While Overwatch continues to make strides as an esport, the base game itself is constantly evolving – with new heroes being added and tweaks altering the balance of power periodically. It can be a challenge to know who is the better character to pick.
That’s where we come in, plotting the data alongside the anecdotal evidence of competitive matches. Which heroes are we seeing more often, and why? As these things always are this is obviously subjective, so feel free to have your say in the comments below.
Our perspective, as you might expect, is focused more on the esports side of things – and while this tier list will definitely help you form your own ideas of which characters to pick, we’re trying to represent the importance each character has on a competitive game and explain a little bit why.
If you fancy yourself a bit good at Overwatch, well then this is an important list to follow. We hope, anyway. So here is our current tier list for Overwatch, which we’ll keep updated alongside any nerfs, buffs and general updates:
Overwatch Tier List – Tanks
With his intensely tough shield to crack, Reinhardt remains the premier Tank hero that practically every team has to deal with.
And it’s really this shield that makes Reinhardt such a persistent pick, a mobile defence unit that can help the likes of Reaper and Soldier: 76 to get safely into the range of the opposition and deal the damage that they do so well.
But Reinhardt is a heavy-hitter himself, and his kit allows for a good bit of options in most situations. Fire Strike can deal damage through Barriers and hit multiple targets, his Charge can disengage key threats while his ultimate stuns groups of enemies in front of him – a significant gamechanger.
Still the tank to beat, a fact that likely won’t change much since his utility is just too good.
It’ll take a little time for us to truly figure out where Orisa – the newest tank in the game – should rightfully stand, but it’s already clear she deserves a strong showing right out from the gate.
She doesn’t quite have the reliability to knock Reinhardt from the top spot, but her kit – a long-range cannon, a manually placed shield and her slingshot-like Halt ability all give her a strong set of tools that make her useful in any team composition.
She’ll blend well with another Reinhardt to make for an impenetrable defence, or mix with more mobile tanks like Winston or D.Va, who will help rectify Orisa’s biggest drawback – her lack of mobility.
But whether these strong abilities will actually have an effect on the meta and pro player’s decision to use her is currently a little tough to call, so we’ll revisit Orisa’s placement in the coming weeks.
A strong and useful set of abilities that could make Orisa a popular pick for competitive tournaments.
As much as Zarya isn’t a particular thrilling hero, her build does make her a strong option. It’s her sheer force of will that makes her such a key player, an unstoppable health pool, a personal shield to boost that and even a deployable shield that can prevent stuns.
That deployable shield is particularly useful for her team, able to create situations of strong defense as much as opportunities for her allies’ own assault. The fact that it resists all negative effects – like stuns and knockups – only adds extra value to the ability.
Her ultimate, however, is the defining reason she might be played. The gravity well can lock down any heroes caught in it, meaning any attempt at defense or attack can be temporarily put on hold and, if her team follows up, stopped entirely.
One of the tankiest heroes, a great kit of abilities and even does a good deal of damage for a tank class.
D.Va still doesn’t have the consistency to earn her a permanent spot in many teams, but she’s enough viability that she can be a worthwhile pick – especially now we’ve seen the release of Orisa.
Her mobility will help counteract Orisa’s lack of it, and while Winston can offer the same at least D.Va can provide a little more firepower to aid Orisa than the monkey’s close-range combat.
The issue is her ultimate – as powerful and gamechanging as it can be – since it it still rather easy to avoid, especially for pro players who know the telltale signs to look for of a D.Va ready to blow.
Whether D.Va will see a rise alongside Orisa isn’t yet a call we can make, but she has viability when the time comes for it.
He’s a hero that gets a lot of play not just for his ability to take a beating but as much for his utility and since McCree’s big nerf last year much of Roadhog’s options makes him a fair replacement.
It’s the hook that makes him such a useful part of the game. On one hand it can disable troublesome enemy heroes – even swatting airborne Pharah’s from the sky – to disrupt the fight considerably.
But combining that with his shotgun combo can really help turn the tide, a powerful burst of damage that can tear apart other opposing tanks and wipe out pesky damage dealers.
Roadhog might not be much of a threat as a single entity, but a smartly struck hook shot will be the decisive ability in most any team fight.
Winston has his uses and he’ll likely find some use in competitive play but he’s not the must-have he once was. His kit still makes him viable, however, especially now with the release of Orisa. His ultimate in particular gives him that extra sustainability when timed well and can be a great irritant to anyone trying to bring him down, giving him a huge lease of life in battle.
It’s his pace that makes him a threat, though, thanks to his Leap ability that can bring him crashing down into the centre of a fight. It’s perhaps his up-close damage that really makes him such an important pick, if his potential damage is somewhat stifled in contrast to equivalent heroes.
He recently benefited from a adjustment to his hitbox size, too, which makes things a little fairer for the angry ape and may well be enough to see a rise in his use alongside Orisa – whose lack of mobility could be countered by Winston’s in-your-face aggression.
We’ll need to keep an eye on this one to find out if pro teams find much use for him alongside Orisa, but as it stands he’s just too uch of a specific, situational use to provide too much consistent value.
Overwatch Tier List – Support
At this point Lucio is practically mandatory for every match. He was the victim of a damage nerf recently, but that was never Lucio’s benefit anyway; his kit is so significant that even without his measly damage capabilities he’s incredibly useful.
We say mandatory primarily because of his speed boost ability, which is significant since it gives a team the option to initiate or escape a fight.
Any team without a Lucio in their midsts – which, honestly, is pretty rare – suffers since the opposing team can quite easily chase the pack down like a wolfpack on the hunt.
It’s Lucio’s consistency that places him in this tier, making him viable – nay, necessary – for every match.
Ana still remains the newest support in Overwatch, but she’s recovered greatly from her initial launch that saw her get minimal use, though recent nerfs have once again affected her performance.
With that said she certainly offers enough to any team that – in the right hands – she can be a considerable addition, especially since she’s as able to deal damage as she is to heal.
Yet while she is able to do less damage than she once was, she still remains a very strong pick thanks in large part to her well-tooled kit and a gamechanging ultimate.
That ultimate, in fact, that also combines with Orisa’s Supercharge – a combo that, if it takes off in pro play, is likely to give birth to a number of team wipes and create decisive, gamechanging moments.
A strong support in spite of her erratic range in the meta, but one that could become a necessary pick if Orisa becomes a regular apperance.
There are a variety of ways to heal within Overwatch, but Mercy is so prevalent as the key healer that you’d think there were no other alternatives.
This is largely down to her mobility, which – given a skilled player – can mitigate Mercy’s biggest drawback… her squishiness. By flitting around the map, Mercy can be exactly where she needs to be when she’s needed.
Add in a damage-boosting ability and Mercy is an extremely valuable team member whatever the weather.
Only the nerf to Mercy’s ultimate has meant she can’t quite secure a top tier placement.
The meditative robot might’ve once held a position considerably higher than this, but even after his recent buff he’s not quite the hero he once was.
He’s not quite as soft as he once was now and that’s important, but he’s still not the threat that he needs to be. His orbs don’t often the same kind of damage that he could once manage.
It’s in his utility that be might be more of a benefit, and perhaps time will tell now that his ultimate has been buffed to offer a considerable amount of extra healing per second – but for the time being it’s hard to see Zenyatta moving back up the league.
Buffed, but it’s still not enough. Pro players are making a lot of great use for him, but not in lieu of other healers available to them.
Here’s a character that has never really made it in the spotlight; even during the beta she was little more than a decent performer.
This is mostly due to an ignorable shield – an option that is bettered by so many other heroes – and her sometimes-frustrating but easily-overlooked turrets require a lot of preparation and particular locations to be of any real use.
It’s her teleporter that makes her a significant part of a team, but even then this is often only really advantageous on certain maps – an easily defeated benefit, sadly.
While she can be devastating in the right hands, she needs a lot of security to get to that position. Viable for her teleporter alone, but offers very little outside of that.
Overwatch Tier List – Offense
There isn’t a damage dealer that safely secures a position in the top tier, and in truth there are drawbacks to Soldier: 76 that nearly made us drop him a level.
But since the nerf to McCree he’s been a solid pick that can provide a great deal of uses to any team, especially on offence.
In truth he doesn’t really excel in any particular avenue, but his persistent and easy damage at all ranges from his rifle and his extra burst of damage from his helix rockets means he’s never truly insignificant.
It’s his sustainability that makes him most viable, though. Combine his sprint ability – both to escape damage and to reposition himself – with his heal and he becomes a hero that doesn’t need to hide behind a Reinhardt or backed by a Mercy to survive.
His self-sufficient ability to ambush or flank away from the main fight makes Soldier: 76 a safe pick in most any situation.
Now that Widowmaker and McCree have been hit by nerfs, Pharah is free to claim the skies – and now she’s a bit more of a threat.
This is thanks primarily to her aerial ability, keeping her mobile in 3D space not only across the ground. Thanks to this she’s a great choice for overcoming great defence, or sneaking behind an assaulting force.
Her poke is one of the greatest in the roster, too, her rockets giving her the option to deal damage from a great range with relative safety – at least now thanks to the decreased strength of Widowmaker.
The release of Orisa has brought with it a new way of creating defensive blockades, a facet that Pharah’s unique toolset – her ability to fly over barriers or destroy them with relative safety from afar – could help to see her rise in the coming weeks.
A strong pick who could find much more use as we see the meta shift thanks to Orisa.
It’s Genji’s high-damage, high-mobility functionality that gives him a great reason to be played. In truth he’s far more situational than it might first seem – clearing large, open distances aren’t easy for Genji – which is why he’s placed a little lower down.
His ability to deflect attacks back at the opposing team can really help turn the tide for any fight, and that’s what keeps him in the roster selection of most any competitive team.
He does require a high level of skill for him to be of noticeable benefit, but his single-target damage can be unparalleled in the right hands.
Genji has just enough kit value to make him a key member to any team.
She might be an irritant however you look at it, but Tracer just doesn’t have the strength to stand out like she did during the beta.
In fact that’s the best way of describing her: a nuisance. She’s quick, nippy and useful for objective control, but if she’s not able to do much without the support of her team then she’s not really able to offer much by herself.
She can offer just enough to stand out and make a difference, but competitively many players can predict what would have been an otherwise erratic hero to play against.
There are better options, simply put, but Tracer still manages to hold her own on the likes of King Of The Hill.
It’s tough to place Sombra, but a skilled player can make great use of her toolkit and there’s no denying that pro teams have used her very well at times.
It’s her hack ability that makes her most useful – especially a well-timed group EMP – since it opens up opportunities for her team to find their way through a particularly strong defence.
But she has to get into the thick of it to actually make this happen, and that often leaves her exposed and without smart use of her translocator can find her crushed.
She recently had a few subtle tweaks to her abilities that make her harder to detect and her translocator available more often, so we’ve chosen to place her a little higher up the list.
A good pro team will find Sombra useful primarily for her hack ability. Outside of that, there are definitely safer choices.
Alongside Widowmaker, McCree’s nerf had a significant change on just how often he was picked. His damage output is much weaker than it was before, and this makes him a hard choice against other more consistent choices.
The problem is that he’s no longer able to shred tanks at close range like he once was, while his long-range damage is not something you’d want to employ him for.
His flashbang grenade at least brings in enough utility to make him useful in close-range team fights, but the cowboy’s time in the sun has dropped.
A good player can great a lot of use out of McCree, but not the consistent performer he once was.
Gabriel Reyes, or Reaper as he is now known, is a tough hero to place. Without any major influence from Blizzard he’ll likely fit in any number of spots with ease.
Part of this is his kit, which provides just enough strategy and utility to make him a tough challenge to deal with. His ability to teleport behind enemy lines and use his unending array of shotguns to obliterate targets at close range is a considerable threat to any team.
While previously he was overshadowed by McCree in terms of consistent damage, now the cowboy has been slapped down a little (perhaps too aggressively, we’d argue) there’s more room for the likes of Reaper and Soldier: 76.
He is a situational pick, admittedly, but when the moment calls for it Reaper is still a strong threat to any defence.
Perhaps most viable on tighter, close-range maps, Reaper’s kit can still make him useful against a variety of situations.
Overwatch Tier List – Defense
Everyone knows the pain that Bastion used to be, but the nature-loving robot has seen a few tweaks that has helped him move back up the tier lists and into regular play.
He’s still very much a glass-cannon in Sentry Mode and therefore an easy threat for pro teams to deal with, but with his recent tweaks he’s now a little more valuable in Scout Mode too.
Its his specific purpose that means he still seems some play at a competitive level – namely utterly blocking off choke points – but those are few and far between, and even then a co-ordinated assault from a team can bring him down without much consideration.
There aren’t many must-have defence picks, but Bastion – in his current form – is the strongest option.
Useful for one very specific reason and still sees regular play, but recent tweaks have changed his attack options somewhat.
There is actually a lot of utility that makes Mei a hero worth picking in most any situation, though admittedly she’s perhaps better suited to defense than anything else.
Her crowd controlling slow is a threat on either side of the battle, making it tough for opposing players to escape. Her wall of ice is especially important, though, blocking off entire routes, creating immediate defenses or blocking view to set up an escape or even trapping an enemy in the clutches of an allied team.
She requires a good amount of situational awareness to work and a team ready to capitalise on the moments where her abilities really come off, but she’s a good addition to any team.
More useful for her crowd control than her damage dealing abilities, she’s great if a team can synergise together.
Hanzo is a character that rely shines with a good player, and has a toolset to enable the team as much as halt the enemy.
His ultimate can be a huge gamechanger given the right situation, though few teams will ever find themselves falling en-masse to its destruction any more.
The problem is the speed of his damage output – or, rather, lack of. He might be able to achieve some mightily impressive shots at great distances, but to match the likes of Soldier: 76 would take more skill and time, and that’s why he’s placed lower down the list.
His mobility and a useful ultimate – albeit in specific situations – don’t do enough to make up for Hanzo’s slow damage potential.
After her nerf Widowmaker might have dropped considerably more since her damage output is much less consistent now, but she’s still very much viable in the right hands.
But remember this is a competitive level tier list, and we should take that into account. Widowmaker relies on headshots to perform to a level that makes her especially useful, but many pros who regularly use her should have no issue with this.
Add in her map mobility – that can get her to interesting and easily overlooked vantage points – and her ultimate that can provide integral map vision (and therefore control) to her allies makes her a very strong candidate to have on the team.
Her frequency of play belies her place in the tier list, but a skilled player can make Widowmaker a significant part of the team.
There’s no real outstanding element to Junkrat, and while it’s true that he can be useful in the right hands he’s far more situational than he ought to be.
He’s perhaps best utilised on defense character which might be obvious thanks to his trap-based kit, especially in tighter maps. He’s good at halting an advance, even solo, but isn’t capable of dealing quite enough damage to make him a considerable threat.
His low damage – both direct and AOE – is his major downfall, but can still be a nuisance if used properly. It’s tough for him to individually take down characters, which often isn’t enough especially if the enemy team is running a good healing composition.
Situational, but still handy if a good player can combine his abilities with his team-mates well enough.
A big threat to new players, for sure, but Torbjörn is just too easily defeated by a purposeful assault.
His turrets are a pain to encounter, sure, but it’ll likely only ever catch a single player off-guard before it’s promptly turned to scrap. And as a warrior himself Torbjörn is insignificant.
Outside of that there isn’t much value to Torbjörn’s kit and it’s hard to see how the deflated engineer will climb back up the ranks without an huge intervention from Blizzard.
Weak not only in potential damage, but far too easy to defeat for any team to even consider his presence in a game.