Overwatch characters: check out all the heroes and decide which one is best for you

Overwatch characters
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Working out what the best Overwatch character is for you can be tricky. Overwatch has a constantly expanding cast of players with a wide range of atypical abilities and roles that can take some working out, let along mastering. There's not just the usual assault, tank, healer stuff going on here. The meta how how all this fits together changes a lot, especially when heroes get a reworking or re-balance. 

Because of that, if you're just diving in, then consider this your primer to finding the best Overwatch character for you. And, you're you're already an Overwatch veteran, hopefully this will help you consider and get accustomed to options you haven't thought about before. Either way, you'll find everything you need to know about the best Overwatch characters neatly arranged below.  


Ana overwatch

(Image credit: Activision)
  • Role: Support
  • Play style:  Playmaking support 

Ana Amari is the first post-launch hero Blizzard released in Overwatch. Her role is support, and her primary focus is to block healing from the enemy team while healing her own. Her Biotic Rifle does a considerable amount of healing and damage depending on if she shoots a friend or foe. She has infinite range and low mobility to position yourself from the back of the fight near walls and health packs. Biotic Grenade applies burst healing,  burst damage, and boosts the healing of allies from any source (other healing abilities and health packs) while blocking healing on enemies for a short duration. Enemies that have been “purpled” by this ability are easy to defeat with their lack of sustain. It’s best to hit as many players on both teams as possible to boost the effectiveness.

When in a pinch the Sleep Dart is a pinpoint projectile that puts the affected target to sleep. It does forgettable damage and any additional damage done to a sleeping target will instantly wake them. Ana has long cooldowns, periods of downtime on abilities, so you don’t want to use them carelessly. Sleep Dart is best used in 1v1s or to shut down an enemy Ultimate. Nano Boost is Ana’s ultimate ability and provides burst healing, damage resistance, and a damage boost to one ally for a set duration. Use it to save a low-health target from going back to spawn or to combo with other ultimates like Genji's Dragonblade and Soldier 76's Tactical Visor. 


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense) 
  • Play style: Burst damage sharpshooter 

Elizabeth Caledonia "Calamity" Ashe is the perfect reason to watch out for the 1 percent. The born-wealthy leader of the  Deadlock Gang is the perfect powerhouse for precision players with her signature weapon, The Viper, a semi-automatic rifle with a spam-happy hip-fire and a scoped mode with more damage per shot than any weapon in Overwatch. Shields are annoying and Overwatch Ashe's has no interest in shooting them. Lobbing a Dynamite above or around shields creates a devastating explosion that can put pressure on an entire team. Dynamites can be shot mid-air or left to detonate on their own and sets this cowgirl apart from the other hitscan heroes in the game. Her burst damage is just as scary as her pick potential. 

Like all snipers, mobility is limited yet necessary and this is where the Coach Gun comes into play. This sawed-off shotgun can propel Ashe to high ground and provide space between her and those wishing to dive her. It can detonate Dynamite and boop enemies for environmental kills! More hero than ability, Ashe’s UItimate is her robot butler, B.O.B. Unlike any other ability in the game, B.O.B. is a hero as far as the game is concerned. He can contest objectives, be healed, and be killed. His immense damage and auto lock-on means creating crossfires with Ashe is the best way to use him.


bastion overwatch

(Image credit: Activision)
  • Role: Damage (formerly Defense) 
  • Play style: Fear inducing turret 

Bastion is the last remnant of a once threatening robot presence. A Sentry mode converts him into a turret with more damage per second than any hero in the game, bunkered behind a shield. While his Ironclad passive also provides a damage resistance buff while transformed. He also has a self-repair ability to keep himself  topped off with low self-healing while in any configuration. 

Recon is Bastion’s base form and increases his mobility on two legs, shooting like a robotic Soldier: 76. Use this mode to reposition around the map and avoid reloading Sentry mode. The best Bastions keep you guessing and looking for where the damage is coming from. Tank is his ultimate, .is the third and final transformation turning Bastion into a tank, complete with explosives. Well-timed rocket jumps can be done by shooting the ground and jumping with correct coordination, creating a flying tank of doom!


baptiste overwatch

(Image credit: Activision)
  • Role: Support
  • Play style: Nimble clutch healer

The newest support hero in Overwatch Baptiste is a Haitian combat medic who’s worked where he was needed - from the Caribbean Coalition to Talon, Mr. Augustin brings his talents to those who need him most. Baptiste’s Biotic Launcher is a burst-fire rifle and grenade launcher that heals with grenades and damages with bullets. Each grenade provides the healing equivalent of splash damage so group up! This dynamic weapon means healing teammates and damaging enemies are done at the same time. His Exo Boots lets the Caribbean corpsman reach high ground and dodge, ground-based abilities like Earthshatter.

His massive area-of-effect healing and only self-heal comes from his Regenerative Burst ability. Teammates heal over time even after they break line-of-sight and range of the ability. If someone, or most of your team, might die, there’s no better way to keep them alive than Immortality Field. You read that right, Baptiste can deploy a drone that keeps allies inside its small radius incapable of dying for a short duration. Baptiste’s Ultimate ability, Amplification Matrix creates an energy window that doubles the healing and damage of projectiles that travel through it. 


Overwatch's Brigitte offers you a hand up.

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Role: Support
  • Playstyle: All-in-one value machine

Brigitte Lindholm is the daughter of Torbjörn Lindholm and the goddaughter of Reinhardt Wilhelm. The Swedish squire’s passive, Inspire, heals herself and her allies over time when she does damage with her primary weapon. Speaking of a primary weapon, Brigitte takes a page from Reinhardt and uses a Rocket Flail. The melee weapon makes Brigitte a problem in close-encounters so take duels with other supports and DPS when you have the advantage. Her ranged healing is provided in the form of a Repair Pack. The packs heal a sizable amount of health over a few seconds and make her one of the best supports for pocketing DPS. Brig’s unique kit forces players to get her immeasurable value in the right places at the right times.

Backline harassers come in all shapes and sizes. A quick Whip Shot can get them off of you by extending the flail 20 meters and booping enemies away. This technique can be used to get environmental kills, mess up enemy ultimates, or proc inspire from safety. This iron maiden has a Barrier Shield that makes her incredibly tanky. She can use it to path around the map like a Reinhardt and Shield Bash enemies to stun them and combo them to death with her flail. Use shield bash for movement and to cancel abilities like Take a Breather. Rally is arguably the best support ultimate in the game. Miss Lindholm gets a speed boost and provides permanent armor for all allies that can only be removed by damage or death. A Nano Boost on Brig during her ultimate turns her into an unkillable raid boss. Use it to engage early in team fights or to counter aggression but not against burst damage. 


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Combo King

The idealist of Talon’s inner circle, Doomfist, and his gauntlet turn Overwatch into a combo-crazy fighting game. In most cases, one punch is all he needs. The basic engagement begins with the Seismic Slam. Doomfist lunges forward and smashes the ground with the side of his fist, knocking nearby enemies towards him. Rising Uppercut is your best follow-up to launch enemies in the air after a slam. Those knocked in the air can be finished off with his Hand Cannon. Doomfist’s biotically enhanced hand shoots shotgun pellets from his knuckles and does surprising precision damage.

The Best Defense...is Doomfist’s passive ability that provides shield health for every enemy he hits with a move. Rocket Punch is his primary ability, capable of instantly killing any squishy hero. Outside of deleting a foe, Doomfist is all about combos. His ability to teleport on top of someone, blow them up, and leave is second to no one. Every one of these moves can be used for movement so means leaving at least one ability off cooldown for an escape. Leaping high into the air and slamming down from the sky, Doomfist’s Ultimate ability Meteor Strike is a great escape or assassination tool.  


(Image credit: Activision)
  • Role: Tank
  • Playstyle: Everywhere at once

One of the most accessible yet difficult heroes to master, Overwatch D.Va is a fan favorite around the community. The pilot for the Mobile Exo-Force of the Korean Army (MEKA) operates a mech named Tokki equipped with Fusion Cannons. These rapid-fire shotguns have infinite ammo and limited range force D.Va into close-range to find value from her main weapon. To prevent damage to herself, eat ultimates, and other projectiles, Tokki projects a Defense Matrix that nullifies infinite damage for a short duration.

D.Va uses Boosters to be anywhere she’s needed within a few seconds of a call for help. Her Micro-Missiles are the perfect tool to focus down a target she’s boosting towards. As an off-tank D.Va excels at protecting her supports and going where the main threats are. All of her abilities can be used at once and makes her an excellent 1v1 combatant. Self-Destruct is D.Va’s Ultimate ability and when combined with boosters, turns her mech into a flying explosive that can recall a full-health mech in the aftermath. If Tokki takes too much damage, it breaks activating the Eject passive. Pilot D.Va (Baby D.Va to the community) can shoot an automatic blast to Call Mech, the ultimate for her pilot form. D.Va is all about target priority and game sense.


(Image credit: Activision)
  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Dynamic Threat 

Echo is the newest hero in Overwatch and is a powerhouse in the right hands. She is an evolutionary robot with artificial intelligence to match her flexibility on the battlefield. Flight takes Echo to the skies and provides a speed boost. To remain in the air and combat enemies below or out-maneuver Pahrah in the sky, Glide slows Echo’s descent similar to Mercy’s Angelic Descent but with more aerial control. Echo’s primary weapon is her Tri-Shot. A Triangle pattern shoots from her fingertips like shotgun pellets and is capable of bursting down other 200HP targets with skillful precision hits.

Sticky Bombs are the bread n’ butter of Echo’s most lethal combos. A volley of six bombs latches onto any target they hit and detonates after a delay. A combo machine in her own right, enemy heroes, deployable items like turrets, and shields so they can be finished off with Focusing Beam. Echo channels a beam for a few seconds and any target below half of its health takes four times the damage. Use her primary fire and sticky bombs to get to that sweet spot and laser them down. Duplicate is Echo’s Ultimate ability and turns the robot into a copy of a targeted enemy hero. She gains an insane ultimate charge rate and depending on the hero, can use their ultimate multiple times! Echo can also get in-game achievements while copying a hero and the copied hero cannot be changed until the duration ends. Once killed or after it expires, Echo regains all of her cooldowns and is full-health so go in for the big plays when you use it. 


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Glass cannon

The Japanese playboy of the Shimada crime family, Genji is a master swordsman and cyborg ninja. After a brush with death at the hands of brother Hanzo, Genji was able to find inner peace and acceptance under the guidance of Zenyatta at an Omnic monastery in Nepal. Genji along with Tracer walks at a slightly quicker pace than the remainder of the cast. The Sparrow’s kit rewards flanking, assassination, and brawling. Genji’s passive ability is his Cyborg Agility which grants him wall climbing and a double-jump.

Tools of the trade, Shurikens that either fire in a fanned spread to hit large targets or in rapid-succession for ranged poke damage, Genji’s arsenal is versatile and lethal. Swift Strike is a movement ability and burst damage dash that can reset its cooldown on a successful kill or assist of any kind. Genji can use this move to get in and out of fights after picking off isolated targets. Used to either take space or play defensively, Deflect sends incoming projectiles in the direction Genji is looking with lightning-fast swipes of his wakizashi. Keep in mind this does not work on lasers and other non-projectile damage sources. Take your katana out and cut your enemies away with Genji’s Ultimate, Dragonblade. The Shimada swordmaster gets an increase in movement speed, a reset on Swift Strike, and cleave damage on his sword.  


  •  Role: Damage (formerly Defense)
  • Playstyle: Sniper spam and recon

The eldest son of the Shimada clan and older brother to Genji, Hanzo is a master of both bow and sword yet swore off the latter. Wall climbing must run in the family because Hanzo can do it too. Coupled with his Lunge ability, it makes the archer the most mobile sniper in Overwatch. The Storm Bow can one-shot heroes with 250HP or less so you need to respect his line-of-sight like a Widowmaker. Sonic Arrow contains a sonar tracking device, marking all enemies within its radius visible, even through walls!

To spam down shields or one target Storm Arrows fires several arrows that do not need charging albeit with a reduction in damage. This ability alone makes Hanzo a threat when shields are low or enemies are caught out of position. Dragonstrike summons two spectral dragons that can pass through walls. The arrow the dragons come from can still headshot and get a kill on its own and Dragonstrike can only be out healed by Transcendence on stationary targets. Make sure to combo with abilities like Zarya’s Graviton Surge and Orisa’s Halt!


  • Role: Damage (formerly Defense)
  • Playstyle: Chaos Incarnate

This Australian anarchist hails from the scraps of Junkertown and has expertise in explosions. Junkrat excels at map control, denying large sections of the map with his Frag Launcher. This makeshift grenade launcher is slapped together with duct tape and does enough damage to give tanks pause. The Concussion Mine makes Junkrat mobile with mine-jumps and is the lethal finisher to many of his most damaging combos. Short-range might seem like a drawback but the Aussie can snipe with some accuracy.

Random spam can work wonders but the real Junkers lay Steel Traps for unsuspecting foes and pounce like bombastic spiders. The trap does considerable damage in its own right and concussion mines can be left near or in them to create a devastating combo! If you manage to kill Junkrat his passive Total Mayhem procs, releasing several live grenades around his fallen body. Get ready for a shock with Junkrat’s Ultimate, RIP-Tire is a fast, wall-climbing, remote-controlled explosive device that persists even if the motionless user dies.  


  • Role: Support
  • Playstyle: Musical duelist

Lucio is one of the fastest heroes in Overwatch and boasts one of the highest skill ceilings of all the supports. His Wall Ride passive makes the frog DJ hard to hit as he gains speed jumping between surfaces. Mastering this ability can elevate your play and dodges ultimates like Earthshatter. The Sonic Blaster does respectable damage and Lucio can use its alternate fire Soundwave to displace enemies, juggle them for damage combos, or secure environmental kills...BOOP! 

Crossfade provides area-of-effect healing and speed boosts depending on which song you’re on. The auras are giant spheres so wall riding doesn’t negate their utility. Activate the ability again to change songs. Amp It Up to increase the amount of healing or speed you give your team. If someone is in danger or needs help, Lucio is the master of peel. Wallride to their side, boop away the problem, then either duel it together or make a speedy escape. Lucio can even challenge and dominate snipers if he paths to them correctly, he’s like Genji with a self-heal! Arguably one of the best support ultimates in the game, Sound Barrier provides tons of temporary shields to any friendlies within its range and is perfect for countering ultimates like D.Va’s Self-Destruct, Junkrat’s RIP-Tire, and Sigma’s Gravitic Flux. 


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Eagle-eyed marksman

Playstyle: Eagle-eyed marksman“The Outlaw” Jesse McCree had two choices when the Deadlock Gang was apprehended by Overwatch, join the covert Blackwatch team under Gabriel “Reaper” Reyes or rot in a maximum-security prison. If you have the aim and game sense, the accessible pistol play of McCree can help you carry games. The Peacekeeper is a six-shot revolver that lives up to its name. Each shot is capable of killing Tracer with one precision hit and using the alternate fan-fire can delete any hero that’s not a tank.

To chase a kill, evade damage, or instantly reload your gun McCree has a Combat Roll. Combine the roll with hammer fans to melt tanks and shields in ultra close-range. If someone gets too close or moves too much a quick Flashbang stuns and locks them in place for some quick headshots or Fan the Hammer spam. McCree’s Ultimate ability is Deadeye (aka High Noon) slows him and locks onto targets, building up damage, before releasing. Deadeye can also reload the Peacekeeper so if telling people what time it is might end in your death, cancel the ability to be more mobile. It’s not practical but is possible to Fan the Hammer four times without reloading using Combat Roll and a max duration Deadeye.

Continue to Page 2 for more of the Overwatch characters

Cian is a freelance journalist based in Ireland. He's written for numerous publications including USA Today, TheGamer, The Guardian, Washington Post, Verge, Vice, Polygon, Eurogamer, and GameSpot. He's a huge fan of The Witcher and other RPGs like Dragon Age.