Overwatch is an incredibly complex game. There are many different heroes and roles, but in this guide, we are going to break down on how to find the correct role and hero for your playstyle, give you some awesome advice on how to win more games and be a more effective teammate.

Heroes are broken into three distinct categories. We have tank, damage, and support. However, in this guide, we are going to go a little bit deeper as I’m going to explain to you guys some of the community-identified roles and break them down. We are going to begin with looking at the tank heroes, then we will move into the damage, and then we will go into support.

Tank

Firstly, let’s begin with the tank heroes. There are a few distinct types of tanks, the main tanks and off tanks.

Tank heroes in Overwatch.

Main Tank

The first one I want to talk about are the main tanks. Main tanks, what they do is they control space and lead from the front. So if you are a type of player that likes to be in the thick of the action leading the team, main tanks are definitely the heroes that you guys want to look at. Main tank heroes are Orisa, Reinhardt, and Winston.

We have Orisa. Again, you will notice there is a theme with the main tanks. They have barriers. Barriers absorb a lot of damage. They allow your team to take and control space, which is what tanking, especially main tanking, is all about. Then we also have Winston. A little bit of a special tank. He’s a dive main tank. We will get onto that later. But again main tanks have high health pools, they can take a ton of damage, they control space, they enable the team.

Off Tank

Let’s talk about off tanks. These are a special category of tank within Overwatch. Roadhog is fairly unique in the tank category, in that he is more damage-focused than actual tank-focused. Yes, he can take a lot of damage and he can heal himself, but he’s all about punishing people out of position with his hook and supplementing the damage output of the team. 

Let’s look at Wrecking Ball. He’s a dive tank, but a very special dive tank. Wrecking Ball is highly mobile, and he really excels at isolating targets in the backline, pumping loads of damage on them, and destroying them. He’s a super fun hero to play.

Let’s move on the Zarya. Zarya has high damage output, but also she’s capable of protecting her teammates from taking damage. In fact, she can make them immune to damage, which is mega strong. This means she synergizes super will with other main tanks, especially Reinhardt. 

Let’s take a look at Sigma. Now, what makes Sigma funky in the off-tank category is he’s got a barrier, but this barrier is very unique. It’s actually a projected barrier. He can throw this barrier all over the place, which makes it super strong. But, of course, the trade-off for this is it doesn’t absorb loads of damage. 

Let’s move on to D.Va. Now, D.Va is a dive off tank. Again, off tanks that are categorized as dive tanks typically have high mobility. She’s got a fantastic defensive ability in Defense Matrix, which prevents projectiles hitting your team.

What Tank should you play?

Zarya’s bubble.

How do you make the right selection for the tank to play? Now, generally, you always want a main tank on the team. You can make it work with two off tanks, but typically you want a main tank. So either a Winston, Orisa, or a Reinhardt, and then the off tank can select around those roles. For example, you would take a Zarya if you have a Reinhardt, or even a Zarya if you have a Winston, because the bubble can be quite strong as you bubble Winston when he dives in. However, if you have Winston as the main tank, he’s a dive tank, consider taking a dive off tank like D.Va who can actually go in with Winston as he closes the distance on the enemy. If you want to lead from the front, play a main tank. If you want to take control of the fight with ability usage and supporting the frontline and the backline, consider playing an off tank. And finally, if you want to do damage but also have a lot of sustainability, then maybe look at Roadhog, or even Zarya.

Damage

Damage in Overwatch has three very distinct categories, hitscan, projectile, and flanker.

Damage heroes in Overwatch.

Hitscan

Now, the first category we’re going to go into detail on is hitscan. These are heroes that do tons of damage, and the damage happens as soon as you pull the trigger. So you have snipers like Widowmaker in this category. You have pure hitscan DPS, like Soldier: 76, McCree, and Ashe. Tracer, Bastion is also a hitscan hero. Reaper, and Sombra are technically hitscan – but we will save those for flankers.

These heroes are all about sustained high-damage output. The focus here is on aim. If you got really really good mechanical aim, or you are interested in becoming super good at aiming, these are the heroes you should look to play.

Projectile

The next category we’re going to look at is projectile. Typically, projectile heroes have more sort of ability-focused play rather than straight up aim. You’ll notice this when playing Pharah. She excels at, well, flying, and she does a ton of damage in AoE (area of effect) when her rockets detonate.

Projectile heroes are Pharah, Torbjorn, Hanzo, Mei, Junkrat, and Echo. Technically, Doomfist and Genji are considered projectile – but we’ll save those for flankers.

Flanker

Let’s move into our final category, flankers. These are heroes that are constantly on the enemy’s backline. You get out there, harass the enemy, and you try to disrupt their backline, taking out their DPS and main supports. Flanker heroes are Tracer, Doomfist, Reaper, Sombra, and Genji.

What DPS should you play?

Soldier: 76 on Route 66 map

What need to be aware of here is are we actually playing the strongest hero right now to get the maximum value from this situation? Certain heroes are really good on certain maps. For example, Soldier is particularly pretty good on defense on Route 66. But there are a few rules of thumb you can actually follow. Soldier is a hitscan hero, so what we’re looking to do is maintain control on the high ground and give us a very good line of sight to pour damage into the enemy team. Now, if the enemy has a Tracer player. Soldier: 76 is not a strong pick against a Tracer. Therefore, it is better to swap Soldier: 76 out to a DPS that will counter Tracer, such as McCree. This is because McCree has got Flashbang, which is a great ability for controlling Tracer if she gets close to you. And McCree is just pretty good at dueling if you can land the shot. That is an example of making a positive change to a hero that counters an enemy hero that is playing super well. 

For DPS counters, think about what the enemy team is doing, what enemy heroes are playing well, and what selection you can make to counter what they are doing. So a few very quick examples of this would be:

  • If the enemy has a very strong Pharah, maybe even a Pharmercy combo (Pharah and Mercy), then consider playing Ashe, Widow, McCree, or Soldier: 76 to counter what they are doing. Select hitscan to deal with the Pharah.
  • Or what about the enemy tanks? Are they playing super well? Maybe consider swapping to Reaper.
  • Maybe you’re playing Echo into double hitscan on the enemy team. That’s not a great idea. Maybe consider swapping to a flanker, so you can actually try and harass their sniper in the backline.

Support

So let’s move on to the support category. Now, this is super funky because it’s not as cut and dry as these guys are all heroes that heal and keep the team alive. That’s not always the case in Overwatch.

Support heroes in Overwatch

Flex Support

We are firstly going to talk about what is known as flex support. This term is going to be used a little bit loosely here, but what I mean by this is a support hero that is not primarily focused on healing. Flex support heroes are Zenyatta, Brigitte, and Lúcio.

Now, Zenyatta is the quintessential example of this because he outputs an incredible amount of damage. He’s got an ability called Discord Orb, which means that enemy targets with discord on them take increased damage. So he’s very unique in the support category. There’s a bunch of other heroes like Lúcio that do different things, like give you speed boosts and other good stuff instead of focusing on healing.

Main Support

So, let’s talk about the main supports, because the golden rule of support in Overwatch is you always, always, always need one main support on your team. Now, a main support is concerned with massive healing output. If you do not have a main support, your team will find it incredibly difficult to win any kind of teamfight, because you won’t have the healing available. Main supporting heroes are Mercy, Ana, Baptiste, and Moira.

Your main tanks need a main support to keep them alive. Ana is a main support. She does loads of healing. This means she can keep the main frontline of the team alive, and also heal everybody else if they need massive burst healing.

What Support should you play?

Volskaya Industries map

Again, certain heroes are really good on certain maps and situations. Let’s take a look at Moira. Moira is another main support but she’s different when compared to Ana. Ana is more focused at long-range healing and also a ton of burst healing, but Moira is focused on a lot of AoE healing on the point. For an Assault map like Volskaya Industries, you want to keep loads of healing output on the point as the fight breaks out. Therefore AoE healing from Moira will be the best in this case. Moira is also very survivable because she’s got an ability which allows her to Fade away from damage, which is super strong.