Stuff's guide to every hero in Overwatch

How to play as every character, and how to play against them

Today it’s finally time for the awesome Overwatch to leave the nurturing belly of Blizzard and to face life in the hands of gamers all over the world.

21 playable heroes await, ready to represent you in the virtual arena, but each has very specific abilities and roles. How on Earth do you play as each one? And, perhaps even more crucially, how do you play against each one?

Fear not, for we have the guide for you. Allow us to take you through the roster character-by-character, pointing out the strengths to utilise and the weaknesses to exploit, plus the best way to use their devastating "ultimate" attacks.

With so many characters to get through, we've split them into their different classes: you'll find the Offence heroes on this page, Defence on the next, then the Tanks and finally Support.

What are you waiting for, soldier?! Get swotting then get into battle!

Offence

Playing offence is easy, right? Just kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

That is sort of the case, but you have to remember that many of these heroes are glass cannons: they shatter easily. That means that using them tactically is vital to causing maximum damage without getting killed.

Genji

Playing as:

Genji is hyper-mobile, especially once he activates his ultimate. Use this to your advantage by diving through enemies with Swift Strike to attack from behind. More importantly, wait until you’re reasonably close before activating Deflect, as it increases the chance that the returned damage will secure a kill, and lets you easily transition into Swift Strike.

Playing against:

In short, don’t let Genji get close. He’s a reasonable marksman at medium range but to cause real problems he has to get all up in your grill. Make him a high priority target for snipers and consider recruiting a Zarya or D.Va, who have plenty of health to withstand his burst damage.

McCree

Playing as:

McCree can output astounding damage in short bursts, but he’s delicate and not particularly fast. Surprise attacks are best, usually from a flank. Initiate with his Flashbang ability, then let off two rounds of your secondary attack. If that doesn’t kill your enemy, combat roll and repeat.

Playing against:

With the exception of Junkrat, no hero is as vulnerable as this McCree during his ultimate. Not only does it take time to channel, but he's is rooted to the spot while it charges - find cover and then move in for the kill.

Pharah

Playing as:

A good Pharah is almost always in the air. Floating like an armored eagle above the enemy gives you a great vantage point as well as making you harder to hit. It’s a win-win. Just be careful not to run out of fuel whilst on top of a cluster of enemies. Manage fuel reserves carefully, frequently landing outside of the current killzone.

Playing against:

Pharah’s rockets are relatively slow compared to other, more rapid projectiles, and she has problems attacking fast targets. Move about as much as possible, or hide behind Reinhardt’s shield. A great counter character to Pharah is Roadhog, as a carefully placed hook can drag her down from the skies.

Her ultimate also makes Pharah a static target - when she’s still, even Junkrat can lob a couple of grenades her way with a high chance to hit.

Reaper

Playing as:

Most new Reaper players make the same mistake over and over: diving into a pack of enemies and unleashing Death Blossom, only to be killed right away. Leicester City are more likely to win the Premier Lea… oh damn. What I mean to say is that Reaper is an assassin, not an engager - wait until the battle is underway and your enemies are distracted, only then should you teleport behind the group and let loose your ultimate attack.

Playing against:

Reaper can teleport, make himself invulnerable and has high damage output, but he struggles against persistent aggression. Keep track of his movement on the battlefield and follow him if he comes into view. If he can’t get close or unleash his ultimate, he’s fairly useless.

Soldier: 76

Playing as:

He’s classed as an ‘offense’ hero, but Soldier: 76 is also extremely effective from medium to long range. When playing as him you should keep behind your tanks and whenever enemy fire comes your way, deploy Biotic Field. Remember, this also heals your allies! When deploying his ultimate, find a spot that affords plenty of cover but a broad view of the battlefield to maximise your damage.

Playing against:

Tanks tanks tanks. Reinhardt or Zarya will easily soak up damage from his primary and secondary attacks and his ultimate will do little to dent either’s defensive shields. D.Va could also be helpful in tracking down the annoying beggar as he tries to scuttle away with his extra-fast movement speed.

Tracer

Playing as:

No player is more annoying to the enemy than a good Tracer. Blood will boil, guaranteed. Her Blink and Recall abilities make her virtually impossible to hit at top-speed - use them to zip behind enemy lines and assassinate every squishy thing you see. Blink stores three charges - use each one to move out of your enemy’s field of view and by the time they’ve found you, their health will be near zero.

Also remember that Recall restores health lost in the two seconds previous, so use it whenever you’ve taken a bit of a beating. Tracer doesn’t have much health to lose!

Playing against:

Group up. Tracer is the most delicate hero in the game and relies on singling opponents out. Against groups of three or more, she’ll likely be spotted and swatted like the annoying insect she is. Just beware of her Pulse Bomb - if she places it right your entire team could go ‘BOOM’ in one foul swoop.

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