If you’ve never played a MOBA or MMORPG before, you may never have heard of the term “Tank” before, but now that you’re playing Overwatch it’s a term you’ll want to get familiar with. If the Offense heroes are all about dealing damage, then tanks are all about taking damage. That might not sound very fun to you at first, but being able to mitigate, block, or absorb damage that otherwise would take down your teammates is an important role if you want to win. Each tank hero in Overwatch has skills and abilities that lend themselves to having certain heroes be specialized tanks, and you’ve come to the right place to learn about them all.
D.Va is one of the more offensively specialized tanks in Overwatch. Her main weapons are automatic shotgun-like Fusion Cannons, which do massive damage at close range and fire non-stop without the need to reload. Her Booster lets her fly to the front lines, retreat when low on health, or flank the enemy team, giving her lots of mobility even though her Meka is usually slow moving. D.Va’s Defense Matrix lets her block all projectiles fired towards the matrix—this includes Pharah’s ultimate, Tracer’s ultimate, Hanzo’s ultimate if you’re close enough, McCree’s flashbang, basically anything where a projectile is shot at D.Va (It cannot block beam or spray weapons such as Mei and Zarya). When D.Va’s Meka gets destroyed, she will eject from it and be able to run around with her Light Gun until she can call down a new one. While outside of her Meka, she has 150 health so you’ll need to be careful, but her Light Gun does surprisingly good damage, so don’t be too afraid to lay down fire with it. Technically D.Va has two ultimates, one is when she is on foot and calls down a new Meka; the second ultimate puts her Meka in self-destruct that kills all nearby enemies within range and line of sight to the Meka. Remember, you can use your booster to launch your Meka through the air as it self-destructs.
If there are no other tanks on your team, the main strategy for D.Va is a typical tank role: stay with the team take damage, and block damage with the Defense Matrix, and use your self-destruct ultimate to push the enemy team away or off of an objective. If there is another tank on your team, you can be more offensively minded in how you play. Use your Boosters to flank around the enemy team to start taking objectives and attack them from the side and behind to disrupt them and cause a little chaos. Because of her armor/health and high mobility, D.Va is a nightmare for Hanzo and Widowmaker since she can fly to wherever they are sniping from and take them out with ease, and remember you can run into enemies to damage them and knock them back/off the map. Torbjorn and Bastion can also be targets for D.Va because of her Defense Matrix to block damage and Boosters to close the distance. You’ll want to be mindful of Zaryas, Winstons, and Symmetras since their weapons can pass through your matrix; also Solider 76 can be a problem if he is standing in his Biotic Field since you’ll be spending a lot of time focusing on him. D.Va is at her best when she’s free to hit and run and harass the enemy team.
Reinhardt is the embodiment of the tank role. He has high health/armor to soak up damage, as well as a massive shield that allies can shoot through and blocks most enemy damage (except Winston’s Tesla Cannon, Zarya’s Particle Beam, Symmetra’s Photon Projector energy ball, and Reinhardt’s own Fire Strike), which makes protecting your team a cake walk. Your shield has 2000 health, and when it hits zero it’ll need time to recharge, so don’t be afraid to drop the shield and let it recharge on its on before it breaks since it’ll be faster that way. Reinhardt is also equipped with his Rocket Hammer that has short range but high damage. He does have one ranged move in Fire Strike, however; this move will shoot out a fiery blade that flies until is hits an enemy. Reinhardt can also use his Charge skill to rush forward knocking enemies to the side and trapping and pinning one enemy to a wall or off the map if you feel like it (of course you’ll be falling to our death as well). Lastly, with Reinhardt’s ultimate Earthshatter, he smashes his hammer to the ground sending out a cone shockwave that damages and stuns enemies for a few seconds.
When playing as Reinhardt, your job is to stay with the team and keep that shield up as much as possible. Reinhardt is a solid pick no matter what game mode you’re playing since keeping your team from taking damage will help you win no matter what. You can drop the shield for a few seconds to shoot off a Fire Strike to get a little bit of attacking in with your defense (also to work towards the charge on his ultimate), and you should only use Charge when you’re sure you will actually pin someone, because if you miss you’ll most likely be dropped fast. Earthshatter is a great way to start a push on an objective by stunning as many enemies as you can, and can also stop an enemy push dead in its tracks.
Reinhardt is great to pair with basically any other hero with some range like Widowmaker, Hanzo, Bastion, Pharah, and Torbjorn turrets, just throw your shield up in front of them and watch them go to work. You’ll need to be careful of enemy Pharahs, Bastions, and Junkrats since their firepower can break your shield quickly if you’re not careful. You’ll also want to watch out for Tracers, Reapers, and Genjis who can get behind you and force you to turn your shield around or drop it to attack; McCree can be trouble too if he can get his stun grenade over or around your shield. Reinhardt is the easiest tank hero for a beginner to play, so give him a try if you’ve been hesitant to try out a tank hero.
Roadhog is another offensively geared tank hero, but unlike D.Va he is as slow as molasses. His lack of mobility means he is best played as a front lines offensive tank. Roadhog doesn’t have anything other than his massive health pool and huge body to protect teammates, so you’ll have to draw the enemies attention by being a constant thorn in their side. Roadhog uses a Scrap Gun that is a shotgun and delayed burst ball of scrap, which means he’ll need to get decently close to enemies to be effective. Thankfully, getting enemies into his optimal range is where his Chain Hook comes in; the Chain Hook lets Roadhog hook one enemy and pull them directly in front of him, perfect for a shotgun blast to the face. Roadhog’s tankiness is reinforced by his Take A Breather skill, which heals 300 health when used, making him very hard to deal with for lower health heroes who can’t be in drawn out firefights. Roadhog’s ultimate Whole Hog uses his scrap gun as a machine gun, shooting out a wide spray of scrap that damages and pushes back enemies.
Roadhog is great when attacking objectives, because of his high health and Chain Hook that lets him ruin the enemy teams defensive set up. As Roadhog you’ll want to stay in the front lines drawing the enemies attention so your team can take them out and flank around them as they focus on you. Chain Hook, Primary Fire, Melee is going to basically be your golden combo for almost every other hero who isn’t also a tank. Having a Mercy to heal you as you wreak havoc on the enemy team is a great combo. As with D.Va, having another tank on the team, such as Reinhardt, will allow Roadhog to focus more on his offensive role instead of just being a bullet sponge for his allies. His ultimate is a great way to clean enemies off an objective or keep them from approaching in the first place. Roadhog is a great choice to go after support heroes and snipers on the enemy team since they have relatively low health and with your Chain Hook you can grab them from the back line and take them out. There aren’t really any specific hard counters to Roadhog, but Pharah and Reaper can be strong against him since he’s a big target and they deal big damage.
Winston, like Reinhardt, is a more traditional tank type hero in Overwatch. He has lots of health, his Tesla Cannon can target up to three enemies at once dealing a constant stream of damage, he can drop a bubble shield to protect teammates, and has a Jump Pack to allow him to quickly get to the front lines (dealing damage and staggering enemies on impact) or retreat to safety. Winston’s ultimate, Primal Rage, heals him completely and is limited to melee attacks that damage and send enemies flying, and Jump Pack attacks, which cooldown much quicker than normal.
When playing Winston you’ll want to stick close to your team, using your Tesla Cannon to keep enemies at bay, while throwing down your Barrier Projector when you can. The Barrier Projector is great to throw down on an objective, or even at a choke point on the way to an objective, such as the doorway to the first objective on Hanamura, to let your team enter the area without the enemy team being able to effectively attack them. Winston is also great for attacking enemy Reinhardts since the Tesla Cannon will penetrate his shield, forcing him to drop it or have his teammates focus on you, helping your team. The Tesla Cannon is also great for destroying Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets, since it can target three at a time. You’ll want to watch out for the offensive tanks since they’ll be able to deal more damage and have the health to fight you for an extended time; also Solider 76 can be trouble if he’s in his Biotic Field. The Jump Pack is great way to get back to your team quickly after you die, initiate a push on an objective, and to retreat if you find yourself too far in enemy territory with not backup. Your ultimate is good way to start a push on an objective, because of your health and your melee attack’s ability to throw people all over the place and out of position.
Zarya is the most specialized tank in Overwatch. Most of her abilities and skills tend to make her seem more suited to be labeled as a support hero, but when played well, Zarya can be a powerful offensive tank. Zarya wields the Particle Cannon, which can fire a constant energy beam (that can pass through enemy shield and Genji’s deflect) or an arcing ball of exploding particle energy. Her damage is directly tied to the damage she has shielded herself and allies from. On your reticle there will be a number, when Zarya uses her Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier, on herself and allies respectively, the damage that is done to those shields powers up her Particle Cannon. When used skillfully, Zarya is able to block damage to herself and one ally at a time all while making her more effective at dealing damage to enemies. Zarya’s ultimate, Graviton Surge, fires out a mini black hole that sucks in enemies keeping them in a nice clump while your team lays into them. Zarya’s Graviton Surge is also perfect for setting up another teammates ultimate for maximum effect.
If you’re new to playing Zarya, you’ll want to avoid the front lines until you get some experience with her, since poor use of her shields will leave you and your team vulnerable when you really need them. Put your projected shield on front line aggressive heroes like Reaper, Tracer, and D.Va since you’ll get the most boosted damage from them taking heavy fire consistently. Back line defensive heroes like Torbjorn, Hanzo, and Widowmaker won’t be taking much damage very often, so using your shield on them won’t be too useful. You’ll want to use your beam when enemies are in closer since the range isn’t that great, and use your explosive projectiles at longer ranges and to keep enemies at bay with the splash damage. You’ll want to pair Zarya with another tank to boost your damage consistently, and since if you’re new to using her you’ll probably find yourself in trouble a lot. Zarya can be good against Genji and D.Va since they can’t block her beam, Mei’s ice spray can’t penetrate Zarya’s shields so she’ll be wasting her time as you laser her to death, and remember Zenyatta’s discord orb can be removed by placing a shield on whoever has it. Zarya needs to watch out for heroes with long range like Hanzo, Widowmaker, and Pharah since they can do high damage and Zarya can’t retaliate effectively, and if her shields are on cooldown she’ll be a much easier target to deal with. Make sure you communicate with your team about when your ultimate is ready since it makes basically everyone else’s ultimate easier to use.
There you have it, an in depth look at each of Overwatch‘s tank heroes. This isn’t an exhaustive guide since the meta of Overwatch will change with every patch they put out, so keep an eye out for patch notes to see what heroes get changes done to them. Also, even if you’re using a hero as best you can, someone on the other team might just be incredibly skillful and shut you down with a hero you should be strong against—try not to get frustrated and switch things up to a different hero to see what works.
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