Playing For An Amateur Overwatch Team

written by Athena



I have played with an amateur team for 6 months, so I am most definitely an expert on all things amateur team wise. {insert sarcasm} This article is about the ups and downs I have experienced while being on an amateur team and what my team did that worked for us. My captain has been an excellent advocate for helping us improve on and give critical feedback in positive ways, outlined below. {insert straw here for the suck up}


My team was a rotating door of players, with a back bone of 2 tanks, 1 dps, and 1 main healer. It was very hard to grow as a team when it seemed like there were always new players with new play styles. For example, I had several new healing partners as we were working out who would fill which roles. The lack of communication standards lead to us using support ultimates at the same time almost every fight. A few months ago, we found a solid roster that works well together and has grown leaps and bounds as a team. Establishing standard comms for our team and a playbook for maps helped us work together immensely. After talking with other players from amateur teams, this is the norm. Most teams go through phases until they find the right players that fit into their team. Compatibility and mature attitudes are a must for my team; whereas another team might find they work better with very aggressive, get it done and win or rage quit and take a break attitudes.

carryThat’s right, I carry you all!



Due to life and other challenges, such as internet connectivity, my team has found that substitutes are a necessity. We currently have a roster of 9 players, 6 main roster players and 3 subs. The challenge with subs is making sure everyone has enough playtime to make it worth their time to be a part of the team. To be committed to coming to practice knowing that they might not have as much playtime based on the maps, player compositions, and attendance of the main roster; is a challenge. Having subs has really expanded our hero pool as a team. It allows my team to be more flexible and to specialize in certain characters. Knowing that we have a solid Reinhardt, one of our subs has been refining Zarya and Winston. Knowing that we have several solid Zenyatta players, I am going to refine Ana.


What Works for Us Part 1?


Using push-to-talk (PTT) is a must for some of our players who naturally call out anything (and everything) they see. This was step one to refining our communication. We tried everyone calling things and it was chaos. Then, we had only the tanks making calls and found that worked better. Now, we try to have our strategist calling our routes before the match starts and the tanks calling our targets and direction during the match. Healers also try to call out discord targets when we run Zenyatta and if they need peeling. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does… magic happens, everything red dies, and we win.  


My team found the best way to practice callouts was by creating a custom game to play against bots to ensure that the heroes called out as targets, die first. This took a while to hammer down and we are still working on it, but the difference is real. (Be sure to review the RCI matches to see what messy, cluttered comms vs clean comms look like.) When we fail to do this in quick play or competitive, and our comms get messy, it is time to practice again. This is also a great way to practice calling locations and ult/ability cooldowns.


There is an excellent post on Reddit by Bythmark that outlines levels of comms. For example, reminders, callouts of vital enemy positions, and notifications of momentous things happening should be called out during a fight whereas locations of enemy stragglers, ults used, and ult statuses should be called in between fights.


You have to find what works for your team, but here are some of our call outs:

“Kill [Hero] [Location]” for focus fire, example: “Kill Reaper back right”

“Get out or die” aka “reset” for a full team reset, to wait and go in as a 6 stack

“Peel [color]” for peeling healers, example: “Peel pink behind” means save me behind you!

Our Captain encouraged us to use the compliment sandwich format, “here’s something you do well, work on these things, and this was strong.” However, after some failed attempts and research, we are now focused on using the positive intent and fearless feedback format. This has worked well so far. Usually, I already know when I messed up and I beat myself up about it. I welcome the insight from my team especially when it’s coming from the right place with tips on how to improve. If they were yelling, “you let me die mofo, learn how to play…” I would just shut down and ignore their comments.



Positive intent and fearless feedback is a better method. We want to be making sure people continue doing things they’re doing well, as well as improve others.

First: “Positive Intent”
Up front we all agree that any feedback is given with positive intent at heart, and will be received with that in mind.

  • It is the givers responsibility to make sure that phrases are phrased in a digestible way. For example: “____ I noticed that you seem to be having a hard time with your Barrage management lately.” As opposed to, “____, your barrages fucking suck.”
  • It is the receiver’s responsibility to hear the information being given (even if it’s not delivered in the best way).
  • Basically: delivering info in an insulting or salty way doesn’t help anyone, it inflames the situation and guarantees no one hears what you actually have to say

Second: Feedback Format

  • Observable Action/Event
  • Observable Result
  • Preferable Action
  • Preferable Result

Third: Mirroring

  • Listen to what the speaker is saying (one point at a time).
  • When they have finished their point, repeat what you understood back to make sure you heard what they were saying. Confirm you understood.
  • It’s the speakers responsibility to make sure they’re communicating actionable points, something that the listener can DO anything about.

Example: Speaker: Hey [Player], you interested in notes on your Pharah play that round?
Player: Definitely.

Position feedback, confirm listener is open to feedback at the moment.
Example: Speaker : I noticed you seemed to be focusing your Concussive Blasts on trying to get environmental kills,

– Observable Action/Event
which means that you didn’t have it available when you needed it for self mobility.

– Observable Result
I’d suggest holding on to it to use to move yourself around more aggressively,

– Preferable Action
meaning you can close in on threats to you like hitscan characters and take them out before they can react.

– Preferable Result

Player: Gotcha, so hold onto concussive to enable me to be more aggressive instead of trying to get crazy boop kills.

– Mirroring feedback to make sure feedback is understood.

Feedback is actionable points that are immediately usable for the next round.

To be continued…




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