A few cryptic messages and teaser tweets later, Overwatch's 27th hero, Brigitte Lindholm (pronounced "Brig-eh-tuh") has been revealed. Brigitte is a support hero whose kit is focused on providing armor (health buffs) to teammates while maintaining constant close-quarters combat with her Rocket Flail and Barrier Shield. A melee-based support hero is totally new to Overwatch, and with recent changes to Mercy, support lanes have been significantly widened. Brigitte may cause quite a stir with her unique kit, but we won't know for sure for at least a few weeks, as Blizzard continues to test her internally and on the public test region.
But who is Brigitte, and where did she come from? Brigitte Lindholm is the youngest daughter of our favorite turret-wielding friend, Torbjörn. Inspired by her father and her “uncle,” Reinhardt, Brigitte took interest in medical engineering, and honed her talents in her father’s workshop. Eventually, she grew old enough to accept the role of Reinhardt’s squire, which constituted engineering-based upkeep of his Crusader armor, as well as moral support. Their friendship grew, as did Brigitte’s desire to fight alongside of her father and mentor. Reinhardt schooled Brigitte in the art of combat, and after much training, Brigitte is finally ready for the fight.
Brigitte’s kit is unique, and her role as a one-star difficulty support hero, who primarily wields a melee weapon, is even crazier. Before Brigitte, only two melee-based heroes existed in Overwatch, and neither Reinhardt nor Doomfist care about healing their team in any way, shape, or form.
So, to get into specifics: Brigitte’s primary weapon is a Rocket Flail, which has a fairly decent range, (around 5-7 meters in her current state). She swings the flail similarly to Reinhardt’s hammer — from left to right, back and forth — dealing damage to whatever sad, sappy, sucker is in front of her. Pressing shift sends her flail flying in front of her, initiating a ranged attack similar to Roadhog’s hook, but instead of pulling targets in, her flail deals a straightforward chunk of ranged damage. Brigitte is also equipped with a Barrier Shield, which she holds vertically in front of herself. Its capacity is lower than Reinhardt’s (600 compared to 2000). As the shield’s size is limited to only protecting Brigitte and those friendlies directly behind her, the shield won’t be used to block the same kind of spam-damage that the German crusader can, but it will block a fair amount, and possibly block just enough damage to secure a solid team flank with a DPS hero. Another feature of her Barrier Shield is a Bash, which pushes enemies back and stuns them when hit.
Along with all of these fantastic abilities is her bread and butter, the Armor Pack. Brigitte can throw armor packs at friendly targets, which will heal players on the fly, or provide an overcharge to their health if already at capacity. She throws armor packs directly to targets, as opposed to Torbjörn's armor packs, which are thrown on the ground and require players to pick them up themselves. This direct, burst heal has a fairly small range from what I’ve noticed, so Brigitte will have to be front and center in most team fights to be effective. Finally, we move on to her ultimate, Rally. This ability is in the form of an area of effect ring around Brigitte, which provides 30 armor per second, stacking, until reaching the maximum of 150 extra armor. This armor does not automatically decrease after a few seconds, like Lucio’s Sound Barrier or Torb’s Molten Core Armor. This extra armor provided by Rally will remain present until the player takes damage. Additionally, Rally provides a movement speed boost to Brigitte (and Brigitte only) to quickly reach the nooks and crannies that a support hero must.
Brigitte brings unexpected things to the current Overwatch meta. Personally, I didn’t see another support hero coming anytime soon, especially with recent changes to Mercy and the high rate of play that Moira sees. However, Blizzard always manages to surprise. With the disappearance of Mercy’s miraculous second resurrection charge, new lanes for support heroes have opened up, as it isn’t a necessity to have Mercy on every team composition anymore. Moira can fill the spot of a main healer (if done correctly) with a little help from any of the supports. With the stress taken off Mercy’s back, healers are, in a way, free again. Brigitte isn’t like the other supports, though. She could double as a huge defensive player who also chooses to heal. Armor packs, and their ability to over-heal teammates, is going to change things up significantly. Flanking DPS heroes could gain an extra 75 health, or Roadhog could burst into a teamfight with even more health than he already has. Brigitte may reign in a new meta, focused primarily on over-healing and dealing with it. Only time will tell.
As for now, we remain in the waiting period, as Blizzard continues to perform internal testing and PTR analysis, to hopefully perfect Brigitte for regular play. This process could be up to two more weeks, going by what Blizzard has previously done with new heroes. A usual three-week public test period occurs, then she is plopped into the main game. Brigitte will most definitely shake up the current Overwatch meta and provide new opportunities for players through her unique play style. I’m anxious to see her impact on heavy team fights, especially in the higher tiers of play, specifically professional level. If you are interested in trying out the new hero, she is available to be played on Overwatch’s PTR server (which is free to download if you already own the game on PC). Let me know what you think!