I’ve always talked about this topic with players both new and experienced. In my opinion, the most important skill to understand in any competitive video game (not talking about eSports, but games where you compete) is to understand what is an active threat and what is a passive threat.
What do I mean by this? It’s in the name. An active threat is a threat that poses an active threat to you or an extension of yourself (team, pocket, etc.) at a given moment in time, and a passive threat is a threat that might not be an active threat at the given moment, but can become one in the future. Knowing the differences on the fly and knowing how to deal with them are extremely important skills.
- You are fighting a standard middle point fight. Who do you target first? Active threats: Demoman, Scouts, Bombing Soldier. Passive threat: Medic (threat of future ubercharge), non-bombing pocket Soldier.
- You are fighting two scouts alone as a Soldier on a point. Active threat: Scout with full health, jumping around you. Passive threat: Scout you directed off the point and knocked them away, effectively neutralizing them.
- You lost a middle fight and you are alone with a Scout teammate. Active threat: Medic’s ubercharge. POP IT. Passive threat: everything else, their threat of pushing into your second and last points with their numbers and momentum.
In an ideal situation you’d obviously want to kill every single target that’s in front of you. But that’s not possible. You have four rockets and 200 health (300 if you’re lucky). So pay attention to your surroundings and aim to neutralize rather than kill (unless, of course, that is one and the same). It’s what separates a good player from a great player.