By Emily Barnes
UPDATED – 6/2/2020
More recent patches to the game Overwatch, developed by Blizzard Entertainment, have succeeded in frequently forcing a change in the meta. Blizzard introduced hero pools that ban two damage characters and one of the support and tank characters on a weekly rotation. In the past, metas have been known to stay for entire seasons, if not more. GOATS, a three tank and three support composition, was extremely powerful in both the competitive ladder of Overwatch and the Overwatch League for months in 2019.
Hero pools have introduced versatility and limitations to players since its implementation and certainly, some of the typically lower picked characters are getting more playtime. With the introduction of the damage hero Echo, released to the main game on April 14th, she has completely shifted Overwatch’s team fights and ultimate economy. Echo’s own ultimate ability is called Duplicate which allows her to transform into any of her enemy teammates with full access to that character’s ability. Keep reading to see what characters are your best bet to play into Season 22 and more!
Orisa is classified as a “main tank” character who is a staple in the cast of original Overwatch characters, but many may argue she is often overlooked by her fellow tank Reinhardt. She provides her team with ample protection and potential to deal serious damage with her ultimate ability called Supercharger. Orisa has another ability called Fortify which can protect her from significant damage and her enemy’s abilities as well. These combined with a barrier make her an amazingly defensive tank that will pair great with team compositions that focus on more defensive and sturdier characters with higher damage output. Another tank that combines well with Orisa is Roadhog as he can use his hook when Orisa uses her Halt Ability. Halt deploys a graviton charge that pulls enemies in any direction. Orisa also plays well with Sigma, Bastion, Mercy, and Baptiste.
Mercy has been more of a niche pick for many seasons now, but she should not be forgotten or overlooked. Mercy pairs extremely well with many damage characters, for example: Mccree, Pharah, Ashe, and most importantly Echo. Echo is a very mobile character thanks to her Flight ability and in turn, she enables Mercy by giving her ample opportunity to reposition herself above enemy’s heads. Mercy’s damage boost ability is often overlooked but Mercy has the potential to amplify thousands of damage per match if players are focusing on damage boosting when they can. Resurrect will always be a game-changing ability that can shift the direction of a team fight in a second.
To continue the discussion of characters in the support category, Baptiste is an amazing pick in Season 21 due to his high healing output, the potential to do damage, and his game-changing ability called the Immortality Field. The Immortality Field can counter both high enemy damage and even ultimate abilities as it tosses out a destroyable device that protects Baptiste’s allies from death. Immortality Field is very effective at protecting allies from enemy Graviton Surges, Biotic Grenades, Gravitic Fluxs, and even DVA’s Self Destruct. Baptiste pairs well with Mercy, Bastion, Orisa, and many more.
Ashe is one of the most recently added damage characters to Overwatch, and she stands out with a southern drawl and an ultimate ability that summons a giant mechanical butler who attacks enemies with his arm cannons. However, Ashe is not usually picked over other hit scan heroes such as McCree, but hero pools have really allowed her pick rate to go up across all Overwatch ranks. Ashe can throw dynamite that explodes and does consistent damage to her enemies. This combined with a powerful semi-automatic rifle allows her to have a significant output of damage. Ashe can potentially be effective at countering enemy Echoes and Pharahs in the air especially when Ashe can rely on a Mercy for damage boost.
Tracer is definitely more of a niche pick especially in lower ranks due to a higher than most skill cap with the potential to terrorize your enemy’s backline. You will find Tracer to be extremely powerful against characters who are especially vulnerable and immobile such as Ana, Mercy, and more. A good Tracer player can disrupt her enemies with her Blink abilities that allow her to teleport in the direction she is moving. Tracer also has an ability called Recall where she can travel back in time and regain any health she may have lost before using Recall. When these abilities are used correctly, they are great at getting Tracer out of bad positioning or situations with her enemies.
Moira was added to the game in 2018 and she presents a kit that is as easy to understand as it is impactful. Moira has a very high healing output with her Biotic Grasp and her Biotic Healing Orb. Moira’s Biotic Orbs can rebound and bounce off of walls. This allows healing orbs to heal teammates over periods of time, especially in enclosed spaces. Moira’s Biotic Damage Orb is a nuisance to many players due to the ability to decay enemies’ health and bounce off of walls. Moira’s fade ability makes her invulnerable and invisible to her enemies and Fade can be used to escape Graviton Surge and Graviton Flux. Moira is a must pick for her quickly generating ultimate ability Coalescence. Coalescence can heal entire teams and damage enemies at the same time and can also pierce through barriers.
Sigma is one of the most recently added tanks to Overwatch. Sigma stands out for his interesting back story and eerie piano music that plays at the activation of his ultimate ability, Graviton Flux. Graviton Flux causes Sigma to fly into the air and lift his enemies in an area he aims for and slams them down. Sigma also possesses a barrier that he can place anywhere he wants, even in front of his enemy snipers. Sigma can swallow enemy ultimates and damage with his Kinetic Grasp ability, and Sigma can also knock down enemies with his Accretion ability. Sigma has become more popular in Season 21 and can be paired with Orisa or Roadhog for solid team composition.
Ana is arguably the most popular character in competitive Overwatch. She is just as challenging as she is fun to play and Ana has a high skill cap that once mastered can shoot any player to the highest ranks of Overwatch Players. Ana has a grenade ability that can anti heal her enemies. Once you are hit with Ana’s grenade, you cannot be healed until the effect wears off. This grenade can even impact Zenyatta’s ultimate Transcendence, making Ana’s grenade a game-changing ability every time it lands on her enemies. Ana’s also well known for her sleep ability that can even stop enemy ultimates. Finally. Ana’s ultimate ability is called Nano Boost. Nano Boost is extremely effective when paired with ally ultimates like Dragon Blade, Whole Hog, and Earth Shatter.
Lucio is a staple to almost every Overwatch composition. He was a must pick in GOATS, he’s essential to dive compositions, and Lucio’s defensive ultimate, Sound Barrier, can completely cancel out enemy damage and ultimate’s. Lucio can switch anytime between a healing aura and speed boost that can easily enable his teammates to do damage and push forward onto enemy teams. Lucio’s primary fire can also do some serious damage if you’re consistently hitting good headshots. Lucio pairs great with both Ana and Moira ideally, but he can play with relatively any team composition without many issues.
Echo is the most recent character to be introduced in Overwatch, and she is by far one of the most interesting characters who are extremely fun and rewarding to play. She’s a must in every game, and if you’re not snagging her when you enter a match I can almost guarantee your ally DPS will pick her instead. Echo has a very different and unique set of abilities. First, Echo has a projectile Sticky Bomb that can stick to enemies and detonate after a short delay. Furthermore, Echo has a Flight ability that pushes her forward very quickly and allows her to fly freely. She is very comparable to Pharah in her playstyle, except for her one of a kind ultimate ability called Duplicate. As stated at the beginning of this article, Duplicate is completely game-changing and we are very interested to see how it plays out in Overwatch League.
Finally, please understand that these characters may be considered meta by many, but that does not mean you need to play these characters in every game. It is important for serious players to keep up with what is meta in order to keep up with the rest of the player base. However, if you are especially skilled at one character or many, do not let the meta limit what you play in your own games. All in all, games are supposed to be fun, right?