Blizzard designed Overwatch so casual fans can pick it up and start having fun immediately, but that doesn't mean there isn't a large degree of depth involved.
Here's a quick rundown of how to handle every character, from their role right down to their individual nuances.
Players tend to gravitate toward Genji immediately due to his highly attractive ninja lure, but he's actually one of the toughest characters to really get a handle of.
Left Click (single line of three shurikens), right click (three shuriken spread), E (Deflect), Shift (Swift Strike), Q (Dragonblade), Passive (Cyber-Agility, double-jumping and wall-climbing)
As versatile as his movement capabilities, Genji is great on both offense and defense. For the former situations, try to use his wall-leaping to your advantage and stake out a position that no other character can get to. Isolate enemy players from their team and take them out with Deflect, cleaning up for your allies to go capture a point or the Payload. Yes, you can even deflect Ultimate abilities, including Tracer's Pulse Bomb. If you hear McCree yell "It's High Noon!", wait a few seconds then use Deflect.
On Defense, Genji should play point man and pick off enemies with his shurikens while identifying stragglers to rush down. Don't underestimate the range of his primary fire (it can also score headshots, mind), and if you're seen, hit the Deflect button as a last resort, as Genji's low life pool ensures that one well-aimed sniper shot will take you out.
Swift Strike is a situational move at close quarters, but if you succeed in netting a kill, it's cooldown will reset. Try using it on weak targets like D.Va outside of her mech or snipers to finish them off.
Genji is one of the few characters that works best alone and doesn't have anyone of particular worth to team up with. With his Deflect ability, he can handle himself in most situations, and his wall climbing ensures that many heroes cannot follow him. His melee-only Ultimate leaves him quite vulnerable, so having a Defensive character around to soak up some damage and distract enemies during a major push is a plus.
Because Winston, Symmetra and Zarya's primary weapons can go right through Genji's Deflect technique, they're the most effective picks against him. Genji thrives on one-on-one situations, but any player with patience can take a Genji down. Try to bait Genji into using his Deflect, then drop your offensive and wait to strike. Deflect has an eight-second cooldown, so you should have all the time in the world to take him out — be vigilant.
As the ultimate one-on-one threat, McCree thrives in tight corners and can take out nearly any other hero in the game in seconds with his Flashbang and right-click combo.
Left click (single revolver shot), right click (hammer fan that unloads all readied bullets), E (Flashbang), shift (combat roll that reloads instantly), Ultimate (Deadeye).
One big mistake that new McCree players make is using his Combat Roll solely as a way to avoid danger. There's one big problem with that: The best part of the roll is actually tucked away in the corner — it reloads your weapon instantly. In close-quarters situations, McCree can unload his entire clip by firing, rolling and unloading again. It's a combination that can take out nearly any enemy including tanks.
McCree's style is easy to pickup but incredibly difficult to master, but there are a number of counters that can make this style of play tougher. There is almost no bad time to use the Flashbang, but it needs to be tossed over Reinhardt's shield because the front of the barrier will block it.
McCree's ultimate, Deadeye, might seem hard to aim at first, but it can be just as effective as a deterrent. Once enemies hear his catchphrase, they'll be inclined to stay indoors or refrain from being aggressive until they're sure the coast is clear. Use this to your advantage when heading in to take a point or defending an area after the other team has just broken through. You can buy time for your side to regroup, and you don't need to actually kill anyone for McCree's Ultimate to be useful. Alternatively, you can cancel it and get some of your Ultimate meter back.
McCree usually works best alone. While it's great to occasionally have backup from another team member — especially a defensive role — McCree really should appeal to the lone wolves out there. Just ensure that you don't roam too far and enter a situation where you're outnumbered. Stay close to your team and maintain a perimeter so you can retreat if needed.
It sounds absurd, but just about every single character is a threat. He's extremely vulnerable at a distance, and if players whiff their Flashbang, it's probably goodnight. Any hero that has access to dodging abilities that can negate his grenade. Reaper's Wraith Form, Tracer's Blink and Mei's Cryo-Freeze will tear him apart. Be vigilant and try to use potshots at a distance if you can't find enemies to take out alone.
Armed with a rocket launcher and a jetpack, Pharah should fuel all of your wildest Unreal Tournament and Tribes fantasies. With a straightforward kit, she's one of the most attractive choices for new players.
Left click (rocket), shift (Jump Jet), E (Concussive Blast wrist rocket), Ultimate (Barrage), Passive (Hover)
Hands-down, along with D.Va, Pharah is the most mobile character in Overwatch. Since her Jump Jets have just a 10 second cooldown and she has the power to hover, she can get to any point on the map, full stop. Take a moment to try out training mode with bots to test out every level in the game and test the limits of every single nook and cranny. Using Pharah as a proving ground of sorts will make you a better player all-around, as you'll soon be able to spot locations that you never thought of looking for before, which make for great Widowmaker perches.
For those of you out there that have never played a high-octane rocket-based character, know that there is no such thing as restraint. If you think an enemy is behind a wall or a box, shoot a rocket at it. If you think there's a Hanzo waiting for you in a high-up location raining arrows down on your team, shoot a few rockets in there and see if the hit indicator shows up. This goes double for defense, as even just a few rockets shot into an objective grid or onto a Payload can deter an enemy from gaining ground.
Pharah works especially well when she's coupled with a support, as she'll be targeted like crazy due to her need to get out in the open to aim her rockets. Mercy is a perfect pairing, as she can follow Pharah with ease no matter where she flies with her wing ability.
She also plays nice with any melee or close-quarters teammate, because while the enemy team is distracted she can set up her ultimate — this works very well with Zarya's ultimate in turn, which groups up foes in a vortex, ready to be picked off by Pharah's barrage.
Given that Pharah is almost always vertical, any character that has powerful ranged abilities (Hanzo and Widowmaker especially), can pick her off with ease. In fact, any character that has the ability to chase her down and force her into a close-combat scenario (like Reaper, who can teleport anywhere she lands, Roadhog, who can hook her out of the air, or Genji, who can climb up to her level) is a good counter. If you see a Pharah on the enemy team going wild, swap to someone who can close the gap and match her height.
A lot of players will probably play Reaper first due to his over-the-top design, and that's just as well, since his playstyle is very easy to grasp. While there are a number of nuances that set a good Reaper player apart from a great one, mastering his teleport and Ultimate can single-handedly win games.
Left click (dual shotguns), shift (Wraith Form), E (Shadow Step teleport), Ultimate (Death Blossom), Passive (The Reaping, creates Soul Globes that heal after kills)
Although they look like pistols, players need to remember that his weapons are more like dual shotguns. With massive spread damage they excel at close range and do very little damage even at a medium distance. Reaper thrives in situations where he's constantly killing. Downing an enemy grants Soul Globes, which can be collected to restore health. Because of this, a reactive or otherwise passive Reaper will find their health slowly whittled down and their effectiveness shot. By killing lots of enemies you also free up health packs for your teammates.
Reapers need to be using Wraith Form to close gaps, ensuring that using it will result in wasted fire from the enemy. But don't get too overzealous — blowing a Wraith Form use can put you into a bad situation if an enemy is around after it depletes, as you now have no damage mitigation. Take a breather, get your Wraith ability back, then run out with your insurance intact. Note that this ability can cancel a sticky bomb from Tracer or an orb from Zenyatta.
Reaper pairs well with any aggressive support in the game, especially Lucio and Mercy, who can keep up with him (Zenyatta will have trouble keeping his orbs up given how crafty Reaper is). He also works with Soldier, who can rocket jump to keep up with Reaper's teleportation movement and keep his health topped off if he runs into trouble.
Reaper will run into trouble against anyone who has a sustained damage output, like D.Va or Bastion. Laying down constant fire is Reaper's worst enemy, as he can only use Wraith Walk once every eight seconds. Because of his ability to literally teleport to any vantage point in the game, use the aforementioned Pharah technique to study each map and locate where he could pop up next.
His Ultimate, Death Blossom is very easy to use, but by that token, easy to counter. Anything that stuns (like McCree's Flashbang) can cancel it.
Soldier: 76 is such an easy character to pick up that he's even featured in the tutorial. With a shift-to-run mechanic and a self-heal, he's always a good hero choice on offense or defense.
Left click (Pulse Rifle), right click (Helix Rocket), shift (Sprint), E (Biotic Field area-of-effect heal), Ultimate (Tactical Visor)
Soldier: 76 is a beast at mid-range skirmishes with his rifle, which isn't quite a machine-gun and isn't a sniper. That rifle, in fact, has a manual throttle, which alters its rate of fire by either holding down on the fire button for close-up situations (which again, aren't ideal for Soldier: 76) or tapping it for longer shots.
Also note that you can use Sprint indefinitely, making Soldier: 76 a great option to switch to for last-minute objective or Payload saves when the timer is low. His ultimate is pretty straightforward as it basically just enhances the built-in aim assist function, but it's incredibly useful against Tracer, as it nearly eliminates her teleportation advantage and takes her out in seconds.
Surprisingly, Soldier: 76 actually creates favorable situations for other teammates due to his swift speed and heal that can help people out in a pinch. He can also keep up with people by way of his rocket, which you can use to rocket jump by aiming at the ground and propelling him upward. Just keep in mind that this technique inflicts damage on Soldier: 76, so you may need to recuperate with a health drop.
Because of his versatility, there aren't any true hard counters to Soldier: 76. Alternatively, he also isn't particularly great at anything, so having too many of this character (or similar heroes) on your team will hurt your effectiveness as a unit. For instance, his healing drop doesn't work nearly as well as any Support, he's outgunned at a range by heroes like Widowmaker and Hanzo, and he lacks almost any actual utility. Only use Soldier: 76 if your team has all of the typical holes filled or if you're setting the tone for the match with a first pick.
"Tracer here!" As the mascot of the game, it's natural to want to play Tracer right away, but make sure you understand how she works first — and that you're willing to acclimate to a mobile, high-octane style of play.
Left click (Pulse Pistols), shift/right click (Blink), E (Recall), Ultimate (Pulse Bomb).
A literal glass cannon (when you consider her pulse core), Tracer has one of the lowest health pools in the game, but she's also the fastests on the ground. With three charges of Blink (that recovers one charge every three seconds), she can zip around the battlefield at will (horizontally, so keep in mind that she can't zoom upward), getting behind enemy lines and taking them out with her close-range pistols.
As a Tracer player, you need to learn the best way to approach any given situation with a more stealthy attitude that won't tear you up before you can cause any havoc. Simply put, the enemy cannot see you coming. Use Blink to sneak around corners or into buildings, and you can gain the upper hand on an enemy, dropping in to unload your pistols from behind before they even know what's coming. If an opposing team does see you or is aware of your presence, they can deploy countermeasures like a Flashbang from McCree, in which case you're going to be down in seconds.
Another great combo is to zip in with all of your Blink charges, drop a Pulse Bomb at point blank on a group of enemies, then mash the key or button to Recall back into a safe zone, watching the devastation from afar. Remember that Recall will return you to wherever you were three seconds ago, which includes huge leaps from Blink.
Given her penchant to zoom around, most teammates will have a tough time keeping up with Tracer. However, Soldier: 76's sprint can match her when you add in her cooldown time, and D.Va can also accompany her in most cases with her flight capabilities. Tracer's main advantage is knowing where her support is at all times — if needs be, Blinking back to join your team after a skirmish can save your life.
McCree, Genji, Reaper and Soldier: 76 are hard counters to Tracer. The former can Flashbang Tracer to take her out in seconds. Genji can deflect every single bullet back in her direction — even her Pulse Bomb. Reaper's wide shotgun array can tag her even if she's blinking around, and Soldier: 76's Ultimate can easily target her. If you see any of these foes, zip out and avoid fighting them head-on.
The ire of many players during the beta phase, Bastion is one of the easier heroes to acclimate to, essentially functioning as a self-healing turret that excels at chokepoint defense.
Left click (rifle or gatling gun, depending on the mode), E (Self-Repair, a self-heal), Shift (Reconfigure, changing Bastion into a turret), Ultimate (Tank, which morphs him into a mobile splash-damage turret)
As his core gimmick, Bastion can transform at will between his Recon (standard) and Sentry (stationary turret) form. While players will primarily benefit from protecting chokepoints (areas that enemies have to cross through, often tunnel-like in nature) where Bastion is safe from sneak attacks, they can also benefit from placing a turret on top of a Payload as a more offensive strategy.
Do not sell Bastion's Recon form short, as he can be highly effective as a mobile unit. Just know when to transform back and forth and heal yourself during any downtime. As a Bastion, you do not want to get caught into a one-on-one situation though, or it's probably over.
Hands-down Bastion works best with Reinhardt. With a shield in place, Bastion can use his Sentry form to his heart's content without fear of reprisal from enemy snipers or abilities. Don't rest on your laurels though, as you'll need to watch for incoming Tracer, Reaper and Pharaha players to ensure your survival — because if you stay in the same place for long, enemies will recognize where they need to focus fire on.
It's a running joke that Bastion is an unstoppable force, but he has many counters. Chiefly among them is Genji, who can reflect all of Bastion's bullets back at him for a swift kill — if your team is getting taken out by a Bastion, your first instinct should be to switch to Genji and run at him head-on with Deflect. Alternatively, Pharah can lay down rocket fire from afar to harass him out of position, and Reaper can teleport behind a Bastion to take him out by surprise (as can Tracer if they're fast enough).
Another great counter is Hanzo or Widowmaker, which can make short work of a stationary target like Bastion from unsuspecting hiding places. In terms of supports, Zenyatta also excels at throwing a Discord Orb his way at a safe distance. If all else fails, pick Reinhardt, take charge, and put up a shield for your team to hide behind while your team unloads on the enemy Bastion.
In our opinion, Hanzo is the most difficult character to use in the game. A sniper at heart, he doesn't feature the same ease of use that Widowmaker does, but he also sports one of the most overtly useful Ultimates in the game and doles out killer damage.
Left click (Storm Bow), E (Scatter Arrow), Shift (Sonic Arrow), Ultimate (Dragonstrike, a giant straight-line projectile), Passive (Wall Climb)
Let's clear up Hanzo's confusing abilities right off the bat. Like Genji he lacks an overt movement ability, allowing him to climb up walls to reach sniper perches, but his arrow powers can look exactly the same to the untrained eye. Sonic Arrow is more of a utility than a true attack, as it attaches to an area and creates a sonar of sorts, allowing Hanzo and his team to see combatants in range. It's highly useful when enemies are holed-up in defensive points, as you can instantly communicate a plan without saying a word or typing a key.
His Scatter Arrow is equally as useful, but it's best wielded around corners or as a way to clear out hallways or indoor areas. Although it can be effective in open zones to hit multiple enemies, it's true use is to hit people from around corners, all while Hanzo remains safe and out of the line of fire. The longer you hold down the primary fire button the stronger the arrow is, but given his poor close-range options, having the melee key ready while playing Hanzo is a must.
His Ultimate deserves a special mention because of how incredibly effective it is. Unleashing a giant dragon projectile that moves forward through all obstacles, it can be devastating if aimed at a team and angled into their spawn point, potentially hitting and taking out foes that are returning to the fight. Likewise, you can use it to zone out players from taking or holding objectives, which works very well on defense when aimed directly at the Payload.
Like Widowmaker, Hanzo works just fine alone. It can help to have a Defense option to draw fire away from him if he's seen, but staying mobile and relatively near your team, will increase your chances of survival. Because he can achieve greater heights, Mercy pairs well as a support, as well as Zenyatta, who shouldn't lose sight of Hanzo as often as other characters (unlike Widowmaker, who can fly to and fro every 12 seconds).
Hanzo can keep up with most characters due to his Spider-Man-like movement, but he does have a limit, as Widowmaker can swing to higher places with her grappling hook. As such, Hanzo players tend to stick around the same places, so be sure to look for them with a ranged character. If you're squaring off against Hanzo, use your mobility to your advantage — if you see or hear a sonar arrow, get out of that location entirely and move somewhere else.
Creep up on an enemy slowly and through cover, ambushing them when they least suspect it. Other than a quick panicked multi-arrow, they have no defense against close-up attacks.
Junkrat isn't technically billed as a builder, but he can set two separate traps nonetheless. With a tricky and rewarding playstyle, he's one of the most appealing choices for players who have a grasp of the basics.
Left click (Frag Launcher), right click (trigger Concussion Mine) E (Steel Trap), Shift (place Concussion Mine), Ultimate (RIP-Tire), Passive (Total Mayhem, drops grenades after death)
Junkrat is so appealing as a defensive choice because of his primary weapon. While mines and bear traps can be used to great success at chokepoints and right behind doorways leading into your team's occupied zone, the grenade launcher can be spammed (read: repeatedly used) to deny area captures or fish out enemies in hiding. For example, if an enemy is pushing a Payload up, just fire grenades blindly into that general direction and score several kills from a safe location. If need be, placing a trap right behind you can protect you from unsuspecting ambushes from a Reaper teleport or another sneak attack.
On offense, he's much less effective because two of his abilities aren't in the position to really net you many kills. Your objective generally is to push forward, not hang back, and the enemy team mostly isn't going to follow you into your spawn area, leaving your traps useless in a location no one will trigger them in. That's not to say they're useless though, as you can drop a mine and blow it up immediately to score some extra damage up close. Practice that last-ditch tactic in training mode, and remember that after a death, grenades will pop out of your person — so if it looks like the end, hug as many enemies as possible. Also remember that his ultimate can go up walls, allowing you to take out pesky snipers.
This unhinged defensive combatant thrives with characters like Reinhardt that can keep the heat off of him, or another trap-setter like Symmetra. Offensive characters will also find their kill-count increased if they pay attention to foes that trigger Junkrat's traps, often leaving them completely open.
Junkrat has issues when faced up-close, so do yourself a favor and rush him down. Grenades are tough to arc and have a slight delay, so odds are he isn't going to score many hits. Also, beware of long lobs from Junkrat, and change positions often, taking care not to camp if a vigilant player is controlling him.
Mei's meek stature might not make her look like a powerhouse, but as many of us know, looks can be deceiving, as she can effectively one-on-one most characters in the game.
Left click (Endothermic Blaster stream), right click (Endothermic Blaster icicle) E (Ice Wall), Shift (Cryo-Freeze), Ultimate (Blizzard)
Although listed under "Defense," Mei can be a great option for spearheading an attack on the frontlines. For starters she can pull up an Ice Wall right at an enemy spawn, forcing them to either pick a new exit or wait until the duration is over. Alternatively, using the wall to protect teammates from onslaughts is a great way to allow them to have a breather and heal up, and the wall is very useful at chokepoints that block the entire path (especially indoors and in hallways). Putting a Mei on side door duty is one of the best ways to play to her strengths.
Mei can also bait enemy teams into attacking her then immediately Cryo-Freeze, drawing attention away from her side, and healing her in the process — her freeze power doesn't always have to be a reactive choice. The same goes for Blizzard, which can be used for area denial to buy your team a few extra seconds to return to battle if used on a Payload or directly in a capture point. When facing a foe one-on-one, use the left click stream to freeze them first, then finish them off with the right click attack.
Mei needs protection, and Tank choices are perfect for that job. Zarya can throw in a shield when she needs it (likely after her Cryo-Freeze duration has ended, and she's vulnerable), as can Winston and Reinhardt who can hold down bigger battles while Mei crawls through side rooms and picks people off.
Although fantastic on her own, she can quickly get overwhelmed by a focused assault. Characters like Reaper can simply Wraith Walk through her stream, and into a safe distance away to deal damage without getting frozen in the process. Also, her ice wall can technically be destroyed if enough damage is dealt to it — so if you see a Mei outside of your spawn on offense, getting planted as a Bastion and mowing the wall down in Sentry mode can eliminate the impending wall instantly.
Perhaps the most reminiscent of a Team Fortress character, this stalwart warrior is focused on turret placement.
Left click (Rivet Gun ranged shot), right click (Rivet Gun shotgun blast), E (Armor Pack), Shift (Build Turret), Ultimate (Molten Core), Passive (Scrap Collector)
As yet another complicated choice, Torbjorn mostly benefits as a defense pick, or after your team has already captured a point in a neutral game (remember, you can swap heroes after every death or at the spawn point). This is primarily because his entire style is positioned around a turret, which can be placed, and subsequently upgraded by acquiring scrap from dead enemies (notice his scrap cap, and that he gets infinite scrap temporarily from his Ultimate).
Speaking of scrap, you can also use it to drop Armor Packs, which should be used on smaller, more vulnerable teammates like Offense or Support characters, to bolster their survivability — directly throwing them packs is a viable way to get them to pick them up. While he is a defense-minded hero, putting a turret on a moving Payload on offense is a viable strategy.
Torbjorn is only as impactful as his turret placement, so having Tank characters soak up damage to keep the heat off of it is the best way to score kills. Snipers like Widowmaker or Hanzo can also counter long range enemies in turn, who might try to take potshots at your turret. Either way, it's not great to camp your turret location at all times, but you should abandon it either — so find a good balance.
Genji is pretty much a turret hitman, so be aware of his meddling once he figures out your location. Saving the Molten Core Ultimate to take out people rushing the turret is a great idea, and being aware of ranged characters like Pharah, who can easily lob a few rockets your way, is key to having a maximum turret uptime. After popping Molten Core don't forget to drop some free Armor Packs.
As one of the most attractive choices in the game, Widowmaker in many ways is a crash course for ranged combat in Overwatch and an ideal first pick for fans of games like Ghost Recon or Call of Duty.
Left click (Widow's Kiss sniper shot or automatic fire), right click (aim down sights), shift (Grappling Hook), E (Venom Mine), Ultimate (Infra-Sight)
There is very little to micromanage with Widowmaker, hence why she's such a great choice for beginners. Her Infra-Sight Ultimate is hands-down one of the best in the game, as it can be used instantly to grant your team sight of the enemy, with no downsides attached or no required finesse. Although it has a lengthy 12-second cooldown, you can use her Grappling Hook to get nearly anywhere on any map. It also opens up more sniper perches than Hanzo is capable of.
Many players get too comfortable with this power though, so it's important to be using the hook to constantly switch locations, so an enemy sniper or explosive expert doesn't target your location after returning from a spawn. Much like setting up a perimeter with Junkrat and his traps, Widowmaker can either use her Venom Mine in hallways to hit enemies who don't see it coming, or use it to protect a back entrance — when someone triggers it, it'll show up directly on the screen as a notification — it's not just a tool to inflict damage, but an alarm system as well.
Widowmaker's mobility with her hook makes her a perfect solo act. She grants a massive amount of utility with her Ultimate as well, so in almost any circumstance, she's a great pick. Just try not to double up if a lot of ranged characters are chosen — a big mistake new players make is having too make defensive-minded characters in a map where Tanks would be better suited for moving a Payload.
Other snipers can take her out very easily due to her low health pool. Also, Pharah and Junkrat players will be able to lob area-of-effect damage her way and at the very least force her out of her perch. D.Va can also sustain a large amount of damage to fly up and flush her out, and Genji can reflect every single one her of abilities.
Due to her unique mech gimmick and unrelenting primary fire, D.Va is another great pick for new players.
Left click (Fusion Cannons or Light Gun), shift (Boost while in a mech), E (Defense Matrix shield), Ultimate (Self-Destruct while in a mech or Call Mech)
D.Va has two distinct playstyles. Every time she spawns she's piloting a mech, which is capable of firing an endless machinegun-like Fusion Cannon, boosting in any direction (with flight capabilities), and queueing up a temporary shield. If enough damage is dealt to her, she'll eject from the mech and will be limited to the use of her Light Gun until she can call down another. Because of this, you need to play her a bit more cautiously than other Tanks, while being aggressive at the same time (confusing, we know).
Try not to put yourself in a position where you're taking sustained damage, and boost away at the first sign of caution — boosters have a low cooldown at five seconds so you can use them often. Additionally, boosting at an enemy to knock them off a cliff or roof is a viable option as it pushes them in a certain direction. You also need to keep in mind that boosting then triggering the Self-Destruction sequence can actually "fling" the mech, even over walls and possibly into an enemy spawn or capture point.
If players find themselves out of the mech, hang back at a safe range and try to get some potshots in with your pistol. It's not the most reliable weapon but it does hit enemies from very far away, and all you need is a several hits (not necessarily kills) to get your mech back.
D.Va is perfect when paired with another Tank, as he's one of the more offense-oriented choices that lacks pure damage soaking powers, or a support that can keep her topped off, especially when she gets ejected from her mech (either by choice or by force).
Since she gets up close and personal, Zarya's shield is a great way to divert attention away from the team while keeping D.Va safe. A D.Va player can boost constantly, which is ideal for both starting and escaping engagements.
Almost any character with a lot of firepower at a range (Widowmaker, Soldier: 76, Junkrat) can rip D.Va's mech apart. Her mech weapons skew toward closer engagements, and since she's one of the biggest and most noticeable characters, it's hard to keep enemy fire off of her.
If you see a D.Va, target her, then actually follow up with an aggressive play — ensure that she can't call down another mech and has to eat the respawn timer.
As one of the most melee-focused characters in the game, Reinhardt's playstyle does not gel well with the rest of the cast. But in the right hands, he can be the lynchpin of an entire team and single-handedly win games.
Left click (Rocket Hammer swing), right click (Barrier Field shield) shift (Charge), E (Fire Strike), Ultimate (Earthshatter)
Reinhardt is listed as a Tank, but he is effective in nearly any composition due to his Barrier Field. The gist is that it protects against a large amount of damage from just about any source, at the cost of being able to do anything else. It's very, very important to note — all players on the same team can in fact fire through the shield, so don't be afraid of deflecting attacks back toward him. Because of this, it can be used to defend or assault in any gametype on any side, and can be throttled to move faster down the field, placing it up again when enemy fire starts up again.
You should be aggressive, ducking in and out of cover to make your way safely to the enemy team, which is even easier to do with a Charge gap closer. His Ultimate, Earthshatter, should be saved for when there are at least two or more enemies grouped up together, as it will stun all of them. As for using Charge as an attack, ensure that you'll actually hit (usually in a hallway) before you trigger it, otherwise you'll be left open for several seconds, and will likely die. If necessary, you can also use it to charge enemies off the cliff in a suicide fashion, which is useful in clutch situations if you're low on health and can't kill a heftier enemy Tank.
Ranged characters, especially explosive ones like Pharah and Junkrat live for Barrier Field. It's a way to harass the enemy nonstop without having to worry about sniper fire or just about anything else.
The same goes for Bastion, who, when coupled with Reinhardt, comprises one of the deadliest duos in Overwatch.
Ranged characters in turn can also rip apart Reinhardt's shield and his life pool before he can get close enough to actually be of any use offensively. Mobile heroes that won't get caught in the path of his Ultimate (like Reaper, who can teleport behind him, blast away, then Wraith Walk if he rears his hammer) can trip him up, especially if you can manage to sneak behind him and force him to turn around, opening up fire from the rear.
He might seem insurmountable, but Reinhardt can only block from the front, so outflank him (McCree's grenade can be tossed over his barrier to facilitate this charge). Players also often get cocky and go out in the open with the barrier, not realizing that focused fire can shatter it.
Roadhog is another straightforward Tank choice that isn't the flashiest pick, but should grow on you over time with his enormous base health pool and ability to heal himself.
Left click (Scrap Gun shotgun blast), right click (Scrap Gun ranged ball attack), shift (Chain Hook), E (Take a Breather, healing potion), Ultimate (Whole Hog)
Similar to McCree or a similar Offensive hero, Roadhog is a hero hunter. He can easily pull in players with his chain and blast them with his left click shotgun blast for an insta-kill. His right click also allows him to zone out enemies at a further range.
But really, you can to focus on hooking the right people — characters like Reaper can Wraith Walk to avoid a successful hook execution, so be aware of enemy cooldowns and counters. Before you can really excel with Roadhog, it's important to have a grasp of what every hero can do so you know how they're going to react to a hook. Try everyone in training mode first so you can react to any situation.
Roadhog, to an extent, can take care of himself with his self-heal. But having a mobile partner like Tracer can really help secure some hook kills when bringing in a Tank character, and keep the heat off of him so he can drink in peace.
Roadhog needs to be in the action, but he also doesn't need a Support to nurse him while he does it. Focus on other teammates if you're supporting a team with a Roadhog.
Roadhog is a rare character where there isn't really a good counter pick for him. Ranged picks can tear him up before he can get in to do some real damage, but with his ability to duck into a building after getting sniped and heal, he's resilient.
His chain can hook snipers from a great distance, at which point they're basically dead due to their low life pool. The best counter for a Roadhog is patience and the use of sturdier characters that won't die instantly after a hook. Reaper is a hard counter since Roadhog's large stature will grant more shotgun hits.
With one of the lowest damage outputs in the game, Winston is a true blue Tank that relies on a giant health pool and a few tricks to survive.
Left click (Tesla Cannon), shift (Jump Pack), E (Barrier Projector), Ultimate (Primal Rage)
New players who check out Winston due to his large presence in the marketing campaign often find themselves underwhelmed. His damage isn't as flashy as other characters, his shield seems weak, and his Ultimate is situational. But once you begin to understand the most opportune times to trigger everything, he really comes together. For instance, the shield isn't just for blocking damage from a range, you can also use it as a "Thunder Dome" of sorts (also known as a Fight Club in Destiny), forcing enemies to battle you in a one-on-one fight in melee range while stopping errant bullets.
Winston's primary fire also shreds Genji, who can't deflect the beam. His Jump Jet looks basic, but it can be arced and used in any direction to get nearly anywhere in a level, including sniper ledges. His beam has a quasi-tracking element, making short work of shifty characters like Tracer, and so on — there's more than meets the eye here.
But using his Ultimate at the right time is how you make the most out of Winston's potential. What it does is actually heal you to full in addition to putting you in a state where you can only perform leaps and melee attacks. That first bit is key — you're healed to full, and remain at full health when you revert back. Trigger it when you're already taking a bit of damage to turn the tide and completely come back from the brink of death, especially during last-minute objective-based situations — this takes the pressure off your Supports to focus on you if you notify them that your Ultimate is ready.
Winston is a pure Tank in every sense of the term, so he's dead weight on a team filled with Reinhardts or Roadhogs. Many teams fall victim to the trap of having so little damage that they can't actually kill an enemy force, so try not to pick him if you don't have enough offense on your side. In terms of matchups, any aggressive character like Tracer or Reaper can take advantage of his shield when used in the thick of a fight.
The best counter for Winston is indeed another Tank that can dole out more damage, or a tough hero like Soldier: 76. He simply can't take out most sturdy characters directly, so being able to outlast him is his biggest weakness.
While she might seem easy to use, Zarya is one of the highest skill ceiling heroes outside of Genji.
Left click (Particle Cannon), right click (Particle Cannon ball spread shot), E (Projected Barrier for teammates), Ultimate (Graviton Surge vortex)
As a character that relies on split-second precision, Zarya is capable of protecting allies and herself with a very short burst window. Her barriers, which can be activated on both herself and teammates alike, only last for two seconds.
This is a key component of her playstyle, as she'll need to be aware of what's going on with an entire skirmish at all times, and shield the right people, as well as shield herself so it actually counts. In that sense she's not really a traditional damage soaker, and is more of a Tank/Support hybrid, so don't rely on her as your sole source of protection unless you've really practiced the timing on the barriers. Her passive ability buffs her damage as her shields absorb more attacks, so it's important that you learn the timing.
As an aside, she is one of the only characters in the game that can directly counter Genji's Deflection.
Zarya needs people to get in the front lines and soak up damage, allowing her to trigger her barriers with greater ease — but don't go too far out, since they need to recharge. Her Ultimate is a perfect setup for anyone that has a wide area-of-effect ability, as it holds enemy units in place, setting them up for damaging abilities like Tracer's bomb or Hanzo's Dragonstrike.
Defense oriented heroes like Widowmaker won't make any use of the shield, so pairing her with a frontline rushdown pick like Reaper or D.Va is the best way to make the most of our her utility.
Zarya is at the mercy of snipers and ranged characters. Her personal shield can only be used once every 10 seconds, and patient snipers will be able to time when it drops and have a bullet ready to go at the right time to take her down. Additionally, characters with a high rate of fire or a high ammo count can lay down attacks to force her barriers out at inopportune times. She is at the mercy of focused fire.
Lucio plays just like he was lifted out of the Jet Set Radio series, and is a perfect first-pick for prospective Support players.
Left click (Sonic Amplifier shot), right click (Sonic Amplifier pulse blast that pushes enemies) shift (Crossfade, switches to heal or speed song), E (Amp it Up boost for your current song), Ultimate (Sound Barrier shields for your team), Passive (Wall Ride)
One of the few heroes that can merely make his team better by just being there, Lucio is constantly boosting his team to greater heights. Whether it's his speed song that makes everyone faster or his heal song that passively grants health, you don't have to be a great player to make an impact. Knowing when to switch and when to Amp (read: boost a song's effectiveness temporarily) is what will ensure you win more games. At the start, speed song is key, as everyone is already topped off and getting to a location (like a neutral point) first can ensure that your team can safely set up a perimeter.
Once you hear the bullets start to fly, switch to heal song, and Amp it up if you see someone take a big hit. Learning who to stay in proximity with to maximize your healing will also come with time, but err on the side of chasing down the more vulnerable characters like Tracer, who you can keep up with by way of speed song and Wall Riding. Sound Barrier, like most Ultimates, is best in a pinch when your team is grouped up and mounting an assault on an objective, or needs an extra boost to push a Payload a few more inches.
He also is a great pick for maps that have lots of ledges (usually not Payload gametypes), since his right click can push almost any character off the ledge without any means of reprisal. In fact, when defending some objectives, pushing people out of the point or off a cliff is more effective than actually doing damage with your primary attack.
As an advanced strategy, you can use multiple Lucios with multiple, alternating speed song Amps to cross long distances in seconds.
As a solo healer, Lucio can carry a team more than a Symmetra or Zenyatta can. But if there's already a Mercy involved, you may want to consider switching to someone else to give your side a bit more firepower. Due to his raw speed, he works better with a mobile partner that can keep up with him even if he has to switch off speed song.
Characters that can stun are a big problem for Lucio, who relies on his speed to get out of bad situations. If you're an Offensive hero, try to single him out as he has almost no means of escape.
His heal, even when Amped, also isn't built to support focus fire, so single out targets individually if there's a Lucio on their side rather than spreading out the damage and he won't be able to keep up.
With a very different playstyle than any other Support, Mercy is the only pure healer of the bunch that lacks significant firepower.
Left click (Caduceus Staff heal or Caduceus Blaster pistol shot), right click (Caduceus Staff damage boost), shift (Guardian Angel dash), Ultimate (Resurrect), Passive (Angelic Descent)
Whereas every other character in the game is capable of dishing out damage, Mercy is decidedly focused on healing. Her pistol has a decent range, but it's arguably worse than D.Va's on-foot weapon, and you should only use it as a last resort. Really, she's going to be using her staff full-time to heal (with her left click), and boost damage (with her right click) when friendlies are topped off.
With her Guardian Angel dash, she can freely move from teammate to teammate to ensure that everyone is healed up, which is a tactic you will need to master since she can only technically heal one character at a time. If you fall off a cliff, stay calm and try to dash to a teammate — anyone in sight will allow you to slowly float back to safety. When in doubt, mash the Guardian Angel ability.
As for her Ultimate, save it to try to net a multiple resurrection play (you can bring your entire team back to life), especially down to the wire when a Payload is about to cross the threshold.
Like Lucio, Mercy is great as a solo healer but loses effectiveness if your team doesn't have enough damage on their side.
She pairs up with just about everyone due to her ability to keep up with Guardian Angel, but can also be surprisingly great at boosting friendly damage on defense while focusing her right click beam on sustained damage heroes like Bastion, Pharah, or Junkrat. Always be aware of self-healing abilities from other characters (like Reaper's orbs, Roadhog's potion, or Soldier's field), so you know how to leave alone and who to focus with your left click beam.
Always in danger of getting focused down, Mercy is an easy target for mobile heroes, or precision characters like Widowmaker, who can easily take her out while in flight or while she's floating.
It's important to focus her down first in case she has a resurrection Ultimate handy.
While she isn't quite a support class member in the traditional sense, Symmetra is one of the best possible choices on defense (if not the best) and a very crafty hero to play against.
Left click (Photon Projector stream), right click (Photon Projector burst ball) shift (Sentry Turret), E (Photon Shield), Ultimate (Teleporter)
Players often contend if Symmetra is even a support character at all, because of the way her shield works. Incapable of actually "healing" anyone, she can merely grant a shield for her allies (just spam it on every teammate at the start), which can be done once per life (or while the shield is active) — essentially boosting their maximum health. In that sense she can't keep her team alive unless they rely on health packs or other means like Roadhog's self-heal.
However, her Sentry Turrets (of which you can have six up at a time) are not only alarm systems, but great damage-dealers as well, especially if you place them in tricky locations like above a doorway or behind a corner where an enemy isn't looking for it. Make sure you drop turrets away from splash-damage heavy areas though, as an errant Pharah rocket can instantly destroy them (anything can, actually, as they have 1 HP and are extremely fragile).
Her Ultimate can also shift the momentum of an entire battle, when placed in a safe place that the enemy won't think to look for it (since it can be destroyed). If there's a Symmetra on your team, keep an eye out for a blue portal in the spawn area — and remember, it can only be used a limited amount of times, so make your return to the battle count, and consider not using it if your walk is short and you have a fast character like Tracer or Lucio.
Symmetra generally needs another support on her side and she can't keep up with the other competition. Having her pair with a Zenyatta (another off-support of sorts) is perfect, especially on Defense. Aggressive characters like D.Va, Reaper, Soldier: 76, Tracer, Genji, or McCree can also periodically check in on her turrets on the frontline to make sure they are still operational, and score kills in tandem with their beams.
Characters that can inflict splash damage (Junkrat, Roadhog, Pharah and even Reaper) can take out multiple turrets at once before they have a chance to counter-attack. Sneaky mobile picks like Tracer can also zip around to take our her Teleporter Ultimate, even if it's well defended.
Also, teams with a Symmetra as their only support can fall victim to juiced-up teams who can deal a ton of damage, so if you see a composition with just one, go all out.
As an off-support Zenyatta excels at not only healing his teammates, but taking down enemies with a deceptively powerful primary weapon.
Left click (Single Orb of Destruction shot), right click (charged multiple Orb of Destruction shot) shift (Orb of Harmony, healing orb), E (Orb of Discord, increases enemy damage), Ultimate (Transcendence)
Before you choose Zenyatta, make sure you understand how his Orbs work. By simply targeting an enemy, you can attach one to either a friend or foe (Harmony and Discord respectively), to grant a heal-over-time effect (HoT) or a 50 percent damage increase debuff that also doubles as a sonar for that one enemy. You can use the Discord ability to keep tabs on aggressive heroes like Tracer or Reaper, even if you have no intention of actually taking them out in direct combat. And since the cooldown is basically instant, there's no downside to constantly throwing up Orbs on anyone and switching them at will, so get in the habit of swapping when needed.
His Ultimate (which makes him invincible and everyone else nigh invincible by healing them at an alarming rate) is one of the most situational in all of Overwatch, and should only be used in specific situations where at least two or more teammates are with you, and you're either attacking or defending an objective. It's also useful for solo situations when denying a Payload, as the enemy cannot move it forward since you're technically contesting it — leaving time for your team to return.
It's not impossible to solo heal with Zenyatta, but he can definitely benefit from another support choice, or a few hefty Tanks that he doesn't need to worry about healing all the time.
Since his orbs need to maintain a line of sight (LOS) or risk being dropped after three seconds, heroes that don't have a ton of mobility work very well with him as he can keep his Orb up at all times within his field of view.
Since he's exceedingly frail with one of the lowest health pools in the game (a caveat: he does have a great shield pool, so ducking away after getting hit can return a bit of health — now you see why he works well with Symmetra), Zenyatta has a tough time fighting anyone at a range. He has no escape and no way to heal himself, so focused fire will take him out consistently.
If an enemy Zenyatta hasn't used his Ultimate in a while, try to bait it out of him without using your Ultimate in turn, then unload after the Transcendence duration is over.