We asked eight Overwatch League pros—Hyo-Bin “Choihyobin” Choi (San Francisco Shock), Hong-Jun “Hotba” Choi (Guangzhou Charge), Tae-Hong “Meko” Kim (New York Excelsior), Jun-Woo “Void” Kang (Los Angeles Gladiators), Gael “Poko” Gouzerch (Philadelphia Fusion), Jun-Ho “Fury” Kim (London Spitfire), Min-Hyuk “Michelle” Choi (Seoul Dynasty), and Indy “Space” Halpern (Los Angeles Valiant)—for tips on how to play and dominate as D.Va. Here’s what they said:
TIPS FOR NEW D.VA PLAYERS
Choihyobin: D.Va’s kit is important, especially her rocket Boosters and Defense Matrix. I recommend that beginners learn how both work by trying them a lot. Because with D.Va, you’re pretty much able to capture any position you want with the flexibility of her Boosters.
Hotba: First, you have to use Defense Matrix for your teammates. That’s the most important thing.
Meko: When your boost is about to end, you have to make sure you’re in a safe place and not in the middle of enemies.
Void: I think D.Va should try to block damage and ults. It is very important to communicate with your team.
Poko: I think you have to realize that you don’t go for the big plays. You are basically a support tank. There is always a lot to think about in playing aggressively and defensively.
Fury: The most important thing to recognize is that D.Va’s position within a team is not as a main tank that is going to be soaking up bullets. Neither is she going to be a backline support that is going to hang back with the team. She is supposed to be in the middle of your formation, making sure that you are flexible.
Michelle: Positioning is the most important thing to focus on.
Space: I think the most important thing is your Boosters. The best way to look at it for a beginner—and how I like to think as a professional—is to look at what kind of space you can take with your abilities. Also, what objectives can you control without using anything. You kind of add it together and think, “I can use Boosters here, Missiles here, and use Self-Destruct here.” You want to min-max on the hero itself so you can see your mistakes.
HOW TO PRACTICE
Choihyobin: In terms of getting familiar with her, I don’t really practice her too much. I look at a lot of film.
Hotba: Very simple—I just play ranked a lot.
Meko: Personally, I never practiced mechanics. For beginners, one mechanic you need to learn is that while using your mouse, make sure that you go 180 degrees when you turn. You have to get used to how your screen changes.
Michelle: When you use Self-Destruct, you’ll have to be able to predict where it’s going to land. Also, when you connect Missiles with Boosters, you should be able to connect that smoothly for instant damage. You can practice with bots before using it in-game.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF D.VA’S MOBILITY
Choihyobin: With D.Va, since she’s so mobile, you want to position yourself where the opponent can’t target you—but where you can target them.
Hotba: The most important thing to remember about her Boosters is to take a good position and to be in the right place for the teamfight. Also, using it to bump enemies away to set up other abilities or to push them out of position.
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Meko: D.Va’s ability is different. You get to choose exactly where to go and how to get there, so I use it to take high ground or wherever is annoying for the enemy.
Void: I have boosters, so I can get on high ground really easily. They either have to back up and deal with me or ignore me and take damage. I can block damage for Zenyatta, Zarya, and Reinhardt, too—so we fight longer.
Poko: Boosters are really good at taking position and high ground. You pretty much want to be annoying and make it easier for your team to take a fight.
Fury: I think the most important thing to keep in mind is how you use your Boosters because they can be really flexible in how you use them to your team’s advantage. For example, you can use Boosters to knock enemies off high areas, so you can win the war of attrition and make sure you take control of the map. Sometimes you can just use it to damage people or push the enemy Reinhardt into your team and try to kill him.
Michelle: The unique advantage with D.Va’s mobility is that you can actually deal damage with it and during it. Also, because of the short cooldown, you can switch your position easily to put pressure on the other team.
BEST WAYS TO USE DEFENSE MATRIX
Choihyobin: Right now, it’s 3-3 meta, so you want to eat Grav or at least be in a position where the enemy Zarya is paying attention to you—to annoy her.
Hotba: The most important thing about Defense Matrix is to always know where the enemy is, so that you can cover for your teammates.
Meko: With Matrix, you should try to eat the enemy’s strongest projectile, like Reinhardt’s Fire Strike or Ana’s Biotic Grenade.
Void: You want to use it to protect your team, not yourself.
Poko: Defense Matrix is most important to use on abilities like Fire Strike, Biotic Grenade, Sleep Dart, and obviously Graviton Surge. It lasts just two seconds now, so it is very difficult to use—but you can still play mind games with it.
Fury: For Defense Matrix, it’s a lot easier when you think about when your opponents will want to use certain abilities like Fire Strike and Biotic Grenade. When you think about their cooldowns and how they will be used, it’s a lot easier to Matrix them. Once you get used to it, you can start using it against Graviton Surge as well.
Michelle: By using Defense Matrix, you are able to eat poke damage easily from the opposing team. Using it to eat things from long range is really good.
Space: The biggest thing for beginners is focusing on ult tracking because that’s one of the biggest things in Overwatch. Once you ult track, you get better at using Defense Matrix.
GETTING THE MOST FROM SELF-DESTRUCT
Choihyobin: If you’re going against a DPS comp, it’s pretty easy to get kills, so you want to aim for a group that’s bunched up. But in the 3-3 meta, you don’t necessarily use it to get kills—but to disrupt the enemy comp or counter their aggression.
Hotba: Firstly, the way the map is organized is important. You have to know all the obstacles. Another way to learn how to use a D.Va bomb is to review other players and how they use it. This will help new D.Va players a lot.
Meko: I recommend that people go on YouTube and look up what Poko does. You can learn the angles to be effective with your Self-Destructs.
Void: It is best as a combo. You can also throw a bomb and then have your team rush.
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Poko: You have to watch the enemy cooldowns. I used to launch “Poko Bombs’” in dive meta compositions. I was focusing on Winston’s Barrier Projector because if he had it, it was going to be really tough for me to get a good Self-Destruct. I just throw the Self-Destruct in a way that they can’t run away... and if they go forward their supports will be split from the team. They can use Graviton Surge to engage on us, but it won’t be a very good fight. For us, we can push forward aggressively and look for a messy fight. Sometimes you catch a lot of people, but now it is more team-oriented. I’m going to wait for my Zarya to have Graviton Surge, throw my bomb in the air, my Lúcio is going to use Soundwave, Reinhardt is going to charge, or Brigitte will bash. If we all do it well together, we’ll have a good combo.
Fury: Generally, it’s best to use Self-Destruct for your teammates—like creating space or re-meching. But for newcomers, it would be best used by waiting out the enemies shields so they no longer have the protection. If you wait for that chance to get a big Self-Destruct, you’ll generally get a lot of kills.
Michelle: You just know. You get the feeling, so it’s kind of hard to explain. You get the feeling and you do it.
Space: D.Va’s ult is kind of a hard one because it doesn’t get that much value on its own. The best thing you can do is set up a combo with Graviton Surge, Earthshatter, or Lúcio’s Soundwave. I like to communicate when and where it’s going to explode. The worst thing a player can do is use Self-Destruct and not say anything. If you use Self-Destruct, you should always call it even if you threw a bad bomb. As long as you communicate, your teammates will be able to figure out where to push and what space they can take. It’s a really good area-controlling ultimate even if you don’t get kills.
BEST ULTS TO PAIR WITH SELF-DESTRUCT
Choihyobin: Obviously, the most popular ultimate to use it with is Graviton Surge—but I like to use it with Brigitte’s Rally and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter.
Hotba: Graviton Surge!
Meko: Earthshatter, Graviton Surge, or even Orisa’s Halt! Anything with crowd control is really good.
Poko: Graviton Surge is the best ultimate since everyone is stuck in the same place. Reinhardt’s Earthshatter is also good because you can throw the Self-Destruct behind the enemy Reinhardt while yours uses Earthshatter for a huge combo.
BALANCING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
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Choihyobin: Most of it has to come from communication. If I see that they’re low, I’ll go peel for them—but if we’re rushing, I’ll just mark a target and play aggressively.
Meko: It depends on a lot of things, like what comp they’re running. If the enemy team is running dive, you have to peel and be in your backline more. But if we’re diving, you get to be aggressive.
Fury: You need to be able to recognize what to do in certain situations. D.Va is tricky because sometimes you should primarily use Defense Matrix to protect your team, but sometimes you need to keep shooting to gun down enemies.
COUNTERING OPPONENT ULTS AND ABILITIES
Choihyobin: If your team rotates, then obviously you want to peel for your team—but if you’re in a fight or skirmish, you want to watch out for something like Ana’s Biotic Grenade.
Hotba: First of all, when you play mind games with Zarya, D.Va inherently has a disadvantage. To overcome that disadvantage, you need to get a lot of experience and believe in your feelings when you play the game.
Meko: I listen to the sound that the hero makes after using their ultimate and use my Defense Matrix.
Void: All players have a different style. Some players don’t care about Defense Matrix, so when they feel like using their ability, they will. Some players will watch for when I use Defense Matrix. I think that you should save Defense Matrix and when Zarya is looking for Graviton, fake her out. Use Matrix, turn around, and then spin back.
Fury: I think you need to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, good things will come to you.
BEST AND WORST MAPS FOR D.VA
Choihyobin: Best: Of all the maps, I think Watchpoint: Gibraltar is the best map because there’s so much high ground and you’re able to charge ultimates fast—based on positioning. There’s also a lot of angles from where you can launch the Self-Destruct to get a lot of kills. Worst: There are none.
Hotba: Best: For me, it’s Junkertown. Worst: Hanamura is a bad map for her. There are no angles to hit people with D.Va bombs!
Meko: Best: I really like Numbani. There are a lot of places that you can use your ult and a lot of obstacles. Worst: None.
Void: D.Va is good on all maps because she has boosters.
Space: D.Va is mainly good on any map with a high ground. If you’re on even ground though, you might not get as much value and it’s OK to switch to Zarya.
BEST AND WORST 1v1s FOR D.VA
Choihyobin: She is really good against Pharah and Soldier: 76. Tracer is very difficult to fight though.
Hotba: She does really well against Soldier: 76. Bad against Roadhog and Zarya.
Meko: Best is Mercy! Worst is Zarya.
Poko: Supports for sure. Zenyatta is really easy to 1v1. Ana and Lúcio, too. As for DPS, McCree, Junkrat, and Torbjörn are pretty easy to 1v1. I think D.Va can 1v1 every character in the game apart from Roadhog, Brigitte, and Zarya.
BEST HEROES TO PAIR WITH D.VA
Choihyobin: Winston or Wrecking Ball. Once they dive, there’s a lot value you can provide as back-up.
Meko: Winston. They both have good mobility and both ults are good to use together. Both Winston and D.Va have skills that work together.
Void: Winston and Zarya are the best with D.Va. In 3-3 and dive comp, D.Va can always help.
Poko: Zenyatta. If they use Orb of Discord on someone, you know that you can one shot the guy and leave. You can also help the Zenyatta easily since he will often have a lot of trouble. Zen and D.Va are like best friends in the game.
Fury: Reinhardt and Zarya synergize the best with her in the current meta. They define how the game is played right now.
Michelle: Winston. If you jump together with Winston, you can actually threaten the opponent and also will be able to control space easily.
Space: The best heroes to make things easier for D.Va are other tank heroes. For combos, she is really good with Zarya, Reinhardt, and Lúcio. You want to combo a lot with your Lúcio player.