One of key parts of Overwatch to master is responding to what those chumps on the other team are doing. If you keep getting stalled by a particular character (a pesky Tracer or a stubborn Bastion) then you should change your tactics and try something new! We've put together a list of the best tactics to use to counter every hero on Overwatch's roster. Read, adapt, and have fun (but fun kicking the enemies' asses, obviously).
How to counter Bastion in Overwatch
Running into a Bastion as a turret in his sentry mode can be a frustrating experience, to say the least. Don't try to tank him with a Reinhardt because Bastion's high damage will destroy the shield. Roadhog can stand up to him better, with higher health as well as his healing ability, and his Chain Hook can grapple onto Bastion and force him out of his turret configuration. Widowmaker can pick off Bastion at a distance and very quickly with her sniper, especially if you get a clear shot at the glowing blue block on his back when he's in sentry mode (this works like a headshot). If you're good with Genji you can go head to head with Bastion and use Deflect to send all the damage flying back where it came, but it's a high risk/high reward strategy.
How to counter D.Va in Overwatch
D.Va is doubly annoying because even if you manage to take out her mech suit she herself will pop out and, if she can stay alive long enough, call another one. She has high mobility for a tank and can become a sugary sweet, pink thorn in your side. That said, Zarya and Symmetra are both good counters to D.Va. Their weapons can fire through her Defense Matrix shield and take apart the suit. Once she's out of her mech suit a ranged hero like Pharah, Bastion, or Widowmaker can cut D.Va down quickly, but you have to move fast and make sure your aim is good.
D.Va's Self Destruct ultimate ability sounds bad on paper, but in practise it's actually easy to avoid. There's a long timer on it before the explosion detonates, and even the smallest bit of cover in the environment will protect you from the blast.
How to counter Genji in Overwatch
Genji is the most mobile hero on the battlefield, which is where much of his deadliness comes from, and as such the best counter is Mei, to slow him down with her main attack. Throwing up a turret as Torbjörn is a good one as well, because they have automatic aim with no margin of human error, and deal a lot of damage as long as he isn't smart enough to use Deflect and send it back. Winston's arcing electric attacks have a similar advantage against Genji, but if you're comfortable playing as her then Zarya's particle cannon ignores his Deflect entirely.
How to counter Hanzo in Overwatch
Hanzo's ultimate is a doozy, but it's also really easy to avoid if you see it coming. Hanzo is most deadly when using his arrows at mid-to-close range for headshots, but he can be countered well by Genji and his shuriken, or by Tracer with her Blink to constantly harass him (though if Hanzo does get a headshot on a Tracer it's often a one shot kill, so you have to keep moving). It's tempting to use a tank with a shield, but Hanzo has fair mobility and can often flank or avoid them. Using a Widowmaker to snipe him at range will often pay off against Hanzo, since most players take some time aiming with him, and he moves more slowly with his bow drawn.
How to counter Junkrat in Overwatch
Junkrat's traps are annoying as all get out, but he's also slow compared to most of the heroes on the battlefield, so the snipers Hanzo and Widowmaker can often get easy shots and make short work of him. Because Pharah can travel in the air you can use her to avoid his short range grenades and his traps on the ground, whilst firing off rockets yourself, and because of his aforementioned slow speed he's often caught in the splash damage even if you don't get a direct hit.
How to counter Lucio in Overwatch
Lucio is fast, so slow him down. Like the other mobile heroes, Lucio is vulnerable to Mei. He's also susceptible to traps from Junkrat, and Zarya's ultimate ability, which will both grab him and keep him still. Lucio isn't slow enough to be truly susceptible to a sniper, but you can box him into a corner with Reinhardt, and if a Torbjörn has put up a well placed turret it'll cut Lucio to ribbons if he can't get into cover quick enough. It'll probably force the player to change until it's been taken off the field.
How to counter McCree in Overwatch
The most dangerous thing about McCree is his one-hit-one-kill Deadeye ultimate ability, so no matter who you're playing as you should get behind a wall when you hear him gleefully proclaiming what time it is (it's always High Noon). The best bet is to take him out before he can use it, so if an enemy player is using McCree counter him with Soldier 76 or Widowmaker, depending on your preferred style. They both combine a fair amount of mobility with high damage (although if you choose Widowmaker you obviously won't want to take the fight in close).
How to counter Mei in Overwatch
Because Mei can slow down and freeze heroes she's really hard to deal with up close. Use a hero with long range capabilities like Widowmaker to get her without contending with her ice attacks. You can also use Pharah, because her jetpack makes her much harder for Mei to actually hit.
How to counter Mercy in Overwatch
If a team is playing with a good Mercy then you also need a good Mercy, just to make sure your team is getting the same advantages. If a Mercy is smart they'll keep moving or team up with a good offense hero (you'll often see a Mercy and a Pharah together). It should be a general priority for everyone to take Mercy out, but it's easiest with a well placed Widowmaker making those sweet sniper shots, or a hero able to flank to the back of the enemy team where Mercy'll be chilling out: Genji; Tracer; Reaper.
How to counter Pharah in Overwatch
There's no point using heroes with a short range of attack against Pharah, since she can easily evade you that way. The long range and high damage on Widowmaker and Bastion make them great counters. If you're good with McCree you can get her out of the sky with the Flashbang, but Pharah is really vulnerable to McCree's ultimate too. Zenyatta is another great counter with his orbs, especially using the Orb of Discord to weaken her first.
How to counter Reaper in Overwatch
What keeps Reaper an effective hero is his passive ability to collect health from enemies he's killed. The best way to take him off the field is to stop him doing that. Zarya and Roadhog can tank through his damage by using their abilities and put him on the defensive, whilst Lucio can use his secondary fire to push Reaper away from friendlies and slow him down.
How to counter Reinhardt in Overwatch
Reinhardt is a go-to tank for many players, so you'll probably be fighting at least one Reinhardt in most of your games. Bastion can shatter Reinhardt's shield remarkably quickly, which is useful if he's being used defensively. D.Va, Tracer, and Pharah can all be used to bait Reinhardt into charging off a cliff, and can escape the fall themselves with their abilities (Tracer's Recall and the boosters/jetpack on D.Va and Pharah). This tactic is satisfying, but does take some practise. You can also use the secondary fire of Symmetra's main weapon, which will pass right through Reinhardt's shield.
How to counter Roadhog in Overwatch
Getting hooked by Roadhog is perilous, but many heroes can turn it back on him easily. Lucio's secondary fire will knock Roadhog away before he has a chance to use his shotgun, Tracer can escape his hook with both Blink and Recall, and Zarya can stop it altogether with her barriers. Someone like Genji, meanwhile, is just really bloody hard for Roadhog to get a hold of on account of moving around all the time.
How to counter Soldier 76 in Overwatch
Soldier 76 can be initially daunting, but he's actually pretty easily outflanked by faster characters like Tracer or Genji, who can get the drop on him. His ultimate ability sounds threatening, but is only really effective against weaker characters. All the tanks, especially the ones with shields (that's Reinhardt, Winston, and Zarya) can absorb most of his damage easily.
How to counter Symmetra in Overwatch
Symmetra's nests of sentry turrets are often worse than Symmetra herself, but you can take them out rapidly by using Pharah and Junkrat, whose primary weapons both do damage over an area. Winston can also dismantle a nest of them with his Tesla Cannon, since it arcs from one to the next. Killing Symmetra herself is easier with the high mobility offense heroes like Tracer, but Symmetra's weapon has a relatively short range so you can make good use of Soldier 76 or even Bastion.
How to counter Torbjörn in Overwatch
Torbjörn is one of the most annoying heroes to come up against and if you ask us his turrets are way overpowered. Stop us if we sound bitter. However, there are ways and means to counter him. Reinhardt can block most of the incoming damage from the turrets with his shield, which will allow the team to fire through, and Zarya can use her barrier to absorb the damage and in turn make her weapon more powerful.
Of the other heroes, McCree and Mei's Flashbang and freezing abilities will work on both Torbjörn and his turrets, and Mei's ice wall can also be thrown up to block them. The ultimate ability of Soldier 76, along with his Helix Rocket, can take down Torbjörn and his hardware very quickly, especially if you're backed up with by some support characters or tank shields.
How to counter Tracer in Overwatch
Tracer is mobile enough that she's hard to hit, and her Recall ability can negate damage if you don't do enough to kill her in one go. Use McCree to stop her; his Flashbang ability will stun her and he does high damage with every shot. If you're capable with Mei you can use her main weapon to slow Tracer and freeze her, which will leave her totally vulnerable to attack. Winston's main weapon is also good against Tracer, 'cos it'll hit her even if you're only aiming it in her general direction.
How to counter Widowmaker in Overwatch
Tanking with a Reinhardt always makes things difficult for Widowmaker, since his shield will block her shots completely. Widowmaker is relatively squishy, too, so the mobile tanks like Winston, D.Va, and Roadhog present big problems for an unwary Widowmaker. If she's set up in an awkward position snipe at your team you can use Pharah to get to those hard to reach corners and pick off Widowmaker from mid-air. Remember that Widowmaker is only really dangerous for as long as you don't know where she is, so try to eyeball her as much as possible.
How to counter Winston in Overwatch
Winston, although he's a tank, is a squishier target than you'd expect, and a big target at that. McCree, with his high damage, can often work over a Winston without getting too close. Throwing in an Orb of Discord as Zenyatta will make it even easier to finish Winston off, potentially even by yourself with a few of those Orbs of Destruction. Winston's also weak against Reaper because many of his abilities make him impossible to hit with Winston's Tesla Cannon.
How to counter Zarya in Overwatch
Zarya is the weakest tank, but can deal potentially the most damage. Going up against a Zarya requires you to be smart, because if she has her barrier up then she gets more powerful the more damage you do, so don't use your ultimate ability if you see a Zarya with her barrier up, or even one running towards you with purpose; she could negate all the damage you're about to do. Use the snipers Hanzo and Widowmaker to take her out when her barrier is down. You can also use the more mobile hereos Genji and Tracer to flank her; Tracer in particular can use Blink to escape from Zarya's ultimate ability.
How to counter Zenyatta in Overwatch
Zenyatta is an annoying support character, but he's also very easy to deal with if you know what you're doing. Widowmaker can eliminate him with a single well placed sniper shot. You can also get an instant kill on him with Roadhog by using the favoured Hook/shotgun to the face combination. It's also really easy to tank against Zenyatta if you're using Reinhardt, because his shield will deflect all of Zenyatta's attacks, including his Orb of Discord, and allow heroes that would otherwise be affected to fire through and deal with him.