Overwatch's latest hero, Baptiste, is a medic that combines amplification support skills with area-of-effect healing abilities. Baptiste's exo boots can also allow him to leap out of harm's way and reposition while empowering allies with a range of tools. His Immortality Field can effectively block powerful ultimate skills like D.Va's and Junkrat's, saving allies from death. He can also create a field that grants bonus damage or healing to projectiles that pass through it, making ranged attacks more lethal than they would otherwise be.
Here's a rundown of his abilities and what they mean for the game.
Overwatch Baptiste ability list
"Baptiste wields an assortment of experimental devices and weaponry to keep allies alive and eliminate threats under fierce conditions. A battle-hardened combat medic, he is just as capable of saving lives as he is taking out the enemy," according to Blizzard. Unlike other support characters, who mostly stand back in a team fight, Baptiste is meant to be on the front lines of combat. He does a lot of damage himself with his primary weapon, but more than healing, he's meant to keep his allies alive if they're under heavy fire.
However, Baptiste is more than just a new support character. His kit is the first of its kind in the game and utilizes weapons and abilities that no other characters have.
Baptiste's primary weapon is his Medic SMG. It's a three-round-burst hitscan weapon that holds up to 45 bullets at a time. It's a decent weapon that does significant damage and can hold its own both close and long range (but don't expect him to compete with snipers or other hitscan like Ashe).
At the time of this writing, it's the only burst gun in the game. Other characters can shoot burst projectiles, like Genji, but the SMG has a completely different rhythm than other primary weapons.
The secondary fire on his SMG is the Biotic Launcher, which heals allies. Shooting out one of the projectiles (there's 10 in a clip) heals players within range of its impact. This is a change that might take some getting used to for players used to, for example, Zarya's alt shooting out a damaging projectile.
Unfortunately, you can't heal yourself with this ability, but that's where the next one comes in play.
This is looking to be the main focus of future Baptiste strategies. His Regenerative Burst, as the name implies, releases a burst of healing that heals him and nearby allies over time. The great thing about this ability is how you can leave his side as soon as you get hit with it. Getting healed over time isn't contingent on being near him. It has a 15-second cooldown.
The boots are Baptiste's passive ability. If you hold the button to crouch, you can charge up a jump, which you can then use to reposition yourself.
The Exo Boots are the oddest Baptiste feature and the biggest departure from other Overwatch heroes. While you can use a jump boost as an escape with characters like Junkrat, it's mostly used here to set up attacks or get to higher areas, but it's ineffective in close-quarters combat. It takes a bit to charge and then you have around a second to use it (and hit the jump button) before it times out.
Considering no other character's main kit utilizes the crouch button and that you have to use two buttons to pull off this move, it's going to be awkward for a lot of Overwatch players to pull off. I see this mostly being used for setting up when you're not being overrun by the enemy team.
This is another key element of Baptiste's skill list. He can throw out this device, which creates a field that prevents allies from dying. It doesn't do any healing, but it does tack on an extra 20% health (usually around 40 HP for characters with around 200 total HP) that can't be removed unless the player moves out of its range. Even when the field goes down, players affected will still maintain that boost, but they can then die. It lasts around eight seconds at the time of this writing.
It's also targetable, so enemy players can destroy it. However, it's a great way to quickly counter a team-wiping ultimate like D.Va's Self Destruct or Junkrat's Rip-Tire. Baptiste just has to be on hand to do some healing when it goes down. It has a 20-second cooldown.
Ultimate: Amplification Matrix
Finally, we have the Amplification Matrix. Baptiste creates a wall of energy that doubles the damage and healing effects of friendly projectiles that pass through it. This seems to work with anything from Ana's bio grenades to Baptiste's own biotic projectiles. It doesn't take too long to get, so it's great for setting up combos with your team.
How does he work with other characters?
Baptiste isn't what people were expecting. He's an experimental support and DPS (damage-per-second) fighter that can potentially dish out a lot of heals, but his main purpose is to provide additional damage and protect against team-wiping ultimates. He works dangerously well with other ranged heroes like Ana who are easy targets but can turn the tide in a game with a strong projectile. An obvious combination is Baptiste's matrix combined with Ana's Nano Boost or her biotic grenades (this dangerous mix is probably why Blizzard reduced the amount of healing the Boost does in the latest patch notes).
He also doesn't do anything to the biggest issue in Overwatch right now: the GOATS meta, or three tanks and three support. Fans were hoping that Baptiste might provide a counter to GOATS, but if anything, he seems to exacerbate it. Keeping him close to tanks will make it tougher to take them out, plus he works as a counter to character ultimates that can be used to break up tight groups.
However, what Baptiste does provide is a change for players looking to try something different or who might prioritize support roles in competitive mode. His odd kit — including the clunky Exo Boots — is unique to Overwatch, and players will have fun figuring out how to best use it.
A lot of these observations are subject to change. Baptiste is still only in PTR at the moment, and Blizzard could apply small tweaks before he's officially released. For now, Baptiste is looking like frontline support that can dish it out as well as he can take it.
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Overwatch is a team-based competitive shooter from Blizzard Entertainment, with tons of heroes to choose from matching all sorts of playstyles.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!