Overwatch Getting Out of Elo Hell Guide

by wackygonz

“I’m stuck in (this rank here) what am I doing wrong?” or “my stats show I do this well but I can’t climb” or “what are the best heroes to climb with?” Sound familiar? I’ve created numerous guides and I’m going to tell you guys right now, there is no magic trick, hero, or tip that will make you magically improve. There is no substitute from working hard, and finding ways to get better. So I’m making this post to set you guys on the right track in getting out of your own Elo Hell.


When talking about how to approach ranked, I think Emongg said it the best when he said, “getting angry in ranked is like going to the Getting Punched in the Face Convetion and then getting mad that you got punched in the face.” I think overwhelmingly we can agree, as a community that ranked doesn’t promote the best environment to play in. There are games where everything just goes your team’s way and your team just rolls, then there are games that it feels like you just can’t win and everyone on your team just gives up. When you hop into a game of competitive you never know what you’re going to get and for some people they can play through toxicity, to others, it’s frustrating and they can only play one or two games before tilting off the face of the Earth. However, there is always one common factor that you can change that will dictate if you can win a match or not, and that’s you.

My Background

I want to first put this here because some people may be younger, older, have played hours of FPS, or Overwatch is the first FPS they have ever played. So I put this here because maybe there is something you can relate to and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

People have different backgrounds and experiences the affect how they approach ranked. Those experiences can be the amount of games they played before, what kind of games they played, or life experiences outside of gaming. The first shooter that I played was the first Battlefront that came out in 2004. It was a fun game but didn’t have too much strategy towards it. The games that I really fell in love with were RTS games like Starcraft, Empire at War, and Warcraft 3. I would play these games for hours because every match would feel different depending on the map and the factions that you chose. It wasn’t about clicking heads but managing resources, timing, focus fire, selecting the right units, and doing multiple things at once. Needless to say, a lot of the lessons I learned in RTS games translated into Overwatch, the first and only FPS game that I fell in love with. I played a lot of those RTS games growing up as a kid but stopped playing them when I entered in High School in 2010 because I had to focus on class and sports.

Sports was a key factor on how I approached Overwatch because of how you have to deal with people in a competitive environment. For me, I played varsity basketball in high school for 3 years and it would take 2-4 hours of my day from practices, Individuals work outs, and lifting. That’s not counting the countless of hours I played pick up basketball at my local park. It goes without saying, playing varsity basketball and a pick up game at the park have a significant difference in terms of skill level and organization. You learn quick in a pick up game who the good players are, and the…let’s just say God didn’t create everyone equal when it came to basketball. With the various skill levels, I also learned that people have different play styles. Some players are really good shooters, others are defenders, then there are other players who like playing in the paint. So what tends to happen sometimes in pick up games is that a team can lean towards a certain play style that may or may not work. Then you have to account for how people talk to each other and trash talking is a pretty common thing, and that can make or break a person.

Now translate all of that into Overwatch, and you have a similar environment but just a different game. Sometimes you’ll get unbalanced teams, toxic teammates, or players who have different play styles from yours. So ask yourself, when looking at all those factors, how do you approach the game? Are you the type of person to complain every chance you get? Are you the type of person to keep quiet the whole game? Or are you the type of person that communicates well from the beginning?

When it came to Overwatch, I started playing on my roommates account at a Silver rank. This was really the first FPS that I have really gotten into since the first Battlefront. Boy did I suck balls at it, I didn’t know where I should go, what the objective was, and I was a Reaper one trick in the later part of Season 2 to the beginning of Season 3. Then I started watching streamers and YouTube videos to look for people that would teach the game. The person that really stuck out to me back then was ESL OneAmongstMany. Most of you probably don’t know who that is, but he was the OG educational streamer before Jayne became so popular. He did VoD reviews on people who would submit them to him, then I realized, “I make those same mistakes–I fucking suck at this game.” So from Season 3 to season 4 (Back when seasons were 3 months long) I learned, I grinded, and towards the end of season 4, I hit 3808.

After I hit GM back in Season 11, I’ve taken a step back from ranked and have focused on coaching, playing in scrims, PUGs, and tournaments. I will once in a while get on, but I just enjoy coaching and playing in a more organized setting a lot more. This is not me saying, “I’ve learned all that I could” it’s the exact opposite, I still have so much to learn about the game and I felt that ranked didn’t allow me to learn Overwatch in a team setting, and that’s where I get the most joy out of the game. For you reading this, you may have not hit that point or may not want to and just enjoy playing ranked. Nothing wrong with that, this is exactly why I’m making this post, and I hope this post helps and you have taken something that you can relate to.

The Mentality

So before even playing the actual game you have to be in the right state of mind to actually play the game. Before you actually get into a match of Overwatch, you have to overcome the mental battle first. If you go into ranked thinking about these things:

  • “I don’t want to play ranked because I’m afraid to lose SR”
  • “Well going to have throwers, leavers, and trash teammates”
  • “What’s the point in playing?”
  • “I’m too good for this rank, why am I stuck here?”
  • “I don’t want to play because I’m afraid of people becoming toxic to me”

Then you have already lost the first battle of playing ranked. For some of you, I advise just not playing the game anymore, because there’s no point playing the game if you are no longer having fun and can’t fight the anxiety when playing the game. The internet is a dumb place, and there are so many stupid people that say dumb things, and I wish there wouldn’t be any toxic people, but in reality there are, and it will be hard for anybody to change that.

For those of you who still want to keep on playing, and feel like you can fight through the adversity here’s some advice when hoping into ranked.

  • Accept you suck
  • Do not give any excuses like
    • “My team didn’t play well”
    • “I have good stats but I’m not climbing”
    • “I do well in QP but I’m not doing well in competitive”
    • “Well my (Insert thing that the person believes they are good at) is pretty good but I’m not that good at (Insert thing that person believes they are bad at)
    • “Had a thrower or leaver”
  • Find out why you suck
  • Look to improve on what you feel are your biggest problems

More on this later

Come on, say it with me, “I suck at this game.” There, now you just got past the first step in improving. Let me also tell you, unless you’re a pro player, everyone sucks at this game, you suck, I suck, everyone sucks, but with you accepting that you begin the path of sucking less. Stop blaming teammates for not getting better, stop thinking you did enough, because there is always something you can do to improve. Making excuses I listed above slows down progress and doesn’t do anything for you.

If you want to play ranked just because you enjoy the game, then I have no problem that and most people wouldn’t either. Just don’t confuse “fun” with “trolling” there is still a level of seriousness that needs to be taken when playing competitive. You are playing with people who legitimately want to improve or win, so you also need to be respectful of that, it’s a team game after all. On the flip side, if you are way too serious, and only care about winning then you are probably prone to massive amounts of tilt. Take a breath, take a break if you need to, but remember, Overwatch is a game, and a rank is just a rank, and whether your are Bronze or Top 500, a rank doesn’t change who you are as a person.

“How do I Improve?”

Step 1: Pick a role, stop playing 4 heroes from each class, narrow down it down to a main role, then a secondary role if somebody else on your team plays the same spot. For me, my main role has been Main Tank (Reinhardt, Winston, Orisa, & Wrecking Ball) then my secondary role would be Flex Support (Zenyatta, Ana, some Moira). Why? Every hero and every role has a certain play style and have a certain nuance to them. The more heroes you try to learn, the less you understand a particular hero, and the less you actually improve on that hero.

Step 2: Identify key mistakes, this allows you to focus on a particular aspect on what you need to improve on. The main mistakes to focus on are:

  • Game Knowledge
  • Game Sense/Awareness
  • Positioning
  • Cool Down Management/Ultimate Usage
  • Mechanics

Some of you may be able to identify it in game, but the best way is to record your gameplay and VoD review. You don’t need a coach to review your gameplay, you can do it yourself, or do it with your friends and have a discussion about it. If you’re still not sure how to VoD review, I have a link below you can check out for some help.

There are also useful guides out there on YouTube or on this SubReddit that explain how to play certain heroes. Try to avoid using really known YouTube sites like YourOverwatch, Overwatch Central, etc. There are hidden gems about particular heroes and you just need to go out and find them. KarQ also has a good series called, “1 tip for every hero” although it doesn’t show a lot about the fundamentals of how the hero is played, more of how to win matchups, still helpful nonetheless.

Step 3: Apply the knowledge you have learned! Don’t just VoD review or watch a guide and not play the game right after. It’s like reading how to properly shoot a basketball then never actually shoot a basketball. Reading and watching can only get you so far, if you’re not applying that knowledge then it becomes useless. Identify a problem in your play, understand why it’s a problem, think of the proper way, then apply in game. Also, do not try to fix too many things at once, take your time with it. Improvement is a process so if you’re trying to fix your positioning, cool down management, and mechanics with like 5 different heroes in the span of 3 hours, you’re not going to improve on anything. What I did when I was learning is I would put a note on the table or right next to me saying what I need to improve on for that day. It’s just a good reminder on what I’m working on so that I’m conscious of it and won’t forget.

Step 4: Improvement is a grind! Some of you will figure out a mistake and suddenly shoot up the ranks, some of you will try to apply that knowledge and actually lose SR. Both scenarios are very common, but understand that improving is a grind, and you’re not gonna suddenly get better after playing 5 hours of competitive. It may take you a week, it may take you a month, everyone learns at their own pace, but as long as there is something you’re working on, you are doing the right thing. In the words of Zenyatta, “a warrior’s greatest weapon… is patience.”


I hope this helps some of you, maybe it’s the answer you guys would like to hear, but it’s the truth, there is no substitute for practice. Remember, accept you suck, find out why, think of the solution, apply it in game, then grind your ass off. Overwatch is a game, it’s meant to be fun, so there’s no point getting mad over a game, it doesn’t make you less of a person if you lose, nor does it make you a better person if you win. Good luck in the grind!

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