Overwatch Playing Dive on Defense Guide

by SilverMarinus

Hey guys! I’m a former masters player who specializes in playing dive comp with a 6 stack. I decided I’m going to take the time to write a guide on playing dive comp specifically on defense. I often see people dismiss the strategy or see it as throwing, which is understandable. In my experience, players in solo queue almost NEVER play defensive dive properly and they feed. This is usually due to a lack of coordination with the team, a lack of focus fire, and a lack of knowledge on dive tank positioning.

But I can assure you, defensive dive can be an insanely strong strategy on certain maps and against certain team comps. It can be very hard to punish if the enemy team doesnt swap to counter you. And even if they do, you’ve forced them off of their original strategy, which makes them lose their ult charge and forces them onto heroes they may be less experienced with. Plus, often times one single dive counter isn’t enough to stop you, and sometimes not even two. I’ve played defensive Winston against a team with Roadhog and Reaper and STILL won because I adapted.

First, I’m gonna break down when you should and shouldn’t play dive.

You can play defensive dive if:

  • The map has at safe high ground positions for your team. Maps like Watchpoint Gibraltar, Hanamura, Volskya Industries, Horizon Lunar Colony, Hollywood (points 2 and 3), Dorado (points 2 and 3) are a few that come to mind.
  • The enemy team has squishy targets with low mobility such as Ana, Zenyatta, Widow, Hanzo, Soldier, Mcree, Ashe
  • You have people in voice chat willing to coordinate and able to play heroes that are viable with dive.

You shouldn’t play defensive dive if:

  • The map is incredibly flat with few high ground positions. Almost all maps have certain areas where dive is good, and others that aren’t. Point 3 of Rialto is probably the biggest example of this. The entire point is completely flat with no high ground positions at all, giving your dive tanks nowhere to retreat to, forcing you into a head-to-head fight, which is where bunker or death ball comps excel much more.
  • The enemy team comp has too many counters. This is a little more complicated to explain, because even against heroes who soft counter dive, you can still work around it and succeed. One counter can be worked around. Even 2. But once they have 3 or 4 counters, you’re going to have a very tough time and should switch strategies, because the enemy will have too much point presence and you wont be able to do anything.
  • If nobody is in chat, or if their hero picks dont synergize with dive at all. You don’t necessarily need 2 flanker DPS. You could have one flanker and one sniper, or even a Pharah. Even having a Mcree to protect your backline from enemy flankers is viable.

Now, here are the steps to a proper defensive dive.

  1. Before the fight starts, set up your tanks and DPS on a high ground position or on a flank, NOT AT THE CHOKE. Dive heroes are not meant to sustain in the fight for long periods or take mass amounts of poke damage. Set up on high ground where the enemy can’t hurt you, so you’re ready at full health to engage when the time is right.
  2. Decide with your team who your dive targets are, and in which order you’ll dive them. Focus fire is the single most important part of dive comp, and if your team isnt focusing the same targets, the fight will drag on too long and you will almost certainly lose. Generally speaking, you want to save the enemy tanks for last.
  3. Give the enemy space and let them walk through the choke for free. Remember, you dont want to fight the enemy from the front. Let them push through so that their tanky frontline moves forward, and then their squishy backline will be exposed. That’s when you counter engage. Patience is key. Your timing is super important. Sometimes the best thing to do is sit and wait.
  4. Dive the backline together. Because we were setup on a high ground, this gives us the potential to do a “Drop engage” on the enemy. This means letting the enemy walk underneath you, and then dropping down on them without wasting your mobility cooldowns. That way, if something goes wrong, you have your cooldowns available to escape. Or if the enemy uses an escape tool like Mercy’s guardian angel, widow grappling hook, or Moira’s fade, you have the ability to chase them and finish the kill. However, sometimes you will want to use the cooldowns to initiate if they are further away, or if you just want the extra burst damage. Remember, focus fire is key! Focus the same targets so you can kill them quickly before they can get help.
  5. After you’ve killed your first couple targets, you can disengage and recover for a second, and try to take stock of everything else that’s going on. Then, go back in again and finish the fight. OR, if everything is going just fine, then theres no need to disengage. Just keep going in and clean up the fight. Remember, squishies first, tanks last.
  6. Reset, Rinse and Repeat.

Other variables to consider:

  • You only need one person at a time to stall the objective if necessary. Dive isn’t made to play on point, but because of your mobility, you can keep rotating heroes in and out to touch the point one at a time while the rest of the team focuses targets. I would say the best dive heroes for stalling are Tracer, Lucio, Ball, Dva, and Winston with Primal Rage. If you continuously rotate, nobody has to actually die.
  • If your team has respawn advantage, such as 2nd point 2CP, you can take fights closer to the enemy spawn, since you get back to point so fast anyway. This applies to all comps, but especially to dive with even faster movement abilities. Dive comp sucks on Temple of Anubis 2nd if you try to fight on point. But if you fight around the high grounds near/past the choke, you have plenty of options to work with and completely bully the enemy team until they tilt.
  • If one or both of your DPS are a ranged DPS, they need to tell you if they get someone weak do that you can go in and clean up the kill. In that sense, the ranged damage is the setup for the engage, and the dive is the follow up. Also, if the enemy has a sniper, dont assume it’s your snipers job to deal with them. You have the power to ruin that enemy sniper’s day so that YOUR sniper can get free shots on the enemy uncontested. Winston bubbles for your widow are also underutilized, especially with the buff on its duration, now at 9 seconds.
  • If you’re playing a support such as Ana or Zen, you have to be as proactive at looking for kills as the rest of your team. Being on defense, you should have control of most of the terrain where the fight is happening, so get to a spot where you can also target the same dive targets as your tanks and DPS with discord and anti nades. If you just sit way in the back and heal from the distance, you might only be able to see the enemy tanks and you wont be much use. You have to position much differently than you would with bunker or death ball. You want to end the fight quickly. Take aggressive angles so you can help your team frag the squishies AND heal at the same time.

(This next one is mainly for attack, but I decided to include it anyway while I’m giving dive tips)

  • If you’re playing against Sym/Torb, you HAVE to take the extra time to destroy turrets before you hard commit. It’s easier said than done, but if you take the time to surround the enemy from multiple sides, safely destroy the sym nest and the torb turret, then all they’re left with is two mediocre DPS with long cooldowns. This is SO SO important. Dive simply CANNOT eat that much spam. It’s worth it spend even an entire minute flanking and cleaning up turrets trying to do it right the first time, so you get ONE good dive. If you mess up the first fight, Sym and Torb get their ultimates, AND they get to reset their turrets, and you’ll lose every time. Be patient, clean out all the deployables, and do it right the first time because you basically only get one or two tries. Also, dont forget to destroy the Sym TP from spawn.
  • Ult economy obviously still applies. This is a broad topic so I won’t go into huge detail. But ult economy should change your decision making on who to dive, how to use your ults to counter theirs, and when you should disengage to wait out the onslaught of ultimates.
  • Sometimes you can get solo kills and dont need focus fire. I’ve had many games where I continuously do a drop engage as Winston onto the enemy backline, and I kill both healers by myself without needing help. But that’s usually only in quick play. In general, having all 6 on one target isnt always necessary. 2 people is usually enough. If you have Zenyatta, focus discorded targets… duh.
  • Sometimes you just gotta take what the enemy gives you. If your next dive target is in a spot you cant get to, or is too close to the rest of their team, then just dive what you can and call with your team to focus a new target.
  • Very specific tip for Dva, but under utilized. When your Genji uses dragonblade, follow him in with defense matrix. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten a flashbang or sleep dart this way and my Genji is able to pop off. The same goes for Doomfist.
  • Another Dva/Genji tip, always communicate whether he is going to deflect the damage orb or if you’re gonna eat it with defense martix. It’s a very common mistake, but it sucks as Genji to waste your deflect cooldown for nothing. And it feels great to steal ult charge.
  • Because dive is about quick kills and less about sustain, you can still take fights even if one or both of your healers dies. One of the best tips I learned is that if you lose a teammate, sometimes it’s better to go for a quick kill on an enemy to turn the tides. Because if you try to back up, the enemy will just chase you down and snowball you. But if you react by taking fast aggression onto their backline or DPS, you can turn it into a 5v5. Often times when the enemy gets a pick, they instantly start to push and get sloppy. They expect you to retreat as they run you over. But you can punish that blind aggression with by quickly bursting somebody down that was on autopilot.
  • Protect your supports, or get supports that can dive with you. The biggest weakness of dive is that they cant protect their healers from flankers while they dive in. If your Ana or Zen keeps getting flanked, maybe keep your Dva with them while your monkey, tracer and Genji all go in. Or instead, go Lucio Moira since they can go in with the dive pretty easily while being generally safe from flankers themselves.
  • You dont always need to commit to a kill, sometimes harassing them so they run away or waste cooldowns is smarter. Getting a soldier low so he runs away and uses his healing station. Diving a mcree so he wastes flashbang. Diving Ana so she wastes her nade and sleep and has to run away. The more resources they waste at the start, the bigger advantage your team will have in the midfight, assuming you didn’t take a crap ton of damage. Speaking of which….
  • You REALLY need to learn how to not take poke damage. Classic dive was Lucio Zen, which is super low healing, but it worked. You need discipline and patience. As I said, waiting in a safe position for the right opportunity is the best option. Dont be that Winston who face tanks at the choke and whines about healing.
  • Winston used to always be the initiator. But with the addition of Wrecking ball, he is even better at initiating because of his piledriver, and then the team follows up right after. My favourite thing as Genji is following up on a piledriver with some shurikens and a swift strike while the enemy is stuck in a predictable falling animation. Not only that, Wrecking Ball can boop enemies away from the rest of their team, making them easy dive targets. Classic dive always had low CC. But Ball is so good. And Doomfist. Use these heroes to help isolate targets to dive.
  • Last but not least….DON’T C9!

And that’s basically everything I could think of! Boy, that was a lot longer than I expected. Like I said before, I find people in this game tend to autopilot to a poke-at-the-choke playstyle, and they forget to change that behaviour when they run dive. And it’s a huge pity, because dive comp has always been the most fun meta in my opinion. When you execute a clean, coordinated dive, everyone on your team feels like they’re popping off. Hopefully this guide gave you a better understanding of how to actually play dive properly! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I hope you have fun with this information! I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips about dive in the comments. I know I sound like a know it all, but I bet there’s still more things to be learned from you guys. Cheers! :)

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