Our essential Overwatch hero tier list for Season 5 (June 2017) breaks down the entire roster of characters into their most competitive brackets, with massive guides for each one as well!
We've all got our favourite characters in Overwatch, and although some of them can sometimes appear on paper to be a bit more powerful than others, we take a pretty clear position when it comes to appraising them. All in all we think Blizzard has done an impressive job of crafting a roster of characters which are not only wonderfully distinct from one another, but also pretty well balanced as a collection. The Overwatch team hasn't been shy to introduce buffs and nerfs as and when they've been required, and we only expect the game's tuning to get tighter over time
With all this said and done though, it's fair to say that some heroes prove more consistently useful than others when it comes to contributing to a wide variety of team compositions. As a result, we like to provide a regularly updated snapshot of how the heroes stack up against one another, and do so in the form of the tier list you're reading now.
How exactly have we gone about compiling our list though? For a start, we take our own experience with the current meta into consideration, before factoring in the generally accepted wisdom of the crowd via alternative hero ratings. We also lean somewhat in our rankings towards playing with other random players, rather than team builds favoured by tightly coordinated competitive teams.
All things being equal this list will guide you towards making a solid choice within each category. Having said that, we encourage you to play the characters you enjoy and excel at above all else, and at the same time try to work around the hero picks of your teammates - even if you disagree.
Editor's Note: June Update #1
Not an awful lot has changed or our tier list in June, although we've placed Orisa and Hanzo in a mid-table position for now. They've both been changed for the better in our opinion, but it's far too early to make a judgement on where they fit within the overall hero roster right now. Note that a number of changes are currently being tested on the PTR for McCree, Roadhog and Reaper - we will factor this changes into our ranking once they're actually live in the game.
Editor's Note: June Update #2
With the last patch (1.12) and all the hero changes that came with it, we've done some re-shuffling. McCree and Reaper have been bumped up a tier, thanks to small but impactful buffs. Roadhog has slipped down a rung, due to a slew of nerfs and a major rework to his entire playstyle. With this said, by no means are these changes set in stone and we'll keep monitoring how things play out as Season 5 progresses.
Overwatch hero ranking and ratings
Here's the second version of our Season 5 tier list snapshot, updated again for the month of June.
|Tier 1||Lucio||Lucio guide||Support|
|Tier 2||Soldier: 76||Soldier: 76 guide||Offense|
|Tier 3||Hanzo||Hanzo guide||Defense|
|Tier 4||Junkrat||Junkrat guide||Defense|
|Tier 5||Bastion||Bastion guide||Defense|
When it comes to character design and abilities, Lucio has been one of our favourite Heroes in Overwatch, right from beta through to the present day. In solid hands he can shine as brightly in a random team as he does in truly collaborative pre-made efforts, and although he doesn't have a huge amount of health to play with - and his weapon projectiles are rather wobbly to deliver - his exceptional versatility, flexibility and ability to sustain his teammates and rush them back into action makes him a top tier pick for any team. His speed boost was nerfed fairly hard in a recent patch, but we think it's going to take a lot more than this to knock Lucio out of the highest bracket.
Soldier: 76 [Offense]
It's a little tempting at first glance to think that Soldier: 76 is just another boring run-and-gun Hero - and it's no accident that he's the first character you encounter during the game's tutorial - and yet there's plenty of mastery to be had here despite this surface simplicity. His DPS is very strong, his Sprint ability allows him to get back into the thick of battle nice and quickly, and that group heal can often mean the difference between victory or a rather embarrassing group wipe. He's a solid all-rounder really, and one that shines in skilled hands.
Ana was the first post-launch hero to be added to Overwatch, and although she certainly adds a little extra flavour to the typical team pick, she initially failed to have the kind of significant impact on the metagame that you might like to see from a completely new character. That's changed quite a lot in the wake of a few rounds of re-balancing efforts from the Overwatch developers, and she's now a pretty strong choice of healer.
It would have been tempting a while ago to actually move Reinhardt down the list a little due to the need for teamwork. People have, thankfully, learned that that big glowing shield is there to be hidden behind as the team moves forward as a group. As you can probably imagine, he's an essential choice for any map involving a Payload, but he's also a solid pick for pushing through chokepoints when you need to capture a point. If you don't have a lot of experience with this hero, take some time to practise with the Charge skill, as travel is heavy once you're on your way, and you really want to try and hit a good target with it in the thick of battle.
If Winston's damage output and effectiveness range matched his incredible mobility and health pool, he'd probably need to be nerfed if we're being absolutely honest. While it's true that those particular combat areas feel a little underdeveloped - and arguably prevent Winston from taking a spot higher up in our tier list - we still think he's a solid choice of tank regardless. From harassment potential to raw survivability, he's a fantastic hero all things considered, and one that everyone should spend some time getting to grips with. The developers have kindly reduced the size of his head in a recent update, making him harder to take down.
Hanzo's in an interesting place right now, as he's received a number of buffs. His bow charges much more quickly now, and he can even pre-charge a shot before running up a wall and then immediately letting fly with the arrow he'd prepared. It goes without saying that his Ultimate can be a game-changer if the enemy team is daft enough to stay bunched together - not uncommon in the random queue by any means! We're keeping him in a mid-table position for now, as we've yet to discover what impact these changes will have on the broader metagame.
We wobbled a bit about placing Genji this far down, but we feel as though he's in the right spot for now at least, and during the current stage of the ever-evolving metagame. Part of his placement in this overall ranking will depend largely on your own ability at the game, as he's very tricky to play to a high degree of efficiency. If you can skilfully blend his amazing mobility skills and precision aiming together though, consider placing him a tier higher than he currently is. More than most heroes, how Genji is ranked by anyone is determined largely by your own ability at playing him. Just be warned that it's a tough gig...
We really enjoy playing McCree, and this has only upped since the buff he received in the last patch. This hero comes with a caveat, however, in that you'll need quick reactions to succeed in just about any of the many duels he's likely to find himself in. If you're clumsy with your shots, consider McCree a much lower pick. Having said that, his Flashbang grenade ability is amazing for locking down a squishy kill, and anyone who manages to master this hero can expect make a serious difference to a team's performance on any given map or game mode. Put simply, if you expect lots of close-quarters combat, McCree is an exceptionally potent force on the battlefield.
Pharah's ability to eliminate opponents from above, and do so by dishing out a decent dollop of damage, makes her a really solid pick if you're on the right map. Her amazing vertical mobility allows her to scout the situation from above before making her deadly moves, and then focus on the most problematic threats for your teammates to deal with. A handful of re-balancing updates after the game's launch have made her a bit more vulnerable than she was originally, and as a result she doesn't rank quite as high as she did in the game's earliest months.
We've bumped Reaper up a tier with his re-designed life stealing passive that came with the last patch, as it gives him far more survivability and makes him a nightmare to take down. His teleportation skill also helps him get behind enemy lines fast, which makes him great for picking off Support and long-range damage dealers, and his general damage output is impressive too. With that said, we don't feel he's quite a member of the true elite right now, although we may well change our mind as Overwatch's fifth competitive season plays out. We'll be paying close attention to Reaper in the next edition of our Overwatch tier list and see if he makes more of an impression in the competitive mix.
There was a time when every Overwatch player on earth would have instinctively placed Tracer in the very highest tier of our overall rankings, but things have changed a lot since the earliest days of the beta. Players have wised up a little to her rapid re-positioning skills, and while she's still good at taking out turrets and Bastions, both this hero and Torbjorn have woken up to the immediate danger a Tracer represents. She's a twitchy hero to play as well, and in the wrong hands her playstyle can go to pieces. Skilled players can still shine with this character though, and she's a bit like Genji in that regard.
Much as we enjoy playing Mercy with friends, it does take quite a lot of cooperation for her to excel when played alongside random players. She's got a really fun mix of buffs to play around with, but you need to be among players who are savvy enough to know that they're being sustained by those same buffs - that can be a lot to ask for when you queue up with random players. People are getting a lot better at that in general, and so Mercy is still a pretty solid pick - even if we feel she struggles to give Lucio and Ana a strictly equivalent run for their money.
Zenyatta's surging popularity in Competitive Play and the pro scene last year quickly bled over into Quick Play, which has resulted in a gentle rise up our overall rankings in recent months. We still probably favour Lucio if we could only pick one single Support hero, but don't listen to the naysayers who claim last year's round of nerfs have made Zenyatta significantly weaker than he was before. He's designated as a hard hero to play, believe it or not - you just have to work harder now than you used to in order to get the same results.
While we're pretty big fans of D.Va in general there's no denying she's lost quite a bit of her impact since the community began to wise up to some of her sneakier moves. An early balancing patch made her Defense Matrix skill much more useful, but the most recent changes have affected her performance in the other direction. It all feels a bit up in the air for D.Va right now (no pun intended), but we still love playing her. Situationally she's a good pick.
Orisa's a very welcome new tank for Overwatch, but we're still trying to work out where exactly she sits in the overall roster of the game's heroes. We've definitely taken a shine to her offensive potential though, especially when that's combined with her ability to project shields into some of the tougher pushes in the game. Expect her to move around in the rankings a fair bit over the next couple of months while we find our feet in the current metagame. She's just had another round of rebalancing, and may yet move further up the ranks.
As a Tank Hero, Zarya is stunningly tough to take down and she represents an extremely frustrating obstacle for any enemy team to deal with. Everything about her screams survivability, from her own personal shield that provides a huge buff, to her health pool and the deployable shield that can be used to keep a teammate alive a little longer. Her damage output, which is increased in strength by the damage those very same shields absorb, isn't exactly dreadful either - especially when you consider her defensive nature. A team that does not coordinate itself well is going to have a lot of trouble dealing with Zarya, and will struggle to keep her locked out of the match.
More great Overwatch guides:
Junkrat is another one of those heroes who performs best when working with a solid team, but he's also capable of terrorising the opposition on his own in claustrophobic situations. His weaknesses are pretty obvious - being a character with untargeted damage - no ability to restore health in battle, and nothing particularly special in the way of mobility - beyond the springboard effect he can get from bouncing off his own traps, that is. Saying that though, he is incredibly strong at harassing the enemy team, particularly when you're waiting for your fallen comrades to get back into action and you need to stall the advancing troops. A very good player can have their moments of genuine glory with Junkrat, although they'll have to work a little harder to get them.
Not only does Mei have a whole truckload of annoying crowd-control abilities to frustrate the enemy team with, she can also summon down a massive wall of ice that provides a super-annoying barricade for your future victims to have to deal with. Her excellent, immobilising Ultimate ability does require you to have a team who are savvy enough to capitalise on the opportunity though, so she's by no means a first pick if you're queuing up for a match with randoms. In a well-organised team, however, she can be a bit of a menace for the opposition to deal with. Expect your teammates to roll your eyes a bit when you choose her though.
Roadhog has received a hefty rework, meaning he plays very differently to the one-shot killer of the past. One thing that hasn't changed is his ability to frustrate the enemy team, due in no small part to his intimidating presence which also comes with an equally massive health pool. This physical size, combined with a health regenerating ability, helps him to hang around for a very long time indeed as he pokes at his team's opponents - or just pulls them into range for a massive smack about the head. He's a solid tank that can really change the course of battle when he's played to a high standard. Played poorly though, he can provide the enemy team with a great big sponge with which they can charge up their Ultimate abilities.
Bastion has languished at the bottom of the heap for far too long since his glory days in the beta, when everything he touched turned to pixellated dust. He was nerfed a little too hard for our liking back then, and a recent round of buffs haven't had nearly as much of an impact as we needed. He has his situation strengths when defending, but he's still not the finished article.
There's a lot of love for Torbjorn out there and with very good reason. Turrets always provide a real problem for the opposing team to deal with, and if they lack the wits to switch heroes and neutralise the threat, they'll find themselves on the backfoot for the entire match. The only problem though is that people have long since wised up to the urgency of eliminating this particular threat, and so this hero is struggling to punch hard in the current metagame. You'll still curse turrets and Bastions and swear they're overpowered from time to time, but the reality is that the answers are there to be made use of if you're prepared to make the necessary change.
An extremely accomplished Widowmaker player can cause the enemy team a huge number of headaches, but played strictly solo she can be a somewhat fiddly and fragile character to dominate with. When she's fully zoomed in on the action at hand, she's extremely vulnerable to being eliminated by a flanking aggressor and with no guaranteed protection from a teammate she can be taken out of combat pretty quickly. Her popularity has dwindled quite a bit as well since the first rounds of post-launch balancing by Blizzard, but you could move her up at least one rung if you were truly born to snipe. Those who don't excel at this particular niche will find her a tricky hero to make any real impact with though.
For a time it was hard to tell whether Sombra was hideously under or overpowered in the metagame - and it depended very much on the skill level of any given player. She's another highly situational character who can make a big difference in certain circumstances, but she's a tough pick to go for from the get-go.
There's a lot to like about Symmetra when you take everything into consideration. She's got a fantastic buffing ability in the form of Photon Shield, her Teleporter skill can be used to get fallen comrades back into battle incredibly quickly, and those turrets can do a mean job of nibbling away at the enemy team's health. Unfortunately she doesn't have much in the way of mobility, and while her potential damage is solid, it takes skilled hands to get her to that point and survive long enough to present a significant threat to the enemy. A recent reworking has shaken things up a bit, but she still remains an incredibly situational character.