Overwatch: How to Counter Every Hero | Tips & Strategies
On PC, PS4 & Xbox One: Having trouble with Bastion, Widowmaker, Reaper or any of the other heroes in Overwatch? Learn how to counter them with these match-up picks.
Even the toughest heroes of Overwatch can be defeated with the right tricks, and utilizing counters is a vital part of the team strategy on display in Blizzard’s online-FPS. If you’re new to Overwatch and can’t figure out how to deal with Zarya’s shields, Symmetra’s traps, or Torbjorn’s turrets, we’ve got a few tips to get you started on the path to victory.
There are four major types of heroes in Overwatch; offense, defense, tank and support. Unlike Team Fortress 2, these ‘classes’ don’t represent a strict rock-paper-scissors dichotomy, with many variations on the themes mixed into each of the twenty heroes currently populating the roster.
That means you’ll need to understand the individual heroes to learn all the ways they can be countered — below you’ll find our picks for the best hero counters with a short explanation for each entry. It’s kind of like match-ups in a fighting game, if fighting games featured more exploding mechs and cyber-enhanced simians.
How to Counter Every Hero | Tips & Strategies
Victory in Overwatch is all about counters, and every hero can be countered. After you die, you’re given the option to switch heroes — don’t beat your head against a Bastion or Torbjorn. Switch-up and use some of our counter suggestions, tips and tricks, to push back against the competition.
This is just a general overview of counter recommendations. Advanced players will be able to counter any number of strategies with teamwork and skill, but even the best team won’t win if they’re not prepared to deal with certain heroes on the field. Vice-versa, even the best counters aren’t going to guarantee victory against a well-coordinated team. Take these suggestions as just that — suggestions. A place to get started in your Overwatch journey.
Got your own favorite counter picks? Tell us all about them in the comments!
- Counter Picks: Mei, Widowmaker, Junkrat, Pharah, Reaper, Hanzo
- Mei: Activate Ice Wall underneath Bastion’s turret to raise it or break line-of-sight.
- Widowmaker: Plink at Bastion when he’s exposed across long lanes.
- Junkrat: Use his Ultimate, Rip-Tire, from a safe position to heavily damage or weaken Bastion during a push.
- Pharah: Take advantage of High-mobility to fly circles around Bastion, peppering him with rockets.
- Reaper: Turn on Wraith Form to get behind Bastion’s shield and blast him from behind with the shotgun.
- Hanzo: Fire ricocheting arrows to hit Bastion from behind, taking away his shield advantage.
- Counter Picks: Reaper, Zenyatta, Roadhog
- Reaper: Wraith Form close and use Hellfire Shotguns to deal crazy damage to D.va’s mech.
- Zenyatta: The Orb of Discord flies right through D.va’s Defense Matrix. The mech is a slow (and easy) target for Zenyatta’s orb attack.
- Roadhog: Pull D.Va close with his Chain Hook then deal superior damage using his Scrap Gun at close-range. Chain Hook works against D.Va even during a boost dash or when attempting to push Roadhog away.
- Counter Picks: Winston, Symmetra, Mei, D.Va
- Winston: As a mobile tank, Winston can follow Genji relentlessly and easily target the fast Ninja with his auto-aiming Tesla Cannon. He can easily absorb shurikens at a distance and his Tesla Cannon cannot be deflected.
- Symmetra: She won’t survive in a 1-vs-1 fight, but Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets are a perfect way to trap a Genji player circling the battlefield looking for stragglers. Sentry Turrets slow movement, and Genji is relatively weak — set all of her turrets in a room an enemy Genji is known to frequent alone.
- Mei: Another non-offensive hero with the ability to slow and freeze Genji, taking away his mobility. Her primary weapon cannot be deflected by Genji either.
- D.Va: This mobile tank, like Winston, has great mobility and can soak up enough damage to chase Genji, even if her attacks can be deflected.
- Counter Picks: Winston, Roadhog, Widowmaker, Tracer
- Winston: With his shields and leaping ability, Winston can reach Hanzo’s perch easily and close-in for the kill.
- Roadhog: Roadhog is a slow target at range, giving Hanzo the usual advantage in most match-ups. But, if you can use Roadhog’s Chain Hook to pull Hanzo down from his high ledge, Roadhog is guaranteed a kill.
- Widowmaker: Hanzo doesn’t have the range of a Widowmaker, giving this sniper an advantage over extreme distances. Just wait for Hanzo to approach Widowmaker, don’t try to rush him — the close Widowmaker gets to Hanzo, the more of an advantage Hanzo will have.
- Tracer: Unlike with Widowmaker, Tracer is ideal for dealing with Hanzo up-close. Only an experience Hanzo player will be able to effectively target Tracer with her extremely quick movement abilities. Save Tracer’s Pulse Bomb for an easy finisher against Hanzo.
- Counter Picks: Reaper, Hanzo, Roadhog, Soldier 76
- Reaper: With Wraith Form, Reaper can easily avoid Junkrat’s grenade spam and his cool-down attacks can quickly bring him down.
- Hanzo: As a ranged sniper-lite hero, he should be completely safe from Junkrat’s various traps, mines, and explosives. His ricochet arrows can be deadly in the enclosed quarters where Junkrat likes to lay his traps.
- Roadhog: A slow choice, but he can survive long enough against Junkrat to lay the hurt on with his Chain Hook and shotgun.
- Soldier 76: The basic soldier’s healing can keep a team going as they push through Junkrat’s explosive volleys, and his Ultimate makes his already-powerful Pulse Rifle even better against Junkrat.
- Counter Picks: Pharah, McCree, Zarya, Soldier 76
- Pharah: Her high-mobility flying makes her a tough target for Lucio to reach, even if Lucio can dodge or deflect her rocket spam.
- McCree: Flashbang and Fan Fire end all encounters with Lucio. Toss the combo down in a close-encounter, but don’t chase Lucio for too long — he’ll always outrun a McCree.
- Zarya: Her shields enhance her damage, and her longer-ranged shots all feature an AOE that will make hitting any Lucio much easier. Bubble up and absorb his attacks for an easier time with Lucio.
- Soldier 76: His basic combination of Pulse Rifle and Biotic Field make him a pain to deal with, and his relative accuracy at medium-range means he can hang back and dodge Lucio’s attacks.
- Counter Picks: Widowmaker, Genji, Torbjorn, Hanzo
- Widowmaker: With a serious range advantage, Widowmaker can out-shoot McCree over distances but won’t survive in a close encounter.
- Genji: A skilled Genji is unstoppable against McCree. All of McCree bullet attacks, and his Ultimate ability, can be deflected by Genji.
- Torbjorn: His turrets make him a nightmare for any McCree player. Torbjorn can deploy then hide around corners, forcing McCree to deal with turrets — McCree can handle turrets well, but he’ll have a hard time reaching Torbjorn for a duel.
- Hanzo: Like Widowmaker, he has the range advantage and will always win in the right environment. Thanks to Hanzo’s ricochet arrows, Hanzo has a better chance against McCree in close-range encounters, too.
- Counter Picks: Zarya, Junkrat, Soldier 76, Lucio
- Zarya: Mei excels in close-combat thanks to her ability to freeze and slow opponents. Zarya can counter that, using her Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier to protect herself or an ally from Mei’s ice attacks.
- Junkrat: Grenades can easily be lobbed over Mei’s Ice Walls, and his Ultimate attack will drive right over the wall.
- Soldier 76: Mei’s limited range makes her vulnerable to attackers like Soldier 76. Her Ice Wall can protect her from his attacks, but his Sprint ability helps him stay out of her range, making it easy for Soldier 76 to continuously harass Mei.
- Lucio: More of a team-support counter, Lucio’s passive aura and Amp-It-Up ability will completely counter-act Mei’s slowing abilities. He can also push her out of range with his Soundwave blast.
- Counter Picks: Genji, Winston, Tracer, Widowmaker
- Genji: Mercy is always vulnerable when not with a team, and if she is targeted, she’ll retreat from the fight to heal. Genji can quickly traverse the field and find her, where she’s easy pickings for his Dragonblade Ultimate.
- Winston: Any tank is a problem for Mercy, but Winston’s additional leap movement options means he can follow her after popping his Primal Rage Ultimate.
- Reaper: His Wraith Mode ability allows Reaper to easily walk through an entire enemy team and flank Mercy from any angle, unleashing his shotgun attacks if Mercy doesn’t retreat right away.
- Widowmaker: Mercy often follows her offensive team in (relatively) close proximity. She’ll need to stay close to heal or provide damage-boosting effects. While she’s out in the open, Widowmaker can pick her off.
- Counter Picks: Soldier 76, Widowmaker, Roadhog
- Soldier 76: His Pulse Rifle is fast enough to damage Pharah even as she zips around in the sky, and his Biotic Field means he can continue to push forward while Pharah will need to retreat in most engagements.
- Widowmaker: With her grappling ability, Widowmaker can reach a high vantage point and pick off Pharah from a distance, especially when she’s flying in open lanes or popping up above cover.
- Roadhog: Catching Pharah with Roadhog’s Chain Hook is a sure-fire way to bring this enemy hero down, just use his scrap shotgun to finish the job.
- McCree: His flashbangs won’t do any good, but his combat roll ability gives him the edge. He can roll from Pharah’s slower-moving rockets and return fire with his powerful revolvers between rolls.
- Counter Picks: Pharah, McCree, Genji, Lucio
- Pharah: No one is better at avoiding Reaper and staying out of his range than Pharah. Fly backwards and wait for Reaper to exit Wraith Form before hitting him with a salvo of rockets. Usually Reaper will use Wraith Form to flank, leaving the ability unavailable for an instant-retreat.
- McCree: Thanks to his Flashbang ability, McCree has a slight edge in most 1-vs-1 encounters. If Reaper has already popped Wraith Form, McCree can trap Reaper with a Flashbang then finish him off with Fan Fire.
- Genji: This is a close match-up, as both heroes are designed for melee-range combat. Use Genji’s Deflect to counter Reaper’s shotguns.
- Lucio: The best support for dealing with Reaper, Lucio can keep his team healthy and fast to run circles around Reaper’s shotgun flanking tactics. Lucio’s knockback attack will keep Reaper away, and his Ultimate makes his team pretty much invulnerable to Reaper.
- Counter Picks: Roadhog, Pharah, McCree, Zenyatta
- Roadhog: His scrap gun is the best tool to break through Reinhardt’s shield, and although it is difficult to Chain Hook him, a Roadhog that can find an opening against Reinhardt will be a huge advantage.
- Pharah: A nuisance for Reinhardt, she is just tough enough to survive his long-range attacks and can pepper the slower-moving opponent from the sky, dodging around his tall shield and weakening him for the rest of the team.
- McCree: Like Roadhog, McCree should take advantage of his shotgun-like attacks to weaken Reinhardt. Unlike Roadhog, McCree has the mobility to dodge charges and drop Flashbangs to slow the marauding Reinhardt down.
- Zenyatta: Orb of Discord is devastating against Reinhardt. Wait until Reinhardt charges into your team, then activate the orb while he’s exposed to bring the behemoth down for the count.
- Counter Picks: Genji, Reaper, Soldier 76, Torbjorn
- Genji: His long-range attacks and superior mobility can keep Genji out of Roadhog’s Chain Hook or shotgun range as he peppers Roadhog with shuriken damage. Just remember, Deflect is not effective against Roadhog’s Scrap Gun.
- Reaper: This can be tricky. Reaper can flank Roadhog, but won’t stand a chance against Roadhog’s ultimate onslaught. Still, his shotguns are an insane tank-killing engine and a worthwhile choice. Save Wraith Form to escape Chain Hook!
- Soldier 76: Roadhog is a large target, making him easy to shoot, and easy to stay away from with 76’s sprint ability. He can also heal and unleash a rocket barrage that Roadhog will have difficulty avoiding.
- Torbjorn: Turrets are a problem for Roadhog. His low-mobility and close-range requirements mean he has to come to the turrets, and Torbjorn can retreat or wait behind cover rather than engaging directly.
Vs. Soldier 76
- Counter Picks: McCree, Widowmaker, Zarya, Reinhardt
- McCree: Flashbangs and Fan Fire are a one-two knockout punch against Soldier 76.
- Widowmaker: Soldier 76 will find it difficult to get close enough to fight Widowmaker in earnest, and Widowmaker will always have the advantage at range. Soldier 76 is often on the front-line using Biotic Field, leaving him vulnerable.
- Zarya: Her barrier can absorb rocket damage, instantly improving the damage output of her main weaponry. She also tends to stick close to teams with her support bubbles, making her tough to defeat and a deadly opponent 1-vs-1.
- Reinhardt: With his charge, Reinhardt can close the distance with Soldier 76 and his massive shield will keep him alive against the Pulse Rifle. If Soldier 76 can’t run, there isn’t much he can do to stop Reinhardt alone.
- Counter Picks: Reaper, Winston, Junkrat, Pharah
- Reaper: Able to flank a hiding Symmetra or escape a Sentry Turret ambush with his Wrath Mode ability, Reaper can surprise and finish Symmetra using his shotguns or help wipe out those turrets.
- Winston: High mobility and the health to soak up turret damage, Winston can barrel through those slow-down traps or use his Tesla Cannon to quickly wipe them out. Just beware — Winston’s shield is not effective against Symmetra’s Photon attacks.
- Junkrat: His grenade launcher can bounce explosives around corners or into rooms to clear turrets. Laying traps down at Symmetra’s teleporter can be a nasty surprise too.
- Pharah: As a flyer, Pharah is not vulnerable to Symmetra’s turrets and can easily stay out of Symmeta’s tracking-gun’s range. She can also clear the turrets easily with rockets, or track down Symmetra’s teleporter and destroy it so she has no escape plan.
- Counter Picks: Mei, Pharah, Reaper, D.va
- Mei: The first pick is purely for teamwork. Use Mei’s Ice Walls to block enemy turret line-of-sight and effectively make his most important ability completely useless.
- Pharah: As a high-mobility hero, she can flank Torbjorn and chase him out of cover with rockets or launch barrages from cover, popping in and out — the turrets can’t move, so they’re easy to hit.
- Reaper: Skip the turret altogether with Reaper’s Wraith Mode and go face-to-face against Torbjorn.
- D.Va: A powerful force for dealing with turrets, she can shield-up and charge into close-range with the turrets, able to soak up damage and use her Fusion Cannons to destroy any annoying turret stalling your team.
- Counter Picks: Roadhog, McCree, Winston, Mei
- Roadhog: Superior HP and the Chain Hook will spell doom for Tracer in close-range. A smart Tracer won’t get close.
- McCree: Evenly matched, but McCree’s Flashbang can give him an instant advantage. Catch her post-blink if you can guess her next location and she’s done for.
- Winston: His auto-targeting Tesla Cannon makes it easier to hit Tracer when she’s between blinks, and his higher HP will help him survive any encounter long enough to force Tracer to retreat or to escape himself with a leap.
- Mei: Ice Wall and her primary freezing gun will slow Tracer to a crawl. Tracer cannot phase through Ice Walls, so use those to block her path, then freeze her before she can escape, making her an easy target for your team.
- Counter Picks: Tracer, Reaper, Winston, Soldier 76
- Tracer: Widowmaker’s worst nightmare, Tracer’s extreme speed will always give her an advantage, and her mobility options allow her to reach Widowmaker’s camping spot safely. She can blink right past Venom Mines, making her extra annoying to defend against.
- Reaper: Wraith Form is another ability that can escape the Venom Mine and his Shadow Step allows him to appear right behind Widowmaker. His close-range shotguns are even more devastating to Widowmaker. Reaper can handle tanks, so he completely destroys any Widowmakers quickly.
- Winston: The best tank to rush Widowmaker, Winston can leap to her perch and use his barrier bubbles to protect a full team out in the open, while his huge HP count means he can soak enough damage to survive multiple shots from Widowmaker’s charged rifle.
- Soldier 76: At medium-range, Soldier 76 can send accurate 3-4 shot burst assault rifle fire in Widowmaker’s direction, or use his Helix Rockets to force her to relocate and abandon a sniping opportunity. His Ultimate can also shred Widowmaker from long-ranges, making him deadly even if he can’t rushdown Widowmaker like the other heroes in this entry.
- Counter Picks: Zarya, Reaper, Lucio, McCree
- Zarya: Turn Winston’s aggressiveness against him with Zarya’s damage-reflecting bubble, powering up her own attacks. Zarya is a partial-tank herself with offensive capabilities. Keep your team close and Winston won’t be able to break your ranks.
- Reaper: As the resident tank-buster, Reaper is effective against Winston too. Shadow Step and Wraith Mode will help him circle Winston, and it only takes a handful of close-range shotgun blasts to put Winston down.
- Lucio: Another support pick, his Sound Wave Ultimate ability is one of the most effective for dealing with Winston’s Primal Rage. His speed aura also provides his team the extra mobility they’ll need to escape (or chase down) Winston.
- McCree: Another tank-buster, but Winston can avoid contact with his leap ability. If Winston wants to scrap, his attacks are all close-range, and McCree can easily overwhelm with the standard Flashbang and Fan Fire combo.
- Counter Picks: Pharah, Bastion, Widowmaker, Junkrat
- Pharah: Zarya doesn’t have the mobility to easily avoid Zarya’s rocket barrages, and she doesn’t have the range to hurt Pharah. Zarya’s ultimate is practically useless against Pharah.
- Bastion: Show this tank-lite what a real defender can do. Bastion is strong enough to destroy Zarya’s shields, and the shields on her allies, while also absorbing her damage-boosted attacks and winning any engagement.
- Widowmaker: As a support, Zarya is usually out in the open, and Widowmaker can easily switch targets to shoot allies not-currently bubbled by Zarya, forcing her to switch who she protects or leaving her vulnerable.
- Junkrat: His AOE explosive spam can be a problem for Zarya, along with his mine-jumping mobility and other traps he can leave behind if Zarya and her team tries to pursue.
- Counter Picks: Tracer, Zarya, Reaper, Soldier 76
- Tracer: As the premier offensive flanker, Tracer can blink around the arena and track down Zenyatta in his hiding places. She can also use Recall to escape the effects of Orb of Discord.
- Zarya: As a support choice, Zarya can remove the effects of Orb of Discord from her allies, defusing one of Zenyatta’s best abilities.
- Reaper: Like Tracer, Reaper can cure himself of the Orb of Discord with his Wraith Form ability. Using that, and Shadow Step, he can quickly flank Zenyatta while he hides behind his team and take him down.
- Soldier 76: A quick front-line fighter, Soldier 76 can chase down slow Zenyatta with his sprint and rapidly take him down with his ultimate. Even at medium-range, Zenyatta is very vulnerable to the Pulse Rifle.
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