Zoning in Overwatch Can Actually Work

By Maddy Meyers on at

Who among us has not insisted that we were “zoning” after spending an ultimate attack in Overwatch that didn’t hit anyone on the other team? Of course it was your intention all along to scatter the other team away from the area—actually killing them is for meatheads. We’re refined gamers, just like DPS/flex player Hae-seong “Libero” Kim of the top Overwatch League team New York Excelsior. In the video below, we break down how he fired off an ultimate attack that didn’t hit anybody but was ultimately effective in a Stage 4 match against the LA Valiant.

Libero also had some help from his teammates when it came to scattering the LA Valiant in this moment. As Libero fired off Hanzo’s moves from on high, New York’s two tanks provided cover fire on the ground that helped to keep LA Valiant player Agilities segmented from the rest of his teammates, who were trying to get back on the payload with him and heal him up.

LA Valiant’s tank, who is closest to the payload with Agilities, does appear to get scared into bailing as he hears the enemy Hanzo player calling out the telltale “ryu ga waga teki wo kurau” voice line that heralds the arrival of his two deadly dragons. Maybe Libero could’ve shot off his ultimate a little later, or from a different angle, and actually managed to kill off his enemies, but the ultimate did still result in a desirable situation for him and his team. Agilities got cut off from his allies, Libero took him down with an arrow, and the payload re-entered New York’s control.

In the next teamfight after this clip ends, though, the tide turned for New York. Libero fired off yet another ultimate that didn’t hit anybody, and LA Valiant didn’t get scared away from it, in part because their two healers had both ultimates prepped and that extra healing power meant the team could push the payload all the way to the finish line. LA Valiant ended up winning the map as a result.

So, did Libero whiff those ultimates by accident, or was this all part of a carefully laid strategy that only worked once and worked somewhat less well the second time? I’m sure he told his teammates it was the latter. And since New York ended up winning the match, they may have even believed him. This type of play probably won’t fly in regular ranked Overwatch matches, but every now and then, you whiff an ultimate and you need a good excuse. Just say you were zoning. It’s a tactic that totally works, sometimes.