The Five Support Heroes of Overwatch, Ranked
Every role in Overwatch is crucial for the success of the team, however, none are as often overlooked as support. Too many times do players with a random team have to either beg someone to pick a healer or make the switch themselves, lest the effort to secure the objectives fail. Thing is, playing support is far from unrewarding, and isn’t necessarily difficult either.
Most players are support-averse due to the atypical style of gameplay these heroes require for an FPS. Namely, shooting enemies isn’t the only thing you need to pay attention to, but you need to heal and buff your allies while debuffing opponents, and mixing in additional abilities which may indirectly help your team. Typically, support doesn’t score the most kills or secure the most objectives. They are the unsung heroes.
Currently, Overwatch boasts five support heroes, though that roster is bound to be expanded further down the line as Blizzard has been adding heroes periodically to the game (the most recent being Doomfist). The five support characters are quite varied in their skillsets and techniques requiring different styles of play.
Symmetra really shouldn’t even be a support hero. Her skillset is more suited for the defensive role and lacks any kind of healing ability or direct buff ability. She can place defensive auto-turrets across the map, project a damage absorbing shield and as her ultimate, she can place a teleport marker to which respawning team-mates can instantly travel to return to a battle at a crucial location. In practice, most players use her as a stand-in for defense, so calling her a support hero seems flawed – but Blizzard decided to do so anyway.
Zenyatta is a solid support hero who is capable of dealing out a lot of healing and can also debuff enemies to increase the damage they receive. While a technically sound hero, playing as Zenyatta isn’t particularly fun. His orb-based abilities often require a line of sight being kept at all times, whilst also paying attention to the battle raging around you to pick whichever target is strategically most important. Doing this is done best when in the fray, however, unless his ultimate ability, which renders him temporarily invulnerable, is triggered, the fragility of this hero means dying a lot.
Ana used to be a much more potent support hero before her nerf, but even now she’s a perfectly viable choice. Her sniper rifle is equally capable of putting the hurt on enemies as it is of healing allies. Her stun ability is also a boon on the battlefield, and while a passive ultimate may not get you Play of the Game too often, it’s still the essence of what support is all about.
Overwatch’s angel-themed field medic healer poster-girl is currently going through a massive rebalancing with a reshuffling of abilities, the removal of a multi-target resurrection and the addition of flight, but both the old and new Mercies would occupy such a high spot on this list. Previously, Mercy was adept at healing or buffing allies when needed with a powerful ultimate that could potentially bring all of her teammates back to their feet after a wipe, turning the tide of a match. Her new iteration sees her use resurrect more often, but only on a single target at a time, with a new ultimate that instead allows her to fly while gaining increased healing output.
Lúcio wants to make the world a better place through music, and this translates into gameplay with buff abilities accompanied by audio cues. He can increase the movement speeds or heal allies with sustained auras which he can temporarily boost and his ultimate will grant him and his mates personal shields. While the other support heroes picked two, or maybe only one, of the typical support triumvirate of heal/buff/shield, Lúcio can provide all three, which is why he gets the top spot on this list.
Playing as a support hero in Overwatch may sometimes seem like a thankless job when you’re doing it because no-one else would, and the other players end up blaming you all the time. But hey – the healers of WoW have been suffering this since 2004, and at the end of the day, it all falls apart without you.