Our essential Overwatch hero tier list for Season 11 (August 2018) breaks down the entire roster of characters into their most competitive brackets, with massive guides for each one as well!
Another big patch has gone live, meaning that we're in the process of figuring out the meta for ourselves. We've not made any changes to our tier list just yet as we reckon it's best to wait until things have settled down and we know for certain who the winners and losers of the update are. Check out our "Editor's Update" section below for more detail.
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 #2
Post Patch 9
First, lets start off with what's changed since our last update:
- Hammond is now live in competitive matchmaking.
- A new patch has introduced a host of buffs and nerfs.
Here's what changes Patch 9 has brought to the table:
- Lucio - Crossfade: Aura radius increased from 10 to 12 meters.
- Lucio - Sound Barrier: Temporary shields granted increased from 500 to 750.
- Moira - Biotic Grasp: Passive healing regeneration increased from 2/sec to 2.4/sec.
- Ana - Nano Boost: Range increased from 30 to 40 meters and instantly heals 300 health.
- Symmetra - Photon Projector: Primary Fire range increased from 10 to 12 meters.
- Transform and Channel Ultimates now refill ammo for some heroes: Zenyatta, Junkrat, Pharah, Genji, Roadhog and Winston.
- Hanzo - Lunge: Cooldown increased from 4 to 5 seconds.
- Widowmaker - Grappling Hook: Cooldown increased from 8 to 10 seconds.
- Mercy - Caduceus Staff: Healing beam reduced from 60 to 50 healing per second.
- Brigitte - Shield Bash: Cooldown increased from 6 to 7 seconds.
- Zarya - Energy Charge: Drain rate reduced from 2 to 1.6 per second.
- Zarya - Gravtion Surge: Radius reduced from 8 to 6 meters.
At the time of writing, the meta is still settling down as the community gets to grips with all the nerfs, buffs and Hammond's presence in matches. This makes it difficult for us to make a definitive tier list, but we've put together a collection of thoughts below on what direction the meta might take in a couple of weeks time.
- We expect Ana's pick rate to soar with the buff she's received. A burst of 300 healing when Nano-boosting targets will make a world of difference in fights and essentially bring low health heroes back from the brink.
- We're already seeing more of Lucio on streams and in the games we've played since the patch went live. He's received a solid buff overall and works well with aggressive dive comps.
- Symmetra's in the best spot she's ever been in since launch, and while she's a niche pick that works very well in some situations, and terribly in others, we'll be seeing more of defensive capabilities on maps with many chokepoints like King's Row. Expect her to rise up our tier list.
- Mercy's seeing a little drop off in pickrate, but time will tell if she'll fall from grace.
- Zarya's still in the competitive mix for now and her toolkit is still strong with the right comp. We can't see her dropping off anytime soon.
- Brigitte's still fantastic when paired with Reinhardt, Zarya, D.Va, Moira and Lucio (GOATS comp). It's going to take a lot more to bring her down.
How has Hammond impacted competitive play?
It's definitely a mixed bag.
Hammond excels on maps that give him enough space and verticality to harrass the enemy team and set up devastating flank setups. His Piledriver ability is a great initiation tool, but only if he's got the right team to back him up. If there isn't enough healing to bail him out, or enough burst damage to take advantage of the knock up, then it might be time to swap to another hero.
We've found Hammond pairs well with dive compositions - naturally. Heroes like Zenyatta, Lucio, Winston, D.Va, Tracer and Genji are all able to keep up with his pace and follow up on any initiation opportunities he finds. Even Zarya and Mercy work well in certain situations, especially as Zarya can bubble him up and Mercy can both heal him easily and take advantage of his verticality to escape danger.
It's early days, so it's hard to say this definitively, but teams with Mei, Sombra and Brigitte make things a lot harder for Hammond. They're all able to stop him in his tracks and completely nullify any of the threat he brings to fights.
Overwatch hero ranking and ratings
Here's our Season 11 tier list snapshot, updated for the month of August.
We've placed Wrecking Ball mid-tier as we reckon he's strong, but only in the right hands. It's also very early days, so it's difficult to confidently place him any higher as the meta hasn't settled yet. Stay tuned for a further update as the meta find its feet!
|Tier 1||Reinhardt||Reinhardt guide||Tank|
|Tier 2||Zarya||Zarya guide||Tank|
|Soldier: 76||Soldier: 76 guide||Offense|
|Tier 3||Lucio||Lucio guide||Support|
|Wrecking Ball||Wrecking Ball guide||Tank|
|Tier 4||Mei||Mei guide||Defense|
|Tier 5||Bastion||Bastion guide||Defense|
Reinhardt’s back in a big way and his pick rate is currently through the roof at all levels of play. It’s all thanks to his huge barrier that can protect an entire backline, as well as the devastating potential of a correctly timed Earthshatter. He can hold a team together and simultaneously crush an opposing one in a matter of seconds.
Let’s not forget that he’s got great synergy with the likes of Brigitte and Zarya who’ve also seen a rise in popularity too. Their ability to chuck armour and shields his way makes him an even stronger defensive force on the battlefield.
Hanzo’s been climbing the ranks alongside Reinhardt, and he’s been really strong since Blizzard’s rework. He’s got fantastic mobility, coupled with the ability to one-shot a multitude of heroes and it’s extremely difficult to play against a Hanzo who’s landing all their shots and scurrying all over the map.
Despite some nerfs, Junkrat’s still holding strong in the DPS role thanks to his immense burst damage that’s perfect for breaking shields and shutting down the frontline. Much like Hanzo, he’s remarkably agile and players can really struggle to deal with his constant barrage of bombs.
Junkrat's traps will also play a large part in countering Wrecking Ball whenever he makes an appearance in the competitive scene.
Brigitte’s burst onto the competitive scene and she’s a common sight in 90% of our matches. She’s not really much of a healer, but she functions amazingly well as an off-tank who provides some additional frontline presence as well as the ability to armour up her allies.
On top of all this, she synergises well with many shield-based heroes, and can switch from being defensive to stunning an enemy down in the blink of an eye. The utility she provides is exceptional and it’s no wonder she occupies the upper echelons of our Overwatch tier list right now.
Mercy's hardly fallen from grace since her nerf a little while back. Although she's not the invulnerable healing menace that she once was, many players in all tiers are still playing her, and for good reason too. Strong, reliable single-target healing and an Ultimate ability that gives her serious survivability while keeping teammates topped up? She's going to be sticking around for a while.
Zarya’s another tank who’s seen a rise in popularity once again and that’s down to the fact that she compliments Reinhardt and Brigitte so nicely. Her bubble shield can soak up damage from meta heroes like Hanzo and Junkrat, which feeds her energy bar really quickly and builds her strong Ultimate ability.
Zarya’s Ultimate also combos well with Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, Reinhardt’s Earthshatter and many more besides. She’s a super flexible pick who’s able to wrench her allies out of danger while increasing her power at the same time.
Pharah’s another hero who’s seen a steady increase in pick rate throughout Season 10 and for much the same reasons as the ascendency of both Hanzo and Junkrat. She’s mobile, deals high burst damage and pairs up nicely with all the other meta heroes. Tag team her with Mercy and you’ve got a classic combination that forces the enemy into re-thinking their team composition just to deal with you.
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’re still seeing a lot of Zenyatta as he’s able to counter and compliment what’s strong in the meta right now. His Transcendence is capable of negating a Dragonstrike and Graviton Surge, while his Discord and Healing Orbs are great for both removing vulnerable targets and ensuring allies are safe.
In solid hands Lucio 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 strong pick for any team.
Unfortunately he’s just not as potent as the other Supports right now.
Once one of the strongest heroes in the game, D.Va’s had a real fall from grace in recent times. While she’s not terrible by any means, she’s just more easily countered by stuns and burst damage than she was before. Her Ultimate can be shut down easily with barriers, and her mech’s especially vulnerable to Zarya’s laser beam.
D.Va's still pretty strong if you accept the fact that she's not incredibly strong at absolutely everything. In order to have an impact, you'll have to play an almost supportive role dipping in and out of fights and soaking up damage with Defense Matrix to save your most vulnerable teammates.
Looking at the meta right now, Genji’s definitely taken quite a hit. Much like Tracer - who’s a little further down this page - his skillset revolves around harassing enemies with Shurikens and closing down vulnerable targets. Shields and armour make his job much harder, especially as many enemies in the meta are now able to stun or burst him down in seconds.
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 now a really tough gig...
Ana was the first post-launch hero to be added to Overwatch, and although initially she had a huge impact on the meta, she’s definitely struggled to gain the same traction as of late. It’s purely down to the fact that Mercy, Moira and Zenyatta being better picks with the current crop of strong heroes.
Although we've bumped here up a tier this month as she's on the rise, despite not really receiving any buffs. It's down to her pure healing strength that allows her to keep the frontline topped up nicely. Just be aware that she's highly situational though, so that's why she's not higher on our tier list.
We really enjoy McCree's point and click style. 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.
Moira's been one of the strongest healers in the game for a while now, but it looks like she's starting to dip in pick rate now that tanks, armour and burst damage make up the meta. She's simply not strong enough in the healing department to really make a difference anymore and her strong offensive capabilities aren't as potent against tankier teams. It's not to say she's awful by any means, it's just that you'll have a much harder time playing her now than a month or so ago.
A few seasons ago we'd bumped Reaper up towards the top echelons of our tier list. His new life-stealing passive took him to new heights, but right now, he's fallen by the wayside a little. Although he's not quite a member of the true elite right now, he could well start climbing the ranks as tanks like Reinhardt and Zarya gain popularity.
Tracer’s seen a dip in pick rate, and that’s down to the fact that Brigitte and Zarya are back in fashion. When dive compositions were still knocking around, she could dive in and dish out some real damage without really being punished for it - countering her was tough.
Now with all the shields and armour, Tracer has a very tough time denting the enemy team’s health bars. Unless you’re extremely good, you’re likely to do no more than be a nuisance.
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.
Those who don't excel at this particular niche will find her a tricky hero to make any real impact with though.
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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.
Doomfist’s very strong in the right hands, able to blitz around the battlefield and one-shot opponents with a huge 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. He’s got game-changing power, it’s just very difficult to use it correctly, and that’s why he slots in pretty low in the rankings for us.
Having said this, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ana makes a comeback at some point in the future as she’s got some brilliant tools in her arsenal.
Ever since she launched, Orisa's struggled to break out of a mid-table position. That came to an end in Season 8 as her ability to constantly throw down shields and hold the frontline began to see the light of day. Now with Season 10 well under way she’s slipped down the rankings, and that’s down to the fact she’s not worth picking over Brigitte who’s currently better in almost every way when it comes to aiding her team.
Roadhog’s not in the best of places right now and it’s all down to - you guessed it - the rise of the barriers, shields and whatnot. His hook doesn’t have the same devastating potential it once had, and he ends up being more of a bullet sponge that feeds enemy Ultimates if anything.
Winston once occupied the very highest spot on our tier list during the dive meta. Now he’s come crashing down alongside D.Va, and for pretty much all of the same reasons. He’ll get bursted down quickly if he jumps into the fray, and he doesn’t output enough damage to really pose a threat against the shields, armour and heals that comprise the current meta.
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 round of post-launch buffs haven't had nearly as much of an impact as he needed. He has his situational strengths when defending, but he still doesn't feel like the finished article to us.
Bastion’s always languished at the bottom of the pile, only seeing glimpses of glory when played as a “troll” pick or something that might throw the enemy off if you’ve tried absolutely every tactic and still nothing’s worked.
Bastion’s got some situational strengths, but he’s a linear hero who’s easily countered and only effective in niche scenarios.
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.
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.
Symmetra's rework has been huge and when you look at her new kit on paper, it certainly gives off the impression that she'll now have a big impact on the competitive scene. Unfortunately this isn't the case.
She's still a niche hero with damaging abilities that really don't match up to the likes of Genji, Tracer or even Doomfist. She lacks their mobility and "punch" when it comes to harassing opponents or pulling off an explosive combination of moves that'll eliminate enemies in a split second.
She'll need a buff or two to see any sort play, but in the right hands she can at least have some impact.