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. We’ve explained C9, looked at overtime numbers, broken down a final teamfight, and shared tips for completing escort maps. Today we wrap up with some insights on an impressive defensive feat: the full hold.
A match in the Overwatch League never lacks for exciting moments or big plays. With the best players in the world, it’s easy to fill up highlight reels with daring dives and desperate attacks. But it’s often said that a good defense will beat a good offense, and in Overwatch that concept comes with an excitement all its own—the full hold is an incredibly difficult and impressive feat that is often a turning point in momentum, morale, and even entire matches.
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What goes into a full defensive hold on an assault map like Hanamura or Temple of Anubis? While you see the finished product in a match, the truth is any successful full hold begins in the classroom. Coaches and analysts spend hours theorycrafting matchups and maps to figure out when and how to pull off a full hold, and Justin “Jayne” Conroy, head coach for Team Canada at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup and an assistant coach for the Dallas Fuel, is no stranger to the process.
For starters, Conroy says, teams don’t plan on attempting a full hold. Many maps come down to stalling early while building up a lead in the all-important ultimate economy, with a plan to fight on a later point. “Approaching a game planning for a full hold is very risky since they respawn closer than you,” he explained. “Point B is the point that truly matters in the back of everyone’s mind, and so you usually build your defense with that in mind.”
But when teams absolutely need it, there are a few keys to a successful hold. And it turns out that even the best defenses in the Overwatch League need a little bit of offense to make them work.
“Needing a full hold doesn’t mean you want a turtle composition—you need to prevent team fights from occurring, and that means you can’t let them set up,” Conroy added. “On Hanamura, for instance, you set up on the first choke and control the window; that makes them fight for the right to teamfight you on the first point. You keep the snipers from getting set up on the choke and use your own picks to keep things chaotic.”
It’s a strategy that’s worked for the Fuel, who did exactly that in Week 2 of Stage 4 last season, shutting out the Philadelphia Fusion by not allowing them even a single tick on Hanamura. With Reinhardt holding the door and D.Va blocking the window, the Fuel created plenty of space for Timo “Taimou” Kettunen’s Widowmaker to get picks.
Conroy pointed to another pair of other heroes that work especially well when you need a full hold—Junkrat’s combination of projectiles and mines make an opposing dive tricky, while Orisa can use barriers to protect the team while using Halt! to pull enemies into an easy Widowmaker headshot.
“The team that gets the first pick in team fights wins 70 percent of the time,” Conroy pointed out. “When you’re defending a point, trading doesn’t work well since they respawn closer than you, but if they can’t ever get set up for a team fight in the first place, then you have a good chance.”
Build the right team, control key angles, and avoid large-scale fights. The keys to a full hold are easy enough to understand, but extremely difficult to execute, which makes it all the more impressive and exciting when teams pull it off in the Overwatch League.