I'd given up.
In season one, I placed at around 47 - rather generous, I think - and warbled back and forth between there and 43, never coming really close to breaking 50. In season 2, the equivalent of 50 is 2,500 - platinum rank. There is some discussion on whether or not being platinum is well above average or not - some people say it's precisely average, others insist there are far more players below platinum than above it - but I'm pretty sure I'm pretty average.
This season, I had actually climbed to 2498. Two four nine EIGHT. And then I'd get Anubis again, or go up against a six-stack, or maybe just have a shitty game, and I'd tumble back down to the mid-2400s.
I had decided, after the last tumble, that I was going to stop trying. The reward for reaching platinum is 800 comp points - the things you need to buy a golden gun for one of your heroes - while the reward for gold is 400. You earn 10 comp points per win, so this is the equivalent of not having to win another 40 games (playing another 80) to score my golden gun. It's not a big deal, it's just something you want. But it wasn't happening.
I didn't like that the disappointment in failing to break platinum was getting to me. I don't like... feeling negative about a game, but I still love Overwatch, so I played a couple quick play games last night to warm up, and decided to hop into competitive.
Ilios came up as the first match. I've owned with Tracer on Ilios, but we already had a lot of DPS, and only Lucio healing.
I went with Zenyatta. And Zenyatta took me to 2500. I can't remember the last time I had such a good night on Overwatch.
Did you know the defense heroes (Hanzo, Junkrat, Widowmaker, Mei, Torb) were originally mixed in with Tracer, Soldier and Reaper in the offense class? Yep. There were three classes, once, along with support and tank.
I feel like Mei, with her ability to stop a high-profile target in its tracks with her freeze spray and block off a major attack with a wall, is more of a support hero than any other defense. Symmetra's ability to completely lock down a flanking rout suggests she's more a defensive character than any of the supports. Point is, each class has a somewhat hazy definition, and Zenyatta is a rather weird support.
Lucio and Mercy rely heavily on the excellence of their teammates - Mercy and Ana buff so your teammates can get the kills and Lucio heals at such a broad, low level that he's most effective when your team is already good enough not to take much damage. Zenyatta is very different. He drops a discord orb on an enemy, and your entire team does +30% damage to them. He slips behind cover, charges up a barrage and sweeps out to unload six orbs on a distant Bastion - he's almost a backline assassin.
He also has one of the most powerful and valuable ults in the game. Like Mercy, his ult is arguably the most important part of his kit - but unlike Mercy, whose ult is only important after something horrific has happened to your team, Zenyatta's ult stops the horrific thing from happening. Mercy gives you a second chance. Zenyatta just saves the day.
It took me a while to figure out how it worked, when I first started playing. Even now, I see Zenyattas popping Transcendence to counter D.Va, Junkrat, McCree and Tracer ults (which is a waste of an ult) - but for every other offensive ult in the game, Transcendence is The Answer. Transcendence (which heals teammates for 100 health per second in a wide radius around you) completely nullifies the ultimate abilities of... Ana, Bastion, Genji, Hanzo, Mei, Pharah, Reaper, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Soldier, Torbjorn and Zarya. It can only be countered by the anti-healing effects of Ana's grenade.
This, in addition to the fantastic ability to prioritize and melt targets with discord orb, heal distant allies with harmony orb and deal some legit fierce damage, makes Zenyatta, overall, a sick character. His only weakness is his complete lack of mobility, and he did... very well for me last night.
I did not see this coming.
0:00 - 0:32 : I am dis pleased that I wasn't able to kill that Lucio in the two seconds I had him in my sights, caught in Zarya's ult - but popping my ult in time to save my Zarya and Lucio from their Reaper's death blossom is the important bit.
It always feels good when your teammates take a second over mikes to say "(your hero!)'s puttin' in worrrk!"
0:32 - 1:07 : So last night, Chamberlain and Alex and I end up drunk-emailing each other. Chamberlain wants permission to stop playing No Man's Sky, Alex is also drunk, and Chamberlain wants me to listen to Blood in the Cut by K. Flay. So that's our song today!
The hill on Nepal is an iffy spot for Zen - who needs to stay behind his teammates to keep from getting instagibbed, and can't see well up on to the point when your team isn't currently holding it. But this worked out beautifully. Rein charges our D.Va, but he's already eaten most of an orb barrage and a discord - he's dead by the time they hit the wall.
A harmony orb here, a harmony orb there and bam, discord on Reaper! Reaper's erased.
Zip! Discord on Mei - Mei's gone. Discord on Roadhog! This'll take a bit longer. I build up a barrage from behind cover and sweep out to blow off 90% of his health - the team finishes the job. Whup! Phara's here! Discord! Bye Pharah!
1:07 - 1:35 : Believe me I was not happy when I completely wiffed my barrage on this Zen, but it didn't cost us anything. He blows his ult to heal... no one at all - he's not even healing his Pharah when she ults, I discord her and our Soldier and Mei melt her.
Zenyatta, then, doesn't use the speed boost of his ult to get off the point to safety - he settles down right in the middle, where I can discord him and shear off 88% of his health in about a second and a half and oh noooes Roadhog's here and he's ulting but you ain't shit embrace tranquility motherfucker!
1:35 - 1:47 : This Bastion was instantly walled off by our Mei, but when the wall came down I was the only one goin' after him! What the fuck, guys?
I completely whiff the barrage on him, but the half-second it takes him to transform into turret mode is enough for me to lay discord on him and start heating him up with orbs. What kind of Zen needs to solo a Bastion at point-blank range? The best kind.
1:47 - 2:07 : You can't discord a wraithing Reaper. Still - worked out! Perfect barrage.
It was, otherwise, a totally unremarkable match. It was pretty close. I think it went 3 and 1.
And with it, I broke Platinum. In my head, the match where I broke Platinum was gonna' be this epic tooth-and-nail balls-to-the-walls ultimate-effort thing, but... it was unremarkable.
I solo'd a Bastion and wrecked a Reaper with my barrage.
2:07 - 2:28 : One of the teammates remarked over voice that this was a "really good Transendence," but he was wrong - our Reinhardt completely blocked our team from the red Rein's Earthshatter, and he could have easily shielded us from the Soldier's ult. It was a burned ult. But it looked cool and the win streak continues!
2:28 - 3:12 : Iknorite, Chance playing Soldier? What is goin' onnn here?!
I don't know, but it worked out well. This is quite clearly my feeble attempt to emulate the excellent Soldier ult of that "thanks!"ing fellow in The Lijiang Match last week, but man did it ever work out well! I have never done anything that cool with Soldier before.
Victoreee! And whose play of the game is this? Why it's me! Wrecking two-thirds of the enemy team with a Reaper ult and then totally failing to stick the landing by doing an arrogant I-just-got-Play-of-the-Game emote instead of finishing off that Roadhog!
3:12 - 3:40 : I've had a lot of Mercy PotGs lately, but this is The Good One. Hiding for just the right moment, leaping on to the point as soon as three are down for the res, and watching this Soldier backpedal as fast as his little legs can take him, desperate to get out of the way of a Mercy with visions of PotGs dancing in her eyes. He can't, though. He dies.
This was the defense round of a Hanamura comp game, and when we were on attack I played one of the worst Rein games I've ever had. When the PotG popped, I had to laugh into my mike. "T'was I! The shitty Reinhardt all along!"
But in all seriousness, I should play Mercy more. My comp rating with her this season is insane.
And that's a good Friday night!