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Esports Overwatch

The Evolution of Widowmaker in the Overwatch League

The evolution of Widowmaker play in the Overwatch League is rather interesting. Pick rates still sit around 30% for all maps, but her presence league-wide is felt. Teams with strong Widowmakers almost seemingly have a leg up over the rest of the competition due to how dangerous of a character she is at the hands of Overwatch professionals

Consider this, according to Winston Lab, Widowmaker currently sits as the sixth most picked hero in the Overwatch League. Of the top six heroes, Widowmaker is the only one with a positive rating overall and has the highest percentage of team kills. Even if she’s a map dependent hero, the threat of a strong Widow on the opposing team changes the entirety of a teams gameplan.

The power of Surefour’s mother is taking him over the top. Photo via Los Angeles Gladiators twitter

However, it helps to have players like Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim or Lane “Surefour” Roberts. Two players who are known for their pure aiming skill and put that to good use on Widow. For both players, it was a struggle to find playing time when trying to find a role on their teams. It wasn’t until Widow became a more frequent pick that both broke out and earned more playing time.

Looking back, the uptick in Surefour’s Widow picks has shown steady improvement in his play and the play of his teammates (well that and having Fissure boop everyone with primal rage). In the Gladiator wins, Surefour is successful at finding the backline and making teams pay for leaving supports exposed. Surefour’s got the most player of the match titles on the Gladiators and most of those of his Widow play.

So what do Surefour and Pine getting more run on Widowmaker mean for the rest of the league? It means coaching staffs are finding new ways to incorporate Widow. She’s becoming more of a threat through better positioning and the constant improvement on players landing critical shots. Fans knew Florida Mayhem’s Jeong-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha had incredible aim, but sitting on a 33% critical hit percentage is shocking. It’s the best in the league by a wide margin.

Widowmakers to watch

The best Widowmaker is a revolving door of a handful of players that seemingly changes each day. It’s either Chang-hyun “Fissure” Baek calling Surefour the best Widowmaker or the nightly show put on by Pine, the Outlaws Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin, or Fusion’s Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, it’s nearly impossible to choose. Each player has their own Widow play-style, and at any given moment can pop-off with headshots.

If you’ve ever dabbled with Widowmaker, the feeling one gets when the sound of the headshot rings out like a sharp bell is almost intoxicating. That sound ignites a fire under the player and as the adrenaline starts pumping, momentum starts to build. All the top Widow’s can end team fights with two shots easily, and go on a rampage of quick-twitch critical shots. The ones who best exemplify this would be Pine or Carpe, but each of the best Widow’s has this ability.

The Patient Widow

Now, let’s get specific, focusing on a few aspects that make the best Widowmakers the best, and what makes her more of a concern in the league overall. Let’s start by looking at the best players in final blows to deaths per 10 minutes on Widow. At the top is the Seoul Dynasty’s Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim, a player not known for his Widow play, but has a staggering 2.48 final blow to death ratio with 110+ minutes played. Fleta’s positioning is world class and these numbers speak for themselves, however, despite leading the league by a wide margin, he’s only sixth in total playtime on Widow. The Dynasty are still not fully committing to Fleta on Widowmaker, but he’s earning more as the season continues.

The Explosive Widow

Switching to Carpe, he’s got 35 more minutes played on Widowmaker than anyone, but his final blow to death ratio is only good for fifth. Yes, playing more will average out the numbers, but Carpe’s shown to be in the more explosive group than Fleta who stays alive longer. Carpe is willing to get the best angle possible even if he’s left exposed foregoing safer positioning. Carpe’s more in-line to make fight winning plays, but will also be subject to dives and focus fire.

The Duel Widow

The two sub-categories for Widowmakers fall into one of those two camps usually with some variations. In the case of LiNkzr, who’s known to many as the league’s best Widow, he smothers opposing Widowmakers. He forces duels and prioritizing opposing Widow’s over supports. LiNkzr through the three stages so far is winning Widow duels at an astounding rate. On average per 10 minutes, he lands a staggering 3.48 kills on Widow. The next closest player is Carpe at 2.2 kills. But LiNzkr only sits at a 1.41 final blow ratio on every other hero.

The debate over best Widow will never stop, it will only intensify as these players get better aim and strategies. Outside of the names mentioned above, newer additions are starting to carve up opposing teams on WIdowmaker. The Shock’s Min-ho “Architect” Park is already proving himself to be one of the best Widow’s with a 1.89, good for the third-best ratio (Surefour has a 1.90) in the league. Architect is finding playing time because he’s been so effective in the small amount of playing time he’s received.

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Feature photo via Overwatch League Twitter

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