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Overwatch: How to get out of Silver or Bronze

Elo hell is other people. Or is it?

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In this article you'll find lots of tips for getting out of Silver or Bronze in Season 8 of Overwatch.

Silver can be a very tricky place to escape from in Overwatch, especially if you've neglected your competitive ranking in favour of Quick Play.

There you'll have gained a lot of the core game sense and experience that's necessary to get out of these lower ranks, but you're going to find yourself teamed up with a pretty mixed bag of competencies - and a lot of very new players.

I came to Competitive Play extremely late in Overwatch's life, and I only really started getting stuck into the mode around the middle of Season 7. In this article, I wanted to put together a few thoughts on surviving the process of escaping Bronze and Silver, and what you can do to make the process not just less arduous, but also more enjoyable.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my own experience and I'll be happy to go into more detail.

Accept that you're going to have bad matches

Much of the challenge of getting out of Silver (or any other rank for that matter) involves avoiding tilt and remaining focused on maintaining a dispassionate execution of your role to the best of your abilities.

No matter what happens during your climb, however, you are going to run into these issues - especially in the lower ranks:

  • Everyone insta-locks a DPS and won't budge, even when it goes disastrously wrong.
  • Your attacking Defense teammate won't take a vital healing or tanking role spot.
  • The team simply will not coordinate or react to the opposing team's composition.
  • You get steamrolled by another team (sometimes this just happens, by the way. You need to accept it as part of the ranking rollercoaster).

You'll come to very quickly recognise these situations when they come around and you need to remember that they happen to everyone. If genuinely polite advice on adapting to the other team goes ignored, try channelling your frustration into a different approach where you'll do your very best to make a difference yourself, and regardless of whether you win or lose the match.

That means working around your team, for good or for bad. Pick Reinhardt and shield that attack Bastion who doesn't know how to position himself, so he at least lives longer to do whatever he can. Don't rant at your Lucio who can't heal a fragmented team, grab a Zenyatta, Ana or even Moira. Be inspirational through your actions - rather than an asshole - and don't do it for the sake of recognition either.

Even if you still don't win as a result, I guarantee you'll learn something new about Overwatch. Try to see these awful matches as an opportunity to do something new and perhaps push yourself out of your comfort zone. These bad matches will then inform your good ones, and more of those will convert into wins.

You'll certainly get more from assuming this mental disposition than you will from hammering your rage into team chat, however tempting that might be (and we all succumb to temptation sometimes).

Don't obsess over the micro-status of your rank

Don't freeze up in the latter end of the 1900s and find yourself unable to queue. Accept that ranking is a rollercoaster, that you will lose 100+ SR here and there - often through no fault of your own - and that this is just as likely to happen at 1950 SR as it is 1650 SR.

Remember those bad nights? It could happen again, right after queuing what should be your “final” match before hitting a higher rank. You cannot time the stock markets, and you cannot time the queue to win. As trite as it may sound to say out loud, all you can do is do your best in each match that's presented to you.

If you can answer that question positively and honestly then all of the experience I've gained in Overwatch suggests that if you are currently ranked higher now than you were when you started your climb, breaking through is an inevitability. If you've played enough matches to provide an adequate sample and your win-rate is above 50%, then congratulations - you're on your way to your goal. Keep queuing.

It's not easy to develop this mindset (and do try to remember at the same time that you're meant to be having fun playing Overwatch), but try to put your faith in the numbers as they appear across a wide range of matches. It's very easy to get hung up on the last bad experience you had, and see it as representative of your overall failure to get out of your current rank. It's not.

Stay in touch with the good guys

Don't forget about the good times you have among all the inevitable frustrations of ranking up. You are going to meet some truly great players along the way and it's worth paying respect where it's due, and making friends with them afterwards.

Queuing up with just one other person you've worked well with in the past can go a long way towards making the difference in an otherwise random team of players.

As for showing respect for good play, you'll find that your current window of + / - 100 SR or so can prove to be a remarkably small place. You will see the same faces in regular play, and that positive environment and recognition can make a big difference.

Know when you're the problem

Finally, are you absolutely, positively sure that you're playing your role to the best of your ability? It takes a lot of guts to self-criticise, especially after a match where other teammates were playing sub-optimally as well.

Finding areas of improvement in these moments will make you a much better Overwatch player though. Maybe the reason you just missed out on getting the cap segment on Hanamura B is because you blew your Ult unnecessarily in a pre-push skirmish. If you're tanking, would a shield tank have made for a better final push given your team composition (“bad” players and all....)?

No-one's perfect, and that goes for you as much as the teammates you're encountering in your current rank. The good news is that - difficult though this process is to put yourself through - you'll not only get better at the game by being honest with yourself, you'll actually find yourself less inclined to tilt.

And on that subject, if you're tilted then you belong nowhere near the Competitive queue. When you can no longer control your temper and you cannot dispassionately appraise your own performance alongside that of your teammates, the best way to climb out of Silver is to stop trying - for now at least.[How to avoid Tilt in Overwatch]

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