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


  • Role: Damage (formerly Defense)
  • Playstyle: Map editing ice devil

Overwatch Mei is a hero that blurs the lines between damage and tank with her unique and nuanced kit. She’s a climatologist from China known for her work at Overwatch’s Ecopoint: Antarctica base. Her Endothermic Blaster can freeze multiple enemies at once or pick them apart from range with icicles that lack damage drop-off.  Mei’s Cryo-Freeze heals her and cleanses all status effects but you should use it to stall objectives or bait out cooldowns like Roadhog’s Hook, just flash the ice then punish your target with slows and icicle shots. 

Mei’s most oppressive ability is her Ice Wall. The enormous wall consisting of five pillars can be used to shield your team from spam or other abilities. Ice Wall can also get Mei and others to high ground or life you out of Graviton Surges. Another use is to wait for enemies to walk through a choke, like a Reinhardt, and immediately wall them off. Your allies can focus down the singled out target and take on the rest of their team with a person-advantage. Blizzard is Mei’s Ultimate ability and she uses her weather drone, Snowball, to generate a massive ice storm. All enemies caught in its radius are slowed and frozen in place for easy followup damage or damaging ultimates. Talk to your team about wall usage and ultimate combos to create an ice prison!


  • Role: Support
  • Playstyle: Guardian angel 

Overwatch Mercy's skill floor is low enough that anyone new to FPS games finds her accessible, but game sense and decision-making sets Mercy players apart. Dr. Angela Ziegler’s Regeneration passive heals her over time if she’s not damaged. Mercy is a priority target for enemy teams so proper usage of Guardian Angel to glide from teammate to teammate is key to staying alive. Angelic Descent slows your fall in the air and can mess up shots from players predicting your falling movement. It also aids when pocketing Pharah and Echo (Pharmercy and Mecho respectively) so your aerial uptime is maximized. The Caduceus Blaster does similar damage to Lucio’s Sonic Amplifier but should be used as a last resort.

To heal or damage boost teammates Mercy wields the Caduceus Staff. You can heal or damage boost one target at a time so prioritize damage heroes if you have another tank-healing support like Ana, Moira, or Baptiste.  Damage boosting builds the ultimates of you and your boosted target much faster than just healing them through fights. If an ally falls in battle, Dr. Ziegler can Resurrect them to full health on a long cooldown. This ability was once Mercy’s ultimate and allowed her to resurrect multiple people at once. Valkyrie is Mercy’s new Ultimate ability and she gains constant regeneration, infinite flight, infinite ammo, chain healing, and damage boost, and an increased G.A. range. A Valk-ing Mercy can easily eliminate snipers and flyers like an angry moth. 


  • Role: Support
  • Playstyle: Give and take

Moira O'Deorain is an Irish scientist known for unethical experiments. Ousted from the futuristic city of Oasis, Moira found a new home at Talon. There, her results were more important than her means. One result of these experiments is Biotic Grasp. The primary fire heals enemies with biotic energy that emanates from her gauntlets. The alternate fire is a long-range beam that saps the health from an enemy, replenishing her biotic energy. Moira believes in the world around her surrendering to her will and her Biotic Orb shares this principle. By her choosing, a regenerative orb can be sent out to heal allies or an orb of decay can be sent forth to kill off enemies.

The most evident sign that the dark scientist experimented on herself is the Fade ability. Moira’s movement speed increases to the point of making her invulnerable to damage and teleporting her a serious distance. She’s cleansed of all status effects and is invisible except for the puff of energy she leaves behind. Coalescence is the culmination of her work and Moira’s Ultimate ability. Focusing her regenerative and decaying energies together, Moira can heal teammates and damage enemies at the same time with a beam that pierces all heroes and barriers. She’s an extremely accessible hero but managing her healing resources and knowing when to go on the offensive is what makes a high-level Moira player.   


  • Role: Tank
  • Playstyle: Bait & switch

Created to protect the city of Numbani by the brilliant and young Efi Oladele, Orisa is the youngest hero in Overwatch and the first main tank on the list. The key to playing Orisa is choosing great positions to lock down on defense and good rotations in general. Managing the health of her two deployable Protective Barriers can make or break a team fight. The football net-shaped shield needs to be used with purpose so don’t plop one down without a goal in mind. Orisa’s Fusion Driver does absurd damage and despite the movement penalty when shooting, she’s like a budget Bastion that can move and shoot. Orisa wants to keep away from the enemies she fights and displace anyone she can. Halt! is a green orb that Orisa uses to do just that. Use it to crowd control an out of position enemy or to slow the advances of a foe while you kite them and run away. 

When you’re ready to take space or need to escape crowd control, Orisa’s Fortify can do both. Golden Orisa as it’s known gives the Omnic tank extra damage resistance and with enough healing, an unkillable nightmare machine. The Supercharger is Orisa’s Ultimate ability and the war drum on her back increases the damage of her entire team while it’s active. In the highest levels of play, Supercharger has the highest team fight win percentage of any Ultimate ability so take care of it. 


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Sky dominance

The daughter of Ana Amari and Helix Security officer Fareeha “Pharah” Amari protects the innocent from the skies. Equipped with her combat armor, Jump Jet propels Pharah high in the air and she can remain in the air using her Hover Jets. The jets have limited fuel so you need to manage the resource. Pharah’s Rocket Launcher is her primary weapon and each projectile does nearly lethal damage to squishy heroes. Her main counters are hitscan shooters like Widowmaker, Sombra, and McCree, so you’ll need to play out of their line-of-sight or effective range.

Concussive Blast is a projectile that can be used for speedy movement on the ground, keep you in the air in between jump jet cooldowns, and displace enemies for environmental kills or rocket combos. Pharah can also rocket jump from the ground when she doesn’t have either ability off of cooldown. Barrage is a great Ultimate ability on paper but needs a lot to use effectively. The continuous salvo of mini-rockets fly towards her target but Pharah is motionless in the air while doing so, bubbles from Zarya, a Nano Boost, and/or a pocket from Mercy can all keep the rocket queen alive during her devastating attack.


  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Ghost in the night

Reaper excels at point-blank combat. It’s easy to run at tanks with these Hellfire Shotguns using their large bodies to land all the pellets. The Reaping is his passive ability and the key to his dueling potential. A percentage of the damage Reaper does is stolen to heal him. To create headaches for the enemy team, teleport behind them with Reaper’s Shadow Step ability. It’s quite loud so choose a spot that’s not easily accessed by someone who could hear you. 

Once you’ve flanked the enemy, take your time, and crouch-walk up to the nearest squishy. Unlike most players, don’t take multiple shots for no reason. Get uncomfortably close then line-up a headshot, pull the trigger, and one-shot any hero with 250HP or less. Once you’ve got a pick, return to your team and reload with Wraith Form. Reaper becomes a shadow that’s invulnerable, has a movement buff, and can’t attack. Rinse and repeat until you get your ultimate. Teleport to the high ground behind the enemy again and drop on them with Death Blossom, Reaper’s Ultimate ability. Reaper rapidly empties his shotguns in a radius around him. Ask for a speed boost or Nano Boost for some Beyblade action. 


  • Role: Tank
  • Playstyle: Get close, swing hammer

While not as flashy as the damage heroes, let's take a look at what makes Reinhardt shine. Reinhardt's primary weapon is his Rocket Hammer. It does unblockable damage and can be animation-canceled with Fire Strike and Earthshatter. One swing will displace your opponent to the left and the second pushes them to the right, use that to your advantage for environmental kills near ledges. Charge into battle or back from spawn to close large distances in a hurry with the rockets on your armor, just be smart about it. Pinning a target does 300 damage to them instantly. 

Tanks have abilities that allow them to negate, block, or resist incoming damage and Reinhardt does so with an enormous Barrier Field. Use your shield to close gaps and lead your team through choke points. Your barrier doesn't last forever so make sure to drop your shield and take cover behind map geography so it can recharge. If the opposing team isn't near you, Fire Strike is a ranged ability that passes through barriers and enemies, doing 100 damage to anything it hits. Use Fire Strike to build ultimate charge, finish off low targets, or destroy ultimates like Junkrat's RIP-Tire! Reinhardt's Ultimate ability, Earthshatter can turn the tide of entire team fights. Reinhardt unleashes this thunderous quake by slamming his rocket hammer directly into the ground, sending a v-shaped wave of damage across the floor that doesn’t care about the payload.


  • Role: Tank
  • Playstyle: Hook ‘em & Cook ‘em

Mako “Roadhog” Rutledge is Junkrat’s bodyguard and an Aussie with a mean streak. The one-man apocalypse uses a Scrap Gun to erase his enemies. The primary fire does lethal damage to anything with 250HP or less with a headshot. Its alternate fire is just as lethal but from further away. Roadhog’s kill combo banks on his Chain Hook. The chain travels 20 meters and reels in whomever it catches. From there Mako can walk up, shoot, and melee to kill any hero with 400HP or less. Just flank to find someone who wants to go back to spawn, help them, and go back to your team.

You can either tank damage to take space or heal yourself with Take a Breather. This channeled ability can be canceled so don’t do it near the enemy if they have stuns. Roadhog’s Ultimate is Whole Hog. The Scrap Gun is filled in the top-loader Roadhog attaches to it and a stream of shrapnel is churned that knocks enemies back. It can do immense damage so take your time learning to control the recoil.  


Overwatch characters: Sigma

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Role: Tank
  • Playstyle: Off-angle duelist 

Dr. Siebren “Sigma” de Kuiper is a Dutch astrophysicist who gained mastery over gravity and now works with Talon. It’s unsure to what extent he’s in control of himself but this tank is a living weapon that throws damage around with ease. Hyperspheres are two gravitic charges that Sigma uses to attack with, think Junkrat with a shield. Sigma floats above the ground. His lack of footsteps and long-range makes him perfect for taking flanks and off-angles to challenge DPS and supports. The spheres bounce off of hard surfaces so shooting someone in the feet will cause them to implode, damaging targets twice. His Experimental Barrier is a low health shield that Sigma can deploy and recall at will and place it anywhere he chooses. Use it to catch spam, cooldowns like Chain Hook, and to counter ultimates like Barrage.

Despite the barrier, Sigma is played as an off-tank due to his high sustain and range. The sustain comes from managing his shield health and the use of Kinetic Grasp. The only ability to challenge Defense Matrix, Sigma freezes incoming projectiles in a miniature black hole, converting more than half of the damage into temporary shields. He can get a maximum of 400 shields, increasing his ability to hold or take aggressive positions. Sigma gathers debris into a large projectile and hurls this Accretion at an enemy. It can knock flying targets out of the air, provides great burst damage, and stuns anyone it hits. Combine with Hyperspheres and a melee to finish enemies with 200HP or less. Sigma’s Ultimate ability is Gravitic Flux. Dr. de Kuiper takes flight and lifts his enemies in a targeted area up in the air before slamming them down the ground damaging 50% of their maximum HP. For  

Soldier: 76

  • Role: Damage (formerly Offense)
  • Playstyle: Call of Duty

Jack Morrison is the former commander of Overwatch turned vigilante, donning the moniker Soldier: 76. Morrison provides a Call of Duty approach to Overwatch gameplay. His Heavy Pulse Rifle is a fully automatic weapon and its alternate fire, Helix Rockets is the burst damage he needs to win duels with other damage heroes and supports. Not one to skip cardio Sprint gives Jack a movement speed buff earning him the nickname “Legs”. 

Biotic Field is a personalized healing station that restores health to Commander Morrison and any teammates that enter the effective area. The healing isn’t significant but it can make 76 bulkier when taking 1v1s. Tactical Visor, Soldier: 76’s Ultimate ability is the dread of all first-person shooter players, an aimbot. Soldier gets a target lock granting him perfect aim to the nearest target, combo with Nano Boost to increase its effectiveness. 


  • Role: Offense
  • Playstyle: Stealth and flanking

If you have the game sense, Sombra is for you. The international hacking threat is not easy to master but coordinated teams create one-sided affairs. Sombra’s passive ability, Opportunist, highlights critically injured targets through walls. Use this information to assassinate them or communicate their position and health to your team. The Machine Pistol is the hacker’s primary weapon and has a deceptive range for a fully-automatic submachine gun. One clip is enough to kill two 200HP targets without reloading if you’re confident taking 1v1s. Hack is Sombra’s signature ability and temporarily stops an affected target from using any cooldowns for what feels like an eternity.  Call out hacked targets that your team can follow-up on for easy eliminations. Hacking health packs and deployables can also lock down parts of the map and stifle enemy win conditions. 

Master of secrets, Stealth turns Sombra completely invisible without a duration but is immediately decloaked when shooting or taking any damage. To maneuver around the map at will or return to a safe place, Translocator is your teleportation tool of choice. Be careful where you place the translocator beacon because it can be easily destroyed but use it to stay in the fight or set up for an engagement. Sombra can emit a massive EMP. This Ultimate hacks any targets, health packs, and destroys all shields in a gigantic radius. Chain together with a hack before or after to effectively silence a target for a prolonged period. Use EMP to combo with other ultimates like Self-Destruct or to negate others like Coalescence. 

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Freelance Writer