Overwatch is a game about CHANGING heroes. The more willing a player is to change from a hero to help deal with the enemy team: the more successful he's going to be. That's just a fact of life. While I did do a basic Overwatch guide, a lot of what makes Overwatch special is the heroes, and how to play them. So, here's a list of some basic counters with a tiny explanation. I could go in depth on them, but honestly, I'd be writing this article well past the release date, and that's something that will change as buffs/nerfs get thrown into the mix.
Flanker. Great at taking down specialized targets, and causing chaos in the backfield. Deflect keeps him alive while staying aggressive, and the use of it at the right time can devastate the enemy team.
- McCree (One of the only characters to counter that stun grenade effectively, has the speed advantage that means that McCree can escape. Maybe one of the only one v ones that McCree can lose)
- Widowmaker (Able to climb walls and get behind Widow without exposing self, wins in close range fight)
- Bastion (Deflect alone makes it useful)
- Mercy (Has enough mobility to get in and take her down, keeping himself safe with his deflect, while being able to keep up with her ability to zoom away in most cases)
- Pharah (Harder to take down in air due to lack of melee skills use)
- Symmetra (Low health makes her sentries a nightmare, and usually are placed in where he flanks)
- Mei (Freezing slows him down, counters ultimate by Cryo-Freezing)
1v1 nightmare. The ultimate Anti-Flanker because of that, as McCree's high DPS and stun ability, mean that he's winning the fight in most cases. Close range powerhouse, but can do decent damage with sniping at medium range. Combat roll is used to gain distance. And the stun grenade (despite me thinking it needs a nerf) is one of the most powerful abilities in the game and can guarantee a kill in most situations.
- Most Flankers (Those trying to flank 1 v 1 on you, which McCree wins most of the time due to his stun grenade and high DPS)
- Zenyatta (Is always in the fight, can be picked off rather well with medium range shots)
- Genji (Deflect ability is the only thing that can counter his stun effectly),
- Teamwork (McCree wins a lot of 1v1s, but his low health and speed means he's a prime target for groups)
- Bastion (keep him at long range to avoid the stun grenade, and lack of speed can get McCree easily killed)
Long-range splash damage that can help push back an enemy team, or make them scatter. Ultimate is one of the most powerful DPS wise in the game, and can devastate an enemy team if they don't take her out right away. Has some of the best escape skills in the game to get her out of the fight if she's hurt.
- Junkrat (Junkrat has lots of problems hitting an airborne Pharah, his hard counter in fact)
- Mei (Only wins when Pharah is on the ground, and Pharah can easily boost away if she gets in dangerous range)
- Genji (His melee skills mean nothing, has to snipe using only shuriken)
- Symmetra (Close range sentries and gun don't mean anything to her)
- Widowmaker (Being in the air usually means that you're open season if you're fighting enemies on the ground without a lot of movement)
- Soldier 76 (Very powerful at med-long ranges, accuracy gives him the edge as he's mobile enough to avoid rockets)
- Bastion (Mostly because he'll out DPS you, unless you get the jump on him)
Flanker extraordinaire. High DPS means that he can chew through enemy health, and is the ultimate anti-defense unit due to his teleport and shadow step abilities. He gets more powerful with each kill due to the health drops that go with it, and his Death Blossom forces the enemy team to immediately scatter due to its power.
- Mercy (Can get in with Shadow Step and take her down rather easily, goes down quickly due to low health)
- Junkrat (Can take two grenades to the face close up but will put Junkrat down immediately, and can easily avoid his suicide bombs)
- Widowmaker (Can flank with Shadow Step easily without exposing himself to Widowmaker)
- Bastion (Tears through the health and can easily flank)
- Lucio (Health buffs for team recharge quickly, keeping them out of shotgun range, and can knock back Death Blossom)
- D.Va (DPS race is won by D.Va thanks to her health, defense Matrix can absorb Death Blossom entirely)
- McCree (Stun grenades, stun grenades, stun grenades)
- Pharah (She's long range and has the movement ability to stay away)
All-around character. Healing ability helps keep him alive, while his accuracy is his main strength, as his gun can do reasonable damage and medium and even medium-long distances. Not many people get the advantage on him, mostly because of his skill set being so versatile.
- Pharah (Accuracy at mid/long range + movement gives him the major advantage)
- Zenyatta (Low Health makes him go down easy at the range both of you will want to fight at)
- Mercy (His ultimate. She's the first target you should take down.)
- Tracer (Just from his accuracy alone, and his ability to heal means that any damage that she does do can easily be countered)
- Reinherdt (Shield shuts him down rather easily, mobility is not enough to really handle well)
- Zarya (Can absorb damage reasonably with shield, and her particle cannon can give Soldier 76 some problems in both short and medium range with the grenade option)
Harassment hero. Great in keeping the enemy on their toes and she does some damage, and then runs off before the enemy can react. Great at picking off hurt targets, or causing chaos with her blink ability. A very good Tracer is a nightmare as they basically are the equivalent of the itch that won't go away.
- Zenyatta (Easy flank target, win close battle)
- Reinhardt (Mobility Mobility Mobility. Gets around shield easily)
- Widowmaker (easy to get behind her and flank)
- Hanzo (Really doesn't have the skill set to deal with her upclose, and her mobility means an arrow is hard to land)
- Mei (Slows you down before you can get the kill, Cryo Freeze can undo all that damage easily)
- Junkrat (Prime Steel Trap target, despite speed advantage. And with a tendency to move at your enemies, you'll find that you'll die a bit to suicide grenades)
- Winston (auto aim of cannon plus too high of HP means she doesn't flank him well)
- Soldier 76 (Accuracy + health ability means that harassing him doesn't really work a lot of the time)
(Source: Reddit Overwatch Meme Thread)
DPS monster. Great at guarding lanes and causing massive damage from unsuspecting heroes. Don't just turret in one spot, stay moving and unpredictable to be a good Bastion player, as the element of surprise is the best thing you have going for you. Because well, that DPS will leave them dead before they can react.
- Pharah (Think of the ducks from Duck hunt. Once she's in the air, the DPS will do the rest)
- McCree (Will get torn apart by the DPS, and usually won't get close enough to use the stun grenade in most cases)
- Soldier 76 (His accuracy gets easily countered by Bastion's, and he's going to get ripped apart by the DPS)
- Mercy (Her Ultimate means less when Bastion is mowing them down, because the DPS will just mow them down again)
- Junkrat (He's not moving. He's spammable and Junkrat is the master of hitting people without being in a line of sight)
- Genji (Reflect skill alone can mean deadly consequences for Bastion)
- Reaper/Tracer (Flanking heroes give him a lot of problems, especially ones with reasonable DPS or speed)
- Snipers like Widowmaker and Hanzo (Can use corners to hit him hard without taking a lot of damage)
Very high skill hero, and may not be the best for newbies to play. Has one of the most dangerous tools in his Dragonstrike to push the enemy team away, and is a great complement in the mid-range game while staying on the front line and not hidden the shadows.
- Zenyatta (One hit will take him down, Slow movement of Zenyatta makes him prime target)
- Bastion (His mobility problem is great for Hanzo who can snipe behind protective corners)
- Torbjorn (Sentry is an easy target for arrows, and Torbjorn is too slow to get away)
- Roadhog (He usually is able to stay away from Roadhog's hook and his big body means more room for arrows to pierce)
- Reinhardt (No good options against the shield and poor mobility means that he's not flanking Reinhardt)
- Tracer (Can get in your face and chase you down, you lose the close battle unless you've got the accuracy of Robin Hood)
- Widowmaker (Sniper v sniper battle goes to her, as she excels at distance)
The spam class that loves when enemy teams stay near walls and with each other. One of the most underrated movement sets in the game due to the mine giving him access to a variety of heights at any time. Very deadly is left alone, as his DPS can rack up very quickly with just the sheer amount of grenades he can put out. Slow movement characters beware.
- Bastion (He's not moving, he's literally cannon fodder)
- Roadhog (can easily stay out of range while hitting him with direct hits over and over again, and can easily get away in close quarters with mine jumps)
- Tracer (His trap tears her apart, suicide grenades usually take her out, and her blink may be a problem with the spam that Junkrat can produce)
- Reinhardt (One of the only heroes who can reasonably get by his shield)
- D.Va (Big target means more to hit)
- Pharah (Junkrat's a ground hero with his grenade launcher and spam, and only the best Junkrat's can hit air shots. Meaning that Pharah is his nightmare. Wait until she's grounded before engaging)
- Reaper (Can get in and deal major damage while taking a good hit or two)
- Soldier 76 (Fast enough to stay away from spam while doing significant damage at mid range)
Field Control. Able to remove exits with her ice wall and protect her allies, while she can always cryo-freeze if things get messy. Great to have as a buddy in a firefight: her ability to freeze makes enemies easy pickings for your allies. Close range, she's going to cause you problems.
- Genji (His speed gets hit hard by the freeze, and he can't do enough damage to take her out before that)
- Tracer (That speed goes away with the freeze, and even if Mei gets hurt, Cryo Freeze will recover rather well)
- D.va (Takes away her mobility, and she can't guard against the ice damage well. And Ice Wall gives her nightmares with the Ultimate)
- Pharah (She stays well out of the freeze ray, can get over ice wall easily)
- Zarya (Her barriers remove the ice effect)
- Junkrat (Can reasonably deal with your field tricky, and his want to stay at mid range + his movement means you're not getting close enough to deal).
Area Denial. His sentry is good in defending choke points, as well as causing hassles to the enemy team, and being able to throw armor down to keep your friends buffed means that you're staying entrenched.
- Roadhog (Can't get close enough to deal with sentry)
- Zenyatta (Sentry doesn't get a crap about your discord orb, tears through his HP)
- McCree (Sentry can protect you from his stun grenade combo if you stay near it)
- D.Va (Movement + Defense matrix can absorb turret damage and then take it out easily with her cannons)
- Hanzo (Can use corners to easily snipe turret)
- Junkrat (slow movement and sentry make for prime spam target)
The ultimate Overwatch sniper. Great at punishing enemies out in the open and her infra-vision gives your team the information that you really need to keep the advantage.
- Pharah (While in the air, easy to snipe as she's usually focused on ground combat)
- Zenyatta (he is usually in the thick of battle, and that's begging for a bullet to be put in his head because of that)
- Hanzo (Sniper v Sniper battle goes to her due to her better skills at long range)
- McCree (Doesn't have the ability to flank as well as others due to lack of movement)
- Mercy (Seriously, she's the medic, she's a prime target, and her dashing means you know where she should be generally)
- Genji (Can get flank position easily due to maneuverability, wins close range battles)
- Reaper (Can get behind you with shadow step and avoid sniper lanes, wins close combat easily)
- Tracer (Speed plus damage makes it hard for Widowmaker to deal with)
Mobile tank means she can flank in the middle of a firefight, while having enough health to be able to stay alive. Not many people can get the drop on her due to her boosters charging so fast, and Defense Matrix is the get out of jail free card in several situations, or can be used to start a push.
- Mercy (Being in the middle of a firefight and being able to move like D.va can, means that you can get right up into Mercy's face, and usually take her out)
- Torbjorn (Can get in and take out a sentry with no problem due to defense matrix/Boosters)
- Genji (Too much health to deal with on D.Va, and she can follow you rather easily with boosters)
- Zenyatta (Discord Orb)
- Mei (Takes away D.va's mobility with slowing her down, Ice Wall can really screw up the Ultimate)
- Roadhog (Large hit box means that pellets from his gun are most likely hitting her consistently)
The ultimate shield. Absorbs damage for everyone else to do the work, but has his ultimate to really disrupt the battlefield. Charge is great to isolate a player and take him out, but really, it's all about Reinhardt's shield.
- Soldier 76 (His weapons really don't have many options to deal with the shield, and he's mincemeat up close. Mobility isn't enough to flank either)
- Hanzo (Shield gives him problems, and lack of movement means that he can't flank)
- Torbjorn (Shield can soak Turret while others deal with it)
- Tracer (Nightmare for his slow movement, and abilities means that even if you get her in your sights, it may be only for a second)
- Zenyatta (Discord orb)
- Symmetra (Photon Projector attack goes through shield, his slow mobility can't dodge it, and sentries easy to set up to flank him as he moves forward with shield)
His Chain Hook is one of the best abilities in the game, due to isolating a single enemy and taking them out rather quickly. Good meat shield as he lumbers forward, getting close to him is a problem due to his high HP and ability to tear you apart with that gun.
- D.Va (Large hit box means your shotgun is hitting a lot, Chain hook can remove her maneuverability. Can self-sacrifice for team to remove exploding mech)
- Mercy (Prime Chain Hook target due to her snapping to heroes)
- Pharah (That hook can take away your movement, and in the air, you're a prime target to bring down)
- Zenyatta (Discord orb, and he usually stays out of reach of the hook)
- Hanzo (Slow mobility plus long range = nightmare for road hog)
- Torbjorn (Despite high health, his long range on his scatter gun makes turrets hard to deal with).
High mobility plus constant damage while moving means that he should be right in the middle of a fight. Ultimate makes the enemy team scatter, and not many people can escape from a fight with him due to his leap ability.
- Symmetra (Lighting gun can take down sentries rather quickly, and he wins a one on one fight close range),
- Hanzo (Easily can get up close and take the fight to him, take him down before anything goes down)
- Genji (Tracking with Lighting gun, and his abilities don't counter the lightning. Can't DPS hard enough to take out Winston's large life total).
- Zenyatta (Discord orb)
- Lucio (Speed means he can escape from you easily)
- Zarya (Can't overcome barriers easily, loses in 1 v 1 one fight)
Wants to take the damage and use it against you. Barriers absorb damage to power her gun, and a Zarya fully powered weapon is absolutely nasty to deal with. Healers can really make her one of the most powerful units in the game as she can stay in the fight for longer.
- Symmetra (Can tank sentry damage easily and pay it back with her enhanced gun)
- Winston (close range actually wins match-ups due to barriers and her cannon beating out his Cannon)
- Mei (Although close range would seem death -> Barrier activation stops ice accumulation. Gives enough time to take her down. While in cryo, barrier comes up)
- Zenyatta (can take the damage rather well, and her barriers remove the orbs)
- Pharah (Particle cannon means nothing to her)
- Widowmaker (Snipe Snipe Snipe the slow moving tank that has to anticipate a sniper shot (barrier means nothing))
- Mercy (Counters Graviton Surge rather nicely)
Speed and Medic combo. Stays in the fight and can help move the fight along, while being able to keep himself alive by getting out faster than most. Great in groups, but loses effectiveness as your teammates goes down.
- Reaper(Health buffs can easily heal up damage, putting Reaper at a disadvantage, and can be chased easily with the speed boost. Ultimate is able to stop Death Blossom in its tracks)
- Winston (Can play keep away rather easily with speed buff and knockaway ability)
- Mei (not fast enough to get to Lucio, and he can knock her away using the soundwave)
- Burst DPS (His heals help the entire team, but at a slower rate. Focusing on one enemy at a time is the solution for this. And it usually is Lucio himself)
- Zarya (Your speed gets negated by the splash damage)
- Pharah (she can keep up with you speed wise due to air ability, and its hard to take her down with your abilities)
Her Ultimate can change the tide in battle, and she's one of the best-focused healers in the game. Her ability to boost allies damage means that she's always doing something, and she's one of the first targets on an enemy team that you should be taking out
Counters: Honestly, she doesn't really counter anyone specifically, but she's obviously a prime target with her resurrect ability. If an enemy team is trading one v one with your team a lot, then this is the perfect class to go, as you can get those players up with your ultimate rather quickly and push forward.
- Reaper (Literally the best character to get in and assassinate Mercy without giving her Ultimate)
- Ultimates in General (Because you'll be the focus of those ultimates)
- Soldier 76 (Reasonable mid range damage plus Tactical Visor)
- Widowmaker (You're a walking headshot target)
Anti-Flanker and creative harasser. Turret placement can help secure an area rather easily, and her shields help in absorbing small amounts of damage. One of the most underrated damage weapons in the game, as staying hooked to a target boosts the DPS too high levels rather easily
- Genji (His need to flank means he's open season for sentry traps)
- Reinhardt (Photon Projector attack goes through shield, his slow mobility can't dodge it, and sentries easy to set up to flank him as he moves forward with shield)
- Flankers in general
- Pharah (Out of reach of her sentries and her main gun)
- Winston (Lightning gun will auto target sentries, can close the gap while you're trying to escape easily)
- Zarya (Can tank the sentry damage with her barriers and literally wreck face)
The anti-tank. Discord orb helps boost damage to insane levels, and does a reasonable job as a focused healer who can still fight with his orbs. Paper Tiger, but be careful of his charged up orb shot, cause it will take you down.
- Pretty Much Every Tank but Zarya (His discord orb makes them huge targets for discord orbs)
- Reaper (Hard hitter and will be able to easily get to you in the battlefield)
- Soldier 76 (Both like mid/long range fights, but unlike Soldier 76, Zenyatta can't self heal)
- Tracer (he loses the close up fight, and she can flank rather well. Discord orb helps but you usually go down before that).
In short, there's a lot of strategy and information to process in Overwatch, and you always got to be thinking of your team makeup. Going a specific counter is great and all, but also think how it helps your team's composition in the bigger picture, as even if a Reaper is not doing his job on flanking, going Tracer when there's already a Genji probably is a bad idea in several cases. Overwatch is about teamwork and working together. A team that works together finds themselves on the winning side more often than not.