Picking a favorite Overwatch character is like picking your favorite child—you definitely have one, but it probably isn’t socially acceptable to say it outright and in public. For over a year now, Overwatch players of various skill levels and background have engaged in discourse over which Hero is the best one, but with such a diverse set of characters (and constant patches and updates), it is nearly impossible to reach a consensus.
The good people at Paste have given me the difficult task of straightening all of this out—with a 26th Hero in the form of Moira releasing recently, the time has come to give a definitive ranking of all of the available characters. What are my credentials, you ask? I play the game a lot with my friends—on console. Any questions? Concerns? Complaints?
Too bad. We’re starting now.
Best Voice Line: “I’m going to make you punch drunk.”
Overall Utility: Useful if you need a guy to punch someone with a gun
It generally takes a while for the newer Overwatch characters to feel at home, but despite a badass name, Doomfist never quite caught on. The character feels like a 2D fighting game character plopped into a 3D shooting game, not to mention that players can see his ultimate from miles away.
Best Voice Line: “Boop!”
Overall Utility: Definitely a must for the all-important Capture the Flag mode
Not only was the ARG to promote her ill-conceived and over-hyped, there are few reasons to use this stealth hacker. While her abilities may allow expert players do some damage, what you’ll more likely end up seeing are invisible nitwits running into the line of fire to meet their untimely demise—not to mention, hacking is an annoyance at best in its current state.
Best Voice Line: “I could murder a chippie.”
Overall Utility: An effective annoyance that can easily be dispatched
Okay look, I know she’s the face of the game, and she’s very fast and very gay—but Tracer isn’t a big problem for opponents for long. Her standard abilities are fun to use and all, but her ult is generally ineffective compared to the other game-changing ones. Other DPS (damage per second) heroes can swat her away with relative ease.
Best Voice Line: “Let them eat cake.”
Overall Utility: She’s, you know, a sniper
Her grappling hook gives her some of the best mobility out of anyone in the game, but sniping in a very fast and action-heavy shooter isn’t so fun. Her ultimate is a useful support ability, but her venom mine is generally underutilized.
Best Voice Line: “Say ‘bacon’ one more time.”
Overall Utility: Not sure; does that hook work now?
Here’s a hero that will vary in position depending on what version of the game you’re playing in. With crazy buffs from the ability to walk while healing, to absurd nerfs to his essential abilities like the hook, Roadhog goes up and down this list depending on the time of day.
Best Voice Line: “You will never amount to anything!”
Overall Utility: Good in the hands of experts, all three of them
There’s always that gung-ho person on your team who thinks they can get all the picks as Hanzo—usually, they do not. Out of all of the heroes in the game, you can tell more than any other one what kind of person you’re dealing with when they pick Hanzo. That dragon is real cool-looking, though.
Best Voice Line: “Stupidity is not a right.”
Overall Utility: Up in the air
The newest addition to the roster thus far, Moira is basically a science witch. She can drain enemies and heal allies by shooting science out of her hands, all while running like Naruto. But from my brief time with her, the lack of range makes the use of Moira very limited. We’ll see in time.
Best Voice Line: “For the last time, I’m Swedish!”
Overall Utility: Not looking great for console players especially
I have a mixed relationship with Torb here. Being a Team Fortress 2 veteran and an Engineer main, I was hoping that Torb’s turret would have the same deadly power—but on console especially, it feels more like a nerf gun than a force to be reckoned with. Throwing out armor does make me feel important and useful, though.
Best Voice Line: “Error 404: Sarcasm module not found.”
Overall Utility: Would be more useful if her head wasn’t a massive target
She’s a hodgepodge of Reinhart and Zarya, and she usually works as the “anchor tank” that the developers wanted her to be. With recent improvements to her shield and firing speed, Orisa is a much more viable tank. While she can defend her teammates quite well, the same can’t be said for defending herself.
Best Voice Line: “Natural selection!”
Overall Utility: Your best hope at disrupting your opponents
There are few things in the known universe that are more terrifying than a hulking gorilla flying straight at you. With a dome shield and an ultimate that allows you to go apeshit crazy, there are many ways Winston can throw a wrench in an opponent’s plans by causing pure chaos.
Best Voice Line: “You seem nice. I hate to kill you.”
Overall Utility: Fast and furious
I may have no clue how to successfully play as this character, but damned if I’m never frustrated by a Genji deflecting my shots, or by a successful Dragonstrike. Even though Tracer may have cooler evasion techniques, Genjis are usually a hassle to fight against, with impressive offensive capabilities.
Best Voice Line: “Anyone want some BBQ? Heheh.”
Overall Utility: It never hurts to have his support fire
It’s fun to blow shit up. Using his mines, Junkrat can go airborne and go places most heroes can only dream of. Shooting grenades at an arc gives this hero some strategic advantages that can help both on defense and offense. And boy, that RIP-tire sure is handy, especially towards unsuspecting and downright stupid players (specifically, me).
Best Voice Line: “Children, behave.”
Overall Utility: A tank’s best friend
She may not have the mobility options as Widowmaker, but damn can she really support the team. Assuming you aren’t using a controller, healing teammates should be a relative breeze, and that biotic grenade’s ability to prevent enemies from healing can be a valuable asset. Just be sure that you’re aiming your Nano Boost at the right teammate.
Best Voice Line: “I’m not a psychopath; I’m a high-functioning psychopath.”
Overall Utility: The best edgelord one could ever ask for
He may be the Shadow the Hedgehog of Overwatch, but those dual shotguns are a force of reckoning. While not impossible to counter, you can always depend on a good Reaper to clear out a room, especially when his ultimate is ready.
Best Voice Line: “Young punks… Get off my lawn!”
Overall Utility: All those hours of Call of Duty will pay off
Every good team probably needs a good Soldier. There isn’t anything unique about his concept and his abilities, but once you see a Tracer running about or a Pharah just out of reach, you know that it has to be the Soldier’s job to take them out. It’s a bit of a burden for Soldier, so we understand why he sounds like such a curmudgeon.
Best Voice Line: “I dreamt I was a butterfly.”
Overall Utility: This orb boy not only heals but murders
Useful on support with his heals, Zenyatta also has quick orbs of destruction that do exactly what they sound like they do—with amazing accuracy. A good Zenyatta will call out their Discord orb targets on mic, and more relentless ones will continue to pelt them with orbs for the final kill. That, plus his recharging shield, makes him my first choice for Deathmatch.
Best Voice Line: “Why do you struggle?”
Overall Utility: Her abilities are unique and unmatched
Early in a capture point match, players on offense may hear a disturbing, futuristic laser sound effect in the background. That’s an opposing Symmetra sneaking up behind all of you, killing all with her Photon Projector. With her ability to create death traps with her turrets, and the ever-useful teleporter or shield generator, any Symmetra on the field is a clear and present danger.
Best Voice Line: “Hee hoo hoo hoo-wee, hee hee hoo hoo hoo-wee.”
Overall Utility: I hate you, but you work well
Aw, this robot friend is adorable, isn’t it? Until it mows you down with a hail of bullets. Bastion’s uncanny ability to kill in a short time plus its capability of healing itself while on the move make it the headache of most players. Just go into turret mode, hide behind a Reinhardt or Orisa shield, hold fire and watch that hit marker indicator in your reticle go nuts.
Best Voice Line: “Sorry! Sorry, I’m sorry. Sorry.”
Overall Utility: (see Bastion)
Stop us if this has happened to you before: you are suddenly frozen by a Mei that is just out of sight. She walks in front of your immobile self, and with a smile on her face, coldly unloads an icicle into your skull. Then, she probably goes off to heal herself, or strategically places an ice wall somewhere that will be hugely inconvenient for your team. This is the way of Mei.
Best Voice Line: “LOL.”
Overall Utility: A variety of options makes her a jack of all trades
Another constantly evolving hero, D.Va is fun for console players who just want to hold primary fire. But her rocket boost gives her a vast number of movement options (including pushing opponents off the map), and her defense matrix, while nerfed recently, allows her the unique ability of absorbing opponents’ ultimate. Plus, her passive ability to eject basically gives this tank a second chance with each life. If only her new missiles were remotely useful.
Best Voice Line: “I’m your Huckleberry.”
Overall Utility: Start practicing your sharpshootin’, cause you’ll need it
We joke about it being high noon somewhere in the world, but the voice line “It’s high noon” truly does strike fear in the hearts of enemies. With a dodge roll, a stun grenade and the ability to unload his revolver all at once, McCree is a versatile DPS. What he lacks in firepower he makes up for effective killing.
Best Voice Line: “I want to hug you like big, fuzzy Siberian bear!”
Overall Utility: As long as you know what that charge number means, you’re good
Zarya is a difficult character to wrap your head around, but in return, it makes her a difficult opponent to handle. Once you see her bubble shield, opponents are forced to change their strategy in order to avoid giving her charge. Finally, her graviton ultimate works well with many other ultimate abilities, guaranteeing Plays of the Game.
Best Voice Line: “Medic!... Wait, that’s me!”
Overall Utility: With the new update, she’s both an angel and a demon
I was initially skeptical when the game completely changed her ultimate ability—her resurrection would produced the most hype moments, bringing a whole group of teammates back to life in an essential moment. But the new Valkyrie ultimate gives Mercy players some new toys to play with—toys that allow them to become the deadly battle Mercies they’ve always wanted to be.
Best Voice Line: “Play nice, play Pharah.”
Overall Utility: Death from the skies
An opposing Pharah in the air is an instant problem. Everyone, stop what you’re doing and focus on taking her down. In almost any scenario, Pharah has the capability of hampering opponents’ progress with her rockets. Couple her with an air bound Mercy to heal her, and you have a near-unstoppable duo.
Best Voice Line: “I’m not hearing that noise!” spammed repeatedly
Overall Utility: Boop them off. All of them.
Overwatch is a race against time, and once those doors at the spawn open up, you’re going to want that Lucio speed boost. During the most dire times, Lucio is your best option for ferrying people back and forth. His Sound Barrier shield may be fleeting, but can be a life saver at the right moment. Plus, how can you not have fun pushing three people off the map at once with his Sound Barrier?
Best Voice Line: “One hundred percent German power!”
Overall Utility: There will be nothing but a path of destruction in his wake
It’s a bit ironic that both the first and last Heroes on this list are those with primarily melee capabilities, but Reinhardt is the real deal. Whether you’re making a push on offense or making a stand defending a point, his massive and long-lasting shield is key to any strategy. A successful Charge will not only likely kill your unfortunate target, but disrupt any poor souls that happen to be in your way. Fire Strike gives Reinhardt a useful projectile, and the Earthshatter ultimate coupled with your team’s attacks can turn the match in your favor.
Reinhardt is the best Overwatch Hero. It’s just science.
Chris Compendio is a Paste intern who is afraid of playing Competitive mode in fear of damaging his rank. Tell him why his list is wrong after following him on Twitter @Compenderizer.