Interviews Video Games Review

How to Climb in Overwatch from the Perspective of a Master

Written by Teddy Kister


Overwatch is one of the most popular games in the world, and with the very large competitive mode, many people want to climb up to become the best player they can be. Today I have one of the best, if not the best, player at Dominican, Nathanial “Nails” Rouse.


Hello. I am Nathaniel Rouse, aka Nails, aka ily_brentsuter in Overwatch. I’m in the top 5% of players at the moment with a 3670 SR, made the top 1% at my peak (3990), and am one of the best Torbjorn players on PS4 with over 700 wins with him. I’d like to think I have a pretty solid idea of how the game works and how to be the most effective player you can be. I’d like to thank Mr. Teddy Kister for inviting me for an exclusive interview.


  1. What is the best way to improve your game sense?


There are a number of ways, especially since “game sense” refers to a pretty large group of skills. My best advice is to watch professions/grandmasters playing your preferred hero. Pay specific attention to the way they use the abilities. Try to pick up on some patterns in their behavior. The ultimate goal here is to get to a point where you feel like you always know what you should be doing in any situation. Nobody always knows the perfect play, but you’ll find yourself making smarter decisions if you follow high level players’ examples with ability usage.


  1. What is the best way to improve general aim?


Honestly, just play competitive games. A lot of them. If you’re not feeling up for competitive, quick play can definitely be a helpful environment for working on mechanics, but there’s nothing like the real thing. In competitive, you’re against players of similar skill level who are trying their best to outduel you, and there’s really no other place that recreates the high-stress environment that’s difficult but necessary for major improvement.


  1. How seriously should you take the game if you want to improve and climb?


Some people would say that you’ve gotta play constantly, or watch a ton of Overwatch videos, or that kind of thing. Obviously playing the game and watching guides is helpful to a point. But I think video game skill relates a lot to a quote I like: “it’s like holding a bird in your hand. If you hold it too loosely, you lose it. But if you hold it too tightly, you kill it.” In other words, you’ve gotta take it somewhat seriously, but you can’t go overboard, where you’re playing 5 hours a day or every loss makes you really upset. So my final answer would be to play consistently, at least an average of a game per day, but don’t go too far to either extreme. If you treat it like a job, it’ll start to feel like one.


  1. What is the best way to practice a new hero?


As someone who doesn’t use a very wide selection of heroes, I’m probably not the best person for advice on this, but I am confident in saying that you can’t go wrong with watching guides on Youtube for the new character. Also, I’d definitely suggest playing a little quick play with the new hero before diving into competitive.


  1. Should you flex to help your team or should you play what you’re best at even if it doesn’t fit with the team comp?


It really depends.


  1. How often should you try to take control of the team?


Not very often, honestly. This sort of mindset that “I’m the best player on this team and I have to do everything” generally just leads to reckless play and pointless mistakes. Even when you’re playing incredibly in your role, you’re bound to lose some games. Keeping your head and not trying to do too much, even when it’s tempting, is a big part of staying consistent.


  1. Should you solo queue or go in with a friend or two?


Personal preference, though with both you’re going to want to tune into team chat. If you want to truly take your skills to the next level and join an official team or something like that, playing with friends is probably best for you, but this applies to very few people.


  1. What are some pretty easy heroes to climb out of the lower ranks with?


In lower rankings, coordination and healing are two things that will be wildly inconsistent, so you’ll want a hero that doesn’t depend on either of these too much. My best suggestions are Torbjorn, Soldier 76, Junkrat, Mei, Tracer, and Reaper. All can pack a punch without relying on healing or other means of support. Lucio and Brigitte also keep themselves alive pretty well and do reasonable amounts of healing and damage if used properly. Zarya is probably the best tank for this, too, because you can support your teammates with shields frequently, and your ultimate is very easy for even low-level players to coordinate with.


  1. What is the best way to communicate with your teammates?


Tell your team with voice lines to group up, or that you need healing. Don’t abuse it, but say it once or twice when it’s necessary, and it’s a surprisingly effective way to get your team’s attention. The higher you climb, the more necessary team chat is. Join it whenever you can. If people are toxic and affecting you negatively, it’s perfectly okay to leave, but being able to hear your teammates’ live reactions and callouts is an excellent tool. When you’re talking in team chat, it’s always best to keep the mood fairly light if possible. People play better when you’re supportive and positive instead of hyper-serious and angry. Don’t constantly ramble when the game’s on the line, though. Be efficient with callouts. Some things you’re gonna want to communicate to your team are:

1) Opponents who are weak or have used their main ability

2) Opponents’ positioning mistakes (i.e. McCree’s alone on the left, Rein behind)

3) Hero switches. If you’re going Winston into reaper, it’s reasonable to suggest a swap.

4) Your team’s ultimate statuses and possible combos

5) If you’re able to keep track: the other team’s ultimates.


  1. Any other general tips?


Be in the right mindset to play. If your internet is lagging badly and it’s frustrating you, don’t play. If you’re not having fun playing, don’t play. If it’s 4:00 AM, you’re probably best turning it off. You’ve got something bigger on your mind and can’t concentrate? That’s right, don’t play. Of course, schedules can be busy and you’ve gotta take advantage of your free time to play sometimes. However, if you’re consistently joining games despite significant factors affecting your play negatively, you’re wasting your time, hurting your performance, and lowering your overall enjoyment of the game. It’s supposed to be fun. Even when you lose, you’re supposed to enjoy the competition and be happy when you make a good play. My best games are when I’m in a good mood, listening to good music in the background, and I’m excited for the chance to improve my rating.

About the author

Teddy Kister