– Guide by Sirjamesjoeseph –
Click here to watch Grandmasters Gameplay from his Twitch Livestream
This guide is specifically for aggressive players trying to climb the ranks in Overwatch. If you are not an aggressive player, there are much better guides you should be reading. I’m not a pro player, but I am currently in Grandmaster and climbing/improving at a rapid rate due to my aggressive play-style. My credentials are linked at the bottom of the post. Everything below is only my opinion.
Players tend to fall in one of two categories: passive and aggressive.
Passive players are survivalists. They don’t take many risks, and they rarely improvise. Their duty is to fulfill their role on the team without dying.
Aggressive players are play-makers. They continually take risks, and they improvise often. Their duty is to make plays that change the game even if it costs them their life.
If you are a passive player trying to become an aggressive player, you have a long road ahead of you. Sometimes to make a play, you have to disregard major warning signs and obvious dangers, which will be very difficult for a passive player to do without hesitation.
Aggressive players usually learn and improve faster than passive players. There are two major reasons for this.
Reason one: playing aggressively is the only way to truly learn your limits. It’s impossible to know if you’re capable of making plays if you never actually try to make plays.
Reason two: it is more difficult for a passive player to identify their mistakes/weaknesses because they play so safe and die so rarely. When a passive player dies, it’s usually because they were left at a disadvantage after a teammate got picked or a play was shut down. However, it is much easier for aggressive players to identify their mistakes/weaknesses because it is so glaringly obvious what went wrong when they die trying to make a play. This helps aggressive players improve at a faster rate than passive players.
At the beginning of each match, communicate to your team that you are an aggressive player. This goes a long way. Overwatch is a team game, and your teammates will coordinate with you better if they are aware of your play-style.
Tone down your aggression if you are continually getting shut down or if you are tilting your team. If you keep getting shut down every time you try to make a play, you will tilt someone (if not everyone) on your team. Not only is it insane to try the same style repeatedly and expect a different result, but it’s insane to be okay with tilting your team.
Engage in psychological warfare. If you outplay someone or witness an enemy die in an embarrassing way, always remember to teabag their dead body or hit them with a “teehee” in all chat. Some people will say this type of behavior is toxic or bm. They are wrong. Overwatch is a game played by humans, and humans are emotional beings. Many of the humans that play competitive Overwatch have not mastered their emotions and have weaker psychological states than others. Some are unstable and on the verge of tilting deep into the salt mines. Take advantage of this.
Take notes about the players in your game. They don’t have to be physical notes, but you should always keep mental notes about specific players that stand out to you. Something you’ll discover as you climb the ranks of Overwatch is that when you reach Master/Grandmaster, you start to see the same players on a normal basis. This is where keeping mental notes of certain players can give you an advantage. For example, I played against a Reaper recently who always takes the same flank route on Dorado attack. I know this because I have played with him several times there. When the match started, I was waiting for him around the corner of his normal flank route. Just like clockwork, he came around the corner, and I shot his face off. However, you must keep in mind that your opponents can do this too. If you are playing against someone who is familiar with your play-style and flank routes, be unpredictable.
Do not be toxic. This can be hard for some people. If you can’t stop yourself from being toxic, just leave voice chat. I actually keep a notebook on my desk that helps prevent me from being toxic. I call it the ‘Toxic Note’. Basically, whenever I feel the urge to get toxic, instead of doing so in voice chat, I will write down my toxic thoughts in the Toxic Note. I originally heard Scarra joke about this idea on stream, but I thought it was brilliant and tried it out. It has helped me stay toxicity-free, and now I’ve got this hilarious notebook to read through whenever I want. It’s pretty dark.
Play with high energy and confidence. Playing when you are hungry, doubtful, sick or tired is not ideal, especially for play-makers. Aggressive players are fueled by big plays, and those are extremely hard to pull off when you are not playing at 100%. Make sure you are well-rested, well-fed, healthy and confident before you queue up.
Play to improve. If you are playing with the mindset of “I am playing to climb SR”, you are probably going to take your losses pretty hard. Instead, play with the mindset of “I am playing to improve”. Learn something from every single game, even if it is a one-sided stomp. Forget about the SR, the win-streak, the lose-streak… none of that matters as long as you are improving. Always remember that you improve more from your losses than your victories.
Take criticism well and accept the fact that there is always something to learn from others. This is crucially important. It doesn’t matter how high you climb, you can always learn from other people. If someone criticizes you, hear them out and consider that their criticism may be totally justified. This will help you be coach-able, which is very important if you are trying to play professionally. If you ignore criticism from other people, you hinder your own growth because you deny yourself an opportunity to learn and improve.
Watch pro games and pro players’ streams. We live in the glorious age of twitch and youtube. Take advantage of this. Watch pro games and pro players’ streams whenever you can. There’s just so much to learn from them, and that should be pretty obvious. High ranked players’ streams are worth watching too.
Record your games, and watch your losses afterwards. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how everything went wrong in a game. You lost, but it’s not clear what you could or should have done differently. This is when watching your games (especially your losses) can help you tremendously. It allows you to see the bigger picture and pay attention to smaller details you couldn’t focus on while in-game. Watching your games will improve your overall game sense.
That’s all I have for now. I will keep this guide updated as I’m sure I will learn much more in the competitive seasons to come. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated!
Shameless plug: my friends have been encouraging me to stream for a long time, and I promised them that I would if I hit Grandmaster. Well, I did, and now I’m staying true to my word and streaming my competitive Overwatch sessions. I play daily, and I’m happy to answer questions and discuss strategies on stream/twitter. I also have a deep sexy voice. Check me out here.