OGN Apex Weekly Roundup: Widowmaker Makes its Return into the Meta

The Widowmaker pick has made its valiant return to professional play. Overwatch’s competitive scene is moving back toward a more diverse team composition. Many characters are viable in this meta, and teams are starting to experiment.

The Apex league is where most of the experiments and well thought-out team compositions come into fruition. The strategies from these teams get carried across the world; basing it off of this week, sniper play is going to be imperative moving forward in this meta.

Now let’s get to the games.

KongDuesday

Photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

The Tuesday games came up all KongDOO, as both the Uncia and Pantera squads played, and won convincingly. It’s no secret these are two of the better teams in Apex, but both teams coming out with a 3-0 result was unexpected. Both squads currently sit at 3-0 with a +6 in their respective groups.

First off, the Uncia team faced off against ConBox, who needed a win desperately to stay alive. Unfortunately for them, Uncia’s positioning and ultimate usage was on point. Uncia’s starting strategy on LI Jiang is to run directly into the point and defend. The back end healing of Lucid (Yoo Jun Seo) with his Ana or Panker’s (Lee Byung Ho) Reinhardt stayed strong. The positioning allowed for the two Uncia healers to stay safe.

The damage plays from DNCE (Kim Se Yong) and Butcher (Yoon Seong Won) were critical in the win. Butcher was the player of the game on Zarya. His forward, aggressive style allowed for him not only to deal plenty of damage, but to constantly have graviton surges available. The difference in this game ultimately stemmed from their ability to have more ultimates available in each game.

It wasn’t any gimmick either. Uncia stayed the course with the “power composition”: three tanks, one damage, and two supports. Biriding’s (Kim Ji Hyuk) high-ground cover on Soldier 76 on maps like Kings Row and Temple of Anubis put Conbox in terrible situations. The strategy for Uncia clearly centered around Birding’s ability to get good sight lines on high-ground.

Next off, Pantera showed the skill gap between them and the rest of their group. RunAway looked like a team capable of pulling off a massive upset, but not against Pantera. RunAway is still alive in the round two chase, but will have to go through Fnatic.

Testing out strategies seemed to play a major factor in KongDoo Pantera’s win. On the second map (Numbani), Pantera tried out a Torbjorn/Mei composition, and it paid off. Despite RunAway taking the less ideal lower route on Numbani, the Mei play of Rascal (Kim Dong Jim) was the difference maker. His ability to stall and throw out clutch blizzards to sustain a defense.

The snowball was in effect. Rascal took Mei to Hanamura and was the main reason Pantera got a full-hold on first point. The damage characters would get grabbed by RunAway, only to see Rascal use Mei’s ice wall to block off the chain and save their lives. After, Wakawaka (An Jee Ho) switched on to the Widowmaker and got two early headshots, making it a 6-4 team fight that eventually won Pantera the set and game.

It was clear the team more willing to make adjustments and try new compositions got rewarded. The frags weren’t always favoring Pantera, so being able to get a 3-0 shows this team’s knowledge of the game. Pantera and Uncia lock up their group two spots.

Foreign Invasion

Photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

If Tuesday brought us strong Korean play, Friday brought us strong foreign play. Anyone who has followed the Overwatch competitive scene knows about EnvyUs’s skill. Misfits, on the other hand, aren’t as well known; but we saw some dominant play from the French side as well. EnvyUs sets up a group A championship with MetaAthena next week.

EnvyUs took care of business against the worst team in their group: BK Stars. BK Stars isn’t a joke, as they were a top-team in season one. But, they fell into the group of death, and that includes the world’s best: EnvyUs. It ended in a swift 3-0 victory for the American based team.

The story of the day was Taimou (Timo Kattenun) on Widowmaker, turning around entire team fights. His knowledge of specific angles showed on maps like Volskaya Industries. He had a few highlight reel plays that awarded EnvyUs control points.

The rest of the team showed up in other areas. HarryHook (Jonathon Tejedor aria) on the other DPS characters, primarily switching off Reaper and Soldier: 76 to deal with tank-heavy-compositions or play from the back line and get free shots. His positioning on Kings Row and Volskaya allowed for EnvyUs to stay spread out on control points. BK stars would search for shield battles with Reinhardt, and instead get caught in the crossfire father, EnvyUs.

Misfits stay alive

The French squad needed a win to stay alive, as did Afreeca Freecs Red. The only problem for Afreeca was Misfits had Tviq (Kevyn Lindstrom) and they didn’t.. arguably the worlds best player showed up again playing a multitude of characters. Mei, Soldier: 76, McCree, Tracer, and even some Hanzo play. Any character he took out of the vault worked last Friday.

Ultimate economy and positioning weren’t far off for either team in this match. The game was won and lost by getting players to the back-line and keeping those support players alive. Nevix (Andreas Karlsson) and Zave (Kalle Haag Nilsson) were instrumental in winning team fights with different sets of supports (mostly Ana and Lucio) for Misfits. Tviq’s ability to flank and get clear shots on healers and DPS ended most team fights positively for Misfits.

Outside of Tviq, Zebbosai (Sebastian Olson) on the Zarya did great amounts of damage. He was the one consistently building and landing successful ultimates. The forward play, as has become standard in this current meta-game, with the tanks, allowed for Misfits to get clean hooks and built ultimate charge on the tanks. Misfits took advantage of this with the constant flanking and their tendency to not take shield battles in favor of positioning.

Next week’s schedule
Afreeca Freecs Blue (0-1) will take on Cloud9 (1-0) on Tuesday for the second spot in group C. Fnatic (0-1) will face FlashLux (0-1) to try and keep pace with RunAway (1-1).

The Friday games aren’t as enticing with MVP Infinity vs. BK Stars who are both eliminated. LW Blue will also have to match Misfits by beating Afreeca Freecs Red. A win for LW Blue will put themselves in round two.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Blake!

Overwatch Apex Season 2 Week 3 Recap

Week 3 hit right after the latest 1.7 patch, so teams weren’t hesitant to try out new team compositions. We saw a two sniper composition out of Meta Athena. The standard three tank, one DPS, and two support made its return, but in limited showing. The 2-2-2 balance also made a return, as Genji is prominently back in the center of the meta-game.

This week also displayed the newest control point map in Oasis. Teams had interesting strategies, mostly trying to push teams into the smaller choke points. It should be featured in more Overwatch tournaments and events in the future. Now let’s talk about this week’s matchups.

photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

Meta Athena vs. MVP Infinity

Meta Athena moves to 2-0 (+4) in the group of death (Group A), taking out MVP Infinity 3-2. MVP moves to 0-2 (-2) and is now in need of a miracle to make it out of the group one stages. The win for Meta sets up a group A finals between them and the current number one ranked team in the world, EnvyUs, in a couple weeks.

The match from last night provided plenty of highlight reel plays from both sides, but especially out of the main DPS players from Meta Athena in Sayaplayer (Ha Jeong Woo), Libero (Kim Hye Sung), and the aggressive Zarya play out of Hoon (Choi Jae Hoon). The aggressive style on maps like Illios and Hanamura gave Meta the edge, allowing for strong team pushes while Sayaplayer flanked primarily with his Tracer.

MVP prepared more set plays and specific setups and that ultimately backfired as they weren’t able to adjust to Meta’s constant character swapping. For example, the Torbjorn pick from Undine (Son Yeong Woo) on Hanamura was sound on first point, but once Meta was able to power through first and move on to second with better ultimate economy, the Torbjorn became useless.

The set plays on Numbani and the tough defense on Route 66 kept MVP in it until game five. The turning point was the double sniper composition from Meta. Libero on the Hanzo and Sayaplayer on Widowmaker. The unexpected picks and skill from both players showed through as they were able to get 11 combined final blows on first point Kings Row to eventually take the map and the game. The overall decision making on team compositions, ultimate strategies, and positioning favored Meta Athena.

Runaway vs FlashLux

In a week of back-and-forth sets, Runaway did exactly what their name sake implies: runaway with the victory. The amateur, pink jacket wearing Korean squad showed they are to be taken seriously regardless of the attire they wear. Runaway took out FlashLux 3-0 and is now tied with KongDoo Panthera at the top of group D.

photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

The synergy and team skill clearly showed. The heavy use of Genji out of Haksal (Kim Hyo Jong) played a huge factor in the team’s win. He carried the team in damage and had plenty of instances where he’d pull out a four-kill team fight. The clever use of dragon blade and his unique ability to get great angles by Genji’s wall-climbing seemed to be the difference in this one. FlashLux had no answer.

On top of Haksal, Kaiser’s (Ryu Sang Hoon) damage output and shield pressure on Reinhardt was impressive. He kept the front line secure and safe. This allowed for players like Haksal and BUMPER (Park Sang Beom) to be more aggressive against the FlashLux supports players.

The positioning was key in RunAway’s win, as they kept pinning Flash Lux in small corridors and finishing them with either graviton surges or earth shatters; this allowed Stitch (Lee Choong Hui) and Haksal to do plenty of damage on Tracer and Genji. With a strong focus on the DPS players, RunAway has a chance to take group D.

KongDoo Uncia vs. Afreeca Freecs Blue

KD Uncia showed up in their win over Afreeca Freecs Blue and moved themselves closer to taking group C. The steady play from one of the top Korean teams on some of the more underplayed maps was impressive. Winning on Oasis, Kings Row, and Watchpoint: Gibralter while sticking primarily with the current meta in terms of team composition.

Lunatic Hai vs. LW Blue

Lunatic Hai essentially sealed up their group B victory with a 3-1 win over LW Blue. The excellent play of their top DPS player Whoru (Lee Seung Joon), who’s arguably been the APEX MVP through the first three weeks, and Miro (Gong Jin-Hyuk) on the Reinhardt has been a major part of this teams’ 2-0 record. Top that with some of the most consistent support plays from Tobi (Yang Jin-mo) and Ryujehong (Ryu Je-Hong) and it’s one of the strongest teams in the entire league.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Blake!

Bastion Rework – Upgrade Complete!

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Principal Designer Geoff Goodman confirmed that Overwatch’s Bastion will be getting a few noteworthy tweaks. Let’s take a look.

Recon Mode – 

Recon mode will now have lowered spread, allowing for increased accuracy.  Bastion will also receive an increased magazine size to increase his viability in this mode. The general reasoning for this is to hopefully steer players away from corner hugging and sitting in Sentry Mode for the majority of uptime with Bastion.

Sentry Mode – 

As if it already isn’t, the focus for tweaking this mode is to make it more of a tank/shield killer. Additionally, Bastion takes less damage in this mode, will have increased spread, and headshots are removed.

Self-Repair – 

As of now, Blizzard is feeling good with the tweaks they’ve made for this ability. Bastion is able to use Self-Repair while moving, and it is not interrupted when Bastion takes damage. However, this ability will function much like D.Va’s Defense Matrix ability, in that it will be on a resource system. Both developers and players feel like Bastions heal isn’t currently where it needs to be. This change will transform Self-Repair from a rarely used ability, into a frequently used core ability.

 

There’s a lot of talk as to whether Bastion will be replacing Soldier: 76 on offensive team builds. Weighing in on this, I don’t feel like 76 has too much to worry about. As it stands, I believe that this rework will give Bastions defensive capabilities a well-deserved boost, without threatening to put 76 on the bench when it comes to offense. On top of this, I believe that 76 still has better offensive capability simply for the insta-kill potential he has with his Pulse Fire Rifle and Helix Rocket combination. Looking forward to playing a lot more Bastion as well as making a guide in the future when these changes hit the live servers. That’s all for now, I’m David from The Game Haus and as always, Good Luck, Have Fun!

Immortals Wins The NGE Overwatch Winter Premiere

Photo via twitter.com/immortals

From start-to-finish, the Immortals Overwatch squad looked like the best team in the Winter Premiere. After two months of dominating play, Immortals was able to take home the NGE Winter Premiere title at Pax South over Ghost Gaming 3-1.

It wasn’t an easy road to the finals, as Immortals had to fight through four qualifying events just to make it to Pax South. After breezing through the open play, Immortals hit their stride in the group phase, finishing first with a 4-1 record (9-5 game count). The only team that gave them trouble was the team they just defeated in the finals.

Ghost Gaming (formerly Kungarna) transformed from an unsponsored team to one of the most dangerous teams in the entire Winter Premiere. Every game, they seemed to improve and develop more chemistry in terms of positioning and team fights. Unfortunately, Immortals was the one team with enough skill and team synergy to hold off the talented Ghost Gaming squad.

Even without Nomy (David Ramirez), who couldn’t make it due to visa issues according to an Immortals spokesperson, the overall talent was enough to win the event. Immortals had to rely on their former support, Chance (Zac Palmer), to play Reinhardt. Nomy was arguably the best Reinhardt in the entire Winter Premiere. Immortals winning without him shows just how strong the team is.

The play of GrimReality (Christopher Schafer) and Agilities (Brady Girardi) were great throughout the Winter Premiere. In the four tank Overwatch meta, the Roadhog out of Agilities and the Zarya from Grim carried this team. Now, even with the meta moving away from tank heavy compositions, Grim’s McCree and Agilities’ Genji separated them from other teams.

In the finals, GrimReality was unreal. Immortals would place him on high-ground and let him do work. It almost looks like aim bot, but it’s just Grim showing off his ability to turn team fights. Even down a player, he gets instant head shots. He had multiple rounds with four or five kill team fights. It forced Ghost to target him down, leaving everyone susceptible to the strong ultimate play from Immortals.

Immortals ended up 6-1 on LAN, taking out Luminosity Gaming 3-0 in the semifinals. Immortals did a terrific job switching up team compositions, which is especially important considering the 1.7 patch just dropped two days before the event. At times, they’d switch off the classic Ana/Reinhardt and go Zenyatta/Winston. This didn’t work, but showed they were willing to try new things. In the end, getting away from the three tank compositions gave the opposition some issues.

Aythen (Athen Zhu) worked both as a healer and DPS with Ana, allowing Grimreality to get behind the enemy front with Tracer or McCree’s Dead Eye. It was a total team effort. Hyped (George Maganzini) had the most optimal use of his ultimates. He would usually clear out space with his D.Va self-destructs or strong Zarya graviton surges. All six members were crucial for Immortals to get to this spot.

It’s still early in Overwatch’s competitive life-cycle, but Immortals shows that they can compete with anyone. Next step will be seeing if they can handle the top European and Korean teams; but winning the NGE Winter Premiere is a good first step towards world domination.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Blake!

Soldier: 76 – Enhancing an Old Dogs Performance.

If you’ve ever played first person shooters such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, then Soldier: 76 should feel pretty familiar. With a fully automatic primary weapon, an effective multi-rocket launcher for a secondary weapon, a self heal, and a sprint, he can at first seem quite simple to master. Don’t let this simple tool kit fool you though. There are several tricks you can use in order to maximize your performance with him. Let’s take a look at his abilities, how to increase their usefulness, and how well they pair with other Overwatch heroes.

Primary Weapon – Pulse Rifle – 25 Round Magazine – 1.5 Second Reload Timer. 

Standard automatic rifle. With a 25 round magazine and a 1.5 second reload time, you can tear through your enemies with ease. However, there is a way to increase the effectiveness of this weapon.

  • Know when to fire full auto vs. short, controlled bursts. 

Firing your weapon in small, concentrated bursts can drastically improve its damage output. The first 4 shots fired from the Pulse Rifle won’t cause your target reticle to expand. Utilizing this while aiming at the heads of enemy heroes can cause your damage to ramp up, resulting in faster kills. With a little bit of practice, you can have this down in no time.

  • Utilize the range capability of Pulse Rifle. 

76’s Pulse Rifle works wonders at mid and even far-range.  Keeping a safe distance and firing with short, controlled bursts will improve your threat capability. High-ground vantage points improve your map awareness and your survivability. Having the high-ground advantage lets you pick off heroes who might be hiding behind Reinhardt’s shield, as well as taking out aerial targets such as Pharah.

 

Secondary Weapon – Helix Rockets – 8 Second Cooldown – Blast Radius: 2 Meters.  

76 fires rockets out of his Pulse Rifle which explode wherever they make contact.

  • Keep track of this cooldown. 

It is important to keep track of Helix Rockets cooldown. You don’t want to enter a fight with an enemy hero if you’re on full cooldowns.  Having the availability of your full kit will often decide if you kill, or get killed.

  • Learn to lead your target. 

A lot of players struggle with this. Leading your target will increase the accuracy of Helix Rockets by a ton. Keep in mind that the blast radius of the rockets can also be effective in landing kills as well as spreading your damage to multiple targets. Go for direct rocket hits when you are certain they will hit, such as when they are incapacitated.

  • Master the Rocket jump.

This is arguably the hardest trick to master with 76. If you use your Helix Rocket’s, time it with a jump and Sprint, you can leap really far. Mastering this combo can take your 76 play to a whole new level. There are drawbacks to this risky play though. If you don’t time everything right, you can end up in some dangerous or deadly situations.

 

Ability 1 – Sprint – Duration: Lasts Until Cancelled. 

76 activates his Sprint ability which greatly increases his movement speed.

  • Sprint often. 

Sprinting will save your life. Sprint will get you places faster, such as to the payload or the objective. Sprint will also quickly get you out of dangerous situations such as a Mei ult, a D.Va ult, or a McCree ult, or if you need to heal. You can also chase down fleeing or injured enemies to finish them off.

 

Ability 2 – Biotic Field – Cooldown: 15 Seconds – Duration: 5 Seconds – Area of Effect: 5 Meters – Health Regeneration Rate: 40 Health Per Second. 

76 deploys a healing field at his location, healing himself and all allies within the zone.

  • Turn on Allied Health Bars in your Settings. 

Turning on Allied Health Bars in your settings will not only increase the effectiveness of your Biotic Field, but it will also increase your support capability for your teammates. This can be particularly effective when your team is either trying to capture or defend an objective.

  • Biotic Field cannot be destroyed 

It cannot be targeted or destroyed by enemy abilities.

  • Know where and when to deploy it. 

Knowing where to deploy your healing field is crucial. If you can deploy it safely behind cover, and somewhere where multiple teammates can benefit from it, that’s great. Knowing when to deploy it is also helpful. If you’re taking consistent damage, sometimes it’s best to use Sprint to get to safety and then heal up. This is situational, but good judgement goes a long way when it comes to using this ability.

  • You can deploy Biotic Field on the payload. 

Deploying Biotic Field on a moving payload enables you to create a moving healing zone which can benefit your teammates tremendously.

 

Ultimate Ability – Tactical Visor – Duration: 6 Seconds – Reload Time: 0.75 Seconds

76 activates his visor. All of his shots during the duration of this ability will automatically hit the target that is closest to the center of his crosshairs.

  • Timing is everything. 

Using Tactical Visor at the right time can be a major game changer. Knowing when to use it is crucial to improving your 76 performance.

  • Examples of when to use Tactical Visor. 
    • When the enemy team is incapacitated and unable to act, such as from a Zarya, Reinhardt, or Mei ult. These ults are some of the best times to activate Tactical Visor and can easily lead to an effective team kill.
    • When the enemy team has no shielding capability or little to no cover.
  • Examples of when NOT to use Tactical Visor. 
    • When the enemy team has easy cover to get behind. Popping out with your ult only to see the enemy team quickly get behind cover is not only a terrible waste of your ult, but it also gives them a chance to counterattack.
    • When the enemy team has shielding capability. Reinhardt’s, D.Va’s, and Zarya’s shield can all be very problematic for Tactical Visor. Make sure Reinhardt’s shield is down, and that Zarya’s shield is on cooldown before using Tactical Visor.
  • Prioritize Targets.
    • Tactical Visor can kill low health targets such as Mercy very quickly, increasing your teams odds of winning that fight.
    • Tactical Visor can kill evasive targets such as Tracer and Genji as seen above.

 

That’s all for now! Currently trying to get some solid footage of Rocket Jumping, so I’ll post it when I get it. I still have a lot to work on with Soldier: 76, but I’m feeling more confident in my ability to not only play him, but to better support my team as well. Let us know what you think in the comments section and as always, Good Luck, Have Fun! From all of us here at The Game Haus, I’m David.

 

 

 

 

 

Symmetra Basics – Sassy Sentry Support

 

Photos Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Turret defense games. Most of us have played them. You place a turret and it kills things. Symmetra is no stranger to this mindset. Her rework makes her less reliant on specific situations, and much more capable of aiding her team, either offensively or defensively. Let’s take a look at her reworked abilities, and see how effective they can be.

Primary Weapon –  Photon Projector – 7 Meter Range.

Symmetra’s weapon pulses a short range beam which will attach to a nearby enemy, dealing damage over time. This little death beam has attachment issues. Dare I call it… clingy?

Ability 1 – Sentry Turret – 6 Charges, 10 Sec Recharge Rate.

Symmetra places a small sentry turret on walls, floors, ceilings, and many other objects. The turrets will automatically attack enemies within range. Any enemies hit will have their movement speed reduced temporarily. Symmetra can place up to 6 turrets at any time. Effectively placing your turrets can land some pretty sweet plays. It’s always fun deleting an enemy player with minimal effort.

 

Ability 2 – Photon Barrier – 10 second cooldown. 

Symmetra projects a floating, forward-moving barrier which absorbs a large amount of damage. The cooldown starts as soon as you use the ability. The range the shield will travel depends on whether or not anything is in its path.

 

Ultimate Ability 1 – Teleporter – 6 Charges – Health: 50, Shield: 350.

Symmetra places a teleporter down at her current location. The teleporter connects to another teleporter located in the teams spawn point. Players can use the teleporter near the spawn point to quickly return to battle. Be sure to place your teleporter strategically because it doesn’t take much damage to be destroyed.

Note: If a point is captured, the teleporter will be instantly refunded.

Ultimate Ability 2 – Shield Generator HP: 50 Shield: 350.

Symmetra places a wide range shield generator at her location. The generator provides a 75 damage absorb shield to all nearby teammates. The shield works through walls and other objects, as well as through terrain.

Note: If a point is captured, the generator will be instantly refunded.

These are just the basics for playing Symmetra. Effective placement of her sentry turrets, teleporter, and shield generator can land some pretty sweet Play of the Game’s, multi-kills, and a really enjoyable play experience. That’s all for Symmetra. Let us know what you think in the comments, I’m David from The Game Haus and as always, Good Luck, Have Fun!

A Happy Game Haus Thankgiving

We decided a couple of weeks ago that we wanted to do a Thanksgiving piece and give our readers a chance to get to know us a little better! Below are some of the staff members of TGH telling you all what they are thankful for this holiday season. From Our Haus to Yours, have a very happy Game Haus Thanksgiving!

Jared MacAdam- Head of Esports: Well, I’ll go first, being the only Canadian and my Thanksgiving has passed quite some time ago. I’m thankful for the way this site has grown since its inception, how many great writers we’ve had and all the awesome content we’ve produced. I’m also immensely thankful for the way esports has matured in the past year; we’re seeing leaps and strides in key areas like players well being and stability. It’s an exciting thing to experience and to have a little part in. I’m also thankful for all the weirdos in the Front Office who lovingly mock my Canadianisms.

Josh Burris – Editor: I am thankful for sports. I am a proud Cleveland fan and with the exception of the Browns, good things are happening with our teams. I’m thankful I got to see a Cleveland team win a title. I am also thankful for my family and friendships I have at home, school, and from this site.

Ryan Moran – CFO: I am thankful for family, friends, and football. I am also thankful to be working for TGH and to belong to such an exciting community of sports and esports. I am also thankful of the unifying power of sports and their ability to bring anybody together win or lose.

Tim Miller – Vice President: Of course, when talking about being thankful, I have to be thankful for the opportunity to help lead The Game Haus. I’m also thankful to root for the mighty Ohio State Buckeye football team, and that Marvin Lewis should get fired after this year. I’m also thankful for a loving family and loving girlfriend. Finally, I’m thankful to live in a great country with freedoms like no other (no matter how you feel currently), and to go to a solid, christian university in Cedarville University.

Robert Hanes- President: While these last 365 days have been some of the most challenging times in my life, I can say that I have so many things to be grateful for. To start, everyone here at The Game Haus. These people are incredible, as you can read in their paragraphs of what they are thankful for. They have all gone through many things and have worked their butts off while working here. So thank you to all of the Front Office Members, Writers, Podcasters, and League Team Members! I am also very thankful for my friends. They have helped me through some tough times throughout the last year and I do not know where I would be without them. The same can be said for my Father, Mother and Sister. They have been my rocks as I have struggled many times this year. Lastly I am thankful to God and his son, while it sounds cheesy I know they have been with me every step of the way. From Our Haus to Yours, thank you and have a wonderful holiday season!

Terrance Singleton- Social Media Director: I am thankful for the life God has given me. Every time the holiday season comes around I think about how easily I couldn’t be here. My grandfather died on November 19, 2010 right before Thanksgiving. And I was in a pretty bad car accident on December 27, 2012 that broke my neck and cut my scalp open. So every time the holiday season rolls around I always think about how precious life, family, friends, and faith are important in my life and everyone’s life. So on this Thanksgiving when you are watching NFL football games and eating food until you can’t move, tell your loved ones how much you love them because tomorrow is not promised.

Dylan Streibig- NFL Writer: Whether we realize it or not, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  I am no exception this Thanksgiving or any other year. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and a family that loves me. I am grateful for the fantastic sporting events that go on all around the world. They provide me a momentary escape from my life with a physical disability. I am also thankful for my dog and the fact that I am now a published sports writer thanks to The Game Haus. Most of all, I am thankful for the loyalty of my close friends who do not give up on me, even when I give up on myself.

Matthew Hagan- Columnist: I’m thankful for the opportunity The Game Haus has presented me with. Writing about my favorite sport, football, and offering me a column has been one of the best things in my life. I am thankful to have parents, family and friends support while trying to get a degree in college. My mom has been the biggest reason I have made it this far and I am so thankful that I get to fly back to Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with her. I am also thankful I got to see the Cubs win a World Series and attend the victory parade in Chicago. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had in this amazing country. I am proud to be an American and this Thanksgiving is going to be one of the best ever. Thank you to everyone who reads my articles, weather you agree or disagree with them. I want to wish anyone who reads this, and anyone who may not, a safe, fun and amazing Thanksgiving.

Alex Keller- Recruitment and Retention: What am I thankful for? Where can I even begin… I guess it would have to be with my family and friends. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if not for their love and support. But it’s so much more than that… the opportunity to even attend an institution like Georgia Tech, let alone graduate from it is an experience I’m incredibly thankful for. And of course, I have to thank everyone who’s been a part of making my experience with TGH so awesome. So, from our haus to yours, have a Happy Game Haus Thanksgiving everybody.

Hero Mastery: Understanding Reaper

You are Reaper, and you just got your ult. You feel your adrenaline pumping, your eyes darting across the map, the enemy tracer is occupied, Reinhardt is blocking your team, and the enemy Ana has proven that she can’t land a sleep dart to save the life of her firstborn. You teleport up to a higher point, leaving your team to defend the point on their own momentarily, and you laugh to yourself, the enemy team has no idea what’s coming. You wait for the enemy Mei to walk past the point at which you’re standing and then you drop down. You mash your ultimate button with all of the drama and energy of Yu-Gi-Oh drawing a card, or Goku turning Super Saiyan.

“Die, die, die!”

 

diediedie

You say it with him as Reaper becomes a Beyblade of whirling destruction and ruined KDA’s. Except no one’s KDA gets ruined. Mei becomes a block of ice, Zenyatta ults and you immediately get filled with bullet, arrows and whatever the hell it is Zarya shoots at you. You explode and seriously consider leaving the game. How did your team accomplish NOTHING with your sacrifice? How did it not work? Your PoTG hopes just went out the window and you got nothing for it. Your team loses the ensuing five-on-six and you’re tilting off the face of the planet, your only saving grace being that your teammates are too unobservant to realize what the turning point was that allowed them to push onto the point.

So where were the mistakes made? It stemmed from not understanding the basic rules of the game. The characters in Overwatch are balanced to have meaningful weaknesses and Reaper has his own. Short range and relatively few defensive abilities (Spectre Form is a lackluster one at best) are Reaper’s. The best way to counter these weaknesses is to be with a team, being the follow up makes the burden on the Reaper far less painful. It’s important to not believe that you must make your own plays by yourself. Let your engage…Well, engage.

An equally important idea is to remember to look for minor flanks and, if you’re confident in your abilities, to counter a flanker. If you haven’t got your ultimate, then looking for a setup for it isn’t necessary. Try to find the enemy Genji or Tracer, I promise they’ll be looking to get behind your team. Make them regret it. You’re strong in close quarters, and other flankers tend to be close range combatants, and even if you don’t kill them, leaving a stalemate will deny them the ability to take down your team. However, if you do manage to take them out, it becomes a 5v6 and that’s something to look forward to. If no one is trying to flank your team, then chances are you can find one of your own, kill the enemy Mercy in the confusion, buckshotting her from behind before making your exit, again, your team is up a person.

 

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Flanking is everything here.

The most important part of the character is to realize that your job isn’t really to wipe the enemy team on your own. You want to look for the opportunity to create a player advantage for your team in the safest way possible for you. Aim to kill one, and leave to begin with. Then move on to realizing opportunities for multikills. If you can get a multikill you’ve done your job and then some. You want to use your mobility to pick off and assassinate people who are out of position, so that your team can use their abilities to take over the fight.

 

What do you think? Let me know if this helped you, or if you just think I suck in the comments below or @TirasCarr on twitter!

More than Guns: Explaining Overwatch’s Underlying Tactics

We’ve heard it before, “Overwatch is fun to play, but hard to watch.” This statement causes people who play the game regularly to roll their eyes, and for good reason. This statement usually comes from people not knowing what they’re looking for in a match and certainly not understanding the level of thought that goes into the plays made. Sometimes this line of thought goes into the heads of low level players as well, which is probably the last people who need to have a hard time understanding the game. Me being the good guy I am, figured I’d help try to explain the game and make it not only a better viewing experience, but maybe even help some people understand how it’s played a little better.

 

The Goal

We all know what this is. Push the payload, take the two points, take the point then push the payload. The goals in this game are slight twists on older FPS game mode objectives and vary only slightly from map to map. What changes are the maps themselves and thus the cover zones, healing pack placements, high grounds and flanking positions. What people don’t understand is that part of The Goal is to control these places. This is done through the use of zoning tools like Torbjorn turrets, Symmetra Microwave rooms, Junkrat in general and the threat of Roadhog hooks. Of course, this is easier to coordinate with friends, but it’s difficulty in solo games doesn’t make it any less of a goal. Many times in solo games, the enemy team will be just as uncoordinated and as a result, makes a single person defense of a vital choke or vantage point easier.

 

The Desired Result

The entire point to the strategic control of these areas is simple. To pick someone off without dying yourself. Why is this the desired result? Because 5v6’s suck. A lot. If you can pick off the healer, especially if that healer is a Lucio, then your team is almost guaranteed a victory. Same with the tank, the only people it doesn’t really count for at the low level is DPS, primarily because the chances that they’re doing DPS in the most efficient way is low, whereas healing and hitting Q with a Lucio is not only easy, but game changing. As you climb, the game becomes about picking off anyone as people become better at it, but it’s still about the same result. It’s hard to win a 5v6 and if you can force one then the enemy team either backs off or gets run down and killed, which then staggers the amount of time they can do anything until they can all regroup as a six person unit.

 

The Beauty of it All

What makes all of this so great, and indeed some, including myself, would say makes Overwatch so great is the endless level of depth that can be created from a something so simple. There are many ways to defend these zones, and many ways to break those defenses. These don’t become issues until further up in the ladder where the strategy game is being played on a high level, but when you do see it, in Seagull’s Genji running the walls to look for an out of position backliner or basically any professional Reaper teleporting from vantage point to vantage point, or when you see a Hanzo or Widowmaker camping out watching a particular position and waiting for these people, you’ll know it’s the strategy behind the game coming into play.

 

I hope this article helped someone to understand a little bit more of the thought that goes underappreciated in the worlds newest E-Sport, for more riveting analysis of this game, follow me @TirasCarr on Twitter, or even if you just want to yell at me and tell me I’m an ignorant clod, follow me anyway, I entertain that too! Until next time, keep improving Overwatch-ers!

The Implications of an Overwatch League

At this point, if you follow professional Overwatch, you’ve heard the news. An Overwatch League is incoming, and it’ll be handled by OGN, the team responsible for the LCK and numerous Starcraft events. Whatever your thoughts are about OGN, the League format is a change to the game that will push it into maturation and has many pros and cons following it, which is something that any fan of Overwatch and E-Sports in general should observe. For the sake of optimism and happiness, we’ll start with the pro’s.

 

The Pro’s

 

Enhanced Exposure: This is probably the most obvious of the pluses for the format. A league means a schedule, and a schedule means the game and teams involved are easier to follow, allowing for more people to watch it, since it ensures that it’ll always be aired at the same time in the same place. More than just enhanced exposure for the League, it’s also more exposure for the teams. You can always watch, for example, CJ Entus play as long as they’re in the League, and people will turn up a lot of the time to see their favorite team play.

 

Easier Regulation: One of the more important points, regulation means total control of how the League is played. This is such a big point because of how much influence an organization like OGN has on E-Sports in general. The way that OGN regulates it’s league is undoubtedly going to have a large effect on how non-league games are played. For example, if OGN decides that every game will be a best of five, expect to see more B05’s in non OGN games in the future. That’s just a small example, this could extend to things like rules, map setups and player bans (Though hopefully we don’t see many banned players).

 

A Possibly Safe Environment For Teams: This one is a little bit harder to explain without context, luckily for us, the LCS exists. Take a look at it, a normal League format with relegation. The thing about that format is that the teams that are relegated are sent to the challenger league, where there isn’t much money, save for the possible A-League (LCS) slot. This means that investors have their pockets hit the moment the team they invested in gets relegated. This OGN run League has the opportunity to prevent this same dynamic and that means a safer environment for the teams, organizations and investors.

 

The Ability To Foster New Talent: This is directly entwined with my previous point. Because of the possibility of a safe environment for the organizations involved, it’s less risky to put newer players in the game as they rise in prominence. In a world in which teams aren’t basically told to disband for a bad season (My American bias is leaking) it’s far less punishing to put in new players to help them gain experience and strengthen them for future use, either by the team in question, or a future team. Regardless of what team they play in, this strengthens the entire League as a result, leading to better teams and a better viewing experience.

 

Improved Spectator Programs and UI: I know there’s going to be someone who defends the spectator UI until their dying breath, but I’m here to say, for many people, it’s really really bad. A league would give more games, and as such, plenty of data to look at and investigate how to better the spectator experience. The game is fast, and that’s not going to change, but I’d look to Counter Strike to prove that a game can have a lot of action and be fast paced and still be a breeze to follow. It’s just a matter of having the technology to do it.

 

Better Practice Tools: The existence of an Overwatch League, and it’s subsequent success would cause Blizzard to create more and better practice tools. With another sandbox fallout having already occurred for a different popular game it’s unlikely that sandbox mode would be held away from Overwatch will people play it at it’s highest level consistently, and the more tools with which to improve, the better for everyone who plays.

 

The Cons

 

The Possibility of Bad Management: This is the other side of easier regulation, and probably the biggest possible negative to a league. Bad management kills leagues, and kills the enthusiasm for them altogether. For example, there are people who just don’t watch LCS anymore since learning that the organizations involved aren’t treated well enough. Bad management is a pretty umbrella concern. If the teams aren’t able to monetize, that’s bad management, if the issues about how the game is played or viewed aren’t addressed (If there are no soundproof booths or production value is lacking) that is bad management or if decisions are made to kill tools that strengthen regions (Such as sister teams in League of Legends) that is bad management. All of those things would be awful, and even worse, since Overwatch OGN has a separate League’s bad publicity to learn from. One might even call it a quite Legendary League.

 

A Possible Weakening of the Scene Outside of Korea: This isn’t an OGN centric issue, so much as a concern about the result of having a League in general. With so many teams in what will probably quickly become a quite competitive League, the teams not in it will be left behind. This means that teams within the League will simply become powerhouses, and tournaments that aren’t OGN would be stomps for the teams within that League. We’ve seen it with OGN LoL, for those of us that watched it. The Korean League had Best of 3’s for years before North America, or China got them, (Europe still doesn’t have them) and as a result they couldn’t be touched for a long time, once team infrastructure began to develop. A massive concern would be that this happened again in Overwatch, causing the game to become hard to watch, or for some, not worth watching outside of the OGN League due to the difference in strength of the teams involved.

 

 

We’ve reached the end of our list, and while there are more positives than negatives, it’s important to realize exactly how damning those negatives can be if not addressed properly. However, with so few really large negatives in mind, it’s worth noting that OGN and Blizzard have a massive opportunity with this League, OGN gets it’s foot in the door with another massive E-Sports title, and Blizzard becomes a huge contender in the E-Sports market, something they had going for them once, and then never again for a long time.

 

What do you think of this list? Is there something you would add or argue against? Let me know in the comments below or come yell directly at my face on twitter @TirasCarr

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