March 16, 2018

Christopher Pavloff is a professional Overwatch player who is widely known online as “J3sus.” In only one year of streaming he’s amassed over 46,000 followers on Twitch and goes live almost daily, drawing in 200+ consistent viewers who come to interact with him on his page, J3sus_tv. Pavloff is ranked #6 out of 239,950 Tracer players on Overbuff, landing him in the top 99th percentile of skill and win ratings. Upon completing Overwatch’s 6th competitive season he secured two spots in the North American server’s top 500 players’ roster and placed another account in the Grandmaster skill rating.

As far as know-how goes, Pavloff’s past gaming experience has been leading up to success in Overwatch for a long time. He’s been playing Team Fortress 2 (TF2) since its launch in 2007, his Steam account boasting over 5,000 hours spent on the game. He also played competitively on a TF2 team in the UGC Highlander league as a sniper. When Overwatch was released into open beta, Pavloff hopped on board and has been ranked in Grandmaster or in the top 500 players every season since its release. His most outstanding hero is Tracer, though he also garners plenty of wins with Widowmaker, McCree, and Roadhog. Up until recently he played professionally with the 5-Hour Energy Detroit Renegades as a Damage-Per-Second (DPS) main before stepping down and moving home to Miami, Florida, where he streams constantly.

Pavloff is a talented DPS player as well as an amicable and insightful person. Luckily for us, I got a chance to ask him some questions about his Overwatch skills and to grab some tips to improve our offensive hero gameplay.

What’s the first objective you work towards as an offensive hero?

What exactly does it take to be a strong DPS player? According to Pavloff, your number one job is to “do as much damage as you can, as fast as you can.” Of course, that almost goes without saying – it’s also crucial to know your positioning and role as each individual hero. Pavloff recommends that while you flank the back line as Tracer and put pressure onto the enemy healers, you stay in a relatively safe position to help set up for your team’s engage. “This way you’re putting yourself and the team in the best possible scenario to win the big fight.” Figure out your best flanking routes on each map and practice strategic Blinks to cross enemy lines, and time your Rewinds down to the second for maximum healing and survival. Staying alive is critical for your victory.

What skill set should people work hardest on developing?

Is game sense or mechanical knowledge more crucial to securing a win? Should you focus more on improving your aim or memorizing hero abilities? “I think both game sense and game mechanics are equally important. While mechanics can help you tremendously, knowing the game inside and out can be extremely helpful as well. For example, when you see an opponent use [an ability with] a cooldown, like a sleep dart, you know how many seconds you have to engage on that target before the cooldown is back up again.” Try playing heroes you’re not familiar with in Quick Play and Arcade modes to pick up on their ability timings and their combat weaknesses. Having a deeper knowledge of your adversaries will make fighting them much more calculated and efficient.

How do you keep improving your gameplay?

“For practice with aiming I usually like to create my own custom games and play against easy-level AI to work on my tracking – you can also use the training range but it’s not as good in my opinion. As far as positioning, it depends on the hero and the map. For instance, if I was on Watchpoint: Gibraltar playing a hitscan hero like Widowmaker or Soldier: 76, I would make sure to utilize the high ground as much as possible.” You could read a thousand articles and watch hours of guides about improving your aim and map placement but the most efficient way to learn is to get online and work hands-on.

"Work on what you think you’re lacking. Working on game mechanics and game knowledge will go a long way in your competitive career."

What would you tell someone who feels stuck in their Skill Rating?

“I would tell them to work on what they think they’re lacking. Working on game mechanics and game knowledge will go a long way in your competitive career.” Pavloff notes that there’s always room for improvement – if you fall short of the mark in aim, go through exercises and stay focused on growth. If you find yourself out of position often, try to become more aware of where you’re wandering on the map.

Take some time to watch where pro players stand and move in their own gameplay if you’re struggling and then try it out for yourself. If you really want to see steady leaps in your skill, make sure to set aside some time every day to play at least a few games, focusing on your aim and pathing. As long as you keep at it, there is nowhere to go but up (in skill rating, of course).

How do you work with toxic people?

Competitive matches of Overwatch are often influenced by a lack of coordination and communication. When you’re thrown into a team full of strangers, the kind of players you’re going to end up with is a matter of luck. In the most ideal scenarios, teams have six members with microphones, who listen to game chat and call out positions and abilities. In the least ideal, and usually more common situations, there are players who are rude, think they’re invincible, or refuse to cooperate with the rest of the group. Pavloff’s advice? Just keep trying. “I try to ignore [uncooperative players] if they won’t come to their senses and play with the team to try and win. There are a lot of throwers and people who tend to just give up if the team isn’t doing well at the start of the game, which ruins the fun for everyone.” If you can’t salvage a difficult game you’ll still have grown as a player. It’s easy to let others get inside your head but if you persevere and do all you can, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll succeed.

Christopher “J3sus” Pavloff continues to grind through the ranks of Overwatch and develop his gaming community each and every day. He tries his best to answer questions and comments to those who reach out in his discord server, or in Twitch chat while he streams. You can find him on twitter, @j3sus_tv, or live on J3sus_tv, probably playing Tracer.


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