Competitive Edge: Learning how to become a better player through Overwatch League
The Overwatch League has been a cornucopia of high level Overwatch action since the season started. As many Overwatch fanatics attempt to level up to the highest rank each and every season, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the players at the highest tier of competition that can help you improve your rank, and overall enjoyment of the game as you improve.
Teamwork makes the dream work
We’ve all had shared this feeling of dread as you queue into a competitive match. You’re playing defense on Volskaya Industries, and your team locks in four damage champions, none of them defensive, and your only healing hero is Ana and she’s more focused on sniping the enemy than healing your team. While it may be extremely easy to be dismayed by the composition of your squad, it’s important to never lose your cool.
Watching the Overwatch League gives you great perspective into what a healthy team composition looks like, and it lets you know which heroes are dominant on any given map. If you’re looking to get better at Junkertown, look no further than Pine’s insane highlights of Widowmaker snipes as he cuts through enemy teams like a hot knife through butter. On any given map, there is an opportunity to shine if you know the choke points and play what is effective.
It’s also important to never give into the temptation of ‘tilt’ in these scenarios. Some players find it as a second hobby to throw games due to frustration rather than the enemy team actually beating them in a competitive duel. If you walk into any given competitive match with a negative attitude towards yourself and your team, you already lost. The last thing you want to do is project that negative energy in ways that make you an unfun player to play with in the first place. Kick back, relax, play some of your favorite music, and just focus on winning.
Communication is always healthy on a winning team as well! There’s ways to suggest calls about who to focus, where to position, which angle to attack from, without coming off as ‘toxic’ or ‘bossy’ in the process. If a person on your team is playing a hero that is not necessarily ideal for a specific map, find a way to suggest an alternative that makes sense for them. If not, play that different champion yourself. Sometimes it’s better to let a certain player rely on their strengths than make them play something they are inherently worse at.
Threading the needle
When it comes to mechanical ability in the Overwatch League, it’d be foolish to suggest that every single player should pull off insane highlight reel plays at every moment, the same way that pros do, it’s just impossible. But in the process of watching the best of the best do their thing, you can definitely pick up aspects of play that you wouldn’t even think about if you didn’t see it from the top flight of Overwatch players outwitting their opponents.
If you’re a dedicated D.Va main, do your due diligence and learn how Poko from Philadelphia Fusion puts together some of the most lethal uses of his ultimate in competitive play. Putting it into perspective, he’s one of the only D.Va mains in the entire league that can pull off multi-kills regularly with his uncanny positioning of the ult right on top of the payload or control point that always seems to get his opponents caught off guard. He can be regularly seen on the side of the map, pushing an enemy Tracer out of position and forcing her into a bad spot that wastes her abilities and impact on the enemy backline.
If you want to improve your Genji playstyle, London Spitfire’s Profit has some of the most frightening highlight reels with his sleek play. Constantly on the move and never in a position of danger as he prepares to swoop in at any moment with a Dragon Blade that can slash through entire villages. Mechanics in Overwatch go hand in hand with your ranking. To really get the most out of your practice in the game, it’s also important to research how other players approach the same exact hero and take those little nuances into your own game when you try those moves out yourself.
Rallying the troops
Obviously the only real way to get better at an accelerated pace would be to play just as much as the pros do. But for people with a lot less time on their hands, learning about the complexities of the game are just as valuable as ‘feeling’ them out when you’re battling against similar level competition. Luckily, Overwatch is a game that can be won sometimes through strategy and not raw ability. Even the best of the best can be taken out by a deliberate system of focus and crowd control lockdown if the enemy team isn’t careful.
Learning choke points, being the more patient player, and feeling out your team composition vs. the enemy team are all vital factors that will drastically improve your rank if you can master those elements. In any competitive setting, just like in real life, it always pays to lead by example. No one wants to listen to a person that doesn’t practice what they preach. If you come into a competitive match with a good spirit, a hunger to win, and the knowledge to succeed, the chances of you rallying your team to brand new highs on the back of your leadership rises infinitely. Who knows? You might even become a pro!