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Mei guide - 2017 - Overwatch

Our in-depth and regularly updated guide to playing Mei in Overwatch.

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About John Bedford

John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

Updated 23rd February 2017: Our massive Mei guide contains plenty of ability and strategy tips to help you dominate every map like a pro when playing this Hero.

If your idea of fun in Overwatch is to create a huge number of headaches for the advancing hordes of enemy players to deal with, then we feel pretty confident that you're going to have an awful lot of fun playing Mei. While she's not currently considered one of the most powerful heroes from the Defense category of characters, she's certainly one of the most fun to play with - if you can nail her unique gameplay style, that is. Regardless of rankings, rest assured that she can be a real nightmare to deal with in skilled hands - and our Mei guide will show you how to master this hero.

What is it about Mei that makes her such a frustrating character to deal with though? Well, this frosty fighter specialises in using freezing cold weaponry to both slow down her opponents and also damage them. If she can keep her aim steady, she even has the capacity to freeze enemies on the spot, and she can also drop a massive sheet of ice ahead of her so as to cut off the enemy's approach. All things considered, she can be a real pain in the backside to deal with.

Although Mei isn't a very nimble character, she does have some emergency survival options at her disposal, and for when the going gets just a little too tough. Should she find herslef absolutely overwhelmed by an army of opponents, she has the option to throw up an ice shield that makes her invincible for a short amount of time, and also provides a healing effect - when she comes out, she'll be in better condition than when she went in. Of course, she'll still have to fight her way to a position of safety when the effect wears off, but it does at least buy her a little bit of time to rally the troops and mount a new offensive with some friends in tow.

Although her long-distance projectiles aren't particularly powerful on paper, the longer they're thrown at the enemy the more her target will be slowed and chilled. Although this gives her something of an edge in long-range duels, when it comes to immobilising the enemy en-masse, Mei's Ultimate Ability allows her to slow and eventually freeze her enemies entirely. With a bit of coordination and communication, this will leave them perilously vulnerable to your teammates' own offensive firepower.

In our Mei guide, we'll show you how this hero's devastatingly chilly abilities can be used to wreak absolute chaos on the battlefield. Having outlined the basics of playing this character, we'll then talk you through some of the most powerful strategies - picked up over many seasons of competitive play - that have helped Mei players truly shine. Finally, we've got a breakdown of all the nifty cosmetic items that you can unlock for this Hero.

Editor's note - Update #4: We haven't updated our Mei guide for a little while now, and so we've taken the opportunity to bring everything right up to date. There are some new tips to learn in the relevant section, a bit of map-specific advice (which we'll expand on more in the near future), and we've also updated the cosmetic item section. This now includes all of the items from the many seasonal events that have taken place since Overwatch first launched!

A new event has just hit Overwatch! Check out our essential Retribution guide for all the tips, tricks and strategy advice you need to master this new PVE mode.

Mei's abilities and strategy tips

As we've already mentioned, Mei takes a decidedly frosty approach to combat, and that means that all of her abilities are built around the concept of slowing enemies down to a crawl, and thus making them extremely vulnerable to subsequent damage.

Here's a quick overview of how each one of these special skills work, so you can feel confident switching over to this hero at a moment's notice.

Endothermic Blaster - Frost Stream [LMB] - Once you've landed a shot of your Endothermic Blaster on a target, you'll slow them down a little bit. If you keep maintaining that fire on them though, your target will eventually freeze to the spot - they won't be able to get moving again for a couple of seconds. Hopefully you've got a buddy close by, ready to unload a clip into their frozen face, and before the target can start scooting off to safety. Alternatively, you can finish the job yourself...

Endothermic Blaster - Icicle Projectiles [RMB] - Use this alternative Blaster fire to chip away at enemies in the distance, or at the heads of frozen targets for maximum damage. This is a particularly handy way to finish off the opponent if you don't have any friends nearby, and you really don't want to be the first thing they target when they come back to life! You've got more time than you think to line this one up, so make it accurate and make it count.

Cryo-Freeze [LSHIFT] - If the you-know-what has really hit the fan and you're in dire straits, you can make use of Mei's Cryo-Freeze ability. This ability surrounds Mei with an impentetrable barrier of ice around her, while also giving off a light healing aura. Note that Mei cannot use any of her abilities while this barrier is active, although it's worth remembering that her teammates can also cower behind the barrier and receive the same physical protection! This abilitiy is particularly useful for Mei and her buddies when you hear the telltale signal of an enemy Ultimate being charged up.

Ice Wall [E] - This amazing ability allows Mei to shut down the enemy's progress every ten seconds by plonking a huge sheet of ice down on the ground. While this barrier can be shot up and destroyed by the enemy team, it'll take some time for them to cut through, and that should hopefully give your team plenty of time to seize the combat initiative. Positioning is absolutely key when placing this wall, and if you can use it to split a team in half you'll give your team a huge advantage.

Blizzard [Q] - Mei's Ultimate can be absolutely devastating for the enemy team to deal with, particularly if one of your Offense characters has their own Ultimate ready too. Whenever Mei casts this ability, she'll fire off a drone that emits a howling blast of freezing air that slows and then pins enemies into position. It's not the strongest Ultimate in the game by itself, but it is tremendously effective when coordinated with an ally. Check the tips section further below for more advice on using this crowd-control effect with other Ultimates.

AbilityAmmoFire RateCast TimeDurationCooldown / ReloadHealsDamageRange
Endothermic Blaster20020 RPS----45 DPS10m
Endothermic Blaster25 per shot1.8 RPS----22-75-
Ice Wall---4.5s10s--35m cast range
Blizzard--1.5s5s--978m radius

Over the last few rounds of Competitive Play, plenty of tips and tricks have been accumulated by the community. Here are some of the best tactics we've come across - we think they should give you an instant competitive edge, and help you make an impact with Mei more quickly.

  • Always use your Blaster in Icicle Projectiles mode once you've frozen a target, and aim at their heads! You'll do more damage and increase your chances of securing the kill. Take the time you need, but make sure you fire before the freezing effect has worn off.
  • Your Endothermic Blaster requires around two seconds of concentrated fire on a single target for that target to become frozen - expect them to bounce around a lot as they try to kill you first. Once they're immobilised, you should be able to hit them in the head with Mei's alternative fire for a clean kill. Keep in mind that your prey will have their frozen effect reset once two seconds have passed.
  • You can use your Ice Wall to either block off chokepoints altogether, or simply narrow gaps so that your teammates can concentrate on picking off a smaller group of enemies while taking less damage themselves. If you insolate the tank or the support from their team, you'll gain a powerful advantage.
  • Keep in mind that your enemies can use Ice Wall just like any other environmental object. This means that the likes of Lucio can actually use it to Wall Ride, and Widowmaker can grapple onto it and use it as a - temporary - ledge. That's a brave move to make, but we've seen it happen - and pay off!
  • Because Mei needs to immobilise her targets - and has a limited window of opportunity to sustain her freezing effect - you should avoid fighting multiple targets whenever possible. You might pin one in place but not before the other has torn you to shreds. She's a great disruptor, but she doesn't excel at group combat at any kind of close range.
  • If you spot a Reinhardt building up his Charge, get ready to drop Ice Wall in his path. It will effectively neutralise this potentially deadly assault, and - after a little repositioning - leave Reinhardt exposed to your team's offensive respons in return.
  • If your Ultimate is very close to being fully charge up, consider holding back on using your Cryo-Freeze. You can pop Blizzard, and then hide in your cocoon until the enemy have been frozen solid. Simply leave the safety of your bubble once your opponents are immobilised and start picking off your victims!
  • Cryo-Freeze is also extremely handy for surviving some of the deadly offensive Ultimates that are out there - think of abilities like Reaper's Death Blossom, D.Va's mech suit blast, McCree's Deadeye, or Pharah's mighty rocket assault.
  • You can actually use Ice Wall to gain a height advantage. Look straight down, then activate the skill to ride the sheet of ice all the way to the top! This can be useful if you need to reach a position of height quickly, although it's a tricky move to pull off.
  • If anyone tries to flee from your Blizzard, throw an Ice Wall ahead of them so they can't escape the ability's radial area-of-effect! As a general rule, you should try to hold onto Blizzard until you have at least two or three victims to target.

Map-specific tactics for Mei

While there's no substitute for practise and experience, we wanted to highlight some general strategy advice for playing Mei on specific maps. Use the following guidelines if you want to make a big difference on every map.

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

When playing Mei on the defending team, you'll be looking to boss those annoying hard chokepoints that prove so annoying in the early stages of a game. Don't forget to make use of Ice Wall either if you see enemies attempting to make use of side passages, and you should also use this skill to separate opponents from the rest of their team whenever you can.

On the attacking side? Mei's rarely a first pick for these kinds of duties, although there's no denying the irritation factor of her Ice Wall if you want to hold back the enemy team from getting close to your friends at the capture point. Her Blizzard Ult - combined with another Hero's - can of course create absolute carnage on a heavily defended point.

Mei: Control tips (Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal)

Mei's strengths on these maps are centred really on her ability to poke and bother at lone attackers. Alternatively, she can be very handy with her Ice Wall, which can potentially be used to hold back the enemy horde while your team regathers to defend the point - you'd be surprised at how much extra time this seemingly minor play can buy you.

Given that there will be plenty of team brawls on or around the actual capture points, Mei's Blizzard has obvious power. More so than on any other map type, however, it's crucial you time the use of it with a teammate's more offensive Ult. Do so and you can bring any game back from the brink of disaster.

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

Coming soon!

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

Coming soon!

Unit Lost's Mei video guide

In the latest update of this article, we wanted to highlight a Mei video guide that we've found really useful. As an introduction to this hero, we think you'll find this a good companion to all of the tips and tricks that are outlined in this article.

Keep in mind that this video guide for Mei is almost a year old at the time of publishing. Don't worry too much about any nerfs or buffs that have happened since though, and instead focus on the fundamentals that never change - there's lots to be learned from this video guide, so make sure you watch it to the end.

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Mei counters and match-ups

Here's how Mei stacks up in the metagame right now:

Mei is strong againstMei is weak against

Mei's freezing effects ensure she's a very powerful to counter to any heroes who rely on unusually high mobility to thrive and survive on any map. Where she suffers is when it comes to facing off against enemies who naturally prefer to stay at range anyway - the three top picks in the table above are the most obvious threats in this regard.

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

Mei's Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines

Mei's got plenty of skins, emotes and poses tucked away behind Overwatch's Loot Box system. Here's a quick look at everything you can add to your collection right now.

Snow Plum250Epic
Rescue Mei1000Legendary
Yeti Hunter1000Legendary
So ExcitedSeasonalEpic
Victory Pose
Hands On Hips75Rare
Voice Line
Chill Out!25Common
Fight For Our World25Common
Hang In There25Common
I Got You Something!SeasonalCommon
Learned Your Lesson25Common
Ouch, Are You Okay?25Common
Overcome All ObstaclesSeasonalCommon
Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry25Common
That Was Great25Common
Wishing You Prosperit25Common
You Have To Let It Go25Common
Highlight Intro
Frosty :-)250Epic
Going Up!250Epic
Ice ScreamSeasonalEpic
Skating Around250Epic

Comment on this article

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  • catherinechedgy89 #1 5 years ago
    How about adding "Don't wall your team in the point, ESPECIALLY on Defence"
  • Bedders #2 5 years ago
    @mitchellshipman74 Oh yeah I've seen Meis dominate for sure - your comment is fair.
  • mitchellshipman74 #3 5 years ago
    quick comment, I main mei (i play ps4) dont just classify her as an annoying factor. in the right hands mei can be a devastating force. her icicles are second only to her wall. Pro tip: dont stop jumping.