The tactics, teamwork and heroes required to come out on top in Overwatch’s three different modes.
Overwatch guide: how to win at Escort, Assault and Control modes
Overwatch may only have three different modes (at the moment) but make no mistake: all three require different thinking if you plan to win the match. Your choice of heroes and the tactics you and your team employ will vary depending on whether you’re battling in Escort, Assault or Control mode.
Here we have a run-down of each mode, how to play to strengths, strategies to deploy and observations on trends that are starting to show in the early days of the game.
Overwatch: How to win at Escort
Clutching victory from the jaws of defeat is always a possibility in this slow moving though always thrilling, highly strategic game mode. Here’s the skinny from both sides.
The premise of Escort is a variant of Payload from Team Fortress 2, but as with all aspects of Overwatch, the strategy is not so cut and dried. Like Payload, Escort requires one team to deliver a slow moving vehicle to its destination, passing through several checkpoints along the way. Meanwhile, the defending team tries all it can to halt progress. The attacking team is up against a time limit for each checkpoint, and failure to cross the line results in match failure. Really, the pressure is all on the attackers to keep calm and organised because defenders only need to prevent the vehicle from reaching the goal… often with mere inches to spare.
In the interest of presenting an entertaining fight, Escort urges attackers to stay close to the vehicle in order for it to move. The vehicle’s speed increases up to three times depending on the number of heroes nearby, so the gamble is about spending half the team on the haulage while supporting heroes distract and hopefully disable defenders’ attempts to halt progress.
A key consideration for both teams is that checkpoints trigger new respawn locations for either side, inching attackers forward and defenders further back. This mainly serves to balance out the time it takes to rush back to the battle after being killed. Interestingly, it also means that by the end of the round the defenders have slightly less distance to travel when returning to their last position, improving their chances of a clutch victory.
If everyone abandons the vehicle location to focus on kills, this causes it to move slowly back to its starting position. Again, the weight of responsibility is on the attackers. Perhaps the only respite for attackers is that a contested vehicle – shadowed by at least one member of both teams – can extend the clock into Overtime after it reaches zero. Attackers should never give in, nor should defenders ever give up.
Your team should initially comprise heroes that force the attackers out of position for as long as possible. Make the vehicle a treacherous location to be found, using the time you have in advance of the game starting to take sniping positions and prepare traps such as Symmetra’s turrets. By keeping the attackers pinned at their own base, this buys valuable seconds for later on – assuming that they eventually wriggle free and get things moving.
In the likely event that the attackers get a foothold and work well to eat away at your lone-wolf heroes that are spread out across the first area, the certainty that at least one attacker is accompanying the vehicle provides focus for the team. Offense class heroes with healing and/or shield/enemy de-buff support can use nearby vantage points to flank the vehicle. Again, slowing if not completely stopping the vehicle is priority. Constant bombardment should force remaining attackers to rally against rival players and lose sight of time.
The above tactic is relevant until the vehicle passes the final checkpoint before reaching the home straight. When defenders are in this position, it’s time to focus efforts on weakening and killing the attackers, launching assaults from behind with confusing characters such as Reaper and Tracer, turning the back of (most likely) Reinhardt for turrets to wear down. The temptation is to double down on defence classes to dig in as though forming a road block. What you really must be doing instead is scattering the attacking team to keep them away from the vehicle. It makes it easier for them if the enemy is all lined up directly ahead.
Knowing that you’re all stepping into the carefully laid ‘minefield’ of the defenders, a unified effort is required from the attacking team out of the gate. The attacking team’s first order of business is to dismantle those defending strategies; to locate the Widowmakers, lure out the likes of Zenyatta and his debilitating Orbs, and keep tabs on any Reapers and Tracers. Stay organised, have everyone form up behind Reinhardt and D.Va to keep the threat in front where you can see it. As soon as everyone gets scattered the attack effort is hurt.
The ace in the pocket of the attackers is that only one hero needs to get close enough to the vehicle to keep it inching forward. Mainly, you just need to ensure that teammates have got their six. This whole tug of war can be summarised as defenders disrupting attackers’ best efforts to move forward, slow and steady as a unit. To this end, mid- to long-range weapons scoping out threats from behind Reinhardt’s shield with teleporting Reapers closing distance fast on turrets and snipers is a sound approach. Main thing is to always regroup.
As mentioned above, the defenders try everything they can during the final push to lure attackers from the vehicle. Ultimate abilities such as Lúcio’s Sound Barrier and Zenyatta’s Transcendence are saved, allowing agile offense guys McCree and Soldier: 76 to clean up. Your key hero throughout the match is usually Reinhardt, most likely with Torbjörn riding alongside to defend while Mercy or Zenyatta keeps him in good shape. Just keep your shit together and the journey from A to B can be surprisingly swift.
It’s very early days for Overwatch, but already players are attempting to force the balance of this game mode with teams built on multiple Torbjörns and/or terrorising with Mei. Higher skilled players are causing problems with Hanzo and Widowmaker, greatly swaying things in favour of either attack or defence. When sure-fire strategies emerge along these lines we’ll revisit the Escort tactics here on VG247, but for now, the basics outlined here are sound.
Next page – Assault mode