Zenyatta is one of the five support heroes in Blizzard’s Overwatch and is easily the most difficult to play.
Unlike Ana, Lúcio and Mercy, Zenyatta, is an offensive support hero. This means that he is responsible for healing and dealing damage in equal amounts, a hard balance to achieve. This guide will help you achieve that balance by breaking down Zenyatta’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses. First, let’s take a look at Zenyatta’s primary weapon.
Primary Weapon: Orb of Destruction
Type: Linear projectile
Reload: 2 seconds
Zenyatta likes to throw orbs. His favorite one to throw is his Orb of Destruction that he fires individually; each orb deals 46 damage and is capable of headshots.
Pros: Excellent range and damage
Zenyatta’s Orb of Destruction can travel the length of the map with no damage drop off. This is great because it allows him to deal damage – and possibly death- way before any team fights break out.
Con: Travel time
Since it is a projectile attack, you have to account for travel time when firing at enemies at long ranges. This makes it difficult to hit the smaller and more mobile heroes.
Key Tips: Keep everything in front and lead your targets.
Zenyatta easily has the worst mobility and escapability of all the heroes in Overwatch, probably due to the fact that he travels everywhere via meditation. Zenyatta’s life choice leaves him an easy target for flankers like Sombra, Genji, and Tracer. So when you play Zenyatta, make sure that you keep everything in front of you. Place yourself close enough to your tanks that they can help you with flankers, yet far enough away that you do not catch stray shots. Positioning is key when playing Zenyatta.
Also keep in mind that Zenyatta’s orbs have a travel time. It’s not noticeable at close ranges, but when firing at enemies at mid to long ranges it becomes significant. To solve this problem you must get in the habit of leading your targets. What this means is to shoot where the enemy is going to be, not where they are. Practice this in a custom game or at the practice range.
Secondary fire: Orb Volley
Type: Multiple linear projectiles
Charge: Up to 4 seconds
Zenyatta likes throwing his Orb of Destruction so much that his secondary fire is a charge attack that shoots an Orb Volley for the enemy team to enjoy. The maximum charge for Orb Volley is five orbs.
Pro: Burst damage
A maximum volley deals 230 damage if all the orbs hit, an instant kill for most of the Overwatch roster.
Cons: Travel time and charge time
The Orb Volley, like the Orb of Destruction, is also a projectile attack. This means that when using it you have to account for travel time when firing at long range targets. The charge time also makes Orb Volley useless in close range because you are vulnerable when charging up the attack.
Key Tip: Big targets
Zenyatta’s secondary fire is most effective on big targets with low mobility and stationary targets.
Ability 1: Orb of Harmony
Healing: 30 health per second
Maximum Range: 40 meters
Zenyatta uses his Orb of Harmony, a targeted homing projectile, to aid his allies. This golden orb hovers above an ally’s shoulder and is only removed upon death! Or when the ally leaves Zenyatta’s line of sight for three seconds, or they are more than forty meters away. Or when Zenyatta decides to target someone else. But until then, death!
Pros: Flanker healing and no cool down
Zenyatta’s Orb of Harmony makes him a more effective healer for flankers like Genji for three reasons. First, Zenyatta does not have to be near the flankers to heal them due to the Orb’s range. This saves the flankers time because they do not have to come to Zenyatta for healing. Second, the Orb of Harmony attaches to his target so he does not have to land shots like Ana. Finally, the Orb of Harmony’s range allows Zenyatta to avoid the dangers of pocketing.
The Orb of Harmony also has no cool down allowing Zenyatta to rapidly switch healing targets.
Con: Quick healing
The Orb of Harmony can not heal teammates quickly. The Orb of Harmony is meant to sustain characters in fights not heal them to full.
Key Tip: Prioritize low health
Due to the Orb of Harmony’s low healing rate you should prioritize teammates with lower health pools.
Ability 2: Orb of Discord
Debuff: +30% damage taken
Maximum Range: 40 meters
Zenyatta’s second ability is the Orb of Discord, another targeted homing projectile that attaches to an enemy. The enemy discorded receives 30% more damage from everyone. Everyone. The Orb of Discord, like his Harmony Orb, is limited to targets within 40 meters and line of sight.
Pros: Quick kills, no cool down
The Orb of Discord +30% damage debuff is a great way to eliminate enemies quickly. And like its counterpart the Orb of Harmony the Orb of Discord has no cool down.
Con: Only Zenyatta knows
When Zenyatta throws his Discord on someone, a red symbol appears above them, but only Zenyatta can see this symbol. So unless your teammates see the purple orb over the target’s shoulder they do not know whom you are targeting.
Key Tip: Call outs
To use Orb of Discord to its maximum effect communication is key. Call out who is discorded to focus your teammates on a particular target.
Ultimate Ability: Transcendence
Heal: 300 health per second
Duration: 6 seconds
Heal Range: 10 meters
Zenyatta’s ultimate is Transcendence. The Omnic Monk enters an enlightened state where he is immune to damage, moves faster and exudes an aura that heals for 300 health per second.
Pro: The ultimate counter ultimate
Transcendence is one of the best counter ultimates in the game because it out heals almost every offensive ultimate.
Say, like in the video above, the enemy team has a Zarya and a Genji. Zarya lands a Graviton that pulls in most of your team and Genji uses his Dragonblade; your team is doomed, right? Wrong. You pop Transcendence and Genji’s Dragonblade becomes a glorified toothpick and Graviton becomes a team hugging session. Transcendence can stop ultimate combos in their tracks, but that does not mean it is flawless.
Cons: Range and crowd control
The maximum heal range of Transcendence is 10 meters. This short range means that Zenyatta has to be close to his teammates to heal them. Which is all fine and dandy when Transcendence is up and he is invulnerable, but what happens when it wears off and Zenyatta descends back into his slow moving, 50 Health with a 150 Shield, self? Nothing good.
A thing to note is Zenyatta is vulnerable to Crowd Control (CC) while using his ultimate. He can be trapped, hooked, pushed, pulled, pinned and booped while Transcending. The only thing he cannot be is frozen. So make sure when using Transcendence that you stay away from ledges.
Key Tips: Positioning and timing
When using Transcendence, make sure you are near your teammates for healing and protection from knockbacks. When Transcendence is about to end position yourself behind or near your tanks to avoid the crossfire.
Remember, as with every ultimate, Transcendence’s effectiveness is determined by when and how it is used. The best time to use it is in response to an enemy offensive ultimate.
That is it for the Omnic Monk. Hopefully this guide helps you harmonize with Zenyatta. Let us know what you think in the comments below. The next guide will be dealing with Lúcio, the Wall-Grinding D.J.
From all of us at TGH, I’m Steven and we wish you good luck in your future games.