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Tips from South Africa's current top Overwatch team

Overwatch Orena.jpg

Orena is running South Africa's first Overwatch tournament with a cash prize pool of R30 000, sponsored by SteelSeries. The PC season is already well underway, with the PlayStation 4 season to kick off on August 8.

There are currently 18 PC teams active in the Orena Overwatch Champions Ladder, with matches being played regularly and streaming events for the top tier games. I caught up with "Friendship Squad", the current number one team, for a chat with team captain, sakkie `RandomHero` basson, about the current state of Overwatch competitive in South Africa. RandomHero also shared his top tips for playing pulling off a win in Overwatch.

With six wins and 0 losses, your team is currently at the top position. To what do you attribute your success?

"The power of friendship.

Everyone is comfortable in their role; we probably have the best Reinhardt in South Africa as we are never able to get a play of the game when he joins the server. I spent most of the beta playing competitively for EU teams (even though I only bought OW about three weeks ago). I was still able to transition a lot of what I learnt back then in strategies, calls, and picks over to Friendship Squad. 

Also sometimes Kanibalistic, the masters CS: GO player, carries us a tiny bit."

Who is your biggest rival and why?

"Our biggest rivals would be Eden and Nine Meter Bears. Both because they are really trying hard at the moment, I think strategically they are a bit behind but they are putting in tons of effort and have some really high skilled players which make them tough opponents and we look forward to playing them both soon."

What’s the state of Overwatch competitive locally & do you see a future for the game as an eSport in SA?

"At the moment it's pretty small, most of these teams playing in Orena are "borrowing" players from other masters leagues and as such are doing this as a part-time tournament for some extra fun. I don't see any true OW teams yet who are committed to the game, but as more leagues and tournaments pop up, I'm sure we will see a rise."  

Any advice for SA’s Overwatch competitive teams?

"You always have to mold your strategies to fit your teams play-style, don't just copy strats. Really think about what your team can do and expand on that. Your team members need to understand their roles fully; so the most important thing is repeating and making sure everyone understands 100% what their job is in any giving game.

If you laid the roles down perfectly, and your teammates follow their roles correctly you will see a massive spike in your performance, regardless of individual skill."

What are your five top tips for playing Overwatch competitively?

  1. Think, understand your role. Understand what you need to do to win the game. You don't need to flank as Soldier if you have a flanker, your role might be to always keep their Pharah under control. Always think.
  2. Practice with purpose. When I started main-ing DPS I would sit for 30 minutes daily on average just bouncing bots off the training map to practice air rockets. When you play Quick Match work on heroes you want to improve.
  3. Expand your hero pool, if you don't understand the extent of what heroes can do against you. You can never truly beat them.
  4. Be a team player, you don't need to pick Hanzo friend.  You can still practice your role even if you're not support. Get that Mercy and practice skills that translate to your role like proper positioning and awareness.
  5. Stay optimistic. This game can be very frustrating, its current format of ranked is way less than ideal. But always stay positive, try and improve yourself and you will naturally progress.
  6. Believe in the power of friendship.

So, the TL;DR version could be; there is no "one" in Overwatch. It's all about knowing your team and playing as a team. I've turned my Competitive Play "luck" into "skill" the moment I started playing with people from the local Overwatch Facebook group. I dropped 10 points playing while playing with randoms, and I've won every match when played with a local group. If you're playing Overwatch, then don't forget to check this article for an overview of the local community.

In closing, a few words from Orena's chief, Luca Tucconi Tucconi about the current PC season:

"After Sunday night's colossal match-up, the team taking all the attention is definitely the Nine Meter Bears! With a hard fought 2-1 victory over Season favourites "E.D.E.N", the squad from NMB now have one more point to prove by beating the fellow unbeaten team, the Friendship Squad to take the top seed heading into our Double Elimination knockout phase.

Our first season has gone better than expected with 18 active teams competing on a weekly basis."

Who do you think will take the top spot? Friendship Squad, NMB or Eden? I wouldn't discount Damage Control; they have some legends who could surprise everyone with a big come back.

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"mold your strategies to fit your teams play-style"

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