Continuing on from our previous guide on counters to Offense heroes in Overwatch, we’re now going to look at the Defense heroes and some of their key counters.
Bastion is well known for being a pub-stomper, posing a significant threat to less experienced players that don’t have sufficient game knowledge or ability to deal with him. There are quite a lot of counters to Bastion, but ultimately it comes down to the way your opponent chooses to play. If they opt to remain in Sentry Mode and fire away regardless of any incoming threat, you won’t have much trouble dealing with him. On the other hand, if the Bastion player is well aware of his would-be counters, he can switch back to Recon Mode and reposition as needed.
If you’re looking to raise your odds of countering Bastion, one of the following heroes may help you:
Hanzo is arguably the most consistent Bastion counter, as long as the enemy team isn’t going to great lengths attempting to protect him. Bastion’s lack of movement in Sentry Mode makes him an easy target for a lot of powerful abilities, such as Hanzo’s scatter, but you need to ensure that you deal enough damage to kill him outright—otherwise, he’ll just heal back up to full. You’ll need to hit every arrow from your Scatter to kill Bastion, so aim carefully or be ready to follow up with another shot before he has time to heal.
Junkrat and Roadhog both make for solid Bastion counters too, although they are a little less effective than Hanzo since they can’t one-shot him. You can rain damage down on Bastion with Junkrat from cover to avoid his damage, or simply hook him out of Sentry Form with Roadhog and make short work of him with your Scrap Gun. It doesn’t instantly kill Bastion, but in Recon Form he shouldn’t pose much of a threat to you.
Genji is a pretty novel Bastion counter too, but this is entirely dependant on the Bastion you’re facing. If they have slow reaction times, you can Deflect their fire back at them for a quick kill, but more experienced Bastion players won’t fall into that trap. When all else fails, a team effort may be required to deal with Bastion—particularly when he’s being defended.
D.Va’s Defense Matrix nerf makes her less ideal than she was before at blocking his shots, but you can hold it up for long enough to nullify his damage while your team focuses him down. Just make sure you coordinate well with your allies, or you may be just wasting Defense Matrix charge and putting yourself in a sticky situation.
Now and again, you might happen across a Hanzo player that actually knows what he’s doing—particularly as you climb into the higher ELOs. When played well, Hanzo can be the most dominant carry hero in the game, so it’s important to know what you should do when you are facing an accurate Hanzo player. His headshots, Scatter Arrow and Sonic Arrow give him amazing damage and utility, and this can make facing him difficult regardless of how big your health pool is.
Having a good amount of health, mobility or ways to mitigate Hanzo’s damage are all important for winning against him. Consider one of the following:
As a fellow Shimada, it makes sense that Genji would be a good candidate to pose a threat to Hanzo. Genji has superior mobility, so use this to make things difficult for Hanzo. It can be very difficult to track a target with verticality, so double-jump over his head while you dish out damage to bring him low. Swift Strike or Deflect can be used to finish things up. Don’t be too predictable or engage him from too far away though, as one well-placed arrow is all it takes for him to kill you first.
My preferred Hanzo counter is Winston; the extra health makes it far less likely for Hanzo to fluke a one-shot kill on you. It’s possible that he out-trades you with a combination of headshots and Scatter Arrow, but you can work around this using your shield. Jump into range and try catch him with the impact damage, then drop your shield and keep him on the opposite side of one of the walls. He’s not mobile enough to escape, so you’ll slowly burn him down and win the fight, as long as you don’t give him chance to line up any headshots. Good positioning around your barrier should mitigate that risk long enough for you to secure the kill.
Reinhardt and Zarya are both fairly common choices against Hanzo. Despite being a sniper, Hanzo actually excels at close to mid range where he can land arrows more reliably. This brings him close enough for Zarya to fight back, which shouldn’t be too difficult if you are confident in your aim tracking. Time a bubble to nullify his damage while you charge up your own, and you should be able to come out on top.
Reinhardt will struggle to actually pin down and kill Hanzo, but the shield will keep your team safe from being picked and make him feel rather useless. He can use Scatter Arrow to deal a huge amount of damage to Rein’s shield, but at least that means it’s not killing one of your own teammates instead.
Junkrat was a hero that always tiptoed on the edge of viability. The dev team saw to change that when they implemented a two-charge system for his Concussion Mine and RIP-tire buff. He became a force to be reckoned with thanks to his ability to blanket an area with damage and lock down flank routes.
Although his dominant streak has continued since the buffs, there are still plenty of hero choices that can be used to shut him down. Here’s a few I like to rely on:
● Soldier: 76
Pharah probably requires no introduction. Junkrat likes to spam grenades and mines, but the trajectory of these projectiles makes it difficult for him to engage aerial targets. On the other hand, Pharah’s rockets follow straight flight paths, and that means she can hurt him while remaining relatively safe. In addition, the verticality makes it easy to spot out his traps, so you can spend a rocket and spare your flanking allies a future headache.
Widowmaker is another highly effective Junkrat counter, although admittedly it’s a little more map-dependant as you need to have an angle on him. Junkrat excels at delivering damage from cover, so he can often lob grenades without putting himself in danger. He does lack accuracy while doing this though, so wait for him to peek out and give him a quick headshot for his trouble. You’ll very rarely be in range for him to cause you any harm, but make sure to change up your location every few shots just in case.
There are few things as satisfying as playing Zarya into an enemy Junkrat. A fully charged Zarya is one of the most devastatingly powerful heroes in the game, and Junkrat’s grenade spam makes it easy for you to keep topped up on charge. Soldier: 76 is a good choice against Junkrat for the same reason that Widowmaker is—you have a significant range advantage over him. It only takes a few shots from your primary fire followed up with Helix Rockets to put him out of commission. Just be careful not to get too close, or enter any confined spaces.
Mei isn’t particularly popular in the meta at the time of writing this, which is fortunate for a lot of
players who tend to find her a little frustrating. She’s one of the most difficult to counter heroes in the game, but there are ways to exploit her lack of ranged pressure and lack of mobility.
It’s rare that you’d switch heroes just to deal with a Mei, but if you feel inclined to do so, I’d recommend one of these:
Reaper is probably the most popular Mei counter. It only takes two or three well-placed shots to
take Mei down, and if you get close enough you can surprise her for the kill before she has the
time to react with Cryo-Freeze. If you miss too many shots, she may aim to lock you down with
the freeze-headshot combo, but fortunately, Wraith Form will shrug off the chill and allow you to
escape and look for a more favorable engagement.
Reaper is used to beat Mei up close at her own game, but you may find that you have more success exploiting her short range effectiveness with long range heroes. Pharah is a good choice here; you can hover well outside of her effective range and lay down rockets until she finally runs out of abilities and health. Don’t forget to use Concussive Blast to knock her away from her team too, keeping her separated will make her much easier to deal with.
Widowmaker is another good choice for countering Mei at a distance. One well-placed headshot is all it takes to pick off Mei, and she won’t get the chance to Ice Wall or Cryo-Freeze to counter your attack. At long range, her Icicle headshots only deal a pitiful 44 damage, so you’d be hard-pressed to lose this fight!
Torbjorn is a pretty map dependant hero, and that means countering him is often going to depend on the map you are playing and how hard the enemy team is trying to protect him. It would be easy for me to say pick Pharah and focus his turret, but oftentimes that’s an exercise in futility.
We’ll do things a little different here and mostly talk about countering Torbjorn when he’s being protected by his team—perhaps by a Reinhardt or Orisa.
If you’re just looking to win a fight against Torb himself, most DPS heroes have a favorable matchup against him so go with whatever you’re comfortable with. A good choice here is Junkrat, since he’s going to out-range and out-trade Torbjorn in most situations and Junk also makes short work of any shields that are protecting him. In addition, thanks to the bounciness of Junkrat’s grenades, you can often use nearby terrain to bypass enemy shields and get damage onto the turret or Torb himself in the process.
Zenyatta may seem like an odd choice, but if you are playing against an unprotected Torbjorn, he can be one of the most reliable turret-destroying heroes. A fully charged right click and a couple of left clicks will take down a turret faster than Torbjorn can repair it, and any damage you take in the process will regenerate thanks to Zen’s shields. Zen’s Ultimate is also a solid counter to Torbjorn’s, and Discord Orb will allow your team to take down any tanks that are protecting him.
Hanzo is another good turret destroyer, but we wanted to mention him here thanks to the simple geometry of his Scatter Arrow. It’s a little dependant on positioning, but occasionally you can get some awesome kills by using a wall to bounce your damage around a shield. If you play from close range, you can go for the easier shot and just Scatter Arrow the turret directly. Torbjorn himself is an easy kill for Hanzo too, he’s got quite an easy head hitbox to aim for.
Mei isanother novel counter—she doesn’t excel against Torbjorn per se, but her Ice Wall can divide up the enemy team or turret, and allow you to take easier fights with a numbers advantage.
Like Hanzo, the difference between playing against a good and a bad Widowmaker is night and day. You can often feel utterly helpless against an accurate Widow player as they pick off two or three of your teammates at a time.
Your best choices against Widowmaker are heroes that can get into her personal space or beat her at her own game:
Winston is well known for being an effective Widow counter thanks to his Jump Pack. Although the grappling hook cooldown reduction has made Widow a little more mobile than before, you should still be able to chase her down and pick up an easy kill. Genji is another highly effective Widow counter, but you have to locate her first and mode unpredictably. Although you can simply rely on Swift Strike and your shuriken to pick her off, a well-timed Deflect can also spell doom for a Widow player.
Our last recommendation for tackling Widow is her fellow sniper Hanzo. Players often consider
Widow to be a counter for Hanzo, which is true if he’s out in the open. However, if Hanzo
positions himself near cover, he can charge up an arrow, peek out and fire, then dip back into
cover before Widow has time to react.
Even if she’s conscious of your presence, you are favored in this trade because you are being proactive rather than reacting like Widow is. Just make sure you adjust your trajectory for the distance, or you might be firing a lot of arrows without hitting much of anything. Sonic Arrow will help you here too; use it to get an idea for where Widow is waiting, then line up your shot before you peek out. Do it correctly, and you’ll be back in cover a second before you hear the elimination tone.