5 Ways To Climb The Overwatch Ladder



Wed 11th Jan 2017 - 10:26am

It's pretty tiresome grinding, but there's something that a lot of people don't realise. It's not just grinding the ladder that helps. It's grinding that ladder for a reason. When you're trying to climb the competitive ladder, you shouldn't just mindlessly play game after game, hoping to become the greatest player in your region. If it worked like that, it'd make it a hell of a lot easier. But, no, the beauty of competitive gaming is that it works exactly like a real sport. If you don't look for ways to improve yourself, you're never going to become any better at the game! So inside this guide, I'm going to give you 5 different tricks that I discovered along my journey up to help you climb the ladder a lot easier! Let's get right into it, in no particular order.

Your mechanics are quite likely the one thing holding you back, not your teammates. While this is quite a broad topic, you will still be able to improve on your mechanical skill no matter what. Whether that comes down to your aim when you're playing DPS, knowing the right combinations for the maximum amount of damage or efficiency on certain heroes, or maybe even knowing the right time to Crossfade on Lucio. Whatever it may be, take a look into it. The best way to improve your mechanical skill is to look into some roles that you don't play that much. For example, say you're a DPS main. Your mechanics on certain tanks might not be as good as they could be, and when you're forced to lock in a tank because your team needs one, you're possibly going to be holding the team back.

You're probably wondering why? Well, for a start you'll be improving your skill in other roles, helping your team a lot more. But another useful thing with this, is that you'll actually be able to pick up on what your opponent is doing if you pay close enough attention (this also falls into gamesense, which we'll be discussing later!). While none of us are masters at the heroes you play, you can definitely tell if someone is skilled. If you didn't know the proper combinations with Genji for example, you could start seeing it in your opponents' play, allowing you to counter-play your opponent a lot better than before on another and/or your default role! But, what about improving your mechanics on your main heroes?

This takes a little bit more focus, and could lead to you losing a bit of SR, but in the long run, you're going to thank yourself for doing so. Firstly, you have to find out where you're going wrong. You may not notice it at first, but this really is something that professional players do all the time, even on the fly. Being able to determine when you made a bad play, instead of blaming your whole team, is the first step to self-improvement. As a DPS for example, maybe you're overextending way too far out without a tank. Or maybe, you're a little bit too aggressive as Reinhardt. Precision German engineering is built to last, but not if you mistreat it by charging into every chokepoint you see. If you can, record your gameplay and go over your mistakes when you rewatch it. Or, if you can't record your gameplay, try to do it on the fly. Every time you die in the game, ask yourself: "Why?". "Did I overextend? Did they outaim me? Did I not listen to my team and split off from the group?".

If you didn't notice beforehand, you could constantly be overextending for example. All in all, once you've found out your problem(s), you can iron it out by trying to focus on improving that one simple thing for the next couple of games. While you may not be improving in other areas, you're going to want this issue you've discovered to go away for good, and become just another thing you do in game without thinking. Help build it into your second nature. While you may lose SR like I said earlier, in the end you're going to get it back. And then some. Just remember, grinding it out is great! But make sure you have something you're working towards mechanically, not just doing so for the sake of doing so.

How do you enter your games? Are you walking into the next competitive match and instantly judging your team comp, asking people to switch left right and centre, complaining about the Hanzo on your team? Don't. Try to walk into it with a positive mindset no matter what. There's nothing wrong with asking people to switch, but if they don't, it's fine! Getting worked up over it isn't going to encourage them anymore. Instead, accept what comp you have whether it's average or great, work around it, and praise your team! Did Widowmaker just get a nice 3K while you were attacking the point? Give her a shoutout. Say well done. If you keep praising your team and upkeep a positive mindset, you're less likely to get tilted, and will feel a lot better at the end of a game, whether it's a win or a loss.

Another thing, walk into your games with confidence. Don't boast, brag or show off, but enter with legitimate confidence. You're going to win this game, and you're going to perform better than you ever have done before. Even some professionals do this, including the player iddqd. He said in his AMA on /r/Competitiveoverwatch: "You have to have the mindset of a god. In your head, you have to believe that you're the best, and no one is there to stop you." Make sure that you don't take this the wrong way though. Don't get too cocky, thinking you can take on the enemy team 1v6. Still work with your team, still help everyone out. Don't just be a solo player, the best players in the world didn't get to their position alone!

While this topic may be as broad as your mechanical skill development (and kind of comes hand in hand with it) - it's a good idea to look at your gamesense differently. Mechanical skill will come alongside gamesense and vice versa, but not as effectively as you actually trying to improve your gamesense directly. Before I go a little bit deeper into improving your gamesense, make sure that you take the tip from the last couple of sections. Walk into your next few games determined to improve your gamesense. But, hold on, what exactly are you able to do to improve your gamesense? Well, this is the tough bit...

Firstly, you're going to want to look around for advice depending on your skill level. Chances are, you're not a master/grandmaster player coming to this guide for advice, and that's perfectly fine. Some tips on gamesense you find might be tailored to a higher elo. You need to find advice that's useful for you. If you're in low gold for example, knowing where the health packs on the map are is extremely useful! But, if you're in a higher skill bracket, you might find that you already know this. It's not helpful to you to go over where all the health packs are found. After that, start developing on the small things. Look out for low health teammates instead. If you know where the health packs are, stay away from them if your teammate desperately needs one! Always look for these, as tips like these are extremely vital! While they may not win you every game, they can help you win more battles. Before you know it, this kind of stuff will become second nature to you, without you even thinking about it actively.

(I'm not endorsing standing on your desk. But, if it helps... go for it)

Before I even go on about this, I'm just going to mention one thing. This is a personal piece of advice that either works for you or it doesn't. I myself, in multiple games, have always found that if you sit down and watch a professional game, you will see little things that the professionals do that you don't. It's simple, and possibly some of the best advice I can give you in my opinion. Sit down with either a notebook, notepad or maybe even just clip Twitch videos if that's your sort of thing, and keep records of plays / behaviours that you can adopt to help improve your performance.

I'm not talking about just seeing a player pop off and go crazy and writing that down. If it seems a bit too complex for you to be able to properly look at and analyse, don't worry about it. There's nothing wrong with not understanding why some things happen, and if you don't even get why it's being done, there's no point in even trying to replicate it in the first place. In summary, watch some pro games (best is VOD's, you can pause and navigate around those easier), take some notes however you please, and try to improve off of the professionals way of playing. Just remember, if it isn't helping you, there's a reason. Not everything you see in Grandmaster games will help you in Gold games for example. Everything is done for a reason, and with time, you will eventually find out why!

Communication is key in Overwatch, just like any other team based game. You can't win if you don't know what your opponents are doing, and because of the way Overwatch plays, you don't have sight on them at all times. If you can shout out that a Genji is coming to get the support/backline, you could possibly save your team from ending up in a 5v6 fight. This is important, as while it may not be the best tip for your self-improvement, it can really help out your team to help get up the ladder together. You will find a common pattern, the higher up you go in competitive rating, the more likely people will be communicating with their microphones. If you're in a situation where you go into a game and nobody is speaking, break the ice! Sometimes people just don't want to start the conversation, or maybe they're just in the exact same position as you. Just press your talk button and just give out a friendly "Hey team!" or something along those lines.

There are a few things that you need to remember with communication, and I'm going to go into them briefly. First and foremost, shotcalling. As it hints in the title, that's the person who calls the shots. They call the strats, work around the composition you guys have built when you prepared your team earlier on etc. If you don't have one, go for it yourself! If you make a bad call, nobody is going to be mad at you, because they will probably appreciate the fact that you've took the initiative to try and help everyone out. Just make sure that if the call doesn't work, you make sure you improve from last time and create a better plan as quick as you can. It's a good idea if you're going to take this role that you play a tank or a support, as you will have a good overview of everything from the backline, and you won't have to worry completely on constantly killing your opponent.

Second of all, the quality of your communication. Don't just call out what you see in front of you, it doesn't help anyone. Make sure that you keep your calls short, snappy and informative. Don't go off about how you're getting destroyed by a certain player, or how hard your enemy is. In fact, keep up the calls no matter what. If you see a flanker going for the support, call it out. If you just see a Reinhardt defending the payload, that's not really that helpful most of the time. Just make sure you prioritise what you call out, and don't clog up the voice channel, let other people speak too! You're not the only person who's able to call in the game.

Third and finally, your mood and morale. I think people underestimate how important this factor is with your communication. As I mentioned slightly about the quality of your communication, moaning about how the enemy team are destroying your team doesn't help out at all. If anything, it ruins everyone's mood and confidence. That doesn't help you win games, ya'know. Praise your teammates on good plays, even if it's just a simple double kill. If you're good at it, try hyping people up. Momentum can be built off the hype, and can lead to everyone feeling amazing when they win a teamfight. But, what if it's not you? What if another player is being salty and ruining the game for everyone else? My advice is to do one of two things. One, ignore the person completely, pretend that their complaining didn't even happen, and only take out the information that you need. Or your second option, try to boost their morale. Don't be rude, don't just ask them to "stop complaining" - just motivate them. "Of course, we can win the teamfight, we just need to..." that sort of example.

Practising Heroes and Improving Mechanical Skill

Improving Your Mindset / Escaping Elo Hell

"It's Good To Talk!" Communication Guide by Unit Lost

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