Breaking Down the Latest Overwatch Hero, Baptiste
It doesn’t feel like much time has passed since Blizzard released Ashe, and yet we already have a brand-new addition to the roster — this time it’s the new Overwatch hero Baptiste! While he still isn’t playable on live servers, you can test him out to your heart’s content on the PTR (Public Test Region). You can enter the PTR client by downloading the patch from Battle.net by clicking on the Region/Account dropdown menu and selecting the right option.
The client will then copy over a good chunk of your Overwatch installation and download the remaining PTR files.
Either way, if this seems like too big of a hassle, you’ll be able to test out the latest support hero on March 19th.
With that out of the way, let’s begin our breakdown!
So Who Is Baptiste?
Jean-Baptiste Augustin is a combat medic hailing from Haiti. He’s a former Talon mercenary who joined the order wanting to make a difference in the world. Baptiste was one of the many orphaned children during the Omnic War. Joining Talon was the only way he could use his innate talents but also make a living. After realizing their true intentions, he decided to leave the organization and fight for what’s right.
“The Omnic war robbed us of our choices…”
If you want to go a bit more in-depth into his origin story, you can watch Blizzard’s fantastic short announcement video.
Baptiste is a support that functions and looks more like a DPS hero — a support that packs a punch. Perhaps this is the solution for the many support mains looking to take a bit of the spotlight?
Let’s take a closer look at Baptiste’s abilities. Do note that these numbers are subject to change. Blizzard is still fine-tuning Baptiste’s numbers and ratios, and they could change (heavily) over the next couple of weeks.
Passive: “Exo Boots” — If you hold CTRL (Crouch) for a single second, Baptiste will be able to jump much higher than otherwise. In fact, “much higher” is kind of an understatement. The vertical boost you get by crouching first is absolutely huge, and you can store the charge for a second as well, so you don’t have to use it immediately.
By using his passive, Baptiste can jump across huge gaps without much effort.
Next up, we have Baptiste’s primary and secondary fire. His Biotic Launcher has 45 bullets for the former and 10 for the latter. You use the first one for damage and the second for healing. You’ll need 1.5 seconds to reload the weapon, and by doing so, you’re reloading both the primary and secondary ammo magazines.
Primary Fire: “Biotic Launcher” — By pressing your primary fire, Baptiste will shoot a three-round burst. There’s a 0.35 second recovery period after firing.
Secondary Fire: “Biotic Launcher” — Baptiste launches explosive healing orbs at ally targets. Every orb will heal for 60 HP, and you can fire one shot every 0.8 seconds. With such a low cooldown, you’ll be able to dish out very concrete amounts of healing. Furthermore, these orbs have a three-meter AoE (Area of Effect), so if your teammates clump up, you can heal multiple targets at once.
It’s important to note that Baptiste cannot heal himself by using the Biotic Launcher.
The interesting aspect of Baptiste’s Biotic Launcher is the fact that you can not only play like a DPS but can both deal damage and heal at the same time. Being present in those hectic six-on-six team fights will be of the utmost importance, and you’ll have the ability to decide the outcome more often than not.
The fact that you can weave in both damage and healing at the same time will enable you to be useful on multiple fronts.
Left Shift: “Regenerative Burst” — Baptiste activates a “regenerative burst” that heals both his allies and himself. The AoE heal lasts for five seconds and heals for 30 HP per second, up to a total of 150 HP. There’s a highly respectable ten-meter radius, and the ability itself has a fifteen-second cooldown. The nice thing about “Regenerative Burst” is the fact that your allies don’t have to be within the radius during its entire duration — they just have to be near Baptiste when he activates it, and they will receive the entire heal even after going out of range.
E: “Immortality Field” — This is where things get interesting. Baptiste throws a generator on the ground that creates a field, preventing any allies from dying. The field lasts for eight and a half seconds and has a twenty-second cooldown. The AoE is six meters, so when you use it, make sure to have as many allies within close proximity as possible.
The device itself can be destroyed by opponents — it’s static and has 250 HP. What it does, basically, is prevent Baptiste and his allies’ HP from going below 20%. If an ally is below 20% of his full HP, he’ll immediately be healed up to that point once the ability activates. Furthermore, the generator can be bounced off walls and has an arc that is identical to Baptiste’s secondary fire.
This is a game-changing ability. The cooldown itself isn’t that long for what it enables, and placing a good generator mid-fight can be the difference between victory and defeat. Now, the fact that it’s easily destroyable makes it somewhat balanced, but in highly coordinated play, that’s not going to be too big of a problem.
Fortunately, even if it turns out to be overpowered, Blizzard can easily fine-tune its ratios and balance things out.
Ultimate: “Amplification Matrix” — Baptiste creates a thin matrix that amplifies any damaging and healing projectiles that go through it. The matrix itself is five meters wide and four meters high and lasts for eight full seconds. Both damage and healing projectiles are amplified by 100%.
A well-placed matrix can seriously change the outcome of a fight. You’re not only allowing your entire team to dish out more damage, but you’re also enabling them to heal for double the original amount. While it isn’t exactly that large, it’s big enough to make a difference. Some coordination will be required to maximize its potential, but even if you don’t “stick the landing,” you’re going to get some benefits.
The number of use-case scenarios for Baptiste’s ultimate is absolutely huge, and they’re limited only by your own creativity. Obviously, with the hero still being on the PTR, people are discovering new and exciting ways to use his abilities on a daily basis.
Make sure to follow the scene as closely as possible so that when Baptiste sees the light of day, you’re already ahead of the curve.
Pros and Cons
The latest Overwatch hero Baptiste doesn’t really have huge, glaring innate weaknesses. He deals a fair amount of damage, he’s versatile, and he can clutch things out exceptionally well if used correctly. Perhaps the only problem with Baptiste is the age-old “support problem.” Not a lot of people want to play support heroes in the best and most optimal way.
Everyone wants a piece of the spotlight — that’s a fact. We all want to have an impact on the game and its outcome, and we all want to see our name pop up as the Play of the Game starts loading.
But being a support means enabling others, rather than yourself. When a support hero isn’t strictly utility-oriented but can instead dish out damage, that’s when many players start failing when it comes to their responsibilities.
They want to be the ones dealing the final blows, and in doing so, they’re not fulfilling their role-specific duties.
Finding the right balance between dealing damage and healing is exceptionally hard, and that holds true for Baptiste as much as it holds true for, say, Moira.
Baptiste can hand out a noticeable amount of damage — that’s a fact, and you shouldn’t just focus on healing your teammates because you can be the difference maker yourself more often than not. You bring a ton of utility and damage to the table, and you should never forget that.
Likewise, Baptiste requires a certain mindset and approach to playing the game, much like any other hero.
The more you can adapt to it and start thinking and playing as a Baptiste player should, the more success you’re going to find. Playing, say, Ana as you would Moira will result in a catastrophe, and the same goes for Baptiste. He’s a strong, versatile hero that bridges the gap between DPS and support.
Furthermore, his abilities have somewhat long cooldowns. Knowing when to use them and how is of the utmost importance because a Baptiste without his abilities isn’t nearly as useful. You won’t be able to heal your teammates or prevent them from dying.
Using these clutch abilities in close corridors and choke points could potentially win your team a key fight, but his “Immortality Field” is also easy to miss.
It is an incredibly potent tool, and it can literally save your entire team from certain death. You can bait out multiple opposing ultimates and still come out on top thanks to your death-defying ability.
Conversely, not communicating well enough with your teammates will leave you feeling rather useless. All of your abilities require careful planning and positioning, and if you’re not on the same page with the rest of your team, you won’t be able to have an impact.
You have a lot of power within your kit, but utilizing its full potential isn’t nearly as easy as it might seem at first glance.
Much like with every other hero release, Blizzard will release numerous fantastic Baptiste skins along with highlight intros, emotes, and sprays.
As for his epic skins, you have both Camouflage and Wasteland Baptiste skins, and both look exceptional in-game, especially for their price. His legendary skins aren’t noticeably more impressive, but they’re still pretty slick. You can choose between Desert Ops, Spec Ops, Buccaneer, and Pirate Baptiste.
These skins are a great way to switch things up from a visual standpoint if the default Baptiste skin isn’t up to your liking.
The latest Overwatch hero, Baptiste, brings a ton of utility but also a fair bit of playmaking potential. We know the level at which Overwatch pros play, and sooner or later, we’re going to see some incredibly creative uses for all of Baptiste’s abilities. The sheer fact that he can stop allies from dying will be a huge game-changer in professional play, and you can expect him to completely turn the meta on its head.
Will his healing be strong enough to warrant a spot as a starting support pick? How will his release impact the current meta and the notorious GOATS team comp? Will he be universally viable or playable on just certain types of maps? All of these are incredibly exciting questions that are just waiting to be answered.
Fortunately, with the sophomore season of the Overwatch League currently being in full swing, we can expect answers sooner rather than later.