Story credit to Carson Levy and Hunter Boyce
Season 18 of Overwatch is well underway, bringing with it a slew of new and passionate players. Sigma is the latest hero to be welcomed within the fold. That being said, there have been a number of buffs and nerfs across the board over the years.
As the game’s hero characters become buffed or nerfed and players begin to find new tactics, the meta of Overwatch shifts and old strategies that once proved successful may become less so. With that in mind, it is important to stay on top of the meta when determining which heroes you want to spend your time honing your skills with. Dedicate your talents to a low-ranking hero and you might unwillingly find yourself in a lower tier than you’d expect.
Previously, the meta strongly favored the GOATs team composition – three tanks and three supports. But, when it comes to Overwatch, nothing is permanent. Blizzard has since issued a new queue system that dictates each team be comprised of two attackers, two tanks and two healers. Check out our tier list and the accompanying explanations down below to determine which characters are right for you. But first, here’s a breakdown of our categories.
Tier List Descriptions
It’s important to note that wins can be achieved even with the lowest-tier
- Tier S — These characters are top choices for
firstpick. Cream of the crop, these heroes will give you a definite edge.
- Tier A — These heroes are powerful and often picked on the professional level. However, they may get swapped out for other heroes.
- Tier B — These heroes are reliable in most situations. While not perfect for every composition, these heroes can be used situationally based on things such as the map or the enemy team composition.
- Tier C — Heroes within this category often require high levels of skill to be used effectively. Expect a formidable resistance from the other team, and be ready to swap off.
- Tier D — The least common picks, these characters are highly situational. Victory is still possible, but only with a solid team composition and good communication.
If you want to really
- Lucio (Support) — Great group healing? Check. High damage potential? Check. A lifesaving ultimate ability? Uh, check. Even with the nerfs in the latest patches, expect to see a lot of Lucio in higher levels of play.
- Moira (Support) — Moira already boasted
an extremelyhigh damage and healing output, and now she has seen buffs to her total healing with her Biotic Grasp. She may not be the hardest character to master, but she is certainly effective.
- Reinhardt (Tank) — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While Reinhardt has yet to receive any major buffs, he’s still the quintessential tank. Long live the king.
- Sigma (Tank) — The latest edition to the Overwatch roster, Sigma is seeing an incredible amount of play at the moment. While the new tank is making big waves right now, only time ill tell what buffs or nerfs the creative minds over at Blizzard have in store for the mad doctor.
- Ana (Support) — Ana is a fantastic healer, but her overall difficulty puts her just shy of the top tier. Her ultimate, Nano Boost, also saw a nerf, reducing the heal from 300 to 250. Still, Ana is a great pick for a wide variety of situations – just make sure you practice first.
.Va(Tank) — A dive team composition without a D.Va is hardly a dive comp in our book. Her mobility and her ultimate ability’s effectiveness on both attack and defense make her an all-around reliable hero. Junkrat(Damage) — If you find the enemy Junkrat annoying, you aren’t alone. Having said that, we’re sorry to report that he is slightly more annoying with one of the recent patches. The impact damage from his Frag Launcher has been buffed from 40 to 50, and his RIP-Tire now costs 10% less. Our apologies in advance.
- McCree (Damage) — McCree sees a massive boost to his ultimate ability Deadeye with one of the recent patches. For heroes over 250 damage, as well as barriers like Reinhardt’s shield, it now does 550 damage per second after being locked on to targets for 1.5 seconds, up from 275. GOATs players will have to prepare accordingly the next time high noon rolls around.
- Reaper (Damage) — Reaper recently saw a massive buff to his life-steal ability, to the chagrin of many. Blizzard has now split the difference, lowering health stolen from 50% (50%!) to 40%. Even with the nerf, he’s still arguably the best GOATs counter and a highly adaptable damage hero.
- Symmetra (Damage) — Since her rework, Symmetra has seen a resurgence in competitive play. Her teleporter ability makes her a viable pick for a dive comp, and of
courseshe remains a great defensive hero. Her Photon Projector’s damage increases 20% faster, giving players that much more of an edge.
- Zarya (Tank) — Even with a nerf to the maximum blast radius of her alt fire, Zarya remains one of the best tanks in the game. Expect to see a lot of her along with Reinhardt this season.
- Ashe (Damage) — Ashe remains an extremely popular recent addition. Her ultimate B.O.B. can be clutch while both attacking and defending an objective, essentially giving you a temporary 7th teammate.
- Brigitte (Support) — With the potential to pick up the tanks’ slack, the ability to stun many enemies out of their ultimate, and a group healing ability that can sometimes seem absurd, Brigitte is a solid choice for a secondary healer.
- Doomfist (Damage) — Before the character received his buffs, we might’ve placed Doomfist in the tier below. However, the cooldowns for his uppercut and slam abilities have lowered by a second each, giving players that much more of an edge. With these changes, he seems a lot more
mobile,but still has a fairly high learning curve.
- Hanzo (Damage) — Once overpowered and much maligned, Hanzo now sits comfortably as a not-too-good, not-too-bad hero. His Sonic Arrow now detects enemies in a radius of 9 meters, up from 7. He remains a better sniper choice than Widowmaker, but make sure you hit the shooting range first.
- Orisa (Tank) — Depending on the map and your team’s composition, you may find great success with Orisa. In addition, the nerf to her movement speed while firing has been reduced from 50% to 30%, making her an even more viable pick. However, she is still outclassed by tanks like Reinhardt and Zarya, as her shield can prove to be difficult to continuously place and provide cover.
Pharah(Damage) — Pharahsees a buff to the minimum explosion damage from her rocket launcher, up from 16.25 to 20. This is a pretty significant buff, and players who felt like they had difficulty dealing damage to mobile opponents will be happy with this change. However, she remains easily countered and has an underwhelming toolset compared to the other damage heroes.
- Soldier: 76 (Damage) — Soldier: 76 remains the go-to hero for any new player or player returning from a break. He received a few fantastic buff, increasing his Pulse Rifle damage (albeit only by 1), reducing the weapon ready delay after sprinting by almost
half,and allowing him to target Junkrat’s RIP-Tire while using his Tactical Visor. These changes should make him that much more appealing to players not sure who to pick.
- Widowmaker (Damage) — Now that Widowmaker’s ultimate ends when she dies, there’s not a lot for her to offer her team in terms of synergy. A good Widow will clear the way for her team while staying safely away on her own, but a bad Widow will bring her team crumbling down. Success with Widowmaker largely depends on the skill of the player and the current map.
- Winston (Tank) — Winston is not a bad tank, but if you aren’t running a dive composition, the game gives you very little reason to pick him besides as a Genji counter. Even in a dive comp, D.Va is overall the better pick, but Winston can still do well with a good team behind him.
- Zenyatta (Support) — Zenyatta’s range and ability to quickly heal multiple teammates with practically no time in-between them makes him a challenging but rewarding pick, and we’ve all been saved by a Transcendence. His damage has been buffed, but the effectiveness of his Orb of Discord has been slightly nerfed. Zenyatta is great, but expect to see less of him as you approach higher ranks.
- Baptiste (Support) — Some players are currently finding great success with the new hero. Baptiste’s primary weapon offers enough power for this support hero to effectively go on the offensive. If you manage to get the high ground with Baptiste, you can effectively control the battle with your healing and damage dealing prowess.
- Bastion (Damage) — Bastion has the potential to be a life-saver. His insanely high damage output can shred the enemy team’s shields, and nothing is quite as frustrating as seeing a Bastion set up on the payload and find success. However, he remains easily countered and has relatively poor mobility, making him a situational hero.
- Genji (Damage) — A good Genji can draw the enemy’s attention away from the rest of the team and get a few picks in a matter of seconds, but his learning curve is extremely high. He is also countered by popular picks like Reinhardt and Brigitte, among others. Be sure to spend your time in training before you pick Genji.
- Mercy (Support) — There was a time when a team without a Mercy was sure to lose, but thankfully we’ve come a long way from those days. Mercy is by no means a bad hero, but she lacks any group healing option besides her ultimate, which itself is outperformed by Zenyatta’s Transcendence and Lucio’s Sound Barrier. She has high mobility but a low healing range, so if you want to get a win, be sure to practice. And don’t expect to get gold healing.
- Torbjorn (Damage) — Without his rework, we might have placed Torbjorn in the D tier. However, success on
attackwith a Torbjorn is more viable than ever, and the changes to his turret and ultimate significantly increase his potential damage output. Still, he usually requires a highly skilled player behind him and a team comp that works well with him to get a win.
- Tracer (Damage) — Overwatch’s mascot is feeling a bit under the weather lately. Like Genji, a good Tracer can distract and dismantle the enemy team, but also like Genji, she has a steep learning curve. She also suffers from many of the same counters, placing her below most other damage picks.
- Wrecking Ball (Tank) — Another highly situational hero, Wrecking Ball does see one great buff with a recent patch: his Adaptive Shield no longer takes him out of roll mode. Sadly, this isn’t enough to put him over the C tier, but damn if it isn’t satisfying as hell when you roll onto
pointand clear it out. Use caution.
- Mei (Damage) o Sorry Mei fans – she remains highly situational. A recent patch gives her a boost to damage per second, but lowers the health of her Ice Wall, making her even less of a viable defense option. Good team composition – and poor enemy team composition – is the key to victory with Mei.
- Roadhog (Tank) — There’s that word again: situational. With a good team composition, his hook can be combined with great effect, but he might as well be a walking target for the enemy team. It doesn’t take a lot to bring him down, even with his self-healing, and his range leaves a lot to be desired.
- Sombra (Damage) — It seems like Sombra might never climb out of the lower tiers without a significant rework. She remains a highly situational hero that requires a dedicated player and a solid team behind her.
Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below. Good luck, heroes.
The author of this post is a plat and it shows