Overwatch 3v3 Mode Comprehensive Guide

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Before I start, let me clarify that skill in the original 6v6 games does not fully translate into success in Ecopoint: Antarctica. While skill on a hero does move from map to map, communication is a very important facet of the 3v3 game mode and certain picks are more powerful than other power picks in 6v6.

Good luck in 3v3, and I hope you enjoy the guide, and the game mode. Personally, I most enjoy 3v3 because it allows me to play with friends in full communication without needing 5 other players; it is friendlier to smaller groups and more action-packed than 6v6, in my opinion.

Differences and Tier List

3v3 vs 6v6

The 3v3 meta is somewhat different than the current 6v6 Overwatch meta, and this has to with various factors: mainly the lack of health packs, the lack of objectives, and the layout of the map itself. Considering this, let’s explore how these differences impacts the style of gameplay that Ecopoint: Antarctica brings to Overwatch.

Lack of Health Packs: The lack of health restoration in Ecopoint: Antarctica is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the gamemode. While it may seem unusual at first, you will get used to it. The way to counter this: always ensure you have a healer. One healer is nearly mandatory in the 3v3 gamemode, and some healers are stronger than others, which is explained further in the “Hero Picks” sections. Many of the heroes who are strong in 3v3 can self heal, which is also important as it reduces the necessity of a dedicated healer in your lineup, which is important. Loosening up that third pick for a DPS hero or tank will make a significant difference, as there are only three members on your team instead of six.

This change also promotes grouping and strong communication between team members. As you can’t simply run to a health pack alone to restore health, it is important  to stick together as a team to heal each other or protect your healer. The dedicated healer is perhaps the most important member of your team. Losing your healer early on will give the enemy team a virtually infinite health pool, which will eventually drain out yours if played correctly. This change allows tanks and defensive heroes to be played to defend their healer, but also promotes offensive heroes to eliminate the healer. If you have to choose between killing anyone in this gamemode, ALWAYS kill the healer.

Lack of Objectives: The lack of objectives in 3v3 devalues certain picks, and switching strategies when compared to regular 6v6 Overwatch. Since there is no central point or payload to contest, defensive heroes are of less importance in this aspect. While a hero such as Bastion may have some merit defending an objective in 6v6, he is nearly useless in 3v3. The enemies do not have to meet him at a determined location, and the map itself isn’t made for staying in one location, which will be explained further in the next section. This also affects heroes’ skills, as certain area-of-effect abilities have devalued importance. While an ultimate such as Hanzo’s deals massive damage and can wipe teams who must stay on an objective, players are usually free to move around in 3v3 and can dodge the ultimate relatively easy.

On top of the lack of objectives, this game mode is purely a death match, similar to the Search and Destroy modes in Call of Duty. Allies cannot respawn, and the round ends when an entire team is eliminated, or the timer runs out. As such, ultimates rarely are able to be used, and if so, only occur at the very end, with few exceptions. This makes heroes popular in 6v6 who rely on their ultimate, such as Zarya, less necessary in 3v3 because she will hardly ever get the opportunity to use her ultimate.

Map Layout: The layout of Ecopoint: Antarctica is a generally open middle section, with twisted, narrow “home bases” and left and right areas. This makes area-of-effect heroes easier to utilize, and abilities such as Symettra’s shield and Reinhardt’s shield easier to maximize. Using another example, tanks like Winston and Roadhog are also easier to use, as they can better utilize their area-of-effect basic attacks and hooks, respectively.

With the map being as maze-like as it is, it is harder to navigate around your enemies without moderate to high mobility. While heroes like Zenyatta are powerful in the correct hands, the insanely low mobility that Zenyatta offers make him much harder to play, as someone like a Reinhardt, Winston, or Roadhog can easily kill him. On top of this, stalling the game for another round is a viable option if your mobility is significantly higher. For example, in the case of a Roadhog vs. Sombra 1v1, Sombra is rarely going to win that encounter. Instead, she can take advantage of her mobility and run down the timer, as Roadhog shouldn’t ever be able to catch her unless she misplays.

Hero Tier List

While many of the heroes in Overwatch retain power from 6v6 to 3v3, there are some significant key differences that switch up the meta. In this section, I will detail the pros and cons of each hero, in order of their relative power. The first hero described, Roadhog, is the most powerful, and so on. If you are dedicated to winning, you should not pick heroes outside the top ten, as these are far too weak to be utilized correctly in 3v3 against a competent team. Also, since many heroes perform different roles, the top 10 list can be changed slightly depending on what you are comfortable with, what role you need to fulfill, etc. With that said, let’s begin the TL;DR version of the list. Afterwards, we’ll look in depth on the top ten heroes.

(God) Roadhog – current must pick

  1. Ana
  2. Soldier: 76
  3. D.Va
  4. Mei
  5. Mercy
  6. Winston
  7. Zenyatta
  8. McCree
  9. Hanzo

While the other heroes, such as Genji, Widowmaker, and Reaper have certain value in the hands of a skilled player or against other certain heroes, overall they are less important than the ten heroes listed above. If you are determined to win every game you play, stick to the top 10 ALWAYS. Since the TL;DR version is now completed, let’s get more in depth with the top 10 list.

1. Roadhog

  1. Pros: Roadhog is, by far, the best hero on this map. The close corridors of the map provide easy use of his shotgun, which allows him to nearly one-shot squishy targets. These small pathways also let him nearly always land his hook, which guarantees death with a coordinated team. He has the health necessary to withstand significant damage, and his self heal means he doesn’t rely on a healer. If his team is able to reach their ultimates, his will wipe a team before they can react.
  2. Cons: His large hitbox makes it easy to take quick damage, especially from a hero like Soldier: 76 and Reaper. If he is CC’d for a long enough period, he can be killed off against a coordinated team.
  3. Overall: He is the best hero on this map. His versatility, damage, tankiness, and crowd control is essential with a coordinated team. With the coming bug fixes to his hook, he may drop in significance, but will still remain one of the most powerful heroes in 3v3.

2. Ana

  1. Pros: Perhaps the best support in 3v3, Ana is not only capable of sustained healing, but in fact decent damage. A successful healing grenade onto allies gives her the highest healing per second of any support, and the grenade also prevents healing AND deals damage. To put it in an example, if Ana hits all six people on the map with one grenade, she can turn the fight in your favor by around 480 HP (it heals for 100 and deals 60 damage). In a heated skirmish, Ana can also using a sleep dart to neutralize one member. This sleep neuters them for essentially the entire fight, as 3v3 fights are much quicker and better coordinated. Finally, her damage is significant and is capable of taking down enemies from long range, which allows her to deal with heroes such as Hanzo and Pharah effectively.
  2. Cons: Her lack of mobility means she can be jumped by heroes such as Roadhog and Winston. This is exacerbated by the fact that her sleep dart is on a significant cooldown if missed, which leaves her open to flanks.
  3. Overall: Overall the best support on this map, Ana has high sustained healing and your team doesn’t drop in damage with her, which places her above the rest of the supports in the 3v3 meta.

3. Soldier: 76

  1. Pros: Soldier: 76 deals the most consistent, sustained damage of any hero in this game, or gamemode. His rifle is fairly easy to use, which is great for newcomers to the hero, and the effectiveness of his helix rockets are increased due to the small corridors of the map. On top of this, his sprint allows him to effectively navigate the map and reduce the likelihood of flanks, and his healing is area-of-effect and reduces the need for a dedicated healer. His ultimate, if charged successfully, reduces his skill level to zero and allows for deletion of enemies quickly, although ultimates are rarely charged in 3v3.
  2. Cons: At 200 HP, his health is fairly low and is susceptible to flanks from tanks or other offensive heroes when caught out of position. His healing is effective, but on a relatively high cooldown (15 seconds), which gives coordinated teams windows to engage onto him.
  3. Overall: While Soldier: 76 is susceptible to flanks by the enemy team, exacerbated by his low HP and high healing cooldown, Soldier: 76 provides the most consistent damage to 3v3, and is essentially able to 1v3 the enemy team in damage if properly defended/healed.

4. D.Va

  1. Pros: D.Va is a tank that deals significant damage at close range, and is able to navigate skirmishes with her low cooldown flight from her LShift. While she cannot tank as effectively as a hero like Reinhardt or Roadhog, her damage output compensates fairly for this. Her defense matrix also allows her to stop certain heroes in their tracks, such as Roadhog’s shotgun being interrupted and Ana’s healing being stopped. Her second life also allows her to narrowly escape fights, and re-enter with additional HP and armor.
  2. Cons: Her ultimate will rarely, if ever, be fully charged. Flanks will also be deadly to her, as she can only block projectiles from one side. Finally, when she engages with her boosters, she is vulnerable to counter-engages, considering its cooldown and her slow from attacking.
  3. Overall: D.Va is a sticky, offensive tank designed around quick skirmishes and flanks. While she excels at blocking damage in small corridors or in one direction, she is susceptible to flanks, especially when her boosters are done and her mobility is reduced due to her attacks.

5. Mei

  1. Pros: Her attacks offer close range control of skirmishes, and long range poke in the middle of the map and before fights. Being able to consistently headshot with her icicles allows her to have massive damage before and after large engages. She has a heal, which is hard to use successfully if used excessively, but it still reduces the necessity of a healer. Her freeze allows her to effectively catch targets out of position. Perhaps her best ability is her wall, which closes most corridors on 3v3 and allows teams to be split up from each other. Splitting up the main damage or healing of a team will cripple it, and should allow your team to come out ahead.
  2. Cons: Her freeze is useful, but will not get her out of a sticky situation, as she will thaw eventually and usually be killed. Her freeze is hard to use when vulnerable to enemy attacks, as a coordinated team can usually kill Mei or force her to freeze before she can successfully freeze.
  3. Overall: Mei has power long and short range damage, and can usually take advantage of an isolated 1v1 skirmish. Her frost gun and wall allow her to control a team fight by separating enemies and rendering them vulnerable to damage while frozen. However, her freeze is time consuming and has a somewhat large cooldown, and a badly placed wall can separate her or her team from each other, which is deadly in 3v3.

6. Mercy

  1. Pros: She provides excellent healing and decent mobility when traveling to allied heroes. On top of this, she can amplify allied damage, which goes well with DPS heroes such as Soldier: 76 and McCree. Finally, since heroes remain dead in 3v3, she can revive heroes at any time after death, which drastically changes fights if she is able to get her ultimate charged.
  2. Cons: Her ultimate is typically hard to charge, and she will drop your team’s overall damage significantly. Her ultimate can be charged easier but heroes who can take significant damage and still survive, such as Roadhog or Reinhardt.
  3. Overall: Mercy is an excellent choice for a dedicated healer. While she lacks damage and her ultimate is hard to charge, she can boost the DPS of allies and eventually revive allies if given time, which essentially wins late game skirmishes.

7. Winston

  1. Pros: Winston is an excellent choice against heroes with low mobility, as his flanking ability is immense. His extremely long range jump, on a relatively short cooldown, allows him to literally pounce onto heroes with low mobility, including powerful heroes like Ana, Mercy, and Zenyatta. His laser is easy to use, as it locks onto targets, and his shield provides ample temporary cover for himself and his team.
  2. Cons: Once he has leapt, there is a window where he is vulnerable, especially alone. Be sure you team is ready to engage when you jump in, or you will most assuredly die alone. His shield is effective, but also relatively weak, and can be broken somewhat easily by heroes like Soldier: 76, Roadhog, and D.Va.
  3. Overall: Winston is a good hero for 3v3 when against low mobility heroes, as his long range pounce allows him to get into range to laser them to death. He also offers some protection with her shield, but it is relatively weak and only useful for a few seconds.

8. Zenyatta

  1. Pros: Zenyatta is a healer who is also capable of immense damage, especially when hitting headshots. Before big engages, be sure to connect some orbs for extra damage beforehand. His harmony orb provides somewhat small, but sufficient healing, and his discord orb increases the damage heroes receive, which gives openings when enemy heroes can be killed extremely easily. His orbs can also be charged and shot in unison, which is useful for peeking snipers, turning corners, or providing cover fire.
  2. Cons: Zenyatta has extremely low mobility, and doesn’t have any form of disruption. His ultimate charges slow, and will never be used consistently. Heroes like Winston and Soldier: 76 have higher mobility and better flanking, which is one of Zenyatta’s greatest weaknesses.
  3. Overall: If kept safe, Zenyatta is capable of doing immense damage (especially with headshots) and providing heals to his team. His discord orb amplifies damage, perfect for allied DPS heroes. However, he has low mobility and is susceptible to flanks from heroes like Winston or Roadhog.

9. McCree

  1. Pros: McCree is an offensive hero perfect for small skirmishes. His stun grenade is an area-of-effect ability that can disrupt fights and guarantee a kill. He possesses long range damage in his revolver, but can also unload it at close range to deal massive damage, usually to stunned targets. He has some mobility from his roll, and he works well with a dedicated healer like Mercy, who can also amplify his damage.
  2. Cons: Besides his roll, which is on a relatively long cooldown, McCree has low mobility and is fairly squishy, and doesn’t have any healing to counteract this. Players who can’t consistently hit headshots on McCree also have fairly low damage from long range, and missing stun grenades can turn a winning fight into a losing encounter.
  3. Overall: McCree is a good offensive hero in the hands of a skilled player. He has good short and long range damage, and some mobility with his roll. However, he is slow while it is on cooldown, and fairly squishy and susceptible to flanks. Finally, he has no healing, requiring a dedicated healer.

10. Hanzo

  1. Pros: A skilled Hanzo brings massive damage and headshot damage, capable of instantly killing most squishy enemies. His arrows allow him to detect nearby enemies and deal damage in small corridors, which are numerous in 3v3. He has increased mobility with his climb, and his ultimate stacks fairly quickly if you can successfully land more than half of your shots. He works perfect with a Mercy who can heal him and amplify his damage further.
  2. Cons: Besides his climb, he has very low mobility which is a big weakness to popular heroes like Soldier: 76, Roadhog, and Winston. He also possesses no healing, similar to McCree, and requires a dedicated healer to remain efficient on 3v3, which reduces your team’s overall damage.
  3. Overall: Hanzo is a good situational pick for the skilled offensive player. His arrows provide utility through vision and allow him to hit enemies in small corridors with his scatter arrow and ultimate. However, this is countered by his lack of mobility (besides his climb) and his lack of healing, which requires a dedicated healer and reduces his team’s overall damage. If you choose Hanzo, hit your shots. The team’s damage probably relies on you. Good for teams with one standout player and two supportive players.

Team Roles and Compositions

3v3 Hero Roles

The 3v3 heroes’ roles can be effectively summarized in three categories: healers, tanks, and damage.

Healers: These heroes are effectively the most integral part of your 3v3 composition. They allow your other players to choose heroes without heals, and provide a consistent way to regen health before, during, and after skirmishes. Two top tier healers, Ana and Zenyatta, also provide ample damage at short, medium, and long range. All of the top healers also have unique abilities to add to a teamfight. These are Ana’s sleep dart, Mercy’s resurrection and allied hero damage amplification, and Zenyatta’s discord orb, which increases damage enemies take. These abilities allow these heroes to bring more to a match than dedicated healing, and that is important because if not, you could potentially lose ⅓ of your team to the need for healing.

Tanks: These heroes have the most crowd control and disruption. They try to absorb as much damage as possible, while at the same time out-sustaining the enemy front line and flanking the enemy back line. A hero like Roadhog excelled with good team communication, as a successful hook should guarantee a kill on most targets, and definitely squishy enemies. Tanks like D.Va and Winston also have their uses: as effective flankers. On top of this, both of these heroes have abilities to absorb damage for themselves and their team, specifically D.Va’s defense matrix and Winston’s barrier projector. Finally, tanks protect their damage and healers, with their significant disruption and damage absorption. Paired with a healer, they can easily absorb the most damage in the game, and even charge allied healer’s ultimates at a fairly quick rate.

Damage: These heroes consist of most offensive and defensive heroes, especially the ones listed in the top 10 list. While most need protection from tanks and other front lines, offensive heroes provide the bulk of the damage, and they also provide damage the easiest and most consistently. Heroes like Soldier: 76, Mei, and McCree have extremely high damage and potential in 1v1 fights, and all have methods to trap/stun enemies or escape fights when necessary. However, most, if not all of these heroes have no innate healing, and must rely on a dedicated healer for assistance (with the exception of Soldier and Mei).

Example Compositions

1. Roadhog, Ana, Soldier: 76

Description: The ideal 3v3 composition. Provides a great balance of immense damage, healing from all three heroes, and heroes each focused on healing (Ana), tankiness and disruption (Roadhog), and damage (Soldier). Ana’s sleep dart and Roadhog’s hook are two reliable crowd controls, and they can be chained together by a team with good communication to kill any hero in the game, period. This damage will come from Ana’s grenades and sniper rifle, Roadhog short and medium range shotgun, and Soldier: 76 easy, consistent damage with his rifle and helix rockets. Even if any of these heroes are left as the last man standing on their team, they have the healing and damage necessary to regenerate lost health and finish off enemies. Since there is no picks or bans as of the writing of this guide, this is the ultimate composition for winning 3v3 matches. However, I understand how boring a hero like Roadhog or Soldier:76 can get after a rapid succession of playtime.

2. Mercy, D.Va, Hanzo

This composition can be successfully utilized by a team with one star player on Hanzo. With the damage amplification and healing from Mercy, coupled with the protection from D.Va’s defense matrix, Hanzo can effectively supply damage to eliminate the enemy team. If the oppurtunity arises, D.Va also provides the necessary mobility to flank and engage the enemy, along with Mercy staying with her. Mercy can also revive allies, given enough time.

The only weakness with this team composition is Mercy’s squishiness. If she is eliminated early, D.Va and Hanzo both are susceptible to being slowed drained of their armor and health, which will eventually kill them.

3. Zenyatta, Mei, Winston

This composition is great at diving low mobility fights and ending matching quickly when utilized correctly. Mei can divide enemies and win small skirmishes, and Winston possesses the tools to jump on low mobility carries like Ana, Zenyatta, and Hanzo. Zenyatta brings constant healing, high damage, and increased damage on an enemy, which is important for blowing up important heroes on the enemy team. While not necessarily as powerful as the first example, this composition is probably more fun after a long stretch with Composition #1, and would probably be available if a pick/ban system was implemented.

Turtling?

In this section, I’d like to touch on turtling, a fun strategy that consists on sitting in a central location (usually your spawn) and setting up defenses. Popular heroes include Reinhardt to block damage, Symmetra and Torbjorn to defend entrances, and Bastion to bring extreme damage in select entrances. While this strategy is fun, and I’ve enjoyed doing it every time, it is simply not effective for consistently winning games. It is easily countered by heroes such as Ana and Roadhog, who can take their time and wait for a successful sleep dart or hook, which will eliminate a hero and force a 2v3.

If forced out of their bases, the heroes chosen are also nearly useless. Since the bulk of the map relies on constant rotation, heroes who stay in one position like Bastion and Torbjorn are nearly useless outside of their base. Another obvious downside is the fact that you corner yourself, allowing tanks to disrupt and eliminate you. In addition, heroes whose area-of-effect are usually not very effective on the map become much easier to use when you are cornered in your own spawn. For example, a Mei ultimate isn’t usually very good in the middle of Ecopoint: Antarctica, but it’s nearly impossible to miss when the enemy is stranded in their own base.

TL;DR: Don’t turtle if you want to win consistently. However, if you want to enjoy the game, turtling is a different aspect to 3v3 that is pretty enjoyable, especially if you win.

Important Gameplay Aspects

Adaptation

Adapting to team compositions and tendencies can give you an edge in certain matches. Commonly referred to as “cheese,” you can adapt your picks and strategy to capitalize on repeated actions from your enemies and “steal” a round or two. For example, if an enemy team always attacks you through one corridor, choosing Reinhardt and pre-emptively charging into it is usually unable to be countered in time and can guarantee a 2v3 situation. A team that always chooses Roadhog can be countered by a good D.Va who communicates with her team, as she can use her defense matrix to negate his damage post-hook, as long as she isn’t the victim. Finally, a team that repeatedly chooses Pharah can easily be countered by a sniper, such as Ana, Hanzo, and Soldier: 76. A Pharah should be unable to stay in the air for long when against these heroes, and they can easily shoot her out of the sky. If you take anything from these examples, always be willing to bring out the cheese to take a round off an opponent, which takes you ⅓ of the way to a victory.

Communication

Communication is one of the most important facets of 3v3, and is arguably more important hero selection. While heroes like Ana and Soldier: 76 are strong and provide healing and ample damage, they will easily be killed by a coordinated team if they themselves are not communicating effectively. Every Roadhog hook or Ana sleep dart that hits should translate into a kill if done correctly, as it should guarantee three heroes unloading onto an immobile target. Heroes like D.Va and Winston should not be alone without their escape and protection, and heroes like Mercy and Zenyatta should be a position where there is no escape. Many, if not all of these problems, can be solved with successful communication.

Communication also translates into good hero selection. A composition like Hanzo, Genji, and McCree, while perhaps fun, lacks the core aspects of a successful team composition, and it will make or break games if done. It would be much better to replace a hero like Genji with consistent healing, and a hero like Hanzo or McCree with a tank who can protect the other.

Learning From Replays

While Overwatch doesn’t currently have a replay system, utilizing replays allows you to correct repeated mistakes and capitalize on successful opportunities. Programs like OBS-Studio and FRAPS, or GPU recording software like NVIDIA Shadowplay are good third party programs that can be utilized to record and view replays. When reviewing replays, always focus on losses or extremely close wins, as they are most likely to contain mistakes needing to be fixed. When reviewing, ask yourself these questions?

  • What instance cost my team this round or game?
  • Was I responsible for this instance? If so, how could I have avoided the situation?
  • Did I, or an ally, make any mechanical mistakes (such as missing easy skillshots)?
  • Was I even in a position to win the round, or was it lost already?
  • How could I have played differently to change the round/game’s outcome?

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hope this guide increased your knowledge of 3v3 on Ecopoint: Antarctica. Thank you for reading, and if you enjoyed, spread the guide to others who would enjoy it!

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!