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Overwatch: Ana abilities and strategy tips

Learn how to play the support sniper

Ana's a versatile support that impacts heroes across the battlefield. Her ability to heal from any range while dealing a fair amount of damage makes the supportive sniper extremely potent. However, playing Ana well requires good map awareness and excellent target prioritisation, which makes her one of the hardest heroes to master in Overwatch. If you like the idea of impacting those around you, Ana is your pick.

Ana’s Abilities

Biotic Rifle [LMB] – Ana’s rifle shoots darts that either restore health to her allies or deal ongoing damage to her enemies. The rounds fired from the Biotic Rifle change behaviour depending on the use of the scope. If the dart is fired from the hip it becomes a fast moving projectile, and a hitscan if fired while scoped. It’s worth noting that Ana's rifle deals its damage and heals in rapid segments, so try to fire in anticipation of incoming damage.

Sleep Dart [LSHIFT] – This ability fires a fast moving dart from Ana’s sidearm, rendering an enemy unconscious for a few seconds. The effect is broken in 0.5 seconds after the target takes damage. While this ability is great at stopping a foe dead in their tracks it does have a very long cooldown (13 seconds), so try use Sleep Dart up-close to avoid missing your target.

Biotic Grenade [E] – Biotic Grenade is a projectile that deals damage to enemies and heals allies in a four metre radius. Allies caught within the blast briefly receive increased healing from all sources, while enemies cannot be healed for the five second duration. This ability can be devastating against already wounded foes, especially those who would normally heal themselves. Biotic Grenade is a great way to either save your allies or stop a cluster of enemies from pushing.

Nano Boost [Q] – When activated, Ana can hit one of her allies with a combat boost to give them a temporary boost to their damage, and damage reduction for eight seconds. Nano Boost can instantly make already deadly ultimate abilities even stronger, especially channelled ones like Genji’s Dragonblade.

Ana Strategy Tips

Ana is both a challenging and greatly rewarding hero to play. She’s challenging because she requires constant map awareness and good team coordination if she is to succeed. She’s rewarding because she has the potential to save multiple allies with her Biotic Rifle and grenade, while her Nano Boost can create game-changing plays.

When playing Ana ensure your primary goal is healing your team. Only shoot the enemy when you have an opportunity to make an impact. There’s no point tunnel visioning onto an engagement or a particular enemy if you’re not keeping your team alive. Of course, if you happen to see an enemy Pharah flying in the air feel free to use your Biotic Rifle to fire a few shots her way, or if you see a bunch of enemies clustered together throw your Biotic Grenade to give your allies chance to capitalise off their inability to heal.

The majority of the time you’ll want to be healing your team, but to do this you will need to have excellent positioning. Ana’s not as easy as Mercy in this respect, as she can’t simply fly to her target. Instead the supportive sniper needs to be in the very heart of the engagement, but just out of reach of enemy damage dealers. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse as you want to be in a position where you can heal multiple teammates, while also being in range to make plays and keep yourself alive.

Ana also must be in constant communication with her allies to get the most out of her abilities. Sleep Dart is an excellent example of how good team coordination can greatly mitigate various ultimate abilities like Genji's Dragonblade or Soldier: 76's Tactical Visor. However, any amount of damage is enough to rouse a target from their slumber so tell your allies who you’re going to target beforehand. Sleep Dart is also a great way to stop an enemy flanker dead in their tracks or reduce the amount of harass from an enemy tank. Just be sure to land it, otherwise you could end up in a lot of trouble.

Finally, Ana's Ultimate ability, Nano Boost is utterly game-changing. Try to prioritise heroes like Reaper, Winston, Genji and Reinhardt who greatly benefit from the increased damage, movement speed, and immunity. Nano Boost can give an ally the confidence to engage a teamfight and sweep an entire team. Dropping this ultimate in the final seconds of a match can greatly impact the outcome of the battle.

Step back up to our complete Overwatch character guide. Or find out how to counter heroes with our Overwatch counter guide.

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James Busby