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A Guide to Defense

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Overwatch is set to launch in just a couple of weeks, so we thought it might be a good idea to get you all prepared for the game’s chaotic battles by putting together a rundown of all the game’s heroes, broken down by archetype. In our second of four guides, we’ll be looking at the game’s defense characters.


For a TF2 player, Junkrat’s best analogue is the Demoman. Like the Demoman, Junkrat excels at area denial by using his frag grenade launcher to sew chaos through the enemy team’s ranks. It’s incredibly hard to make a coordinated push while trying to weave around Junkrat’s bouncing bombs.  Keep in mind that bombs fired by the frag launcher will explode on their third bounce, so take advantage of those extra bounces to hit things outside of your line of sight. The indirect fire of Junkrat’s bombs makes them particularly great for taking out sieged up Bastions without taking return fire. However, you’re likely to have a tough time if there’s a Pharah on the enemy team. Nailing an airborne Pharah with a bomb isn’t easy.

Junkrat can also place a concussion mine down that he can manually detonate to blow up unsuspecting foes or use for mobility by jumping over his own mine and blowing himself up (don’t worry he can’t harm himself doing this) to launch him across the map.

Concussion mine actually pairs really well with Junkrat’s next ability, Steel Trap.  Foes that trigger Junkrat’s Steel Trap take damage over time and find themselves immobilized for the duration. But who's got time for that? Place a mine down with the trap and detonate it as soon as you learn that an enemy has triggered it. Boom. If you’re quick enough, you can pull off this combo in a close range duel, too. As you might imagine, your launcher isn’t so hot in close quarters combat, so toss your trap at your opponents feet, throw a bomb on top, and blow ‘em away.

Finally, you’ve got Junkrat’s ultimate, RIP-Tire. Once activated, Junkrat unleashes a motorized tire bomb that he can manually guide towards his enemies for a deadly surprise.  Junkrat remains vulnerable wherever he is while he’s channeling his ultimate, so keep that mind before you let ‘er rip. You’ll have 10 seconds to hit your target before the bomb will explode on its own and it can be taken out by the enemy fire if your foes see it coming.  Another thing to keep in mind is that the RIP-Tire can go up walls (including Mei’s Ice Wall) and jump over obstacles, so look for creative ways to approach your targets.


Mei is one of my favorite characters in Overwatch, so it’s unfortunate that her frustrating to play against kit already has people comparing her to League of Legends’ satanic Yordle, Teemo. Still, a well-played Mei can win games on both offense and defense (even if she isn’t a reliable pick in competitive play), so mastering her kit is definitely worthwhile.

To start, Mei’s primary weapon has two functions. Her left click sprays out a slowing stream of frost that will eventually freeze her foes after a short while. Mei’s right click fires an icicle that deals considerable damage and can be fired at range. As you might imagine, freezing your enemies and then firing a couple of icicles into their face to finish them off is your 1-2 combo with Mei, but you’ll also want to work on firing icicles at range for some surprisingly decent harassment.

Mei’s Cryo Freeze ability will really frustrate enemies trying to kill you.  Using Cryo Freeze, Mei can encase herself in an impenetrable block of ice for a few seconds and slowly heal herself up to full health.  I’ve used this mid combat to give myself a life advantage in a protracted fight and many times to dodge all sorts of enemy ultimates. It’s a versatile life saver, so be sure to keep it bound to something that you can use on reaction to unsuspected spike damage.

Mei can also form a fairly gigantic Ice Wall that can be effectively used in many different ways. Put a wall up in front of an enemy Bastion, Widowmaker, or Torbjorn turret to block them from shooting at your team, block enemy players from leaving their spawn points at the start of the match, divide attacking forces away from their teammates, or even trap fleeing enemies from escaping. You can also use the wall to get yourself out of tricky situations by placing it directly under your feet to boost you up to nearby platforms or to escape enemies crowding around you for a kill after you Cryo Freeze. Similarly, you can use the wall to boost allies up to locations they normally can’t get to, which is particularly great for setting up a friendly Bastion or Torbjorn on a great perch.  Personally, I love using the wall as a screen ahead of the payload when on attack. This can block off so much incoming damage as you move the cart up that you can win many matches simply by blocking line of sight this way.

For Mei’s ultimate, Blizzard, she’ll toss her drone into an area, which will then begin to spin out a stream of frost slowly freezing anything caught in its radius. This is a great tool for capturing points or making clutch game winning plays. It’s even more effective if you can combo it with other players’ ultimates (particularly Zarya’s for the wombo combo), but it works well on its own if you launch it at the right time. If you’re running in on your own, I suggest Cryo Freezing yourself until the enemies have been fully frozen since they can still attack you as they begin to freeze. 

Be wary of enemy Pharahs and McCree’s as Mei. Pharah can simply outrange you by flying around and firing rockets and McCree’s Flash and Fan combo can take you out quickly.


Torbjorn is your TF2 Engineer for the most part. He’s got a Rivet Gun that can be fired at medium-ish range for an OK amount of damage, but he’s far more lethal with his charged shots in close range. He’s also got a hammer that he can use as a weapon (don’t bother), but is primarily used to repair and upgrade his turret.

Torbjorn can have one turret out at a time and he can upgrade the turret from level one to two by smacking it a couple of times with his hammer. There’s a level 3 upgrade for his turret, but it’s only temporarily active while using his ultimate. Like the TF2 Engineer, you’ll want to place your turret somewhere with a clear shot on enemies that come into its range while also near something defensible so your enemies don’t just gib you before it takes them out. Effective use of Torbjorn’s turrets relies heavily on map knowledge, so it’s something you’ll learn over time as you play the game.

Torbjorn also has some team utility in his ability to generate armor packs that allies can pick up to boost their defenses. Armor packs require scrap and scrap is left behind when players (both ally or enemy) die. A good Torbjorn will find time to venture away from his turret and collect scrap so that he can keep his allies armored up!

Torbjorn’s ultimate, Molten Core, is really just a huge buff for the little guy. Molten Core will give Torbjorn a massive amount of armor as well as a serious boost to his repair and fire rates.  Additionally, Molten Core will temporarily upgrade a level two turret to level three, making it particularly nasty for the duration of his ultimate. There isn’t a whole lot else to say when it comes to Molten Core usage. Try and save it for clutch moments when you or your team are really under pressure.

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Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB