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Overwatch Tier List - Season 4
March 8, 2017
Overwatch Tier List Summary
Similar to our previous tier list for Season 3, we are formatting this the same way. Written after taking various input from highly-rated players and boosters, this should be used as a rough guide to knowing which picks are strong in the current meta, and under what situations.
Read more about how these updates and changes affect individual heroes in the hero details section below our tier list summary. Heroes with updated details will be written in bold.
Tier 1 - Ana, Lucio, Reinhardt
These heroes have been must-picks in nearly every game in the last several months. Their kits provide something unique that can’t be effectively replicated by any other heroes in the game, elevating them above and beyond the usefulness of their potential counterparts.
Tier 2 - Bastion, Roadhog, Soldier 76, Zarya
While tanks remain undeniably effective, the three-tank meta of Season 3 has effectively come to a close. 2 DPS, 2 tanks, and 2 healers are seen in the majority of Season 4 games thus far, and we do not expect this to change anytime soon.
If your “main” is among any of these characters, then don’t fret - a good player can make excellent use of these heroes in the majority of situations. However, when you look at raw data and in-game results, their effectiveness is undeniably below that of their Tier 2 counterparts.
These heroes, while not viable in all situations, shine on specific maps or against specific team compositions. The heroes in Tier 4 are effective in their own right, but likely shouldn’t be relied upon for general use. A great player can make almost anything work, but if you’re sitting at hero select at the beginning of a game, these are not your go-to choices.
Tier 5 - Sombra, Junkrat
If you enjoy winning your competitive games, you might want to steer away from these picks unless you happen to know exactly what you’re doing. In which case, you wouldn’t be reading our tier list in the first place.
Tier List Hero Details
Tier 1 Heroes
Long past is the Beyblade combination of Season 2’s Ana and Reaper, but this support is still kicking. Boasting the fastest single-target heal rate in the game, combined with her ability to amplify an entire team’s healing, she remains on the cusp of a must-pick every single game. Ultimately, the support role has more flexibility than a DPS or tank, but looking at raw numbers, Ana is undeniably the best pick for her role. Her offensive power is nothing to sneeze at either. Despite Biotic Grenade’s 1 second duration nerf and reduced heal buff for teammates, it remains the only ability in the game able to disrupt enemy healing. Her kit is unique to her, and that’s a huge factor in holding her queen-like position in Tier 1. PTR changes hint towards nerfs at Ana, so we might be relooking our verdict on Ana’s position in this tier list sooner than expected.
As mentioned in Ana’s description, having a unique kit is is huge in Overwatch when it comes to being Tier 1. Unlike characters like Soldier and McCree, who fill similar roles, Lucio’s amplified Speed Boost is unlike any other ability in the game, and its utility is simply unparalleled. Increased movement speed in an FPS game is an incredible advantage. Many players often think of it simply as a tool to get to the point on a KOTH map faster, but the ability to reposition an entire team in an instant is where he truly shines. Over the months, he’s received nerfs to both his heal rate and speed increase, but without a hero to directly overshadow him, he too looks to be in it for the long haul.
Reinhardt may be the most essential hero for any situation in Overwatch. While often not favored by the playerbase due to his often static playstyle and tendency to slow down the game, his damage-soaking and team-protecting ability is unmatched. Reinhardt sits with Lucio as the longest-standing must pick hero in the game. The 3 tank meta may be gone, but Reinhardt remains. In specific circumstances, an entire team composition can be built without requiring his shield, but most of the time it won’t be as effective as a comp starring our German dad. Bastion has always been known as a shield-shredder, and buffs making him picked significantly more often have some people thinking that Reinhardt is in a worse spot. While the shield damage is indeed massive, imagine what would happen if you didn’t have one to hide behind. D.Va may absorb Configuration: Sentry bullets more effectively, but she can’t bring the same utility to the table in every other situation.
Tier 2 Heroes
Undoubtedly the hottest topic of the new season, Bastion’s enormous buffs to each part of his kit have rocketed him up from Tier 5 to Tier 2. Each of his abilities has been improved in one way or another, with only extremely minor drawbacks. He is not, however, an auto-pick, auto-win, Tier 1 monster. The weaknesses of his Sentry configuration have not been entirely eradicated, and a coordinated team can focus their fire to bring him down consistently. Despite that, he is undoubtedly a Tier 2 pick at the moment, as his damage output is second to none. Putting everything together: Bastion is extremely strong. He is not to be played like in previous patches, and those with a lot of experience will have to be ready to adjust their play styles accordingly.
Selecting a hero at will to delete from the game will never be weak. Roadhog remains at Tier 2 this season, despite some large changes to the components of his kit. His primary fire, the Scrap Gun, had its spread reduced by 20%. This allows him notably stronger killing power while his hook is on cooldown. Many have eschewed this change, thinking that it doesn’t make the difference needed to compensate for his other changes. While you still have to be extremely close to an enemy to deal the full 225 potential damage, he gains the ability to effectively deal damage over the course of multiple shots in the previously underwhelming zone between his left click and right click’s effectiveness. Compensating for the decreased spread of his primary fire, Chain Hook pulls targets to a position 3.5 meters away from Roadhog (up from 2) and its cooldown has been increased to 8 seconds (up from 6). While this does reduce his effective combo damage on some heroes, his ability to hook and 1-shot kill most heroes remains, and his overall power is around the same level.
Soldier: 76, despite being deemed overpowered by many in season 3, remains unchanged. The mid-season D.Va nerfs only served to increase his strength - without her to contest his high ground control. This was also minorly impacted by the introduction of Roadhog’s hook 2.0, making it harder to take him out from the lowground. The new Bastion might be able to rival Soldier’s place in the current meta, but we don’t expect much to change for Soldier in the near future.
Each piece of Zarya’s kit packs an enormous punch, allowing her to maintain her spot in Tier 2 for this season. The combination of extreme utility in the form of Projected Barriers/Graviton Surge and her superb damage output at high energy levels make her a welcome pick in any situation on any map. She’s essentially devoid of hard counters, and more importantly, she can allow other characters less powerful than herself to shine in ways they couldn’t alone. Graviton combos with a good portion of the cast give reason enough to make abnormal picks. The sheer usefulness of everything Zarya has makes her difficult to properly balance, and she’ll almost certainly be playable (if not amazing) for the entire duration of the game’s lifespan, short of being reworked entirely. The recent changes to the way her shield works against knockbacks is minor and shouldn’t make much of a difference in competitive play.
Tier 3 Heroes
In season 3, Pharah was a criminally underrated choice. Against the three-tank meta, she was often the best possible choice to deal with the opposing team’s lineup, given that they would have 1 hitscan DPS at most, and her high damage output is capable of turning tides in a much grander way than any other DPS character. With the return to 2-2-2, her stock falls slightly, but still she cannot be ignored. High precision and high damage choke point pressure, 2 shotting all non-tanks, and a powerful ultimate ability - while easily countered, a good player can still have an enormous impact on almost every map. Consider playing this hero as more of a flanker than a front-line damage dealer. Avoiding fighting in open areas and instead getting behind to 2-shot supports or clean up with an ultimate is the best way for her to shine.
In the right hands, Tracer can be a very devastating pick. High mobility, high damage, low health - a player that can capitalize on the advantages while avoiding the detriments via good movement and smart positioning can single-handedly carry a game. For those of us without perfect tracking, however, she can often find herself falling short of what a team actually needs. Compared to the awesome, team-wiping powers of ultimate abilities like Tactical Visor and Configuration: Tank, Pulse Bomb often leaves a lot to be desired. The power to instantly remove almost any enemy from the game is noteworthy, but lacks the same game-ending power that other heroes have. There are few situations where Tracer can’t make an impact, but it’s often worth considering whether another character might accomplish what she would with more safety and efficiency.
With all eyes on Soldier for the duration of Season 3, this cowboy has definitely been flying under the radar as of late. However, a good number of very high elo players prefer him to Soldier as their go-to hitscan DPS. Good aim and positioning can often take McCree further than 76, depending on the situation. While Soldier: 76’s general DPS is higher, 2 quick shots from McCree will wind up dispatching non-tanks notably faster. Flashbang’s ability to guarantee kills on players out of position is also valuable, and should be taken into account when considering this hero. Trouble dealing with flankers? Looking to take 1v1 fights? While his overall stats are lower than Soldier’s, he’s far from being irrelevant.
The departure of 3 tank meta is a boon for Genji mains everywhere, though I do specifically direct this thought towards his mains. As with most of Tier 3, a phenomenal player can take over the game with this hero. However, if you’re simply proficient, or feel your skill is equal amongst all of the DPS characters, it’s highly unlikely he will be the first choice. Tier 3 isn’t a place for bad characters - just ones that are overshadowed by the best in the game. If you aren’t able to make solo picks, or provide ample space for your team to act, his impact is just not comparable. For players that are proficient with Genji, feel free to pick him up in your games! Genji is definitely not a bad character.
Of all of the characters in this tier, Hanzo is the one who most requires an experienced player to be effective. While his average impact makes him feel closer to Tier 4, those who know when to pick him and how to utilize him keep him in the running of viable choices. While it’s an unfortunate way to categorize a character’s effectiveness, a player really has to be able to aim well in order to make Hanzo work. Oftentimes the concept of “consistent damage” is thrown around with Hanzo in mind, but the consistent ability to make plays is what’s really required. This hero needs to be actively getting kills that other characters couldn’t have gotten in the same situation. Without a spontaneous pick on an enemy hero - if he’s just playing the shield game, or capitalizing on his teammate’s plays - then a pick like Soldier or McCree would simply do his job better. Keep this in mind when deciding which DPS to lock in, but never ignore the power of this sniper.
The mid-season 3 nerfs to D.Va’s damage and health pool hit her hard. Blizzard’s prevailing tactic of overbuffing and overnerfing rears its ugly head again. D.Va manages to hang onto a Tier 3 spot through her utility rather than her personal strength. The loss of 200 effective HP is most notable about her now - getting hooked by a Roadhog, for example, was previously not nearly the same concern that it is now - it almost always leads to a loss of suit in the current patch. However, D.Va players need to internalize that she simply cannot be played in the same aggressive way she was before. While nerfed, her damage at close range is still high in the hands of a player who can aim. Rather than being able to fly in at will and delete targets with no fear for her own life, more thought must be placed in the decision to defend the team or shut down a high value target. While largely ignored, the most recent patch’s buff to her Defense Matrix feels remarkably strong. The easiest way to see this is when blocking a Roadhog’s shot after he hooks a teammate. Previously, the D.Va player would often be unable to save people unless she too was nearly on top of the Hog. Now, however, they would take no damage.
Another benefactor of 2-2-2’s return, Winston receives a minor buff in the form of his critical hitbox (also see: giant head) being reduced by 15%. While this isn’t something players should expect to feel on a game-by-game basis, it’s definitely welcome and gives him more survivability in the close-quarters situations that he thrives in. While largely situational, Winston’s power comes from the knowledge and gamesense of the person playing him. Having a strong understanding of the correct times to jump in, the correct targets to focus in a given situation, and properly coordinating with the team can lend him strength beyond any of the other tanks in some situations. For excellent examples of Winston gameplay in high elo Ranked games, check out Miro, a pro player from Korea.
In Season 2, Mei could be argued to be as high as Tier 2. As players become more experienced, however, the cheesy wall-off tactics have lost significant amounts of effectiveness. She narrowly avoids relegation to Tier 4 because, despite only having true strength on certain maps, those maps are numerous in comparison to other situational heroes. She finds extreme strength on all 2-CP maps, most Hybrid maps, and even certain KOTH maps (each section of Nepal, Control Center on Lijiang Tower). Some may disagree with choosing her essentially based on how useful Ice Wall is on a map, but if she isn’t able to make big plays by walling off choke points, she’s basically a weaker version of Hanzo (albeit with a better ultimate ability). An underused tactic is to select her while defending in the second round (after both teams have fully capped on a Hybrid or Payload map) and saving her ultimate to use only in overtime. It forces the enemy team to either abandon the objective and lose, or freeze on the objective and die, and also lose. The recent change to letting her be targeted while in Cryo-Freeze should not change much.
The last of Tier 3, Zenyatta too remains in the same place as last season. Discord Orb is admittedly more powerful when up against 3 tanks, but the power of Transcendence shows primarily when denying the team-killing abilities of DPS characters, making the tradeoff more or less even. He does suffer significantly from the potentially increased prevalence of flankers, but as a second support, his utility keeps him in a good enough spot for general use. While his damage output is noteworthy, Transcendence is much more so thanks to its ability to turn around situations that no other character could. Consider picking Zenyatta in the event that you see your enemies attempting to win with Zarya combos (Hanzo, Genji, etc.). He’s also a rather direct counter to the Mei strat spoken of in her section.
Tier 4 Heroes
Entering Tier 4, what you should ask yourself immediately is whether or not the character you’re thinking about picking does their job better than a Tier 2 analog. For Torbjorn, the answer is almost always no. Bastion and Soldier lay down more damage at a faster speed with increased consistency. This alone is enough to relegate him down a few tiers on our list. The better the opposing players are, the less the turret can be expected to do. This isn’t enough to relegate Torb to tier 5, as he ultimately isn’t straight-up garbage, but save for specific team comps (double builder, specific holds on specific maps) he just cannot be as useful as so many other picks.
While not inherently any stronger than the rest of Tier 4, Symmetra has the benefit of being unique. While she saw an enormous increase in pick rate at around the time of her buff, the hype surrounding her generally increased power has gone down significantly. Her Shield Generator, previously thought by many to be one of the more powerful abilities in the game, is almost always set aside in favor of the Teleporter these days. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does harm the image of the second option being a noteworthy buff. She shines on specific points of specific maps (mostly 2CP, of course), but outside of those specific areas she’s nearly useless. This kind of intense specialization definitely places her in Tier 4 again.
As mentioned in Ana’s section above, Reaper was one of the powerhouses of Season 2. However, he doesn’t find himself in any better a situation now than in Season 3. If this alleged “tank buster” couldn’t find a home in the 3-tank meta, there should be no surprise that he remains in a largely unused state for this season. Reaper has incredible power - 2 shotting most characters in the game with ease, dealing high shield damage, a game changing ultimate, high mobility - the list of pros is quite long. However, even with all of this, getting mowed down by the enemy’s Soldier and Bastion takes the wind right out of his sails. His abysmal range is not appropriately compensated for by Wraith Form or Shadow Step, and this alone destroys his effectiveness and places him below the aforementioned DPS picks. Don’t forget about him - as stated, his strengths are as strong as they come. Consider this pocket pick for points that minimize open areas, or in games where teams are in constant struggle on the point.
A good Widow can single-handedly carry the game, as many players have experienced (more often on the other team). Like Hanzo, however, she needs to be making picks. That’s the long and short of it - if she isn’t actively getting kills that a character like Soldier couldn’t be getting in the same position, then she isn’t contributing what she needs to contribute. Unlike Hanzo, she doesn’t have the benefit of Scatter Shot or Sonic Arrow to aid in the kills (Infra-Sight is, of course, similar - but can only be used at the rate of an ultimate ability). If you know you can make the plays that must be made, then she’s a stellar pick in a variety of situations. She does better in 2-2-2 than in triple tank as well. We just cannot justify putting her higher up on our tier list because of the reasons mentioned above.
Previously she would almost always die after ulting if the enemy team had any sort of coordination. Regardless, what she provides to her team without her ult up is just not comparable to Ana or Lucio. This, combined with her effectiveness decreasing as your rank increases, keeps her at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to supports. She can’t be considered a counter to something like a Graviton Surge and Dragonstrike combo at the higher ranks, as the enemy team will be sure to hunt her down at the appropriate time.
Tier 5 Heroes
When it comes to area-of-effect zone control, people think first of Junkrat. However, when considering what he’s really capable of doing, one should compare his abilities to Pharah. She can provide damage at a similar rate from a greater range, though lacks the ability to hit targets around corners. She can escape easily with her Jump Jet and Concussive Blast, whereas Junkrat is almost always dead if caught in a bad position. She can flank when the opportunity presents itself, dealing her 120 damage per hit with high precision. Many characters, when compared to one another, have a clear winner - but in this case, it’s the biggest blowout by far. Junkrat fans will cite the differences in ultimate abilities, and the potential of his Steel Trap, but coordinated foes will have nothing to fear from this character, keeping him down as low as it goes.
The hate for this hero has largely died down, and a consensus has been reached by many. While not awful, and despite her potential for large combination plays with the fast-charging EMP ability, she simply can’t provide enough for her team. A smart opponent will stop dealing poke damage when they see a Sombra on the enemy team, shutting down the charge rate gained from hacked health packs. She’s already nothing but an ulting machine, and if she can’t get them off rapid-fire, in concert with great team coordination, she essentially does nothing.
OVERWATCH TIER LIST FOR SEASON 4 - THANK YOU FOR READING!
We hope you took something back after reading our tier list. We understand that Blizzard is constantly updating the game, therefore we will also make the commitment to update this tier list as often as their patches. Again, please do not use this tier list to dictate your in-game pick decisions, as a guide to understand the current meta and make better and more informed picks while playing competitively in Overwatch. We wish you all the best of luck in your matches!