Written by: Rrunner
So you want to know what characters to pick and when to play them. Well in Overwatch this actually a much more complicated question than in other shooters. There are three classes like we mentioned before, but all the heroes in these classes work very differently. So let’s take a brief look at the heroes, what they do, and some terms used to describe them?
In the Tank area, you have 2 terms that describe them: "Main" tanks and "Off" tanks. Your "Main" tanks are Reinhardt and Winston, these 2 have a shield that protects the team and the character themselves can absorb a lot of damage. Reinhardt is the top pick main tank for Defense and Offense style games, his large forward facing shield can take a lot of damage. Winston is used more for King of the Hill games, his dome shield covers an area and his ultimate helps knock people off the map/objective and helps keep it clear. Your "Off" tanks are Zarya, D.V.A, and Roadhog, these tend to do a little more damage, protect the team less, but still have a large health pool. Zarya is by far the most picked "Off" Tank on all game types, her shields help protect and her ultimate chains well with other teammates ultimate’s. Roadhog and Diva are far down the list and are not commonly chosen. Roadhog does not protect his team and is more of a sustained damage dealer and D.V.A can protect her team mates a little bit but her ultimate, while powerful, can be easily countered.
In the Healer area, you really do not have terms for them but there are 2 types. Lucio is a must have on any map and in any game mode. No other healer can heal the entire team at one time, speed boost the entire team for quick objective returns, and his ultimate shields the whole team for pushes or defense. Zenyatta, Mercy, and Anna are the other healers and they each fluctuate in and out of use based on team composition, patches, and game modes. Currently Anna is the favorite for every game type, her grenade works well with Lucio and is also a counter to enemy Lucios, her ultimate pairs well with Reinhardt and DD's, and her sleep dart neutralizes ultimate’s and heroes alike. Zenyatta is 2nd, though mainly used on King of the Hill, he fell off after a patch reduced his Discord orb. He has the highest damage output of all the healers and can place his orbs on friendlies and forget about it, his ultimate is also good for pushing onto a point. Mercy was once higher on list but now has fallen off a lot, she has the highest single target heal, a damage boost, and her ultimate resurrects her team. You may be saying Symmetra is in the support class, she is but she is not a healer and almost never played by pros.
In Damage Dealer role both Offensive and Defensive classes are used. The two main terms for these heroes are: "Hit-scan" and "Flanker". A "Hit-scan" Hero is someone that when they pull the trigger and the reticule is on target it hits with no travel time. A "Flanker" is someone who can get around quickly or stealthily and attack the healers and lower health targets. Mcree and Soldier fall under "Hit-scan" heroes, with McCree being the higher chosen for his flash bang stun and more consistent damage and zoning ultimate make him a better choice. Tracer, Genji, and Reaper fall under the "Flanker" hero type, as all of them have high mobility and can do explosive damage. Reaper is on the rise, especially when used with Anna as it makes his ultimate so much more potent. Tracer is used mostly on King of the Hill and her Explosive Ultimate is used well with Zarya's, as it maximizes damage, but her ability to get around allows her to poke and leave. Genji is on the down side now, but he can still get around and his ultimate pair’s well with Anna and Zarya. However, Genji is countered very hard by Zarya, Mei, and Winston as he cannot block their attacks. The only other DD that is used a lot is Mei for control and ultimates, she mainly fits into a specific composition for Offense/Defense modes. All the rest, Hanzo, Pharah, Junkrat, Bastions, and Torbjorn are rarely or never used, this is mainly due to them being easily countered, but that does not mean they cannot have their places to be used.
I hope some of this information is helpful and I will look to keep you posted on any changes and start to do a write up on the current composition specifically that are being used by pro players and what heroes fit best.