Overwatch [official site] has been out for just a few weeks and already forum boards and comment sections are exploding with new tactics and complaints about one hero or another. As unbalanced as you might think a hero is, each one has a hard counter that can shut them down with a little finesse and strategy. Yes, even Mei and Bastion can be made useless with the right team composition. As a companion to my expansive character guide, here’s a guide for how to counter any hero in Overwatch.
Click each hero’s portrait to open their specific entry in the hero guide or scroll down further for a brief explanation on how to counter each hero.
|Genji||Good Against||Weak Against|
|McCree||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Pharah||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Reaper||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Soldier: 76||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Tracer||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Bastion||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Hanzo||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Junkrat||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Mei||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Torbjorn||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Widowmaker||Good Against||Weak Against|
|D.Va||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Reinhardt||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Roadhog||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Winston||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Zarya||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Lucio||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Mercy||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Symmetra||Good Against||Weak Against|
|Zenyatta||Good Against||Weak Against|
Genji is an agile hero with a strong counter to projectile-based weapons. Take away both of those factors, and he becomes almost entirely negligible. His Deflect ability can send your projectiles back in your face, so use heroes like Mei, Winston, and Zarya who use non-projectile weapons to make Genji relatively harmless. Mei is particularly effective because her Endothermic Blaster can freeze him for an easy kill, but Winston can also give chase with his Jump Pack if Genji tries to run away.
Countering McCree relies a lot on dictating distance and keeping him from using his ultra-deadly Flashbang combo. If you get too close, he’ll stun you and then use Fan the Hammer to deliver six shots that will kill all but the toughest heroes. While he can still be effective at range, he’s no match for Widowmaker or Hanzo’s sniping capabilities. Likewise, you can bait out his flashbang as Genji and rush in for an up close kill or use Deflect to turn McCree’s trusty pistol against him.
Pharah is a high risk, high reward type character that often relies on being extremely vulnerable in order to do the most damage. When she flies in the air, just about any hitscan gun (where damage is applied instantly) will be her bane. Soldier: 76 and Widowmaker are naturals at clipping Pharah’s wings, but Roadhog’s Chain Hook can pull her out of the sky for an easy kill. Just remember to follow up your first shotgun blast with a melee hit. Pharah’s ultimate, Barrage, is extremely deadly but also leaves her vulnerable to any direction she isn’t facing. If she begins casting it, use Chain Hook to pull her down and save your team.
Reaper is a deadly close combat hero that can be surprisingly slippery when things go bad for him. Killing Reaper requires timing and knowing how to keep him just out of his effective range. His Wraith Form will let him escape a bad situation, but a well-timed Flashbang from McCree can cut off his escape. Likewise, Reaper is completely useless against an airborne Pharah, so consider just bombing his ass from above.
The more traditional pick, Soldier: 76 is great in a variety of situations and has a powerful self-heal that can keep him and his team fighting. While some heroes have an inherent advantage against him, in the right hands he can duel just about any hero one on one and come out on top. So bring an Endothermic Blaster to a gunfight and freeze him solid as Mei. While supports rarely act as hard counters, Lucio’s passive heals can be surprisingly effective at countering Solder: 76’s damage, just watch out for the burst damage of his Helix Rockets.
Tracer’s greatest strength is her extreme mobility. She can blink around you with ease, and if things get too dangerous she can simply warp back in time to regenerate lost health and escape. No matter which hero you’re playing, always keep your calm when fighting Tracer, as good players will know her greatest weapon is confusion and frustration. McCree’s Flashbang can put an end to her shenanigans, but Symmetra can be effective against Tracer’s guerrilla tactics. Setting up your turrets in a side passage that Tracer is exploiting can have her thinking twice about flanking your team.
Ah, Bastion. Right now he’s the poster child for being unbalanced because of his ability to eviscerate entire teams in seconds. But the truth is, Bastion is an easily countered hero once you understand him. No matter which hero you’re playing, as soon as Bastion sets up in Configuration: Turret mode, you’ll need to avoid his sightlines like the plague. Genji can use his Deflect to kill a excitable Bastion with his own bullets, but might have a harder time with more experienced players who know not to shoot at Genji. Your safest bet is to distract him so Widowmaker can set up two quick shots to put him down. Likewise, Junkrat can often bombard his position from safety. If Bastion has a Reinhardt protecting him, consider using D.Va’s Self-Destruct ultimate to send them all to hell in a fiery explosion.
Hanzo is a lethal sniper with a surprising sting for anyone who gets close with his Scatter Arrow. Like any sniper, unpredictable movement will make his life miserable. If you fancy a battle of skill, Widowmaker or Hanzo are both effective counters but only if you’re actually a better shot. Playing it safe might be smarter, and both Genji and D.Va provide great options. As Genji, try and flank Hanzo and get him from behind. If that’s not your style, rush him head on as D.Va using your Boosters and Defense Matrix to protect yourself from his shots. Up close, blast away and ruin Hanzo’s day.
Against a Junkrat, the environment will become your greatest enemy. He can bounce shots off walls or suppress entire passageways with his grenades. Taking to the skies as Pharah where his grenades can’t touch you is a fantastic counter. If that’s not an option, Winston’s high health can absorb a few direct blows while you leap onto Junkrat and quickly blast him with your Tesla Cannon. For other heroes, avoid Junkrat altogether or engage him from angles which will test his ability to lob grenades like distant or high perches.
Another controversial hero, Mei has a ton of utility and survivability. Countering her will require careful timing and, above all, patience. Her ability to freeze any enemy at close range coupled with an Ice Wall that can counter snipers makes killing her a game of baiting out her abilities until she has nothing left to use. Pharah’s ability to attack from above makes Mei’s Endothermic Blaster and Ice Wall useless, but she can still hit you with her alternate fire icicles. If you can, hit her for a few shots to force her into her Cryo-Freeze self-heal, count to three, and then use your Jump Jet to get a good angle and finish her off with another series of blasts before she can retreat. If you fancy a duel, engage her head on as McCree and Flashbang her before using Fan the Hammer to quickly kill her while she’s stunned. If all else fails, put a bullet in her head as Widowmaker or Hanzo. Just be ready for that Ice Wall to obstruct your view.
Torbjorn is great at entrenching himself and his turrets are surprisingly lethal when positioned properly. But that static positioning makes him ideal prey for snipers or any hero who can get in close and take a few hits on the way. And always focus on Torbjorn before the turret, especially if he’s actively repairing. Winston’s area-of-effect Tesla Cannon makes him a natural counter because it can hit both Torbjorn and his turret at the same time. Leap onto his turret and drop your Barrier Projector just in front of the turret (so it can’t shoot you from inside of the shield bubble), and unleash hell.
Overwatch’s classic sniper, Widowmaker, presents a sizeable threat in the right hands. But if you adjust your strategy to avoid areas she has covered, you can quickly close the distance and take her out. If you fancy making her feel pretty stupid, rush her as Genji and time your Deflect to hit her own bullet back at her and kill her in one shot. If you’re not skilled enough to pull that off, D.Va and Winston are both quite capable of rushing Widowmaker and scaring her off if not killing her outright.
D.Va is a versatile tank that can push deep into enemy territory and hold her own. Her Boosters give her a surprising amount of mobility, and she’ll constantly be harassing your team from several fronts. Just when you think you’ve got her, she’ll eject from her mech and escape to fight another day. Or worse, she’ll use her ultimate and make the whole thing blow up in your face. Fortunately, D.Va can also be countered pretty easily as Mei. Freezing her so your team can quickly destroy her mech will reduce her effectiveness a great deal. McCree can also use his Flashbang to stun her, Fan the Hammer to eliminate a huge chunk of health, and then follow up with a Combat Roll to reload and a second Fan the Hammer. It might not kill her outright, but she’ll just close enough.
Reinhardt’s big shield is actually pretty clever because it lulls more than a few players into thinking that’s all he’s good for. Truth is, Reinhardt can dish out a ton of pain to anyone who gets too comfortable hanging out in front of him. In many cases, bursting down his shield will reduce his effectiveness because he’ll often use it to shield softer allies like a Bastion or push objectives. Bastion is a natural choice. A much better alternative is to flank Reinhardt and hit him from behind, which is something both Tracer and Reaper excel at. Roadhog can heavily counter Reinhardt’s pushing capabilities with his ultimate, Whole Hog, which will push Reinhardt back and quickly shatter his shield by spraying a continuous blast of shrapnel.
Roadhog is a force to be reckoned with no matter what character you play. His shotgun-blast damage is unparalleled, he has an incredible self-heal on a quick cool down, and a Chain Hook that can pluck the softest heroes from safety to be slaughtered. In many cases, taking him on from a distance is the most effective, but Roadhog can also be quickly overwhelmed with a concerted effort. D.Va’s Defense Matrix, for example, can completely negate his Whole Hog ultimate. Likewise, Mei can freeze Roadhog and follow up with a few headshots to quickly chew through his vast restores of health.
The most aggressive tank in Overwatch, Winston excels at leaping forward into combat, dropping a shield, and electrocuting everything that moves. But I’d argue that Winston’s greatest weapon is fear. His ability to rush can often cause less experienced teams to scatter, but close-range offensive heroes can go toe to toe with Winston pretty effectively. As Reaper, blast Winston away and use Wraith Form to catch your breath while the rest of your team punishes Winston for overextending. As should be no surprise, McCree’s Flashbang combo will also mop Winston up in short order. Finally, Bastion might seem like a bad pick against Winston, but if you manage to open fire before he has a chance to jump, you’re likely to kill him before he ever touches the ground.
Zarya’s a hybrid support/tank that can cast shields on herself and her allies and absorb that damage to power up her own weapon. In the right hands, her damage output can become lethal—but that’s only if she can stay alive long enough to farm it up. Unlucky for you, she has some great ranged capabilities that let her hang back. So why not bring the fight to her? Reaper and Roadhog can both get up in Zarya’s face and quickly overwhelm her, but you’ll need to be quick to hold fire as soon as she casts her shield. Pharah is also a fantastic counter because Zarya’s ranged attack is a lobbed energy grenade that you can easy dodge. From above, rain down fire and watch Zarya melt away.
Lucio is without a doubt the most effect healing support in Overwatch. While he can’t compete with Mercy’s raw healing power, his ability to passively heal his entire team means he needs to be priority numero uno when picking targets. Fortunately, Lucio’s playstyle favors being aggressive, which means he’ll often to be an easy to hit target—especially if you’re cooling him off as Mei. Use your Endothermic Blaster and freeze Lucio for an easy kill. And, unsurprisingly, McCree is once again a fatal counter to Lucio with his Flashbang.
Mercy is tricky because her role in Overwatch is so passive that you’ll rarely be fighting enemies like the other supports. That means that Mercy really isn’t much of a threat to any hero, but she can certainly make other heroes an enormous pain in the ass. If you’re quick on the trigger, Widowmaker can send Mercy to the morgue without much effort, but any hero who gets in close won’t have much difficulty taking Mercy down either. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to counter her Resurrect ability. It casts instantly and it’s not uncommon to see Mercy over extend and sacrifice herself to get her team back into the fight. Your best bet is to always play somewhat conservatively around Mercy and know that just because you won the fight doesn’t mean she won’t revive her whole team to mop you up.
To be honest, Symmetra might as well not even be a support. Sure, she can give allies a small shield, but it’s her deadly weapon and turrets that really bring the pain. While killing her could be considered a counter, Symmetra’s ultimate is a far more dangerous threat as she can open a portal for her teammates to get back into the fight that much quicker. Tracer and Genji are both great at sniffing out where her Teleporter is as it’s often just behind the frontlines. Killing her, however, is better done at a distance. Her weapon becomes more powerful the longer its tracking beam is on you, so naturally Pharah and Junkrat are great at taking her out. Fortunately, Symmetra is also about as strong as a wet napkin. Roadhog can easily hook her and deliver a fatal shotgun blast to shut her down.
The ultimate high risk, high reward support, Zenyatta can be lethal but, in turn, is the weakest hero in the game. Without any mobility options and a paltry amount of health, Widowmaker and Hanzo can counter Zenyatta incredibly easily. If he sticks an Orb of Discord on you, just break line of sight with him for a few seconds for it to wear off. It’ll be worth it because that orb increases the damage you take by a whopping 50 percent, and even the toughest heroes will melt while they’re inflicted with it. Beyond sniping him, both Genji and Tracer can deal with Zenyatta without breaking a sweat. If you get in close, he’s basically dead.