The competitive ladder can be scary place where emotions run high, and anger rushes to the forefront. When six strangers come together in pursuit of a common goal often times it can get quite messy. Between under performing teammates, to frustrating strategies from the enemy team, it can be easy to lose focus on what you need to be doing to give yourself, and your team the best chance for success. So here’s a few things you can be doing to make the competitive ladder a more enjoyable place, using what you know to make informed decisions, calm your allies, and hopefully drive your win rate up.
Maps and Initial Hero Selection
As soon as the game goes into the loading screen you’ll find your first piece of important information, the map you’ll be spending the next 10 to 30 minutes on, and the names and skill levels of the players joining you. It’s during these moments that you can ask yourself what heroes are going to excel on this map. Do you need strong pushers on attack due to a hard choke? Perhaps ultra mobile flankers to get behind enemy lines, and create a hole for the team to move in? Maybe you’re on defence first and want Symmetra to circumvent that long walk from the spawn room on Kings Row via her teleporter. Maybe the map is Illios, and a Lucio would be perfect in netting those environmental kills with his sonic amplifier while still providing the much needed healing every good competitive team requires. While most guides will tell you to worry about team compositions, enemy picks and counter-picks, your main focus should be can you aim, and if so how well? Say you’re browsing Reddit, or the Overwatch forums and you see a bunch of posts talking about how strong Ana and McCree are in the new patch and need to be nerfed, so you decide to cash in on the easy wins, and start picking them every game. Those picks mean nothing if you can only land 1 out of the 10 shots you fire. Don’t pick heroes that rely on landing skill-shots to be effective if you don’t have strong aim. Do that in quick match or on the training map. Competitive mode is for players that want to create an effective team comp and to do so you need to play to your strengths as a player. That is also the beauty of Overwatch, you don’t need the “down to the pixel aiming” of other popular shooters, all you need is game knowledge, and the ability to pick the right hero for the right moment. Don’t go for the McCree, Soldier, or Genji picks when you as a Winston, Reaper, or Mercy will increase your effectiveness for the team. Why pick Roadhog and miss every hook when you could be keeping your DPS alive as Reinhardt? Pick within your abilities so that your team gets the most from you as a player. This is obviously a lot to think about in the first few minutes of a match, but for a more in depth explanation on who to play on each map have a look at the I play to win articles on Breakthegame.net for specific map by map strategies and hero picks.
Setting the Pace of the Game and Ultimate’s
So you loaded in on Nepal, a king of the hill style map, and determined that Reaper will have lots of flanking opportunities, and close quarters fights to get his damage off, and make good use of his kit. The problem is as soon as you get near the point a Roadhog lands his hook pulling you into the enemy team, and sends you on a one way trip back to your spawn room. Thinking this is a minor setback, you rush back to the capture point only to realize your team has been wiped, and the enemy now controls the point. Despite what seemed like a close fight the entire round, and getting gold medals in eliminations and damage done, you couldn’t seem to take control of the point even once, and lost the round in overtime. This is because your early mistake of dying allowed the enemy to wipe your team, get control of the point, and a lead on charging their ultimate’s. Which then snowballs into them winning teamfight after teamfight, all the while keeping some heroes alive to contest the point. This is why pace, and flow of the game are important. If you are losing it can normally be attributed to not controlling the pace of the game, therefore to make comebacks you need to swing the pace of the game back into your favor. Luckily Overwatch has something for that exact purpose, ultimate abilities. Ultimate abilities are so strong that they can turn the tide in almost any fight by merely activating one of them. That’s why proper ultimate management is essential to winning in competitive mode. What do I mean by proper? Well many players love to be featured in the play of the match so much that it causes them to activate their ultimate anytime it’s up, or when they see more than three or more enemies on screen, this is usually followed by them dying immediately, or being countered by an enemy ultimate, causing them to die. The best way to use you ultimate is in conjunction with your teammates. So go ahead, hit that “Z” key and let them know your ultimate is charged, and with three or four ultimate’s hitting the enemy at once you can get right back into the game that seemed unwinnable only moments before. The last thing to remember when considering ultimate’s is how they should be affecting your play in the game. Some heroes will make you wanna consider how your actions affect their ults, an example of this is Mercy. If your Mercy has her ult charged, and you’re fighting for the point and you’re going to die, do it on the point. This will do two things, one being making sure the largest amount of players can be resurrected at once, and two keeping the point contested at all times so that the enemy neither gains or makes you lose progress on it. Additional tips on ultimates are hitting the tab button, this will bring up the players in the game and any teammates with a check mark under their name have their ultimate’s up. So even if some teammates refuse to communicate, you still have knowledge of how much firepower your team has at any given time. Also, when you’re killed by the enemy the kill cam will show how charged their ultimate is. So use this knowledge to your advantage and share it with your team when setting up successful counters and defenses.
Sometimes you’re going to be the Problem
We all try our best but every now and then, even on our best hero, we die over and over, and can’t seem to get anything done. You can get 40 plus eliminations on Genji in 9 outta 10 games, but that one where the enemy Winston has got your number, you’ve just got to change it up. Don’t stay on a hero or role because that’s what you do to carry all your other games. If your usual plan isn’t working, it’s time to venture off the beaten path. Look at the game and think about how you can shake it up, turning a defeat, into a win. Maybe your team needs a second tank to help push through to the point? Or extra flankers to invade the enemy back line and eliminate their sustain? Overwatch is a game built around constantly changing your hero picks for what the situation calls for, and if you aren’t doing anything but dying then the situation calls for a change. One thing you shouldn’t do is unfortunately what many players do by default, and that is stick with the same hero, and start blaming everyone else. Trust me, telling your Lucio he should have ulted to save you from the 4 enemy players that you overextended into isn’t going to help anyone. It’s important to stay objective about the game, and recognize when you make a mistake. Yes if Mercy had positioned herself better she would have been alive to revive the team and keep the round in overtime. But raging at her isn’t going to change that. And it’s more likely going to make them not want to cooperate with the team. Be nice to your teammates, they’re the only ones you’ve got, and they will be more likely to try and listen to your suggestions, and advice, if your treat them for what they are, teammates.
Written by- Tyler Deleeuw
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