Overwatch is a game of rock-paper-scissors, with 21 Heroes that all interact with each other and all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the Heroes and how to counter them is key to winning. There will be times where you encounter a stalemate in Overwatch and more often than not it’s simply because you and your team’s composition isn’t working against the opposition. Switching Heroes to counter the enemy team can provide an instant edge that you need in order to win and although it’s possible to win - through skill alone - as opposed to relying purely on Hero selection. However, giving yourself a direct advantage over the enemy by counter picking Heroes makes matches so much easier and can often ensure a win. 

To quickly jump to a Hero below, hit the links. 



Strong Against - Bastion, Hanzo, McCree, Soldier: 76, Torbjorn

Weak Against - Winston, Mei, Zarya

Genji relies on his mobility in order to quickly kill enemy players. While his ranged poke from his Shuriken is functional, he's a huge threat when he's utilising Swift Strike in order to kill players with his sword. The resets that eliminations allow ensure that in close quarters, he can quickly snowball. Winston, Mei and Zarya counter him heavily for a variety of reasons. Where Winston is concerned, his Tesla Cannon can constantly damage Genji and will attack through his Deflect. If Genji does attempt to attack from range, his Barrier can withstand the damage. Mei performs even better as her ability to significantly reduce a players movement speed, before freezing them ensures Genji can't escape. Once frozen, Mei will simply use her alternative fire for a clean headshot. Finally, Zarya can withstand some of Genji's burst thanks to her own Barrier and the generous aiming of her Particle Cannon combined with her Shielding allows her to survive what Genji throws at her, before cutting him down. 


Strong Against - Tracer, Winston, Reinhardt, Zarya, Reaper

Weak Against - Hanzo, Widowmaker, Pharah

McCree is incredibly strong at close range thanks to his stun-fan combination. It can comfortably kill most enemy Heroes instantly and so it's with no surprise that he's particularly weak against Heroes that can keep him at range. Both Hanzo and Widowmaker can comfortably snipe at McCree and due to his damage fall-off past medium range, his poke potential to return fire is limited. Should he get close to either, both can escape easily thanks to their wall climb and Grappling Hook, respectively. Where Pharah is concerned, her aerial threat doesn't prevent McCree from hitting her but it does ensure that she has the upper hand. She'll rarely, if ever, be hit by his Stun Grenade (unless she gets stupidly close) and as a result will be able to bombard him from above. 


Strong Against - Hanzo, Bastion, Torbjorn, Mei

Weak Against - Soldier 76, Widowmaker

Pharah is at her best when she can fly above the enemy playing field, bombarding those below her. Heroes that are slow to move or which can't aim fast enough to keep up with her aerial ability are easy pickings. However, she's weak against Heroes that can fire quickly and repeatedly, with accuracy, especially Heroes that are hitscan. In this instance, Widowmaker can comfortably snipe Pharah due to the fact that when she is airborne, she doesn't move particularly quickly. Soldier: 76 is a solid counter because of the accuracy of his Heavy Pulse Rifle if he repeatedly taps single bullets at her, or even if he uses a burst. If he has his Ultimate ability available, it's also a gaurenteed kill as there's nothing Pharah can do to avoid it once she's in the air. 


Strong Against - Bastion, D.Va, Mercy, Roadhog, Winston, Zarya, Zenyatta, Widowmaker

Weak Against - Pharah, McCree

There are few Heroes Reaper can't kill with even the hardiest of Heroes such as Roadhog dying to him fairly easily. His combination of burst damage, an invulnerability from Wraith Form and a teleport thanks to Shadow Step, make him incredibly good at flanking and taking on players 1 on 1. Unfortunately for Reaper he struggles against Pharah and McCree. The former simply because of her ability to attack from above, ensuring his Hellfire Shotguns are useless and with no other means of attacking Pharah, there's absolutely nothing he can do. Where McCree is concerned, as long as McCree baits Reaper to use his Wraith Form all he then needs to do is use his Stun Grenade followed by his alternative fire. Reaper is gaurenteed to die. 

Soldier: 76

Strong Against - Tracer, McCree, Pharah, Mei, Zarya, Lucio, Mercy, Zenyatta

Weak Against - Roadhog, Reinhardt, Lucio

Soldier: 76 is all about long range, sustained damage. His Heavy Pulse Rifle deals high, accurate damage and has an incredibly short reload time. As long as he can keep players at a reasonable distance he can come out on top against most Heroes. Unfortunately for Soldier: 76 two of the most popular tanks work incredibly well against him. Roadhog can quickly and easily kill him by landing a single Hook, while Reinhardt can not only soak the damage he deals but charge him as well. With no mobility and no means of escape, he dies quickly once Reinhardt reaches him. It should also be noted that Lucio works well against Soldier: 76 simply because his continued healing mitigates most of his damage output. 


Strong Against - Bastion, Junkrat, Mei, Roadhog, Symmetra, Winston, Zarya

Weak Against - McCree, Soldier: 76

Tracer relies on her speed from Blink, alongside her Recall to survive and harrass the enemy. This allows her to easily bypass the likes of Symmetra's turrets or Mei's attempts at freezing her. It also means that if she is hooked by Heroes such as Roadhog, she can comfortably escape before he even fires at her. She's at her weakest when she's not moving and so McCree stunning her with his grenade allows him to kill her instantly. Soldier: 76 is a little different and handles Tracer fairly easily due to the fact he can fire his rifle fully automatic, while his Biotic Field provides enough healing to mitigate most of Tracers damage. 



Strong Against - Lucio, Mercy, Mei, Reinhardt, Soldier: 76, Winston, Zarya, Zenyatta 

Weak Against - Genji, Junkrat (as well as many others, notably Widowmaker, Tracer, Hanzo...)

Bastion is a Hero many love to hate and yet he's surprisingly easy to counter. He's strong when in Configuration: Sentry but that also makes him immobile. As a result of that, many Heroes actually counter him because if they can attack from out of his range, there's very little he can do besides attempt to repair the damage or packup and move.

Although both Genji and Junkrat excel at killing him, Widowmaker and Hanzo are particularly strong due to their range while Tracer can Blink to him, drop her Ultimate and Recall away. Where Genji is concerned and like Junkrat, he's a hard counter. He only has to deflect his fire in order to kill him, while Junkrat can rain down grenades from any angle. Bastion cannot repair such continued pressure, even if he's being healed by Mercy. 


Strong Against - Lucio, McCree, Mercy, Pharah, Bastion, Mei, Torbjorn, Symmetra, Zenyatta 

Weak Against - Widowmaker, Tracer 

Hanzo is strong against a variety of Heroes simply because of his ranged potential. His Scatter and Sonic Arrow also allow him to not only hit multiple enemies, but predict their movement. His Scatter shot in particular is just as dangerous up close as it is from afar. Where his weaknesses are concerned, being countered sniped by Widowmaker can often be the undoing of Hanzo simply because she fires faster and hits harder. You won't win a snipe war with her. As for Tracer, she's he second hard-counter simply because she moves too fast to hit. Although it is possible, it's very difficult - almost impossible - and more hassle than it's worth. 


Strong Against - Bastion, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Torbjorn, Symmetra

Weak Against - Winston, Pharah, Tracer

If it's large or stationary, Junkrat is strong against it. With his ability to fire around corners thanks to the bounce on his Frag Launcher, he can happily uproot Bastion and Torbjorn in seconds. He's also proficient at killing Symmetra's turrets and can't miss Reinhardt or Roadhog. At the very least, even if he can't kill either of those Tanks he can gain loads of Ultimate charge from them. As for weaknesses, Winston, Pharah and Tracer all cause Junkrat difficulties. Winston can soak your damage and his Tesla Cannon will cut you down in seconds. His Barrier also offers him shelter should he need it. Pharah can constantly fire rockets at you from above and there's nothing you can do to stop her. Your Frag Launcher simply does not have the distance or trajectory speed needed to bring her down. Finally, Tracer can easily avoid your Frag Launcher (you'll rarely hit her) and if skilled, will run rings around your Steel Trap. 


Strong Against - Genji, D.Va, Reaper, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston, Zarya, Zenyatta, 

Weak Against - Pharah, Tracer

Mei is great against most Heroes if she catches them in close quarters but can also be killed by a variety if she's by herself. That said, she only has two clear counters as far as I'm concerned (she's my most played Hero) and that's Pharah and Tracer. Both are strong versus her simply because she'll struggle to freeze either while both can avoid her defences. Pharah can avoid her Ice Wall and fly over it (or blast through it) and Tracer can Blink often enough to never take damage. Although Mei's alternative fire can seriously hurt Pharah if she uses her Ultimate in an obvious position, that alone isn't enough to make encounters against her comfortable. 


Strong Against - Anyone who is new to Overwatch

Weak Against - Junkrat, Widowmaker, D.Va, Tracer

Torbjorn is arguably only good against beginners. Nothing in his kit is difficult to counter and any team with any ounce of coordination can ruin his turrets in seconds. Unsurprisingly he's also very weak against Junkrat, Widowmaker, D.Va and Tracer simply because they all have the range or mobility needed to evade his Turret or destroy it instantly. 


Strong Against - Bastion, Hanzo, McCree, Pharah, Junkrat, Mei, Mercy, Symmetra, Zenyatta

Weak Against - D.Va, Genji, Reaper 

Widowmaker is very strong versus most Heroes but excels against other snipers such as Hanzo, or stationary targets such as Bastion. She's also particularly good against Support Heroes such as Mercy and Zenyatta because her burst is so high and their health pool son low. As a ranged sniper anyone who can pressure her in close quarters can cause her real problems. D.Va can use her Boosters to land near or next to Widowmaker, while Genji can scale walls to get into melee range. Finally, Reaper can use his teleport to appear right next to her before she even knows what's happening. 



Strong Against - Bastion, McCree, Lucio, Mercy, Widowmaker 

Weak Against - Mei, Zenyatta 

D.Va relies on her mobility to not only survive but deal damage to the enemy. Anyone that can hinder her in some form tends to cause her difficulty. Mei in particular can quickly freeze her, cause huge damage from her alternative fire and force her to leave her Mech behind. Zenyatta, although he's a Hero D.Va can kill, it's his Orb of Discord that can create real issues as it can travel through her Defence Matrix, ensuring that she takes extra damage with no way of avoiding it. 


Strong Against - Bastion, Torbjorn

Weak Against - Symmetra, Genji

Reinhardt isn't particularly strong or weak against many Heroes because his Field Barrier is all he really needs to protect himself against the majority. He's excellent against both Bastion and Torbjorn because he can comfortably withstand their attacks for a period of time and if needed, he can replenish the health on his barrier when he finds cover. He is particularly weak against Symmetra and Genji however. The former can fire her Orbs through his Field Barrier, preventing him from mitigating damage, while Genji can flank and dash through his shield to quickly cut him down. McCree also deserves special mention as a well skilled one can throw a Stun Grenade just on the edge of his barrier, causing him to drop it and then allowing him to fan him with his Peacemaker. 


Strong Against - Bastion, Lucio, Mercy, Soldier: 76

Weak Against - Mei, Reaper

Roadhog is a powerful Tank that can comfortably take on most Heroes 1 on 1. His Hook > Primary Fire > Melee attack combo is incredibly strong and can kill just about anyone. Unfortunately Roadhog is a large target with very little mobility, so both Reaper and Mei can cut him down very quickly. Mei is able to freeze him with ease and there's very little he can do to prevent it, while Reaper finds it near impossible to miss you. If you do attempt to Hook him, he'll simply Wraith Form through it.


Strong Against - Genji, Tracer, Hanzo, Widowmaker, Symmetra, Mercy, Lucio, Zenyatta

Weak Against -;Reaper, Bastion, Mei

Winston is surprisingly strong against most Heroes simply because his Leap combined with his Tesla Cannon can guarantee a kill against a low health Hero. All those listed here struggle to escape Winston once he's on them. Even if they do attempt to defend themselves, Winston can do the same with his Barrier. Similarly to Roadhog, Winston is weak against Heroes that can keep him in place or rip through his health quickly. In this instance, Reaper can comfortably escape his Tesla Cannon while dealing enormous damage. Bastion can destroy his Barrier near instantly and Mei can keep him frozen long enough to deal high damage or allow her team to finish him off.


Strong Against - Genji, Junkrat, Torbjorn, D.Va

Weak Against - Widowmaker, Pharah

Zarya is a good all-round Tank that can cope well against most compositions. Her ability to Barrier herself and others, whilst gaining a huge damage boost in the process, allows her to take on most Heroes. She excels against Genji, Junkrat, Torbjorn and D.Va simply because of her primary and alternative fire. She can poke from afar when lobbing projectiles and when she gets close, Barrier herself before dealing huge damage once it has charged her. I've found she's particularly weak against Pharah and Widowmaker simply because they can avoid most of her attacks and even if they do break her Barrier and improve her damage, she won't gain from it as she still can't reach either.



Strong Against - N/A

Weak Against - Mei, McCree

Anyone who reduces Lucio's movement speed is a real threat. Mei can freeze him near instantly before killing him with her alternative fire, while a single Stun Grenade from McCree will finish him off. It's also worth mentioning that Winston can be particularly stressful for Lucio to deal with simply because he has such a small health pool that Winston's Tesla Cannon can cause serious damage, with Crossfade: Movement doing little to create any distance between you and the giant Gorilla.


Strong Against - N/A

Weak Against - Genji, Soldier: 76, Tracer, Reaper

Anyone who can harrass Mercy from the flanks while she's healing is a danger. Unsurprisingly this comprises of just about every offensive Hero. The exception to this is Pharah, simply because of the fact that as she spends most of her time in the air, Mercy can predict where the missiles will come from, fly to the aid of an ally to avoid her rockets or use Reinhardt's Barrier for protection.

Strong Against - Tracer

Weak Against - Just about everyone

Symmetra can be killed by almost every Hero in the game and she has almost no means of defending herself, unless she hugs a cluster of her Turrets. Even her primary fire, which automatically locks onto a target, takes an age to kill someone by itself. Fortunately for Symmetra she is particularly good at dealing with Tracer. If she places her Sentry Turret's on the flanks, the fact they slow and deal high damage can kill Tracer very quickly, especially when she's attempting to take alternative routes around the map.



Strong Against - Reinhardt, Roadhog, Winston, Zarya, D.Va

Weak Against - Just about everyone if they get too close.

Similarly to Symmetra, Zenyatta is very squishy and very poor against most Heroes. He does however have strength in his Orb of Discord, though this is largely thanks to the fact it allows others to deal 50% extra damage rather than himself. Placing an Orb of Discord on an enemy Tank will make life for the opposition Support very difficult, as long as he maintains eye contact.

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Last Updated: May 31, 2016

About The Author

Lewis is a long standing journalist, who freelances to a variety of outlets.