The Greatest Six - Best Off-Tank Of Overwatch 1
Whenever the discussion is raised on the best or greatest of all time, there are two common grievances shared in comment sections. Either a representative amount of the community feels that it is too early to say or that the roles in Overwatch are so sufficiently different, that figuring out a fair method between each player’s contributions is just always going to be unsatisfying to them. Taking those into account, I sliced differently here.
With the end of top tier competition in Overwatch 1 as we are likely to consider the impending pre-OW2 patch different enough from what we have been playing before, with the downsizing of teams from six to five players alone being likely a much more significant change than either role lock or hero pools, we can set a hard stop time in the present and side-step the “of all time” qualification.
When asking who the best player of Overwatch 1 in a particular role was, I’m looking at the following criteria:
- Personal awards
- Performance evaluation
Trophies are a decent method of telling how good a player was, but from history, we know that they aren’t always telling the full story. While a player like WhoRU has two APEX trophies and an Overwatch League title under his belt, he only really played a vital role in one of those achievements. Other qualifiers are therefore required. For reasons outlined in this article, I will count two APEX titles the same as one OWL title.
Personal awards are another solid indicator of performance. However, as snotty as that may come off, especially in earlier seasons in the Overwatch League, the process of awarding personal trophies was far from rigorous, only countered by the eventual recipients of for instance the MVP trophy being fairly straightforward with one candidate shining bright. Nevertheless, aggregated opinions make for a strong predictor of actual performance and should weigh heavily.
Longevity I expect to be a divisive point. My reason to weigh it heavily is based on the large number of big changes Overwatch 1 has experienced in its time. A player who was able to stay on top through different competitive formats, heavy balance changes and hero reworks, fundamentally different meta archetypes, role lock, hero pools, and more is simply a different beast to a player who even has achieved the most for a year or two. Winning the biggest trophy is a gamble you won, being among the best for five years or more is a statement.
Flexibility and playtime go hand in hand. A player who was able to mainly coast on a single hero (like Tracer) being prevalent in the meta shouldn’t be punished for her strength, but when they aren’t fielded when other heroes are the flavour of the month, it needs to be considered. A player who has to play the entire hero pool for his team has a fundamental disadvantage in every given game against a specialist who can sit on the bench and hone their one-trick-pick.
Performance evaluation is both the eye test of experts and pundits shared with me and a rough estimation of statistical performance over the length of Overwatch 1 esports. While the personal award criterion accounts for some eye test qualifications, it’s an imperfect view of performance. After all, a player like Profit who many call the GOAT has so far only got two personal achievements and has only been nominated for season MVP once.
In terms of their weight, I did not consider performances of year one of Overwatch to be considerably less important than of year five. While it is true that the level of play increases a lot during a game’s life cycle and that competition generally gets more serious as it professionalises, I believe that players need to be evaluated in the context of the time their play takes place in. Would you not consider chess legend Garry Kasparov one of the greatest players of all time after having been the world no.1 for almost 19 consecutive years, even though he’d likely lose against a lot of top chess professionals who learned the game after the AI revolution of the sport? The answer feels obvious.
The Best Off-Tank Of Overwatch 1 - Hyo-bin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi
- 4x Overwatch League Stage Wins
- 2x Overwatch League Win
- 1x Contenders Win
2x RoleStar Tank
1x Grand Finals MVP
Starting out with X6-Gaming in the qualification stages of APEX season 2, ChoiHyoBin really only stepped into the limelight during Contenders Season 1, which he won with his team. When scrolling through the names competing in this season, one will quickly realise what an extraordinary feat it was for his team to win that title, competing against players which have grown to be among the absolute best in the game in large quantities.
Only coming to the Shock on a recommendation of Architect, Choi became arguably the best D.Va player during GOATs in season 2, excelling especially in outwitting his counterparts on the other team with clever bomb placements and predictions. Later when the meta shifted during stage 4 and again in the playoffs, he transitioned marvellously, even getting a finals MVP in a role that otherwise is rarely acknowledged to that degree.
For the back to back, ChoiHyoBin was once again an outstanding player throughout the season. While it stands to reason that he certainly benefitted from being on arguably the best team of all time, his contributions are a major reason while that label could even be applied.
ChoiHyoBin vs Other candidates
The following players were the only ones close enough to be worth discussing: Void, Fury, Hanbin, Space.
I’m unsure whether or not recency bias has me feel that Void would be the better candidate, even though his form is far from just a recent consideration. In some ways and at varying parts of the year, I even wondered if Void might just be the overall best player of Overwatch 1. Starting to be the best player on the role as early as APEX Season 2, Void has consistently been world-class. He has an OWL title and several stage titles under his belt, is a two-time RoleStar, and a pillar of his team. In the end, his failing to make an impact on season 1 of the Overwatch League and only having one OWL title made me decide against my gut feeling. Having made the argument for Void to several other people, be it players, casters, or coaches, nobody disagreed with the choice of Void. It is because of the nature of off-tank that made me consider numerable achievements over subjective performance evaluation. He still deserves it just as much.
Fury arguably had the highest peaks of an off-tank, but him joining the top ranks relatively late and choosing middling teams for half of his Overwatch career, unfortunately, hurt his chances to be in serious contention against resumes like Void’s and ChoiHyoBin’s. The same rings true for Hanbin, who has been monstrous over the last couple of seasons but also only in recent years became a top performer.
Space also deserves a mention for his career longevity and ability to adapt. Achieving the highest highs as a Western player not playing for the Shock has been a significant hurdle for many and could have gatekept his contention for this recognition too. However, there is a good reason why he has almost as many individual awards as team titles.
In the end, ChoiHyoBin beat out Void by a hair for the aforementioned reasons. If granted the ability to ask the all-knowing machine only capable of sharing objective truths, I would expect both of those performers to land within a couple of percentage points of one another. Had you asked me last week, I might have answered differently, too.