What are the best Overwatch 2 Heroes for Ranked right now?
Stuck in Gold and looking for a way out. We've looked at the best characters in Blizzard's shooter for conquering the Ranked ladder and improving your skill tier.
There's a lot of debate about who the best characters are in Overwatch 2. Depending on the situation, meta, statistical data, there's a lot of varying opinions, but what are the best characters for actually conquering the Ranked ladder? Who should you invest time into learning if you intend to climb to new ranks, and who should you stop spending so much time with in general? Well... that's what I've been pondering as of late, and from my experience as a long-time Overwatch fan and player, here are the characters I believe you should focus on if you want to climb to new heights.
But before I get into the picks, let's just get some things ironed out. These are NOT the "meta" picks. These are the characters that from my own experience of playing with and against them, will serve you best in winning games and remaining competitive in higher skill tiers. And this is coming from someone who has played Overwatch on both console and on PC, largely in the Support role, and generally sits at around the Masters competitive tier on both platforms.
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And another thing to be aware of is that Overwatch is a game of back-and-forths. You are meant to swap characters to overcome the challenges of an objective, or to counter an oppressive enemy, so don't think religiously playing one of these Heroes will serve you indefinitely, because it won't. Learn various characters, play all three roles when you can, take note of a character's strengths and weaknesses - that is how to truly climb the Ranked ladder.
It's also worth being clear that this list isn't designed with the top players in the world in mind. Overwatch is a game that is big on inclusivity, and not everyone will be the next FPS prodigy, so I've looked at each character on a basis of impact on a game and their ease of play.
As for how I will be ranking each character, I'm going to be splitting each respective role into Essential, Useful, and Avoid, and then slotting each Hero into one of those three categories, all starting with Tank.
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Essential: There are only three Tank characters that I truly see as the top of the pack right now, and those are D.Va, Winston, and Zarya. All three characters play differently, but bring benefits to using them.
D.Va has the "no-fun cone" we know as Defense Matrix that can completely neutralise hitscan, as well as a boatload of damage, tons of armour, verticality options with her jets, and even a second life to some extent thanks to Self-Destruct. She is a terror on the Ranked ladder when played well. Learn her.
Winston is the best 'main tank' if you will. His movement options and Bubble Shield allow him to reach all manners of locations and to isolate Supports and annoying Damage characters. Matched up with an efficient diving Damage line, and you will be unstoppable. Just be sure to swap if they counter-pick you with a Reaper.
Zarya is arguably the best Tank in the game right now, and the reason is down to the fact that with her double-shield system, she is damn hard to bring down, and also packs enough damage to microwave most characters in seconds. She does lack the team presence that Winston brings and generally comes off as more of a selfish pick these days, but she is good at protecting herself, which no doubt your Support line will appreciate, as it means they won't have to follow you around pumping healing into you.
Useful: When the time calls for it, there's an opportunity to use these Heroes. Just don't lean on them as your consistent go-to picks, as your team will feel the impact from it. Roadhog, Junker Queen, Orisa, Sigma, and Reinhardt are all useful characters and have their strengths, but they're also characters that your team desperately needs to build around.
Roadhog is a terrible frontline presence and prefers doing his own thing. Reinhardt needs the devoted love and attention of a Support character to thrive. Sigma, while featuring heavy damage, doesn't quite have the impact of a D.Va or Zarya. Junker Queen is great for brawling, but also can be taken down very easily. And Orisa basically does what Reinhardt does, just by trading useful team shielding for better survivability with Fortify. Play them by all means, but if you find yourself struggling to win a team fight, it's probably best to make a change.
Avoid: Now I'm not going to tell you that these characters are always going to be bad, but right now Doomfist and Wrecking Ball feel like such a deadweight that you're probably best to pass on them entirely. Neither really do anything for your team, nor cause major havoc for the opposition, and are essentially pointless picks at the moment.
Essential: When it comes to being a Damage character, the best thing you can do is learn to take care of yourself. Sure, your Supports should be healing you, but if their attention can be on surviving the enemy attacks and keeping critically low allies alive, rather than giving you an 80Hp boost to top you off, you'll be far more successful. Likewise, getting actual final blows is infinitely more important than just racking up damage, so if you're not bringing enemies down, it's time to make some changes. To this end, there are three Damage Heroes that stand above the rest: Soldier 76, Sojourn, and Sombra.
Soldier 76 is essentially ol' reliable. He'll pump out damage, get final blows where necessary, can escape danger with his sprint ability, heal himself when needed, and can turn the tide of a fight with a good Tactical Visor. If you're having a hard time, 76 is your man.
Sojourn is similar, except she trades a bit of survivability for outright kill potential. The charged Railgun shot and her Overclock ability can make or break a team fight, and if you can master using both, the sky is the limit.
Sombra is a little different. While not exactly being the most reliable for kills, a good hack can ruin a Tank or a diving Damage Hero, and EMP is perhaps the best Ultimate ability in the game when used correctly. If you can figure out how to frequently sneak in, take out a support, hack a Tank, and then teleport out alive, you will not only start climbing the ladder, but you'll start haunting the dreams of enemy Reinhardts and Zenyattas.
Useful: There are a few characters that I have put here that you will probably think should be in the Essential category, and while I won't dispute that Tracer, Genji, and Widowmaker are three great candidates for that, all three require an extra level of mechanical skill or teamplay to make them work, which sets them apart from the top three. To this end, like the Tank role, there are characters here that can and absolutely should be in your portfolio as a Damage player, but as a pick for every game, not so much.
The hitscan characters of Ashe, Widowmaker, and Cassidy are all great at bringing down foes without getting close, but unlike 76 and Sojourn who are a little bit more forgiving, require a far finer degree of accuracy to get value from. Hence the lower placement.
Genji and Tracer need to have a good dive team to succeed, else they will find themselves jumping and blinking into a team all alone, which is never a good idea.
Pharah and Echo can be lethal and major annoyances, but both need either a Mercy pocketing them with constant heals of the full attention of a ground-based Support, which puts demand on the rest of the team and on you to simply shoulder a lot of the team's responsibility.
Reaper can be a great and easy to use character, but as soon as teams start playing at a bit of a distance, or with a D.Va, he starts facing enormous problems.
Torbjorn and Bastion can change the dynamic of a game, but both are pretty much the definition of glass cannons, as when either face too much pressure, they will crumble under the stress.
Symmetra can be so tough to overcome when she's dug in with her beam turrets and teleporter, but getting that set up takes time, and if that gets taken away from her, she brings very little to the table.
And last of all, there's Hanzo. I almost put the bowman in the Avoid category, but like Widowmaker, there comes a time when the Shimada brother clips a Support character in the cranium and wins a fight before one starts. That value can't be ignored.
The best advice for each of these characters is to keep tabs on the game clock. If you've been playing them for 60-90 seconds and found no real value so far, perhaps you can't defend or take an objective, or are simply not getting any meaningful eliminations, then swap to something else. For your team's sake, and for your own.
Avoid: In my eyes, there are only two characters that truly don't require your attention as it stands in the Damage role: Junkrat and Mei. Sure both have chances to shine, but everything these two can do can be done better and more efficiently by another character. This becomes ever more apparent as you climb the ladder, so don't waste precious time mastering either, just lock in a Genji or a Sombra, or literally anything else instead.
Essential: You could call me biassed, but Support is a little different to Tank and Damage, as there's really no character that is outright terrible and should be avoided. That's likely down to the fact that there are only eight Support Heroes in the entire game, and two in every lobby, so there's not much of an option for any to be truly awful. Still, there are a few that stand above the rest, and they are: Ana, Moira, and Lucio.
Now Ana I would argue is one of the best characters in the game in a Ranked sense. The Biotic Grenade can win team fights, Nano Boost can be thrown out wheely-neely, Sleep Dart can stop the attack of oppressive Damage characters, and her hitscan scoped mode gives her utility and range, while being effective up close with hip-firing. She is not an easy character to master, but if you can, she can take you to the very top of the Ranked ladder and be a carry for your team.
Moira is up here because she pumps out healing in a way that very few characters can match, and does so while being able to keep pace with Damage characters in damage dealt. She's also damn-near impossible to eliminate if played well, and is a great option to always have at the ready or on game modes like Push and Control where enemies can come from all angles.
Lucio has arguably the best ability in the entire game: Speed Boost. Learning how and when to use this move in a fight can throw the enemy team all out of sorts as your allies come crashing in like a tsunami. Combine this with his survivability, area healing dynamic, and Sound Barrier Ultimate that can neutralise a lot of enemy aggression, and you have a surefire way to make an impact.
Useful: As for Zenyatta, Baptise, Kiriko, Mercy, and Brigitte, they all have their benefits.
Kiriko could be an Essential candidate, but her Kunai's are not the easiest to hit and likely are not the best option for lower ranked players.
Mercy is a fantastic healer, but does very little else. She is the epitome of a character designed for non-FPS players in an FPS game, and while that's fine, there's no denying the character's clear limitations.
Baptise can be incredibly annoying to face with his Immortality Field, and an excellent healer, but compared to the impact that Lucio can have on a team, Moira's survivability, and Ana's varied kit options, he's not quite on the same level.
Brigitte would be the worst Support in the game, if it wasn't for her ability to completely teardown oppressive Damage characters like Genji, Tracer, and Sombra. Shield Bash into a Whip Shot can almost entirely eliminate one of those characters, and can really help when dealing with a talented opponent.
And last of all is Zenyatta (perhaps my favourite character in the entire game). The Omnic Monk has two of the most potent abilities in all of Overwatch: Discord Orb and Transcendence, and both can be incredibly useful to the team and a huge nuisance to deal with. The problem is that Zenyatta needs to be alive and kicking to use either, and even the best Zenyatta players in the world have a tough time getting value out of this character when the enemy Tank and Damage line come knocking.
While this list and set of opinions will likely change as Blizzard continues to rebalance Overwatch 2 and its Heroes, if a character doesn't see any major change in the future, and the game doesn't fundamentally change in how it's played again, as was the case between OW1 and OW2, then you can probably assume that each character will continue to find itself in a similar place in usefulness.
Hopefully this can help you climb out of whatever Ranked hell you find yourself in, but just remember as I noted earlier, Overwatch is a game of teamwork and strategy swapping, so get used to switching up your Heroes when things aren't going well, and you'll find yourself on the winning team far more often.