The Defense category of heroes is one of the most densely populated in Overwatch, and so you're more likely than usual to find yourself asking which of them represents the all-round best character to play. As part of our wider series of guides which rank the various hero categories in the game, we're turning our attention today to these powerhouses of team protection.
As always there a quite a few factors which determine how we've chosen to rank our Defense heroes this month, and not all of them are particularly easy to pin down. There's the wisdom-of-the-crowd aspect to consider when looking at the context of the wider metagame, of course, and no doubt the various tweaks Blizzard will make in the months ahead will also change our opinion over time. We're also taking the general skill level of the broader playerbase into consideration as well - something else that will change, particularly now that Competitive Play is upon us.
Finally, there's the general versatility of each Hero to consider. When you're fighting with random players, certain characters will allow you to make a bigger, broadly effective difference to the tide of battle - whichever map you happen to be fighting on. We'll add our usual caveat which is that - all things considered - you will do better with characters you love to play and will generally work within your current team, instead of one that you feel obliged to pick due to a third-party opinion. That, we think, should be the factor that overrides all others.
With all of that taken into account, then, here's our personal appraisal of the best Defense hero in Overwatch, updated for the month of February. We'll revisit this round-up regularly in the weeks and months ahead, so keep us bookmarked for the latest updates.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Hanzo and Junkrat are still sitting pretty at the top of our tier list, and you may be wondering why Widowmaker isn't higher. It's purely down to the fact that she's highly skill-based. Her ranking can be adjusted depending on what sort of level you're playing the game at. If you're Diamond, Master or higher, then you're far more likely to encounter a Widowmaker who's capable of picking apart your team.
Torbjorn's rework has made him a stronger hero overall, but he's still not versatile enough to play in most situations. He's capable of outputting a surprising amount of damage and can hold down a point nicely, but it's in very niche scenarios where this shines. Otherwise, you're better off picking many other heroes.
Bastion's been buffed too, to the point where he's viable in very specific compositions as a tank shredder. While he's capable of tearing up a team, we haven't bumped him up any spots as he's simply not versatile enough.
Defense hero rankings - Season 14
With Torbjorn's recent rework, the focus has been moved from his turrets and onto Torbjorn himself. He's capable of dealing some frightening damage and now that he can chuck down turrets without having to build them up, he can spend far more quality time pumping out DPS, while his turrets do exactly the same without requiring any time investment.
Unfortunately though, he's still not versatile enough to warrant a pick. He's strong, but only in very specific situations and among very specific hero compositions too. Overall, there are better heroes out there. Although, we still do really enjoy playing him!
In the first of Overwatch's closed betas, Bastion was the absolute scourge of the metagame. A swift nerf to the turrets soon followed, however, and the playerbase quickly got wind to the importance of sending in an assassin to eliminate this threat. A recent patch completely reworked Bastion, attempting to give him a little more versatility, but it didn't quite have the impact Blizzard intended. Despite this, he still remains a highly situational pick which can take enemies by surprise and swing the momentum in your team's favour.
Although every Hero gets their time to shine on particular maps, we increasingly find that it's Mei and her incredible Ice Wall skill that makes an impact. Her freezing effects are nothing to be sniffed at to be sure, but that ability to bloke off a chokepoint or separate a significant enemy from the rest of the pack is proving to be an increasingly game-changing play. The Defense roster has always felt a bit duff, but Mei's probably where she belongs in this category.
While we are - by confession - not the most accomplished sharpshooter in the game by any means, a skilled Widowmaker can make absolute mincemeat out of the opposition. In the right hands she's superb at protecting a point in defense, or taking out the trash so her teammates can keep pushing forwards. Versatile and deadly is always a good combination in Overwatch, and few Defense heroes can make a better claim to those two qualities.
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We're big fans of Junkrat at Metabomb, and once you've mastered the scattergun nature of his core attacks you'll find yourself capable of operating as a one-man army. Wherever there are corridors and alleyways, you'll be sure to find a Junkrat. While he hasn't always been a top-tier member of the Overwatch Defense squad, he's definitely a strong pick right now - not only that, even beginners can do well with this particular Hero.
The recent slew of changes to Hanzo's kit have seen him shoot up our tier list in recent months. It's his ability to fire highly damaging arrows at a frightening pace, all while clambering around the map with ease. Let's not forget the power of Dragon Strike which can wipe out an entire team if they get caught in it's clutches. While he's a defense hero, he's now got the aggressive capabilities of an offense hero, and this is what makes him our top pick.