Hi OWU! I’m a masters tank player and former GM support player. I like to make posts on things I’m currently working on to get better, it helps me and hopefully helps some of you!
To win in overwatch you don’t need to be hitting your personal best stats each game. All you need to do to win games is to do better than your opponents. If you’re only doing 500 damage a minute (not very good) but you’ve been able to keep your enemies at 300 damage a minute (even worse) then you’re probably going to win! My key point is that you shouldn’t be ambiguously trying to “do the most” you can possibly do each game. You should be trying to “Do more than your enemies”.
Well how do you do this? There are a myriad of ways that you can outplay your opponents and to climb on the ladder, try to learn as many of them as you can. In this post I am going to talk about how to outplay your opponents abilities.
Imo, each ability falls into one or two of these three categories. Defensive (bubble, breather, sigma’s black hole thing), Offensive (accretion, hook, micro missiles), and movement (Winston jump, dva boosters, rein charge). Once you see an enemy use any* ability there is a period of time that varies where they will not use that ability again. When playing tank, and every character for that matter, you should always be watching for when the enemy uses their abilities, and you should be prepared to respond with your own abilities. This skill is the crux of outplaying.
There are some abilities that, when used, leave the user at a larger risk of getting outplayed than others. Those are the ones you want to watch out for in particular. Those are the defensive and movement abilities. Some abilities, when used, allow for the enemy to have less of a chance of outplaying you. Those are the offensive abilities.
When I am playing Winston I am always watching for when the enemies use their movement and defensive abilities. Then, there is a simple thought process that I follow in order to decide whether they have left themselves in a situation where I can outplay them. Did they use their movement ability? Yes, now I can dive them and do damage without them getting away. Did they use their defensive abilities? Yes, now they will either be able to get peel from their team or they will be ez pickings for my tesla zaps. Do they have their offensive abilities? Yes, then I will need to use my own bubble well so as to avoid the extra damage they will have. No, then I may not even need to use my own bubble and can just strafe while zapping.
If you are always watching for abilities it will be much easier to punish enemies that make mistakes, especially with their movement abilities. But, the higher you climb the less likely you will be able to simply watch and punish mistakes. This is where outplaying evolves into a dynamic skill that is not simply “watch and respond”. You should look for opportunities to bait the enemies into misusing their own abilities then responding with your abilities. If you have a plan like this for each situation you will be already be steps ahead of most of your enemies, because most people on ladder do not do this at all.
For example, you are playing Winston and their Zarya is frontlining. You know she has her self bubble, so you wait to dive. Eventually you realize she will not use it until you use your abilities on her because she has also read this reddit post and is trying to outplay you in turn. So, you dive her but do not use your melee cancel animation. She bubbles your dive, but you anticipated this and did not do much damage to charge her. Now you can fight her without your own bubble because she is low charge, then when she gets peel, or her teammate uses an offensive ability you can use your shield to block it and get out with the kill.
tl;dr In Overwatch, all you need to do to rank up is play better than your opponents. Your goal should not be “Do better than I ever have” it should be “Do better than the enemy”. While playing tank, or any role for that matter, always be looking for when the enemy uses their abilities, then respond with your own. This is a core fundamental of outplaying enemies, and is the main way you can ensure you will be doing better than them. Eventually, skilled opponents will also know this the fight will not be for who can punish in response, but who can force errors to respond to.
Hope this made sense for some people, and maybe it helps some tank players reach their career highs! Good luck gamers.
*There are a handful of passive abilities or abilities with cooldowns that stack. These abilities are much much more difficult to bait out, but it can be done.