Season 3 brings with it a few interesting twists to shake up the meta a little.
- Map pool shrinkage from 13 maps to 9, making it 3 bans per team instead of 4.
- 1 Shield per team limit lifted (for now)
- New Skull Rain operators allowed
The map pool saw Favela added, but House, Plane, and Kafe removed. Yacht is of course still gone, so that takes a lot of the least played/balanced maps out of rotation, making picks/bans a bit quicker. Some would say giving Favela a spot is a waste, but we've already seen it played the first PC playday in the Orgless vs Milspec match. So far we've seen a HUGE upswing in Oregon play from all platforms and regions, something of a surprise for a map that was much much less popular season 1. Part of this may be due to the buffing of mute (for jamming the hatch) and addition of Capito (his arrows work wonders downstairs). Club house and Kanal have also been popular choices which is less surprising given their Season 2 play.
Interestingly despite the 1 shield per team rule being lifted, we have yet to see a single team playing any shield except Blackbeard. This may just be a sort of gentleman's agreement until some kind of Blackbeard nerf happens or maybe they just haven't built strats to incorporate more shields yet. It was originally instantiated mainly as a deterrent to abusing shield related glitches, but also acted somewhat as a balancing agent to the strength of Blackbeard.
In regards to the two Skull Rain operators, we've seen Capito in probably about 90% of attacker setups so far, yet almost no Caviera play on the defense side. Capito has proven his strength as both an alternative and a complement to aggressive Ash and Blackbeard play, with a powerful gun, high speed, grenades, and an extremely useful arrow gadget.
The season has just begun, but already the meta is shifting!