Hey there! This guide is about creating space, one of the basic things a tank player needs to know in order to perform well and to help in achieving victory. We are going to see how different tanks can do this effectively in various situations. Hello guys and welcome to the dojo! First of all, we want to thank our supporters on Patreon who help in keeping the dojo running. If you love what we are doing, support the channel! You can get coached by our professional coaches in return, click the card right now! Alright, let’s begin with the guide of creating space with tank heroes. When you are playing with a tank hero, what is your job? The most common response would be to prevent damage.
Well…, yes and no. Preventing damage is part of what you need to do, but this not a goal, not an objective. When you just prevent damage, that won’t help you win games, will it? A tank character is someone who can effectively soak damage for his or her team, that’s true, but the ultimate goal – which is your job in the game – is to allow the other players to do their jobs more freely and effectively. When we talk about creating space, this is what we are referring to. You create space to allow your DPS heroes not to worry about being damaged all the time, so they can focus on their actual jobs: getting kills, and you also allow the supports to contribute more to the fight than just healing all the time.
One other important thing to note here: as a tank player, especially if you are a main tank, you are the one the team will gravitate towards to. This means that if you pull your team into a bad position and you get slaughtered because of that, it’s your mistake. Even if the team does not work closely together, seeing the safe bulk of a tank character has an anchoring effect on most of the other heroes. Pay attention not to be too reckless, as it can easily lead to a lost fight. Alright, so the term is clear, creating space gives opportunity for the rest of the team to do their jobs more effectively. Let’s be a bit more specific.
What does a tank generally do when it creates space? Preventing and soaking damage As mentioned earlier, creating space involves preventing damage. This is a no-brainer for main tanks with a shield, you hold that up and you are done, right? Not really, as shielding needs you to be aware of much more. Holding up the shield is what you do, but to do that well, you need to pay attention to the following things, just to mention some: First, how close your team is to you, how do you cover their paths effectively.
Think about how they want to use their kit. You need to cover a McCree and a Zen pretty hard, but a flanker who can just jump around may not need a lot of shielding. Secondly, how close the enemy team is to you, how can you get between them and your team to block the lines of sight and allow your DPS to fight effectively. If your DPS is fighting from behind cover and theirs are not, your team has the upper hand. You also need to pay attention to the most dangerous source of damage and try to mitigate that. More about this later. Thirdly, where the objective is, are you setting up at the right positions? Shielding your teammates in a position that has nothing to do with your objective is usually not a good idea, you don’t benefit much from it.
Pick your positions well. Even if you are not a shield tank, you can still soak damage. Zarya and Hog are the best examples, who can efficiently withstand a lot of punishment if needed. This is not a go-to playstyle for Hog, as it feeds enemy ults, but if can be done to save a teammate, and create space for them to retaliate against the enemies quickly. Throw yourself between the source of the damage and the teammate that you want to protect, you are a lot harder to kill. For mobile tanks, like D.Va and Hammond, there is a little bit of both. As you have a great mobility, you can sometimes also decide to prevent damage by disrupting or killing the source of it.
This is also a way to create space, eg: if there are enemy snipers and they give your allies a hard time to move around and to stay alive. Locking down the enemies who are uncontested is just as important as soaking or preventing damage. Damage prevention can give your team a lot of opportunities that they can work with, being a live shield is boring, unrewarding and ineffective. You can do so much more with a tank hero. Most tanks have great tools in their kit to disrupt or zone enemies, which in turn helps you in creating more space for the rest of the team. The idea here is that you want to draw the attention on you, and in order to do that, you need to pose a threat. Let’s see some examples, starting with Reinhardt. While he can only hurt enemies up close, the hammer is a fearsome weapon, and it also helps in pushing enemies in the direction you want them to be. Charge is also a great tool to either get rid of the enemy front-line or to get an instant pick. Just make sure that you are not running into disables and that the charge does not put you to deep in the midst of the enemy team.
The charge can sometimes also be used to boop enemies away. Generally you want to get close and personal until you see an opening or a too passive enemy and start hammering at them. This way, you are forcing them to deal with you and open up space for the rest of the team. Of course, you should shield when needed. Orisa is our next anchor shield tank that we are going to discuss. Orisa is mostly about protecting her own allies, contesting high grounds and other zones.
She can do a lot of damage with her basic attacks, which can be used to break an enemy shield for example. Her Halt! ability has a huge combo potential with various characters, and can stall the enemy team if used well, or pull them to abyss on a few maps. You can zone the enemies with well placed shields as well as protect your team. Avoid charging enemy Zarya shields, but apart from that, just hold the attack all the time. Orisa can 1v1 pretty effectively when dancing around her shield, see our dodge video if you are interested in how to do that.
Zarya is the next one, she is a dual bladed ax. She can efficiently shield and get more fearsome in the same time. A good Zarya is all about good timing of the barriers, as well as knowing when to body block incoming damage and substitute for the main tank for brief periods. The fun begins with her if you are able to charge yourself above 60 percent, where your damage becomes something the enemy team cannot ignore. Creating space with Zarya includes a lot of zoning with the particle balls, as well as mind games. A charges Zarya is loud and shiny, something that is a visible and audible threat for the enemy team. You can intimidate your enemies by moving towards them with a high charge, and if you can can someone off guard, they are usually as good as dead.
Zarya is able to create kills zones in front of her with a high charge, a good tool to create space. While Zarya can create kill zones, Roadhog is all about those. His damage can break shields quickly, and a hook that connects is most likely an instant kill if your team works together. Roadhog’s most fearsome weapon is his continuous presence in the front line, and his ability to create a kill zone in front of him with his kit. When you are creating space, try to break every cover that the enemy has first, baiting abilities that could prevent you from connecting a hook. Then as you have an opening, go for it and hook the target. Don’t stop doing damage, that alone can push enemies back, allowing your team to progress towards the objective. Winston in a mobile shield tank, who excels at zoning. He can jump in the middle of the enemy team, place a shield and effectively cut the line of sights of the supports, leaving the rest of the opposing team without healing.
Winston is heavily dependent on good timing of his abilities, as well as having his supports behind him for sustain. When creating space, you can either decide to go for targets that you counter and kill quickly (like an enemy Zenyatta, or a Genji), or you can pull all the enemy attention with a well timed jump, giving opportunities for your team to work with the space you created. D.Va is mostly about denying critical abilities, line of sights and disrupting hard to reach enemies. Her shield matrix is an invaluable tool to prevent enemy abilities from hitting, effectively reducing their ultimate charge speed.
Try to use the matrix to help your main tank in need and to eat high damage abilities. When creating space with D.Va, it’s important not to over commit yourself. You can’t withstand a lot of punishment, but you have the mobility to freely move around the battlefield. D.Va can be used to distract the enemy backline, preventing heals. She can also be used to boost towards enemies on the high ground, locking them down, or outright killing them.
The ult can also be used to zone enemies if placed well. The last tank is Hammond. He is mostly about disruption and creating a kill zone. When sped up, he can boop enemies around: away from the team or into it. Flinging up and dropping on a 200 HP opponent will launch them into the air, allowing free damage to be done to them. When you are creating space with Hammond, look for weak spots in the enemy team and go for them.
Your shields can sustain you for quite long, and you can always fall back with a good grapple if needed. Try to focus low HP targets. A quick self-plug here: we have been working a lot on an automated coaching tool, that we call OMNICoach. If you are interested in kick-starting your improvement, give it a try, click the card right now. Alright, f you have any questions, leave a comment below, we are keeping a keen eye on them.
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