There are only four support characters in Overwatch, but the support class just might be the most valuable class for any team setup. These guys are in charge of keeping the team alive, helping to increase their overall damage output, and occasionally keep the enemies away from control points. In fact, if played right, support characters can prove to be such a nuisance in Overwatch that a smart enemy team would know to take them out first.
Overwatch’s four support characters are Mercy, Symmetra, Lucio, and Zenyatta. These four will be ranked, based on their ability to assist their team while keeping the enemy at bay, and their overall usefulness in an all-out firefight and taking objectives.
Zenyatta doesn’t have very good healing abilities. He has an Orb of Harmony, which he can pass on to one ally at a time, recharging about 30HP per second. However, he has to remain within line of sight of the targeted ally in order for the Orb to stay active. Given his low mobility, it can be difficult for him to keep up with faster characters like Tracer and Soldier 76. That said, Zenyatta can be quite lethal if played right.
He has an Orb of Discord that he can attach to any enemy target. This will increase the target’s damage taken by 50%, making it very easy for your allies to kill him. Zenyatta also needs to be within the target’s line of sight for the Orb to stay active, but planting an Orb on an enemy will usually force them to go into hiding, giving your team a chance to push on. Zenyatta’s own primary fire of orbs also deal quite a bit of damage, and he can whittle down even tank characters like Reinhardt and Roadhog fairly easily if they have an Orb of Discord.
Zenyatta’s ultimate ability, Transcendence, can also prove to be quite useful. He basically transforms into a shield, blocking any enemy damage while simultaneously healing any allies near him as well. However, Transcendence is only especially useful in certain situations (when an enemy uses an Ultimate, or if your team is clustered together), and it can be difficult to use it effectively. As much as I love using Zenyatta as my support main in Overwatch, he’s simply far too squishy to survive long in a fight if he doesn’t have good team backup. With only 150HP (plus shields), you’re not allowed to be too aggressive with him, even though his offensive capabilities are far more useful than his healing techniques.
Mercy is the best character to start with if you’re just trying out the support class in Overwatch. With her Caduceus Staff, she can either heal an ally for 50HP per second, or boost one ally’s damage by 30%. With 200HP, she can stay tethered to offensive characters like Pharah, or even tankier characters like D.Va, and swap between keeping them alive and boosting their damage output. She also has a Caduceus Blaster which she can use to protect herself if need be, but your primary focus should be on buffing your allies.
If your teammates happen to fall in battle, her Resurrect ultimate can immediately bring them back to life. It’s worth noting that this works for multiple targets too, as long as they’re all within your ability range. You can’t really go wrong with a Mercy on your team, as she provides allies with offensive power and defensive buffs.
However, the drawback is that she can only heal and buff one ally at a time. This means that if the rest of your team happens to fall, you and your tethered hero will be easily overwhelmed by the enemy. While she is an easy character to learn, and she can move from one character to another fairly quickly (if they’re in range), her ability to keep the team alive is average at best.
Symmetra doesn’t have any healing capabilities. In fact, the closest thing she has to a healing technique is giving each of her allies a Photon Shield, which grants them an extra 25HP worth of armor, and it regenerates over time. However, this actually does give each and every of your allies some extra survivability. The Shields are particularly useful for low HP characters like Tracer or even Zenyatta. Even if Symmetra falls in battle, the Shields will stay active until the allies themselves die.
Symmetra is also fantastic for guarding control points. Her Sentry Turrets may only have 1HP each, but they will damage and slow down enemies, essentially making them sitting ducks for your allies to shoot at. As long as you place the Turrets in hidden locations where the enemy won’t think to look, the opposing team won’t stand a chance at taking over your control point. She also has a Photon Projector that can shoot beams to damage enemies, as well as orbs that pierce through shields. If you can slow down Reinhardt with a Turret, and then shoot him with orbs, he’ll go down pretty quickly.
Even though Symmetra can’t actually heal allies, she can bring them back into the fight very swiftly even if they fall. Her ultimate ability allows her to place a Teleporter in the field, and allies will be able to get there instantaneously from the spawn room. This essentially allows your team to keep the pressure on the enemy, and if used correctly, can even turn the tides of a losing battle.
Lucio is probably the most well-rounded support character in Overwatch. He has it all: speed, healing, and even decent damage output. With his secondary fire, he can blast enemies and keep them at bay. With his Crossfade ability, he can generate an aura around him that either heals up his allies or increases their mobility, making him a good ally to have around when trying to push towards an objective. He heals up quite a large amount of HP too, meaning it’ll be very difficult to kill off your team bit by bit as long as Lucio is around.
Not only that, he can run on walls, allowing him to surprise enemies from unexpected angles, or just get back to his group whenever they need him. His Amp It Up ability will also temporarily boost the effect of his generated aura, and this has the capability of turning your team into a fast-moving, self-healing tank.
If things look bad, or if D.Va tries to self-destruct, Lucio can protect the team by activating his ultimate ability Sound Barrier. This generates a powerful shield that protects your team. Though it only lasts for a short period of time, you just might be able to protect your entire team from a complete wipe. With a well-played Lucio on your team, you’ll never have to be afraid of not catching up to your group mates, and you’ll usually be able to get back into the fight fairly quickly.