Game On: An In-Depth Guide to Winning 1v1s in Overwatch Arcade



Thu 12th Jan 2017 - 10:33am

With the introduction of Ecopoint: Antarctica, 1v1 Mystery Duel has become a popular gamemode, to the extent that a competitive version may be possible in the future. As a best-of-9 series of mirror matches, these duels are perfectly even tests of skill. While some hero matchups rely on sheer accuracy, others favour a logical, strategic approach, or a combination of both. This guide will cover strategies and techniques to help you overcome your opponents and win 1v1s as any hero.

Ecopoint: Antarctica 

Ecopoint: Antarctica is a unique map, with high verticality and a mixture of closed and open areas. 

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This image depicts callouts referred to in this guide. The lab is an ideal side of the map to push through, as it's the fastest route to your opponent's half of the map. Keep in mind the narrow stairwells, which can be deathtraps if not traversed with caution. The garage is furthest away from your spawn, but has a mixture of cover and accessibility with wide doorways. The utility rooms are great locations for snipers, thanks to the cover offered by the walkways in front, as well as the small crates to climb atop and peek with. 

- Hero Strategies -


This duel is standard Genji fare, but won’t culminate in either player earning enough charge for Dragonstrike. Maintain a passive-aggressive playstyle by poking from afar, and diving in with Swift Strike when you can. Stay mobile and evasive, spam primary fire while at a distance and alternate fire at close range. If you’re losing to the extent that a shuriken + Swift Strike will kill you, lead your opponent around the map while trying to land shurikens, using Swift Strike to create distance rather than deal damage. Make the most of Genji's Cyber-Agility to achieve verticality, keeping mobile with double-jumps while scaling the map's many walls and outcroppings. This map's tightly-packed geometry is beneficial for Genji, enabling you to break line-of-sight with your opponent to reposition for an advantageous engagement.


McCree duels are nearly entirely skill-based, with little room for winning with a strategic approach. Take aim and fire, using Combat Roll to dive in and out of cover rather than reloading. Use your standard reload behind cover, and use your roll as a sudden, unexpected way to emerge from cover.

If you’re not confident with your long-range hitscan accuracy, an alternative approach is to play around the garage and lab areas, creating a close-range scenario if your opponent decides to move towards you. Push through the lab or garage areas if you rather take shots at a closer range, or play around the corners and hide in anticipation for a Flashbang + Headshot/Fan-the-Hammer.


This matchup will mostly depend on your ability to land direct rocket shots on your opponent. Try to keep your flight unpredictable, combining directed flight with erratic strafing and altitude shifts. Don’t position too closely to the central tower or the cliff face above the lab area, since missed shots will easily harm you with splash damage. For this reason, you’re better off maneuvering around the garage half of the map. If you mismanage your fuel and fall into a vulnerable position, use Concussive Blast on a nearby surface to quickly reposition yourself and recuperate. 


Reaper matchups are purely won by the player with better aim. If the opposing Reaper uses Wraith Form, pursue them so that you can finish them off once it’s over. Be sure that while you’re at a range, chip away at your opponent for a few extra points of damage. Focus your shots around your opponent’s central mass (chest/neck region) at close range for maximum shotgun coverage. If you find yourself at a significant disadvantage, you’ll have the best luck retreating and camping around corners, and bursting your unsuspecting opponent.

Soldier: 76

Due to 76’s high mobility and sustain, these matchups can remain in deadlock for a while. If your opponent is far away and in a position where they can easily retreat, don’t bother opening fire with your Helix Rockets first, otherwise they’ll recuperate and gain easy ultimate charge through healing. Try to whittle down your opponent with a few rifle shots, then use your rockets to secure the kill once they’re at around half health.

If you’ve established a significant health advantage, maintain pressure and pursue them so that they have little opportunity to heal. Keep track of your opponent’s Helix Rocket cooldown, because even if your target is low, a direct body shot can deal 120 damage and can easily turn the duel around.


This matchup is typically won by the player who whittles their opponent down to half-health first, due to the Opportunist passive giving permanent vision of their opponent. If you’re the only player below half health, your best bet is to keep moving around the map, and use your Thermoptic Camo in attempt to catch your opponent off-guard, since you’re immune to Opportunist while stealthed.  

While you may want to use your stealth the moment the round begins to rush ahead, hold onto it to stealth your way further into the map. You can use your Translocator aggressively or defensively, either throwing it ahead in preparation to pursue your opponent, or behind you to retreat. Unless you’re experienced with Sombra and confident with your accuracy, it’s wise to usually use your Translocator defensively. Don’t bother using Hack in this matchup, you’re better off firing away with your Machine Pistol.


Largely a matchup determined by pistol accuracy and meaningful usage of your abilities. Begin the matchup by using your three initial Blink charges to push ahead. From here on, be more conservative with Blink, and ensure that you’ve got Blink Charges for your fight with your opponent, as they’ll help you stay evasive or chase them down as required.

Maximize your efficiency with Recall by counting the 3 seconds from when you took significant damage, rather than using it immediately following damage. It’s critical that you don’t waste your Recall on trivial amounts of damage, instead saving it for large chunks. Once you use Recall, damage taken over the next 9 seconds will be permanent, so be sure to use it effectively while applying pressure once the opposing Tracer has used theirs.


Bastion matchups can remain a stalemate for a long time, with a constant cycle of trading fire and repairing until a fight breaks out at closer range. If you create an advantage at a medium/close range by firing upon your opponent first, pursue them. If they try to use Self-Repair, they’ll leave themselves vulnerable for you to finish them off in either Recon or Sentry mode. A common way to win this matchup is to deploy in Sentry Mode aggressively, open fire and deal substantial damage to your unexpecting opponent who entered your field of view, and quickly switch into Recon and fight them while they’re using Self-Repair. Note that deploying into Sentry Mode has a large 1.5 second delay, but switching back into Recon Mode is a quick half-second animation.

If you’re hiding in Sentry Mode, be aware that adjusting your aim will make noise that may disclose your location to your enemy. Keep your aim still, or adjust it very slowly to maintain the element of surprise.


A Hanzo duel is largely skill based, dependent on high accuracy and perfect timing to secure the kill. Open the duel with a Sonic Arrow near the higher ground, close to your opponent’s entrance to either the lab or garage areas. From here, weave in and out of cover while firing shots towards your opponent. Don’t pivot from a single angle, or else you’ll make yourself a predictable target. Vary your timing and the angles that you emerge and fire from.

While you can use your Scatter Arrow to poke from a distance, it works best when your opponent is in a narrow corridor or enclosed room. Furthermore, any moment where you have the higher ground is an ideal opportunity to use Scatter Arrow in front of your opponent, generally netting you an easy win.


Similar to a Pharah duel, this matchup comes down to landing direct grenade hits. Stay mobile, and don’t make yourself an easy target in narrow corridors. High ground is especially advantageous in this matchup, so try to mobilize around the central walkways and atop the utility rooms. Place your Steel Traps in hard-to-see locations like around corners or in narrow walkways, and you may be able to shepherd your opponent into one. Your Concussive Mine is a versatile, powerful ability, and should be used as a reliable source of damage, or a tool to return to high ground if you’ve fallen.


Mei duels are decided by either poking out the opponent with icicles and finishing them off, or freezing them and killing them with a swift Icicle headshot + Melee. To maximize your chance of out-freezing your opponent, be sure to start firing your beam moments before you’re in range, and as you approach corners. Stutter your movement and jump if it won’t cost you your accuracy, as it may save you from a couple of freeze ticks. Cryo-Freeze should be used to restore health after being poked hard, or used if you know that you’re about to be frozen. If your opponent attempts to get close while you’re in Cryo-Freeze, use Ice Wall to separate yourself. You may also surprise them by breaking out of Cryo-Freeze prematurely, ideally if they’re reloading. If your opponent goes into Cryo-Freeze, try standing very close to them so that their Ice Wall won’t separate you.


This duel comes down to landing shots with your Rivet Gun from afar, while placing turrets and armoring yourself as you battle. There are plenty of long sightlines and cover for either Torbjorn to chip away at the opponent’s turret, so this matchup is best won using your scrap to armor yourself rather than upgrading your turret.

For the first 25 seconds of the match, you’ll be unable to armor yourself, so be wary that damage taken during this period will be irreparable. Be liberal with your turret placements, and constantly replace them to push forward and establish area control while chipping away at your opponent incrementally. Once you destroy your opponent’s turret, push ahead and try landing shots with your primary fire. It’s easy to half-health your opponent with your Primary Fire since Torbjorn’s headshot hitbox is easily hit by Rivet Gun shots.


Largely a skill-based matchup, Widowmaker duels typically end quickly, and are decided by the player with the fastest aim. Skillful Widowmaker players use their Grappling Hook against the cliff face to launch themselves upwards for a clear line-of-sight from mid-air, although this strategy is popular enough that players may hold back and anticipate this.

If you’re less skilled as Widowmaker, you may take a strategic approach by holding unusual angles and quietly moving around the map. Most Widowmaker players initially focus their aim around the high-ground walkways of the map, so it’s not a bad idea to take the lower ground and slowly push through the lower garage or lab areas to net a stealthy kill on your opponent. Just be aware that the longer you take, the more suspicious and cautious your opponent will become.



The ‘Don’t Hook First’ rule is critical in a Roadhog duel. Assuming a scenario where both Roadhogs are near maximum health, the Roadhog who hooks first will take the most damage in the trade due to animation cancelling. If the opposing Roadhog hooks you first, punish them with a Scrap Gun > Hook > Scrap Gun combo at point blank. Furthermore, if you’ve created a significant health advantage against the enemy Roadhog, don’t lose distance; pursue and punish them if they try to use Take a Breather. Focus on poking with alternate-fire shots, and you can guarantee a kill with a Hook + Scrap Gun + Melee combo if your opponent is at less than half (300) health.


Reinhardt duels orientate around landing and evading Fire Strikes. It’s best to play this matchup slow and methodically, since rushing will only result in a loss. Long-range Fire Strikes are useless as they’re easy to dodge, so you’ll want to save them until you’re at a short-medium range. Push ahead and try landing Fire Strike while your opponent’s Fire Strike is on cooldown, and play evasively and cautiously while it’s up. Positioning according to this 6-second cooldown is the best way to win this matchup. Use your Charge conservatively, only using it if your opponent has cornered themselves in a narrow, hard-to-strafe position like a stairwell or corner, or use it to punish your opponent’s failed charges. A Charge > Melee > Fire Strike combo will do 470 damage, deciding the matchup in most scenarios. If your opponent still has their Charge available, immediately strafe around them to evade a retaliatory Charge. A cleverly-timed Charge is often the best way to recover while at a significant health disadvantage.

While Barrier Field is practically useless in this matchup, activating it to enter third-person is useful for peeking around gaps or corners situationally.


Winston is a unique duelist in the sense that it’s difficult to create a significant damage lead over your opponent. Outside of maintaining maximum accuracy with Tesla Cannon, look to create small advantages by landing splash damage from your Jump Pack. Furthermore, leap upwards and reload Tesla Cannon once you’re low, and try to direct your fall and fire onto the enemy as you descend. If the opposing Winston leaps directly upwards before you do, follow this up with a leap yourself, and you’ll likely land just after he does, inflicting some additional damage.


Zarya battles come down to accuracy and thoughtful Barrier usage. You single-handedly lack the damage to punch through Particle Barrier, so hold your fire while it’s active and use these opportunities to reload. Be sure to walk into long-range alternate-fire bombs with your Barrier for free energy. At close-range, stick to your primary fire and try hopping and strafing around the opposing Zarya to stay evasive. Once you’ve created an advantage, keep at a close-range so that your enemy’s shield doesn’t recharge.


D.Va duels are typically closely matched, and are largely decided by whichever player maintains the highest accuracy and lands the most headshots with Fusion Cannons to destroy the opposing mech. Once the opposing D.Va begins ejecting from their mech, ram them with your Boosters + melee for easy damage, and hold your Defense Matrix up to absorb her pistol shots. Most pilot-mode D.Va players panic and start wasting their ammo immediately upon being ejected, so you may be able to hold Defense Matrix up and begin firing once she has to reload after 20 shots. In a pilot vs pilot scenario, spam your shots against corners as you pivot and peek around them, and concentrate your fire at around head level. If you’re losing the duel significantly, it’s quite possible to keep evasive and stall until Call Mech is available.  


This matchup is largely accuracy-based, and can remain a stalemate due to self-sustain with her Biotic Grenade. With good accuracy, three rifle shots or two rifle shots and a Biotic Grenade will secure a win. A well-placed Sleep Dart can essentially decide this matchup, and players with poor aim may have more luck playing around close-quarters and looking for an easy Sleep Dart opportunity. If you land a Sleep Dart, the most effective damage combo goes Biotic Rifle > Melee > Grenade, which deals 170 damage. A final melee strike or rifle shot should kill your opponent.  


A relatively simple matchup, largely decided by the player with superior orb accuracy. Akin to other projectile-based matchups, keep your movement unpredictable. Use your alternate fire to launch volleys of orbs on your opponent as you approach corners or anticipate your enemy. Be aware that Discord Orb will remain on a target for 3 seconds while line-of-sight is broken, disclosing their location behind cover. You can also your opponent’s Discord Orb against them, tricking your opponent by moving a certain direction, only to emerge from a different position once the orb has expired.


This matchup is similar to the Winston matchup, in the sense that it’s difficult to create a significant health advantage. While it’s sometimes possible to win by creating a nest of turrets and winning the patience game, the most decisive approach is to create a slight advantage, and capitalize on this before your opponent’s shield regenerates. This can be done by either chasing down and killing your target after they’ve briefly stepped into a turret, or battling them after landing a charged or uncharged energy ball. Even the slightest advantage will decide who wins this matchup, so be liberal with your turret placements, and fire energy balls while at a distance. Spam uncharged orbs rather than charged ones, as you’ll have better luck firing a volley of orbs than a single, easily-evaded orb.

If your opponent manages to get the drop on you and begins firing first, you will likely lose the duel. In scenarios like this, don’t try to flee unless you’re leading them into your own turret nest. Fight back while strafing around your opponent, and hope that you can maintain higher accuracy than them.

Rather than facechecking a doorway or obstacle to check for your opponent’s turrets, you can place a single turret outside the doorway, which will reveal your opponent’s turrets that will shoot at it. Be aware of the turret-placing animation, which will leave you susceptible to your opponent for over a second.

Mystery Duels will be in your favour if you take a strategic approach while applying each hero's mechanical knowledge thoughtfully. Hone your accuracy and strive to logically overcome your opponent, and you'll find greater success in your duels. Good luck!

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