[OW] Maintaining Momentum

In these clips we see early game momentum in action. YouTube and Twitch Overwatch analyst ‘flame’ here reviews map 1 of Runaway vs LW Blue in the APEX Season 2 semifinals. This is a King of the Hill map, where a team wins by possessing the central point for enough total time. For readers unfamiliar with Overwatch, check the wiki for hero abilities.

In the initial engagement, LW Blue’s Saebyeolbe tries to leverage Tracer’s mobility and damage, quickly crossing to the enemy back line looking to pick off Cox playing the squishy support Ana. The tactic fails, as Cox undoes the damage by grabbing a health pack. As you can see in the video, Saebyeolbe desperately tried to deny the health pack, but being at full health was unable to actually pick it up. He pulls out to rejoin the main fight, but the enemy Winston’s Barrier blocks his damage. LW Blue players all wipe. Of note, LW Blue’s own Winston died to a single shot despite his very tanky hit point pool, knocked off the map to his death by Lucio. The tactical shot dodged the need to eat through Winston’s tankiness. Losing both the 1v1 and the 5v5, LW Blue gets off to a rough start:

“Playing McCree into a good D.Va is really hard, like you see right there they just press forward and there’s nothing they can do about it…I like that they just pressed in; they didn’t have to back up…no reason to give them ground. They (Runaway) have better heroes for engaging so they just engage.”

Flame claims Runaway has stronger engaging heros at this skirmish on LW Blue’s half of the map, and in that there’s only one real mirror-breaker to look at. Both teams field D.Va, Winston, Lucio, Ana, and Tracer at the start of the extended skirmish. The mirror-breaker is Genji for Runaway vs. McCree for LW Blue, setting up a tactical aggro vs control situation. McCree is more of a long range stationary firing platform. He has a hard time escaping from multiple opponents at once, but if guarded can lay down consistent high damage from range. Genji’s damage over time is lower, but he has spike potential against squishy targets and is very mobile. The Genji comp has more tools to win in a close up brawl among the squishies, while the McCree comp has better tools to get ahead in a ranged standoff, using their tanks to defend more often than dive.

LW Blue’s Winston, D.Va, and Tracer started in front screening against the push, with McCree, Ana, and Lucio
coming from the base. Runaway blasts past the front line with their movement abilities, closing on the squishy back line and splitting them from their tanks and Tracer. LW Blue’s Winston, D.Va and Tracer, cut off by the dive, go for the point unsuccessfully. The LW Blue back line, relatively immobile and split from their tanks, falls quickly to the dive:

The LW Blue Tracer ran from and survived the fight above. She spots a window to knock out D.Va’s mech suit and possibly finish off Winston, but his shield barrier keeps him alive with a sliver of health and baits Tracer to her death. Flame rightly notes the importance that Kaiser (the Winston) survived with low hp. In Overwatch, heros ultimates charge more quickly based on the damage dealt, shielded, or healed. Winston’s large but mostly empty HP pool lets Ana and Lucio heal him and power out their ults to help keep the steamroll momentum going. And the momentum does keep going, with Ana using Nano Boost on Genji, who pops his Dragonblade and dives for 4 kills and escapes. The dive knocks back LW Blue’s regroup momentum by another respawn cycle while Runaway is ticking up point control time and charging ults:

Following this point, Runaway needs to mess up and throw away advantage to lose. They do try to throw, losing control of the point briefly while at 99% to winning, but they win the teamfight after respawn and finish the game victorious.

[Meta] Statistics only go so far

There was an insightful digression of flame's that I had cut from the curated clips in my recent Overwatch post. In the cut clip, flame shares his thinking on why the recent harsh criticisms levied against Genji-player Ahran may be unfair, with critics looking only at scoreboard performance while missing important context. With some reservations, I ultimately removed the bit from my write-up as it did not fit the theme or flow of the post. However, I recently came across this article by Australian LoL analyst VolSig that caused me to reevaluate the clip's relevance. VolSig's discussion of the limitations of blindly analyzing with statistics brought to mind flame's worthy critique of Ahran-critics. Ultimately, I feel the point made in the clip merits a highlight:

The power and limitations of statistics is a theme that I expect will crop up again, as analysts in gaming and other fields increasingly turn to big data to make decisions. In this particular case, Ahran's performance needs to be understood through more than just the lens of scoreboard results. Performance statistics are aggregated from specific instances of play, and to really understand their meaning one must take the time to understand the component instances. By directly comparing Ahran to other top Genji players, critics fail to account for important differences in context, including differing personal playstyle, support quality, and team strategy.

[OW] Flame reviews C9 vs AFBlue Match

Overwatch player/caster flame critiques C9's play in a match against AF Blue. Here are a few key moments of analysis.

Both teams field tanks Reinhardt and Zarya and supports Lucio and Ana, characters very strong at the top level on king of the hill maps. Team Cloud9 fills out their remaining two slots with with Roadhog for tank/burst/disruption and Tracer as their single DPS. Team AF Blue instead runs double DPS in the form of Genji and McCree. Flame prefers AF Blue's comp for having more options for ranged (McCree) and close (Genji) DPS, and for having more permutations of ability synergy to enable good engages even without Zarya ultimate. Cloud 9 will need to take out the ranged McCree in order for the close-range Tracer to have openings to threaten the supports, and the Roadhog will need to find successful hooks to be relevant:
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