Since Overwatch’s release in May 2016, Blizzard added two new heroes: Ana, the sniper-support, and Sombra, the hacker. Blizzard has now revealed Orisa, the first new tank on the Overwatch roster.
Orisa is a robot-centaur-thing with a confident personality. She centers around buffing her teammates, protecting them from harm and displacing enemies. So, basically all of the things you would want from a good tank. Orisa doesn't necessarily bring anything unique to a team, but she does bring a bit of everything.
Let's talk about what she can do.
The kit (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Fusion Driver (Left Click, Right Trigger, R2)
Orisa’s main weapon is a minigun in place of her right arm. It can fire very quickly and has a large clip. However, when Orisa is firing her Fusion Driver, her movement slows slightly.
For those familiar with D.Va’s primary weapon, Orisa should feel fairly familiar. The big difference here is that Orisa fires faster and is far more accurate than D.Va. Her cannon does quite a bit of damage as well, especially for a tank.
Fusion Driver can fire for quite some time without reloading. However, it is important that players remember that you are slowed while firing. While it isn’t completely noticeable, players who hold it down while making a charge or retreating will get left behind by their teammates. The key is to use it in short bursts while on the move and full-auto during a team fight or while holding a point.
Fortify (Shift, Left Bumper, L1)
Fortify is essentially a personal shield for Orisa, and is one of two abilities (along with her main attack) not meant to aid her team. On its face, Fortify is not Orisa’s most interesting ability, but it has a lot of potential uses.
When using Fortify, Orisa takes reduced damage from all sources for a brief period of time and becomes immovable, meaning that abilities that would impair her movement won't affect her.
Using Fortify saves you from a hail of enemy fire, and it can allow you to change the tide of battle if used to nullify movement impairing abilities (known frequently as crowd control or CC). Imagine a situation where an enemy like Reinhardt gets off an incredible ultimate that hits everyone on your team, but you manage to use Fortify. You could save your team from utter destruction by drawing enemy fire or using your other abilities to protect your friends.
Fortify does have a high skill requirement, though. Not only do you have to be fast on the draw, but you should be able to anticipate your enemies' moves so you have time to activate the ability.
Halt (Right Click, Left Trigger, L2)
Orisa fires a fast-moving ball of energy which lashes out toward nearby enemies, connecting itself with a line as long as the ball and target remain close. Tapping the button again will detonate the ability, pulling all attached enemies toward the detonation point as well as slowing them.
This is by far Orisa’s most complicated and powerful ability. It is essentially a miniature version of Zarya’s ultimate, Graviton Surge. This ability can completely displace an entire team if given the opportunity. A well placed Halt could hurl the enemy team into an already placed Graviton Surge or off of a cliff. The possibilities are nearly endless.
While the cooldown is long, the power it packs seems completely ridiculous, if not overpowered. Playing against Orisa forces the enemy team to consider how close they are together in an attempt to prevent something utterly catastrophic from happening. Halt is one of those abilities that defines a character in Overwatch, and it is part of what makes Orisa so strong.
Protective Barrier (E, Right Bumper, R1)
Orisa fires a miniature shield generator that places a curved barrier at its landing position. This Protective Barrier will absorb incoming enemy fire and allow allies to shoot through it.
Protective Barrier is a large part of what makes Orisa a very team-focused tank. The shield itself is stationary, making it more similar to Winston’s shield than Reinhardt’s, meaning that it isn’t a whole lot of use when on the move. As such, make sure that you place this ability down on something that moves with your team (like the payload) or you reserve it for a teamfight, when forward movement is limited.
Supercharger (Q, Y, Triangle)
Orisa places a device on the ground in front of her. This Supercharger device latches itself onto all allies that it can see, amplifying their damage for a short period.
This ultimate is powerful in teamfights and fairly weak in small skirmishes. Save Supercharger for the perfect moment, when you can help the most teammates and have the most enemies to fire at.
Supercharger does not become less powerful the more allies it helps, so using it when it is just you (or you and another teammate) is pretty wasteful. You also need to consider how many enemies there are to fire at. If you are in a skirmish with only two or three opponents, maybe hold off on using Supercharger. But, in the right situation, you can dominate the enemy team with this ultimate.
When you are trying to take a capture point or push through a chokepoint in Payload, a quick Supercharger will give your team the advantage. You can also pair this really nicely with other ultimates. Zarya and Reinhardt's ults are great for knocking the enemy team around, giving your allies a long period to damage enemies. Placing a Supercharge down in that moment could provide for a perfect team kill.
The key to Supercharger — as with so many Overwatch ultimates — is to be able to recognize the perfect time to use it. Be conservative without being stingy. Be patient and observant.
The beautiful thing about Orisa is that she fits perfectly in almost any team you can imagine.
That said, she’s most effective on maps that don’t require a ton of movement. A lot of her abilities are about setting up a good moment, holding down a point or flushing enemies out of one. Mobility is not her strength, so slow pushing and defense is where she really thrives.
Pairing her up with more mobile tanks like D.Va and Winson can alleviate some of her mobility problems. Keep in mind that she may not be able to protect either of them as effectively as Zarya or even Reinhardt, who has his own unique way of getting into a fight quickly.
In the ideal situation, you would want Orisa to come along on a team with Roadhog, Zarya or Reinhardt. These tanks are great for slowly pushing the enemy back, and Orisa has the perfect tools to aid them.
When it comes to defense, Orisa actually makes for a great pairing with Bastion or Widomaker. Her slow moving nature allows her to flush enemies out with Halt or plopp down a shield for them to sit behind.
As far as offensive allies go, Soldier 76 should be Orisa’s best friend, as he can benefit the most from almost all of her abilities.
When pairing a support with Orisa, look for Zenyatta or Lucio. The ultimates from either can provide a lot of safety for a team when using Supercharger out in the open. For Orisa specifically, the added damage taken to Orb of Discord targets should let her limited offensive capabilities shine. The speed boost that Lucio provides will also alleviate a lot of her immobility.
Naturally, Orisa is going to have a hard time on targets that can move quickly. Genji, Reaper, Tracer and Pharah are going to be tough combatants for this robo-centaur.
Orisa’s shield only covers one direction and isn’t very wide, meaning that enemies can walk around it fairly easily. The harder an enemy is to hit, the more useless Supercharger and Halt will be. If you're up against these enemies, it is crucial to have a ally like McCree, Mei or Roadhog to wrangle them into place.
Junkrat is tough for Orisa as well, as he can lob grenades over her shield and she is a great target for R.I.P. Tire. Other than that, Orisa’s fortify actually makes her immune to a lot of the other defense heroes’ abilities.
Tanks, on the other hand, can be problematic. Winston is the main offender here, as his mobility makes him very hard to get away from. On the support front, Symmetra is really the only one you have to worry about, what with her whisk of doom (Photon Projector) and her turrets that can tear through slow characters like Orisa. However, Zenyatta and Lucio can effectively counter Supercharger with their ultimates.
Putting it all together
While it may be a little worrying to see Overwatch’s third new hero be this derivative, it is hard to ignore how cool Orisa is. She has tools for nearly every situation and looks so unique. Orisa has one of those kits that is reminiscent of Reinhardt: She’s so stacked that it is hard to see a situation where she couldn’t be picked. She is the Swiss army knife of Overwatch heroes.
Orisa should be fairly quick to pick up. She feels familiar, and she is strong even before you master her. However, the real key to winning big on Orisa lies with Halt. This ability has so much potential, so get comfortable with it quickly.
Orisa really seems like one of those characters that is going to be easy to pick up, yet take a ton of time to truly master. That’s a good indicator of really solid hero design.