Overwatch Character Guide: Zarya, Genji, Reinhardt

With Overwatch, the charming hero shooter from Blizzard, launching this week, we want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to help your team dominate. Overwatch’s main focus is clearly on the interplay between its dynamic characters, so in order to become competent, you’ll need to understand how every character works. Throughout the week, we’ll be publishing guides on each of the twenty-one launch heroes, three at a time, with the hopes that you’ll be able to recognize certain patterns on the battlefield.



Without a doubt, Zarya is the Overwatch hero that most players seem to completely forget about. This is actually pretty hilarious considering that she’s one of the most rewarding and useful characters on the entire roster. Add in the fact that a lack of Zarya players means that there’s a general lack of experience at countering her attacks and abilities, and you have all the makings of a potential monster until the rest of the player base figures her out.

Zarya’s weapon, the Particle Cannon, has two distinct firing modes that both gain additional attack power based off her use of her two defensive abilities. Her main firing mode is a short-range laser that maintains a straight line of fire and consistent output, which is outstanding for doing a great deal of damage to those who get within range. The bad news about this firing mode is that it’s completely ineffective once an enemy gets too far, though Zarya’s secondary allows her to fire an energy grenade in a fairly shallow arc. Both of her abilities allow her to create damage absorbing energy shields, which then directly increases the power of her Particle Cannon based on the amount of damage absorbed by said shields. The Particle Barrier allows Zarya to protect herself from oncoming fire, and it lasts significantly longer than her Projected Barrier, which can be placed on a nearby ally. Finally, her ultimate, the Gravitron Surge, pulls all nearby enemies into its aura and does a small amount of continuous damage to everyone trapped inside. The best Zarya players charge right into battle, activate their Particle Barrier and then stay behind one other ally, allowing for the simultaneous use of the Projected Barrier.

Great Against: Soldier: 76, Junkrat, Torbjorn, Reaper and McCree

Weak Against: Widowmaker, Hanzo, Bastion and Pharah



If you’re looking for a character that deals a massive amount of damage and has a relatively high skill ceiling, then you can do a whole lot worse then Genji. Hanzo’s brother utilizes a combination of sword-based abilities and shurkiens not only makes him an awesome choice for kill-seekers, but also allow him to easily take out some of the most frustrating characters on the roster. Genji’s primary fire allows him to throw ninja stars in three-round bursts in a straight line, making this the best option for doing large amounts of damage, though you have to be extremely accurate for any hope of success. His secondary fire allows him to throw three shurkiens in a fan, allowing you to do a smaller amount of damage, but increasing your potential for contact. Oh, and let’s not forget that Genji can also climb up walls, so sneaking up on campers and snipers is an absolute breeze. Those who use a combination of his attacks, as opposed to simply sticking to one, will find themselves racking up kills at a staggering pace.

Genji’s first ability, Swift Strike, allows him to dash in whichever the direction the reticle is facing, doing damage to anyone caught in his path. This particular ability has a unique hidden modifier, as its cooldown is instantly reset whenever Genji eliminates another player, thus allowing for a series of potentially devastating killstreaks. His second ability, Deflect, is the single best method for taking out Bastion (for those of you who think that everyone’s favorite robot is completely over-powered and unstoppable). By pressing the appropriate command prompt, all incoming fire is immediately deflected in the direction in which Genji is facing, which allows you to do as much damage to enemies as they hope to do to you. Genji’s ultimate, Dragonblade, is also insanely powerful when used correctly. In a nutshell, Dragonblade allows him to whip out his sword and do massive damage to enemies at close range over a duration of ten seconds. The main thing to keep in mind here is that enemies can still kill you when you’re running up on them, so simply bum-rushing into chaos with your ultimate activated is a complete waste.

Great Against: Bastion, Mei, Widowmaker, Tracer and Hanzo

Weak Against: Roadhog, Reinhardt, D.Va and Zarya



There are certain characters in Overwatch that lose their effectiveness when solely used for killing, and Reinhardt is firmly in this camp. If you’ve spent any time watching or playing Overwatch, you’ll recognize this massive sheild and hammer wieldimg knight from a mile away. Reinhardt is one of the lucky few characters that has two distinct weapons, one offensive and one defensive. His Rocket Hammer does massive amounts of damage to anyone who falls inside of a given swing, though it should be noted that these swings are exceptionally slow in the grand scheme of things. In addition to the Rocket Hammer, Reinhardt also utilizes the Barrier Field, his iconic light shield that can reflect up to 2000 hitpoints before retracting. Not only does this shield automatically retract when it runs out of HP, but it also recharges when it’s not in use and Reinhardt is much slower when using it. For these reasons, it’s best to save up your shield for when you’re right on top of a payload as a member of the attacking team, as this is where the Barrier Field is easily the most effective.

Reinhardt’s first ability, Charge, is quite tough to control, but can basically guarantee you a kill when used properly. As the name suggests, this ability propels Reinhardt forward a great distance, but it also allows him to do damage to everyone in his path. What’s more, any enemies that you pin up against a wall with charge will receive massive damage, usually resulting in a kill. His other ability, Fire Strike, allows him to launch a flaming projectile in the direction of the reticle for large close-to-medium range damage. Using Charge and Fire Strike in combination with his ultimate, Earthshatter (which stuns all enemies in a straight line) makes for a wonderful opportunity to get multi-kills. Still, you’re going to want to choose Reinhardt for his shield and its benefits for objective play over everything else.

Great Against: Bastion, Tracer, Junkrat, Genji and Soldier: 76

Weak Against: Winston, Symmetra and Zarya