An analysis on Doomfist
In the right hands, he can be a powerhouse – but if that gamble doesn’t pay off, you’re basically a player down.
Doomfist arrived on the PTR yesterday and immediately came the rush to have the quickest clicks (and the fastest internet) to claim him in Quick Play. I’ve managed to get my hands on him a few times within the past 24 hours, and with that I can offer a few first impressions for both how he feels to a casual player and how I would think he plays in the meta. Take a look below to read my thoughts and suggestions on how Doomfist will play into Overwatch esports.
An overview of Doomfist’s abilities
First, the facts: Doomfist, aka Akande Ogundimu, is a melee DPS hero who has a couple of abilities at his disposal:
- Hand Cannon – Primary fire. A six-pellet shotgun fire from his non-gauntletted hand. Four shots in a clip, automatically reloads.
- Rocket Punch – Right click ability. Press and hold to charge up his gauntlet and aim at your victim, then let it go. He’ll charge towards his enemy and deal damage and knock them back. If the enemy slams into a wall, that’s more damage delt.
- Seismic Slam – “E” ability. Doomfist leaps forward and smashes the ground to knock enemies closer to him.
- Rising Uppercut – Shift ability. Exactly how it sounds; he uppercuts an enemy, dealing damage and sending them high into the air.
- Meteor Strike – Ultimate ability. He leaps into the sky for a few seconds (where he is invulnerable to damage), where you then move his AoE circle around to aim. Then, once at the chosen spot (or your time runs out), he slams into the ground and deals heavy damage to anyone within range. This can easily kill more squishy characters like Tracer or Genji.
- The Best Defense… – Passive ability. Similar to Reaper’s new passive, Doomfist will gain shields on top of his HP as he deals ability damage. He can be as beefy as 400 HP at maximum.
He’s the ultimate dive comp hero: he needs to get in fast, deal damage, then get out while his abilities are on cooldown. He’s definitely designed for up-close-and-personal combat, with his abilities giving him some of the best mobility that an Overwatch character has to date. Overwatch rated him three stars in terms of difficulty, up there with Ana and Genji.
He’s DPS when his abilities are up, he’s a sitting duck when they’re down
From my experience, Doomfist plays a lot like Genji – his biggest assets aren’t his primary fire, but rather he relies on his abilities to both get kills and get him out of places quickly. His gauntlet gun is basically useless by itself; it does some damage, but the clip size and firing rate is just too poor for anyone to take seriously by itself. Much like his animated short, a Tracer could definitely keep up with him should he be caught with his abilities on cooldown.
When he’s not on cooldown, though, that’s when he gets to be scary. A smart Doomfist can find certain angles that many wouldn’t expect – there’s a ledge on Defense’s side to the left of the archway on Temple of Anubis that turned out to be surprisingly effective against enemies both on top and under the bridge, as you can get to both using an uppercut and a Seismic Slam – to get the drop on other players. His Rocket Punch is very satisfying, though I encountered a glitch multiple times where the press and hold part of it didn’t seem to work; instead, the charge went off immediately, despite the display saying it was charging. Any character can easily be incapacitated with a nice Slam/Uppercut/Rocket Punch combo, and it’s very satisfying when those plays actually work out.
Teamwork makes the dream work…
As of right now, the key to keeping Doomfist in the battle seems to be through cooperation with other teammates; you’re going to need a Zarya bubble or a D.va’s Defense Matrix to bail him out when he finds himself swarmed and abilities on cooldown. The latter might be an easier solution, seeing as he’s as mobile as she is with her rockets, but either should work just fine. Ana might also see a return to the meta if Doomfist does make an appearance because her ranged healing will keep him in the fight easier than other healers. Zenyatta, in that respect, would also be a good pick to help Doomfist out.
A more out-there idea would be using Winston’s bubble to bait people close, then pulling off combo’s, but that seems a bit risky. Getting a Mei to slow people down would also be a nice touch, but very situational (read: only on Anubis last point, probably). I’m sure there are more cheeky plays that will be found out the more he’s played, but those seemed to work decently in queue.
Who can stop the Doomfist?
Not-so-surprsingly, Doomfist can meet his doom with Winston, the hero that allgeidly stopped him in the trailer when Genji was incapacitated and Tracer was literally ripped out of time. He can follow when Doomfist tries to move away, and he’s beefy enough to be able to withstand most of Doom’s combos. Primal Rage in particular can serve to be quite the hindrance for the Talon agent, as he knocks Doomfist back. With Doom’s kit requiring an up-close-and-personal touch, it’s definitely more of a counter to him than how it is for other heroes.
Sombra completely kills him with her Hack ability. You can literally do nothing if you’re hacked, save for his primary fire that’s not enough to survive Sombra’s SMG. If your Doomfist is hacked, he’s going to need help immediately, otherwise it’s an easy 5 v 6 against you.
Mei can slow him down, though the followup will need to come from elsewhere, especially if Doomfist is on a roll. If he has more than his base HP thanks to his passive ability, it’ll be really hard for a Mei to finish the job with her freeze-icicle combo. Another interesting counter could be Pharah, thanks to his lack of ranged abilities and his difficulty getting close to her while she’s in the air.
For the most part, Doomfist is a very interesting character that has some great potential, but only when made priority by his teammates to protect and with very meticulous ability management. Slow-moving or large-hitbox characters will have some problems with him, while quicker heroes might be able to get the drop on him a bit more than you’d expect. Genji players might be able to adapt to his kit better than most.
Walls are your best friend, thanks to that bonus damage from his Rocket Punch ability. Temple of Anubis and Lijang Tower are perfect for his kit, as are any that require the fight to be more close-range; lurking around the Payload is likely his best bet to be effective on Escort maps, especially when his ultimate is up and the enemy is bunched together for him to multi-kill with the ult’s AoE damage.
I’m not so sure about his competative / esports potential at the moment. He might be just as situational as Sombra. The thing about Doomfist is that he demands to be the center of the team comp so that he can properly do his thing, though some of those necessities – D.va, Zenyatta – are already common in the meta, so it might be more of a situation based on how well a DPS player is playing and if the team really wants to gamble instead of keeping with a safer, more standard pick.
He’s high risk, high reward in a nutshell, so it’ll be very interesting to see if anyone’s feeling lucky enough to give him a shot in the esports scene. In the meantime, though, casual players can find him equally as challenging, but the oh-so-satisfying payoff of playing him well will have players clamoring for him for a few weeks yet.