will take some getting used to since it is so much faster paced now. After you get the hang of it, though, it’s easy to see how Symmetra will earn her spot in the Damage category.
Her Sentry Turrets will allow for more versatility and creativity in combat as well. They are less able to create kill boxes inside rooms like they used to, but do offer more strategic placements due to their increased health and damage output. Being able to send them ahead of you and place them on a choke point might also help when you’ve just respawned and quickly need to set up your defense again. In a 1v1 fight, you could even throw one behind the enemy while you’re attacking from the front, forcing them to either shift their attention to the turret behind them or simply deal with the extra damage and hope they are able to survive.
Her Teleporter is be the ability that will add the most strategic economy to the meta, though. Chucking a D.Va bomb through to an unsuspecting enemy, charging through with a Reinhardt, getting to new heights with a High Noon or a Bastion, or just having the whole team flood through it will add so many new and crazy possibilities. Team placement might be the most exciting part, because if you’re sneaky about it, Symmetra will be able to send one, three, or all of her teammates right to the enemy’s backline, with them none the wiser.
One good example of how the new and improved Symmetra can work on attack is King’s Row. The map has a few good choke points, but with her new teleporter, they can essentially be circumvented. And if you do it sneakily enough, it can be devastating for the enemy. Flanking up and around those stairs on point A, and then getting everyone up and over on the second choke is a great new option. You could even flank the defending team on the last point by teleporting everyone up on top of the corridor where the defending Widowmaker usually sits. But these are just the opportunities on one map. It will be exciting to see the creative plays people find as they get more time with her.
For defense, the teleporter might not be as useful unless you’re trying to set up a Bastion on top of the threshold on point B of Hanamura, but those sentry turrets will be much more tactical now. Instead of creating an annoying kill box that might not even kill the enemy, the new turrets will allow Symmetra to set up opportunities for her teammates. The Sentry Turrets do a lot more stun now, allowing for Symmetra to essentially trap an attacking enemy. Their increased health will also make it much harder for enemies to escape this trap, and the damage output that Symmetra will have will make her a lethal foe on defense as well.
The biggest take away here is that Symmetra is going to take a lot more skill to play as, and that she is going to cause a dramatic shift in the way teams go about attacking and defending certain objectives. Her newfound versatility is going to allow her to become an integral part of the new meta, and it will definitely be interesting to see how players, and especially the players in the Overwatch League, take to these changes.