Over the past couple of days I’ve been digging into Overwatch’s ranked mode. Having gone through placements (I can’t remember how many matches I won), I landed at around rank 41 (the ranking system is between 0-100). I promptly dropped as low as rank 35 following a few nights of laugh-out-loud gaming with friends. A few days ago I decided that no, I was better than my ranking. And I promptly began my journey to up my rank in Overwatch.

After buckling in and really trying my best, I’m now ranked 50 (and raising). Rank 50 isn’t exactly something to brag about, however I did want to talk about how I rose up through the ranks so quickly past “elo-hell” (which is apparently Rank 40-45).

The key thing to bare in mind is this: if you want to increase your rank quickly then you need to win several games in a row. Doing this will dramatically increase the rate at which you climb the ladder. So with this in mind, here are my five tips to help you win games:

1) Positioning is key

This point is arguably one of the most important on this list. Regardless of what role you play, know where to position yourself. You also need to think about when to position yourself, reacting to your own team’s positioning. Overwatch is a game in which if you misposition yourself by just an inch your entire team can lose the match.

A simple example: if you’re Mercy you don’t want to be standing next to your tank who is receiving a ton of damage because you’ll likely receive splashback damage, or the enemy will focus on you instead. Rather, you should be way further back from the tank you’re healing because out of sight = out of mind.

Let’s dig into a situation a bit less obvious shall we? Let’s say you’re playing as Reaper and your team is defending a point. All of your team is in or around this point defending. Instead of joining your team, and giving the enemy team the potential to ace your team with an AOE assualt, you should be flanking and zoning out select members of the enemy team. For example, if they have a Mercy healing their team then you should sneak around behind the enemy’s front line and take care of her.

The above is a far more advanced tactic which requires timing, however if you can pull it off there’s a very large chance you’ll win the match. It’s important to remember that going for the objective should always be your goal, however look for opportunities where you can use deeper strategy to secure a win for your team.

2) Don’t trickle in

I see this time and time again, especially at the lower elos. In fact this is normally how most teams lose games.

Let’s say your team gets wiped during an teamfight whilst you retreated to heal up. Don’t be a fool and attempt engage the enemy team by yourself. You will die and miss your team’s next offensive (which will put your team at a disadvantage as it’ll be 6v5). Instead, wait for your team to respawn and then attack. Whilst you’re waiting you should be poking (but remember to stay safe) and looking for potential attack opportunities so that when your team does arrive, you’re got a plan to attack.

3) Learn where all of the health packs are on each map and USE THEM

Health packs are really important. Regardless of role, you’re not always going to be near a healer. Learning where all of the health packs are on a map and, perhaps more importantly, actually using them is an important part of Overwatch.

But here’s where things get interesting: try to prioritize getting the health packs on the enemy’s side or in the center of the map. This way you are denying the enemy an important resource. Naturally, be sure to stay safe… there’s no point in going to get an enemy health pack if you die shortly after.

4) If your team composition doesn’t work during the first round, CHANGE IT

When you enter a match, or start a new round, you should choose a character you want to play whilst being mindful of your team’s composition (always try to ensure your team has at least one tank and one healer).

If during the match something isn’t working, maybe you’re dying without getting any kills or your team can’t push to the objective, then don’t hesitate to change your hero to one which you think might better suit both your team and the enemy team’s composition.

The key thing is, only change when you know that it’s you who is letting the side down and you know how you can remedy it. If you’re playing well and doing your job well, then don’t change (as you could be the only thing stopping your team outright losing), instead try to change up your initial strategies.

5) The defense phase is the easiest

Using Bastion is key to winning a defense round

The defense phase of any match is by far the easiest. Setting up a strong defense, be it around a point or the payload, is an easy thing to do provided you ensure you position properly.

During the defense phase you need to playing at your 100% best and you need to be doing everything to ensure that you can block the enemy from winning the round. Always play your best heroes during this round. I can not emphasize enough how much you need to bring your A game to this phase.

Why do you need to bring your A game? Because during the attack phase you might not be able to get very far due to the enemy team having a strong defense. No matter what you do, you may be unable to break through. So take the opportunity during the defense phase to block off the enemy team.

A tip for defending: don’t go for the obvious defense positions. For example, on the Hollywood map there’s an elevator which moves up and down. I frequently see Bastion’s setup on this position, only to get sniped from all angles when things start getting crazy. Instead, try to position yourself inside a building or in a place where you can easily defend the point whilst still being hidden.

Here’s one more bonus tip:

6) Avoid playing high skill champions (in other words, stop playing Genji)

If you’re playing Genji a lot and you’re losing games, it’s because you’re playing Genji.

Genji is great for some situations... others, not so much
Genji is great for some situations… others, not so much

Genji, and heroes like Ana, have a very high skill ceiling. There’s no need for you to play heroes like these when there are other heroes available who can do the same without the require of being a master at finger trickery.

Also, if you keep playing the same hero (regardless of your team’s composition) then you will lose games. You need to be reactive with regard to your hero choice… you can’t just play Reaper 24/7 and expect to win.

That’s it for today! I hope these tips are of some help to players! Just remember, if you’re winning games… keep playing. If you lose two games in a row, then stop playing for a bit and chill out, because if you keep going it ain’t gonna get any better. Good luck!