How to E-Sports: Understanding Overwatch lingo

Jumping into the Overwatch craze but have absolutely no idea what commentators are talking about when they say someone gets “tagged,” “plays flex,” or is “stacking”? Well, we’ve put together a quick list of some of the terms commentators throw around to help you keep up with matches.


Refers to different parts of the same match. You will hear commentators routinely refer to “street phase” or “hangar phase” to refer to different points and payloads that have to be captured and escorted.


An area that has to be attacked or defended in certain game modes.


“Capturing” a point. Occurs when the attacking team is on the point with none of the defending team on it.


The area where characters start after coming back from death.


Refers to moving toward the opponent’s team with the intent of killing/disrupting them. Usually used to refer to the attacking team, however the defending team can also push opponents off an objective. When players hold back so that their entire team can attack at once, it is called a “team push.”


Back-dooring is when a player manages to sneak behind an opposing team’s position in order to start capping their point. Doing this not only gets the team closer to victory, but also causes the opposing team to fall back to the point, breaking their positions and opening themselves up to an attack.


The act of trying to get the opponent to do something you want him to do. Common instances of baiting include a Symmetra attempting to get an opponent to run into range of her turrets or a Genji tryinig to get a Bastion to fire at him when he has a parry ready.

Melee Reload

The act of using your melee attack to cut down the time of your reload animation. Usually used in close range fire-fights to get in extra damage.


An MMO term, DPS stands for Damage Per Second. It refers to the overall damage output a character can do. In Overwatch it’s often referred to as an offensive role. When someone “plays DPS” they are playing a character whose primary purpose is to damage and kill the opponent. DPS characters are usually deadly but have low health and have to be protected by other, beefier, characters.


Any goal (point, payload etc.) that has to either be attacked or defended.


A cart that must be pushed from one point to another in certain game modes. Payloads move when the attacking team is in range and heal all attacking characters in the vicinity.


Tying someone up refers to targeting a particular character or player to prevent them from doing their job. If a close range character attacks Reinhardt from behind, he will likely drop his shield to engage. The Reinhardt is now tied up.


Refers to two or more characters in a direct fire-fight. Characters remain engaged until all characters on one side are dead, or run away.


Distinct from engage, challenging a player means attempting to break that player’s line-of-sight. Successfully challenging a player either causes them to be tied-up or causes them to move, breaking their area control.


A player who is tagged is damaged but not dead. They tend to be easy kills and will disengage from many battles in order to heal.

Ranges (Mid/Long/Short/Melee)

Refers to the distance needed to successfully harm the opponent. Most characters are mid-range. Long-range characters, like snipers, can attack characters from well outside most characters’ effective range and tend to hang back in relative safety. Short range characters need to be very close to opponents to be effective, and tend to need to hunt down or flank them. Melee characters must be right next to the opponent to be effective.


A character is over-extended when they enter a situation they are not equipped to deal with. This usually happens by accident, such as when a Symmetra strays too far away from her turrets and ends up in a fire fight with longer-ranged characters.


Refers to finishing off a character that is already damaged, usually a role taken up by snipers. When a character is picked-off they usually deal little damage to the character they engaged with.


Refers to killing multiple characters in one engagement.

Party/Team Wipe

Refers to managing to kill the entire opposing team. This gives your team a few seconds to capture an objective and heal up without interference.


Disruption refers to the act breaking up a team’s position/game plan. It can also be used to refer to a character taking on that role. When a team is closely packed on a point and a Junkrat fires bombs into their cluster, he is playing disruption to get them off point.


A tactic for taking out an opposing sniper by using your own sniper. Counter-sniping usually involves one sniper having line of sight on another but not the reverse, though sometimes snipers will directly engage each other.

Line of Sight

Refers to an area of a map that a player can see. In general, characters can shoot and hit characters in their line of sight. “Holding” a line of sight refers to a type of area control where one player attempts to keep one line of sight for most of the game. This usually applies to snipers.


While there is a support class in the game, support tends to refer to any character whose job isn’t damaging or killing the other team. In this capacity, Reinhardt can be viewed as a support. The term is used interchangeably to reference the in-game class and the player role.


Any character whose job is to kill other characters from outside their effective range. Widowmaker is the only dedicated sniper in Overwatch for now, but Hanzo can be considered a sniper as well.


Any character or player whose job is to keep other characters alive.


A pocket character is a character that always follows another character. For example, a pocket Mercy is a Mercy who always heals another character, usually a tank. When engaging a group, it’s usually better to pick-off the pocket character before the main character as it will make the main character weaker.


A common FPS term, camping refers to staying in one location in order to control its general area. Overwatch is a very mobile game, but players have been known to “spawn camp” or stick around the opponent’s spawn point for sudden kills.

Circle Strafing

Refers to running around a character in a circle while shooting them, attempting to constantly break their line of sight while keeping yours.


The process of mashing A and D to move left and right, making yourself harder to hit, but still holding your basic position.

Area Control/Area Denial

Refers to anything that makes a particular area dangerous to be in. Many things can act as area denial. Stationary Bastions, turrets, traps, certain ultimates, and even snipers.  Area denial is used to force the opposing team to approach from a certain direction, making them easier to deal with.


Refers to taking a path that attacks the opponent from something other than a head-on trajectory. Flanking the opponent usually results in you having line of sight to them while they don’t have line of sight to you. This gives you the advantage in an engagement.

Suppressing Fire

Refers to the act of firing toward an area, not a character. Players use suppressing fire to prevent characters from moving into position. For example, a Bastion will likely not kill a Widowmaker at long range, but by shooting suppressing fire at her general location, he can prevent her from taking the time to line up a sniper shot.


A common fighting game term that has carried over to Overwatch, counterpicking refers to the act of switching characters in order to exploit a character’s weakness. Switching to a Widowmaker in order to snipe a Bastion from outside his range would be considered a counterpick.

Playing Flex

Many professional Overwatch players have “main’ characters that they use in every map. For example, you usually see the same player controlling Reinhardt or Lucio on every map. “Flex” players specialize in playing multiple characters. This allows them to counter-pick the opponents and adjust their tactics as the situation changes.

Blind Corners

Refers to an area of the map blocked by another area of a map, usually a wall, preventing line of sight. Players will aim at blind corners hoping the opposing team will run into their line of sight to get the drop on them.

Hero Limit

Tournaments with a hero limit either don’t allow hero stacking or have a limited amount of hero switching.


A character’s ultimate ability. Players tend to save their ults for moments when they can do the most damage.


Refers to two characters or two ultimates working together in a way that produces synergy. A good example is Zarya’s gravitron bomb, which keeps the opponent’s in one place, and Junkrat’s rip-tire, which blows them all up.

Bomb Jump

Propelling yourself forward using the force of an explosive. Junkrat is really the only character who can do it.

Hero Stacking

Hero Stacking is the act of playing more than one of any particular character on one team. Common hero stacks are double Winston and double Widowmaker.


Repeatedly jumping to gain some benefit. Mostly useless in Overwatch although Reinhardts have been known to bunny hop as an effective way of moving at near full speed will keeping their shield up at most times.


Bouncing the opponents bullets back at them. Genji is the only character that can do this.


Health that reduces the damage done per bullet. Tanks tend to have armor and Torbjorn can grant other characters armor.


Ressurect. Mercy’s Ultimate. Players tend to keep a res on hand to force the attacking team to essentially kill the entire defending party twice.


Health that regenerates over time. Certain support and defense characters have shields and Symmetra can grant other characters shields.

Builder Defense

A tactic that utilizes stationary defenses to provide area denial without characters needing to actively be there. Symmetra and Torbjorn are the characters most likely to provide a builder defense with their turrets, though Bastion could also be considered part of this strategy.


A cheating program that makes your character automatically aim at opposing characters. There is a “legitimate aimbot” in the game in the form of Soldier: 76’s ultimate.


A cheating program that allows you to see the opponent through walls. There is a “legitimate wallhack” in the game in the form of Widowmaker’s ultimate.

Are there any other terms that you have heard during Overwatch matches that you’d like us to explain? Ask us in the comments!