How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

If you've spent some serious time with Overwatch you've likely noticed some heroes getting much more play time than others. Whether it's a whole team of Bastions or a single aggravating Widowmaker, not knowing how to counter a character can be frustrating for any player new to Blizzard's team-based shooter.

One of Overwatch's greatest features is its option to let players switch characters on the fly. Not feeling the genius gorilla? Switch to the cyborg dwarf! It's a mechanic that can make every match feel exciting and unpredictable. The suggestions below are focused on how to combat some of the most popular and/or seemly unfair heroes that you're certain to encounter more often than not.

Not every counter is going to be a less popular character, and it should be noted that a good handful of counter picks are some of the same overused heroes that made our list. Overwatch is a game where any player can gain the upper hand by using their abilities in precise or creative ways, as well as focusing on teamwork.

If you're looking for a more detailed breakdown of every single character in the game I highly recommend you check out our official Overwatch tips and character guide.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Defensive

Known For: Being a mother effing turret

How To Counter: Though many consider Bastion the cheapest player in the game due to his turret form and ability to heal himself, he's far from unbeatable. Luckily for opposing players both of these seemingly overpowered abilities have the same weakness - they temporarily immobilize the bird-loving robot.

If you want to challenge Bastion head on your best bet are characters who have a focus on shielding or reflecting on the go, such as D.Va, Reinhart and Genji. For more stealthy close range combat you should look towards characters like Tracer and Reaper, who can materialise behind him and do some serious damage. If you're not keen on potentially becoming riddled with bullet holes you can always spring for Widowmaker or Hanzo. Set up shop out of site and let fly a few devastating shots to dismantle everyone's least favourite "Play of the Game" winner.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Defensive

Known For: Lobbing grenades and hunting you down with a tire

How To Counter: Everyone's favourite Aussie peg leg sure is annoying. Chances are you've encountered a Junkrat or two who will spams his trademark grenades until he racks up enough points to send Rip Tire rolling into battle. Then it's time to run for your life. It can certainly be frustrating.

Junkrat's grenades may be powerful, but they're not the easiest to aim at long distances and they have a bit of a kickback. If you're far from an opposing Junkrat you should approach in a serpentine pattern of sorts to throw off his aim. Getting up in his face is the way to take him down. As mentioned in Bastion's guide, Tracer and Reaper are your go to when you need to approach with surprise. Heroes with explosive close range firepower, like McCree, Pharah and Roadhog, are also a solid choice. Just be sure you don't walk right into one of Junkrat's patented bear traps while you try to avoid his blasts.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Defensive

Known For: Camping and scoping

How To Counter: Widowmaker is the only hero in Overwatch who can scope in on her targets. This can make her a very advantageous character to have on one's team. Chances are you've stumbled upon a Windowmaker, focused intently on some far off foe, and gleefully taken her out from close range.

Unfortunately, most smart Widowmaker players will do their best to keep a distance at all times. If you do manage to get close, chances are you can put a hurting on her. If you're lucky enough to spy Widowmaker before she takes aim you can rise to her level with the right characters. Estranged ninja brothers Genji and Hanzo can both climb walls (though Genji is better for up close combat), while other heroes like Winston, Pharah and D.Va can take a vertical leap to get a better vantage point. Widowmaker does have one of the lowest health pools in the game, so it won't take much to deplete her life.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Offence

Known For: Classic FPS skillz

How To Counter: Soldier: 76 is one average G.I. Joe. But that's why everyone feels so comfortable with him. He's the safest choice for newcomers; thus his appearance as the default Overwatch tutorial character. It's no wonder he seems to be popping up in most matches on one side or the other.

Due to Soldier: 76's all around average abilities there isn't really one hero that stands out as his best or worst match up. Just about any character can make a dent in his armour if they play to their specific strengths. As 76 has the capacity to both sprint and heal himself (as well as others) it's a good idea to stay on top of him as a team. If you're after him solo you'll want a more agile fighter like Genji, Tracer or Lucio on his tail. Just stay clear of his special, as it will lock onto any opposing characters in sight and take them out.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Offence

Known For: Manifesting nearby and murdering you

How To Counter: Two guns are always better than one, and Reaper regulars are well aware of this. The popular specter of death is handy for surprise attacks due to his Shadow Step, which allows him to mark a spot and warp their on command. Look out! Behind you!

To excel against the king of angst you'll need to be able to take a hit or be able to stop him dead in his tracks. When it comes to knock back there aren't many better than D.Va and Reinhardt, both of which have fast acting shields and a solid amount of health. On the other hand, characters like Mei and McCree can phase Reaper long enough with stun and freeze abilities to leave him defenseless to their more powerful attacks. Just be sure to time your assault precisely, as Reaper's wrath form makes him momentarily invulnerable. Take fire once he's back to his vulnerable solid self.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Tank

Known For: The ol' stun and gun

How To Counter: Roadhog is one big pig. His shotgun blasts and chain hook make him one of the most satisfying characters for newbies and a constant aggravation for everyone. With a large health pool and a healing ability to boot he's not the easiest opponent to put in the ground.

Roadhog is another character who doesn't really have a definitive group of heroes who can counter him with ease. Chances are you'll be best off with other tank characters who have high health to begin with, such as Winston, Reinhardt, and D.Va. Even another Roadhog isn't a terrible idea. If you want to keep your distance you should lean towards Torbjorn. With a well placed turret and armour packs on tap, Torbjorn can help himself and others stay alive long enough to turn Roadhog into bacon.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Class: Tank

Known For: Having a ridiculously large shield

How To Counter: No one is quite as intimidating as a towering robo-knight wielding a gargantuan hammer. Reinhardt is one of the largest and most powerful close combat heroes in all of Overwatch, but it's his enormous rectangular shield that has most players cursing their luck.

The first thing you have to understand about Reinhardt's shied is that it isn't invincible. Anyone who has played as the hulking behemoth knows that his Barrier Field has its own health stats. Heroes with superior firepower, such as Pharah and Bastion, can shatter the shield in no time if they focus their fire. Just be sure to keep moving if possible so Reinhardt doesn't have time to line up a direct hit with his rocket-powered charge. Defeating Reinhardt in a stealthy fashion is all about timing and position. Wait until his back is turned and then fire off long range attacks with heroes like Hanzo, Widowmaker, and even Junkrat.

How To Counter Overwatch's Most Overused Heroes

Obviously your Overwatch experience may differ. Who knows, you might not even be seeing the seven characters listed above very often. If you've found a handy way of dealing with a specific character that was causing you grief we'd love to hear about it in the comments.


    Funnily enough I've found any character that stops and camps (Widowmaker, Bastion, Trolbjorn's turrets) are a perfect target for Pharah. At super long distances her rockets are still devestating and ytou can often send the necessary 2 for the kill before the enemy has time to react.

      This is true. Pharah has an insanely long range and can boost up over buildings to get LOS.

        Pharah is very effective on certain maps where the enemy has to go around a tall wall. You can pop out over the wall, unleash rockets and pop back to recharge. Pharah often dies either when when she is flying and finds the turret or when she has no boost and is caught on the ground.

    As a Junkrat player, if offensive heroes start to charge me, I'll go all "mutual destruction" and start lobbing the bombs around me while charging at them. So when they (or I) kill my self, my passive goes off and kills them too.
    Which I think is an important bit of information you left out. That passive.

      Also shoot the freaking tire.

        Good Junkrat players will try and jump the tire over a wall or something at the right moment so you are dealing with an airborne target. Makes it more difficult to hit (at least for me).

    Another thing to note with Reinhardt’s shield, there are things that go through it, such as Symmetra's attacks (Though not the turrets iirc), another Reinhardt's Fire Strike, Winston's Tesla Cannon, Hanzo's Dragonstrike and Junkrat's Rip Tire

      To add a few more - Meis ice cannon spray, melee swings in general, zarya's particle cannon(the laser not the grenade),

        Does Mei's go through? When I tried it didn't really work.

          The spray (primary fire) might not damage him through the shield (I think it does but would have to check later) but it definitely freezes him through it. Secondary doesn't go through IIRC.

            Mei's freeze does not go through the shield.

          It doesn't? maybe I get trashed by her so hard I make mistakes and drop the shield.

        Zarya's laser does not go through Reinhardt shield.

          But her secondary fire does.

      You know what else goes though it? Characters. You can WALK through the thing.

      I'm not 100% about the Rip Tire, I could swear I've blocked it with the shield before - taking massive damage to the shield - and I know players have 'blocked' it when I use Junkrat, but other times it kills me outright. Think it might have something to do with angle/distance when it explodes and the current health of the barrier but I'm not sure.

        yep, rip-tyre is blockable by the shield, it often does enough damage to outright kill you either way though. at full health with full shield, you can survive on about 20 health or so

          The blast is blockable but the tire itself is not. It can traverse through the shield just like a character. If Reinhardt is facing the wrong way and the blast hits him from the side or behind, he is toast.

      Also Pharah concussive blast do massive damage to the shield

    Counter against perfect Mei's?

      None, you're screwed.

      Long range is best really. I know McCree's supposed to own her but I think that actually involves you being good at playing McCree - which I'm really not :P

      Reaper works well, use your shift to avoid getting frozen.

      Zarya is pretty good.
      Lull Mei into a false sense of security while she's freezing you, then pop your shield right before it's too late and watch her squirm as she has to quickly back track. Stay close so she can't wall herself out, and all that's left is for her to freeze herself, but you'll have your shield ready to go by the time she's out anyway, and you can repeat if need be.
      You can do the same thing with Reaper (shadow walk thingy) too.

      Hanzos flashbangs work well too, or, not so much a counter, but you can use Pharas jump jets for a quick get away.

      Medium range works best for me. Just out of range of her freeze. She quite often won't put a wall up if you are that close, because she is too busy saving her bacon. Soldier 76 can duck and weave pretty well at that range while spraying his assault rifle and rockets. Road Hog can hook her from outside freeze range. Just don't sit at longer than medium range because Mei's icicle darts are very very damaging (like Torbjorn's rivets) and she can wall you off if you start hurting her.

      I've played a fair bit of mei. Soldier and Tracer can be good because tracer can keep zipping out of the slow and soldier can murder you from medium range or at least push you back. McCree is McCree so he does ok against her. If you're close enough then the flashbang fan combo will kill her before she can block. When against Mei I reckon I've had the most success with Tracer though.

    So basically there's no counter to a good roadhog. Great.
    That's why I see so many teams running 4+ roadhogs

      A good Zenyatta can tear him (and all the other tanks for that matter) to pieces. Throw on the debuff, throw some balls of death and tank dies in about half a second. That's a 'good Zenyatta' though because he's squishy as hell and doesn't move super fast so if you get hit with the hook, you're pretty much dead already.

        I love hooking Zenyatta. One shotgun blast to the face after the hook is all it takes :D

      Reaper. As a roadhog lover Reaper gives me the most issues. The only good thing is you can hook him out of his ult.

      Roadhog is a constant supply of ult charge, he has so much health that is burned through so quickly you can be a lot more liberal in your ults. Zarya is also a good counter since her shield lets allies get out of the situation for free and build a bunch of charge to laser pointer him down.

      I do pretty well with Soldier 76 because his effective range is longer than Road Hog's hook can reach, and he's mobile too. Reinhardt's shield will block a hook too.

      Roundhogs have high health and can health themselves but no shield so focus fire will take them down pretty fast. They're also slow so you can keep your distance, keep strafing, and cut them down.

      Due to Roadhog's inability to quickly escape/heal himself, the best way to take him on it either suppressing fire from Bastion and Pariah or charged shots from Widowmaker and Hanzo, if you're out of range of his hook you're out of range from real damage from his scrap gun. Just stay out of range of the hook and you can hunt him down (since he can't move when he heals you can take him down while he is healing up).

    These aren't even that bad, you don't know true annoyance until you come across a tracer and/or genji with torb armor + symmetra shields. ridiculously hard to kill and stick to your team like glue.

      I encountered a Batsion, Reinhardt and Mercy combo.

        The only saving grace is that Reinhardt's shield doesn't get healed by Mercy. If it did, you'd never get through it.

        That Bastion + Reinhardt on Temple of Anubis choke point though...

        That's a standard go to for our group. 4th guy plays Mei.
        Ice wall goes up when Reinhardt's shield goes down which gives plenty of time to recharge

        Last edited 30/05/16 9:16 pm

    Reinhardt is a Bastion counter, since when?

    At most he's a temporary meatshield while someone ELSE counters Bastion. In a 1v1 situation, it is almost always going to end poorly for the Reinhardt.

    His shield gets cut down very quickly under sustained fire from even a single Bastion... And the moment you try to charge you'll be dead before you get to him. So unless you've got an ultimate up to waste on a single Bastion, I'd say it's more than unwise trying to tackle him yourself as Reinhardt.

      What about his fire shot?

        Shield goes down when used, at which point in close range the Bastion will absolutely rinse you so MAYBE you'll trade kills at best. It'd take 3 fireshots to kill a full HP Bastion I believe. Even then, kill trading does not make a counter.

        And at range even in turret form Bastion can still potentially dodge it if they're quick, at very least they'll get away before any follow-up shots arrive to kill him. It's got a fairly slow travel time all things considered.

        Reinhardt is a tanky character for sure, easily one my favourites, but Bastion fairly well outclasses him in a straight slugging match. Though that's sorta the point really. Just pray to catch him moving around out of turret mode.

      Another thing about Reinhardt's shield, it takes (at lot) longer to regenerate after breaking than it does if they just turn it off, so one pretty obvious way to get him is to just keep shooting him even with the shield up, he'll have to turn it off eventually or have it break - keeping it off for a good minute or two.

      Edit: not meant to be a reply...

      Last edited 29/05/16 2:14 pm

      If the bastion had the misfortune of setting up on the low ground, then yes. Reinhardt's charge will one-shot him.

        If the Bastion knows the Reinhardt is there he'll more than likely kill him before the charge hits... The charge takes a moment to actually fire, then add travel time. MAYBE you'll get lucky and catch him reloading to get the charge off, but Reinhardt absolutely lacks any sort of hard counter capability against a Bastion.

        Add in that the closer you get to a Bastion the more ridiculous the damage from his turret gets as every round starts hitting its target. Which is why the likes of Widowmaker and Hanzo are hard counters to him... They can be on the other side of the map and put him down reliably.

        As we're talking head to head situations here you have to assume they are aware of each other... If we assume anything else then this whole thing is pointless, because you can start calling anyone a counter to anyone else if the situation is right.

        A counters B, just as long as B is looking the other way, etc.

        Last edited 29/05/16 9:17 pm

    Roadhog's hook pulls bastion and takes him out of turret form!!!!

      Junkrat is great against Tracer too, trapping her means no more Tracer

    The popular specter of death is handy for surprise attacks due to his Shadow Step, which allows him to mark a spot and warp their on command.

    .....really? I wouldn't usually care but that's pretty poor coming from a journalist.

    I've found Pharah is a pretty good counter for a lot of these as you can just boost into the air and then stay there for most of the match. Not a lot of people look up so you can easily pepper Reinhardt with rockets or keep out of reach of Roadhog's hook. Bastion players rarely look up either so you can easily get in behind them depending on their location.

    Junkrat is a good counter against Reainhardt too. His claw traps are great at shutting down a charge or if you want some fun, set off a knockback grenade as he's charging (You can set them off almost as soon as they're thrown) and then laugh as he sails right over your head. The grenade can get past hist shield too and knock him into a position where he's vulnerable. Actually, Junkrat's knockback grenades are a great interrupt for many specials and attacks.

    In terms of countering Junkrat, Pharah's about the only one I'd say is a good recommendation as Junkrat can't do much once she's airborne. Anyone who needs to get in close are instantly at a disadvantage because of the knockback grenade which can be used to either knock them away or launch Junkrat to safety.

      Agree. Sending a Rip-tire past his shield is always hilarious since Reinhardt can't do much about it.

      I love going up close against a Reinhardt player and tossing a Concussion Mine to their face, sending them flying in the air. If the player decides to charge me, I just place a trap in front of me :)

      Long-distance wise, just keep sending frags his way until the shield breaks!

      Last edited 30/05/16 12:23 am

      I don't get how to stay up in the air so long with Pharah. I can boost up there but then fuel seems to run out really quickly, even using it in spurts.

      True, but her boost is loud with jet trails and her flight path is quite slow, if you can see her get up into the air you can usually take her down with an automatic weapon or at least ground her again. And playing usually as Widowmaker, 9/10 times I can eliminate a Pariah mid-ultimate due to her immobilised state and general loudness.

    McCree counters Reinhardt well. Throw a flash above his shield to stun him then you can kill with Fan the Hammer, roll, Fan the Hammer.

    Another overwatch article just slapped in there for clickbait eh?
    Genji, Hanzo, Widowmaker and McCree are by far the most used classes.

    Also saying Roadhog doesnt have a definitive hard counter is just wrong.. D.VA, Mei, Reaper and McCree are Roadhog hard counters and anyone with a mobility ability is a soft-counter (after a hook, genji, tracer, reaper, mccree, pharrah, etc can blink, roll, launch away if they're quick enough)

      Whilst they are overused we can all agree it is quite useful to have a sniper on your team to give you covering fire, so players can't really be blamed for finding a class they're good at.

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