Overwatch Being The Shotcaller Guide
Shotcalling is probably the hardest job in the game of Overwatch. Not only do you have to worry about your own play, but you also have to think about the enemy team, your team, the map, pathing, ultimates, rotations, statuses of team fights, timings, and just not trying to die. In this guide, I would like to focus on what it takes to be a good shotcaller for a team. Needless to say, this guide is geared towards actual teams who would like to improve their shotcalling or actual shotcallers but some of these tips can be applied in ranked. I would suggest though, only using the most basic call outs in ranked, as most people on ladder will not understand. Keep in mind that the amount of shotcaller/s on the team is dependent on what the team wants and needs. I will first talk about what makes a good shotcaller then I will break down, as a shotcaller what you should be thinking about during the different parts of a match.
- Leadership: A pretty obvious statement, because the in-game-leader(IGL) is typically the shotcaller, but sometimes shotcallers don’t always make the best leaders. If a person has never been in a position to lead a team or call, they will often times tunnel vision and struggle seeing the entire picture. They may also be the type of person to say, “my way is the only way” when what makes a good leader is them accepting that they don’t know everything and are willing to ask help from their team.
- Asking for Help: To add to my previous point, being a shotcaller means that when there is something that you’re unsure of, you ask your team for help. Sometimes you may have missed an ultimate that the enemy team used or a death on the kill feed. So don’t be that person that pretends they know everything, if you’re unsure, ask your team mates for some help.
- Do Not Micro-Manage: Too many times I’ve watched VODs of a shotcaller trying to micro-manage their team mates to give them such specific instructions that by the time the shotcaller is done, the enemy team is already in their faces. Be straight to the point when calling, give general guidelines to your team mates to follow and allow your teammates to think for themselves. Your teammates know what’s best on how to play their own character so allow them to make the quick decisions that pertain to their role unless it’s a significant issue that needs to be fixed in that moment.
- Edit: How You Call: The way something is being called and the tone of how you say it is just as important as what is being called. The tone of a shotcaller should be calm but confident at the same time. Having this tone allows for your team to still listen to you, while respecting the way you call. It’s important that as a shotcaller you don’t want to come off as condescending or pushy as if you know everything and that everyone should follow you.
- Make a Decision: Overwatch is a fast paced game and a million things can happen all at once. So it’s important that as a shotcaller you’re able to adjust and make a decision. The worst decision is not making a decisions at all. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and Just make a choice because whether it’s wrong or not you will(and should) be able to go over it in a vod after the tournament/scrim is finished on figuring out what could’ve been done better. When you do this you allow yourself to at least make that mistake so that you now learn from it for future matches.
- Know Team Comps: It’s important that as a shotcaller you need to have the basic understanding of how team comps work, whether it be Goats, Dive, Bunker, Cheeese, etc. This allows for you to make the call to switch comps depending on the map comp or what the enemy team is running. Also be aware of the different synergies between team comps that give your team the best advantage for the next team fight.
- Focus on the Future: PLEASE. DO NOT. TALK ABOUT THE BIG F UP THAT JUST HAPPENED IN THE LAST FIGHT. As a shotcaller it is also your responsibility to keep your team focused on the next team fight. When people dwell on a mistake that just happened, it takes away time from talking about the next team fight. I don’t know how many times I hear people say, “wtf their Tracer is carrying” or “yoooo did you see that nasty headshot?” Shut up, stop wasting time and talk about that stuff after the scrim/match is done.
- Ult Tracking: The toughest job in my opinion for a shotcaller is ult tracking. For people who have never done this or attempted to do it, it can be overwhelming at first. My best advice for this is that you give yourself time to get good at this because it takes a lot of thinking and experience. To be good at anything, you have to practice and this is no exception. Also, have a general idea of how all the characters gain ult charge by playing more characters on different accounts. Don’t be afraid to ask your team for help because you may have missed a sound queue the went off when you were coming from spawn. Some teams may have their ult tracker separate from their shotcaller, but the shotcaller should still have a general idea of what the enemy team has.
- Awareness: A given, if you don’t have good awareness, your are going to struggle in being a shotcaller. You have to literally and figuratively be able to see everything, so for most teams I recommend the non-aim support(Mercy/Lucio) to be the main shotcaller. Now, for some teams they may not be able to do this, so it’s okay to have one of your tanks or other support to be the shotcaller. I wouldn’t recommend one of the DPS to shotcall because they need to focus on getting the frags but if it works for your team then sure. Some basic things to help build your awareness is monitor the kill feed, press tab to monitor statuses of ultimates and comp switches, and being in positions to at least see what your team is doing.
- Sometimes It’s Out of Your Control: You are only 1 person in the grand scheme of things and you can only do so much as the shotcaller. You can make the best call in the world but if your team doesn’t execute it properly then that’s on them. Of course, don’t flame your team for not executing it properly, but realize that there is so much happening at once that teams are bound to make mistakes.
- Adjusting: Team fights can suddenly change with a player making a big play or mistake. As a shotcaller it’s important to adjust to different situations. It’s good to have a plan, but if that plan falls apart you need to be able to tweak or scrap the plan entirely to change the outcome of a fight.
- Communication Structures: This is a more team specific advice as not all teams are going to have the same shotcallers. Some teams will have a singular experienced shotcaller, there are teams who may have 2 shotcallers for different parts of the fight, while other teams will have a more democratic style of calling where everyone on the team has a job. The best tip here is find the best structure that fits within how your team works and then go from there.
- Goals: Before everything else, as a shotcaller it’s important to recognize the goals set for your team in that given setting. For example, your team is focusing on trying a new comp, so recognize that the team is going to make mistakes and figure out the best way to go about the comp, or your team may have just added a new player and you need to adjust your comms to help best accommodate the new player. Those are just a few examples, but always recognize what your team wants to achieve in that match/scrim and set how you shotcall towards that goal.
- Planning: Another thing is that before a scrim/match there should already be a preset comp and plan for a particular map. You don’t want to be in the spawn room and still deciding what comp you want to run. Establish that “this is the comp we’re running” and “this is how we’re going to do it” and then adjust or switch accordingly depending on the goal of the team.
Start of Match/Scrim
- Scouting: Once out of spawn, the first thing that a team does is designate a scout to find out what the enemy team comp is and where they are positioned. Typically, that would either be the D.va, Tracer, Sombra, or Pharah depending on your comp and if your team is on offense or defense. Now as a shotcaller your job is to identify first, “is the comp we are running going to work?” If the answer is yes then go ahead with your plan. If the answer is no, then make the call to your team to make the switches needed. Now you need to think about, “what is the win condition for the team comp against their team comp?” Once you ask yourself that, tell your team mates where they should be going to approach the enemy team.
- Pathing/Routes: Before the direct engagement you should already be thinking about the best path or route for your team to take. You may tell your Tracer to go at a certain direction then your tanks to dive on a certain target as just a random example. The important thing is, already have an idea of where your team should be going before the team fight actually starts.
- Win Conditions: Once the team fight starts and you have your win condition set(a topic for another day), you then need to identify the openings to start the team fight. There are typically 4 ways a team fight starts
- Someone out of position
- A significant cooldown being used
- An opening pick
- Openings: As a shotcaller you need to be able to identify all of these things and figure out is that significant enough to push on and tell the team to go.
- Target Calling: The most chaotic part of the team fight, if you are the person calling targets as well then it’s your job to identify the high priority targets in this fight. The mistake of calling the wrong target can cost you time and the objective. Some teams may have a separate target caller and that’s fine as well, but the important thing is to make sure to respect the call so that everyone is on the same page.
- Team Fight Status: Towards the middle and later part of the team fight now you want to identify the status of the team fight
- Fight won: Team should not be using any ultimates, focus fire and clean up the rest of the enemy team.
- Fight lost: Team should not be using any ultimates, team should die on payload if it’s an escort map and on defense or if they are sure they can safely get out(please be sure you can get out, the last thing your team wants is a staggered death).
- Winnable: Team fight is winnable if the people left alive in that team fight have ultimates and that you trust your team to frag to secure the objective.
- Play slow/play to stay alive: Team should not progress on the enemy team as there is no clear advantage but at the same time the team doesn’t want to give up space towards the enemy team. Wait until the entire team is full 6 and then you can reengage on the enemy team
- Plat fast/hard engage: Team should be able to win the team fight easily by knowing they have a clear advantage. Calling this allows your team to know they can be agro without being severely punished.
- Disengage: Related to playing slow, but instead of holding ground the team disengages because there is a slight advantage for the enemy team. The team disengages because you have a spawn advantage; you have lost all your supports, or someone on your team with a significant ultimate is coming from spawn.
- Calling Deaths: Not every team fight is going to go perfectly so it’s important for you to monitor the kill feed and help build awareness for your team by calling if someone dies. Telling your team, “our healers are dead” for example, will be a signal for your team to either disengage or play slow.
Postfight into Prefight
- Communicate: A lot of bad teams never talk during this part of a scrim/match when this is, in my opinion, the most important part of an entire match
- Time: Once the fight has finished now you need to identify the time, “is it 1 fight territory?” “can the enemy team recontest point with this amount of time?” or “will my team be able to regroup and take a full team fight?” These are just a few examples but after a team fight always think about the time first. Time is such an important factor in Overwatch and you need to know if it’s better to take 2 quick team fights or 1 clean team fight.
- Ultimate Economy/Ultimate Rotations: The next thing is now your team has to talk about ultimate economy. If you’re unsure what was used then just ask your team mates. Once you’ve identified the enemy ultimates and have seen your team’s ultimates, you now need to identify the enemy team’s win condition and your team’s win condition. Once you identify that now you need to think about “when should we use our ultimates?” “how do we stop the enemy team’s win condition?” then “where should we set up for out ultimates?” Also try to identify if a dry push would be more beneficial in the next team fight or if your team won so decisively that they may only need 1 ultimate to win the team fight.
- Stagger Kills: If on escort/hybrid maps tell your team to push up for stagger kills if there are any close spawns and designate some to stay on cart. Also identify if you didn’t see someone on the kill feed at that they may have hid somewhere to try to make a play
- Comp Switches: This is also the time where you should tell your team to switch if needed because your comp map not work in this particular part of the map. Also, monitor the enemy team if they are also switching so your can tell your team mates if they need to make an individual hero switch. For example, if you are running full dive but the enemy team is running full dive as well, you can tell your Tracer to switch to Birgitte.
- Map Control: Take map control by telling your team to hold at a certain positions. If your team doesn’t have preset positions before a match/scrim then give them a guideline of where they should be.
- If you’re on defense on Escort, Hybrid, and Assault maps, identify if you can give the enemy some space and regroup before taking the team fight. Assess if there’s a hero switch that could impact the OT like Mei, Doomfist, Reaper, Hammond, etc.
- Think about as well that it’s better to give up 2 ticks than give up the entire objective to take a clean team fight.
- If forced into a stall situation then make the call and the team should know the heroes that they should be able to stall with.
- Identify who on your team should be the first one to trigger overtime. Typically, it would be a Tracer, Sombra, Doomfist, or Winston but this will come down to the team’s preference.
- Account for the ultimates that your team has and identify if that ultimate will actually impact the team fight in the overtime situation.
- My intention with making these kinds of posts is not to start any controversy but more to give general information to people of all ranks. I understand that some people already know this but keep in mind that, you’re not everyone and there will always be someone who can get something out of this. When I post, I always hope that if 1 person understands a concept then that’s a success, for me, because someone learned something valuable and can apply it to their actual games. The general knowledge of the average Overwatch player is relatively low, not because they don’t try, but because they either are misinformed or they don’t know where to look as Overwatch doesn’t give an in depth tutorial of game sense, communication, and team play. I hope the guides gives an idea of what it takes to be a good shotcaller. Keep in mind that not everyone has to be a shotcaller.