Hello Overwatch University, and anyone who this guide might find. One of the most common struggles players have in the ranked ladder is understanding how to play with a double off-tank composition. This guide will cover the basics surrounding the team composition, and then what each hero type (tank/DPS/support) should be doing in the composition. It does NOT go into any sort of advanced tactics; that would make the guide even longer, and they aren?t applicable to most of the audience.
Feel free to read the sections that apply more specifically to your own questions and role, and questions are welcome in the comments (as well as suggestions for future guide topics).
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Double OT Comps – Preemptive Q&A
Q: What?s the difference between a main tank and an off-tank?
A: A main tank?s goal is to alleviate pressure on their team, through protecting the team for extended amounts of time or drawing enemy fire in a different direction as a distraction. When the team is under less pressure, it?s easier to move into useful areas of the map or win fights. On the other hand, an off-tank?s goal is to bolster the frontline and prevent the enemy team from using off-angles that might endanger the team.
The only difference basically is that off-tanks have more consistent damage output, but don?t have as much long-term survivability as a main tank. Winston and Wrecking Ball are better equipped for self-survival in a Dive than a Dva, and Orisa?s and Reinhardt?s shields give them better self-survival than a Sigma. Zarya and Roadhog have only a brief burst of survivability. The longer a main tank stays alive, the more damage they?re able to draw, which means more openings for the team – which is why they?re useful. They?re more distracting.
Q: Which heroes are off-tanks?
A: The only heroes who are off-tanks are Dva, Sigma, Zarya, and Roadhog. Dva, Zarya, and Roadhog all have the signature trait of off-tanks: high damage potential but burst survivability only. Sigma is a little different, because he?s significantly more survivable than the other off-tanks thanks to his shield, but the amount of fire he can survive pales still in comparison to the true main tanks (Winston, Orisa, Reinhardt, and Wrecking Ball).
Q: So why is double off-tank not typically considered meta?
A: Basically, the reason that double off-tank rarely appears in pro play is because it?s extremely difficult to create space without a main tank. That is, it?s hard to move the team into useful positions, because there?s no one to stop enemy fire while rotating. This means that you have to play fairly slow and spammy, and look for kills while using extensive natural cover. It?s a very deathmatch-y style of play.
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Double OT Comps – Role Duties
Playing Tank in a Double OT Composition
A common misconception is that when playing a double off-tank composition, the team should just push through main and hope for the best, or that one of the tanks should just stay in main. This is somewhat incorrect. Between a Roadhog Zarya and a Roadhog Orisa, which team composition is going to be able to stay in the open longer? In a Roadhog Dva versus a Reinhardt Dva, who will have more brawl power on the frontline? Both these situations favor the main tanks – it?s a bit of a trick question too, because the gap is actually even larger because of the DPS heroes involved. Even if a Roadhog Dva might be close to a Reinhardt Dva in terms of brawling damage, the Reinhardt will be able to endure a lot more attention, which means the DPS players on the Reinhardt?s team will have an advantage. So what should you do?
In short, you use the off-angles. You don?t play the off-tank as a main tank substitute – you play it as having two off-tanks. An analogy is that you have ingredients for two courses in a meal. One basket contains the ingredients to make seafood pasta. The other basket contains the ingredients to make chocolate-chip cookies. Well, you open up the basket to make seafood, and guess what? It?s just another basket of cookie ingredients. So are you going to try and make seafood pasta using cookie ingredients? Clearly that?s not what they?re good at doing. It would be better to just make two batches of cookies, and work with the strengths of what you have.
Any combination of the off-tanks will ?work? on ladder, but generally you?d want either Sigma or Roadhog as one of the tanks. A Sigma will provide you with a little more sustained presence and give a little more opening for DPS to work with, while a Roadhog will act as a third DPS effectively and can directly look for burst kills himself. While a Dva and Zarya can work on ladder, it?s just a little more difficult because neither have Hog?s level of burst or Sigma?s longevity.
Play the off-tanks like normal, and use natural cover, off-angles, and high ground. You can push the cart between fights if necessary, or even be somewhat in the main area of the map if you have cover, but your tanks shouldn?t be stacked exactly on top of each other. You?ll get run over. Just don?t go in extremely aggressive until the fight devolves, because there?s no one to draw the fire, and you?ll die instantly. Instead of aggression, focus on burning their resources until openings appear for getting kills. Then once the fight devolves you can go in more aggressively. It all revolves around disciplined and mechanically skilled play. You’re essentially running a quadruple DPS composition where two of your DPS have enough sustain to be able to briefly hold space, even if they can?t take it. Force the enemy out of space with kills or resource burn, and then just hold it.
One of the common questions is how to allocate protection resources, like Zarya Bubble and Defense Matrix. Basically, you have to use them extremely conservatively, because they?re your only protection. Jake did an excellent video on Decay?s Zarya that should be easy to find on YouTube where he talks about this. Use defensive resources sparingly and not just on random spam, because then you won?t have them available when it really matters. Its fine if they?ll be back before the fight starts, but just be careful essentially. You just have to use map cover to handle the basic spam damage.
Playing DPS in a Double OT Composition
As many would guess, it?s not necessarily easy playing DPS heroes in a double off-tank composition, but only if you?re on the wrong heroes. The bigger issue is the pressure. When on a double off-tank composition, especially one without a Roadhog, there?s significant pressure for the DPS to have an impact and create an opening for the team. The heroes who?ll do well in a double off-tank composition are spam or dive DPS heroes; dive heroes tend to be more independently able to survive, while spam heroes can stay safe by natural cover and provide value from further away. Brawl heroes like Symmetra, Reaper, Junkrat, and Mei tend to not do quite as well, since they need the protection to close the distance. Dive or spam heroes like Sombra, Tracer, Ashe, Echo, Pharah, Widowmaker, and Hanzo all do well.
In terms of play, the key is to take off-angles, because a double off-tank composition is a spam composition, or at the very least some sort of spam hybrid. I know it sounds repetitive, but a lot of Overwatch comes down to the concept of map control. When you take an off-angle, it?s harder to protect against. This means you will deal more damage (which applies more direct pressure), and cause the enemy team to use more resources to deal with both the sightlines.
Play slowly, and play safely. You have to use natural cover, because there?s no one to draw the enemy fire away from you. By gradually moving to more and more aggressive off-angles or flanks, you can slowly pressure the enemy team into a corner and burn their resources to the point where kills will start to happen. Once kills start to come through, the team can start to force the objective more. On offense, just make sure you don?t feed. Wait, and find opportunities. On defense, make sure to set up on different (but safe) angles ahead of time so maximize the power of your spam composition.
Playing Support in a Double OT Composition
I know I said DPS is hard in a double off-tank composition, but really, supports just get straight up abused in this composition. You?re entirely limited to spam supports – Ana, Zenyatta, and Mercy. Moira doesn?t have the sustain, because she won?t get the chance to replenish her healing supply often. Lucio doesn?t have much benefit for a team that doesn?t want to close the distance. Baptiste is a spam support, but he?s better in a more bunker-y playstyle, and because everyone plays more scattered he won?t find as much value. Brigitte could potentially be usable, but with all the nerfs, she tends to be out-valued in this comp by Ana, Zenyatta, and Mercy.
Your two fundamental healing lines will be Ana with Mercy, or Zenyatta with Mercy. You could hypothetically use an Ana and Zenyatta backline, but then you?re essentially run over by a dive composition. Mercy has a little more mobility and requires less team resources than Ana and Zenyatta. While other picks might work on ladder, they?ll be quite a bit harder.
A support in a double off-tank composition wants to play far back if they?re on Ana or Zenyatta, so that you can see your team, and access the enemy, but have natural cover. This generally means playing further back by natural cover. There won?t be any protections against snipers, Roadhog hooks, or any sort of longer-range damage, so the supports have to use natural cover just as much as DPS, if not more. The Mercy essentially just wants to enable one of the two DPS picks on an off-angle, so that there?s a better chance of creating an opening. If the DPS you?re pocketing dies and can be safely resurrected, go for it. If they died in an unfortunate spot, pray that there?s some way to get back to the team safely, or just wait until you can resurrect the DPS hero safely. Ana mostly focuses on sustaining the tanks, with occasional top-ups on the DPS hero who Mercy isn?t pocketing.
A Zenyatta and Mercy healing lineup will have next to no resources for the tanks, and is a difficult healing line to play on essentially any team composition. I?m not going to get into it here, because I?m potentially going to write a separate guide on playing low-healing compositions, but basically the tanks have to play extremely safe. It?s where you direct even less resources into tanks and sustained presence in the open, and even more resources into raw damage output.
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Conclusion & Previous Guides: Thank you to all who read this guide; I?m honored by your support. I?m a high Platinum to low Diamond player with a passion for writing informational content in whichever games I?ve moved through, and recently moving more towards coaching in Overwatch. You can catch the other Overwatch guides at ?When to Use Each Flex Tank? and ?How to play vs ALL Comps.? While I?ll go ahead and plug my Youtube and Twitch here as well, and would love if anyone who liked this would follow/subscribe, I don?t really produce content there currently because of my computer?s specs and just in general being better at written guides. It?s mostly for if I end up creating more visual guides in the future.