With all of the objective-based modes that make up Overwatch, any team worth its weight in bragging rights needs a solid defense. Sure, offense is important for pushing through and helping to punish your enemies, and support characters help those damage dealing heroes last just a little bit longer. Tanks are also useful for defending players who are moving about. But when it comes to holding down an area, especially an objective, nobody gets the job done like a good ol’ defensive hero.
There are six heroes in Overwatch who play the defense role, and each one brings something a little different to the table. But who’s the best when it comes to protecting what’s theirs?
We’ll be ranking defensive characters based on survivability and ability to completely lock down a zone.
Hanzo is a pretty powerful hero if you know how to use him. He’s capable of taking out enemies from a very long range, and holding his own in closed areas. However, his lack of firing speed, and rigid attacks make him pretty difficult to use, especially for newer players. While he’s very useful against players with limited mobility, those able to maneuver during a rush can quickly get past this Overwatch defender.
Using his bow and arrow, Hanzo is able to snipe, allowing him to cover open Objectives that give him a fair field of view. His Dragonstrike Ultimate fires in a straight line, which may seem bad for someone who’s task is to defend, but it’s wide enough to catch multiple opponents, and can go through walls. Used correctly, it can decimate a team without you ever having to put yourself at risk. Sonic Arrow serves as an alarm system, which can help keep enemies from getting too close (Hanzo’s weakness), and Scatter Arrow is a bit more forgiving when it comes to accuracy, but he is still very limited when it comes to combat, particularly against skilled tanks and offensive heroes.
His defense tends to crumble when put under close pressure, and without his Ultimate to get him out of a pinch, he’s out of luck during a rush. If backed up by solid support, or another defensive hero he can surely make things happen, but on his own Hanzo is very difficult to use.
Let’s make one thing clear, Widowmaker is far from a bad hero in Overwatch. She’s actually one of the best you can use against some of the most powerful characters in the game? Bastion being a jerk? Snipe with Widowmaker. Mei freezing everyone? Headshot from long-range. For objectives that are sitting in the open, with multiple vantage points around, Widowmaker is most definitely the woman for the job.
What makes her lower than others defensively is that she’s pretty darn squishy. She is built for long range defense, so when things get hairy she needs to get up out of there. She has means of keeping foes afar; a grappling hook to get up high and hide and proximity mines that poison anyone trying to get too close. And, unlike Hanzo, she’s got a bit of speed on her side for both movement and firing. But even with these advantages, she’s fairly simple to rush through in locked spaces.
If she can’t find a line of sight she’ll have to hunt for a new sniper’s perch, leaving her vulnerable to anyone roaming around. If you’re looking to defend something from afar, then there aren’t many better options, but overall defense and survivability hold this sniper back.
Junkrat is an absolute menace to Overwatch’s society. This explosive defender knows how to keep an area locked down tight as he relies on traps and his decent range to keep intruders at bay. Making him even better is that his method of fire helps him bypass some of the tankier characters. For instance, he can fire over Reinhardt’s shield to hit him in the head with a bomb, making him one of the few powerful counters for that juggernaut.
It’s common knowledge to anyone who’s had the luck of going against Junkrat that he’s a beast offensively, but he actually holds his own pretty well on the defensive front as well. Aside from being able to counter powerful heroes like we’ve already mentioned, Junkrat is not at a disadvantage when rushed like our previously mentioned defenders. Kill him from close range and he’ll drop grenades, taking you with him. Wanna hide in a hallway and take pot shots? He’ll launch some bouncing bombs that will either get you directly or show you what splash damage is all about. He can even disperse rushing crowds with his Concussion Mine, which also give him added mobility should the need arise. And let us not forget those Steel Traps. Getting caught in those locks a would be murder in place so Junkrat can give them what they deserve.
His Ultimate is perfect for the defense role as well. Rip-Tire can climb obstacles, turn corners, and more as it speeds across a level. When it explodes it can take out entire teams, or well placed enemy defenses. Junkrat can use this to clear out an objective being overrun and take it back over for his own team.
Mei is the bane of many a player’s existence. Why? Because when they think they’ve got her pinned down she either turns into a friggin’ hunk of ice, or freezes them dead in their tracks. There aren’t many characters out there with the literal stopping power that Mei wields, and her unassuming, friendly appearance usually baits new players right into her trap.
Mei has more health than any of the defenders mentioned so far. With 250 points total, that gives her the ability to survive an extra shot or two that would take out her peers. What makes her even better is that she can heal herself while also making herself invulnerable if things get a bit too rough, meaning she’s a lot harder to push out of position when she really wants to defends something.
Ice wall lets her trap enemies with her, or keep them out of her domain, while Blizzard, Mei’s Ultimate, turns everyone in her area into blocks of ice she can beautifully smash. When she’s holding down an area, you don’t want to approach alone since you’ll more often than not lose that fight. She can keep even the toughest at bay with her ice, so don’t underestimate this adorable hero.
You’ll notice a pattern as we move closer to the number one spot, the defenders at the top of the Overwatch heap are the nemeses of players everywhere. Torbjorn particularly reason for being hated is that magical little turret of his that refuses to quit.
As long as you can find a nice little corner to sit in, you’ll be very difficult to get past when playing as Torbjorn. With his trusty wrench and rivet gun, he’s already a tiny powerhouse, waiting to crush some skulls and set some souls on fire. But once he builds that god forsaken turret of his, all focus shifts to getting Torbjorn off the map as soon as possible. He essentially becomes a powerful, two-pronged defense system. One one side you have a strong, upgradeable turret with a large health pool that can completely lock down a lane, and on the other you have Torbjorn taking pot shots at opponents while he keeps his turret up to snuff and replenishes the armor of himself and teammates in the process.
When his Ultimate powers up, Torbjorn gets even tougher, keeping enemies afraid to come close as his little machine rains hell. Players need to strategize to take out both Torbjorn and his turret or else they’ll never be able to enter his area. That’s how you lock an area down.
Ah, look at Bastion, such a cute robot with those metal legs, and mechanical hands, and those tire treads. Aw, it likes birds, so sensitive. There’s no way Bastion can be the most powerful defender in Overwatch and be hated by millions of players across the globe. Oh, he can? That’s right, it’s because once he finds his spot he becomes an absolute nightmare who doesn’t like to share objectives.
Bastion is built specifically to stay in one place and let nobody enter. While this bot can fight one the move, it’s slow and significantly weaker than it is once he gets to answer its true calling: Sentry Mode. This turns Bastion into a turret with a gatling gun that eats through anyone in its path. You’ll often find Bastions snug in corners where they can’t be outflanked, and can survey all entry points to their defense position. With a ridiculously high damage output, everyone is afraid to approach Bastion. One thing you can do is deal long range damage to try and flush it out of Sentry Mode, or stun Bastion to force it out of that mode. But, if it has its Ultimate charged you’re screwed. Bastion will then turn into an actual tank with ridiculous range along with splash damage that is unparalleled. Yeah, the strongest defender manages to get even stronger temporarily.
And just when you think you’ve whittled Bastion’s health down and sacrificed yourself for the team, the bastard mech goes and heals itself, then plops itself right back down to murder your friends. No wonder everyone’s begging for this machine to be toned down. But never fret, the players who have learned the ins and outs of Overwatch have a surprise for this beast, they’ll still have to pull it off before it sees them first, though. Damn you, Bastion.