An Overwatch Pro Guide
Am I ready for Grandmaster?
Here we are, we’ve branched out and embraced that Symmetra is the strongest concurrent DPS, and that we may not be the DPS allstar we wanted to be, but boy can we play Lucio and Brigitte. Before we can look to push ourselves out of Platinum and start to crack those upper ranks of people who can play with their feet and still curb stomp us, we have to make sure we are ready for the mountain we are about to move. Our mentality going into the game is no longer “Mercy heal me or we lose” and our flexibility on Heroes is more like a ponytail than a rubber band but both get the job done. Let’s dive into what is next on our docket on our way to improve as much as we can and reach the highest level we possibly can.
How do I keep my cool when stakes are so high every game?
In this guide we are going to start with building your mentale up, because by now you’ve heard everything from racial slurs thrown at you that aren’t even relevant to your actual race, to a five man chorus of “wow Moira you’re so good”. By now it should be easy not to fall into the degenerative arguments that take away from the game, or even if we do, we are consistently good enough that if we partake in the low class conversations, we still hold onto the six gold medals with ease.
Just remember the absolute worst thing you can ask a teammate is “how many golds do you have” or “what’s silver damage”. Your arrogance is noted, the game is still not won mr solo carry. There are a lot more effective ways to communicate with your team that won’t cause you or anyone else more stress than the enemy Mei already is.
Try giving examples of a better composition your team should try in order to counter the enemy composition, or mention what a good last ditch effort there is as a counter play. Instead of bugging over every little mistake your shield tank makes, try to compliment what they’re doing well and suggest a shift in where they’re placing their shields for them to be more effective later. Constructive criticism is easier to take in than blatant instigation and negative attitudes.
Positive reinforcement is almost always going to come out ahead in team situations that aren’t going your way. The best way to combat your team falling apart from the pressure, is to give a compliment before making a suggestion or critiquing your Hanzo for missing his shots. There is much more to be gained from being a beacon of light rather than the bringer of darkness. At this point, if you still think the block communication option is less effective than telling your teammates how bad they are, you’re not going to climb very high and I wish you luck.
Of course if a particular gaming session gets you down, take a break and work things out elsewhere, there are plenty of ways to go over what your team was doing and what you could have done differently, it’s important to remember that it isn’t always your team’s fault, we can be part of the issue as well and making those minor adjustments can set up in the next match if we just critique ourselves a little more often.
Where should I be when team fighting?
We talked about Mentale to start because moving up the ranks we don’t need to focus so much on our mentality, because it should be relatively obvious by now, what it is we need to do. What it really comes down to now is our actual gameplay and personal level of skill. Whether it is what we are already capable of doing and just doing it correctly, or working on what we are able to do and improving upon ourselves, our personal level of skill needs to be stronger and more concrete. This is a little vague but we can kind of pinpoint things such as movement and strategy, and how we implement those things into various situations. Along with holding our Ultimates until our teammates are ready to capitalize on them, and knowing what the team composition we are currently running is attempting to accomplish.
This really comes down to practicing and game sense. The more we play casual matches and warm up before we dive into the competitive que for the day, then we are essentially setting ourselves up for success for the day. The more we practice the more ready we will be for any situation that arises in the ranked que. Thankfully with Role Que being implemented, we don’t have to practice multiple roles and Heroes, we can practice one role and a group of Heroes within that role, further setting ourselves up for easy wins.
When we are more aware of what’s happening in the game, and are able to dissect what the play is our team should make and play the enemy is going to make, or where everyone is during the fight, these all relate to our game sense which is a very strong asset to bring into any match.
It allows for fluidity on a personal level being able to determine where we should be at any given moment and being able to strongly contribute to the team’s overall power in a fight. Game sense and situational awareness are a strength we didn’t have before, but are starting to acquire now, working with our gut instinct in this case is going to take us further than it would have before. We have to understand that at this point we are better than we were before and while we may not always make the best possible play, we can more often than not if we let our team know what we are going to do.
Take the time every game to call-out you plan so your team can follow up, and everyone can utilize their situational awareness to let you know why that won’t work or how they’re going to help you achieve that goal. The best thing we can offer our teammates is communication, if they know what’s going on at all times then there is a much better chance you end up coming out ahead. At the same time, try to remember that not everyone has the reactions we do and can be able to help whenever we have the in the moment play ready to go. Not everything is going to end up how we would like it to and that just happens sometimes, don’t let it get to you.
What Heroes should I focus on playing?
Competitive Overwatch is one of the few games where you don’t really have to talk about who you want to play, until after the game has already been going on. We tend to lock in whatever our first pick is no matter the Meta or what our teammates are playing and then just adapt at our own pace when we get countered by the enemy Heroes. If we want to break into that distinguished upper rank, and really make a move for top 500 or even just Diamond, we need to start being smarter out the gate.
There’s something to be said about a team that tries to mesh well and coordinate their Hero selection even with the implementation of Role Que. Trying to make sure that what we are playing is going to coincide with everyone else’s choice and that we are actively aware of what the enemy team composition is and what we should be doing to counter it at any given moment.
Talking about what we aren’t exactly comfortable playing into their current composition or what might work better as a Support or Tank for specific parts of the enemy team’s composition will translate into more cohesion along the way.
When we select our first Hero and see everyone elses first pick, we should allow some confidence in each of our teammates, whoever they picked first is who they tend to want to play regardless of composition, this can lead to great first impressions as well as an overall positive environment, which tends to make people play better anyway when there’s nothing for them to worry about at match start. This doesn’t always mean they picked their best choice, or that they won’t be willing to change their Hero later, but saying “Oh I like that X pick” is enough to get your Widowmaker to get that extra pick or two. If something doesn’t work out then make subtle suggestions as to what might be a better pick going into the next team fight.
Obviously not everyone is going to listen, and that’s just something you’re going to have to deal with in some games, just remember that eventually you won’t even be the same level as them anymore, and once you get there that solace will feel really good. Whether you’re playing DPS, Tank, or Support, this applies to you as well, we spent all that time getting to know what we do best and even if our best pick is our best pick, the time will come where we need to switch off and pick something that can work better with our team composition against the enemy team.
It wouldn't make much sense for you to not switch off when your team asks you to, even though the last game you told half your team what a better pick would be. We have to be just as fluid as the people we want to be fluid. Don’t beat a dead horse, when we miss every shot as Widowmaker then it’s time to get onto something a little more consistent, if our Rein shield isn’t offering enough protection to our team, maybe we should consider something with a little more utility in it’s kit instead of just a giant shield.
The worst thing we can do is switch off of a Hero when our ultimate is almost fully charged. If you know you need to switch or need someone else to switch, wait until you or they use their ultimate before demanding a change. Those ults are all meant to turn the tides of a fight and we would be remiss to not offer them or ourselves some line of defense for our picks. Just make those ults count.
How much more practice do I need?
At the time of reading we are already pretty confident in our abilities, and recognize where we make our mistakes the most. The key now is to work out all of our bad habits and pinpoint the rest of our weaknesses and get rid of them. For the most part we probably haven’t thought about it much outside of playing competitive more will iron them out. Well there are a lot of other ways to refine our gameplay and make ourselves better.
There is a practice tool that can help us practice the tricky combo timings and keep our heads on a swivel. The downside to the practice tool is that it is very barebones and hard to force ourselves to continually use it as a source as well as take it seriously when we do use it. The best way to get the most use out of it is to go in everyday before we start playing competitive matches and getting done with our warmups for different Heroes in the role we wish to play that day. It is usually best to play the same role every time we que up but sometimes we may not be feeling it and in order to best prepare ourselves for a game of off-rolling we need to practice a little bit more than normal.
Aside from the actual Casual quick play mode that we should be playing whenever we are trying to practice just a little more, there are the arcade game modes that are perfectly tailored for us to work on specific parts of our play, we just have to take note of what exactly is in the arcade in any given day, and play a few rounds of whatever is in there so we can hone our skills a little more.This can be inefficient or efficient depending on the game mode and how long we spend on the game modes. They can help, but they won’t always.
When it comes to fixing our mistakes it tends to be a little harder in games where there isn’t a replay immediately available. So in Overwatch if we want to take the extra step and either locally record our games or live stream them so we can go back into the VOD later and watch ourselves play, we can see exactly where and how we messed up and even what the better play would have been. This is normally how coaches try to show their players what went wrong and how they could have fixed it. This again may take an extra step or two but the amount of time we spend critiquing our own play will lead us to better game sense and better decision making indefinitely. Nothing hurts more than watching ourselves mess up over and over again after we already made the mistake, call it negative reinforcement if you must, I call it good practice.
Am I Grandmaster now?
Outro- Overwatch is a really fun game to get into, and a really difficult game to climb the ranks of even when we set our minds to it. Even if we think we have the hang of things we tend to overestimate ourselves and maybe even overstep our boundaries with our teammates. We just need to keep practicing and working on being a positive force within our various teams and eventually we will see all of our hard work come to fruition. I commend you for making it this far and for reading our guides. Good luck in your grind and thanks for playing.