Note: Redeemer, karzheka, and Shokei's responses were made before the Operation released on the main build.
The new free expansion that just released saw the two new operators of Goyo and Amaru be introduced to the game while last season’s operators of Nøkk and Warden enters the competitive operator pool. As well as this we have seen a reworked Kanal map come out as well as a number of smaller changes such as with certain operator’s gadget options and a redesign of the deployable shields.
To get some initial impressions on the newest changes to the game before the changes start to impact the professional tournaments we spoke to four major faces across the four regions to get an idea of what we should expect. This includes Eugene "karzheka" Petrishin from the reigning Major and Pro League champions of Team Empire, Taylor "Redeemer" Mayeur who previous played for Spacestation Gaming and cast the DreamHack Montreal 2019 Minor, and Shohma "Shokei" Shiotsuka who plays for the first-placed team in the Japanese Pro League, CYCLOPS athlete gaming.
What are your opinions on Nøkk and Warden and how are they going to factor into the competitive meta?
Redeemer: Both operators in my eyes, seem out of the meta right now. Certain teams will find specific uses for them, but I don’t think we will see as strong of a presence from the two operators like we did with Mozzie and Gridlock.
Karzheka: I see some options to use Warden in a competitive game, for a smokes plant denial etc. but he is still weak as a single unit. I don't see Nøkk at all in competitions.
Skokei: I think Nøkk has a capability to bring up unique attacking styles, although it would not make any changes to the current meta.
With Kafe now having been in the rotation for three months, what is your personal opinion of the map? How balanced are the objectives and the map as a whole?
Redeemer: I think Kafe has been a great addition to the map pool. Teams seem to prefer playing on the map and I think until teams become more comfortable on attacking the map, it will stay more defender sided for now.
Karzheka: When it first came out, was seemed like it was the best-balanced map in the rotation, but now we can clearly see that defence is too overpowered, the attack must be always extremely happy if they can take at least 2 rounds.
Skokei: Having been picked a number of times, new Kafe became a very interesting map. It has many viable bomb locations, huge competitiveness, and well-balanced compared to the old one.
Having seen (and presumably played a little bit of) the new Kanal, what are your impressions of it? Is it a future competitive map?
Redeemer: I think it is too early to tell whether or not we will see it enter into the PL map pool or not. Though I am excited about the return of Kanal, PL teams will need a little more time playing the map to really be able to dissect its true potential.
Karzheka: I haven't played it yet and so can't say much about it, but it looks fine I guess, I would've said more if I would've tried it already.
Skokei: (Reworked Kanal) can be a competitive map for the event.
What are your early opinions on Goyo and Amaru? Could they impact the Pro League meta in the future?
Redeemer: Both Operators have a huge chance of impacting the meta. Amaru will be a more risk vs reward scenario. She doesn’t bring a lot of utility to the team, but she will end up winning/clutching rounds. Goyo, on the other hand, brings a lot of utility and a strong defensive option for the locking down bomb sites. Goyo stacked with other strong defending operators could be a deadly meta shift that attackers are not ready for.
Karzheka: Yeah, these two new operators would definitely change a lot on all the maps in the rotation.
Skokei: Both Goyo and Amaru will bring about big changes to the current meta significantly. And picking them will also be effective with respect to creating new strategies and aggressive playstyle.
What are your opinions on the balancing changes for this patch, such as the new shields (with slits), the SMG-11 and SMG-12 recoil, operators like Glaz and Dokkaebi being given frag grenades (or Maestro losing his deployable shield in favour of impact grenades)?
Redeemer: I have always been against adding window slits to shields. As a whole, I think the shield needed to be updated, but the direction Ubisoft chose to go, was not the vision I had in mind. The entire shift in gadgets threw me off a bit, but I think it was needed since they decided to BUFF the shield and the addition of Goyo’s shield traps. I normally agree with Ubisoft's answer to balancing certain Ops and Gadgets, but this major equipment shift was all because of an unneeded buff to shields. It seems a bit extreme to me, but I’m excited to see the direction the game goes.
Karzheka: I need to try these all out first to tell something about that, but for me it seems like defence is always getting stronger and stronger, while attack kinda stays on the same place; the new shield is just an extremely strong thing, the SMG’s recoils were decent in my opinion and they shouldn't have touched that, Glaz is absolute garbage in competetive games, Dokkebi will be either a must pick or must ban now. Overall, we will see how it works, but for now, from what I have read, these changes are not the smartest ones that were made
Skokei: I’m very pleased personally to get the new shield, as it makes you consider (about which to select) between stun-grenades, smoke or frag, bringing about a greater diversity to the game.
Niclas "Pengu" Mouritzen from G2 Esports on Goyo:
And on Amaru:
Amaru is like a ranked operator. What she's good for is if you're playing Consulate or Bank or even Coastline, you can get from spawn into the top floor of the building in five seconds... she's definately a good operator but I don't know if she'll get picked very often. She requires good coordination and some sort of bait, you can't just randomly go in windows and frag it out and it's only gonna really work once.
Maurice "AceeZ" Erkelenz from the Vodafone Giants and Alexander "Skys" Magor from Team Reciprocity on the gadget changes:
Leon "LeonGids" Giddens from Team Secret at the Ubisoft Experience Birmingham event on August 24th:
Q: What one of those two operators is your favourite and why?
A: Personally, Amaru because of my playstyle, I like to flank a lot, I like to lurk. So getting up behind them while my team is pushing from another side is really gonna help to catch them offguard.
Q: What do you think of the two new operators and their potential in pro play?
A: They're definately gonna change the meta up. Obviously with the new shield design and the change in the gadgets of operators as well we're definately gonna see a lot of different setups. Interesting setups like you could have Goyo and Maestro will be able to destroy the cannisters and stuff and really change up how teams will play a map.
Gustavo "Psycho" Rigal from Ninjas in Pyjamas on Amaru and Goyo:
I've had the opportunity to play more tts now and [Amaru] really is not so bad, but the goyo the shields really should have a difference [to normal shields] to know it's his
As well as these new operators, map and balance changes, the Operation Ember Rise update also adds in 14 new Pilot Program bundles allowing you to support your favourite organisations in-game for the following prices:
- Complete bundle -- 1680 credits (1,512 with the Season Pass)
- Headgear -- 600 credits (540 with the Season Pass)
- Uniform -- 720 credits (648 with the Season Pass)
- Weapon Skin -- 300 credits (270 with the Season Pass)
- Charm -- 480 credits (432 with the Season Pass)
Finally, the update sees a new lineup of cosmetics available from alpha packs and the release of the Mira Elite:
The new season is available to play now with these changes debuting in the Pro League on Monday as the Vodafone Giants faces GiFu eSports at 18:00CEST. Check out our prior Operation Phantom Sight pre-season analysis with Pengu, Psycho, and Bosco here and the Operation Wind Bastion analysis with Goga and Beastly here.