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Monday, May 2, 2016

Tips, Tactics, and Synergies for Overwatch

Ultimate Synergies / Hero Synergies / Comp

Ultimate Abilities to Synergize (The Wombo Combos)

Zarya : Graviton Surge being an AoE Vacuum is very strong and Combos very well with many heroes, which is why she is considered before Mei and Reinhardt. Below are significantly strong choices. (GS does 22 Damage for 4 Seconds).

**The key to Graviton Surge is baiting the enemy to group up.**

Zarya + Pharah : Self explanatory, Rain justice upon your enemies while they are pulled into hugging eachother. Rockets also deal a lot of damage to vacuum'd targets because of splash damage. (~30 rockets/s ~40-60 per rocket).

Zarya + Junkrat : Although this combo takes a bit more timing and finesse, it can wipe a team quite easily. Grenades are a great add to Graviton Surge (600 Damage).

Zarya + D.Va : Like Junkrat, this combo is harder to land. But if D.Va can line up Self-Destruct Mech with Graviton Surge, there will no longer be an enemy team. (1000 Damage).

Zarya + Reaper : Absolutely devastating when pulled off. Shotgun damage also just benefits from the vacuum effect. Reaper is also a strong baiting tool with his Wraith Form (~600 Damage).

Zarya + Hanzo : Lining up a Dragonstrike in a Graviton surge is a guaranteed teamwipe. Using Scatter shot by itself in a good GS will deal a significant amount of damage (~200 Damage per second).

Zarya + McCree : Lining up a game winning Dead-Eye is much easier with a good Graviton Surge. Another bonus is the charge up time of Dead-Eye gives Zarya time to line up GS (~170 Damage per 1 second casting).

Zarya + Reinhardt + Any of the above : Earthshatter here can be used in two functions. If you need setup for any reason, Earthshatter can provide your team the time to get into position for the Wombo-Combo.  Somehow they all survived? That's perfectly fine if we saved Earthshatter, because we chain it after the Graviton Surge to make cleaning up easy).

Zarya + Mei + Any of the above : For additional control and savage plays, Mei's Blizzard will not only deal a lot of damage, it will add a layer off cc that doesn't overlap with the vacuum (since they can still attack and use abilities during Graviton Surge).

Zarya + Roadhog - See below - Deserves more explanation than just ultimate synergy.

Any combo's not mentioned above may be added later as I think of them, watch pro/community games, or people let me know. However some are not mentioned because they are not as potent as the above when evaluated pound for pound.

Hero and Ability Synergies

Below will mainly be a list of strong heroes in tandem/grouped together. Some may have strong synergies outside what is explained, but I want to keep it short for now!

Soldier: 76 + Widowmaker OR Hanzo : Key here is the synergy between play styles and what they offer. Soldier is strong nuisance and space creator with his high damage and versatility with heals; allowing snipers to have room to get good angles and shots. On the back swing, Widowmaker and Hanzo both offer "wall hacks" to enable Soldier to get maximum value out of his "aim hacks"

Pharah + Mercy : Two aspects make this combo uniquely fun and powerful. Pharah's Jump pack and boosters allow Mercy's Guardian Angelic Descent to give her temporary flight and get away from threats. Additionally the damage boost from Mercy makes Pharah hit like a truck, and her Ultimate become a much scarier threat.

Zarya + Roadhog : This duo has quite a few things going for it and turns out to be very strong in my experience. First off Roadhog is a massive body that ends up taking a lot of damage from anyone shooting anything in his general direction will hurt him. So, when your Zarya best friend bubbles you, its free charge for her. Also, any target that Roadhog could not kill alone when hooked, is definitely dead when Zarya is involved.

Zarya's beam (when charged especially) is very effective at dealing with heroes that are effective at killing Roadhog (i.e. Tracer, McCree, Genji, Because barrier while its active stop any crowd-control effects, and blocks 200 damage).  This gives a lot of freedom for the Roadhog to look for good picks, and guarantees the kills with Zarya's beam. Additionally Zarya offers a decent answer to threats such as Bastion, Torbjorn, and if good aim Snipers like Widowmake and Hanzo with your Alternate fire.

Finally, Recently I learn that Roadhogs Whole Hog, if the right distance away (I haven't tested point blank yet), the push back from it doesn't push hard enough to get the enemy team out of Graviton Surge. This combo when landed is as dirty as any other. I don't know if many compositions could handle this when landed, because even Reinhardt shield can only take so much.

Roadhog + Mei : More synergies exist out side this, but the Hook into freeze ray can be a quick way to generate picks on a king of the hill map like Nepal. However this combo can be used anywhere. Side note, freezing an enemy team and blasting them off a cliff with Roadhog's Whole Hog is very satisfying.

Double Support (Lúcio + Mercy OR Zenyatta) : Usually you avoid Symmetra with Lúcio because you need one throughput healer, but when you are on defense you can have 2 + Symmetra. The power here is that Lúcio is a utility support, giving speed boosts to the team, while being able to keep the group topped off. Mercy or Zenyatta can heal up the target that is taking damage, and amplify the teams damage. Lastly Lúcio's Sound Barrier doesnt overlap with either Mercy resurrect or Zenyatta's Transcendence ultimate. On offense you can use Symmetra, but her tool-kit is definitely better at defense. If you find yourself on a pay-load map her teleporter has offensive potential, and her Sentry's can anchor down the pay-load.

"El Classico" or "The Plague of Quick Match" Reinhardt + Bastion : This is going to be a common at all levels in Overwatch. Reinhardt's barrier creates a large wall of safety for Bastion to rain bullets down on your team. This combo can out right win Control-Point  maps, and can give your team a huge edge on Pay-loads when on the offense.

Zenyatta + Tracer OR Genji : Zenyatta paired with either can quickly devastate a team that is not working together well. Off the bat, Harmony orb is a great way to help top off a Tracer or Genji in danger, or returning from a kill. Although his orbs return after 3 seconds of your ally (for Harmony orb) or enemy (for Discord orb), this still gives some room for the Tracer or Genji to work before losing the orb. On the other side of this, the Discord orb's damage amp makes getting quick kills very easy. the 1.5x damage amp, plus the burst potential from Genji or Tracer will leave even the tankier targets having to respect what is coming. 

Symmetra + Torbjörn : Outside of the very strong synergy of sentrys fortifying the turret, and vice versa. This combo brings another level of difficulty to the offense, when used on defense. The combination of Symmetra's shields, and Torbjörn's armor pack increase any heroes HP pool by 100. In addition to that, 75 of that is armored and will mitigate damage, 25 is shielded and will rechard when not taking damage. Using these two in tandum to fortify a control point, or pay-load will make the offense consistently wonder why its so hard to kill your team, if they even get past the sentries and turret!


Protect El Presidente

This is going to be very common and painful to deal with during the open beta, so be prepared. (If you need help countering Bastion himself see this guide).

The composition has a core part that cannot change, and some parts that we can tinker with to meet the games demands. First our core 3 heroes need to be : Bastion + (Reinhardt OR Winston) + Mercy. The core strategy is very straight forward, get Bastion into a good position (If its Pay-load: on it, Control-point: near or on it). Here either Winston or Reinhardt can use their Barrier abilities to escort the Bastion. Mercy is going to be tagging along and ensuring the safety of both to get onto the point.

Once Bastion is able to setup in Sentry Configuration, the hardest part is over. From here Bastion is able to dominate his opponents, while Reinhardt keeps him safe with the Barrier. Similar to when we were getting our Bastion setup, the Reinhardt players need to focus on where the enemies are coming from and how best to protect the Bastion. Remember that Bastion is going to take up a lot of their attention, so do not fear death and create space. When properly done, this will create large windows of opportunity for Bastion.

Mercy's job is amplifying the Bastion to make every kill that much easier. If the enemy team begins to threat the life of your Bastion or Reinhardt, your 50Hps (Health points per Second) can sustain through a decent amount of damage. Besides healing and amping, which is normally Mercy's core duties, you need to stay alive. In some ways Mercy's life matters more than Bastion, because if she does go down the enemy team is going to have a much easier time killing Bastion. Be ready for teams to hunt you down, as you are the lynch-pin in the strategy. This can be used to our advantage by baiting the enemies into overextending through Bastions arch of fire.

As for the other 3 heroes in this composition, there is a lot you can work with. If you are running this on the offense Lúcio is a very strong addition as your second support. His speed boost will allow you to get onto Pay-loads very quickly; as well his AoE healing keeping the squad topped off allows Mercy to focus heal and amp more often.

If you are on Defense Symmetra is a strong choice over Lúcio. Using her Sentry's to fortify the position where Bastion is setup will make it that much more difficult to get to Bastion, or isolate the Mercy. Additionally her 25 additional shields will make the minor difference you need in close engagements. If you are specifically defending a Control-Point, her teleporter allows the "Secret Service" protecting Bastion to quickly return after death.

Do not see Symmetra and Lúcio as mutually exclusive choices, in some itterations of this strategy having both is better than just one. Additionally, sometimes Lúcio is the better pick on defense, and Symmetra on offense. This is the "flex-support" position, and should be ready to switch to meet the games demands.

Finally for the last two Heroes we are looking to pick up the "BodyGuards." In the video to the right at 45:12 (of the tournament VoD). You will see one of the first games Cloud 9 brought this strategy out in pro play. Here they choose to bring out Zarya instead of a second support. This is always an option for this composition because her Particle Barrier is a great way to protect key members like Bastion or Mercy; as well as Graviton Surge plus Configuration Tank from Bastion will most times result in a team wipe. For the last two heroes you have the two Widowmakers, the snipers of this secret service. Their job is a Widowmakers dream: get setup in the back/high ground and support the Bastion. The reason this is a dream job for Widow's is Bastion should be what the enemy team fixates on (after all hes just a turret-tank on a pay-load, whats more frustrating?) This gives you a lot of physical map room to work with, as well as being the second thought for the enemy. Having at least strong Widowmaker will make this composition absolutely disgusting.

What if we do not play Widowmaker? There are a few choices for the two Bodyguards that are better than others, but this doesn't mean you cant experiment!

A. Tracer can function as a huge distraction and pick off machine. Use her to get behind the enemies as they attempt to push on the El Presidente, quickly dispatch of key targets such as Mercy, Widowmaker, Soldier: 76, etc. Even if your picks are not successful, forcing them enemy team to turn around and deal with you will give Bastion an opportunity to mow them down.

B. Hanzo functions almost identically to Windowmaker, but currently in the professional Meta-Game, this hero is seen as weaker vision of Widow. That being said, hes still very strong. Climbing up walls and cliffs offers you the same high ground advantage. His Sonic arrow can offer a more consistent vision hack (especially with two Hanzo's alternating usage of it). Scatter shot is good a damaging and spammable ability. Lastly his Ultimate if paired with Zarya or alone can wipe an entire team.

C. McCree in this strategy he will play a lot like Tracer, but closer to the team. Where as Tracer has the mobility to flank and create discord; McCree offers better crowd control in the heat of engagements, and potentially more burst damage with his secondary fire. Additionally his roll can be used similar to Tracer's Blink but has a higher risk of back firing. Dead-Eye by itself wins games, so if you are picking him up in this composition consider him mainly for his non-ultimate tool-kit.

D. Soldier: 76 is by far the most versatile hero in this spot. He can offer a little bit of the fight presence a McCree does, without the crowd-control element. He can flank and create discord. His damage is stronger than most, and is quite reliable. The biggest benefit of Soldier is his self healing; this can benefit your team but primarily it frees up your supports time to focus on Bastion or Reinhardt. Finally his ultimate used properly can not only kill an entire team, but zone and create space for the pay-load to advance.

E. Reaper will work very similar to Tracer and Soldier: 76. His high mobility with Wraith Form and Shadow Step allow you to get behind the enemy quickly and quietly. Reaper's high damage output up close with his shotguns also helps a lot when the Bastion is under extreme pressure. If Reaper himself becomes the target, Wraith Form always doubles as a strong escape. Topping it all off, like Dead-Eye and Tactical Visor, Death Blossom can zone to great effect as well as outright wipe a team.

Zarya Wombo Combo

I will reiterate this throughout the strategy discussion, but these are your core pillars to victory when running Wombo-Combo. Never waste your key ultimates. The best Wombos are done either through baiting the fight or on the backswing of a fight. Protect your core Combo Heroes.

As it stands, Zarya is pound for pound the best teamfight setup we have so far. While the likes of Earthshatter and Blizzard do control an enemy team very well via stuns, neither has a vacuum effect like Graviton Surge. This is critical because landing your abilities while enemy team is scrunched together is easier than hitting multiple stunned targets that are more spread out. Until there are some patches or new heroes, this strategy will assume Zarya is your go to setup, however I will briefly cover Reinhardt and Mei below.

Pillar 1. Thou shall waste thine ultimate. This is more the case than ever if you are playing the Zarya. Timing your ultimate is everything, luckily there are some key indicators and thoughts that can help us line it up. First, one of the highest impact times to let out a Graviton Surge is when the enemy team is pushing on you. Naturally this is when they will group up the most to give their push more power. This is also ideal because it doesn't necessar
Secondly, as Zarya it is imperative you are aware of your follow ups status. First, know where they are, and how fast they can react to your play. If you land a 5 man Graviton Surge, but your Pharah had died a few seconds before this, you are going to have a bad time. Watch your teammates, and watch how they react to the enemy. This includes being aware of their ultimate charges. The later the match gets it becomes more important your ultimate is sync'd with your follow up damage - this is where wasting an ultimate can become an issue.

Pillar 2. Crouching tiger hidden Graviton Surge. As shortly mentioned above, there a few simpler ways to setup Wombo Combo's. First is when the enemy is advancing on you looking to fight. Naturally they group, and focus on the ensuing fight than their positioning. Like in MobA's, this is THE ideal time to catch the whole enemy team.

Under the above caption is a link to Cloud-9 using a Graviton surge to win a fight and secure the pay-load. Even though they have an ultimate disadvantage, they manage to win the fight Because Zarya waits for them to push out to them at 43:05, and vacuums up the two Winstons preventing them from causing any havoc. Even when Mercy rezzes both of the Winstons, they no longer have their Primal Rages, and the tempo of the fight quickly slips into Cloud-9s favor.

However if they are playing with good game sense and staying spread out to avoid the Wombo, consider simple baits. Using Heroes like Winston to leap at the enemy, create discord, and leap back towards your team will manipulate their positioning; potentially where they even commit to a full engagement forgetting about your GS. There are other Heroes and methods to preform a bait and these opportunities will arise throughout your games. This is where the Zarya player has to be the crouching tiger, and pounce the moment the enemy has miss-stepped.

Pilllar 3. Zarya is love, Zarya is life. Of course protecting your Support, or key damage heroes should always go without saying. However when you are running a Wombo Combo strategy, one of the quickest ways to lose is never getting off your Combo. If  Pharah and Zarya are your primary Wombo, having both alive matters more than objectives; almost. The players supporting the Zarya + 1 , have to pay extra mind to where their teammates are, and what the enemy team wants to do to stop them. As a last resort, you should always treat your life as expendable if you can create the space for the Wombo to go off, or if your Zarya or Damage follow up is under grave threat.

Be clear, importance in a composition is not an excuse to forget the basics. As Zarya or Pharah, the job of protecting you primarily falls on you. The enemy team, if aware of your intentions, will do everything to kill you, hunt you down and kill you again. Think ahead and work with your team to use this your advantage. When you are under pressure, and the enemy team is intent on kill you, there is a lapse in the enemies gameplan: They want to kill you more than they want to live. If you can survive by juking or getting peels from your teammates, you will have a large window to land your Graviton Surge.

Goggles and Glasses (Reinhardt, McCree Variant) - Write up on this soon!


Professional gameplay thanks to ONOG and GosuGamers
Professional players and teams profiles


  1. i love your content, keep it up. i think you inspired me to write about teamcomps during the overwatch downtime :)

    1. Thank you! I can't express how much this mean! I will continue to get the content out to you guys!