Our essential Overwatch hero tier list for Season 5 (August 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: August Update
We’ve made some big changes to our tier list as we move into August, with a hero shuffle that truly reflects the meta at this point in time. A number of heroes who’ve always found themselves at the top have finally seen a drop in ranking, while others have seen a bump in the opposite direction.
It’s also worth noting that this list isn’t final, and we’ll constantly update it as heroes receive changes throughout the month. We already know that drastic Roadhog and Junkrat tweaks are in the works, so keep an eye on this page to see if they’ll have a severe impact on their rankings in the near future!
We've also dropped Doomfist into the middle of the table for now, as his impact on the metagame can't be determiend yet - expect a change here once he's been around on the live servers for a little longer.
Overwatch hero ranking and ratings
Here's the second version of our Season 5 tier list snapshot, updated again for the month of August.
|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.
We’ve bumped Winston up to the dizzying heights of Tier 1 - and for good reason too. His enormous health pool coupled with unrivalled mobility makes him an unstoppable force that’s able to jump on the backline and zap vulnerable targets with minimal effort. There’s almost an obnoxious level of survivability to his kit at the moment, and with a deployable bubble shield he can share it with his teammates too. No other hero can match his aggression, map traversal and ability to take out low health targets. He's simply, one of the most versatile heroes in Overwatch.
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.
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 even more of an impression in the competitive mix.
We’re seeing more and more of Mercy in competitive play, even in the treacherous world of solo queue. With the rise of more aggressive “Dive” compositions, she’s a brilliant way of countering a team wipe by tucking herself away in a corner of the map and Resurrecting everybody as they go down. Although there’s an element of coordination to playing her well, she’s certainly no slouch when it comes to throwing her in the mix with randoms. She’s able to flit from ally to ally easily dodging enemy fire, while forcing the enemy to come and find her in every engagement - otherwise they’ll never win a teamfight.
Zenyatta’s seen a surge in competitive play and in our tier list too. As more and more games are beginning to feature aggressive team compositions, Zenyatta compliments them perfectly by sitting in the background, healing and slinging orbs with giddy abandon. No other Support hero matches his damage output, and with the rise of Genji, Tracer and Winston, his Discord orb couldn’t be more important in shutting them down quickly. We understand that he’s a trickier hero to master than some of the other Supports, but there’s enough strength in his kit to warrant a bump up the rankings.
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's 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.
As Doomfist has recently joined Overwatch’s hero roster, we’ve decided to place him mid table for now. We reckon he’s very strong in the right hands, able to blitz around the battlefield and one-shot opponents with one punch. Get over zealous though, and you’ll be left completely stranded. He’s pretty unforgiving in this regard and unless you’ve poured quite a few hours into him, prepare to put yourself out of position over and over again. For now, we’ll have to wait and see where he’ll fit into the meta as time goes by. Keep your eyes on this page for an update soon!
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 skillfully 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 even more so since his latest buff. This hero comes with a caveat, however, in that you'll need quick reactions to succeed in just about any of the many duels you're likely to find yourself 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 to 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 once did in the game's earliest months.
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 - she's a bit like Genji in that regard.
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 have seen 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 though, and she's now a pretty strong choice of healer.
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.
Ever since she launched, Orisa's struggled to break out of a mid-table position. Her strongest asset is being able to push through a choke point along with her team, and she’s able to dish out a surprising amount of damage if you’re actually able to master her Fusion Driver’s finicky bullet delay. When it comes to dealing with the vast majority of heroes thouh she struggles to keep up, and can quickly be overwhelmed by those who can take down her barriers with ease or whittle her down with cheap shots from every angle.
Reinhardt’s position towards the top of our tier list for many seasons has finally come to an end. Sure, he’s still pretty strong as a frontline tank, but a number of bugs and nerfs have really put a dampener on his performance. As we’ve progressed further into Season 5, the likes of Winston and even D.Va are starting to eclipse him with their higher movement speeds and ability to deal with flankers like Genji and Tracer more effectively. We never thought we’d see the day, but Reinhardt is beginning to show some signs of weakness! There’s a part of us which misses the big guy, and we hope Blizzard irons out his problems soon.
As a Tank, 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.
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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 mines. Saying that, he is incredibly strong at harrassing 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 we've enjoyed in 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 Ultimates.
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 situationalso strengths when defending, but he still doesn't feel like the finished article to us.
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 make an argument 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.