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Symmetra guide - 2017 - Overwatch

Our massive guide to Symmetra has all of the strategy tips and ability advice you could possibly need.

Updated 6th January 2017: Our Symmetra guide contains everything you need to know about playing this Hero like a pro, with plenty of ability and strategy tips.

While she's an incredibly potent Support Hero in her own right - and on her own terms - perhaps the most remarkable thing about Symmetra is that she doesn't actually possess any healing abilities to boost her allies with whatsoever. That's quite a disadvantage for a Hero like this, of course, but instead it's her various technical gizmos and gadgets that do the work hard to keep her teammates sustained throughout the course of a battle. Not only that, they can be extremely frustrating for the enemy team to deal with.

For a start, her cheap and cheerful shields provide a small amount of respite for her allies, and her Sentry Turrets can be used to cause absolute chaos for any team that's trying to penetrate your defenses - when they're placed mischievously well, of course. Did we mention she can create a portal that her team can jump through? She can, thus ensuring that both Symmetra and her teammates spend as little time running back into battle from the spawn room as possible. An enemy team that fails to locate this device will find themselves on the backfoot very quickly indeed. She also has an alternative Ultimate, which allows her to place a radiating shield effect for her friends during intense brawls.

This is all very cool stuff, of course, but like all Overwatch Heroes Symmetra does have her drawbacks to ensure things stay reasonably well-balanced. She can only ever compliment a true healer on the team, for example, and that means giving up a more offensive slot elsewhere. Her beam weapon also has a pretty poor range when you take a hard look at the numbers. While her alternative, charged-up damage Orbs cut through enemies pretty cleanly, they also light up her position on the battlefield like a Christmas tree which is far from ideal. All things considered it can be tough to stay useful - and alive - as Symmetra if you're inexperienced with her unique playstyle.

With all that said and done, don't let these shortcomings put you off. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way here, and Symmetra is actually one of the most tactically satisfying Heroes you can play in Overwatch. Our Symmetra guide will get you up to speed on all of the basics nice and quickly, and ensure you live long enough for your team to benefit from all of those fabulous game-changing gizmos.

Don't forget to let us know of your own favourite Symmetra tips in the comments section, and we'll add them to our guide-in-progress the next time we revisit this article.

Editor's note - Update #3: We have now updated our Symmetra guide to take into account the significant changes that were made to this character towards the end of 2016.

BREAKING! - Ready for a celebration? We've got the expected Overwatch: Anniversary start times for every region around the world.

Symmetra's abilities and strategy tips

Symmetra is classed by the developers as one of the easier characters to play in Overwatch, and we reckon she's a pretty solid choice for those who are relatively new to the Support category of Heroes. Don't underestimate the challenge of really and truly mastering her, however, as her most powerful strategic plays require no small amount of tactical insight.

To kick things off, here's a quick look at all four of the core abilities that define Symmetra as a character. We'll go through the basics of getting to grips with her skillset, then highlight some tasty tips for making an amazing impression on your teammates.

Photon Projector [LMB] - As long as Symmetra's beam is focused upon an enemy, it will slowly juice up in power from Level 1 to Level 3, at a rate of one level per second. The third level of power does four times as much damage as the first, but if you break contact you'll go straight back to Level 1. For this reason, it's vital that you keep track of your enemy at all times. If you look at your gun, you'll actually see a power status indicator which grows in size as you gain levels.

Photon Projector Orbs [RMB] - As an alternative to your typical beam-based firepower, you can hold down the right mouse button to fire off powerful Orbs at your opponent. Charge it for up to two seconds to give it maximum oomph, then let rip - notice the expanding circle within your reticule which indicates the charge level. Keep in mind that this Orb will pass through shields and barriers too, and damage anything that it comes into contact with as it travels.

Sentry Turret [LSHIFT] - You'll be astonished at how many teams run around like headless chickens, completely unable to locate your turrets that slowly fizzle through their collective health pool. Multiple turret damage stacks against a single target, but the turret damage won't pass through the shields of any tanks that wander by. You can have six of these mechanical traps active at any one time and, handily enough, you also see on your UI when your turrets are firing - share the intel with your team! See the tips section below for more detail on managing these amazing defensive units.

Photon Barrier [E] - Rather than applying a shield to a single target - as per her original design - Symmetra is now capable of providing her teammates with a moving shield that travels directly ahead of her. The shield persists until the little ball at the centre of the barrier collides with a solid object.

Teleporter / Shield Generator [Q] - Get your Teleporter placement right and you'll force the enemy team to waste precious time tracking it down while your teammates enjoy a respawn right into battle. All you have to do is pick a spot, place it, and then its counterpart connecting portal will be automatically added to the spawn room. Only 6 allies can pass through the teleporter before it expires though, after which you'll start charging up your Ultimate once more. Check out the tips section for advice on how to place this powerful device.

As of late-2016, Symmetra can alternatively choose to place a Shield Generator near her allies by pressing Q again. This is useful for providing additional protection during particularly intense team fights.

It can be quite tricky to make even a simple Hero like Symmetra shine when you first start playing her. To help you get to grips with the character faster, here are some helpful tips that should help you improve your game pretty quickly.

  • You ideally want to place turrets in spots that the enemy won't immediately notice. Consider positions that are right by the entrance to a room, but up in the inside corners. Think also of objects you can slap them on as well, and try to space them out so they're not taken out in one AOE shot. Keep them high in the air when you can, so they're not easily destroyed by ground-based splash damage - they don't have a lot of health, so they can't take much incidental damage.
  • Like Winston's Tesla Cannon, Symmetra's weapon auto-aims when you fire it. Take full advantage of this to focus on your mobility, and make a tough target of yourself for the other character to hit. Strafe, jump around and do whatever it takes to frustrate your opponent while your beam keeps on chugging away. Just make sure no scenery gets between you and your target, or the beam will break.
  • Symmetra's slow-moving damage orbs are easy for enemies to dodge in wide open spaces, but a lot more deadly when used along corridors and other tight sections of the map. Concentrate your alternate fire along the more claustrophobic spots of a map.
  • You can choose to either focus your turrets in one place, such as a chokepoint to cause maximum chaos, or spread them out. They won't do as much damage that way, but you will get a much broader sneak peek at enemy activity. Remember to share this information with your teammates so that you can all capitalise on this exceptionally useful intelligence.
  • You need to be really imaginative with your use of turrets as certain placements have already become rather passe. One spot that's quite new to consider is on the Payload itself. It's not a major frustration for the enemy, but it will buy your team some precious time to take charge of the situation.
  • Keep an eye on the number just to the right of your Ultimate charge indicator. This shows how many of the six teleports are remaining on your current Portal. Once they've expired, you'll start charging up your Ultimate once more.
  • Keep your Teleporter well out of sight of the enemy, but positioned somewhere near to the objective your team is either attacking or defending at the time. A well-placed portal can leave the enemy team struggling to stay on so much as an even footing with your own team. A badly placed portal, on the other hand, is a waste of what makes Symmetra such a powerful ally!
  • Teleporter portals are very much a one-way trip, and you can't use them to get back to the spawn room. Keep in mind as well that team members will emerge from the portal facing the same direction that you were when you placed it on the map. This can be vital for giving your team an immediate view of what they're about to get stuck into. (A view of a wall, on the other hand, is not so useful...)

Symmetra counters and match-ups

Because of Symmetra's very specialised role and lack of healing support, it's crucial you minimise any downtime, any way that you can. For that reason it's important to have a basic understand of who Symmetra's counters are in Overwatch.

Here's a quick look at how she stacks up against her three most important counter-Heroes right now.

Symmetra is strong againstSymmetra is weak against

You shouldn't expect to come out of too many duels looking pretty as Symmetra. Fortunately she can put in a strong performance against the likes of D.Va and Reinahrdt, as her orbs pass through those tank's defenses as though they weren't even there. She also stands up as well against Bastion as he's so often stationary.

On the other hand, a Junkrat can obliterate all of your well-placed turrets and leave you feeling rather exposed. Equally, if Roadhog or Pharah get their sights on you, you are about to find yourself in some serious trouble.

For help with other Heroes, make sure you check out our complete Overwatch: Counters guide.

Map-specific tactics for Symmetra

Coming soon!












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Symmetra Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines

Just like every other Hero in the game, there are loads of new skins, emotes and bits and bobs you can unlock for Symmetra. Here's what's currently available for her, and how much money - or luck - you'll need to add them to your stash.

Victory Pose
Voice Line
Everything By Design25Common
How Unsightly25Common
I Don't Think So25Common
Perfect Harmony25Common
Put You In Your Place25Common
Welcome To My Reality25Common
Why Do You Struggle25Common
Highlight Intro
My Reality250Epic

Comment on this article

  • jakegerstein94 #1 A year ago
    Symetra's shield only gives 25 shields in the full game, not 50.
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  • Bedders #2 A year ago
    @jakegerstein94 Thanks for letting us know! Must've have slipped through the net when we updated this guide from beta to launch.
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  • danielhendricks38 #3 A year ago
    Placement of her turrets is key. Avoid grouping them where one shot can destroy several of them, but also ensure that several can hit the target. One high, one on the left, and one on the right ensure that it will take at least a few seconds for someone to get them all. High placement is always good as targeted players entering the area will usually think it is a ground level assault and look around before looking up.

    Placing them not just at choke points, but in locations where others often go is usually a good move. Just out of sight below usual sniper perches will not only give them something to worry about, it will draw laser arrows at any who trigger it, giving your team some nice shots at the sniper. Putting two on the ceiling above healing packs is a great way to kill wounded enemies desperately seeking health. Likewise, a small array guarding your teleporter is likely to gain kills.

    Remember that they will be outlined in red and look for places to hide them: behind bushes, window and door frames, or where ever. Unlike Torbjorn's turret, these things have minimal range and tiny amounts of health, so you need to think stealth when placing them.
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  • GLoveJr #4 A year ago
    Her gun doesn't go back to level one when sight is broken. It takes a while similar to Zarya gun.
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  • A good thing to note is that Symmetra's orb can go through shields like Reinhardt and Winston so when there are people behind this shields you can spam the orbs
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  • LavenderSkeletons #6 A year ago
    A few of fixes to this guide:

    - As stated by GLoveJr, Symmetra's primary fire does not immediately reduce back to Level 1 damage after the beam is broken. It takes a couple of seconds to reduce back to that, so if you manage to reach Level 3 damage with your beam and kill an enemy, you can chain together kills on other targets if they are near by, as your high damage input will have carried over.
    This can often lead to two or more enemies waiting in respawn (as well as some important picks such as the mercy) or deal considerable damage to a tank, but if you stay out there too long it will likely get you killed. It's a balance of keeping the damage ramped up and keeping yourself alive to fight another day.

    - Winston is Symmetra's biggest counter. Due to the lock-on nature of his Tesla cannon and the fact that Symmetra's turrets basically have 1 hit point, Winston can easily take out Turrets, whether clumped together or on their own. To further this counter, Winston's Barrier will protect him the Symmetra turrets whilst he can sit cosy within the bubble taking out the turrets. And when it comes to Symmetra herself versus Winston, his Tesla cannon with it's lock-on will kill Symmetra before she can deplete two thirds of Winston's health pool, as the Photon Projector and Tesla Cannon have similar ranges and Winston also has his Barrier to break the beam.

    - The direction that teammates will look in after going through the teleporter is opposite of where Symmetra was looking when she was placing the teleporter.
    For example, if Symmetra places a teleporter whislt looking at a corner and there are some crates behind the Symmetra, teammates will face out of the corner and see the crates which were behind Symmetra when she placed the teleporter.
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  • Bedders #7 9 months ago
    Thanks for all of the suggestions here and I'm sorry they've not been picked up earlier. I'm doing a complete overhaul of the guide tomorrow to take in all the new changes - I'll also include some of your advice! John
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  • Ginnnny #8 7 months ago
    Hey thanks for the great guide just wanted to comment on symmetra matchups as she is my main character (im a diamond with 140 symm ranked hours)

    DVA (defence matrix blocks orbs, counters turrets/tele/shieldgen and wins upclose)
    MACREE (upclose sym cant even get a shot off long/medium range lol)
    WINSTON (wins 1v1 every time and counters turrets/tele/shieldgen)
    TRACER (Tracer impossible for sym to fight plus she counters turrets/shieldgen/tele)
    Mei (freeze gun beats photon beam every time and turrets)

    PHARA (hard to hit if far away)
    ROADHOG (Although shield counters hook he has too much health for sym to finish off before dying)

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