Sigma, the astrophysicist-cum-Talon mastermind with the ability to bend gravity itself to his will, is the latest hero to join the ever-changing roster of the best Overwatch characters. Finding the heroes that play to your strengths in Overwatch can determine the difference between winning and losing in competitive play, which is why discovering which heroes suit your personal playstyle is such an important factor if you're to be successful in climbing the ladder. However, with such a wide variety of distinct heroes to choose from, each with their own unique weapons and abilities, it can take quite a while before you find your main. To that end, we'd like to help you get started on your way to becoming an Overwatch expert, primarily by showing you how to obtain the flexibility necessary for playing each and every one of the game's roles competently. Blizzard constantly adds new heroes and introduces substantial balance changes, so the meta never ceases to shift, but there’s a character for everyone in this illustrious shooter – you just need to find them.
If you're just diving in, then consider this your primer on the wonders that await. If you're already an Overwatch veteran, perhaps you're looking for someone new to experiment with. Either way, you'll find everything you need to know about the best Overwatch characters neatly arranged below.
- Role: Support
- Play style: Precision healer
Ana was the first additional hero Blizzard released post-launch. Her character juxtaposes a support role with a sniper rifle, making her quite a difficult hero to learn, especially because she lacks the mobility abilities of Overwatch's more damage-oriented snipers. As a result, Ana should always strive to position herself in the back line, where she can provide support for her tanks while benefiting from the safety provided by their shields. While her Biotic Rifle can deliver an immense amount of burst healing, her damage output is nothing to scoff at, so don't be afraid to pick shots at exposed enemies from time to time - although always remember that Ana's rifle is incapable of registering headshot bonuses.
Ana's unique Sleep Dart ability is very difficult to master, but can turn the tide of a seemingly lost fight if used correctly. Never use it unless you're in a tricky 1v1 or an enemy instigates an Ultimate that locks them in a stationary position. The cooldown is far too long for you to use Sleep Darts as a throwaway ability. Ana's other primary ability is Biotic Grenade, which deals damage but, more importantly, prevents enemies from healing within a small radius. Use it to cancel out enemy support Ultimates or to nullify Roadhog's self-healing. Interestingly, and invaluably, allies hit with a Biotic Grenade benefit from increased healing, so if your tanks look a little worse for wear, chuck a 'nade at them before firing a clip up biotic bullets their way.
- Role: Offense
- Play style: Utility sharpshooter
The roguish leader of the Deadlock Gang takes an intimidating amount of finesse to play properly. However, once you've mastered her diverse kit, you'll reliably dish out incredible amounts of damage.
Overwatch Ashe excels when picking off targets from range with her semi-automatic Viper rifle, but if an enemy aggressor gets too close for comfort, she can propel herself backwards using her Coach Gun. Ashe's Dynamite is also a fantastic area-control ability: because it melts through enemy armor, aspiring adversaries will be sent hurtling headlong for safety every time they hear the fuse begin to burn. Her Ultimate ability, B.O.B., is best used before engaging the enemy, as he'll kick up enough of a ruckus to keep the enemy team preoccupied while you pick them off from afar. If you've got crackshot aim and adore playing as Widowmaker or McCree, Ashe could very well become your new main.
- Role: Defense
- Play style: Dig in and mow down enemies
Bastion is a hero players love to play, but hate to play against. Parked behind a friendly shield, Bastion can mow down enemies at an alarming pace due to his incredibly powerful turret fire. Although he still deals decent amounts of damage in Recon mode, which allows him to move around - albeit at a snail's pace - Bastion's utility is almost entirely tied to Sentry mode, so if you can't set up shop somewhere secure, your best bet is to switch to another hero.
Bastion also has the ability to heal - or repair, given that he's a robot - himself, which affords him a degree of bulk that almost likens him to a tank. He also literally becomes a tank when he unleashes his Ultimate ability, allowing him to fire gargantuan shells at clusters of enemies, dealing devastating damage and sending adversaries running back to the spawn room.
- Role: Support
- Play style: Nimble clutch healer
Overwatch Baptiste, the game's newest support hero, is a Haitian combat medic who eschewed his criminal past with Talon for an opportunity to help those in need. Baptiste is drastically different to other supports due to the fact that he heals his teammates with massive splash grenades, courtesy of his technologically-advanced Biotic Launcher. Similarly to Ana's biotic weapon, Baptiste's launcher is also kitted out with three-round burst damage-dealing bullets.
Baptiste's abilities are totally unique. Regenerative Burst allows him to heal himself while simultaneously burst-healing enemies within its area of effect, whereas Immortality Field affords allies within a certain radius temporary invulnerability. Baptiste's Ultimate ability, Amplification Matrix, doubles both the amount of damage dealt and healing provided for all projectiles that pass through its field. As a result, he's one of the most powerful area-control healers in the game, which is something that can be exploited by using his Exo Boots passive ability to leap high above the action and rain healing down from above.
- Role: Offense
- Play style: Combo king
Overwatch Doomfist sits at the table of Talon's inner council, but his snazzy suits and eloquent style are massively deceiving. Equipped with his illustrious gauntlet, Doomfist uses his abilities to chain together devastating combos, revolving around his powerful abilities.
His primary ability, Rocket Punch, is a charged attack that sends you hurtling towards an enemy, dealing damage on impact and racking up even more if you knock said enemy into a wall. A fully-charged Rocket Punch against a hard surface should insta-kill 200HP squishies, but should your target be a little beefier, your next point of order should be to Uppercut them. This ability stuns enemies while simultaneously raising both you and them into the air, at the crux of which you can execute an easy headshot with Doomfist's Hand-Cannon. Should you ever be too far away to Rocket Punch, or find yourself in trouble, Seismic Slam can be used as a mobility ability designed to cover distance quickly. It also deals damage, but the values are determined by the height from which you drop, so it's best to use this for area traversal first and foremost. Doomfist's Ultimate ability is Meteor Strike, which should also be used to instigate an engagement or escape from one. Getting eliminations almost always comes second to strategic positioning.
- Role: Tank
- Play style: Front-line pest
Overwatch D.Va is one of the most beloved and popular characters in the game. This is generally attributed to her ostensibly accessible playstyle, but playing D.Va properly isn't quite as easy as some people make it out to be.
D.Va's kit comprises of infinite-ammo Fusion Cannons, flight-enabling Boosters, a projectile-swallowing Defense Matrix, and close-combat Micro Missiles. The important thing to remember is that she deals next to no damage at range, so you'll want to use your Boosters to rapidly close in on an enemy before unleashing a barrage of missiles and following them up with a constant stream of Fusion bullets. This tried-and-tested tactic makes D.Va an excellent 1v1 hero, but what's most important about playing her is target prioritization. As an off-tank, your primary duty is to protect your healers, but you also have to deal with the low-HP targets your main tank and DPS are focusing on. As a result, playing D.Va is all about utility assessment and decisive action.
While D.Va's Self-Destruct Ultimate ability is often wasted in pursuit of multi-kill glory, you can also choose to trigger it after getting knocked out of your mech, forcing the enemy team to run for cover while you call down a brand new suit and reenter the fray with fully-replenished HP.
- Role: Offense
- Play style: Glass cannon a la ninja
Hailing from the Shimada crime family in Japan, Overwatch Genji is an incredibly skilled cyborg ninja who found peace with his augmented body while studying under the tutelage of Omnic monk Zenyatta in Nepal.
Genji's mobility is his trump card: he is the only hero in the game with access to a vertical double-jump, and he's able to quickly scale walls in order to make a hasty escape whenever he gets overwhelmed by the enemy team. His Swift Strike ability, which is primarily intended to be used as an offensive maneuver, can also be used to rapidly cover gaps between platforms few heroes can successfully jump.
Genji's playstyle resembles that of a flanker, but he can also act as a nuisance by constantly hurling shurikens at enemies from afar. His shurikens deal massive amounts of damage, especially if you can land headshots, but be sure to finish enemies off with Swift Strike, as this ability resets every time Genji gets an elimination, allowing you to chain-kill low-HP targets while moving so quickly and erratically that you become nigh untouchable. If you find yourself in a tight spot, Deflect sends enemy bullets back where they came from, but always remember this only works for hard projectiles - it doesn't work against Zarya's beam or Moira's Biotic Grasp, for example. Also, don't be afraid to use your Dragonblade. The voice line tied to unsheathing it is enough to leave enemies quaking in their boots all on its own, so make sure you don't hold a single blade for an entire match solely because you're greedily in pursuit of a multi-kill Play Of The Game.
- Role: Defense
- Play style: Fast-paced action sniping
Genji's older brother, Hanzo wields a bow and arrow instead of a sword due to the fact he believes he slayed his own brother for bringing shame on their family. Hanzo's arrows hit like a truck, and nocking them is sufficiently quick to loose an almighty barrage into a big, tanky target in no time. As a result, Hanzo has one of the highest potential damage outputs in all of Overwatch.
Similarly to Genji, Hanzo can climb walls and has access to a horizontal jump which can make his movements unpredictable. His Sonic Arrow can be used to highlight enemies in a certain area, which he can then use to either line up headshots or nock his rapid-fire Storm Arrows, which deal slightly less damage than their regular counterparts but can be fired as quickly as an automatic rifle. Hanzo's Ultimate, Dragonstrike, can get team kills when paired with Zarya's Graviton Surge, but even when it deals no damage at all it can be used to temporarily make an area, like a control point or payload, completely inaccessible to the enemy. As a result, Hanzo's best played as a damage-dealer who can zone enemies away from a position using area-denial tactics. Just be sure to take more shots than you don't, as you'll usually lay down more damage from three shots in a general direction than from a single shot you spent far too long lining up.
- Role: Defense
- Play style: Back-line chaos generator
An Aussie anarchist from the derelict factory-cum-lawless state Junkertown, Junkrat has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with all things that go boom. The best way to play Junkrat is to constantly wreak havoc by hurling mines and spamming grenades into the abyss. While aim obviously helps, simply firing in the general direction of your enemies will deal tons of damage, as by avoiding one of your grenades they'll be forced into the devastating wake of the next.
Junkrat's Trap works exceptionally well in conjunction with his Concussion Mine, as laying a mine in the trap itself will allow you to instantly detonate it when an enemy gets caught there. Due to the immediate proximity between the trapped hero and the mine, damage is dealt at its maximum potential and can sometimes beget an instant elimination. Interestingly, because Junkrat's passive allows him to take no damage from his own explosions, you can also use his mine to catapult yourself in the air, allowing you to quickly cover long distances and set up shop in otherwise inaccessible places.
Junkrat's Ultimate ability is RIP-Tire, which is a speedy, spiky wheel that can be remotely controlled and detonated in a massive explosion. His cued cry of "Fire in the hole!" is one of the most terrifying things to hear in all of Overwatch, so don't be afraid to draw out your opponents' state of panic by driving around for a bit before blowing your TNT tire up in their faces.
- Role: Support
- Play style: Perpetual musical motion
Unlike other support characters, Lucio moves exceptionally fast and has access to the most mobile passive ability in the whole game, which allows him to skate along walls and leap from one surface to another, constantly gaining speed in the process.
Lucio's healing is entirely based on a large, circular area-of-effect, which can either be used to heal teammates within its circumference or increase their movement speed. It's usually more valuable to prioritize healing, obviously, but a well-timed Speed Boost can brutally punish the entire enemy team if you catch them unaware. Lucio can also choose to amp up his currently selected effect - determined by changing the song playing through his headphones - and drastically increase the rate at which it functions. His primary weapon unleashes a three-round burst when used conventionally, but can also be used to knock enemies away - even off ledges on occasion - by emitting a powerful sound blast, commonly referred to in the Overwatch community as a "boop."
- Role: Offense
- Play style: Single-target pistol action
"The Outlaw" Jesse McCree used to run with the Deadlock Gang alongside Ashe, but decided to join Overwatch covert ops faction Blackwatch after being let off the hook by Gabriel "Reaper" Reyes. Playing McCree often looks easy given his overtly simplistic build, but excelling as a McCree main is incredibly difficult to pull off.
His Peacekeeper revolver packs a punch, but if you're not a hotshot sharpshooter you'll likely end up decorating the walls instead of dealing any meaningful damage. It's hitscan, so where you click is precisely and immediately where the bullet arrives. The key to McCree is to perfect your positioning, keeping targets at mid-range as often as possible and always having your Flashbang off cooldown if they get too close. Most people use McCree's alternate fire, Fan The Hammer, after successfully stunning an enemy, but unless they're a tank you should always aim a more accurate, regular shot to the head. If you empty your clip, remember that Combat Roll automatically reloads for you, so you can use McCree's only mobility ability to either create or close a gap before unloading an entire magazine into an unsuspecting enemy.
McCree's Ultimate, Deadeye, should always be used from behind, preferably from high ground. Don't be afraid to shoot as soon as you see a single red skull, as the vulnerable position Deadeye places you in can easily be exploited if you spend too long chasing a Play Of The Game. Also, don't be afraid to use Deadeye simply as a zoning ultimate to send an organized team into disarray. Isolating them is usually enough for your teammates to rack up easy picks, which should be more than enough to win the team fight.