Stacking Doesn’t Break Chokes (usually): Why Boston Uprising Struggled On Kings Row

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

This Monday I had the opportunity to stream analysis of Nepal and Kings Row from the Boston vs. Paris matchup in the Steel Series Tournament, and I couldn't help but notice that Boston struggled immensely with their double shield on Kings Row. Some might question the Genji pick (it was a little odd), but Genji wasn't the problem with Boston's strategy.

Before I get into the match example, let me explain a little why chokes are oppressive in Overwatch.

If you've seen any of my content, you'll hear me harp over and over again about map control and angles, essentially the flanks and high grounds that make Overwatch positioning so important. A choke is a small path on the map that attackers go through where the enemy team can focus fire from angles.

You see, it's not just the fact that you have to squeeze through a small space, it's that you're going to be shot from all over while you're doing it, and the enemies can focus ALL their fire in a very small space.

There are a couple different ways to break chokes. Explosively and quickly pushing through a choke means you spend less time in the "meat grinder," and you can catch enemies off guard. Throwing a bunch of Ultimates through a choke means you can overwhelm the enemy's positional advantage.

The last, and most consistent way to break a choke is by splitting enemy attention, removing the pressure on the choke and reducing the number of angles that threaten the people moving through.

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Unofficial Example: https://i.imgur.com/dWgCDVI.png

This is an example (not from an official match) that many of you will relate to. Notice the number of angles Blue has on Red attempting to break the choke- it's, as I described earlier, a meat grinder- hard to break, and getting through the choke is just the first step- you still have to deal with the fact that the enemies surround you.

In this instance, notice how much pressure can be relieved from a flank (white) by one or two individuals from team red- forcing attention and movement from the angles (away from the choke). The level of surprise with flanks like these often lead to picks as well.

Official Example: https://i.imgur.com/XPmJGUw.png

Timestamp to the fight(s) discussed: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/931983610?t=00h53m29s

Boston caps first point of Kings Row, and has a solid time bank of 4:25 to push to second. They are playing an unorthodox composition: Double Shield with Ashe/Ana/Genji, a composition with superior spam and a nano blade win condition. It's a weird composition, but certainly a strategy that has logic behind it, when executed properly.

Paris, however, is running a harder Brawl composition that has some ranged threat, but in the non-mirror matchup, focused mostly on aggressively closing distance and directly threatening Boston with melee heroes like Mei, Rein, and DVA.

Boston cannot hope to break this compositional hold on this choke without sending a split to high ground, preferably a Sigma, Ashe, and Bap/Ana- there are other flank options as well (more risky ones), but, put simply, Boston does not have the map control/angle pressure to break through this choke by simply stacking as six, certainly not against a composition that boasts a Mei and a Rein, two heroes that will butcher anyone who walks directly into their range.

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Unfortunately, that's exactly what Boston does for four minutes. Ashe, Sigma, Bap, Ana- none of them attempt to take an angle other than main (ironically, the only player who take an angle is Valentine, whose ranged pressure as Genji is weak), meaning Paris is easily able to hide from Boston's superior spam, and able to easily smash Boston's more fragile composition. Paris punishes this positioning by getting high value from their Walls, Freeze, and Rein swings, in addition to getting high value out of Shatter and Blizzard over and over again. Boston only breaks the choke on the shoulders of a phenomenal nanoblade from Valentine.

Second Official Example: https://i.imgur.com/ZaYUEFC.png

To make matters worse, when Paris recontests at the end of second, Boston, who holds an Orisa Supercharger (spam oriented ultimate) and is close to a Sigma Flux, chooses to once again press W THROUGH a choke into Paris's superior brawl team, immediately and predictably dying to a massive Mei Blizzard. Boston's chances of winning this fight were remarkably high if they simply held the positions circled below, instead of stacking and rushing Paris.

If Boston had simply held the proper positions, it would have been Paris's turn to run the gauntlet, walking into a Sigma/Ashe/Orisa concave, with Ana also angled to get high value from biotic grenade.

This was not a map specific issue- Boston struggled with the exact same problems listed here on Hanamura (another map they lost): running an unorthodox composition and failing to take angles repeatedly. Now, the question is why did Boston do this? It is impossible to say- they have a strong and smart roster and a phenomenal coaching staff, so it's a mystery to me- perhaps it had something to do with a communicational misunderstanding. We will never know.

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However, it is unquestionable that this mistake directly led to both of Boston's map losses- failing to execute the fundamentals of Overwatch positioning will always punish you, and even the pros aren't perfect. I am certain that Boston will address these issues, and we'll be seeing Boston clean up team fights, with or without nano blade.


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

Source: reddit.com

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