It’s Endgame Moves Week for Overwatch, wrapping up the cross-franchise educational content series that previously featured Opening Moves Week and Midgame Moves Week. This time we’re focusing on the all-important final stages of each map or match that often mean the difference between victory and defeat. After explaining C9, looking at overtime numbers, and breaking down a final teamfight, today we’re sharing a couple of tips for completing escort maps.
You’re feeling good. Five minutes remain on the timer and your team is coasting on offense, following crucial picks early in fights and succesful synchronizing of big ultimates. It’s time to land the finishing blow and complete the map... but again and again, you’re stopped short, and in what feels like an instant, the overtime music starts playing and you’re left thinking, “wait, how did this happen?”
Breaking down the final team fight between South Korea and the UK at the Overwatch World Cup.
Completing escort maps can be tricky. While it feels like protecting the payload at all costs is the right move, it’s actually a good idea to draw inspiration from the strategic and tactical approaches utilized in other map types, like control or assault. The first tactic that you need to consider is positioning. It can be hard to identify viable vantage points in the moment, when there are so many factors to take into account, so let me give you a couple tips.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar really is the prime example when discussing the necessity of gaining high-ground advantages, and the ultimate trick as the attacking team is to use the defense’s high ground against them, setting up almost as if you were defending on an assault map. Instructing your vertically mobile heroes to push the payload while your vulnerable and slow flex supports or DPS players rotate up towards the high ground will make it harder for the defense to stop the payload while simultaneously dealing with the damage raining from above.
A great illustration can be found in the above clip, when the New York Excelsior took on the Dallas Fuel in Stage 4 during the 2018 Overwatch League season. With two minutes remaining in the time bank, Hae-Seong ”Libero” Kim finds a pick onto the defensive Widowmaker, and Do-Hyeon “Pine” Kim immediately capitalizes by securing the uncontested high ground now available to him. From there, it’s easy sailing, and while Pine is ultimately brought down, it’s too late for Dallas, as New York has already solidified their forward positioning with multiple threats at the defensive spawn doors.
A much different environment awaits at the end of Route 66. While the initial two points are known for their open areas and flank routes, the third and final point is located in a tight, constrained area. Here is where powerful ultimate combos come into play. It can be tough to close out a map like Route 66 due to the defensive spawn advantage. The compact battlefield can lead to unexpected picks, which can ultimately allow the defending team to stabilize while stalling. The easiest way for attacking teams to deal with this is to wipe the enemy team all at once.
There’s a reason why professional teams prefer to utilize Zarya’s Graviton Surge and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter to close out a map like Route 66. While the narrow chokepoints naturally do favor those big ultimates, their ability to wipe the defense in a matter of seconds—unlike, say, Winston’s Primal Rage—make them optimal ultimates to wrap up the fight without much need for focus targeting or positional genius.
So the next time you find yourself heading down the the final stretch of an escort map, remember: you could park the entire team on the payload, emoting behind a Reinhardt shield, or you could set up on the high ground and gain an environmental advantage over the defense, or start building up for some big ultimate combinations.