A lot of Reins frequently suffer from this feeling of hopelessness, where despite pressing W and barreling into the enemy team, not only is their team dying around them, but they are being spammed out without even being able to swing at anything – also known as the "main tank experience". However, this is not because Rein is bad or main tank is a dead role. It really has to do with the fact that many Reins don't do a number of simple things that make their experience much better.
1. Push one side, and avoid "funneling"
Maps in Overwatch usually are separated into three lanes: main and the two flanks. Main is eventually important to control for your team because it's where the objective is located, but very often, you should not start the fight by just running it down main. The reason is simply because the enemy can just put players on the flanks and hit your team from two angles.
For example, Oasis University is one of the best points for Rein, but it can still be a pitfall trap if you don't play it correctly. In this image, the enemy are playing a Ball/Sigma comp:
As Rein, if you just push main (green), then you and your team might be in deep trouble. While you have Sigma and Zen (a perennial problem for a lot of Reins) to worry about, Hanzo gets to shoot your backline from high ground, while Ball+Tracer get to engage on your backline for free. Instead, you want to CLEAR one of the flanks, and you do that by just pushing that flank.
A better way to push would be to push through the mini room (green), forcing Ball and Tracer off that flank (red). Afterwards, you can go on point and shield up to help your DPS clear the Hanzo (blue), or you could even decide to wrap around and rush the Sigma+Zen who doesn't want to fight in short sightlines (purple)!
A related concept is to avoid funneling through chokes where the enemy can hit you from multiple angles. For example, on Ilios Ruins, there is a central choke that is often difficult to push through. If you just run it down main (blue), the enemy will have three different angles from which to pummel your team, and you can only shield one of them!
Instead, you want to be pushing one side (either blue or purple arrows). By doing so, not only do you effectively clear one angle (red arrows) because well, it's either a wall or straight into the water, but you also clear that angle of any potential flankers!
2. Clear high ground and flanks
Spilo's excellent post goes over this in more detail, but essentially, Rein is not allergic to taking nor controlling high ground. Many Reins often run it down main or force the point despite the enemy having powerful high ground areas to use and kill your backline from. Often, your team doesn't need you to run it down main, and the point can be pushed after you win the teamfight. In fact, running it down main might even hurt your team because you're encouraging them to go head on into a death trap.
For example, Gibraltar is one of the best maps for long-range heroes that can use high ground due to its long sightlines and many high ground areas. In this image of 1st point attack Gibraltar, if you just AFK force the cart (blue), the enemy has free sightlines (red) on your backline (purple), which makes it very difficult for your team to push.
Instead, what you should be doing is clearing high ground. Take the stairs (blue) so that you can directly contest the enemy players using high ground (circled). By doing so, you not only eliminate the threat the enemy has on your backline, you also give your DPS the high ground which allows them to Uno reverse card and tear apart the enemy backline.
Now, what if high ground is inaccessible, or there are only 1-2 players using the high ground so rotating high ground might be overkill? Use your shield! What many top Reins like LhCloudy will do is they will shield up for their DPS, and ask them in VC to shoot the enemies on high ground. It will depend on whether your DPS have the range to do so (a McCree can do it but a Reaper can't) but it still remains a possibility.
Another related concept is clearing flanks. It's similar to the concept of pushing one side, but essentially you want the enemy to be clumped up on one angle as Rein. You want a head on fight because as Rein, you excel at head on fights. But if the enemy has multiple angles on your team, it becomes way more difficult for you to do your job.
In this example, you have just pushed through the choke on Busan Meka Base and the enemy is kiting back. But the McCree decides to take an aggressive angle and is threatening your backline. If you just rush the rest of the enemy team (blue), there is a risk that he gets a pick. Instead, you either want to <1> ask your DPS or off tank to clear the McCree, shielding up for them if necessary (green) or <2> if you have a Lucio, rush the McCree and potentially kill him (red).
But the concept is the same. Before running it down main, make sure both high ground and the flanks are cleared first. Much of the main tank experience comes from forgetting that high ground and flanks exist and that they are possibly the biggest counter to you.
3. Plan fights and shotcall
It is easy to forget that Rein is not just a fat DPS. He does a lot of damage up close, sure, but many Reins turn off their brain and just try to barrel down anything within their distance without considering the team. The reality is, the main tank is the most important player on the team, and in exchange the whole team plays (or should play) around you. With great power comes an even greater responsibility, and that responsibility is planning fights and shotcalling, whether by using VC, or tacitly by how you play in a teamfight. And no, "big shatter" is not an example of good shotcalling.
This is unfortunately a much larger topic than the previous two, so I will only give a few examples after. Teamfight planning involves a lot of factors: the map, your team comp, the enemy team comp, your ults, and the enemy ults – impossible to fit in just one post. But the best way to pick up fight planning fundamentals is to study a top Rein streamer who is vocal with their team. I like LhCloudy as he is very vocal in VC and always explains to his team how he wants to sculpt the teamfight – almost a dictatorial approach.
Now to the example: suppose you are playing 1st point defense on Hanamura.
- Example 1: You are playing with a Mei/Reaper DPS line. In this case, you usually want to be holding the choke, because Mei absolutely farms chokes if played properly and often you don't want the enemy to get into open space where they can use longer sightlines (if they're running something like Ashe or Hanzo for example)
- Example 2: But say your Mei has blizzard, and you decide that the best way to win the next fight is to use freeze (as maybe they have no defensive ults). In that case, it might be best to give some space and allow the enemy to enter the choke a bit. Why? Your Mei can certainly throw her blizzard through the choke but then you would have to go through the choke, which means you basically lose the advantage of being the ones defending the choke. And related to the previous topic, you don't have time to clear the high ground, which means that if you're not careful, a sneaky Ashe or Hanzo might get a pick and set their team up nicely for the next fight. So you want to turn the choke into a trap that they have to push into, and then your Mei can blizzard from a superior position.
Shotcalling requires a lot of game knowledge, but it's best to take it slowly. It can be overwhelming to be the architect of every teamfight, but if you learn from great shotcallers and remain fearless in using VC to sculpt teamfights, you will graduate from fat DPS to a true main tank. Without the main tank experience of course.
- Tracers: Mark Enemy Threats
- Sigma Players: Take Aggressive Angles
- Protect your supports by being proactive
More about OverwatchPost: "Reinhardt: 3 simple life hacks!" specifically for the game Overwatch. Other useful information about this game:
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