Overwatch Character Guide: The Greatest Hero In Every Class
Overwatch has been released, bringing an end to months of fervent anticipation by finally allowing us to get our hands on Blizzard’s FPS. While many people had settled upon their favorite characters in the game’s beta, now that the full game has been released to the general public it’s time to take a look at which ones are the most effective in our Overwatch character guide.
While Overwatch tier lists are generally all over the place and feature wildly different opinions on which heroes are the ones you should be spending the most time mastering, we’ve taken into account a number of factors including ease of use, strengths, weaknesses and also the amount of fun you can have while playing as each of these heroes, in order to determine the best Overwatch characters (along with some special mentions.
Take a look below:
Best Overwatch Offense Characters
It’s nigh-on impossible to not want to play as this cool-lookin’ futuristic cowboy, and Blizzard have fortunately made him one of the strongest Offense characters in the game, presumably to accommodate the high number of players who will inevitably want to master him.
Like every outlaw, McRee is at his best when utilizing his sharp wits and even sharper shooting skills, with his Peacekeeper pistol requiring a great deal of precision in order to be used efficiently. Though its primary, single-bullet attack does a great deal of damage, it’s the pistol’s secondary attack that can dish out the most punishment, with it effectively emptying an entire ammo clip into an opponent with incredible swiftness. With that being said, you’ll need to have a steady aim in order to make best use of McRee, given that this secondary ability has a a notable amount of recoil and his primary doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes.
Like most Offense characters, McRee is unfortunately very squishy, so you’re definitely not going to want to launch yourself head-first into a group of enemies. However, his Ultimate does grant him the potential to shut down the entirety of the opposing team, with ‘Deadeye’ being one of the most feared special abilities in the game. Following his now-famous taunt of “It’s high noon,” Deadeye allows McRee to eye a group of enemies up in his sights before delivering a swift series of one-hit kills. Throw in a Flashbang before you execute this move, and you’ve got yourself potentially the greatest Ult in the entire game.
Never go in alone with McRee and make sure you pair up with a character more capable of withstanding punishment. Having a teammate/walking distraction standing alongside you while you can dispatch enemies from the sidelines is when McRee’s at his most effective.
Runner- up: Reaper
Though Reaper may boast a design that looks like it was based upon a 14-year-old boy’s definition of the word “awesome,” this Offense character is incredibly powerful in close range with impressive agility and abilities that allow him to swiftly escape the heat of battle.
Unlike McRee, who is all but dead when coming face to face with even a couple of enemies, Reaper can dish out powerful shotgun blasts before assuming his Wraith Form, which makes him immune to all oncoming attacks for a short period of time. Though Reaper cannot fire his Hellfire Shotguns or use his other abilities while he is in Wraith Form, being able to deal damage and then leave at the drop of a hat without withstanding any punishment is a mightily useful skill to have in your arsenal, making Reaper one of the trickiest Offensive characters to deal with in the game next to Tracer.
But despite them boasting equally effective evasion tactics, Reaper one-ups Tracer when it comes to the power of his attacks and his impressive Ultimate ability the Death Blossom, which allows him to fire off his guns in 360 degrees and dispatch any enemies in his sight.
Reaper is most useful when surprising enemies and, unlike other Offense characters, doesn’t necessarily need the backing of a tank in order to keep himself alive. Storing your Ultimate for crunch points in a game is crucial, with you potentially able to take out an entire time manning an objective or pushing a Payload. Learn the most effective ways to flank enemies on each map, swoop in, fire your shotguns and then quietly slip away into the shadows using your Wraith Form.
Special Mention: Tracer
Tracer’s a good mixture of mobility and power, but her incredibly low amount of health make her far too easy to take down. Though she can provide the enemy team with a lot of headaches thanks to her excellent Blink ability, considering that Overwatch is an objective-based game she’s mostly suitable to running around the outskirts of the combat, picking off enemies in one-on-one situations. Considering that there are an abundance of scenarios in Overwatch in which this won’t be the case, she’s less useful than her contemporaries.
Best Overwatch Defense Characters
Mei is the hero of choice for the team player, with her able to throw down a barrage of attacks that slow and damage enemies, impeding their progress and generally providing them with a very frustrating experience as they strive towards victory.
Though selecting Mei will more often than not require you to be part of a cohesive team, working in unison to achieve your goal, there’s a real sense of accomplishment in effectively shutting down your enemies with a mixture of icy barriers and freezing attacks.
Equipped with her Endothermic Blaster, a gun that can coat enemies in ice before picking them off with a well-placed headshot, Mei can also help all surrounding teammates with a healing shield in the form of her Cryo-Freeze ability, stamp out an enemy attack by placing an Ice Wall in front of them or, with her Ultimate attack Blizzard, freeze all of them in place before getting her teammates to finish them off.
Mei’s Ice Wall should be your best friend when playing as her, with it able to effectively block choke points throughout each map (note: it does not prevent the Payload from being pushed through it). Make good use of it when defending objectives, ensuring that attacking enemies are held off or are forced to change direction, and make sure that you’re always in the vicinity of your enemy’s goal in order to quell their advancements when need be.
Junkrat injects a great deal of chaos into proceedings whenever he makes his way onto the battlefield, with his specialization in explosives and traps making him an effective, if thoroughly unpredictable, hero to deal with. Junkrat’s main weapon is his Frag Launcher, which fires out grenades that can bounce off walls and deal a good amount of damage from a reasonable distance. Though this particular weapon isn’t exactly known for its precision, wading into an enemy crunch point and continuously firing out ‘nades should land you a few kills, even if it’s very difficult to utilize in one-on-one encounters.
His Concussion Mine is perhaps his most useful tool, with it being able to both hurt enemies and send them hurtling backwards, while also allowing Junkrat to use it to shoot him up to a vantage point without him having to take any damage. He can also lay a Steel Trap on the ground in particularly busy areas, which clamps on enemies’ legs and immobilizes them for a short period of time. He also has a very useful passive ability, which counter-balances the lack of damage he can dish out by dropping a series of grenades whenever he dies.
Junkrat is also bolstered by one of the most devastating Ultimate abilities in Overwatch, with his RIP-Tire hurtling towards enemies and causing a massive explosion when detonated, taking out anyone within its vicinity. The RIP-Tire can also climb walls, meaning that if a huddle of enemies are giving you grief by standing on a hard-to-reach vantage point, it can take them out with ease.
Junkrat is most useful when used to punish enemies from range, with him being ineffective in close-quarters battles. Using the Concussion Mine to elevate yourself to a higher platform before raining down grenades on your opponents from above is therefore the smartest plan of attack, while your Ultimate is a great tool for taking out crowds of enemies standing around objectives – if the opposing team is heavily pushing a Payload, you can find yourself bagging a handful of kills with it, laughing all the way to Play of the Game.
Special Mention: Widowmaker
Widowmaker is Overwatch‘s sniper, and as such you can expect to see a lot of people playing as her, desperately trying to snag those cool one-shot kills regardless of whether or not doing so is actually helping out their team in any meaningful way. However, while many less skilled players will selfishly opt to play as her because the lure of the sniper is greater than actually achieving victory, those who are good with her can effectively lock an enemy team into place, making it difficult to traverse through a map without being popped in the skull. Couple this with her ability to get to hard-to-reach vantage points with her grappling hook, along with a toxic mine that can completely effectively force an entire team to abandon their objectives, and she can be a force to be reckoned with in the right hands.
Best Overwatch Tank Character
Reinhardt is one of the most useful characters in the entire game, with him able to effectively shield an entire team from their enemies whilst continuing to push forward. Though Reinhardt is able to dish out a good amount of damage, it’s this shield that is his greatest asset, with him able to slowly move forwards while holding out, withstanding enemy gunfire as his teammates stand behind it, with them then able to shoot through it without damaging it. This shield can be of great use in every mode, and in heated, near-the-knuckle battles you’ll often see more than one Reinhardt make an appearance in order to successfully push towards an objective.
In terms of his other abilities, Reinhardt’s primary attack – the Rocket Hammer – is a powerful melee weapon with decent range. However, given the sheer weight of the thing, Reinhardt isn’t able to swiftly swing it from left to right with giddy abandon, with players instead expected to time their attacks to ensure that they actually hit their enemies, rather than wildly flailing the hammer and hoping for the best. His Charge move also allows him to either take out a member of the enemy team with a well-timed tackle or swiftly reinsert him back into the heat of the action, while the Fire Strike can strike through multiple enemies and bolsters Reinhardt’s attack with a little more range.
His Ultimate, the Earthshatter, can also greatly benefit your team if used correctly, with it able to knock down any enemies standing in front of Reinhardt, granting his teammates the time to successfully take them out.
Though the Tank class in general is designed to be at the forefront of your attack, with Reinhardt this rings especially true. From the opening moments of the game you’ll want to be providing your teammates with mobile cover by way of your shield, taking advantage of the character’s plentiful health pool by withstanding punishment while your comrades dish it out. However, with your shield eventually shattering after taking too much damage, you’ll want to ensure that you aren’t caught out in the open when it eventually does so given Reinhardt’s lack of ranged attacks.
Winston’s the most mobile of all the Tanks, with him able to deal out some powerful close-ranged damage after leaping in on his enemies from a distance. With his primary weapons, the Tesla Cannon, following enemies with its electric attack without the player having to aim the reticule directly on them, Winston can effectively weave around the battlefield electrocuting enemies without having to worry about being too precise.
Though he lacks threat in medium- and long-ranged encounters, by activating his Jump Pack Winston can swiftly insert himself into the action, dishing out a reasonable amount of damage when he lands, too. Then, when he’s taking too much damage, the Barrier Projector can provide a bubble shield around both himself and his teammates, blocking enemy fire without preventing friendly players from shooting out of it, similar to Reinhardt’s shield.
But Winston’s Ultimate is where he really becomes a force to be reckoned with, as activating Primal Rage sees him able to plow through enemies, knocking them away with his fists while boasting a nigh-on insurmountable amount of health as he does so. Effectively becoming a one-gorilla wrecking crew, little will stop Winston when he has his Ult activated, though his field of vision is limited so be wary of flanking attacks.
Winston is solely effective when getting up close and personal with enemies, so make sure that you don’t find yourself locked in battle with an enemy from a distance. Always remaining at the forefront of the action, dealing away steady damage with his Tesla Cannon before pouncing upon a faraway enemy with a Jump Pack leap is when Winston’s at his most useful, while his Ult is great for running into a pack of enemies and decimating them with a series of forceful punches.
Special Mention: Roadhog
Roadhog may be outclassed by Reinhardt and Winston, but he can still prove to be a very useful tank to have on the battlefield and, perhaps most importantly, he’s one of the most fun to play as. His Scrap Gun can provide a powerful shotgun blast in close range, while its secondary attack deals out a less impactful mid-range shot. Then there’s his Chain Hook, which latches itself onto an enemy before launching them in Roadhog’s direction, where he’s able to swiftly finish them off with a quick blast of his gun.
Best Overwatch Support Characters
Lucio is the most valuable Support character by a considerable margin. With him able to both provide health and speed boosts to all surrounding teammates without so much as having to point his reticule at them, a skilled Lucio player can keep his entire team up and running with ease.
This is also coupled with a pretty powerful (for a Support character) primary attack, with his Sonic Amplifier dealing out sluggish but moderately impactful sound waves that is best used when firing into groups of enemies, or at slow-moving Tank characters. Lucio can then use his Amp It Up ability, granting a significant boost to his passive healing/speed-boosting skill and really helping out his teammates in a time of need. He’s also able to wide along walls, providing an extra evasive advantage when surrounded by enemies.
Lucio’s Ultimate is also incredibly helpful, with the Sound Barrier providing a temporary shield to all nearby heroes that can prove to be game-changing in times when a team is making that crucial push towards an objective.
The best thing about Lucio is that he’s a Support character who can also be efficiently handled by beginners, with his passive ability meaning that players don’t even need to put in a particularly great deal of effort to help out their teammates. With that being said, there’s still a learning curve to effectively mastering Lucio, with the slow cooldown on his Amp It Up ability meaning that you’ll have to refrain from using it too frequently, instead opting to give your teammates that boost when they most need it. Stay at the back, make sure you’re always huddled in with more than one teammate and provide as many buffs as you can to as many friendlies as possible.
Though Mercy unfortunate cannot compete with Lucio, she is still a useful healer who is most effective when tailing one particular hero, rather than trying to provide assistance to a wider group. The Caduceus Staff, the tool she uses to help bandage up her teammates, can also provide an excellent boost to a teammate’s damage output, so you’ll regularly see her wandering closely behind an Offense character such as Reaper providing them with a great deal of assistance.
She’s also able to swiftly dart around a battlefield in order to make her way to the hero she’s looking to heal, with her Guardian Angel ability allowing her to swoop towards a teammate in her vicinity. However, Mercy’s healing abilities are severely counter-balanced by her complete ineffectiveness in battle, with her secondary weapon – the Caduceus Blaster – having a woeful damage output.
With that being said, her Ultimate ability Resurrect can prove to be the most useful tool in the entire game, with it successfully bringing back teammates from the dead. If your entire team has been wiped out around an objective you were attacking/defending, it’s therefore within reason that a nearby Mercy could allow them to all rise from the grave at full health.
As previously mentioned, Mercy is best at tailing one particular hero, ensuring their survival while providing them with damage buffs. However, this will also mean that she will inevitably be the first to be targeted by enemy gunfire, so you’ll need to make sure you’re partnering her with a teammate who’s willing to watch your back, and won’t forget that you’re standing behind them lending them a helping hand.
Special Mention: Symmetra
Symmetra stands out from the other Support heroes because while she is a team player, she doesn’t specialize in healing. With her able to fill a map with an abundance of traps, Symmetra can also effectively change the course of an entire match by way of her Ultimate ability, the Teleporter. Allowing teammates to transport themselves in the immediate vicinity of the objective directly from the spawn can quickly force the enemy team to crumble, and though she may not be as consistently helpful as Lucio or Mercy, the Teleporter is by far the most useful Ultimate boasted by any Support hero in the game.