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Ana guide - 2017 - Overwatch

Our essential guide to playing the latest addition to Overwatch's roster of Support heroes.

Updated 24th February 2017: Our Ana guide contains everything you need to know about mastering this Overwatch Hero, with plenty of ability and strategy tips.

To give a very simplistic overview of Overwatch's latest addition to the Support category of heroes, Ana is a sniper who can fire healing shots at her allies using her long-range weapon, or alternatively use the very same weapon to inflict damage on her opponents. She also brings some very cool crowd control options to the table as well, and our comprehensive Ana guide will show you how to make the most out of all them.

Most interesting of all here is Ana's powerful Ultimate ability called Nano Boost. True to Ana's nature as a Support hero, this special skill actually empowers a teammate of hers and puts the friendly target into a frenzied state. When enraged in this manner they'll take 50% less damage from the enemy team, and inflict their own damage against their chosen targets 50% harder than usual.

If that's all starting to make Ana sound like a rather overpowered addition to the game, note she lacks the hard mobility of other long-range Heroes such as Widowmaker. She has no hard escape options that can be used to get out of a bind either, and although her Sleep Dart can be used to temporarily deal with a close-quarters attacker, it's not easy to land the short in the thick of a firefight. Mastery of every map is key when it comes to playing Ana to a high degree of skill - and staying alive.

In our essential Ana guide, we've got a breakdown of all of her core abilities, and how you should use each one to make the biggest impact in battle. We also have some tips which we think will help you get off to a fast start with the character, and we're also in the process of adding map-specific advice for this hero. You'll also find information about who counters Ana - and who her preferential targets are - further on in this guide as well. Finally, we've got a breakdown of all the customisation options you can unlock for her.

Got any questions about getting more out of Ana? Ask away in the comments section and we'll do our best to help you get to grips with this hero!

Editor's note - Update #5: We've given our Ana hero guide a pretty drastic overhaul, adding new tips along with some map-specific advice. We've also added a video guide which you should find a very interesting watch, and tidied up the cosmetic section too. There have been a lot of new seasonal items added to the game in recent months, after all, and so you'll now be able to view them all right here.

BREAKING! - A new map is coming to Overwatch. Our Horizon Lunar Colony guide is live on the site now!

Ana abilities and strategy tips

First things first, let's have a look at all of Ana's fundamental skills.

Biotic Rifle [LMB] - This weapon injects health into any friendly target it's fired at, or damage into bad guy targets. Easy enough really, and you don't have to worry about switching between modes as it's all automatically taken care of. Note that you get no bonus healing effects for landing a headshot, so just go for the fattest part of the body to ensure your shot lands. That's the most important thing.

Sleep Dart [LSHIFT] - A tap of the left shift button will fire a dart at an enemy, immobilising them temporarily. Note that the effect only lasts for five seconds, so make sure you know what your next move is going to be if you want to survive! Sleep Dart is great for stopping Ultimates in their tracks, but do keep in mind that anything that blocks projectiles will block this shot too - think of the various shields and abilities in the game that can do this.

Biotic Grenade [E] - This projectile device will both heal allies and damage enemies within a small radius from its landing point. Once the grenade has detonated, team members gain more benefit from all healing sources, while enemy targets cannot be healed for the duration.

Nano Boost [Q] - Want to turbocharge a friend? Apply Nano Boost to them and they'll both take less damage, and dish out more of their own pain. If you coordinate with a teammate's own Ultimate, they'll be able to throw out an astonishing amount of damage - and likely live long enough to see it all play out as well! If you've got an Ana on your team, you'll know if you've been boosted by the blue glow that appears around your HUD. Boosted enemies will appear with a red enrange glow. You probably want to run away from them...

Ana's been out for long enough now that there's a wealth of knowledge to be tapped into. Here are some very valuable tips that should help you get off to a very strong start indeed with this character.

  • You will find it much easier to land your Sleep Darts against Ultimates that require the Hero in question to be somewhat vulnerable. Think of characters like McCree, Pharah and Reaper here - they should be your priority immoblisation targets if they're getting ready to let rip.
  • There are more refined methods of dealing with a stubborn turret or portal, but do keep in mind that your Biotic Grenade will do a certain amount of damage to items that have been built on the battleground by the enemy team.
  • Although you should certainly throw some damage into the mix, there's a reason your friendly targets have a hitbox that's around 50% bigger than enemy targets. Don't forget that you are first and foremost there to heal your team!
  • If you're becoming frustrated by a deadly enemy assassin who has their own pocket Mercy available to them, use the grenade to interrupt any healing against that target.
  • Ana is best played on a well coordinated team, so bring a headset and make sure you work with your allies. Sleeping targets wake up once damaged, so be sure your team knows who you're disabling so that they can focus their attention elsewhere, then return to the napping enemy.
  • If you're ambushed, it's crucial that you land your Sleep Dart so that you can flee to safety quickly. Because of the lengthy cooldown on this ability, it's vital that it lands first time. Consider dropping a Biotic Grenade nearby to keep you in the fight while you wait to fire off your dart.
  • Should you see purple crosses on your screen, you've been tapped by an enemy Ana's Biotic Grenade and will not benefit from any healing sent your way. You should fight much more conservatively until this effect wears off.
  • The nature of Lucio's aura healing means that he should be a prime target for Biotic Grenade in a firefight.
  • Nano Boost is, predictable enough, most effective when applied to offense-orientated characters who can take out a huge number of targets during their Ultimate use. Think of characters like Genji, Soldier: 76 and Reaper in particular.

Ana counters and match-ups

Here's a quick snapshot of who Ana is strong against in Overwatch, and who can really ruin her day.

Ana is strong againstAna is weak against

Ana obviously excels at shutting down enemy healers and giving her own team a chance to mop up a whole lot of victims. She's good at dealing with Roadhog as well though, and putting a stop to his powerful self-healing.

Anyone who can get up close and personal is a big threat to Ana, however. Along with the three highlighted above, you should also watch out for characters like D.Va, Reaper and Widowmaker.

Our most popular Overwatch guides:

Unit Lost's Ana video guide

We're big fans of the Unit Lost series of video guides for Overwatch's heroes. If you want a closer look at how you should be playing this character, make sure you watch the whole thing - there's some great advice all throughout:

Ana map tips and tactics

Here are a few tips for playing Ana on each kind of map in Overwatch. We'd love to hear about your own map-specific tips in the comments!

Ana: Assault tips (Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries)

You need to be extremely nimble playing Ana on these sorts of maps, staying back to avoid being the target of the enemy's attention, while of course being near enough to rapidly switch healing priorities. Good Ana plays requires a lot of team coordination in general, and never more so than on these kind of maps which require big pushes.

Ana's Ultimate (along with her healing shutdown) is obviously her main strength on Assault maps. You should coordinate with a team mate so they can maximise their own offensive Ult and clear out the control point, or just obliterate a greedy enemy team's approach to holding a choke. The same advice works from a defensive perspective as well, of course.

Ana: Control tips (Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis)

Ana: Escort tips (Dorado, Route 66, Watchpoint: Gibraltar)

Coming soon!

Ana: Hybrid tips (Hollywood, Eichenwalde, King's Row, Numbani)

Coming soon!

Ana Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines

Here's a quick look at all of the items you can unlock for Ana via Loot Boxes.

Captain Amari1000Legendary
Not Impressed250Epic
Take A Knee250Epic
Tea Time250Epic
Victory Pose
Folded HandsSeasonalRare
Mission Complete75Rare
Voice Line
Are You Scared?SeasonalCommon
Children, Behave25Common
Everyone Dies25Common
I'm Watching Out For YouSeasonalCommon
It Takes A Woman To Know It25Common
Justice Delivered25Common
Justice Rains From Above25Common
Learn From The PainSeasonalCommon
Mother Knows Best25Common
No Scope Needed25Common
Someone To Tuck You In?25Common
The Moon In WinterSeasonalCommon
What Are You Thinking?25Common
Witness Me25Common
You Know Nothing25Common
Highlight Intro
Locked On250Epic

Comment on this article

  • SurelyIndecisive #1 26 days ago
    Ana is most definitely one of the hardest heroes to master in Overwatch. At my level: Gold/Bottom Platnium that decay, she's not used very much for reasons you've noted she needs to be more effective; she needs a headset and a team around her. Gold has proved to not have a ton of teams or headsets. Gold players and below rely on Mercy to have the bailout plan of a res, and I'm frequently asked to not solo heal as Ana.

    Ana just needs a little help. I believe Reinhardt is her absolute best friend, and Lucio is a very close second.

    With some support, and remembering your role (often in gold no one is dealing with the Pharah, and i am left to try and handle it) Ana is a house and awesome member of most comps.

    For Season 5, she is one of my four heroes that i will be logging a ton of time with. I'm Pushing for Platinum this season, and am hoping this character is a huge part of that.
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