In a game like Overwatch, everyone on the team has a role to fulfill. Whether it’s offense, defense, tank, or support, the moment you lock in a hero, you’re already bound to a list of responsibilities. While this is a known fact in higher level competitive matches, however, it often goes missed in lower ranks and non-competitive modes, leading to frustrating gameplay experiences and oftentimes misplaced rage.
In reality, each hero in Overwatch has a unique design that gives them a distinctive play style; one that is not necessarily linked to their status as a “Support” or “Offense” hero. As a beginner player, these facts may go over your head, which is why we’ve decided to round up The Magic Rain’s own Overwatch team to lend a helping hand.
Through this mini series, we’ll be contributing our biggest lessons to playing each hero effectively, this time around, we’ll dive into the tank class.
As someone who mainly plays tank in competitive, I like how it feels to be able to kill other people while being a gigantic force of nature that wrecks havoc when I dive into the enemy team. While a tank’s role may not be as apparent as a 5-man resurrection from Mercy or a team-wiping Death Blossom, your contribution is important regardless. Here are some starter tips to become the tank your team needs:
- Make your death count. As a tank, you will be on the receiving end of tons of damage, and sometimes dying is almost inevitable. But that is no reason for you to go throwing yourself into certain death. You need to make your death count.
- Stay close to your support. Your best friend in the game is the support character, and you are also their best friend because you provide lots of ultimate charge as they heal you. Sometimes, it’s not that the healer is bad, but it’s because you went charging in and the healer is out of range to heal you.
- Choose your engagements. Tanks are not only the bulkiest characters, they’re also considered the de facto leaders of the team. Hence, the ability to choose your engagements is one of the most crucial skills a tank can have, and also one of the hardest. (e.g. Don’t engage if you are facing unfavourable conditions such as the death of your support or when your skill is on cool down.)
- Learn your counters. A tank can get countered heavily and it could easily make you a target for free ult charge like a Tracer against a Roadhog. If your team isn’t helping you out, it’s better to switch to some other tanks that may work better against the enemy team composition.
- Create space. Almost all tanks are able to use a mobility skills to dive right into the enemy. As a tank, you should do that while on offense to create space for your teammates to attack in and pick off key targets as their attention is focused at you. But beware! You need to dive in strategically, such as jumping on their key targets towards the back line.
Reinhardt used to be a staple in many teams, but this has toned down recently due to a shift in meta. However! That doesn’t mean he is a bad hero. Reinhardt is one of the best anchor tanks in the entire game and naturally brings the team to stay close to him.
- Manage your shield! Try and never let your shield break unless it is necessary. Your shield takes a full 5 seconds to be usable once again if it’s broken. That means a full 5 seconds where your allies have no shield to fall back on, especially against ultimate abilities. Example: Reinhardt’s shield can shield against a D.Va and Reinhardt ultimate even with just 1 Shield HP.
- Use Fire Strike effectively. Fire Strike is the only long range skill Reinhardt has, but it is also packs a lot of punch. A flat 100 damage can bring down most offense hero to only 50% of their life. It may take some practice, but Fire Strike can finish off a lot of kills. Plus, it even goes through opponent’s shields as well!
- Charge only when you’re confident. Charge is Reinhardt’s only initiating skill and it can kill off any non-tank heroes if you pin someone and ram them to the wall. However, charging can easily put you in an extremely bad position and it can also separate you from your team, robbing your teammates of the comfort of your shield.
D.Va is one of those heroes that is easy to use but hard to master. She is one of the most mobile tanks out there, and with that, your versatility also increases with it. However, she is also one of the easiest tanks to take down if her defense matrix is not used properly.
- Try and get close to your target. D.Va’s damage output is actually quite high if you are close enough to your target. She can dish out quite a lot of damage for a tank, so try and utilize that ability as a tank as much as possible.
- Don’t empty your defense matrix bar. D.Va’s defense matrix is one of the best damage nullifying ability in the game. Try and time your defense matrix to absorb big abilities such as Soldier 76’s helix rocket or Reinhardt’s fire strike which is quite easy since the projectile speed is relatively slow. It’s even better to nulify ultimates with your defense matrix, such as Mei’s and Zarya’s, which can be absorbed entirely.
- Use your boosters generously. Don’t hold on to your boosters. Use it as often as you can to get to favourable positions, flanking and chasing down enemies when it is advantageous to do so.
- Self destruct in a strategic location. Your ultimate is better off used to disrupt the enemy’s position rather to get kills. D.Va’s ultimate is so powerful at disrupting everyone’s position it can even be used to initiate a fight just to get the opponent out of position before your other team mates can catch them alone.
Roadhog is one of the most offensive tanks and he is really great at picking up any enemies who may be out of position. His most valuable kit, the hook, can shut down so many heroes. Even the presence of Roadhog can make players play more cautiously and not play as aggressively.
- Use your alternate fire in medium range combat. A head shot with Roadhog’s alternate fire before it spreads out will deal 100 damage, this will tip any fight heavily in your favour whenever you land one of those alternate fire head shots.
- Break those shields! Roadhog can shred shields like Reinhardt’s easily, so lend your team a helping hand and break those shields with your primary fire!
- Hook em’ and cook em’. While your hook can basically guarantee a kill if your team focuses on whoever you hook, it is still better to try and hook key targets like offensive or support heroes instead of tanks because they have a lower health pool.
- Don’t heal yourself when under heavy fire! You should try to avoid healing yourself when you’re under heavy fire and could easily die. While healing in these situations can allow you to live slightly longer, it changes nothing if you still die in the end. In fact, this may actually give your opponent a slight edge from all of the ultimate charge they get from damaging you.
The newest tank on the block, Orisa comes with a kit that is really unique. Many have compared her to Reinhardt, but her primary fire and quick cool down times are what makes her stand out from the rest. While I admit I’ve haven’t played Orisa all that much, I’ll still try my best to give some good Orisa tips.
- Don’t be afraid to place your shield. Orisa’s shield is easily one of the most overpowered skills in the game right now. Not only does it have almost the same health pool as a Reinhardt shield, it also has an incredibly short cool down. Feel free to use your shield constantly instead of pocketing it!
- Be wary of your teammates. Orisa’s shield is quite different from Reinhardt’s in that she can place a shield away from her. Try and place your shield in front of your teammates that are under heavy fire instead of using the shield to shield only yourself.
- Suppression fire. Orisa’s primary fire has one of the highest bullet round counts in the entire game, so use your shots wisely! In my opinion, it is more efficient to use it to punish enemies coming from a general direction rather than chase down skills. Remember, Orisa is still a tank! Your first priority should be assisting teammates.
- Set up and disrupt. Orisa’s “Halt!” ability is quite unique. It is essentially a mini Graviton Surge (Zarya’s ultimate.) You can use Halt! to try and disrupt the enemy team by pulling them upwards into the air, disorienting them for just a bit, and you can even use it for an ultimate set up. It may not be as effective as Zarya’s ultimate but with great timing, the same effect could be achieved.
Winston is the tank to ruin your day and create chaos in the back line. He is also one of the easiest tanks to use if you get your basics down. A good Winston can create many opportunities for your teammates to attack easily.
- Choose your prey. Winston is one of those hero that can fail miserably or totally own the match depending on who you aim. His ability to jump in an arc trajectory allows him to basically choose whoever he wish to attack first unlike D.Va which flies straight and has to go through the front line before reaching the back line.
- Supports first! Some of the best targets for Winston to aim are the supports. While in higher ranks, most of them won’t die to you if they play well enough, you can still easily get them extremely low and get them out of position.
- Bubble trouble. Your Barrier Projector is the only thing that can increase your ability to survive in the heat of battle. In a 1 vs 1 situation, Winston won’t be able to out damage the opponent most of the time. In that case, you would need to count on your positioning skills and your bubble to turn the tides. Hot tip: If the enemy is backing away from you and the bubble, chase the enemy but don’t go out of the bubble to avoid getting damaged. On the other hand, back out from your own bubble if they chase you into the bubble, letting the bubble absorb the damage.
- Rage and disrupt. Winston’s ultimate is not meant for getting kills. Rather, it is one of the best ultimates to disrupt the enemy team and create space. After activating your ultimate, try and disrupt the team and spread them out as thinly as possible. Only try to get kills if you can, otherwise, don’t force it and you will be better off causing chaos to the opponent’s team.
Zarya is the tank that can babysit, damage, and set up beautiful ultimate team wipes. She is truly a one (wo)man army. While her disruption ability is nothing like the other tanks in the list, she makes up for it with one of the best ultimates in the game and crazy damage.
- Time your bubble. Zarya really depends on getting her charge up to become deadly. It is oftentimes better to project a barrier (also known as a “bubble”) to your ally or yourself while you’re experiencing heavy fire instead of using it to initiate. If you use the bubble before approaching the enemy, they may just ignore you as opposed to trying to stop firing at you as your bubble catches them by surprise.
- Primary fire is the primary way to damage. One may mistake that her secondary fire is the best way to damage since it has more flare, easier to hit and it explodes! But in reality, her primary fire deals way more damage per second than the secondary fire. The secondary fire should only be used if the enemy is out of range of the primary fire or to catch multiple opponents at once.
- Ultimate setup. Zarya’s ultimate is better used to set up a ultimate combo rather than used alone. Even when none of your other teammates have ultimates ready, it’s always better to have your teammates ready to fire at the clump of enemies alongside you rather than attempting this feat alone.
With that, there you have Overwatch’s Tank class! Remember: it’s one thing to play the heroes, it’s another thing to bring out their full potential, and the latter can only be done with practice. Which class would you like to see us cover next?