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Overwatch League Skill Impact

Reaper El Blanco Death Blossom by 3redin

Compared to other FPS titles, Overwatch places a strong emphasis on unique hero skills. How well these skills are used can be one of the indicators of a player’s hero proficiency. Ryujehong’s Ana sleep dart and Haksal’s Genji Dragonblade are good examples. Obviously, ultimate skills are generally more powerful and more valuable than normal skills.

Ryujehong’s Ana sleep dart montage
Haksal’s Genji Dragonblade montage

In the Overwatch League (OWL), individual skill usage and how a team allocates and coordinates skill usage are key tactics in a teamfight. This is why the efficiency of skill usage depends not only on personal mechanics but also on team coordination. Key examples include Ana’s Nano Boost followed up by Genji’s Dragonblade, Mercy damage boosting Ashe while using dynamite, Orisa halt + Roadhog hook combo, Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix + Reinhardt’s Fire Strike, Sombra’s EMP + D.Va’s Defense Matrix and so on…Unfortunately,. there has been no quantitative way to measure the efficiency of skill usage.

How can we measure the impact (efficiency) of the usage of a skill including ultimates? In order to do this, we first need to define what “efficiency in skill usage” is. All hero skills in Overwatch have different concepts and effects; some skills inflict damage, some heal allies, some empower allies, and some incur debuffs to enemies. Despite the differences between each and every skill, the purpose of every skill should be identical: winning a teamfight. The most important stats related to winning a map (and a teamfight, although not mentioned explicitly) are deaths and final blows (, while relative combat power (RCP) is a simple indicator of a numbers advantage between the two teams ( Therefore, we can say efficient use of a skill should somehow increase RCP compared to before the skill was used.

This means that a case where only one player received Lucio’s Sound Barrier and resulted in one kill is seen as more efficient than a case where all 6 players receiving the Sound Barrier (which is what the general public would consider an efficient use of the Sound Barrier) but resulting in no kills. Remember, here we see skill efficiency based on RCP.

In order to quantify skill impact, I used peri-event time histogram (PETH), which aligns the timestamps of all event related variables to the skill onset (0 sec). For example, when we align the trends of hero damage dealt (HDD), final blow value (FBV), healing done (HealD), death risk (DR) and RCP by ultimate onset time, we get a PETH graph like the one below (data from 2021 OWL June Joust)

Reaper’s PETH of HDD, FBV, HealD, DR and RCP aligned by Reaper’s ultimate onset

As I defined earlier, the skill impact can be derived by subtracting the RCP area before the skill onset from after the skill onset (blue-red in below).

Skill Impact = Blue area — Red area

Now we can quantify the skill impact in an unified manner. Then, Which was the most valuable ultimate in Stage 2 (June Joust)?

Average Skill Impacts in June Joust. Text label indicates (Average Skill Impact / Number of skill usage). Note that I didn’t distinguish the self destruction and re-Mech of D.Va and Echo’s replication and replicant’s ultimates of Echo. Only the ultimates used over 100 times were plotted.

As you might have guessed, Reaper’s Death Blossom was the most valuable ultimate (skill impact=0.6538, skill usage=729). This means that every time Reaper used his ultimate, his team’s RCP increased by 0.6538 which contributed to winning the teamfight. Interestingly, the skill impact of Widowmaker’s Infra-sight was 0.313 even though the ultimate itself doesn’t inflict any sort of damage to enemies. This indicates that teams using infra-sight somehow took advantage of the utility it provides and got final blows. This is exactly what I have intended to see from my definition of skill impact.

Whose Reaper recorded the highest skill impact during the June Joust?

Players’ Skill Impacts in June Joust. Text label indicates (AVG Skill Impact / Number of skill usage). Only the ultimates used over 30 times were plotted.

Doha of Dallas Fuel recorded a skill impact of 1.0225 while using Death Blossom 152 times. This indicates every time he uses Reaper ultimate, Dallas Fuel’s RCP increases 1.0225, which is really high. I believe his high skill impact not only comes from his personal mechanics, but also from Dallas Fuel’s good chemistry.

Doha’s Reaper ultimate recorded the highest skill impact during the June Joust

So far, I’ve introduced the concept of skill impact and how it can be applied and seen in the OWL. Next time I’ll post about the combination of skills based on PETH I’ve covered earlier. With this, you can find out how a skill is used in combination with others, and how the opponents react to the skill.

  • English revised by Minseong Kim (NYXL Player Manager)



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