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 against||Symmetra is weak against|
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
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