Overwatch's D.Va Is So Good Now

Last week Overwatch got a big update with a new character and a bunch of balance tweaks. The new sniper Ana got a lot of attention, but some of the less obvious tweaks are just as big a deal. Chief among them: A remarkably involved buff to the mech-driving pro gamer D.Va, which has transformed her into the high-flying terror I've always wanted her to be. Since Overwatch came out, D.Va has been the character I most wanted to like, despite not actually liking playing her. She has jet-boosters that let her get to high vantage points, guns that never need reloading, a defence matrix shield that blocks incoming fire and if her mech blows up she gets an "extra life" with a surprisingly deadly blaster pistol. It all sounds great! The problem was, every time I'd charge into combat, I'd get blown up in record time. D.Va's mech is a humongous target for the other team, and she just didn't have defensive capabilities to compensate for that and keep them from shredding her.

She needed a buff, and she got one. Here's how Blizzard describes the changes to her character in last week's patch notes:


Defence Matrix

  • Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second
  • A new resource meter has been added. This meter will deplete while Defence Matrix is active and then recharge when it's not in use.
  • Defence Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge from empty
  • At a full charge, Defence Matrix will last for 4 seconds
  • Defence Matrix will now remain active as long as its assigned hotkey is held
  • Defence Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fire and is now bound to secondary fire (by default)
  • An option to "Toggle Defence Matrix" has been added under Options > Controls > D.Va


  • Ultimate cost decreased by 15%
  • Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3 seconds
  • Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activates it)

Even just on paper, that is a hell of a lot of tweaks for a single update. In practice, it's as thorough as it seems — D.Va almost plays like a different character.

Her defence matrix shields are now available much more often, which lets a quick player get in and out of hairy situations (or sprint for the nearest medkit) without getting killed. Her jet boost still recharges very quickly, which means she can baaaasically fly; it's much easier to get out of a sticky situation alive. Her ultimate ability is hugely improved; it detonates faster and doesn't damage you, meaning it's possible to get much more aggressive with it.

I spent the weekend playing D.Va almost exclusively and I'm hooked. She's become a highly mobile tank that excels at flanking and ambushing the other team and is infuriatingly difficult to kill. I usually boost my way up to an unexpected vantage, fire down on the other team, back off if they start to return fire, then boost my way to somewhere else.

Her guns still don't do much damage on their own, which I could see being a turnoff for players who prefer sharper-edged characters like Soldier 76 or Reaper. However, with her ability to climb to a high points and fire without reloading, she works really well as cleanup, mopping up opposing players who've already taken some damage. Incoming D.Va fire is also distracting as hell, even if it's coming from across the room and isn't actually doing that much damage.

If the other team manages to take out my mech, I still get that maddening extra life as a hard-to-hit ranged character. And as a bonus, two or three times per match, I'm able to launch a room-clearing nova bomb into the opposing team.

As D.Va, I am a terror. I've gone a bunch of matches where I've died only once or not at all; her survivability has been hugely increased. She plays like a tankier, less immediately deadly version of my top girl Tracer — another highly mobile flanker who can pick off stragglers and drive the enemy team into fits of rage. That's probably why I'm liking her so much.

D.Va's update has further underlined one of the best things about Overwatch: Just like when I discovered Tracer, I feel like I've gotten a totally new version of the same game. The smartness and depth of the buff also reinforces my confidence that team at Blizzard really knows what they're doing, not that I really had any doubts on that front. When discussing potential D.Va buffs, my friends and I came up with the obvious ones: Make her guns do more damage, increase her armour, that sort of thing. That Blizzard's actual buff is so much more elaborate and ultimately effective is a nice reminder that, yes, they made this game, and they know what they're doing.

When other players on my team pick D.Va I'll hop over to my buddy Tracer for a faster, even more irritating backline harasser. But as long as D.Va's available, I'll be in a mighty mech. Whether we're on attack or defence, escorting or taking control points, D.Va has finally truly become best girl. Until I discover a new favourite character, that is.


    I don't see anywhere that her damage was changed. However I see people using her with great effect at medium range.
    She seems crazy strong now, I feel like the ultimate didn't need to cost less and have the shorter timer.
    Defense matrix by itself would have been a huge buff.

      Yeah I was happy with her ult cooldown and cost. But I like all the other buffs.

      Her Ult is still super easy to avoid, unless you send it in from an unexpected vector (or combined with another Ult), and you still can't shoot when using defence matrix. I don't think she's crazy strong now, rather playing as she always should have (ie a tank). people just need to adapt their play style to counter her properly (whereas previously the squishee characters that should have been cautious around her could just run in and melt her mech, now they need to use a bit of caution and group up as they would with any other tank)

      I find myself using her alt more for a Mech reset than anything now because it's so easy to get away from. The only times it's really effective is when you activate it from a stupid angle, or you're trying to clear the point at the end of the game cause everyone has to run off. Yes the cost is probably a bit low now, but for what it does, it's not really as devastating as you make it out to be.

      Defense matrix on the other hand can be exploited a lot more now. The fact that it's activated by rmb instead of E allows really good players to effectively nerf a junkrat/pharah/reaper. If you can get the timing down, you can actually take the defense matrix up and down between shots, which is pretty ridiculous.

      Having said that, it's all good because I usually play her as a flanker anyway, and help out on the point if required. Always funny when a sniper's sniping and then they see this Mech suddenly in their face... :D

    when I very first played d.va I hated her, but then I started playing her a bit more recently, prior to the changes and figured out she was actually pretty awesome to play if played right (get in, deal damage, finish people off with your blaster after your mech dies... Call a new mech, rinse and repeat).

    Now post changes she's even awesomer. It won't be long though before people are calling for a nerf, because squishees like McRae/tracer/reaper are so used to being able to go head to head against her without thinking and not get melted... If they try that now, good luck! (Which is how it should be, she's a tank after all!).

    Since the buff, I've seen an increase of cheese with whole teams going D.va. It's so bloody hard to counter with anything! However last night I had a fairly good run countering D.vas with Mei so I'm waiting for more D.va cheese so I can have my whole team go Mei!

      Just Zarya/Reinhart it up. She cant defense matrix a laser or hammer, and the guns are too weak to take down those sheilds very quickly. Still nowhere near as annoying as Torb/bastion/genji/tracer cheese.

      Had a team of 5 dvas last night, symettra worked well cause seemed/felt like defense matrix wasn't absorbing anything and I was able to destroy 3 or so mechs before I died as Sym, swapped to Winston and they all started running from me, again they didn't seem to absorb the damage from my telsa but didn't have enough damage to destroy the mechs in one clip.

    D.Va is 10/10 perfect now, just the Matrix change alone has made her the character I always wished she was, the rest is just icing. Day one of the patch I got a team kill with her ult and have scored a bunch of D.Va POTGs and cards since. Pre-patch you'd be lucky to get a single kill with it, let alone POTGs, cards or gold medals. Long live the adorable Dorito Gremlin.

    Last edited 26/07/16 11:51 am

    I feel she's still a little underpowered at the moment compared to other tanks (cough, roadhog). But both changes are welcome additions and make Dva a viable character now (even though I've been whoring it up as Dva for ages still).

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