Overwatch tier list: the best heroes to use in 2021

Our updated Overwatch tier list for 2021 ranks every hero in the game against the current meta

Overwatch's Torbjorn, Mei, and Tracer rush forward, weapons drawn

Overwatch remains one of the most popular competitive games out there, even after nearly five years on the market. While a lot of eyes are currently on the development of Overwatch 2, it’s become clear that we won’t be getting our hands on it this year.

In the meantime, players are making do with what the current game offers. Thankfully Overwatch is in pretty great shape right now. While the game hasn’t had a new hero since the release of Echo in April last year, constant balance changes have kept the game feeling fresh. It also has one of the most exciting and interesting metas it’s ever had, with a lot of devastating heroes to choose from.

However, which ones are thriving? If you are looking to hop into Overwatch ranked and farm some SR, who should you be playing? If you are a new or lapsed player, there is a lot to catch up on and a lot of information to parse. Thankfully, we have you covered there and you’ll be flying up the tiers in no time. Here’s our Overwatch tier list in full.

Overwatch tier list

Tier Heroes
Tier 1 Wrecking Ball, Zarya, Tracer, McCree, Zenyatta, Mercy
Tier 2 Reinhardt, Sigma, Echo, Sombra, Widowmaker, Ashe, Ana, Brigitte, Baptiste
Tier 3 Roadhog, D.VA, Winston, Torbjorn, Mei, Symmetra, Hanzo, Lucio
Tier 4 Soldier 76, Orisa, Reaper, Junkrat, Doomfist, Pharah, Genji, Moira
Tier 5 Bastion

Tier 1

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball has been strong for the last couple of months now. Many of the main tanks are struggling a little bit at the moment, but even despite nerfs, it seems the Overwatch community has really begun to understand how to dominate with the hamster. He’s one of the heroes the current meta revolves around.

He’s the most picked at Grandmaster rank, and it’s not hard to see why. If a tanks job is to create space, Hammond is undisputed. His ability to displace and disrupt the enemy front and backline is unmatched. Despite a recent nerf to his boop strength, he still runs havoc on any team trying to establish their position.

The only real drawback is that he is a character who only truly becomes great with time. He thrives on specific rollouts and map knowledge. Also, the line between feeding your brains out and tearing a team apart can be very thin. However, if you learn your way around the little guy, there are few, if any, characters that are as powerful as him currently.

Wrecking Ball points to the left while hanging out of his ball

Zarya

Zarya is currently the off-tank of choice at high-level play. Her synergy with Wrecking Ball is very strong. Like Winston/Zarya pairings in the past, she can bubble the hamster as he goes in and gets some free charge while protecting the advance from any crowd control.

Graviton Surge remains one of the strongest ultimates in the game too, and it combines with several strong abilities your team will likely have on offer. A combo with Pulse Bomb from Tracer or Wrecking Ball’s Minefield will win a team fight in most cases. These don’t require great coordination to pull off either, so it should be perfect in games with minimal communication.

Bossing it: What Jeff Kaplan thinks the ideal meta is

Zarya also offers a huge damage output if she is fully charged, and with so many dives coming in the current meta, that isn’t too difficult to maintain. If Zarya is glowing, she is going to be hard to burn down and stand toe to toe with, no matter who she’s up against.

Reinhardt and Winston are also on the move up the pick rates too and she is a famously good compliment to both. This makes her one of the most versatile picks in the top tier, and certainly one of the best to climb on. She’s good at just about everything the current meta will throw at her.

Tracer smiles as she looks up in Overwatch

Tracer

When Tracer is strong in the meta, Overwatch is usually in a good spot. As you can see, right now, Overwatch is in a good spot. Tracer’s cooldowns are up so frequently that in an ability-heavy economy, she gets great value out of being a nuisance. However, she can also turn into a killer at a moment’s notice if an ability is wasted or a positional mistake is made.

Tracer thrives in aggressive mobile comps, and that is currently very much on the cards right now. Her strength has remained somewhat consistent but heroes that enable her are currently very strong too. She can dive opponents with Wrecking Ball and clean up weak heroes, and also coordinate with Zenyatta and his Discord Orb.

She is also self-sufficient, allowing healers and tanks to worry more about protecting the front and backlines rather than taking resources. The meta currently favours chaotic disorientation, and that is a space Tracer loves being in. If you can spot those moments when they are created, your Tracer will dominate the battlefield.

McCree

McCree is the perfect partner to Tracer on DPS. While that mobile damage is paired with a Wrecking Ball that is continually trying to disrupt the team, McCree is the perfect option to be applying pressure and punishing players who find themselves displaced.

McCree provides a stream of reliable and high damage. Importantly he also doesn’t require many resources to pop off. He is self-sufficient on the battlefield for the most part, finding opportunities his team creates for him. He also doesn’t need to over commit, so as long as you are careful, he will be safe at mid-range.

Elsewhere, his stun hard-counters several strong heroes right now. Be it a Wrecking Ball or a flanking Tracer, McCree has ways to counter the chaos and disruption that is currently so powerful. He’s a good hero to try to solo-climb with.

Zenyatta

Zenyatta is in a strong place for a bunch of reasons. His Discord Orb is always oppressive due to the strength of the characters around him. Zen can easily call shots by placing a discord on a target. This acts as a green light for all these mobile heroes to dive and decimate a key opponent.

Elsewhere, the Omnic is thriving due to there being fewer shields in the game, which makes applying his orbs easier. That Healing Orb will also find Tracer and Wrecking Ball who are likely to be deeper in an enemies backline.

As always, Transcendence remains one of the strongest ultimates in the game, especially with so many Zarya Graviton Surges around.

The only real problem with Zen is his ability to truly protect himself. Outside of hitting insane headshots, he will die if he doesn’t have proper protection. He has no mobility and is almost always going to be the prime diving target. This means you will likely need to coordinate with your team for protection. Pairing him with a support who can look after him and allow him to pop off is imperative.

Mercy offers a helping hand while the sun beats down behind her

Mercy

Mercy is the most common partner to Zenyatta right now, though the main support role is shared much more evenly between characters.

However, Mercy takes the cake right now for a couple of key reasons. While she does lack some of the raw healing potential of other supports, she is consistent and, importantly, hard to pin down. Compared to most other supports she is much more evasive and hardy to being dived. Her ability to fly away from an attack makes her a hard target for a Wrecking Ball or Tracer to pin down.

What’s more, she is a good partner to Zenyatta. Mercy can boost his damage and also protect him from a dive with healing. It buys time for him to hit his shots or for the rest of the team to come help. Even if he does fall, a resurrect can cancel out a successful dive from the enemy.

On top of that, she can also pocket the hitscan or ‘primary damage dealer’ on the team. She can literally float between roles on the team as needed. Literally.

Reinhardt balancers his hammer on his shoulder

Tier 2

Reinhardt

Very recently, Reinhardt has been flying up the pick rates. While his slower play may seem antithetical to the sheer pace of a Wrecking Ball set up, he also provides good counterplay. Wrecking Ball recently saw a 25% nerf to his knockback. With Reinhardt’s passive Steadfast ability, he already gets a 30% decrease to the effect. That means that the hamster will really have a rough time moving him around.

An aggressive Reinhardt can also make use of the weaker frontline a Wrecking Ball creates. If Reinhardt can get in, take space and smack the opposing team around before Ball can successfully get value, the hamster won’t have much in the way of resources or support.

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While a coordinated dive team is still likely a little stronger, it’s easy to get value with Reinhardt right now, especially if you like playing aggressive. While it’s a little early in his rise to put him all the way at the top, in a couple of months, Reinhardt might dismantle Ball’s hold on the meta.

Sigma

Tier 2 is historically not a great spot for Sigma. The tank has been prevalent for so long due to his deep kit, that him being out of favour in most compositions is him underperforming. This comes after several hefty nerfs set on targeting the sheer amount of utility he has.

However, at the end of the day, he is still Sigma. He creates a pseudo-front line if Wrecking Ball is out disrupting the team, he provides very decent damage, his shield is beyond versatile, and his ultimate can win team fights almost on its own.

He is certainly one of the more mechanically complicated Tanks in the game and a bad Sigma can throw games, but if you have a knack for him, you can absolutely change the tides of a game.

Echo flies high above the night's sky in Overwatch

Echo

Echo has been strong since her release and she remains so. She can output tons of damage, she can fly, and she has one of the wildest supers in the game. Her options to output damage are vast, especially if you throw a pocket Mercy at her.

The true problem with Echo right now is that hitscan like Ashe, Widow, and McCree are strong. You will have to play her cautiously, lest she be bought down mid-flight. She’s already a mechanically tougher hero to master, and with her strong counters being prevalent right now, you will have to choose your moment to take to the skies.

However, her damage potential is almost unlimited due to the insane burn power of her Focusing Beam and poke options. If Echo is given an inch, perhaps more so than anyone, she will take the whole field. It’s just a question of finding those inches.

Sombra

Sombra is strong right now because of the meta heroes. She is both good on the defence and the offence, complimenting most situations she’s likely to be in. A good Sombra is rare and wins games but it’s currently easier than ever to be good with her.

Sombra becomes powerful when ability-based heroes dominate, which is very true of the current meta. With Ball so prevalent, her strength should be obvious. While exceptional Hammond players can find ways around Sombra, most will be torn to shreds once they are hacked. Also, with Zenyatta being enabled by a secondary healer that will try to peel for him, disabling that protection makes him much more vulnerable.

As always though, Sombra is a difficult hero to master. What you lose in damage dealing, you need to make up with utility and communication. More so than any hero, she requires you to talk to your team and coordinate ability usage. If not, it can be hard to find traction with her. However, if you get good and talk to your team, you can hard-carry matches.

Widowmaker rests her sniper rifle on her shoulder

Widowmaker

Widowmaker is a great alternative to McCree in the hitscan role. With fewer shields in the field, she can really take advantage of the clear sightlines. If you have that sought after ability to click heads, you can have a field day with her right now.

However, with fewer shields in play comes new challenges. She provides the other team with a very clear dive target and without a good pocket, an enemy Wrecking Ball and Tracer can wipe her out before she can get any value. She is the glass cannon of the entire roster and that’s the risk you take when picking her.

However, if you are confident in your ability to hit headshots, be aware of dives coming in, and/or believe in your supports to bail you out, you can control the battlefield.

Ashe

Ashe provides yet another alternative to McCree on the hitscan. She is a great middle-ground hero between Widowmaker and McCree. She has more distanced kill potential than McCree, and can take a little more punishment than Widowmaker.

She is still quite diveable though and she has fallen a little out of favour due to the current meta. In most cases, you probably want to commit to either the McCree or Widowmaker and not the midpoint hybrid.

However, her damage potential is immense and Bob can be a disruptive force. With weaker front lines and fewer shields, a well placed Bob can apply pressure onto a point and backline that a team may not be able to compete with.

Overwatch's Ashe looking into the horizon

Ana

Ana is still one of the strongest supports in the game when it comes to potential healing. Her output is staggering and a good Ana can keep her team alive through almost anything. Her biotic grenade remains one of the strongest non-ultimate abilities, both encouraging her team and discouraging the opponent in equal measure. It also negates Zenyatta’s Transcendence which is everywhere right now.

Her biggest issue is that she creates an exceedingly diveable backline when paired with Zenyatta. With Wrecking Ball and Tracer running riot right now, Ana will have to be on point with her Sleep Dart to stop the hefty pressure the backline is likely to be under. If she misses, she and Zenyatta are likely toast. If she hits, it’s a death sentence to the diving character.

Brigitte

A Zenyatta will love you if you play Brigitte well for him. He is a juicy dive target and Brigitte is all about countering that. A Wrecking Ball and Tracer will struggle to get at your Omnic friend if you are using your Rocket Flail and shield stun.

All sounds great, right? Yep, but she has a problem in that when paired with Zenyatta, the backline is likely to heal a little less than most. Due to the dive-like nature of the current meta, she may struggle at times to keep her Inspire healing going consistently.

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If you think your team can handle that, then she is a no-brainer. She will enable Zenyatta in so many ways and let him pop off consistently. The enemy Wrecking Ball and Tracer will hate you for it too, and with how annoying those characters can be to play against, turning the table on them is certainly a nice passive perk too.

Baptiste

Baptiste has seldom been a bad option. Since he has been released, he’s rarely ever found himself truly out of favour. His healing output is immense, but more so, he can also deal damage in ample amounts. A Zenyatta and Baptiste pairing will give most DPS duos a run for their money.

He also protects Zenyatta with Immortality Field, though paradoxically, that may be his bigger weakness. Once Baptiste places it, he and Zenyatta can’t move from it. Also, its cooldown is massive. If the other team finds a way to bait that ability out of you, you are very open to a second-dive.

He remains a strong option though, especially if you feel your opponents aren’t capable of coordinating two quick dives. Also, a Baptiste and Zenyatta shooting through an Amplification Matrix from the backline will send the opponent’s spiralling. If you believe offence is the best defence, this is the right Zenyatta partner for you.

Roadhog staring at the camera with his big belly sticking out

Tier 3

Roadhog

He has come down a little from his S-Tier glory days this summer, but Roadhog is still a strong off-tank. He is a solo-carry character, which makes him great to play if you are going it alone in competitive. Unlike many tanks, he is pretty self-sufficient.

As ever, that solo-centric play is his strength and weakness. He can punish out of position characters with well-placed hooks and heal himself, though, besides random kills and pressure, his value to the broader team can be hard to parse. Also, strong characters like Wrecking Ball, Zenyatta, Tracer, McCree and Zarya all have the utility to deal with him.

D.VA

D.VA is a tricky one. She is a feast or famine type character right now and it really will come down to how good you are with her. Her Defence Matrix’s ability to eat damage is very strong. Managing it well will negate a lot of pressure for your team. She also provides peel for the backline and can also assist on the dive. She can be useful in just about any situation if played right.

However, she is also deeply punishable. If you are caught without Defence Matrix, you are exceptionally easy to de-mech and you’ll spend a lot of time in the baby D.VA form.

Winston eating a banana looking confused

Winston

Winston is actually in one of his best positions in a while right now. He provides a decent alternative to Wrecking Ball, especially on maps with verticality. He recently got a buff to his health too which has aided him in being a little more survivable. The popularity of Zarya and her bubbles right now helps him too.

However, he requires a lot of communication and resources from his team if he’s going to do some damage – something that is harder to pull off in the lower ranks of the game.

Torbjorn

While many used to consider Torborjn a meme pick, the mechanic can actually provide a lot right now. Since his rework, he can output a lot of damage and is a decent counter-dive pick. His turret will remain a thorn in the side of Tracers and Wrecking Balls everywhere, especially if you differentiate your angles of damage.

However, he is countered hard by hitscan which is also strong right now. If your turret is down, he’s just a bad DPS hero who is going to get overwhelmed by the dive. He certainly can provide pressure, especially at lower ranks, but opponents may figure him out quicker the more you move up.

Mei

She is strong because Wrecking Ball, Zarya and Reinhardt are strong. Her freeze will disrupt all of them and really throw a screw into the enemy team’s works. She can also get headshots with her icicle and potentially one-hit-kill characters like Tracer.

However, she is an awkward fit. She’s not particularly mobile and doesn’t naturally slot into a team that is looking to encroach on the backline. You’re also likely to lose a lot of damage output which might already be lacking in the current meta.

Symmetra Overwatch using her ability

Symmetra

A very reasonable pick, especially when the opponent picks the current meta stack. Her turrets will slow and disrupt Wrecking Ball and Tracer, and can also do some light peeling for Zenyatta. Her Teleporter will also get your team back in the fight quicker.
However, with fewer shields around it’s hard to really get her damage up right now.

Hanzo

He can be a decent alternative to hitscan that can output immense amounts of damage. His Storm Bow can help burst characters like Wrecking Ball down and thus, he can be a decent peel for the backline, while also providing ranged damage.

However, he will struggle to look after himself somewhat. A good Tracer or McCree can battle him effectively, especially if Wrecking Ball is trying to displace him. However, if he can keep his head, he’s a very decent pick and will get better if Reinhardt continues to climb.

Lucio

His strengths are just not all that needed in the current meta. His most powerful ability is his Speed Boost, and the characters looking to utilise that don’t need it. Tracer and Wrecking Ball are going to get behind the enemy just fine without it. With limited use on that ability, he just puts out fairly low healing, a huge problem when paired with Zenyatta.

However, if Reinhardt/Zarya continues to grow in popularity, his own stocks will shoot up.

Overwatch Soldier 76 saluting

Tier 4

Soldier 76

He sadly pales in comparison to almost every other hitscan DPS in the game. If he can find high ground, he can find value, especially with fewer shields around, but there are many better options for his role.

Orisa

While she can establish a position against a disruptive tank like Wrecking Ball, she also sets the rest of her team up to be bullied by the hamster too. The quick pace of the other team will almost always run rings around her.

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Reaper

It’s currently harder for him to get purchase with so many Wrecking Balls around. The other team might be very spread out making it harder to output the massive damage he can do. Also, he’s likely to run into stuns with Brigitte and McCree being popular choices.

However, if Reinhardt/Zarya compositions continue to be popular, he may find more use.

Junkrat

Can be very good, but mostly on select maps. His trap will certainly help stifle Wrecking Ball and Tracer if they aren’t looking for it. He also provides value in choke points, but ultimately is very flankable and fairly easy to kill.

Doomfist holds his fist up to his face while standing menancingly

Doomfist

Good Doomfists can find value but there is a lot that he currently will struggle against. McCree Flashbangs, Zarya bubbles, Wrecking Ball boops – he is going to have a rough time finding the right targets and getting the right purchase.

Pharah

Hitscan is too good right now. Pharah will need to be paired with a Mercy, which takes away a lot of Zenyatta’s protection too. She can certainly take control of games in lower ranks though and if left unattended, will find value.

Genji

Similar to Doomfist, he is just very counterable right now. He doesn’t provide great damage and has less one-hit kill potential than even Doomfist. This is not a meta that the cyborg ninja is thriving in.

Moira

It’s hard to design a meta that Moira would struggle in more than this one. Her healing ability is best when healing multiple targets at once and that is much harder to do when you have a Wrecking Ball and Tracer running around all over the place. Her fade can save her, but that is about it.

Tier 5

Bastion

He’s… well, he’s Bastion. He can certainly tear it up in the lower ranks or as a surprise when the enemy team isn’t ready for it.

That’s it for our Overwatch tier list. We’ll continue to keep it updated with the latest meta in mind, but for now, get out there and earn some SR.

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