We’ve now covered both Offense and Defense heroes, so it’s finally time to move onto talking about the tank choices in Overwatch and how you can effectively counter them.
The nerf to D.Va’s Defense Matrix and the addition of Micro Missiles resulted in a pretty dramatic change in her playstyle. Rather than focusing on peeling for her team, she instead became a dive tank that searches for poorly positioned enemies to focus down with her close-range burst. Allowing D.VA to boost and shoot simultaneously also helped encourage this playstyle shift, and a lot of players are still struggling to adapt to it. She’s a powerful 1v1 fighter, so it’s really important to stay near your team to reduce the number of solo squishy targets that D.Va can pick off.
If changes to your positioning aren’t helping, there are a few heroes you can switch to that give you the edge over her:
Zarya is the premiere D.Va counter. Her bubbles allow her to easily gain charge from D.Va’s Ultimate or Micro Missiles, and her energy beam shreds directly through Defense Matrix, leaving D.Va with only one option—run away. In addition, Zarya typically wants to keep herself near the supports so that she can peel for them with bubbles, and this makes D.Va’s job as an initiator even more difficult.
Mei and Symmetra function as D.Va counters for similar reasons. Both are able to bypass Defense Matrix with their primary weapons, and both are capable of shutting down her flank routes, either with the use of Sentry Turrets or Ice Walls. They will struggle a little more in the 1v1 due to her large health pool, but they both have the tools needed to win a prolonged fight against her. For Mei, this means taking a breather with Cryo-Freeze, and in Symmetra’s case you just need to abuse her small hitbox with good strafing.
Hackers beat gamers! Sombra is a softer counter to D.Va than the others, but if you can pull off a Hack, D.Va will be a sitting duck for your team to deal with.
The most recent addition to the tank line-up, Orisa was intended to add another anchor/shield tank for players to choose from. Although her shield is weaker than Reinhardt’s, the fact that she can place it down and continue to apply pressure elsewhere on the map cannot be underestimated. She’s usually used to protect a Bastion or Torbjorn turret, and the low cooldown on her shield can often make it frustrating to deal with, particularly when your team is helping focus the barrier down.
The easiest solution is to select a character that can tear down her barriers single-handedly, or using heroes that can find a way around it. We recommend:
Junkrat and Bastion are the most potent barrier breaking characters, which makes them particularly affecting when facing an Orisa since you can quickly expose whatever was attempting to hide behind her shield. Orisa’s large hitbox also makes her an easy target for Junkrat if she’s ever unprotected since you’ll be hard-pressed to miss a grenade. Bastion’s insane DPS is equally useful for focusing Orisa down, as even the 50% damage reduction from Fortify won’t buy her enough time to escape.
Hanzo and Reaper are both useful choices against Orisa as they can very quickly kill her. In Hanzo’s case, a single well placed Scatter Shot can kill Orisa as easily as it can kill a 200hp target, and the bouncing nature means you can navigate around shields. Reaper needs to get a little closer to pick up a speedy kill, but his Shadow Step and Wraith Form are both effective tools for sneaking into close quarters combat.
As one of the most familiar heroes in the game, players can often take for granted the power that Reinhardt can provide a structured team. His shield allows him to zone out massive amounts of damage, his Fire Strike can quickly build Ultimate charge or pick off low health enemies, and his Ultimate has the potential to end a fight in an instant. To deal with Reinhardt, you either need to find a way to pick him off or at least break the shield.
Here are some heroes that will help you achieve both of those things:
Déjà vu aside, Junkrat and Bastion counter Reinhardt for the same reason they counter Orisa. Nothing makes a shield tank quite as useless as taking away their shield, so these two should definitely be used if that shield is staying alive for far too long. Reinhardt isn’t very mobile outside his Charge, so once the shield is down he should be an easy kill.
Pharah’s verticality is impossible for Reinhard to deal with. Flying far above him forces him to keep the shield facing you, and that means he’s not blocking damage from your team. There’s no risk if Reinhardt himself killing you outside of a god tier Fire Strike, but make sure you use cover where possible to avoid being picked off by enemy hitscans.
Tracer and McCree are both major annoyances for a Reinhardt player. Tracer’s mobility and McCree’s flashbang are effective tools for bypassing his shield, and this can give your team all the time they need to focus him down. Tracer is definitely the better choice if you want to 1v1 Reinhardt, but McCree rewards good coordination with the rest of your team. Throw a flashbang over the shield to stun him, and make sure your team is ready to follow up once the shield drops.
Roadhog is a hero that a lot of people have difficulty dealing with. He can shrug off damage, kill targets in a single combo and cause a lot of havoc with a well-timed Ultimate. However, he does have very well defined weaknesses that you can take advantage of with a quick switch.
A few good choices for when you are struggling with Roadhog are:
Ana may initially sound like a strange suggestion since she really can’t solo kill a hog unless she’s kiting him forever, but her kit lines up to perfectly exploit Roadhog’s weaknesses. Her Biotic Grenade takes away his healing, making him an easy target for your team to focus down when he’s hit with it. In addition to that, her Sleep Dart is extremely easy to hit on Roadhog because of his huge hitbox, so you if can squeeze off a dart behind he catches you with his Hook, the sleep will turn him into an easy potential kill for your team.
Reaper and Tracer are both good choices for solo killing a Roadhog. Reaper can out-damage him at close range, you just need to be careful not to get caught in the hook. Tracer doesn’t really have to fear the hook at all, just make sure you never use more than 2 Blink charges at once; you want to save one for the Hook. Stay mobile to avoid his damage while pouring damage into his head, then Blink the hook and continue to burn him down after he heals.
Sombra is a little more risky to play against Hog because his Hook has a longer range than Sombra’s Hack, and you don’t have many tools to avoid it. If he’s not aware where you are, or you know his Hook is on cooldown, you can move in for a Hack and leave him relatively undefended.
Winston is the definition of an easy-to-play but hard-to-master character. His kit is exceedingly simple and his damage tends to trickle in, but a well played Winston can be one of the most powerful carries in the game. In some ELO brackets you only really tend to see Winston come out as a Genji counter, but there are many pros that have made their names by utterly dominating with Winston.
Grouping up to focus the monkey down is a solid way to counter his dive, but you can tip the scales further in your favor with one of these heroes:
● Soldier: 76
Reaper and Roadhog’s shotguns can take advantage of Winston’s huge model to land every shot, adding up to huge amounts of damage. If Reaper positions near his supports (where Winston is likely to dive) or Roadhog waits for the perfect hook, Winston will be dead before his Jump Pack recharges.
Soldier: 76 is my preferred counter when I want to consistently 1v1 Winston without feeling inadequate against the rest of the enemy team. Soldier is so versatile that he’s an ideal pick in almost any situation, and his Biotic Field reduces Winston’s damage to an effective 20 damage per second. That gives you plenty of time to duel him if you see Winston diving you, so drop it when you spot him and burn down his health bar.
If you’re going to pick Zenyatta against Winston, make sure you aren’t by yourself or you’ll need to land consistent headshots to win the fight. However, when bunched up with your team, Orb of Discord will make short work of him.
Strong Zarya players are still the bane of my existence in Overwatch. She doesn’t have the same zoning influence as other tanks, but her damage negation through bubbles allows her to easily peel for teammates while building up charge to increase her damage. Once she’s up to around 80 charge, she can easily out DPS most other characters in the game. She’s also difficult to kill too, thanks to her small head crit-box and personal bubbles.
As one of the characters I struggle the most with around the Grandmaster level, I’ll often pull out one of the following switches when I spot a strong Zarya:
Pharah makes a good Zarya counter because she’s pretty immobile and can’t catch you at long ranges. It’s important that you know when she has bubble available so that you don’t hand her free charge, but once that bubble expires she should be an easy kill. The same goes for Reaper, if you can get close and catch her with bubble on cooldown (or wait it out with Wraith Form) then you’ll kill her extremely quickly.
Mei is a bit of an odd-pick, but it works because she has so many stalling techniques at her disposal. She’s one of the best choices for taking down a high charge Zarya because you can threaten to freeze her, forcing the bubble, then wait it out with Cryo-Freeze or a well placed Ice Wall. Then you just continue to freeze her, and take her out while she’s locked down. It’ll be a scrappy fight if you’re only fighting a 1v1, but you can come out ahead with some good strafing.
Here’s another juicy Mei tip; if you’re caught in a Graviton Surge with your team, place the Ice Wall underneath your feet to lift your team up. This can allow you to dodge a lot of the common Graviton Surge combos like Pulse Bomb or Dragon Strike, or it can just buy you the precious seconds you need to stay alive until the Grav expires.
The snipers both make effective Zarya counters because they remove the time that she has to react. Both Hanzo and Widowmaker can consistently one-shot low health enemies, and that means Zarya can’t save them with a bubble unless she predicts who you are targeting. She’s also incapable of defending from Widowmaker thanks to the huge range disadvantage, and Scatter Shot can instantly kill her as long as she doesn’t see you coming.
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