Yesterday, The Game Haus explored the best damage Hero (or Heroes) at the bottom two SR ranks. Recommending a Hero and a skill to work on to help improve and push past a specific ELO becomes more challenging as the overall skill of the competition improves. A majority of the Overwatch player base will find themselves in either gold or platinum. The 50th percentile typically falls just above the 2,500 mark.
This is the most difficult climb in Competitive Overwatch. This is where most players plateau. Working on the skills mentioned for both bronze and silver should not be overlooked, but the skills focused on at these ranks will be a bit more mechanical. Game sense is always vital, but to climb out of the middle SRs, mechanical skill becomes increasingly necessary as a DPS.
The best damage Hero picks in the middle ELOs will focus on building mechanical skills, without being overly reliant on them. The most important thing about these tips is you can always improve. Even Overwatch League players progress their map knowledge (a skill focused on for bronze players in Part 1), just in different ways.
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Best Damage Hero in Gold: Pharah or Hanzo
Both of these Heroes incorporate the primary mechanical skill of aiming, without being over reliant on it. Pharah has splash damage. Hanzo has the definitely balanced Storm Arrows. In the current shield meta, Pharah can be a nightmare. Both Sigma and Orisa utilize static shields so a well placed Concussive Blast from the sky can dislodge an enemy and push them into your teams’ sightlines. This is also a phenomenal tool on maps with environmental kill potential.
Hanzo is a bit safer as pick as he can play behind shields more effectively. This is a large reason he has found his way into the current professional meta. Both Heroes are classified as “Projectile DPS” meaning that their primary fire has a travel time from when it is used to when it hits.
What to Work On: Angles & Accuracy
Hanzo and Pharah both sit at 200 hit points. Both can be burst down very quickly when left exposed. This makes learning angles your first objective. With Hanzo you have the luxury of being able to stay behind the main tank and let arrows fly. You should also get accustomed to utilizing Sonic Arrow to locate enemies coming through doorways or around corners and having an arrow flying at them before they even see you.
With Pharah, angles are your best friend. Using Jump Jets to gain altitude and fire rockets down on the opposition leaves Pharah very exposed. Use your Hover Jets to move back and forth from behind cover and find the best angles to hit the enemy from. Important Note: Concussive Blast also pushes you. Use this ability to quickly reposition across open area and change your firing position greatly or retreat to cover.
Angles are also an offensive weapon for Pharah. Firing from above a target makes the ground into a backstop, so even without a direct hit, explosive damage will take effect. Firing around shields or absorb abilities (D.Va’s Defense Matrix or Sigma’s Kinetic Grasp) can put splash damage onto otherwise unhittable targets. A Pharah player should also learn the angles that Concussive Blast will push enemies to prime her next strike.
These two give players the ability to really hone in on accuracy with less consequence to their team if they struggle. While traditional ranged hitscan Heroes (Widowmaker, Mcree, Soldier, & Ashe), will focus purely on improving accuracy, if a player isn’t hitting shots with these characters, they provide little benefit. With Pharah splash damage maxes out at 65. Hitting a target directly adds an additional 55 impact damage.
Hanzo is a bit less forgiving. He benefits from having a wall-hack ability in Sonic Arrow and a shield-break ability in Storm Arrows. Otherwise, Hanzo will need to be hitting shots to affect a game. No reload on his Storm Bow (primary fire) means that a player should consistently send shots into the opposing team. Celebrate accidental headshots and eventually, they will become intentional.
Counterplay: Is the Hitscan Good?
Hanzo’s counterplay is fairly straightforward. Players will want to get close to the elder Shimada brother and force him to brawl. Pop Storm Arrows and look for headshots. Otherwise, a Hanzo should stick to his main tank to avoid getting isolated.
Pharah is much more counterable. The hitscan heroes mentioned above are all considered Pharah counters. The key to knowing when to switch is not when they have these Heroes, but when they are playing them well. An opposing DPS may automatically switch to hitscan in order to take on a Pharah, but the player still needs to hit shots. If a Pharah forces a team to switch and then outduels the hitscan, the match should effectively be decided.
Important note: If a team is playing a healing combination that cannot heal Pharah consistently (Lucio, Moira or Baptiste) she is a dangerous choice.
Best Damage Hero in Platinum: Bastion
Making it to platinum should be considered an accomplishment. A player at this ELO is in at least the top half of the player base. Some combination of higher mechanical skill and game sense is expected from this point forward. But there is always more to work on. The thoughts behind the best damage hero pick at this rank, revolves around forcing the opposing team to work together to counter you. A rare skill in almost all ranks.
The recommendation of Bastion as the best damage hero in platinum here will seem like an odd choice. He is a hero that seems fairly straightforward. The pure damage in Configuration: Sentry is the highest in the game for a primary fire. In platinum, teams will typically begin having more cohesion and hero synergy, yet still not enough to counter a good bunker. Utilizing a Bastion in bunker compositions or pirate ships can force opponents to play attempting to counter your composition.
What to Work On: Tracking & Positioning
The first skill to work on with Bastion is positioning. There are many locations that overlap with Torbjorn’s turret placements outlined in the bronze guide, but Bastion will need to have more defensible positions. The most vital aspect of positioning with Bastion is movement. Configuration: Sentry makes him immobile so changing positions forces the enemy team to make adjustments.
Being predictable as a Bastion is the most common mistake. Even when running a pirate ship, changing positions on the payload or even occasionally moving to high ground while teammates push the payload will force the other team to scramble even more. Positioning seems like an overwhelmingly simple aspect to a game that can often be incredibly complex. But mastering subtle nuances of where to be and when to be there is a vital skill. And Bastion is a perfect hero to emphasize the importance of that skill.
Tracking is another pure mechanical skill to emphasize here. While in Configuration: Sentry a player can no longer headshot opponents making tracking these players even more key. Many of the Heroes commonly utilized against Bastion possess the ability to move erratically. Following their movements with your crosshair will melt their health bar. This skill translates exceptionally well to beam Heroes (Symmetra and Zarya) and some dive Heroes (Tracer and Sombra).
Counterplay: Bunker Breakers
The big counters to look out for when playing Bastion are traditional shield breakers or Sombra. Sombra will constantly attempt flanks and get the hack off while Bastion is planted. The best way to counter this is by spy checking regularly. This entails blindly firing at potential flanks to expose a stealthed Sombra. When she does manage to secure a hack, communicating to teammates to turn on her will make it a moot point. Her ultimate, however, will remain potentially devastating.
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The most common shield breakers currently are Hanzo, Junkrat, and Roadhog. All of these heroes also have burst potential when there is no shield protection. This is where positioning will be the counter. Making certain these Heroes have to find Bastion regularly and do not have easy flanking angles will force them to play passively in fights. Hanzo and Junkrat will also target Bastion with every single ultimate. Do not be tilted by this.
When the voice line for Hanzo’s Dragonstrike plays, transform to Configuration: Recon and begin using Self-Repair. Move away from the bunkered location and, once clear of the dragons, switch back to Configuration: Sentry until safe. Then re-establish positioning. With Junkrat, simply track his location. When he pulls RIP-Tire, knowing where it is coming from as Bastion will result in being immediately dispatched.
At this point a player will have a very good understanding of the Heroes of Overwatch and the skills needed to continue advancing. Practice will always be important to continue improving. Keep an eye out for the final recommendations for best damage hero at high SRs this week!
The best damage Heroes for bronze and silver can be found here.
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