Hello, I’m Xenofly, currently top 500, with a statistic of 4.01 self-destruct kills on average (top 3 percentile as of this post). https://www.overbuff.com/players/pc/Xenofly-1626?mode=competitive
Since I’ve seen a couple of questions over the past few weeks regarding how to land a good D.va bomb, I’ve decided to write this quick guide up!
First, what constitutes a ‘good’ D.va ult?
1) An ult that scatters the enemy team, causing them to run for cover. This is especially the case if the enemies do not or have already exhausted their barriers, such as Winston bubble and Zarya bubbles. This allows your team to pick your fights and go for targets that are separated from the bulk of the team, especially when you coordinate properly with your team.
2) An ult that pulls the team together. This is usually the case when the enemy has a Reinhardt or a Winston with their shields off cooldown, and cover is scarce or too far away. In this scenario, they will huddle under the cover of Winston’s bubble or Reinhardt Shield. This allows some juicy ult coordination with abilities such as Earthshatter on the Reinhardt trying to block the airborne ult or even a dragonblade or pulse bomb on the clustered enemies.
3) An ultimate combo, either with Graviton, Earthshatter, Blizzard, and other ults. (Self-Explanatory, just make sure you coordinate with your team). The key part here is to ensure that your team do not overuse ultimates, especially if the enemy has a mercy hiding or if your team is defending on the map. Using a combo like this will cause the enemy team to gain an ultimate economy advantage, but sometimes it is essential to get the kills, especially if the enemy uses their ults to counter. The key to when to combo depends on the situation, sometimes a clean team kill with 4 ults used on your side and none on the enemy side is actually better than merely using 2 ults and then slowly killing the rest of the team, especially on defense.
The key is the intention behind throwing the ult. If you want them to scatter, throw an ult when their barriers are down. If you want them to cluster, throw an ult when their barriers are up essentially. If you want to combo, make sure your team doesn’t overuse your ults, and if possible try to get the enemy team to waste their ults as well.
However, let’s go to the juicy part; what constitutes a ‘great’ D.va ult?
1) A 2+ man entry frag, especially if all the members of your team are still alive. Allows for an easy push, and makes diving the remnants of the enemy an easy feat. Unless the enemy team have a Mercy with resurrect of course, which brings us to…
2) A one-man kill (or more), on a key target. A key target are usually targets like Mercy with her Resurrect, or a Zarya who you know has her graviton up. Taking out a mercy is actually an excellent use of your ultimate, not only does it allow your team to push in without the threat of a Resurrect, it also cuts off a source of sustained healing for the enemy team.
3) A point-securing ult. Especially important in Overtime and Assault Maps, sometimes just leaving your D.va ult in the middle of the point as a deterrence to the enemy team from entering the point, especially without barriers of some sort is the best form of play. Sometimes you just need that 5% more, just wait for the enemy Winston bubble to be destroyed or almost timed out or that pesky Mei wall to go down and you’re set to secure the map for your team.
Pointers to ensure frags with your D.va ults
Know that Zarya bubbles last for 2 seconds and Winston bubble lasts for 5 seconds, and that D.va self-destruct timer is for 3 seconds. To ensure kills with your D.va ult against a Winston, try to throw your ult around 3+ seconds after Winston puts down his bubble, especially if he used leap + bubble. The bubble WILL expire after 5 seconds, and hence, whoever hiding under the bubble will be crushed under the false sense of security when the bubble expires just before the D.va ult explodes, making for some truly sadistic plays. Alternatively, you can throw the moment Winston puts down his bubble, but call out your team to focus down the bubble and destroy it before your mech explodes. (Best for coordinated teams).
Against Zaryas, know that a Zarya will usually bubble aggressively to collect energy and stand in the line of fire, and AWAY from cover. Hence, the moment Zarya bubbles herself, you can throw towards her direction and punish her pre-emptive bubble usage as the bubble, lasting for 2 seconds, will expire before the D.va ult explodes. This is compounded by the fact that Zarya has no form of mobility and thus, will probably not be able to escape the D.va ults easily. A good pointer against a Zarya is to make sure she has used either one of her bubbles, but preferably her own, before throwing your ult to ensure you are not just feeding Zarya energy instead.
To cover the most number of angles, try going for angled airborne throws. An airborne D.va ult is deadly because it is less predictable than a stationary land-bound D.va ult due to its momentum and ‘gravitational’ drop. This brings about the most results when thrown from an angle of around 45 degrees towards the enemy team as the D.va ult will still be airborne when it explodes, but not too high to not do damage at all. If possible, try to get used to the trajectory of the D.va ult, it will allow you to better visualise the final point of the ult. An airborne ultimate is also particularly effective against Reinhardt, especially if its directly on top as the shield will usually be unable to cover most of his team except for himself.
A vertical airborne throw on top of a point is a good way to secure a point, especially in overtime or Assault maps. The technique to this is to do an ‘L’ throw, in which you use your boosters horizontally for a bit (personally I’ll use ¼ of my boosters) and then immediately point vertically up and press ‘Q’ (or whatever your ult button is). This prevents the ult from going too high and exploding harmlessly in the sky while also allowing the mech from exploding airborne. Do take note of skyboxes, certain maps have low skyboxes which may affect the results.
Airborne ults are also extremely effective against a pharmercy combo, often they will be unable to dodge and will die to the ult, taking out a major pain for your team in one fell swoop.
One difficult way of ensuring frags with your D.va ults, especially against seasoned players, is to predict where they’ll go and throw your ult to ensure that it covers that angle as well. This is my most favourite as it punishes good players who are usually able to get away from D.va ults. For example, instead of throwing a D.va ult on the point in Hanamura Point B, you can throw it behind the point, where it will still have LOS to the point while clearing whoever who runs behind the wall for cover. This also sorts of flushes the enemy team to other hiding spots from the ult which are more exposed to your team.
Personally, for me, I learn good D.va ult positions and angles through experience and practice. However, if you prefer to learn cool methods and angles to throw a D.va ult, do check out the Youtube D.va ult spots guide by ‘A Level Five Pidgey’ as this will open your eyes to tried and tested ways of throwing an ult, especially for opening frags. It’s almost like learning smokes for counter-strike! For maximum results, do keep in mind the pointers above when executing such D.va ults, especially keeping track of the enemy team barriers and positioning.
Sometimes, creative D.va bombs will catch the enemy off-guard, especially if they do not know where the D.va ult will land. This includes ‘nudging’ ults, where you ult near an edge and then push the exploding mech off the edge into the unsuspecting enemy team below. Using walls to mask the trajectory of the D.va bombs will also surprise the enemy team sometimes. For example, you can use the fact that Lijang Tower Control Center’s curved walls and slide your D.va ult along the wall, leading to surprising ult placements. Boosting the D.va ult at an angle into a wall beside an opening can also catch the enemy team off-guard. However, creative D.va ults are a gamble, especially if you are not familiar with the trajectory.
Many non-ult skills, when used in conjunction with Self-Destruct, can be extremely devastating. This ranges from Flashbanging a shielding Reinhardt, Concussive shooting or Booping a hiding cluster of teammates or even just Chain Hooking enemies into LOS of the D.va bomb [since hog can’t kill anyone now :’( ] As such, sometimes letting your team know beforehand before you press that ‘Q’ button can prepare them to coordinate with your ultimate initiation, especially with a full-dive lineup on your team.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND MORE PRACTICE
Ultimately, it actually takes practice and experience to get used to the trajectory, arc and angle of projection of a D.va ultimate. Furthermore, by playing more D.vas, you expose yourself to more scenarios, and more questions of ‘Do I ult now?’ which will refine your gamesense and cut down on your hesitation the next time you spot an opportunity. I hope this somewhat wordy guide on a single skill actually helped, and even if you are not a D.va player, you will have some insight into why you sometimes die to the most obvious, exclamation-marked ultimate in the game