There's a lot more to life as a Support Hero in Overwatch than simply keeping your team alive, and we think the developers at Blizzard have done a pretty amazing job of providing an interesting mix of Support characters in the game. Regardless of whether you enjoy sustaining your teammates with healing powers, boosting up their damage output, or just laying devilish traps for enemy Heroes to tumble into, we think you'll find a firm favourite in this category extremely quickly.
Each one of the Support Heroes in our category tier list assist their teammates in very specific ways, and in pre-made teams you'll want to pick a character that plays into the strengths of an equally specific team build. That's all well and good, but an awful lot of players will end up spending the greater part of their time queuing up with random players. When this happens, and there are limited guaranteed synergies to play into, it can be quite tricky to know which of the four Heroes in this cateogry provide the most generally useful help in battle.
This is where our own round-up of the best Support Hero to play comes in. You should of course keep in mind the usual caveat that you'll always play more efficiently with a Hero you love - rather than one you feel forced to pick by sites like us - and that you should absolutely switch to a "lesser" Hero in order to deal with a specific bottleneck. Still we've ranked all four of the Support Heroes by our own preference, as well as the general wisdom of the crowd that prevails in the current metagame.
Editor's note - February Update #1: Ana makes a minor slip down the ranking due to the last rebalancing effort, but the metagame's not really settled down to accommodate all of these changes. We'll revisit this article again in the weeks ahead.
Support Hero Tier List and Character Rankings - February 2017
Here's a quick look at the standings with links to the relevant guides. Read further on down the page for a discussion of each individual Support Hero.
There's a lot to love about Symmetra, and a skilled player can make a huge difference to a match when playing this Hero, although she struggles to both stay alive and dish out the pain once she's laid her various gadgets around the battlefield. In a tight team she can be a game-changer, and a recent reworking of the hero has made her an intimidating proposition in combat.
Although Mercy requires her teammates to have at least some level of awareness of when they're being healed or buffed in battle, we still find her a great choice of healer. She shares the same sort of versatility as our top pick this month, although in different ways that make her not quick as universally useful.
Like Symmetra, Zenyatta has some extremely powerful buffing and debuffing abilities, and his Ultimate ability is incredible for preventing team wipes and keeping the pace of the game moving forwards. Zenyatta has enjoyed a huge surge of popularity in both the casual and competitive play scenese in recent weeks, and shoots up our rankings accordingly. If you've not previously made time to master the monk, now's the time to make amends.
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While she got off to a bit of a slow start on arrival last summer, Ana's proven herself to be a formidable healing and fighting force in the competitive scene. She's a generally stronger pick on tightly coordinated teams, but can still also be a very strong addition to a group of players in the random queue as well.
You can probably switch the top two spots around if you wish, but Lucio remains our first pick when it comes to playing with just about any team composition, and on any map. While he took a few nerfs to the face in 2016, he still remains an outstanding choice of Support hero. His ability to both ferry teammates back into battle quickly and bring them back from the brink of death makes him an exceptionally versatile character.