You’ve been there before: you have gold elims, healing, and damage as Zenyatta in a ranked game. You’re getting kills, but your team is still losing somehow. Why are they so bad? Why do you keep getting matched with trash teammates? Well, I’ve played about 300 hours of Overwatch, and I’ve talked to some high elo players to gather some information. Before going into the specifics behind why your team is losing, I’ll talk about why SR matters, not medals. (This article only applies to ranked games, since Arcade mode and quickplay are trash and don’t matter.)
Skill Rating Matters, not Medals
Skill Rating is what matters in Overwatch, not the amount of medals you get per match. You can always farm medals with specific heroes. If you want to guarantee gold damage, Junkrat will usually have higher dps than any other hero. He destroys Rein shield, and he’ll cause a considerable amount of chip damage to the enemy team without guaranteeing kills. Spraying with soldier will also give you the same effect, even if you don’t manage to kill anything. If you want to farm gold elims and objective kills, you can hang back with D.Va and use her as a sniper. You’ll tag all of the enemies (getting kill participation), but you won’t be doing much work for your team. In both of these cases, you can look good with your medals, but it doesn’t help the team. It really boils down to how many games you are winning and your SR.
Finally, if you’ve been in bronze for a month, then you belong there. There isn’t such thing as elo hell. Don’t worry though, this article will shed some light on why some of those games where you carried still ended in a loss, and it will help you make decisions in future games. There’s two big contributing factors to ranked games: the players on your team are all playing the game differently, or your team is incapable of choosing a winning composition.
Everyone Plays Overwatch Differently
This is obvious when said out loud, but this took me and some high elo friends a good amount of time to really understand. Everyone plays the game differently, and they’ll use a particular hero differently. So, if you’re soldier, and you’re in front of your Reinhardt running down the main path, then you’re putting yourself at significant risk. If he’s playing like a pussy, then you have to adjust to his playstyle, since he’s the one with the bigass shield that will protect you from damage.
Again, it’s obvious, but it’s a crucial lesson to learn. Not only do you have to be playing well, but you have to be playing in a way that synergizes with your team. Not just through raw picks, but your playstyles have to be able to mesh. When the team decides to pull back, everyone should be trying to retreat. Don’t die simply to trade.
How to Adjust to the Different Playstyles Quickly
I usually play a tank, and I’m pretty aggressive compared to other players. However, when I watched some replays (yes, I take the game that seriously), I noticed that my aggression would always have mixed results. I would have two healers, but the Ana would be too far back to heal me once I charged in as Rein. Or, no one would be able to help me out when I jumped in as Winston to get a pick. The team composition looked solid, but we weren’t on the same page behind how aggressive/passive we were going to handle situations. Although communication helps, it’s not until you see how the other person plays that you know how they’re really going to handle a situation. (Fight or flight kinda thing.)
So how do you handle this in solo queue, where you’ve never met the players before? You just have to learn quick, but there are big giveaways. If you see a Soldier being an idiot and standing in an aggressive position, like the choke at King’s Row on defense, then you can guess he’ll play aggressive. So, if you’re Rein, stand in front of him and try to protect him. (As dumb as he might be, if he dies quickly, the team is fucked.)
If you’re an Ana with the same jackass Soldier, then get yourself closer to the action and make sure he stays alive. Like I said, overall, the strategy of being this aggressive at the choke might be a bad idea, but if everyone is working with the same cohesion, then the chances of winning skyrocket. (You can try talking to the soldier to get back, but in the time I’ve played, telling people exactly what to do doesn’t really work.)
Choosing a Winning Composition
This one is much more obvious but harder to actually put into practice. Your team needs to be able to counter the other team. If they’re running a Bastion/Mercy/Rein combo on the first point of Eichenwalde (for defense), then your team needs to be able to counter it. A dive composition can usually take care of this. I remember when I was a silver in season 2, we simply couldn’t put one together. No one knew how to use a high mobility DPS heroes like Genji, so we never capped the first point. It’s hilarious looking back at it, but the reality was that we lost at hero select.
How to Adjust to Different Situations
To not get caught in the hilarious situation like me on Eichenwalde, learn a hero to handle different situations. Learn a healer, because you’re always going to be in a team at some point who doesn’t want to heal. (Every quickplay game ever.) Learn a go to tank, because tanks are insanely OP right now. Finally, learn a really consistent DPS to be able kill things if needed.