There are countless guides out there that advertise the best ways to rank up in Overwatch. I guarantee you a lot of them talk about training your mechanical skills on custom maps, or developing a better climbing mentality. Now, those guides are perfectly fine, don’t get me wrong. I just wanted to find a single tip I could use across the hero pool.
I am currently a high Masters flex player. In Overwatch, Platinum is where most of the player base lies. Not too long ago, I floated around the low platinum skill rating and decided that I wanted to see what it took to climb to Masters. I wasn’t particularly skilled at any hero, but didn’t feel that I was inadequate at any hero either.
After scavenging the internet and reading countless articles, the one consistent tip that stuck with me the most was to die less.
Numbers matter in Overwatch
Dying less may seem like an obvious tip at first, but it has more layers than you think. Overwatch is a very push-and-pull game, in which leveraging advantage plays a big role in winning.
Imagine you are playing Reinhardt, and you see this juicy opportunity to charge into the enemy backline. If you get a charge kill on their support, you would’ve swung a huge advantage for your team.
That’s the dream, right?
But in reality, you charged into the enemy without hesitation and died. Of course, there are scenarios where your team can still engage 5 versus 6, but generally, your team would wait for you to respawn. Instead of making a huge play, you’ve allowed the enemy to capture the objective freely, and can’t help your team in any way because you’re dead.
To prevent yourself from making the same mistake and over-committing, think about your life being the most precious resource you have.
A good rule of thumb is to be threatening without always having to risk your life. If the play you want to make has a high risk of you dying, think twice. What you can do instead is to stay alive, and create consistent value for your team by taking space and throwing fire strikes.
This mentality can easily be applied to other heroes. Take Tracer, for example. Bad Tracers are the ones who tunnel-vision onto one target, over-commit a lot of their resources, and die. The most effective Tracers are the ones that stay safe and whittle you down slowly. These Tracers feel almost impossible to kill, because they always seem to know when to escape. They create consistent value while remaining a threat if the opportunity arises.
To reduce your death count, start evaluating why you weren’t able to stay alive after each death and what you could’ve done to prevent it. Doing so will push you away from flaming your team, and you’ll begin to improve as an individual player.
I promise, once you look into it seriously, you will absolutely find areas to improve on.
Numbers don’t lie
Another reason why I believe looking at deaths is a good way to rank up, is because it’s measurable. It’s a statistic that you can easily evaluate by tabbing. You don’t want your death count to be higher than your elimination count: that would very directly show that you’re dying more than you’re contributing. Use this information to guide your tempo and decisions. If you’re dying a lot, it’s time to stop trying hard to win, and instead just try to stay alive.
With that said, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever die and play passively the whole game. Just as overcommitting is a bad thing, playing too passively can be a mistake. There are plenty of occasions where dying isn’t necessarily the end of the world.
Let’s go back to our Reinhardt example.
Say the enemy Reinhardt’s shield broke, and you found an amazing Earthshatter opportunity, slamming everyone into the ground, except for their Roadhog. You got hooked and died to Roadhog, but your team was able to follow up and eliminate everyone you slammed. In this scenario, dying was fine because you chose to take a low-risk, but high-reward play. Yes, you died, but your team was able to eliminate almost everyone else.
In short, make sure your deaths count for something.
Wrapping it all up
Being more aware of how much I die in a game helped evaluate my playstyle. I started thinking about my matchups and it improved my gameplay across every hero. This tip was the easiest one for me to apply, and the one that has stuck with me to this day.
However, remember that to rank up in Overwatch takes a combination of factors. This tip is helpful for reflecting back on your own mistakes and improving your own play, but remember that Overwatch still a team game. Top players incorporate many other things that contribute to their success, such as strong communication and positioning.