Overwatch is Ruled by the Kings in Blue
Talespin. Taimou. Cocco. InternetHulk. HarryHook. Chipshajen.
These six players comprise Team EnVyUs’s Overwatch squad who are currently the undisputed number one team in the world. Fresh off their crushing 4-0 victory over Code7 in the Beat Invitational, EnVyUs has truly established competitive Overwatch’s first dynasty.
On the current patch, they are undefeated and maintain a 94% win rate since the rosters inception. Seemingly nobody has found a reliable answer to take them down, so why is it so hard to defeat the #nVNation?
OP Strats Man
As far as I can tell, only a few of the top Overwatch teams are employing coaches and none of them have reported analysts. Considering how new Overwatch is as an esport, I am not terribly surprised. However, the lack of proper scouting seems to be playing into EnVyUs’s hand. The team frequently uses identical hero and positional setups without being punished. One of their foremost unique strategies is how they set up on King’s Row defense.
While it is not uncommon for Lucio players to switch off the DJ when defending, few take up the mantle of a hitscan player quite as well as HarryHook. When defending the initial point on King’s Row, he picks up Soldier 76 and is tasked with controlling the high ground provided by the clock tower. Combined with Talespin’s Junkrat spam from Hotel, it creates a difficult situation for the pushing team. But, the most unique part of their defense is Internethulk’s Torbjorn pick.
He places the dwarven defense turret within the point at an angle where it can fire upon the attacking team as they push through the gate. The addition, the turret adds another dimension to the crossfire while Torb’s rivet gun provides long range damage. But the scariest part of a Torbjorn defense is how quickly he can snowball. If the attacking team falls prey to the four angle cross fire on the initial attack, Torbjorn can then buff his team, granting them all 75 armor. Most notably it makes it harder for the enemy team to kill your Mercy, increasing the odds you win the next fight.
However, even more terrifying is the ultimate charge Torbjorn gains. Often able to Molten Core on the second assault, it makes both Torb and his turret significantly tankier and doubles their dps, leaving the duo able to singlehandedly stifle an attack.
The unique way EnVyUs sets up this defense is difficult for teams to play against; not because this strategy is completely bulletproof, but because they are the only ones to run it and no one is practiced against it. In fact, Code 7 recently showed how simple it was to beat. They used a combination of Pharah rockets and Zarya right clicks to pop the turret from long rage before pushing. Until the Overwatch scene develops and teams pick up analysts who can watch vods and theorycraft, certain strategies like this will continue to be more effective than they should be.
While EnVyUs does use tried and true stratagems frequently to create reliable results, they are not afraid to try something new to catch opponents off guard. In the June Alienware monthly, EnVyUs attempted a massive flank attack against Luminosity on Dorado.
In order to get behind the shield wall of Reinhardt, four players went on a mission to place Luminosity in a pincer maneuver. Unfortunately, the tactic failed and EnVyUs quickly went back to a standard play to push the point. However, the ability to think outside the box bodes well for the longevity of their dominance, especially as new maps are added to the game without established play methods.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Obviously in a team game, your ability to play together will be a factor. But the ability to work as a unit is consistently an overlooked factor by the average fan. Perhaps it stems from their experience playing the game at a casual level, where a single player really can win the game alone. But at the professional level, that simply isn’t how it works anymore.
Out of all the teams in Overwatch, EnVyUs seems to understand this the best. Even something as simple as establishing how they are going to play a part of the map and sticking to it. For example, when Taimou picks up Roadhog, they stay together, ensuring that no one gets picked off and trust in him to hit the hooks they need. Once that pick is found, the whole team will surge forward together with the speed granted by HarryHook’s Lucio.
Many lower teams are susceptible to bleeding kills one at a time, which staggers their deaths out and lengthens the time they have to play at a man disadvantage. Not EnVyUs; it is obvious that they are communicating when they can fight and when they are going to attempt to break open a defense with an ultimate. Once the call is made, the whole unit runs in together and then each player’s individual skill can shine.
The Swiss Army Men
One of the most difficult things a player in any esport can do is to change their play style. Once a player has a carry mindset, it can be impossible to convert them to a teamplayer style and vice versa. But incredibly, EnVyUs has two players who seem able to do just that within a single match, let alone a new meta. HarryHook will go for multi kills within a single game, while Tactical Visor sets up pushes with amped speed boosts. His ability to play both hitscan and supportive roles makes me excited to see how he performs when Ana and Zenyatta get added and buffed respectively.
However, EnVyUs’s team captain is not about to be outdone. InternetHulk is the designated flex player and he truly shines in that role. Frequently being found shouting ‘Die, die, die!’ his Reaper play adds another high damage threat to the field, especially on king of the hill maps where his up-close-and-personal shotguns pump out damage. But amazingly, he also shines on off tanks like Winston and Zarya, augmenting Cocco’s Reinhardt. InternetHulk is disruptive on Winston, but manages to support his carries while on Zarya. The ability to play so many heroes and styles at the highest level bodes well for his meta resistance. The versatility he brings is so important in Overwatch where each section of a map may call for a different team composition.
Dirty One Trick
In my notes I compiled for this article I wrote down each player's name and their role. Next to HarryHook I wrote support, but next to Chipshajen I wrote Mercy. It is not much of a surprise as every team has a designated Mercy player, but I think that Chipshajen is one of the best.
The sheer number of high impact resurrections Chips manages to cast is mind-boggling. One primary factor is that Chips manages to keep himself alive. He does benefit from Talespin frequently playing Pharah, giving him a target to jump to high away from enemy tanks. But he also manages to find little places to hide and survive the fight, only to bring back his fallen allies.
Many amatuer Mercy players fall into the trap of raising too early once they see one or two allies fall. But Chipshajen seems to understand the intricacies of the Mercy vs Mercy battle. In general you want to resurrect second as resurrecting first means that your deaths from that point on are permanent. But bringing your allies back later in the fight means that your team has more time to deal damage and potentially get kills before having to use your get out of jail free card.
Normally Chipshajen follows this rule but he makes exceptions when they are necessary. Sometimes raising single players in order to keep the pressure up on the enemy team and not being afraid to let himself die if it means he can get the ressurection off he needs to. As long as Mercy is a necessity in Overwatch Chipshajen will be a large asset to EnVyUs.
May the Meta be Ever in Talespin’s Favor
I stated this before, but I will reaffirm this belief of mine. Seagull is a stronger star carry than Talespin is. But Talespin fits his team and this meta better. Seagull is a fine Pharah player, great even. But Talespin does things on Pharah that take my breath away, and sadly for Seagull this is a Pharah meta.
Pharah’s kit is very powerful. Unrivaled aerial mobility, a long range high damage aoe weapon, and a game changing ultimate. After McCree and Widowmaker fell out of vogue Pharah no longer had to deal with her two most fearsome foes and was left free to rule the skies. This lead to a strange situation where Pharah was the best counter to Pharah. So we are left with a meta where your PharaMercy combo winning the duel against the opposing PharaMercy is critical as it completely removes the enemy artillery and resurrection.
This is truly where Talespin shines. Yes he can spam rockets into the enemy team like anyone else, but the rate at which he hits airborne targets and wins the Pharah duel is insane. Unfortunately I can’t spectate Talespin in his matches so I don’t know the actual statistic, but even under the eye test his ability to win those duels is obvious. Because Talespin and Chipshajen so frequently defeat their opposing numbers it leaves EnVyUs with a man advantage and superior control of the skies. Talespin's ability to win these duels is one of the primary reasons EnVy is undefeated on this patch and this wont change until Pharah gets nerfed or another answer for Pharah is found.
The Unsung Hitscan God
Sometimes you can have an amazing player who isn’t talked about nearly enough because they are overshadowed by another star. For me one of the most underhyped players in Overwatch is Taimou. A former Medic player in Team Fortress 2 he benefited from how powerful the two foremost hitscan heros McCree and Widowmaker were. But after their nerfs and the rise of Pharah Taimou has taken somewhat of a backseat to Talespin.
Like many McCree players Taimou began to pick up more Roadhog who fills a similar role in a team. Taimou took his strong aim and put it to work hitting hooks, opening opportunities for EnVyUs to push. But he certainly hasn’t shied away from the offense section of heros. Picking up Reaper to shred tanks, Genji to shred Mercys, even the occasional Hanzo. Taimou is one of the many players on EnVy capable of playing an excellent Soldier 76 and frequently does so when Talespin takes up his beloved Pharah.
Most interestingly though Tiamou still seems to return to McCree as a comfort pick. Earlier this weekend he switched to the cowboy in clutch situations against Code 7. His ability as a gunslinger hasn’t diminished and he still rips teams apart. Taimou isn’t the best McCree in the world, that medal belongs to Artier, but he is easily top three. Watching him track players and hit headshot after headshot really is quite amazing. And next patch his McCree might become even more terrifying.
Blizzard is Helping EnVyUs?
Last week Blizzard announced a large patch, with wealth of balance changes and even a new hero, Ana. If you missed the news check out my summary here.
On paper this patch seems excellent for EnVyUs. Taimou’s McCree will be a terror again while InternetHulk and Cocco get a new tank to play with in Dva. The game appears like it will become much more support heavy with Zenyatta and Ana both having the ability to lock down corridors of the map with their long range damage.
Luckily for EnVy they have two of the best hitscan supports in the game. HarryHook and Chipshajen are both in the top 30 ranked players in the world with skill ratings of 82 and 84 respectively. Both of them have Soldier and McCree in their top played, with Chips having the about to be buffed Zenyatta as his second most played. Both of these players should be able to pick up the coming meta with glee and have it be their turn to do some damage.
The obvious downside for EnVyUs is that McCree is gaining even more ability to shoot Pharah out of the sky. Potentially grounding Talespin. However Talespin frequently picks up Soldier or McCree on maps where the vertical height is limited with great success. Besides, Talespin made Pharah work when McCree and Widowmaker were meta regardless. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did so again.
Long Live the EnVyUs Dynasty
We are currently living under the reign of the EnVy dynasty. There can be no doubt about that as they have broken 30 matches undefeated against some of the best teams in the world. Their well practiced strategies mixed with tactics most would call insane highlight their ability to work as a unit. HarryHook and InternetHulk’s versatility allow the squad to shift how they approach any given map. Meanwhile the terrifying dps duo of Taimou and Talespin have some truly world class support in Cocco and Chipshajen backing them up. The only question is how long will the dynasty reign?
Image credit: https://twitter.com/TeamEnVyUs