Overwarch eSports Cover

Overwatch is a ton of fun, and Blizzard’s First-Person Shooter has taken the world by storm. This past week saw the start of the Overwatch World Cup 2017 with the Shanghai Group Stage, and it was a blast to watch all of the great matches over the past weekend. This coming weekend is the Australian Group Stage, so here is a primer for everything Overwatch eSports.

Overwatch eSports World CupOverwatch World Cup Structure

Group Stages – Like the FIFA World Cup, the group stage is comprised of eight groups of four teams each. Each team will play everyone in their group for points, where one win equals one point. The top two teams from each group will then be sorted into the…

Elimination Bracket – This bracket is single elimination for the 16 remaining teams. The final 8 teams from the 16 in the elimination bracket will compete for the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon 2017.


The first Group stage was this past weekend in Shanghai. The next Group Stage will be July 21 – 23rd in Sydney, Australia. There will be a short one week hiatus from the tournament, followed by the third weekend of Group Stages on August 4th – 6th in Katowice, Poland. The final Group Stage will be August 11th – 13th in Los Angeles, California. The finals will take place at BlizzCon 2017 in Anaheim, California on November 3rd and 4th. All of the matches can be watched on the official Overwatch Twitch channel.

Overwatch eSports - Map LoadingMap Types

Overwatch has four different map types: Assault, Control, Escort and Hybrid. In the group stage, each team will play one match on each map type. The map types are always played in the same order: Hybrid, Control, Assault and finally Escort. The higher seeded team picks the first map, with the loser of each round picking the next map.

Assault Maps – The four assault maps are Hanamura, Horizon Lunar Colony, Temple of Anubis and Volskaya Industries. The objective of the attacking team is to capture one point on the map, and the capture a second point in the map after capturing the first. The objective of the defending team is to keep the other team from capturing these points. It should be noted that Horizon Lunar Colony is the newest Overwatch map, so it has been seeing a lot of play in order to keep teams on their toes.

Control Maps – The four control maps are Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal and Oasis. Control maps spawn each team in between a center point to capture. After a team captures a control point, they start earning capture points. First team to 100% wins the match. In regular play, it is best of 5, but tournament play for the Overwatch World cup is best of 3.

Escort Maps – The three escort maps are Dorado, Route 66 and Watchpoint: Gibraltar. The objective for the attacking team is to push a payload through a set route to an endpoint, with some checkpoints in-between the start and finish. The objective for the defensive team is to stop them from moving the payload. The payload is moved by having attacking players stand near the payload. As the payload crosses checkpoints, the respawn locations for the teams change.

Hybrid Maps – The four hybrid maps are Eichenwald, Hollywood, King’s Row and Numbani. As the name implies, these maps are a mixture of Assault and Control maps. After the attacking team takes their first point, they then have to escort a payload to an end point. As with Escort maps, there are checkpoints the payload stops at. Each team gets to play a round of offense, and a round of defense. Sudden Death is based on who can push the payload the farthest.

Overwatch eSports - Character SelectCharacter Classes

There are four different types of character classes: Offense, Defense, Tank and Support. Characters can be changed after any respawn, but only one of each character is allowed per team.

Offense – The offensive characters are Genji, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, Soldier: 76, Sombra, and Tracer. Offensive character have high damage output, and die rather quickly. The upcoming hero Doomfist is also an offensive character, but he is not on live servers yet.

Defense – The defensive characters are Bastion, Hanzo, Junkrat, Mei, Torbjörn and Widowmaker. Defensive characters have kits that are designed to hold points or easily stop pushes. Widowmaker is the most common defense character in pro play, but even then it is a rare pick.

Tank – The tank characters are D.Va, Orisa, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston and Zarya. Tank characters are meant to soak up damage in exchange for low or inconsistent attack power.

Support – The support characters are Ana, Lúcio, Mercy, Symmetra and Zenyatta. Support characters are healers.

Overwatch eSports Terms
Kerlos will respawn before Oplito, Soon has an Ultimate available


Push – When a team of 5 or 6 players move attack together.

Staggered Respawn/Respawn Rotation – Like any first-person shooter, after a character dies, they respawn back in their starting area. Increasing a Respawn Rotation is when a player intentionally lets a character with low health live after most of their team mates have died, only to kill them as their team mates start to respawn. Usually it is a good thing to do with Tank-class characters. This forces the other team to wait for a push until their last team member respawns.

Zoning – Controlling a specific zone of a map, like a key corner the payload goes around, the hallway a team spawns from, or the capture point. This can be done by dropping an ultimate on top of the capture point to force your opponents away from the point.  After taking an objective, most teams will opt to zone the respawn door, and retreat back to the objective if someone gets around them.

Dive-Comp – Short for Dive Composition. This is the make up of a team that focuses on high mobility. The staple of this team composition is a Winston, a Tracer, a Genji and a Lúcio, with the final two character slots being filled by a rotation of either Soldier: 76, Zenyatta, Ana and D.Va. These last two characters can really be any character, but it is dependent on factors such as the stage and the player. Sometimes it is Sombra, sometimes it is Reaper. The strategy behind Dive-Comp is to overwhelm your opponents with jump-in, jump-out pushes.

Ult Economy – How often a team uses and gains their ultimate abilities. It is very rare for all players to have the alts at once in such high level play. Pushes generally start with a Support Ultimate, and the remaining Ultimates get rotated out based on counters and what the other team has available. See a D.Va try to Mech-Bomb? Zenyatta pops his Transcendence to counter it. Soldier 76 uses Tactical Visor? D.Va stands right in front of him and uses her Defense Matrix. Not all Ultimates are used offensively though. Winston’s Primal Rage is typically used as a last second health boost or an escape method.

4 Tank – This team composition is exactly what it sounds like: 4 tanks. Usually there is one support and one offense hero with them. This is a sound strategy for the initial spawn on control maps.

Teams to Watch

Overwatch eSports Group 2

Russia and South Korea made it to the finals last year, so it is pretty safe to say these two will end up getting pretty far in the tournament. China and France have both done very well in previous tournaments. China completely dominated their Group stage matches, and traditional eSports team Rogue was an all-French team to begin with, so their teamwork is un-matched. Sweden was the underdog last year, after sweeping their Group Stage they ended up in 3rd place. Both China and France have already secured their spots at BlizzCon with their strong play last weekend.

This weekend’s Group Stage in Australia will see Group’s C and D play. Group C is comprised of Sweden, Australia, Italy and Portugal. Group D is comprised of Finland, Japan, Spain and Vietnam.

Ryan M. Holt
I am a Colorado based freelancer and graphic designer who loves games, movies and technology. I love seeing cool characters do cool things. My wife, son and two stupid cats keep me grounded. Follow me on twitter @RyanMHolt

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