Overwatch: The Ins and Outs of the Tank Role

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Overwatch: The Ins and Outs of the Tank Role

Everything you need to know to take up the role of Tank in your next game of Overwatch.

Overwatch is an amazing game where people can have fun with their friends. However, when it comes down to competitive play, there are certain things people need to consider, and one of them is the roles. Although most players want to get a DPS because they are fun to play, every team needs support and tanks. 

Learning how to play support is complicated, but until we go over this position in-depth, we will focus on tanking. Having a good tank in your team is probably one of the most important things in the game. This person can deal significant damage and use his high HP pool and shield to soak a lot of damage. Once the tank dies, the team usually loses the given point because no one can protect it from the incoming damage.

Becoming a good tank usually takes a lot of time. Unsurprisingly, you will probably make many mistakes, especially when you decide to play a new hero. Even though we can’t point out everything you should be aware of, this guide will try to go over some of the most important things you have to know when playing a tank.

Learn how to position

Having good positioning is important in every game, so don’t be surprised that Overwatch is on this list. Even though you need to know where to go and where to stay as DPS, those things are even more critical when you are a tactic. Good positioning will allow you to push/defend, receive heals, and help your team deal more damage.

While it's true that defending a specific point is not easy, pushing is definitely more complicated if you are a tank. One wrong move can have devastating consequences because if you die, your team won’t be able to do anything.

If you have to play a tank while attacking, your primary job should be to make space for your team. Remember that you will almost always be the first hero to attack your opponents, so you must know what you’re doing. Blocking damage while applying pressure will allow your DPS heroes to be way more successful.

Speaking of positioning, the saying “no pain, no gain” is pretty accurate here. The only way to “conquer” space for your team is by sacrificing your HP and barrier. In other words, you have to be ready to receive a lot of damage when pushing. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to use your shield and walk toward your enemies right away because they will destroy them.

Strike a balance between playing aggressively and defensively

“Perfectly balanced, like all things should be” is a famous quote from Thanos and it applies to this situation. The only way to become a successful tank player in Overwatch is to balance your aggressive and defensive behavior. Being over aggressive might seem incredible, but even the slightest mistake will be enough for your opponents to kill you. On the other hand, if you are over-defensively, your enemies will eventually push and flank your teammates.

By doing enough pressure and using your shield when needed, you should be able to prevent your opponents from pushing. The same applies to attacking, but in this case, you should be slightly more aggressive. After all, you need to reach the given point sooner or later.

Keep in mind that your playstyle depends heavily on the hero you’re using. Tanks like Wrecking Ball are not that good when playing defensively, but they can be an excellent option for attacking. On the other hand, heroes like Rein are good in both situations.

Use the map to your advantage

As a tank, your job is to make sure your team stays alive. To achieve this, you have different tools, such as stuns, high damage, and barriers. Unfortunately, those things are not always available and can be destroyed, depending on the situation. Therefore, you should always try to use the given map to your advantage, especially if you run out of cooldowns.

Every map has its spots that can help you a lot in all kinds of situations. Unsurprisingly, you need to know each map’s specifics to make the most out of it. Using certain chokepoints might seem like a good idea on paper, but in reality, it can lead to many problems.

In an ideal scenario, you should try to position yourself near a wall or something similar that will allow you to hide when needed. Depending on the hero you’re using, this will give you enough time for your cooldowns, including your barrier.

Don't use your shield when it's not needed

Every tank hero in Overwatch has some kind of shield that absorbs abilities or damage. Of course, some heroes have better defensive skills than others, which is why they are more popular. One of the best examples is Reinhardt, the hero with the most powerful shield in the game. When he uses his barrier, it can soak tons of damage, which allows his team to push.

Sadly, many people who play a tank in Overwatch don’t know how and when to use their shields. Inexperienced players assume that they must use their barriers no matter the threat. This might seem like a good idea, but it is not because by doing this, you waste a lot of your resources for no reason. 

For example, there is no need to block random shots from one of the enemy’s DPS when you know that there is an incoming attack in the next couple of seconds. As long as the DPS does not kill your healers (they need to have good positioning), they should be able to save you from dying. 

Holding your shield up when there is no need to do that means you won’t have enough resources for later on. 

Tanks to focus on

Before we share more information about some of the tanks, it is important to know that each one has pros and cons. None of them are perfect, so it all depends on your team, the heroes you face, and your opponents. Every tank is good at something.

By far the most common tank in Overwatch you'll have the chance to play with is Reinhardt. This hero has a lot of HP, solid armor, and the best barrier in the game when it comes down to HP. Rein is fantastic for pushing and for setups that play aggressively. Due to his insane melee damage, he can easily rip through the opponents’ frontliners. 

Unlike Rein, who deals a lot of damage up close, Orisa can also hit her enemies from a distance. She may not do a lot of damage, but her abilities allow her to hold her ground and allow some of her DPS allies to shine. Let’s also not forget that Orisa has one of the best ultimates in the game that provides tons of extra damage.

Even though Orisa and Rein are not that hard to play, this does not apply to heroes like Sigma and Wrecking Ball. These two seem extremely interesting on paper, but using them to their full potential is easier said than done. They require special positioning, so make sure to learn more about them. Fortunately, we have an in-depth guide on each hero to help you get started.

Overwatch: The Ins and Outs of the Tank Role
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.