This might be controversial and against what is seemingly the general consensus within the Overwatch 2 community at the moment, but Genji is in arguably the best spot he’s been in since 2016, and shouldn’t be nerfed. In fact, he is probably the last Hero that needs a nerf at all right now.
There’s a lot of chatter floating around forums and on Twitter about the current state of Overwatch 2. Sombra is a nuisance but probably needs to be reigned in a bit: she’s far too damaging at mid-range than she should be for a Hero yielding a frickin’ Uzi, and coupled with her improved overall hacking efficiency — she’s far tougher to “interrupt” now given she doesn’t come out of invisibility while hacking — she’s proving far too oppressive for Tanks and Supports. She should be more of a “support” DPS than a Damage hero than can essentially carry a team, which is the state she’s currently in.
Zarya’s double-barrier is counterintuitive in a meta and team structure that purposefully targeted Shielded team compositions, while Doomfist is in perhaps the worst state he’s been in since he joined the roster. The transition from DPS to Tank has not been kind to him. Add in the sheer dominance of Reinhardt, Sigma, and Zarya in the meta, alongside buffs given to DVa during the pre-launch betas, and it’s obvious that far more attention needs to be given to the Tank class than literally any other one hero in the game, Genji included.
The current state of the meta in Overwatch 2 is rather unique: there’s a fascinating blend between dive heroes of the DVa and Winston variety, and stay-at-home Tanks like Orisa, Sigma, Reinhardt and Roadhog. This is perhaps fed by the community’s (rightful) obsession with Kiriko, whose evasive abilities place her high in a meta driven by agility and mobility.
This is where Genji comes into play: he’s very much a lone wolf at the moment, fitting into any and all team compositions. His primary Damage counters in Symmetra and Pharah simply aren’t being picked enough by the community, although Zarya and Brigitte are proving challenging for him in a meta where they’re both high on the tier list. An effective Ana can sleep dart him when Ulting, while Moira and Kiriko can evade rather quickly to avoid his assassination techniques.
As you can see, there are multiple counter-offensives here when it comes to a dominating Genji: the community just doesn’t appear prepared to acknowledge or switch when required. The reality is that Overwatch 2, just as with Overwatch 1, is a far more strategic and enjoyable “competition” when Genji is in a good place. This is because he demands so much “change” from within and from the opposition: he’s one of a few if not the only Damage hero that an entire team can be built around. There’s also few Heroes in the game that can prompt the opposition to all need to switch.
I know what some are going to be thinking when they read that: if any one hero is prompting such significant pivots within a match, they’re “overpowered” or “unbalanced” and need to be nerfed. This is almost the immediate reaction to every strong-performing Hero in Overwatch, with the community pressuring the development team to nerf the Hero into oblivion. It ruined Symmetra in 2017, made Bastion unplayable since, well, forever, and banished OG Genji from the post-Season 10 meta in Overwatch 1.
Genji is different to those two heroes, however: Symmetra and Bastion just had far too low a ceiling of difficulty, and too high a ceiling of in-match influence. Practically anyone could boot up Overwatch, choose those heroes, and dominate from day dot. Genji just isn’t like that: he’s very easy to be absolutely useless with. When the other team had an oppressive Symmetra, no one ever suggested that it was because they had a “good” Symmetra: the hero’s kit was (and still is) completely broken (for different reasons). When a team has a dominating Genji, everyone knows it’s because the person behind the screen knows exactly what they’re doing, and they’ve spent time perfecting it.
Last night I ended up in a lobby competing against the same Genji multiple times in a row. I would switch multiple times to counter, but they were smart enough to simply back off and target areas out of reach or when I was in spawn. This is what a good assassin does: they pick their battles. And when they battle, they do it with such devastating precision that it’s almost a joy to watch. I have genuinely enjoyed watching Genji’s absolutely tear up my team on occasion. It’s frustrating, and I hate him, but it’s awe-inspiring.
The community’s immediate reaction to a hero with this high a ceiling and equally as high an influence on matches is to nerf them: I’m going to call out this part of the community, and demand they start flexing and switching more often to counter a well-balanced Hero that is being mastered by a cross section of the community. Overwatch 2 won’t ever reach a “good” spot if it’s just going to nerf every single Hero that starts performing well: looking at it objectively, he’s in a position now where you’d expect a highly agile, highly oppressive Damage hero to be, especially in a meta as dynamic and unpredictable as Season 1 of Overwatch 2.
What are your thoughts on the current state of Genji in Overwatch 2? Sound off in the comments below!