Overwatch’s fifth competitive season is almost here and with it comes a tsunami of players wanting to test their skills against one another. This game mode is designed for those looking to truly push themselves and show off their mastery of Overwatch’s various heroes. Sadly, some of these choices are better than others due to the various balances and patches that developer Blizzard has released. Because of this, not every hero is truly viable regardless of what the current meta may be. While it’s true that you can climb through the ranks with any one of the 24 heroes, some are better than others.
For this list, we decided to focus on those who are either new to Overwatch entirely or are having trouble climbing the competitive ladder to the higher tiers. We are focusing on heroes that not only compliment almost any team, but ones who are good for carrying yourself through matches. If you find yourself having trouble getting out of a low rank consider picking up a few of these heroes:
Roadhog is a powerhouse of a character that can shape and define entire matches by himself. His ability to hook opponents from a considerable distance and drag them out of position cannot be underestimated. Unlike high skill cap heroes like Hanzo or Widowmaker, Roadhog is fairly easy to use and can’t make the same vital kills as these snipers. It also helps that he is self-sufficient if your team lacks a second healer or you find yourself low on health in the middle of the battle. Being able to instantly restore 300 HP can not only help stall out points from being captured, but give a player enough energy to get back into the fight.
This is an extremely adaptable character that can work on virtually any game mode or team composition. His large health pool allows him to help defend the front line if a big push is needed, but his hook can also serve as a nice flanking tool to drag healers away from their team. Try to not panic and use his ultimate if you are about to die, as it’s a fantastic tool for forcing enemies off a point or pushing them into a corner for easy kills. Plus, combining it with either an Ana or Zarya ultimate pretty much guarantees death for your opponents.
Since Pharah’s buff to her sustainability in the air she has become a terror to those who were foolish enough not to run a counter. Her mobility and splash damage causing weapon can make her exceptionally dangerous in the right hands. While she is more of a problem to deal with on consoles over PC, Pharah’s rockets can easily disrupt a backline and decimate slower, less mobile targets like Zenyatta, Orisa, Reaper, and Roadhog. When picking up Pharah we recommended going into a private match and practicing moving around the various maps to get a handle on how to manage her fuel. Falling to the ground means certain death for this character, so understand how to keep yourself in the air for as long as possible.
You will also want to get a handle on using her Concussive Blast to propel yourself out of tricky situations. Yes, you can use (and should) this weapon to displace enemies, it can also be fired at a wall to knock Pharah into the air. Pharah’s ultimate is one of the most dangerous in the game if left unchecked, but knowing when to use it separates the good and the bad players. Given Pharah’s mobility, you should try to either get behind or flank the enemy before unleashing her Barrage to ensure maximum damage. Since Pharah is incredibly vulnerable while using it, try to target the squishier (lower health) characters first, with the healers being your priority.
While Mercy is undoubtedly the most popular healer, if not character in all of Overwatch her reliance on the rest of the team makes her difficult to climb with in the lower tiers. This doesn’t make her bad of course, but if you are looking to play a support character consider picking up Zenyatta. His Orb of Discord can easily determine battles as a 30% increase on damage received melts big heroes like Roadhog, Reinhardt, and Zarya. However, it’s more than possible to melt smaller health pool heroes, as a discorded Tracer is dead with one orb to the face and a second anywhere else. Learning to aim and understanding his weapon’s travel time is critical to your success.
Once you begin to understand his fire rate and projectile speed, Zenyatta can take down multiple foes both up close and from afar. Remember, you have zero escape abilities so positioning yourself with cover or by more powerful teammates is very important. It’s important to note that you should never use Transcendence to save just yourself, as this ultimate is capable of nullifying entire pushes by itself. Save it and use it more reactionary to what the enemy team is doing. Finally, and most importantly, call out which targets you have discorded. Letting your team know who is affected will help them focus targets down and thus end team fights quicker. Alsom and this cannot be said enough, Zenyatta is not a primary healer. Only use this hero if your team needs a secondary support as his healing output is not as strong as Mercy or Ana’s.
4. Soldier: 76
The most well rounded and easily accessible DPS (Damage-per-second) character in Overwatch, Soldier: 76 has proven himself to be a powerful hero. Even with his bullet damage nerfed from 20 to 19, he is more than capable of taking down targets both up close and from afar. The pulse rifle is easy to handle and can deal a decent amount of damage at range which makes him perfect for picking off targets or suppressing heroes like Pharah. Much like Zenyatta, a lot of Soldier: 76’s success hinges on good positioning. Try to either obtain the high ground or stay a moderate distance away from the action. It’s important to use 76’s range
It’s important to use 76’s range to his advantage, so try to avoid up close fights if you can. His Helix Rocket is also fantastic for either initiating or finishing off opponents, but don’t feel the need to directly hit your foe with it. There’s a considerable amount of splash damage from this projectile, meaning it can be fired into a wall or the floor by an enemy and skill kill them. When using his Tactical Visor try to wait until the enemy Reinhardt shield is cracked or D.Va is forced out of her mech. Tanks should be the last target on your list when using it as they can absorb nearly the entire ult before death, which is a poor trade on your part. This ultimate is also fantastic for countering a Mercy Ressurection as it can quickly move between enemies and kill smaller health pool characters.
Reinhardt is one of those tanks that’s perfect for almost every game mode regardless if you are attacking or defending. His shield is almost vital for any solid team push since it can stop almost every hero from dealing damage. A good Reinhardt can ensure a push is successful or stop one in its tracks with a well timed Earthshatter ultimate. While the general idea of Reinhardt is simple enough to grasp, it may take some time to understand the nuance of this hero. Knowing when to charge into a choke or force a slower push is important for any player to understand. This character is more than holding up a shield and swinging a hammer as he literally can dictate the pace and speed of a match.
Of course, this makes him ideal for lower tier games where being skittish about pushing through a chokepoint.When using Fire Strike try to avoid hurling this powerful projectile at Zarya’s as they will almost always use it to gain more charge for their weapon. Instead use it to either hit the enemy Reinhardt or pick off slower, less mobile targets. Also, try Fire Striking into multiple targets after an Earthshatter to ensure maximum damage.
There are a lot of heroes to choose from in Overwatch, however, these five are perhaps some of the most powerful and important currently in the game. However, we would also like to give honorable mentions to Mercy, Tracer, Mei, and Zarya. If you were having trouble last season climbing the competitive ladder consider practicing with one of these heroes instead.
Overwatch Competitive Season5 begins May 31 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.