With the first full competitive role queue season a week away, players can finally play damage Heroes to their heart’s content. No more GOATs. No more five DPS compositions. And no more being forced to heal when the mood strikes to click on some heads. Now players can queue up, wait an extra minute or two, and play all the Widowmaker games they want. But who is the best damage Hero at each rank?
The damage queue is likely the easiest position to carry a game from. So what can be done when a player is plateau-ing with their SR? The aim of this guide is to provide a Hero or two at each rank that will excel against other players in that ELO. Not everyone is a Widowmaker God. Not everyone can be. With the Heroes outlined here players can carry games, change team fights and push their SR up to the next rank.
The goal is to delve into specific skills to actively practice that will improve SR in every role. These skills will go hand in hand with the best damage Hero recommendations and provide specific tips on how to utilize the Heroes’ kits to develop them.
Best Damage Hero in Bronze: Symmetra or Torbjorn
Connor nailed this one in the original piece. There are two main reasons that a player would qualify as bronze, low mechanical skill or low game sense. Typically it is a combination of these two. Both Symmetra and Torbjorn can help cover either of these shortcomings for a player, while also capitalizing on the opposing team’s.
Both Heroes require a focus on turret placement. With Torbjorn, keeping turrets protected while still having firing lines is the main goal. Ideal placements are behind shields, around corners of chokes or at a distance on high ground. With Symmetra, turrets should be placed in unexpected locations near choke points that force opponents to turn around. The best locations will make enemy Heroes look in places that take their focus entirely off of a fight.
Counterplay: Who To Choose?
With Sigma and the current meta, shields are a massive part of the game. Symmetra is a nightmare against static shields. Her primary weapon is her Photon Projector. This is one of the more unique weapons in all of Overwatch as it fires a beam that will increase in damage the longer it is firing. When attacking a barrier with this, the Photon Projector actually gains ammunition instead of using it, while still charging to max damage. The alternate fire on this is a chargeable orb that will penetrate shields. Anytime the opposing team has an Orisa or multiple shield characters, Symmetra should be the choice (even with the slight nerf currently on the PTR).
I can confirm that Symmetra is busted! She's good against shields and her beam also got buffed.
Seeing ppl who used to flame and rage against sym mains now playing her though… 🤮 pic.twitter.com/UBmEBzuWbF
— Hoshi (@HoshizoraOW) August 22, 2019
Dive tanks (D.Va, Winston and occasionally Wrecking Ball) are the most common counters to both characters. Torbjorn has far more survivability than Symmetra. Utilizing his Overload ability to increase both his armor and attack speed when jumped on, can swing a fight in Torbjorn’s favor. The alternate fire on his Rivet Gun (primary weapon) is basically a shotgun. Coupling this with the attack speed increase from Overload, Torbjorn becomes a formidable duelist who has a chance against most characters in a close range 1v1.
Dive tanks also tend to leave a back line more exposed. If there is a high ground location or a turret that can be hidden around a corner, it can eliminate or at least distract the characters attempting to follow a dive. Against any sort of dive composition, Torbjorn is a safer option.
What to Work On: Map Knowledge and Awareness
While in bronze, learning the maps is one of the most crucial skills to advancing. Finding critical choke points on each map is typically the first (and easiest) step. Knowing flanking angles and health pack locations are additional simple tricks that will greatly benefit players in the long run.
For some maps these points will be very obvious but there are a few instances where turrets are nightmares to face. The high perch on Hollywood. The hard choke on Hanamura. The revolving platform on Volskaya. All of these locations are well known and still excellent. It’s important to find creative places to leave turrets that will maximize damage without leaving them too exposed.
Awareness is a more abstract skill to improve. A great tip for practicing awareness on both of these characters is paying attention to where turrets fire. Both Symmetra and Torbjorn’s turrets auto-aim so tracking their targets helps awareness of enemy locations. When a turret is placed somewhere away from sight-lines, paying attention to when it is attacking, damaged or destroyed can reveal an unexpected flank. This is a great strategy with Symmetra to disrupt an enemy Hero’s attempt to get behind the player’s team.
Improving awareness will also help to avoid tunnel vision. Focusing too intently on a single character can cost a fight. An opposing Reinhardt charges in. His back-line is now exposed. The enemy Mercy is the target Torb has had his sights on and now her shield is gone. But there are still four other Heroes near her. Maybe the kill is secured before he dies, maybe not. The goal in Overwatch is almost never to go one for one in eliminations. Neither of the recommended Heroes have reliable escapes, so tunnel vision is a death sentence more often than not.
Best Damage Hero in Silver: Reaper
Reaper has recently worked his way into the professional meta, but players at lower SRs have been calling him overpowered for years. Hellfire Shotguns – just the name is intimidating. Akimbo shotguns infinitely spawning from the nether with percentage-based self-healing. Reaper can fit into the conversation of best damage Hero at most ranks currently, but at lower SRs, he is a pure carry.
The reduced cast time on Shadow Step has made him into a solid option as a dive Hero or flanker and his raw survivability fits him well into compositions that want to brawl. He shreds shields. He can one-shot low health targets and abuse high health Heroes. Because he can harass so many characters and requires such a close range, there is a massive target on his back.
Players in silver will typically have slower reactions and less coordination. Flanking these players and not giving the opportunity to react often results in a few eliminations before the fight even begins. His pure damage output in brawls on capture points will overwhelm most players in silver. Watch for players to waste abilities early in fights, then pounce.
What to Work On: Cooldown Management, Flanking & Spearheading
Reaper is an excellent Hero to practice cooldown management on. The simplest advice is to never engage without Wraith Form available. This ability is his Swiss army knife. It is an escape, an instant reload and a dodge all in one. The safest option is to always use it for retreating. Important notes are that Shadow Step has a cast time of 1.5 seconds, and Death Blossom has a duration of 3 seconds. Casting Shadow Step to position for an ultimate when Wraith Form has 5 seconds remaining on the cooldown, can provide the perfect combo to secure kills and escape.
Flanking is a tool vital to Reaper’s kit. Understanding the locations and Shadow Stepping to and from places outside of sight-lines can result in free picks. But flanking is not always the best option with Reaper. When breaking through opposing compositions Reaper is one of the most formidable brawlers in the game. Acting as the head of the spear as a team battering rams their way through a defensive choke is often the better choice.
Ultimately, the best option is entirely dependent on team compositions. The most frightening Reaper will combine both of these tools so their flanks are unpredictable. The worst will attempt the same flank angle over and over. Be creative.
Counterplay: Closing the Gap
Opposing teams want to keep Reaper at a distance and jump on him when he engages. Hard crowd control abilities or characters with long range damage abilities, such as hit-scan Heroes or Pharah, are the go-to. Utilize Wraith Form as a dodge against crowd control. When an enemy attempts a stun ability, be it Mei’s freezing, McCree’s Flashbang or Ana’s Sleep Dart, a well-timed Wraith Form can fade right through it. Cancel it immediately and unleash the Hellfire Shotguns.
Shadow Step is the tool needed against ranged DPS. Teleport to a location near them that is not monitored and unload. The most important thing to do as Reaper is exhaust the opponents stun cooldowns and stick the shotgun’s barrels into an enemy character model.
Best Damage Hero: Higher SRs
The best news is as a player’s SR rises through the ranks of competitive Overwatch, having high skills on a specific Hero makes them viable at almost any ELO. Learning multiple Heroes helps tremendously with understanding counter play. The other skills outlined are drawn with the specific “best damage Hero” in mind but greatly beneficial to all Heroes and roles. Keep the grind going and keep practicing.
The guide for gold and platinum can be found here!
Header Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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