Overwatch: Character Guide - Defence

Sometimes the best form of attack is a solid defence. Or something like that.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field

Blizzard's first foray into the shooter space is finally with us, and no matter how you want to play Overwatch, Gamereactor has you covered. Here's our guide to the characters that play a defence role on the battlefield.


Bastion - 200 Health/100 Armour: Bastion is most effective on maps that use payload as its mode. On defence, Bastion can set up as a turret in a wide range of positions, letting him rip into the enemy as they try to group up on the objective. He can even be of use on offensive payload sides, as he has the capability to set up on the payload itself. A deadly strategy is to team up with a hero like Reinhardt, set up on the payload itself, and begin devastation.

Passive/Weapons: In his normal recon mode, Bastion wields a submachine gun that has limited ammo but can fire a steady stream of bullets with reasonable damage.

This is an ad:

Ability 1 - Reconfigure: Switches modes between recon mode and sentry mode. Sentry mode turns Bastion into a devastatingly powerful turret, able to deal out damage in massive amounts. The downside to this is that he can't move whilst doing so.

Ability 2 - Self-Repair: Bastion fixes himself, restoring health over time but keeps him stationary. Can be done in sentry mode.

Ultimate - Configuration: Tank: Turns Bastion into a tank for a short time, allowing him to be fully mobile but armed with a powerful cannon that deals area-of-effect damage and knocks back.

How to counter: Bastion is easily one of the heroes who has sparked up the biggest annoyance since the game entered open beta and into release, but he probably has the most counters out of all the heroes, provided you play right. Genji shreds Bastion at close range thanks to his reflect, D.va can straight up delete Bastion's bullets with her defence matrix, allowing the rest of the team to pick him off, and long range heroes like Widowmaker can take him out before he can do enough damage to you thanks to the spread of his cannon. There are others, too; Junkrat and Roadhog are also pretty effective against him.

This is an ad:

Hanzo - 200 Health: Hanzo is one of the game's two snipers. His bow at full charge is capable of doing good damage at medium to long range, and his passive allows him to find the best vantage spots on the map. Sonic Arrow allows him to scout out the enemy from a distance for his team with no danger, while Scatter Arrow lets him fire behind those with a shield, and still be effective. His ultimate is the most impressive part of his kit, letting him clear out huge portions of the map in little time at all. The fact it travels through walls means Hanzo can fire the arrow from safety, but still be devastating.

Passive/Weapon: Hanzo wields a powerful bow that can be charged up and fired at different strengths. Though he's labelled as a sniper, many players opt to play him more aggressively as a mid-range attacker. The massive hitbox on his arrows means that you don't have to be as precise as you might think. Shooting often and making prediction shots is the name of the game here. Passively, Hanzo can climb up walls.

Ability 1 - Sonic Arrow: Switches arrows to one that has a sonar tracking device attached. When fired, it will pulse and reveal any enemies inside its wide radius.

Ability 2 - Scatter Arrow: Switches arrows to one that fragments on impact, sending out projectiles in every direction that can strike multiple targets at once.

Ultimate - Dragonstrike: Fires an arrow a short direction, which then turns into a huge dragon that travels through the air in a straight line and through walls, doing extremely high damage to those it touches.

How to counter: Thanks to his long range, Hanzo makes it a point to sit far back from the main fights, as he tries to pick off enemy stragglers. Because of this, he becomes an easy target for Widowmaker, who has even more range than Hanzo. Tracer also fares well against Hanzo provided he isn't somewhere too high up, as Tracer can flank and kill him before he even realises.


Junkrat - 200 Health: Junkrat's kit allows him to deal high damage at medium range. His primary gun can get some good distance going, acting a little like artillery, so you can fire over walls and not suffer any damage yourself. Concussion Mine is good for defence, as you can place it ahead of time and wait at a good vantage point, waiting to blow the enemy away in groups when they get near it. RIP-Tire can do some damage to entire teams if used correctly. You can set up the tire from the safety of your own base, then sneak the tire behind enemy lines and blow them away. One thing to be careful of is that the RIP-Tire can be destroyed before you detonate it, meaning enemies will try to focus on it if they spot it.

Passive/Weapon: Junkrat's weapon is a Frag Launcher that bounces a fair distance before blowing up, detonating straight away on a direct enemy hit. His passive is Total Mayhem, which drops a number of live grenades after he dies, capable of doing extreme damage.

Ability 1 - Concussion Mine: Places a mine and can detonate it at will, doing damage and launching enemies away. He can even use it to propel himself up to high places or vantage points.

Ability 2 - Steel Trap: Throws down a huge bear trap, snaring and damaging any enemies for a good portion of time, allowing Junkrat and his allies to unleash hell on the victim.

Ultimate - RIP-Tire: Junkrat fires off a tire bomb that rolls across the battlefield that he can controlled. It climbs over walls and obstacles, and can do heavy damage to those around when it detonates.

How to counter: Junkrat is vulnerable from the air, making Pharah an easy counter to him provided she doesn't get too close. Winston works well, too, thanks to his steady damage and a solid gap-close. Aside from that, the extreme-range heroes like Hanzo or Widowmaker make Junkrat easy pickings.


Mei - 250 Health: Mei is extremely effective on defence, slowing the enemy right down and preventing them from getting to an objective. Ice Wall is impassable and high, meaning you can place it in doorways and block the enemy from moving. Additionally, it negates all damage to an extent, meaning it can effectively block a wide variety of abilities. Mei can use Cryo-Freeze in a pinch, healing and waiting for the help of allies. The best bit about Mei, and the most frustrating thing for her enemies, is her ability to freeze them using her gun and ultimate. It completely halts them in their tracks, allowing Mei to use the icicle capability on her gun to deal heavy damage at close range with no risk.

Passive/Weapon: Mei holds an Endothermic Blaster, firing out a concentrated short-range stream of ice that damages and slows enemies. If the ice hits an enemy enough, they will freeze solid. The Blaster's alt fire shoots out an icicle that deals good damage at medium range.

Ability 1 - Cryo-Freeze: Mei encases herself in a block of ice, enabling her unable to move or attack, but ignoring all damage and healing her in the process.

Ability 2 - Ice Wall: Drops a huge ice wall that blocks attacks, stops movement, and restricts vision.

Ultimate - Blizzard: Throws down a drone that creates a blizzard in the surrounding area. It slows and eventually freezes any enemies inside, and deals a good amount of damage.

How to counter: Mei, like Junkrat, struggles against people high above her, making Pharah and our two snipers an easy counter to her short range. Tracer works surprisingly well, too, as she can close gaps in an instant and empty her guns into Mei before the freeze gun can take full effect.


Torbjörn -200 Health: Torbjörn is the master of the choke-point thanks to his deployable bag of tricks, and thus he's a helpful defensive character that a team can easily build on. While he can also drop a turret on top of a payload and make a mobile turret, his strength lies in defence.

Passive/Weapon: Torbjörn's main weapon is a rivet gun that has two firing modes: Firing rivets at long range, or ejecting molten metal into the faces of his enemies at short range. He can also switch to a hammer, which he mainly uses to upgrade turrets but that can also be used as a melee weapon. His passive is Scrap Collector, which allows him to collect scrap to use with his other abilities.

Ability 1 - Build Turret: Torbjörn builds a turret which can be upgraded with hits of his hammer, in turn increasing its health and fire rate.

Ability 2 - Armour Pack: Torbjörn uses scrap he collects over time to deploy Armour, which can be picked up by him or his allies to give 75 armour.

Ultimate - Molten Core: Torbjörn overheats, giving himself lots of armour and enabling him to attack faster. Most importantly, he can upgrade his turret a further level, giving it 600 health and making it devastatingly powerful.

How to counter: He relies on his turrets, so getting someone who can take them out in safety is essential to get rid of him. This makes Widowmaker a good call, as she can take them out without being touched. D.va works nicely, too, as she can get to the turrets quickly and burst them down without taking anywhere near enough damage to be of any worry.


Widowmaker - 200 Health: Widowmaker is the main sniper in the game, but unlike Hanzo she is most effective from extreme long range. Her hook allows her to easily and quickly get to the best vantage points, covering her back with Venom Mine just in case an enemy finds her. Her gun charges the more it's zoomed, and at maximum power can one-shot kill almost any enemy with a headshot. Her ultimate is extremely effective for both her and her team, giving the enemy no place to hide.

Passive/Weapon: Widowmaker's weapon is an assault rifle-sniper hybrid, with its primary fire being a quick-firing rifle that deals moderate damage. The alt fire for the gun allows Widowmaker to zoom the gun in, turning it into a single-fire sniper that can be charged for more damage.

Ability 1 - Grappling Hook: Widowmaker fires a hook in the direction she is aiming, launching herself in that direction and allowing her to climb onto high ledges.

Ability 2 - Venom Mine: Widowmaker fires off a mine that explodes when the enemy gets close, poisoning them and doing damage over time.

Ultimate - Infra-Sight: Widowmaker's visor activates, allowing her and her allies to see the whole enemy team.

How to counter: Widowmaker is a force to be reckoned with, provided she stays far away from the main fight. However, D.va can get close to her pretty safely and quickly, making short work of her. Winston works well, too, provided you don't get sniped mid-leap. Genji also works like a charm, as a flanker, and he can also reflect Widowmaker's lethal shots right back at her.


Want more? Why not check out our guides detailing character roles for Offence, Support, and Tank.


Related texts

Overwatch for Nintendo SwitchScore

Overwatch for Nintendo Switch

REVIEW. Written by Fabrizia Malgieri

"The opportunity to play Overwatch anywhere, without having to be anchored to a chair or the sofa in your living room, is priceless."



REVIEW. Written by Rasmus Lund-Hansen

"Overwatch is, without a doubt, the best multiplayer-shooter I've ever had my hands on."

Loading next content