Out of the three main roles in Overwatch, the tank position tends to be the role of the "unsung hero." They prove terrific assets if the player knows what they're doing, and can subtly make a large impact in turning the intense firefights your way.
They can make for some "safer" choices for new and/or less aggressive players, given their abundance of health and protection. Yet, the flip side is that they're also susceptible to enemy fire, being the larger, lumbering targets that they are. It can be just as easy to flub tank play as it is to get it right - and players too often fall into tank-traps, where they perhaps overestimate their power and defense. So, without further ado, let's get laced up as we examine 10 common mistakes that tank players make in Overwatch.
10 Too Much Soloing
Sure, you may be equipped with a pretty solid shield and/or tons of health that might make you feel invincible. Yet, the tradeoff for tanks is that they are often slow, clunky, and easy targets. This means that if you pursue a target and things go south, it can be quite easy for you to end up in dire straights. All it takes is one cheeky Reaper to run through your Orisa shield and quickly start whittling away at you with little chance of escape.
Having ample health is grand, but it doesn't mean much if an astute DPS player starts melting it away - and it can happen quickly. For this reason, be smart with who and when you decide to solo. As a tank, you mainly want to hang by your team and protect them anyway.
9 Failing To Rendevous For Healing
Your biggest benefit as a tank is your plethora of health. The best way to full take advantage of this key attribute is to hang by healers, who will augment this by helping to maintain it.
Good healers should have enough sense to focus the majority of their healing efforts on you, as you carry the burden of protecting much of the team and acting as a sort of damage sponge. Oftentimes, tanks will try to go full-on DPS hero mode and try to run off to take out opponents on their own. This can be fine depending on the circumstances, but you'll primarily want to be within reach of at least one healer, even if it's just an off-healer like Zenyatta.
8 Trying To Do Too Much
Just because you're a beefy Hero that's tough to take down, doesn't mean you can conquer the Overwatch world single-handedly. As mentioned, the lack of speed, and the ease of landing shots on you can quickly negate any health or shield advantage you have, when faced by opponents worth their salt.
You'll need to remember that your primary role as a tank is to protect your team, hold chokepoints, and often be on the front lines. Sometimes this means holding back on dives and solo assaults. You don't want to try and chase down a foe, only to have to scramble back to the point and realize your team's started dropping like flies. Try to be aware of what the situation calls for and focus on that role or position - don't try to be everywhere at once or be too aggressive.
7 Too Much Poking/Passive Gameplay
It can be tempting to sit back and play a more passive role, as you poke the enemy from afar trying to build up your D.va bomb. This can be okay for a short time, but being a tank, you'll want to know when to be more aggressive and start pushing the issue.
Remember, much of your team will often rely on you to lead the way during a dive as you absorb a good chunk of the damage, especially if you're a shield tank like Reinhardt. Sitting back for too long can play into your opponent's hands and make your squishier team-mates more vulnerable over time. Being more passive has its place as a tank - primarily on the defensive end. But if you're seeking to capture a point or move the payload, you'll have to add some aggression to your play.
6 Being Out Of Position
Part of playing a useful tank role involves simple positioning on the map relative to your team, more so even than mechanics.
If you've approached a bottleneck in a map, you'll often want to use this favorable terrain to your advantage and clog up the area. If your team sits on a point waiting to be captured, be a presence in front of them. If a healer is being harassed in the backline, you'll probably want to scramble towards them to take some of the heat off and coax the attacker to hit you.
5 Lack Of Team Protection
It's been touched upon, but many tanks simply try too hard to take matters into their own hands, and in the process, end up doing more harm than good by leaving their smaller teammates open to attacks. Even if the opposition is a seemingly safe distance away, you'll still typically want to be on the frontlines and soak up much of the poke damage yourself. It may seem detrimental from where you sit, but ultimately these windows of protection can open things up for your healers and DPS to operate, which can bear fruit later on.
Something as simple as being a sacrificial lamb for a Mercy in need can pay dividends, as she'll be able to heal and revive others.
4 Failing To Utilize Chokes
Many of the maps in Overwatch contain narrow bottlenecks, or "chokepoints." There's a good reason for this: they're meant to be exploited, particularly by tanks. This is where you come in!
A chokepoint - like that bridge in Rialto for instance - can make for an optimal spot to take charge at the frontlines and get in the way. Clogging up this area can provide cover for much of your team at once, while making it difficult for opponents to maneuver and make a significant push past you all. Teams should often set camp at chokes that lead to points, even if this bottleneck stands a fair distance away from the point itself.
3 Bad Target Prioritization
While tanks are defensive beasts, they can be potent offensive weapons too, if the player is astute and mechanically sound enough. D.va, for instance, can launch a powerful onslaught by combining her normal Fusion Cannons while boosting towards a target, followed by a barrage of Micro Missles and melee bash.
Still, you'll want to be sure you're zeroing in on the right targets to avoid getting into trouble. Figure out which foe your team is focusing on, and supplement their attack. If there's a squishy target on the run near death, you may want to hunt them down and deal the finishing blow, as long as you don't have to separate too far from your team/healers to do so. You won't typically want to engage in a poke-fest with another tank unless you're close to a full Ult charge or they're near death.
2 Not Complementing Another Tank
No, this doesn't mean shower your team with compliments over Xbox Live, but rather, choosing your tank depending on what already exists and playing off this fellow tank for the benefit of you both.
This can mean choosing Winston if your team has a D.va, and launching a devastating combined dive, or using Roadhog with Reinhardt's shield for easy hooks. You should try and round things out by having at least one main/shield tank like Orisa or Sigma, and one off-tank like Hammond or Hog. Basically, find your niche or role, and fulfill it.
1 Failing To Give Cover When Needed
Even if you're not in a position to guard all or most of your team, you'll want to consider whether there's anybody valuable nearby that you can help out. You'll particularly want to focus on your healers in the backline. This could mean tossing a shield or Defense Matrix over Mercy as she revives a friend, protecting a vulnerable Zenyatta, or something as simple as covering for Moira after she's tapped out her Fade.
Oftentimes, tanks will get too-laser focused on a duel or push too far forward, while neglecting the softer, squishier backline. Opponents may recognize and take advantage of this by flanking and taking out both healers, before making mincemeat of the rest of the team from behind.