How to counter Winston: heroes, strategies, and tips

How to counter Winston: heroes, strategies, and tips

Winston excels in isolating the squishier heroes from the rest of the team. He is countered by heroes who outdamage him and can withstand his Tesla Cannon. Reaper and Roadhog are among the best picks.

I decided to complement my Overwatch counter list with a series of guides explaining how to counter each character. All the articles contain info on heroes, strategies, and tips.

This is a long project that will require months of work, but eventually all the heroes will be covered. I am aware that the game keeps changing with each major patch, and that there is an almost endless amount of mechanics and interactions among the heroes, so the guides will be updated over time with further info.

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Winston

Strong Against

Ana, Genji, Hanzo, Lucio, McCree, Mercy, Sombra, Symmetra, Tracer, Widowmaker

 

Weak Against

Bastion, D.Va, Reaper, Roadhog, Torbjorn

 

Winston creates chaos in the back lines

Winston literally jumps in the middle of the battle and creates a bubble of safety with Barrier Projector. He doesn’t have enough damage to kill tanks, but can harass them and potentially kill several squishy heroes simultaneously because Tesla Cannon damages all the enemies in its cone-shaped area of effect.

Ideally, the best DPS characters in the team should focus and kill him as soon as he lands. Jump Pack has a cooldown of 6 seconds, so you have this timeframe to deal with him before he is able to escape.

Coordination is mandatory, otherwise Winston will bully your supports and escape unpunished. Ignoring your supports will cause flame within the team and lead to an increased number of DPS heroes.

Winston Tesla Cannon Overwatch.jpg

Heroes countered by Winston

Ana

This is an interesting matchup because even if Winston is able to engage Ana and eventually kill her at close range, she has also the chance to Sleep Dart him (particularly useful during Primal Rage), excluding him from the team fight for a few seconds, or even eliminating him with the help of the team.

On the other hand, even if Winston is a big and relatively easy target to hit, he has Barrier Projector to block the dart and damage Ana safely. She has a survivability tool, but Winston is the winner in this matchup, especially if we consider a 1vs1 situation.

Note: up to Platinum, most players tend to attack the unconscious target without regards on the situation, so Winston (or any other hero) are often able to escape or kill the poor Ana.

Flankers

Heroes such as Genji, Tracer, and Sombra are countered by Winston because they can’t kill the supports reliably  if there is a Winston protecting them.

Barrier Projector is a great defensive ability when there are not many enemies focusing it, and Winston’s AoE damage is perfect to deal with mobile heroes as they won’t be able to fight safely in its range.

Squishy heroes

Many low HP characters have no chances to survive 1vs1 against Winston because he can chase them with his mobility, tank lots of damage thanks to his armor and barrier, and deal consistent damage over time with Tesla Cannon.

Beside Ana, in this list I have indicated two more supports: Mercy and Lucio.

  • Mercy has really no chances to survive unless she is able to quickly fly away to her teammates and find protection. Instead, a hero healed constantly by Mercy won’t die to Winston, but that’s another story.

  • Lucio’s Sonic Amplifier does not outheal Winston’s electric damage, but he can survive for a few extra seconds with Amp It Up and attempt an escape. Due to the nature of Winston’s damage, wall riding won’t save Lucio from his attacks.

Zenyatta is not in this list due to his orbs. He heals the teammates attacked by Winston with Orb of Harmony (it is not enough to keep them full HP) and boosts their damage with Orb of Discord. Zenyatta can’t survive in a 1vs1 confrontation against Winston, but he increases the chances of the team to fight him.

All these supports require a certain degree of protection, but in pub games coordination is not the most widespread skill.

Widowmaker

Winston can just jump on Widowmaker and kill her quickly with Tesla Cannon. The same can be said for Hanzo, and he doesn’t even have a reliable escape ability.

Widowmaker possesses Grappling Hook as a relocation tool, and expert players will always have several escape routes at their disposal. The cooldown of this ability is about twice as long as Winston’s Jump Pack, so he can just chase Widowmaker, put her in a state of perpetual defense, and eventually kill her.

The Winston against Mei matchup

Mei is not listed among the counters because she should never be able to kill Winston in a duel - even in the worst imaginable scenario, he can just jump out to safety. This is a fair matchup because both of them have a way to limit the actions of the opponent.

  • She can restrict his movements, save her team from ganks, and force him to disengage.

  • Winston has Barrier Projector to deal with Mei’s primary fire: it helps also his teammates, but it isn’t a flawless tool, and its success depends on the skill of the user.

Reaper Overwatch.jpg

Heroes who counter Winston

Bastion and Reaper

They simply have enough damage to melt him quickly. Reaper must fight him at a close distance and avoid the damage block of the barrier, while Bastion in Sentry mode can just auto-attack and destroy everything.

As a Winston, avoid Reaper at all costs, exploit your mobility to escape from him and your barrier to block his damage.

Torbjorn

Winston’s Barrier Projector is actually useful versus Torbjorn’s Turret, blocking its attacks for a while.

Molten Core is the real deal versus tanks as the magma deals constant AoE damage and extra damage to armor. It also denies a certain area of the map, which counters Winston because his attack range is limited.

Many players underestimate the damage of Torbjorn’s Rivet Gun. In shotgun mode (secondary fire) it quickly shreds an opponent at close distance.

Roadhog

Roadhog’s skillset completely counters Winston:

  • Thanks to Take a Breather, Roadhog is basically immortal in a 1vs1 confrontation against the monkey.

  • Scrap Gun inflicts a huge amount of damage at close range, and Winston’s attack range is limited.

  • Chain Hook is useful to catch Winston if he jumps on your teammates or tries to escape from a dangerous situation.

  • In extremis, Whole Hog can be used to counter Winston’s Primal Rage because will constantly knock him back.

D.Va

Defense Matrix doesn’t block Tesla Cannon, but that’s Winston’s only advantage against D.Va.

Inside the mech, she is able to tank his attacks without problems while outdamaging him with Fusion Cannons and Micro Missiles. Winston can attempt an escape, but the cooldown of Boosters is pretty much the same of Jump Pack, so D.Va is able to follow him anywhere.

The story is different for mechless D.Va as she is very squishy and won’t survive a close range fight against him.

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All the images and hero icons: Blizzard

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.