Individual kills secured before a team fight are referred to as “picks” in Overwatch. Some heroes have such large burst-damage potential that they can get these opening kills on their own, but teams also can work together to force mistakes from an opposing player and find a pick.

Overwatch is a complex, fast-paced game with many strategic elements. This series explains some common terms and concepts used by the Overwatch League analyst desk each week so new fans can follow along.

Previously covered: dive, peel, frontline/backline, and poke.

Picks give major advantages in engagements; a 6v5 in Overwatch is exponentially easier than a 6v6. At the highest level, getting the first pick results in a team fight win more than 75 percent of the time. This statistic has held true throughout the history of Overwatch, no matter the patch, and is the single best predictor of a team fight victory. Needless to say, picks are vitally important. Teams must prioritize staying alive in opening skirmishes, and heroes who can get solo picks must be treated as major threats.

While any individual opening kill—as the result of a successful dive, for example—can be regarded as a pick, there are certain heroes who are extremely threatening on their own. These heroes are specifically used for their pick potential, forming compositions that usually require a team to protect the focal hero and get them into position.

Other heroes can help force a mistake by the opposing team due to poke pressure, and turn that into a pick. McCree, for example, can help create picks with his Flashbang and Peacekeeper’s high burst damage.

The three key heroes that enable pick compositions are two snipers, Widowmaker and Hanzo, along with Roadhog, due to his Chain Hook. Widowmaker is the most popular of the three for getting opening kills, as her reliable long-range hitscan allows players to pick off targets from a safe distance. Hanzo has high burst damage with just his Storm Bow, but his abilities also allow for easier picks early in a fight. Roadhog is unique in that he is a tank with pick potential, allowing Reinhardt-centric tank compositions to be able to grab kills on flankers attempting to evade and delay their progress.

Heroes with strong pick potential often have other weaknesses, so they must be protected and shepherded into position. Along with defending the focal hero, the rest of the team can help push the opposition into sightlines and set up positions to pounce once a pick is found. Alternatively, teams can use their sniper as bait and try to kill the enemy team when they overextend in an attempt to shut down the threat.

Playing against an excellent sniper, Roadhog, or other pick-focused hero is tough. When playing a mobile composition such as dive, avoiding sightlines and playing aggressively is crucial. The longer a fight goes on, the higher the chance that the enemy team will get a pick. Dive teams must move quickly to kill the focal hero before that happens.

Another strong option for countering pick comps is to run a shield tank composition with Orisa or Reinhardt. Though these compositions come with their own downsides, the presence of a large shield gives the rest of the team a safe space to operate within, or enables any pick heroes positioned behind the shield.

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