Being a tank character in Overwatch is all about taking damage for your team, protecting them, and occasionally dealing some pain to anyone who dares hurt your allies. Currently, there are five tank characters in Overwatch, and they are: Roadhog, D.Va, Winston, Zarya, and Reinhardt.
All five characters will be judged based on their ability to absorb damage and their effectiveness in protecting their teammates. Being able to deal out damage is a plus as well, but we’ll consider that a secondary criteria for the tank roles these characters are meant to fulfil.
D.Va’s best strategy for protecting the team is activating Defense Matrix and blocking enemy projectiles. However, the Defense Matrix isn’t very effective for protecting multiple allies unless she’s right at the front of the pack. On the bright side, D.Va can absorb a lot of damage by activating Defense Matrix, and then using her boosters to charge into the enemy team. This will allow her to deal damage to anyone she hits, while blocking attacks. This tactic also lets her get behind enemy lines to take out the other team’s support characters, which might prove to be a nuisance for her and her allies.
She can also activate her ultimate ability and get her mech to self-destruct, resulting in a large explosion that can easily wipe out enemy teams. The problem is, the explosion can be avoided if enemies simply take cover behind obstacles. In addition to that, if the enemy team does manage to destroy her mech before she can self-destruct, D.Va will be left extremely vulnerable with only 150HP. She can still deal decent damage with her laser blaster if she stays in the back, but being outside of the mech essentially removes all of her tanking capabilities.
D.Va is a great damage dealer, but she’s just not very effective as a tank for team protection.
Winston isn’t very good at protecting his team. His Shield Projector generates a bubble shield (think the Defender Titan’s bubble from Destiny) and allows allies to take cover, while still being able to shoot at enemies. However, compared to Reinhardt’s shield, Winston’s Shield Projector breaks very easily and isn’t great for defending against ultimates.
That said, his ultimate ability Primal Rage does make him a rather good distraction and using this ability will draw enemy attention away from his team. When Primal Rage is activated, Winston gets a HP buff and a shorter cooldown period for Jump Pack. This means his mobility is heightened, and he’ll be in a good position to start leaping at enemies from a larger distance and attack them. The enemy team will be forced to deal with him or risk getting shredded to bits. With his boosted HP, Winston can tank a lot of damage.
However, his tank capabilities only truly shine when he’s in Primal Range. Outside of that, he isn’t very good at absorbing damage for the team, especially if there’s a Zenyatta player on the other side.
Zarya’s a pretty safe bet if you want to play a tank character in Overwatch. She does good damage, and she has abilities to protect her allies and absorb damage at the same time. To start, her ultimate Graviton Surge will pull in all nearby enemies a few seconds after detonation, allowing free and easy shots for the team. This makes her quite a good playmaker, and opens up a lot of opportunities for her allies to rack up their kill count.
Not only that, her Particle Barrier will absorb damage, and the amount of damage taken will also boost her own damage output. Simply put, once the Barrier’s taken enough damage, Zarya can quickly launch a counterattack with buffed damage, making quick work of whoever just shot at her. She can also throw up Projected Barriers for her allies, giving them increased survivability. Her Barriers don’t last very long, so it’s important to give them to allies who are under fire. However, if played correctly, she can save lots of lives and earn kills for the team.
Her Particle Cannon can shoot beams and grenades too; if you need to keep the enemy team away from your control point, the grenades do splash damage, so this can be a rather viable strategy for zoning them out.
This guy is literal definition of a tank in Overwatch. Reinhardt’s most useful ability is his shield, which can absorb 2000 points worth of damage, making it a lot more useful than Winston’s Shield Projector. Allies can also fire at enemies will taking cover behind the shield. Reinhardt’s ability to move forward while holding up the shield also makes this a great tactic for pushing forward and taking objectives.
Of course, Reinhardt will go down very quickly if the enemy team decides to group up and pick him off from a distance, but he can counter this by either charging at them, or by using his Fire Strike ability. Reinhardt’s Earthshatter ultimate is pretty decent too; it will damage enemies in front of him and stun them for a few seconds, allowing his team to get some shots in. However, Earthshatter only works on enemies right in front of Reinhardt, and this can be easily countered by fast-moving characters like Tracer or Reaper.
Reinhardt isn’t an independent offensive tank like D.Va, Zarya, or Roadhog, but his quick charging shield makes him an invaluable tank ally for his team.
Speaking of Roadhog, this guy is pretty much a self-sufficient tank in Overwatch. Similarly to Winston in Primal Rage mode, Roadhog’s high HP and high shotgun damage makes him a dangerous force to reckon with. He’s able to tank large amounts of damage while getting up into his opponents’ faces, creating openings for the rest of his team to skirt around and flank them. He also happens to be great at pulling in foes from afar with his Chain Hook ability. This will deal a bit of damage to his foes, and also allow him to hit them with a shotgun blast. Roadhog’s ability to deal damage to close enemies and bring them in from afar makes him a good Mercy protector too.
If he sustains a lot of damage in battle, Roadhog’s Take A Breather ability will allow him to heal up half of his HP – more than enough to bring him back into the fight and tank a few more hits for the team. Lastly, his Whole Hog ultimate is a deadly attack for anyone standing right in front of Roadhog. Whole Hog allows him to fire a constant stream of shrapnel, knocking back enemies and dealing big damage to them.
Give Roadhog a good support team on his back, and he’ll rush into the thick of battle, absorbing damage and wrecking the hell out of his opponents.