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Strategies for Winning Sudden Death

We’ve all faced sudden death cheese. The gate opens and 5 Winston's instantly jump on the objective. Two minutes later and the game has been won - you didn’t even have enough time to react.  This is why it’s crucial to be prepared for all sudden death tactics.

Sudden death is being removed in Competitive Season 2 but for now we all have to deal with it. Understanding the important strategies and how to counter them is crucial in order to win this fast-paced game mode.  Generally, attack is going to be favored but per Jeff Kaplan the ratio is relatively balanced.

Pointers for Sudden Death:

  • Mercy is god tier - her rez becomes exponentially better with the short match time of sudden death.
  • Soldier 76 is top tier - He can heal himself, lacks hard counters and is arguably the most versatile hero.
  • Reaper is always going to be a great choice due to the prevalence of tanks
  • Mercy, Bastion and Reinhardt trinity is holy for sudden death defense. Bastion helps to counter the heavy tank attack comps.
  • Using the Cheese tactic will work less the higher in rank you go.  It’s an ok strategy but can easily be countered by more skilled/experienced opponents and a well balanced team.
  • Running at least two tanks is nearly mandatory for both attack and defense.
  • Countering quick is crucial. You only get one or two deaths before the game is over. Quickly identify your enemies team composition and pick the necessary counters before the game ends.
  • The first fight is the most important in sudden death. Often times you will only get 1 - 2 team fights so make it count and quickly identify focus targets.

Some standard team compositions for sudden death include:


  • Soldier 76, Soldier 76, Reaper, Reinhardt, Zarya, Mercy
  • Soldier 76, Reaper, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Bastion, Mercy
  • Any comp with Mercy, Soldier 76, Tank, Tank, Reaper/Pharah/Bastion/Tank, Flex


  • Soldier 76, Reinhardt, Reaper, Zarya, Mercy, Lucio
  • Soldier 76, Winston, Winston, Pharah, Mercy, Lucio
  • Any comp with Mercy, Lucio, Tank, Tank, Soldiery 76, Flex

Generally these heroes are going to perform above average on sudden death:

  • Mercy - one word: Rez
  • Soldier 76 - high mobility, high survivability, versatile, fit’s in any composition and lacks hard counters
  • Lucio - his speed boost and ult are god tier for attack.  Shines in defense as well.
  • Reinhardt - tanks are king in sudden death.  A good Reinhardt can carry the game on attack and defense. He also combos well with other good sudden death picks.
  • Winston - high survivability and mobility is the name of the game.  Can extend the overtime clock with his jump and ultimate.
  • Zarya - a support tank with insane DPS. Her ult can single handedly win the game.  Great on both attack and defense.
  • Reaper - because of the prevalence of tanks in sudden death he’s going to be a great hero. He also fits in most team compositions and is a solid pick regardless.
  • Roadhog - high survivability and his hook-one shot combo can quickly make the match a 6 v 5.

Generally these heroes are going to perform average on sudden death:

  • Pharah - always a great pick that fits into most teams. Due to the popularity of Soldier 76 she isn’t in the top tier
  • Tracer - her mobility and ability to harass the enemy healer makes her a good pick on attack.
  • Bastion (Defense) - his high damage output and synergy with Reinhardt and Mercy
  • Genji - can be good if played correctly on some maps. Really depends on the player.
  • Mei - can be great at keeping overtime meter running as well as splitting teams but generally there are better picks
  • D.va - a good choice but the other tanks are generally better.
  • Torbjorn - Good players are going to be able to take out his turrets with ease but if played well he can be decent on defense
  • Zenyatta - has the potential to do well with his ult an discord orbs but a team must be built around hidm

Generally these heroes are going to perform below average on sudden death:

  • Hanzo - he can be extremely useful to identify the enemies team comp with Sonic Arrow before the match begins but that’s about it.
  • Widowmaker - overall she’s not in a very good place now and with the prevalence of tanks in sudden death she’s gonna have an extra hard time. Only pick her if you’re a sniper god.
  • Junkrat - has the potential to be a decent pick because of his high burst damage but with his low survivability and low mobility other picks are going to be better.
  • Symmetra - if you can get your teleporter activated within the first 30 seconds of the match she can be useful but generally she takes a while to get ramped up, is too squishy and her turrets are easily killed by tanks.
  • McCree - overall is in a poor spot right now and other picks are generally better.

To sum it all up: sudden death sucks but we have to deal with it. Countering the cheese tactics is relatively easy if you know what heroes to pick. A solid team composition, quick counterplay, wise use of ults and picking Mercy is the key to winning Sudden Death.

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