Overwatch

Location, Location, Location: NYXL’s Success (and Failure) in the Killbox

Hello, my name is Spilo, and I'm a retired Contenders Head Coach turned Educational Content Creator.

Today we are going over a concept that has significant impact in pro play and casual/ranked play alike: Killboxes, and the effect compositional/hero choices have on positioning.

A killbox is essentially where a defending team choose to take a fight. It can be a choke, an open space, or around an objective. Crucially, it needs to be a location that offers multiple angles of attack, and plays to the strengths of the composition. Attackers are forced to find a way to break the killbox by manipulating map control to avoid playing to the defenders strengths.

For example, let's go over Havana 1st Defense: https://i.imgur.com/8wTAEd4.png

When the defenders are running a brawl composition (short range), the best killbox (red) is often spawn. Sightlines are short, the attacking flanks are few, and objective pressure is strong.

When the defenders are running a spam composition (long range), the best killbox (yellow) is in front of the high ground, before the first turn. Sightlines are long, high ground is available, and there are few short-angle sightlines that attackers can leverage.

When the defenders are running a dive composition (mobile, multi-angle in approach), the best killbox (blue) is often beneath the high ground, just around the turn. Sightlines are dependent on the type of dive being run, but this killbox offers strong high ground pressure, and multiple angles of threat on attackers.

It is crucial in ranked and pro play that everyone is on the same page with where the team fight is happening. For attackers, it's important to anticipate/scout where the defenders are setup to pressure, and decide how to best counter (to their own compositional advantage). For defenders, it's important to make good decisions in why the killbox is setup where it is- the proper killbox that favors the composition.

Keep in mind that killboxes can also vary depending on the composition you are playing into.

For example a spam style composition may choose to play shorter sightlines because the enemy team is playing an even longer range composition.

In my review of the NYXL vs. GZ Charge open scrim, NYXL executed some killboxes well, some not so much. Let's analyze three basic examples:

Example 1: https://i.imgur.com/BJNpVjt.png
Timestamp: https://youtu.be/V71YfOjzI88?t=2465

NYXL is defending 1st point Eichenwalde with an unorthodox "Talon Dive" composition that functions as a short range (brawl) dive. Against GZ's superior brawl composition (Rein/Zarya), it's incredibly important that NYXL's mobile composition (Winston/DVA) utilizes high ground and multiple angles to increase their pressure on GZ. Knowing this, NYXL chooses to pressure GZ directly underneath the high ground, opening up GZ to multiple angles of attack, and fully leveraging the strengths of the Dive Tanks around high ground.

Unfortunately, NYXL's Reaper (Gwangboong) mismanages his CDs, is picked, and NYXL as a result loses 1st point. It is likely that if he had not been picked, NYXL would have been comfortable taking a second fight around point where they would have been able to leverage high ground and angles again, and likely find a way to beat GZ by playing to their strengths.

Example 2: https://i.imgur.com/CooJdLS.png

Timestamp: https://youtu.be/V71YfOjzI88?t=3532

NYXL is attacking 1st point Gibraltar with Widowmaker Dive vs. GZ's Ashe Dive. Widowmaker has an obvious advantage over Ashe in long range duels with the threat of 1-shots and comparable damage output (the Ashe is incapable of putting out consistent pressure when playing into Widow sightlines). NYXL is easily able to leverage their Widowmaker advantage in the open space, and easily clears high ground.

GZ's only options with the Ashe vs. Widow matchup were to hold 1st defense more aggressively (before the sightlines opened up), or to play for the back half of 1st defense. Unfortunately, they are bullied quickly into the latter option. This isn't optimal, as allowing the attackers to rotate and clear high ground for free is a massive advantage in the fight to follow (a fight NYXL wins).
NYXL picks the superior hero in the killbox they wanted to play (on Attack, to boot!), claims the space easily, and wins the point as a result.

Example 3: https://i.imgur.com/2ZcUvkw.png

Timestamp: https://youtu.be/V71YfOjzI88?t=2562

We are going to include an example where NYXL (unfortunately) does not execute a killbox properly. This follows our Example 1, and starts with NYXL now defending 2nd point Eichenwalde with Brawl Dive against GZ's Rein Brawl. For whatever reason, NYXL decides to maintain aggressive and unilateral pressure into GZ directly at the choke, instead of abusing high ground and multiple angles of attack.

This goes predictably, and NYXL gets mauled by the superior brawl composition. While many micro issues pop up early in the fight, the major issue is that NYXL chooses to directly engage GZ at a short range choke, without utilizing high ground, and without taking multiple angles. This is a perfect example of poor killbox judgement by the defenders, who choose to aggress into the strength of the attackers, instead of patiently waiting until high ground/angles were more abuseable. The problem wasn't the aggression, the problem was where the aggression took place.

Killboxes are something you can start applying in your ranked games! Pay attention to your compositional choice and the map positions that favor you.
Tanks, look at your DPS/Supports' positioning and position yourself accordingly. DPS/Supports, look at your tanks' positioning and position yourself accordingly. In most cases it's wiser to choose an inferior killbox as six than to play a sightline that's good for you, but one nobody on your team is positioned around.

REVIEW (Part 1) OF THE MATCH:

My stream (where I do roast reviews/Pro analysis): https://www.twitch.tv/spilo

My Discord (where you can ask questions and get coaching): https://discord.gg/tqvgygx

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