Out of all the Tank class heroes, Winston may be the most difficult to play. Tank heroes can be difficult in general; they require a certain focus from the player. As the Tank, you need to fulfill your role as the primary target for the enemies' fire, and that can be hard enough as it is. But Winston is odd in comparison: he only has 400 healthand 100 armor, he really can't take many heavy hits compared to other Tanks, Winston has no way of naturally healing himself, and his weapon is close range, which makes it difficult to stay alive.
Nonetheless, Winston does have a strategy, as he's easily the most mobile Tank. He serves as a distraction because he's dangerous enough that you can't leave him alone, but if you focus solely on him, it gives the rest of the team the opportunity they need.
Winston's Abilities Include
- Primary Fire
- Winston only has one offensive ability, the Tesla Cannon. This electric cannon fires streams of electricity in a forward cone shaped direction. The Tesla Cannon automatically targets anyone in front of you but they do need to be close range. If multiple targets are within the cone shaped area of effect, they'll all be hit by the Cannon. This can also shoot through Reinhardt's shield.
- Barrier Projector
- Winston can create a small, temporary, spherical energy shield where he is standing. The shield itself only lasts 5 seconds, unless it's destroyed before then. It acts the same as Reinhardt's shield.; it's made of energy so enemies and Symmetra's alternate fire can pass through it.
- Jump Pack
- This is the ability that makes Winston viable. Winston can launch himself into the air, in whatever direction he's looking, and slam down on the ground for 50 points of damage. The jump pack recharges after 6 seconds, so you can use this very liberally. Using the Jump Pack and learning how to control the arch of your jump can give you the jump on unsuspecting enemies.
- Ultimate Ability: Primal Rage
- Primal Rage is is a very powerful ability but it's also unconventional. When activated, Winston regains all his health and it doubles! This gives him 1000 health for 10 seconds. During the Primal Rage, you cannot use any abilities besides the Jump Pack and your melee attack. While enraged, your physical attacks knock back enemies very far and you can use your Jump Pack every couple of seconds. You can easily knock enemies off the map using this ability.
As I said earlier, your role as Winston is to be a distraction and the way you do this is to play like Tracer. Your Jump Pack makes you difficult to hit if you use it often, and as long as you aren't the center of attention, you can pick off weaker characters. Like Tracer, you need to take advantage of your mobility, chase after enemies, jump around to disorient them, and keep moving.
Your Tesla Cannon works wonders for this strategy, as you do not need to aim in order to use it. Since you just need to keep the enemies up close and relatively in front of you, you can keep bobbing and weaving around enemies while they actually have to aim their weapon at you.
Tips And Tricks For Playing Winston
- Since your Barrier Projector doesn't last long, use it as a deterrent in the middle of a fire fight. You can shoot in and out of the barrier and enemies in the immediate area will have to shoot at the barrier until it falls. Basically, it's soaks up a little damage so that you aren't taking all the incoming fire at once.
- One of my favorite strategies with Wintson is when I play on Attack. On maps like Gibraltar, I'll leap out of the gate and attack Snipers. The only Sniper that can really make any impact against Winston is Hanzo and even then you shouldn't have many issues.
- Winston is fantastic at chasing an enemy. Because of his speed and his Jump Pack, you can easily hassle an enemy with your Tesla Cannon. If they try and run, just keep pursuing them and draining their health.
- Because your Ultimate doesn't really do damage, and it only lasts 10 seconds, the best way to utilize it is by randomly going after enemies and pushing them around. Don't focus on one enemy, and don't go for kills, it will just waste your Primal Rage. Winston's Ultimate is less threatening then it appears to be; however, if you encounter a player who doesn't know how to react to it, they'll back off until it's over.
Heroes Winston Is Best Against
Snipers are Winston fodder; he can easily keep up with them and take them out. Support heroes can't do much to Winston, though Symmetra is not to be trifled with.
Because of his armor, heroes that do a lot of little hits like Tracer or D.Va aren't very effective against him at all. You can also use your barrier to soak up damage from a Torbjorn turret and get damage off on it before it puts too much of a dent on you.
Almost any hero with low health is a great target for Winston—keep an eye out for damaged enemies and go in for the kill.
Counter-Heroes To Watch Out For
Reaper will mess you up—any hero that can do a lot of damage at close range is dangerous to Winston. Bastion of course will shred through you, as will Roadhog.
Symmetra isn't inherently a threat, though her style of combat is similar to yours. There's a lot of moving around, the only difference is that her weapon gets stronger over time. If you get caught with her in a room full of sentries, you're pretty much screwed.
Lastly, McCree is a big problem for Winston. You're a huge target for his flash bang, and you're a huge target for his rapid fire shot.
Winston can be a powerful ally for your team and I hope today's article helped you get started with him. As always, if you have tips on how to play Winston or if there's a hero you want me to cover, leave a comment!