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Symmetra guide - 2018 - Overwatch

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

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About Ed Thorn

Ed joined Metabomb in May 2017 and puts together many guides across the site.

Updated 18th July 2018: Our Symmetra guide contains everything you need to know about playing this Hero like a pro, with plenty of ability and strategy tips.

Until very recently, Symmetra occupied a strange place in Overwatch's Hero roster. She was the only Support hero who couldn't heal her allies, but focused more on maintaining map control with her supply of nifty gizmos and gadgets. Putting it lightly, she was very much a niche pick that either caught enemies off guard, or simply didn't have an impact at all.

One of her main strengths was trapping enemies in her turrets and laser beaming enemies to death. Despite being a Support hero at the time, strong Symmetra players used her toolkit to melt single targets in next to no time. Blizzard cottoned onto this and reworked her entirely, moving her from the Support category and shifting her into Offense, alongside the likes of Genji, Tracer and Doomfist - The new Symmetra means business.

For a start, she can now fling Sentry Turrets into position without having to awkwardly bumble around and her Ultimate creates an enormous Photon wall that blocks all incoming damage. She's still got access to the Teleporter which ensures her teammates spend as little time running back into battle from the spawn room as possible, and her Photon Projector still ramps up in damage the longer you microwave the enemy.

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. Her beam weapon has a pretty poor range when you take a hard look at the numbers. While her Sentry Turrets are only effective in enclosed spaces and against those who aren't actively searching for them, and trust us, once the enemy's clocked you're playing Symmetra, they'll be more than wary. 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 #4: We have now updated our Symmetra guide to take into account the significant changes that were made to this character towards the start of 2018.

Symmetra's abilities and strategy tips

Symmetra's not the easiest hero to play effectively, but she's a fairly solid choice if you're after an Offense Hero who's capable of shredding single targets or if you're in a tightly coordinated team that would benefit from her zoning abilities.

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 that travel at quite a pace too. 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. The bigger the Orb, the higher the splash damage.

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.

Teleporter [E] - 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, and teammates will now need to interact with it too. Check out the tips section for advice on how to place this powerful device.

Photon Barrier [Q] - Activate this ability and you'll throw up and enormous energy wall that'll completely nullify all damage that touches it. Perfect for disrupting the flow of a fight, splitting up a skirmish or protecting allies in a pinch.

Video by Your Overwatch

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.
  • Symmetra's weapon doesn't auto-aim anymore when you fire it, but it still retains the "charge" mechanic that means it ramps up in damage the longer you keep it trained on a target. It's important that you're both focused on frying your enemy, but also moving at the same time so as not to make yourself a vulnerable, inviting target too! Strafe, jump - do whatever it takes to keep your enemies on their toes.
  • 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.
  • Remember that you can now fling your turrets across the map, and they'll deal damage at longer ranges too. Try and avoid putting yourself in an awkward position and set them up in a chokepoint from a distance.
  • 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 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...)
  • The Photon Barrrier's a great way of nullifying damage from a Hero like Junkrat who spams chokepoints with his bombs.
  • You can use the Photon Barrier to disrupt a fight and give your team the protection it needs to regroup.
  • If you can position it correctly, popping a Photon Barrier just behind an enemy frontliner like Reinhardt will make them extremely vulnerable. They won't receive support from their allies for a second or two, and it'll force your enemies to make a quick decision that could cost them dearly.

Video by Blame The Controller

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
BastionJunkrat
D.VaPharah
ReinhardtRoadhog

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!

Classic

Cardamom

Hyacinth

Saffron

Technomancer

Regal

Utopaea

Architech

Vishkar

Devi

Goddess

Peacock

Vampire

Qipao

Dragon

Magician

Oasis

Our most popular Overwatch articles:

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.

UnlockCostNotes
Skins
Classic0Common
Cardamom75Rare
Hyacinth75Rare
Saffron75Rare
Technomancer75Rare
Regal250Epic
Utopaea250Epic
Peacock250Epic
VampireSeasonalEpic
QipaoSeasonalEpic
Architech1000Legendary
Vishkar1000Legendary
Devi1000Legendary
Goddess1000Legendary
DragonSeasonalLegendary
MagicianSeasonalLegendary
OasisSeasonalLegendary
Emotes
Heroic0Common
Clap250Epic
Flow250Epic
Insignificant250Epic
Snicker250Epic
DanceSeasonalEpic
RibbonSeasonalEpic
Victory Pose
Heroic0Common
Balance75Rare
Creation75Rare
Dance75Rare
Light ReadingSeasonalRare
MedalSeasonalRare
R.I.PSeasonalRare
FanSeasonalRare
Voice Line
Everything By Design25Common
Exquisite25Common
How Unsightly25Common
I Don't Think So25Common
Impressive25Common
Perfect Harmony25Common
Precisely25Common
Put You In Your Place25Common
Welcome To My Reality25Common
Why Do You Struggle25Common
Kindly AdjustSeasonalCommon
Setting Up The Car WashSeasonalCommon
Your Mind WorksSeasonalCommon
Hard Work And DedicationSeasonalCommon
Victory Is EverythingSeasonalCommon
A Frightening ThoughtSeasonalCommon
The Treat Is A LieSeasonalCommon
Expecting A Miracle?SeasonalCommon
I Made You SomethingSeasonalCommon
Cause For CelebrationSeasonalCommon
Good FortuneSeasonalCommon
Taken Under AdvisementSeasonalCommon
TimepassSeasonalCommon
Let Us Discuss Your FailuresSeasonalCommon
Highlight Intro
Heroic0Common
Random0Common
Askew250Epic
Dance250Epic
My Reality250Epic
SnowflakesSeasonalEpic

Comment on this article

  • Ginnnny #1 A year 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)

    REALLY REALLY BAD MATCHUPS:
    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)

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

    GOOD MATCHUPS:
    IMO EVERYONE ELSE
    Sign in to reply
  • Bedders #2 2 years 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
    Sign in to reply
  • LavenderSkeletons #3 2 years 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.
    Sign in to reply
  • anthonytyronepatters #4 2 years ago
    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
    Sign in to reply
  • GLoveJr #5 2 years ago
    Her gun doesn't go back to level one when sight is broken. It takes a while similar to Zarya gun.
    Sign in to reply
  • danielhendricks38 #6 2 years 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.
    Sign in to reply
  • Bedders #7 2 years ago
    @jakegerstein94 Thanks for letting us know! Must've have slipped through the net when we updated this guide from beta to launch.
    Sign in to reply
  • jakegerstein94 #8 2 years ago
    Symetra's shield only gives 25 shields in the full game, not 50.
    Sign in to reply

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