The Overwatch 2 beta started on April 26th. After months of radio silence, fans finally got a chance to test the long-awaited sequel. Based on those tentative early matches, it looks like Blizzard has reduced the amount of crowd-control effects (CC or effects that take away control from the player like stuns) and over-reliance on shields – which were common criticisms of Overwatch 1. The biggest change is the removal of the second tank player, turning Overwatch into a 5-v-5 format.
But onto the big question: which heroes are the best in Overwatch 2? After spending some time in these playtests, here are our thoughts.
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Orisa received a complete rework from Overwatch 1. Halt! has been replaced by Energy Javelin, which allows Orisa to throw a javelin to knock enemies away and deal a chunk of damage to an opponent (whereas Halt! only dragged enemies toward a location). Her shield has been replaced with Javelin Spin, which lets Orisa block projectiles in front of her, speeds her up, and deals damage on contact to enemies.
Her ultimate move has been replaced with Terra Surge, which activates Fortify, vacuums enemies toward Orisa, and can be charged for more damage before being swung in a wide splash, dealing damage to all opposing players nearby.
Her gun and Fortify have also been reworked. Augmented Fusion Driver is now on an overheat system instead of using a magazine (so it no longer needs to reload). Fortify gives 125 health, slows Orisa by 20% and reduces heat generated from the Fusion Driver by 50%.
When all of these changes are put together, Orisa becomes a powerful bruiser that fits into any game plan. Javelin Spin lets her become a soft-dive tank (a tanky character that’s able to move quickly onto a single target) if your teammates want to play mobile heroes and creates breathing room for less mobile heroes.
Genji’s skillset hasn’t changed very much from his Overwatch 1 days. He still has Swift Strike, which rapidly moves Genji through enemies, dealing damage to the players he passes through and resetting when he gets a kill. Deflect is still a solid survival tool since it blocks projectiles and sends them back at the attacker. Dragonblade is Genji’s ultimate and lets Genji swing his katana to deal massive amounts of damage to enemies in front of him.
In Overwatch 2, the lack of CC means Genji is able to dash into teams and pick out soft targets with few interruptions. There are only a handful of reliable CC skills that aren’t locked behind an ultimate move like Ana’s sleep dart that can stop Genji now. Plus, the majority of those skills are also able to be reflected by Genji.
With fewer players, the loss of a tank, and fewer shields, Overwatch 2’s beta is the perfect environment for Genji to shine. Fewer players make it easier for Genji to prey on stragglers far from their team.
The majority of supports in Overwatch 2 are in a tough spot. With fewer shields and one less tank, it’s easier to kill supports and damage their teammates. This creates more stress for support players who now have to scramble to safe locations more often to survive, and have more teammates in need of healing than before.
However, all of these problems don’t affect Lucio as much as the other supports. His speed boost and small hurtbox make him a difficult target to hit when he’s by himself, so the loss of a tank doesn’t hurt him as much as an immobile healer like Zenyatta. While his healing is slower than heroes like Mercy, it’s over a wide area, covering all the players who are now taking damage because of the reduction in shields.
Lucio is also an amazing duellist. His gun does a surprising amount of damage, his Healing Boost gives him more durability in 1v1s, and Speed Boost makes him a great surprise flanker.
2. Soldier 76
Depsite the recent patch hitting him with some nerfs, Soldier 76 remains one of the best damage heroes in the Overwatch 2 beta. His greatest strength is his flexibility, excelling in almost every situation a team can find themselves in.
Soldier’s skills are what allow him to perform so well. His Pulse Rifle rewards players who have good tracking and, with fewer shields protecting his targets, enables him to harass exposed heroes from relatively safe areas. Helix Missile is the perfect way to surprise enemies with a burst of damage before healers are able to react. His self-heal takes some of the pressure off his supports while providing additional healing if he or his team need it.
Soldier’s ultimate allows him to lock on to enemies and fire his pulse rifle without missing shots. The nerf to his ultimate’s range is problematic, but the addition of critical hits means Soldier 76 is now able to deal even more damage at mid range. It’s a small change, but the extra damage allows him to deal with tanks more comfortably and secure kills at midrange more consistently.
Next to Orisa, Doomfist is the hero that has received the most changes. The former DPS class has since been reworked into a tank. Much of his damage output has been shaved off in favor of survivability. This comes in the form of the new tank passive that gives temporary health when tanks deal damage, and a new block ability for Doomfist that empowers Rocket Punch when he blocks damage.Rocket Punch remains the core of Doomfist’s kit, allowing him to charge up his fist before dashing forward and knocking enemies away with a super-powered punch.
What makes Doomfist shine in Overwatch 2 is how much mobility he has. Between Rocket Punch, Seismic Slam, and his ultimate move, Meteor Strike, Doomfist is able to appear in almost any location, harass enemy heroes, and retreat back to his healers.
On the topic of Rocket Punch, while it’s lost much of its one-shot power from Overwatch 1, it’s still an amazing tool. In combination with Seismic Slam, Rocket Punch makes Doomfist one of the best heroes to contest high ground with since he can leap up and knock those heroes into his team.