Dear Overwatch 2 tanks, stop switching heroes and ruining your Ult Economy cover image

Dear Overwatch 2 tanks, stop switching heroes and ruining your Ult Economy

Stop, don’t swap, and roll with it.

"What is this, 'Mystery Heroes?" The fopening round of our first Competitive Mode match of the day is off to a bad start. My friend asks this question to nobody in particular, mainly as a cry to the gods for what certainly feels like a loss waiting to happen. Our tank is flailing--struggling to find footing against the enemy team. And, as is often the case, rather than fortifying their stance, they've started switching Overwatch 2 tank heroes like someone testing every key on their keyring to unlock a door, hoping one will fit.

Spoilers: It won't work. It never works.

In a game like Overwatch 2, it can often be difficult to see the difference between a good and bad team. Sure, player skill has something to do with the outcome. However, just as important are the micro and macro decisions of playing the game. Small things lead to big differences in play. One of the biggest is Ultimate economy--the management of and utilization of each character's best ability.

I'm here to tell you: Worry less about finding that perfect tank counter in Overwatch 2. Stop switching heroes ad nauseum and play smarter. Your rank depends on it.

Overwatch 2 tank strategy: Switching heroes is bad, actually

There's a now famous statistic about Overwatch 2 that I've linked above about heroes swapping. Really, it sits at the heart of the matter when it comes to improving at the game. Swapping heroes to find the most optimal counter is counter-intuitive to how most of us play. According to this statistics, 80 percent of players don't swap. This may confuse some folks, as it feels like from the start that Overwatch has been a game about switching characters on a whim.

But look at the evidence from balance updates and we'll see it just isn't true.

It's not accident that Blizzard has continued to punish character swapping in small ways. One such example is the reduction of Ultimate Meter when switching Overwatch 2 tanks, supports, and damage dealers. The mechanic has gone through a number of changes over the years. However, more recently we've seen the amount of Ult charge carried over from hero to hero go down considerably.

The practical reason for that is simple: To not provide an advantage to just switching heroes nonstop. However, the bigger reason is the management of your Ultimate Meter and the overall Ult economy in any given match. Ultimates win and lose matches. Full stop. We like to make jokes about "everyone hitting Q," but in Overwatch 2 there's no bigger moment shift than a well-timed Ultimate.

And guess what? If we expand that thought further, it makes Overwatch 2 tank Ultimates the most important in the game. If you start swapping Heroes trying to find a natural counter or advantage then you're giving up free real estate by losing that meter.

Bring the player, not the class

There's a long-running statement from the early days of World of Warcraft that comes to mind. WoW developers used to talk about the game's raiding balance and trying to get groups to "bring the player, not the class." This means bringing the abilities and experience of the player behind the avatar and not stacking specific classes or advantages. It's not a statement that always works in practice, but it's heart is in the right place.

But, in the case of Overwatch 2 tanks I truly believe you're better off playing a hero at which you excel than trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. At this point in the game's meta, there is no magic bullet swap. No hero-on-hero matchup is so lopsided that switching heroes is absolutely needed.

At worst, you have matchups such as Dva vs Zarya that certainly favors one over the other. However, team play and strategy overcomes those natural character advantages.

Any day of the week I'd rather have a player who kills it at one Overwatch 2 tank than one who clumsily swaps tank heroes every time they die. You're hurting your team, you're hurting your Ultimate economy, and you wreck the pacing of the match.

The two best things you can do as an Overwatch 2 tank

Grab a pencil and paper, I'm about to give you the secret to tanking.

Ready? Here it is:

Don't die, and know when the enemy has their Ultimates.

If that feels simple or redundant, you're wrong. My group talks about this a lot in our own Competitive Mode misadventures. A dead player contributes nothing and there is no valor in falling on your sword or going down in a blaze a glory. Likewise, the one skill to develop as a tank is an internal clock of knowing when the enemy--especially the enemy tank--is about to hit Q.

Doing these two things will instantly make you a better player, especially at tank. Swapping heroes once to make a better overall team composition is fine. However, if you have a tank that starts switching Overwatch 2 heroes then you've got a problem that hinders, not help.

Don't play Mystery Heroes; pick a tank and stick with them. You'll thank me later.

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