Our essential Overwatch hero tier list for Season 17 (July 2019) breaks down the entire roster of characters into their most competitive brackets, with massive guides for each one as well!
We've tried our best to represent the meta, but don't take our tier list as definitive. Even if some heroes aren't topping our list (Widowmaker, for example), they're still capable of being extremely strong in the right situation.
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: July Update
Season 17 Overview
We're now firmly into Season 16 and it looks like Overwatch's meta is finally, finally moving away from the GOATs comp.
Season 17 has just kicked off, and it really does seem like Overwatch’s meta is beginning to shift away from GOATs and into other, infinitely more exciting compositions.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean GOATs is gone forever. It’s still a staple in some competitive matches, but it’s certainly not a go-to for every map and situation in the game.
So, with the slight fall in GOATs compositions, what’s emerged? Well, “Bunker”, “Clockwork” and even Sombra is seeing plenty of action now.
Video by Overwatch Central
Here’s a quick breakdown of how things are looking:
First up, Sombra’s seen the biggest uptick in pick rate and it’s thanks to one particular match in the OWL which showcased just how disruptive she can be against a GOATs composition.
Sombra’s rise has seen Zenyatta’s pick rate decline, however. There’s nothing he can do against her disruptive abilities, to the point where she’ll completely render him useless in the backline time and time again.
With Zenyatta’s decline, comes Ana. She’s seen a huge rise in pick rate and that’s thanks to her survivability, utility and excellent healing capabilities even when hacked.
When it comes to team compositions, there’s been a few shifts. D.Va’s now swapped out for Sombra at times and even Doomfist is popped in alongside her for added tank-busting power.
We mentioned bunker compositions earlier and it’s essentially a team made up of Orisa, Torbjorn, D.Va and Mercy, with the likes of Widowmaker and Hanzo thrown into the mix. It's popularity has grown because it's incredibly hard to break through a team that's constantly shielded and refreshed by backline healers.
Orisa's also a key ingredient in a new emerging "Clockwork composition" which comes to fruition when you chuck a handful of unlikely candidates: Roadhog, Mei, Torbjorn and Widowmaker. Usually bunker compositions grind the opposition down through a war of attrition.
Video by Overwatch Central
However, bunker compositions can struggle when it comes to closing the gap and getting picks. With Roadhog and Widowmaker, the Clockwork composition doesn't struggle at all. Meanwhile, Orisa can provide some much needed protection for the squishier heroes, alongside Mei and Torbjorn who also contribute with their fair share of disruptive abilities.
Finally, having three DPS heroes is also being adopted at times, as well as two snipers like Hanzo and Widowmaker. They’re all incredibly situational, but it’s clear that GOATs isn’t the clear winner on every map now. Teams need to adapt and mix things up if they want to win.
Overall, this months update is one of the most substantial for quite a while and it's definitely refreshing to see Overwatch finally moving in a different direction.
Overwatch hero ranking and ratings
Here's our Season 17 tier list snapshot, updated for the month of July.
These listings are by no means definitive, and any hero can thrive in the right situation.
|Tier 1||Orisa||Orisa guide||Tank|
|Tier 2||D.Va||D.Va guide||Tank|
|Tier 3||Lucio||Lucio guide||Support|
|Wrecking Ball||Wrecking Ball guide||Tank|
|Tier 4||Mei||Mei guide||Defense|
|Soldier: 76||Soldier: 76 guide||Offense|
|Tier 5||Bastion||Bastion guide||Defense|
Ever since she launched, Orisa's struggled to break out of a mid-table position - until now. She's finally in the limelight and it's all thanks to her solid set of abilities which keeps her teammates out of harm's way.
All in all, Orisa's a very strong pick as she's able to rally an entire team around her and make them very, very difficult to down.
Ana's kit is absolutely spot on for almost every situation and she's more than capable of holding her own when it comes to topping up some of the beefiest health bars in the game. Welcome back old friend.
D.Va's still a formidable force on the battlefield and that's down to her great all-rounder style. She's got insane mobility, negates ultimates and can harass the backline with ease. There's almost always a slot in the composition for D.Va to fit into and that says volumes about how much of an asset her kit can bring to a team.
Reinhardt’s seen a slight dip since the glory days of GOATs comp, but he's still a great pick in certain situations. 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.
It's been a long time, but Roadhog's finally back at the top of our tier list. It's somewhat surprising since he's not been changed for a very long time, but players are starting to get some serious value from his hooks and all-round survivability.
Zarya’s another tank who’s been a staple for a while and that’s down to the fact that she compliments the likes of Reinhardt and Genji nicely. Her bubble shield can soak up damage from bursty heroes like Zenyatta, Hanzo and Junkrat too, 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.
Winston one occupied the very highest spot on our tier list during "The Age of the Dive Meta". He's definitely not what he once was, but he's certainly still a strong pick that'll head up a dive composition when you need one.
Sombra’s seen a huge rise in our tier list this month as she’s finally part of the meta. Her disruptive abilities are perfect for dismantling GOATs compositions or completely shutting down healers in the backline.
Hanzo’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.
Mercy provides strong, reliable single-target healing and an Ultimate ability that gives her serious survivability while giving her teammates an extra chance at life. Not as invaluable as she once was, but a solid pick in the right situation.
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.
We recognise that he's a solid pick, but we've placed him mid tier as there are some stronger options out there in terms of Support heroes right now.
Genji’s 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...
Pharah’s another hero who’s seen a steady increase in pick rate throughout Season 11 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.
Pharah gets weaker as you climb tiers and Widowmakers with sharp aim crawl out of the woodwork though, so that's why we've placed her mid-tier.
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.
Reaper's been buffed quite significantly meaning he's capable of dealing some significant damage in the low to mid tiers. He's now able to shred a team if he's placed in the right composition, but he's inherently a one dimensional hero. As you climb higher up the ranks he's still easily countered. Still, it's nice to see him back in some fashion.
Tracer's similar to Genji in nearly every respect. She's a phenomenal flanker who's capable of terrorising the enemy backline or gradually whittling down tank health bars - but only in the right hands. She's so mechanically intensive that this pick may not work in your favour.
Unless you’re extremely good, you’re likely to do no more than be a nuisance.
We're not completely sold on Wrecking Ball. He's got some great utility, but he's only a decent pick if you're playing in a tightly coordinated team. Otherwise, we've found he's difficult to play with and around, especially as he zips around the map doing his own thing.
All in all, D.Va's just a better all-round pick who can still fulfill the same role as Wrecking Ball without potentially throwing the team into disarray.
Junkrat’s still holding pretty 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.
Torbjorn's also another hero who's seen a significant rise in ranking, and that really is saying something. He's not moved up a tier since the game first launched!
Blizzard's rework has given Torbjorn a new lease of life and he's now not quite as linear as he used to be. He's surprisingly strong in the right hands and is more than capable of peeling for his teammates and holding down positions - don't underestimate everyone's favourite dwarven engineer.
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.
Moira's great in all departments, but it's her ability to do it all that makes her so strong. Healing? Check. Damage dealing? Check. Able to get herself out of a sticky situation at the press of a button? Check.
Zenyatta's a key pick for most compositions and is often a perfect counter and compliment to whatever's strong in the meta. His Transcendence is capable of negating damage, and his Discord and Healing Orbs are great for both removing vulnerable targets and ensuring allies are kept in the green.
More great Overwatch guides:
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.
Ashe is incredibly strong in the right hands, and capable of delivering huge amounts of damage at all ranges. Her Coach Gun is brilliant at knocking away incoming threats like Winston and Genji, while her Dynamite can damage enemies through shields which is perfect for sieging chokepoints.
Unfortunately, we're just not convinced she's a top tier pick yet. She's got all the tools to have a huge impact in a match, but it's all down to the skill of the player.
Doomfist was one of the best DPS picks you could ask for at the beginning of Season 13, but Blizzard has since nerfed his CC, essentially rendering him a shadow of his former self. To play him right, you'll need to commit hard to the backline, land every ability perfectly and get out unscathed.
The likes of Genji and Tracer have seen a resurgence thanks to this, as they're able to harass the backline and cause havoc with relative ease.
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.
Having said all this, there's a better DPS for almost every situation currently (Hanzo for burst, Genji for flanking) and that's why he's in the lower rungs of this tier list.
Baptiste has a pretty high skill ceiling so he's not had a huge impact on the meta. Those who know how to use him can bring an enormous amount of healing to a team, but those who struggle with him can bring down a team without even realising it.
In many ways, he's a solid healer and support, but you'll need to have a strong handle on his abilities and positioning to get the most out of him.
Brigitte'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 but there's one big catch, and we've mentioned it already - she's not much of a healer. This means she simply doesn't provide enough sustain in the current meta.
Bastion's sat at the bottom of our tier list for a while now, but Season 13 is the first time we've had to seriously consider bumping him up a notch. In a weird "meta-twist" (a term we've just coined), he's actually ridiculously strong and capable of turning enemies to pixellated dust.
While many are losing their minds over this at high tiers of play, it's unlikely to effect your average competitive match. You need a coordinated team and a specific composition to pull off a Bastion play, something which doesn't come naturally when queueing up in solo queue.
All in all, Bastion’s got some situational strengths, but he’s a linear hero who’s easily countered and only effective in niche scenarios.
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.