Basic Training

Everyone has to do it. Get in line soldier.

We have a few concepts that every soldier needs to know and your Commanding Officer will probably expect you to know.

  1. Be flexible! – You need to know at least 1 character from each class. In competitive mode, it is even more important to know 2 or more. Certain matchups and maps call for certain characters. You don’t need to know all of the details about the team composition but, you do need to know how to fill a role when the situation calls for it.
  2. GET ON THE POINT! – Kills are good but, winning the match is better. You may have to risk your head a bit more and sacrifice some K/D from time to time but, the team will be victorious. A team that stays objective focused will be a successful one.
  3. Group Up! – Don’t go at the enemy one at a time. Certain units like Tracer and Reaper can pull off the solo act but, even that can get hairy. A time that sticks together, wins together. Don’t get caught in a dark alley without your squadmates to back you up.
  4. Move Constantly! – This is not a “campers” game. Only Snipers and Bastion have any reason to stand around and even they will reposition often if they know what’s good for them. The easiest kind of target is one that is not moving. Always be on the go, even if its just back and forth a little.
  5. Learn the Maps! – Your captain should know where all of the choke points are and it’s the Captain’s job to call the formation but, you need to know  where the health packs are and the routes you might take. Know where you can go and where you cant go. Get to know the maps well and you will be a strong asset to your team.
  6. Learn Callouts! – Callouts are usually one word and should let the team instantly know where you are talking about. If I said “Bastion by the globe” while we were on Gibralter, that would mean the enemy has a Bastion on the far back wall by the globe near our spawn. To learn more about call outs go here.
  7. Fire at will! – You have unlimited ammo. unless you are saving your last few shots for that perfect aim, you need to be unloading at all times. If you are a Junkrat, you should be launching rounds into the sky constantly in the general direction of your opponent. If you keep firing, you will eventually hit something 🙂


New Players: Know the basics!

There are a number of things that the more experienced beta players just think of as “common sense” by now that you might not be aware of when you start playing for yourself. Even if you’ve been watching streams and YouTube, some of these things might not be obvious.

  • A “standard” team composition contains 2 Offense heroes, 1-2 supports, 1-2 tanks, and 1-2 Defensive heroes. There are many exceptions though. The 2 – 2 – 2 is very popular at the moment. These will not be decisions you make in the lower ranks but, it is good to familiarize yourself with these configurations for when you move up in rank.

This is by no means set in stone, but it’s a good starting point when you’re trying to figure out who to play. If you see your team already has a Solider: 76 and a Tracer, don’t pick Pharah. Look to see which of the other three categories they are lacking and try to pick someone from one of those instead.

As you improve you’ll figure out which heroes “click” for you, and which ones are stronger in different situations. But for starters, just try to keep the team balanced.

  • Any hero can be picked for any round, but some are better picks than others.

Be wary of how many defensive heroes you bring into an Offense round, and pay close attention to how mobile they are.

Torbjorn is possibly the worst offensive pick in the game because once his turret is set up it cannot be moved and he has to build a new one when the team advances. This means Torb is constantly rebuilding turrets, which is risky because the Level 1 turret is highly vulnerable to attack. It also cannot be upgraded while taking fire, because Torbjorn is busy repairing it and cannot upgrade it unless it is at full health.

Yet again, I’ve seen it done. I’ve witnessed at least one successful Torb on offense, but I highly recommend against it until you have a lot of play time under your belt.

Widowmaker, Hanzo, Mei, Junkrat, and even Bastion? Sure, they can all be effective on Offense. You just have to make sure (Especially with Widow, Hanzo, and Bastion) that you’re constantly advancing. Don’t sit still for too long in any one spot.

For Bastion in particular, you can park your ass on the Payload (once you have it) and mow down anyone in your path. It’s incredibly effective, especially if you’ve got a healer or a tank to keep you safe.

But with any defensive hero in an offensive round, you have to pay extra close attention to your performance on the team. If you’re not racking up the kills or pushing the payload, it’s probably time to switch to someone else. These heroes are always a bit of a gamble and become useless much faster than other roles on Offense.

In short: If it’s not working out, try something else! Don’t just keep running in and telling yourself it will be different this time.

  • There is really no such thing as a “hard counter” in Overwatch

Yea, some heroes shut down other ones pretty hard in a 1v1, and sometimes you’ll feel like one guy on the other team is shutting you down impossibly hard. If you can’t outplay him it might be time to switch.

But the important thing to remember here is that Overwatch is mostly comprised of soft counters, and it will almost always be better to pick someone you are familiar with than to pick a counter hero that you have no idea how to play.

There are also a lot of scenarios where heroes counter each other, such as Bastion and Roadhog. Roadhog can hook Bastion out of his sentry form and kill him with one shot, but if he can’t get close enough to do that Bastion will mow him down faster than he can recover or escape. So don’t switch right away just because you’re Roadhog and you see an enemy Bastion – try to outplay him first.

Remember, even if the other team has a counter for you, it’s still a team game. Try to avoid that guy and beat on his friends. Leverage your teammates for cover: Get behind Reinhardt’s shield and take out the Bastion/Torbjorn from safety, without the need to switch.


Some small hero-specific tips

  • Torbjorn

When you lose your turret, don’t try to set up in the same position.

Unless the other team is all dead, then go for it. But keep in mind that if they killed it there once they can probably do it again.

Your best bet is to find a new place to set up, possibly from a new angle or somewhere you don’t think the enemy team will expect. For Payload maps, this means you will probably have to go back around the corner, because if you set up where the enemy can see you they will prioritize you and destroy the turret before it ever hits level 2.

There are two common strategies for turret placement:

1. Set up at the back of the objective facing the main approach. You’ll do lots of damage, get lots of kills, but spend most of your time just trying to protect the turret because it can be fired on more easily.

2. Set up around a corner, facing the objective in the same direction as the opposing team will be moving. This way they come running through the choke point and now they’ve got turret fire in their backs. You’ll get fewer kills, but they’ll be the important ones. You’ll also have more free time to go shoot things yourself, since the turret won’t be under fire very often.

  • Bastion

In general, redeploy frequently in different positions. The longer you stay put, the easier it is for the other team to figure out how to destroy you from behind, or to find your blind spots. If there is a lull, get up and move, even it’s only ten feet to the side. Maybe pick a new angle to look at the same choke point, and use something new for cover.

For defense you’ll want to set up where you have a great view of the approach, but are hidden enough that nobody can shoot at you until they are within your kill range. Bastion thrives by out-damaging his targets (since he can’t move in turret form), so if you set up where a Widowmaker can see you across the map you’re going to have a bad time.

  • Junkrat

You are the anti-hero to the two I just mentioned. Your grenade spam is fantastic because it forces stationary targets to move or be destroyed. Junkrat can bank shots off walls and around corners and through windows to get at turret nests where they can’t even see him. Use this to your advantage.

Junkrat’s ult is also one of the best methods to wipe a team that has clustered together on an objective point, so try not to waste it on single heroes if there are better opportunities.

  • Widowmaker


I’m going to repeat this. MOVE AROUND! That means both “strafe around while aiming” and “change map positions periodically”. A stationary widowmaker is asking to die. Just moving around a bit will make you a harder target to hit and less likely to be headshotted by an enemy switching to Widow to deal with you. Moving to a new post now and then makes it harder for the other team to keep tabs on you or get sneaky with you.

Most importantly: A sniper is only valuable if you are putting pressure on the objective. If the other team is advancing while you are alive, you might want to consider switching a different hero.

  • Mercy

Like Widowmaker, MOVE AROUND!

But in this case, what I mean by that is don’t focus on one target for too long, except in special circumstances.

Mercy is a single-target healer, so the only way you can protect your whole team is if you are constantly switching targets. If all you’re doing is damage buffing the sniper, you might earn some great kills but the rest of your team is now fighting one man short with no benefits at all. Sometimes buffing the sniper is the right thing to do, but it should never be your highest priority.

Try not to over-heal. Keep people topped off if you can, but the moment they are full you’d better be switching to the damage boost beam until you have a new target to heal or your existing target takes damage. Healing someone at full health is a complete waste, so keep an eye on this.

Speaking of priorities, you’ll figure these out as you go but here are a few of mine:

1. Top priority goes to the ally you can reach without moving who is actively under fire. Your healing can double the effective Health Pool for some heroes, allowing them to survive twice as long as they would alone. This is usually enough for them to win what would otherwise be a lost engagement.

2. Allies who are using their ultimates and either are at risk for the duration or stand to wipe the entire team if successful. I give special priority to Solider 76, Pharah, and Bastion in these regards because their ultimates make they exceptionally powerful and vulnerable. You want to ensure their ults last the full duration and do as much damage as possibe.

3. The ally you believe is having the strongest impact on the game right now. This will change and it’s up to you to be aware of enough of what’s going on to figure out who it is at any given moment. Sometimes it’s the sniper who won’t let anyone approach the point. Sometimes it’s the bastion on the payload mowing down everything in sight. Sometimes it’s the other healer on your team that needs healing or buffing.

4. Torbjorn. Buffing him helps his turret (but healing him does not), so you can pick up some assists and help him out when neither of you are anywhere near the turret. This is the one situation where the enemy cannot simply “Target the Mercy” to nullify the damage boost.

5. The tank. Keep him alive! Without a tank on your team you will have a very hard time defending an objective or advancing through enemey defenses. Keep your tanks healthy and they will protect you and your team.

Just remember not to stick to any one target for too long. Keep people alive and help them win their engagements.

Mercy exists to make a good team better, not a bad team good.

  • Lucio

Lucio is great when you want to be an aggressive, front lines healer who can defend himself, heal a crowd, and still make plays all at the same time.

Your right click is a massive knockback. Find opportunities to shove your opponents off cliffs or into pits. You’ll pick up a ton of easy kills against otherwise impossible targets. Some of these include Rounds 1 and 2 of Li Jiang tower, rounds 1 and 2 of Ilios, and round 3 of Nepal. You’ll see what I mean.

Your left click is spammy, but if you aren’t careful you’ll end up in a position where you need your knockback and don’t have it because you’re reloading.

Stay close to your tank! Lucio got his 200hp back so he’s not as squishy as before, but he’s still not super durable by himself. Stay close to a tank and let them soak up the damage for you. You’re a frontlines healer, but you’re not a solo flanker or skirmisher. You need your team.

Like Mercy, try not to overheal. A good Lucio will be constantly switching between auras, using speed to get his allies where they need to be, and to escape from sticky situations. Did Reinhardt pin you but you didn’t die? Knock him back and speed boost your ass out of there. Again, overhealing is a waste of your aura so if everyone is basically full give them a speed boost instead.

Don’t forget to use his wall jumps! Lucio can run on walls briefly and jump to new walls indefinitely. Use this when escaping to go over walls where your attacker cannot follow. Use them to climb up high and show that Pharah a thing or two about air superiority.


Here is a link to a video that break down the basics of overwatch.

If you have no idea what is going on, watch this video.