Hello, I hope everyone has a good rest of the week. My names Paul I’ve posted once before, I coach a little, play the game a lot and one of the most common posts I see wether in various Overwatch forums, on Reddit, or in Overwatch Facebook groups are along the lines of “I’m in x rank and I’m tired of random bad teammates who wants to group up and climb to the next rank or two”.
While this strategy can work for some people I’ve seen it fail and lead to frustration more often than not. I’m not here writing this to discourage grouping up to play competitive all together. Some of my best memories in the game come from stacking with friends and absolutely feeding our brains out. However, I do want to highlight that stacking in premise has disadvantages an that if you truly want to get better at the game you’ll want to adopt a solo queue mentality rather than relying on making a group to beat the ranked system.
The appeal (and benefits) of playing with likeminded people who also want to climb are obvious. Teamwork and coordination are crucial parts of the game and there is no doubt those aspects become easier through stacking, but this may not be the advantage you think it is for a couple of reasons.
The matchmaker tries its best to match group sizes against each other. If your are in a 3 stack you probably will face a 3 stack or maybe even a 4 or 5 stack. The enemy most of the time will also share in this potential coordination advantage. You are not just reliant on you and your stacks ability to work together and be “good” players. You are also betting on your ability to do so being better than the other stacks you face. This won’t necessarily be true If you don’t play together frequently or don’t focus heavily on coordinating your plays. In these situations the factor that has the most impact on the match often become which stack works together better rather than your individual performances. I’m not suggesting your performance doesn’t matter I’m just saying you have to play well AND have good stack coordination which is a lot harder. It’s a lot more consistent to become a good teammate amongst random players than it is to become a better stack than every stack you may face on the ladder.
The second reason stacking is often harder to climb is mathematical. When you solo queue in each game the only consistent factor is your gameplay. In each game you’ll get 5 better or worse teammates than the last and 6 better or worse people to try and farm (or get stomped by). You might get some awful teams you can’t win with ever and you’ll find some games you completely roll the enemy but if the only thing that remains the same is your performance eventually the greatest common factor in determining your SR will be your actual skill. In probability we’d say that as the number of games you play approaches infinity the closer your SR will become to your true skill. Simple terms: play a lot of games -> your SR will better represent your skill. The reason this relates to stacking is because once you start grouping with people who also want to climb, friends, or whoever you meet in LFG your performance is no longer the only thing consistent match to match. You’re adding more factors other than your own skill into the mix. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing. I’m sure you’d find adding a 4500 smurf as a duo would skyrocket your win percentage but what about a player of even skill? Or even less skill? Everyone’s performance is at least somewhat inconsistent so you’re not only reliant on yourself having a good game but also the people in your stack. If they have a bad game you could lose SR despite playing well and vice versa.
Yes randomly bad teammates are frustrating and probably stand out more but your also just as likely to get randomly good one. The randomness of the teammates is what allows your gameplay to become the greatest factors in determining your skill
In summary, if you really feel like you are improving as a player and want to climb the ladder then the only real thing you want to bring with you from match to match is your performance and stacking doesn’t do that.
Shifting from the potential disadvantages of stacking I want to discuss the solo queue mentality. How to attack the ladder, gain SR and, ultimately improve as a player. A topic I discussed at length in my previous post here if you want to read that. But here I want to focus briefly and primarily on a solo queue perspective.
As previously stated in solo queuing the main thing that will impact your climb is your own performances. It becomes important to be able to judge wether your performance was good, bad, average or somewhere in between. You’ll have to watch and be able to be critical of your own gameplay. Focusing each match on “What things did I do that had positive strong impact for my team ?” And “what things did I do that had negative impact on my teams success?”. If you’re having a hard time assessing yourself there’s plenty of coaching here and in discord’s as well as plenty of YouTube content to help you as well. But the most important part is to recognize what things are in your control and what aren’t.
Sometimes you get earth shattered because you had garbage positioning, sometimes you end up on the ground because your Reinhardt didn’t want to put up his shield. Understanding the difference between times you lost because of things you did and times where the error was out of your control is crucial. This is in essence the solo queue mentality.
If you want to climb this way you have to take all of the factors in your control and utilize them to have the highest impact possible on each of your matches. It’s all about building a mentality to destroy lobbies through recognizing mistakes that are in your control and building sets of habits that eliminate them. It’s not easy but the easiest way to go about it is isolating your gameplay for a bunch of games, analyzing it thoroughly, and enhancing your habits to avoid the same mistake next time.
Anyways hope this helps if anyone reads it and if you are reading this hope the rest of your week goes well. 🙂
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