A beginner’s guide to competitive Overwatch

The second year of the Overwatch League starts on February 14, with the first match being a between the inaugural season champions, the London Spitfire, and their defeated foes, the Philadelphia Fusion.

If you’re looking forward to checking out this new season, but are somewhat new to the Overwatch League, there are some terms that might be confusing.

What does a hero being hitscan or projectile mean, and why does it matter? What the hell is a Pharmercy, and why does everyone keep talking about GOATS? What is the meta, and why does it keep changing?

For the last question, let’s throw to the Overwatch League.

The casters and analysts will be using a lot of different terms throughout the season that might be unfamiliar. Here’s a quick primer of most common ones you’ll need to know.

Terms you need to know

GOATS, Dive, Beyblade, and Pharmercy – these are all various ways to describe different Metas. GOATS (greatest of all time) is popular right now, and consists of three tanks and three support characters, often Lucio, Brigitte, Moira, Reinhardt, Roadhog, and D.Va.  

Beyblade - When you nano-boost a Reaper with his ultimate and them let him go to town like a death dealing top.

Dive- When players will quickly dive into the backline (you’ll see this a lot with Tracer and Genji) in order to kill a backline support hero.

Pharmercy - When a Pharah and a Mercy fly around in the sky endlessly raining down rockets on the enemy team.

Hitscan – Heroes like McCree, Ashe, and Widowmaker are all hitscan heroes. This means that when you pull the trigger, you know instantly if you hit the enemy or not. There is no lag or travel time for the damage.

Projectile – Heroes like Soldier 76, Genji, and Pharah are projectile heroes. When you pull the trigger, your shot has to physically travel and hit the enemy. So make sure to lead your targets, or you’ll take longer than one aKm Blade worth of time to charge your own ult.

aKm Blade – A meme from the first season of OWL about how long it took Dylan “aKm” Bignet to charge his ultimate when he played on Genji.

This video explains it nicely:

Ult Economy – Team fights at the professional level revolve heavily around the use of ultimate abilities and how efficiently the teams use them. If a team is able to use only two ultimates to defend an attack that used five, the team that used two has a better ult economy.

Flicking – You’ll hear flicking most often when the focus is on a Widowmaker. It’s when the player rapidly drags the crosshair over the enemy model and shoots. The movement will look erratic and almost random as the Widowmaker goes in and out of scoped mode, but it really isn’t. You can check out some flicks in the video below. The flick from Jiri “Linkzr” Masalin at around 1:50 is especially good.

Booping – Heroes like Lucio, Pharah, and D.Va have abilities that can push you off the map or around. This is commonly referred to as booping.

Baby D.Va or Baby – When D.Va is out of her mech she is quite small, which is why everyone refers to her as baby D.Va. Pros will call out “baby, baby, baby” when they’re targeting D.Va out of her mech.

C9 – Another meme that spawned from Cloud9. A team chases off the enemy at the expense of not capping the point or pushing the payload, and subsequently loses. If you want a more in-depth look into C9ing and want to see it in action, check out the video below.

Stagger – When a team has won a fight and are cleaning up kills, you’ll sometimes see them wait to kill the last player. Why? Because it staggers the respawn timers and forces the enemy team to wait those few extra seconds to respawn. Likewise, if a team fight is lost, you may see players simply jump off the map so they can respawn with their team.

Stall and Stall Heroes – Heroes like Mei and Lucio who are good at stalling the timers. Their abilities allow them to waste time by themselves in order to let the rest of their team catch up so they can properly contest a point.

Teams to watch

With 20 teams now in the Overwatch League, check out our other post on the new teams here. It’s going to be challenging to follow every team closely; but these are a few that you should definitely pay attention to.

The Vancouver Titans are one of the new teams coming into OWL and have a high chance of being successful. Why? The team is formerly team RunAway from the Korean Contenders scene. Unlike the other news teams, the Titans know how to play together, which gives them a huge advantage over teams that are putting together a new roster. The players trust each other, and they have tournament wins under their belt already, winning Season 2 and 3 in Korean Contenders.

The Shanghai Dragons had a disastrous first season. There’s simply no other way to describe going 0-40. It was so bad that teams were purposely practicing to not lose to the Dragons so they weren’t the team that gave them the one win. But after a year of losing, the Dragons have learned a lot. Not to mention they were looking really good at the end of the first season.

This year they’ve completely rebuilt their roster, with the exception of Weida “Diya” Lu and Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim. Diya is the only non-Korean on the team so the communication problems the Dragons had last year should not be an issue.

The Paris Eternal are going to be another team to watch. They’ve built a stellar lineup to compete in Season 2. Their tank line may be the biggest problem, though. Both Roni “LhCloudy” Tiihonen and Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait are new to the Overwatch League, and that could be a big disadvantage that other teams may exploit.

As for the rest of the Eternal, they’ve got some amazingly talented DPS players with former LA Valiant player Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and former Philadelphia Fusion player George “ShaDowBurn” Guscha. For their supports, Harrison “Kruise” Pond will be the one to watch. He was complimented on his play in the Overwatch World Cup as the player that gave Team South Korea the most problems.

Your powerhouses for the second season of the Overwatch League will be the London Spitfire, the New York Excelsior, the Philadelphia Fusion, and the LA Valiant, with the other returning teams following close behind them.

To watch the Overwatch League when it airs on February 14, head over to Overwatchleague.com.