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The Top 5 Most Underrated Overwatch Heroes for Climbing the Ladder in Silver and Gold League

Updated on December 27, 2016

Getting to Platinum

With the new ranking system in Overwatch more and more players are facing the much dreaded ELO hell. Whether you believe in it or not, it seems that some players are faced with the fact that it's been harder to climb out of the ranks of silver and gold.

The new 3 tank meta obviously means that all the tanks are being picked most often. D.Va is in every game now while Roadhog is one of the go to picks to add some DPS to the mix.

If you've looked at the current state of the meta, you'll know exactly who is being picked most often. This list is for the currently underrated and underused heroes right now.

1. Pharah - Best for Solo Queue in Season 3

In the lower ranks, most people have a hard time shooting upward. Heck, some even have a hard time shooting anything. The recent buff allows Pharah to stay in the air for longer. This means that you can keep firing at the back line for much longer as well. You'll have to learn how to lead your projectiles and use the landscape to avoid McRee and Soldier 76. If you can position yourself well enough to stay away from them, you can wreak havoc on their supports.

Advantages:

  • Able to stay out of range or effective area of most heroes that can shoot her down in silver and gold leagues
  • Players at this level have a hard time aiming with heroes like Ana and Mcree, who are the most widely used to counter Pharah
  • Splash damage can deal lots of damage quickly to squishy support characters who are out of position
  • Pharah can zone out characters easily, as well as isolate tanks who have overextended with her knock back ability

Disadvantages

  • When she's not in the air she has limited use, it's important to position her well so you can land in safe spaces.
  • It's hard to land shots consistently. Be sure to learn how to lead her missals properly. This will take some learning of how people move in the game.
  • Her ult leaves her vulnerable because she can't move. You'll need to make sure that your enemies are distracted when you use it.
  • It's hard for her to fight on the point. She can fight above the point, but it doesn't count towards capping the objective.

Tips for Playing Pharah

Fighting with Pharah is all about positioning. You need to be in a place that you can't be hit easily by Soldier 76, McRee, Widowmaker, or Ana easily. If you're being hit you need a place to land safely that won't be in range of other enemies. Remember to use the landscape around you to cover easily.

Despite having high burst damage, Pharah isn't very good against tanks. D.Va can absorb projectiles with Defense Matrix, Zarya can shield herself and her allies, and Roadhog can simply heal himself after running under cover. However, Pharah is very good at distracting Reinhardt, especially with her Concussive Blast.

Try to aim at high value supports. Mercy should always be bursted down as soon as possible because of her Resurrection. Even if she doesn't have her ult available, her healing is so strong that she needs to be taken down first anyway. The more she heals the more her ult charges as well, so make her a priority target.

Zen and Ana are easier to hit because they aren't very mobile. If you get into a spot that they aren't expecting you can easily take them down with a few good shots. Normally they are positioned further back from the front line, but this means that you have easier access to them in many cases.

2. Mei - Best for Players With Bad Aim

The 3 tank meta has been big in the pro scene, and you can see it leaking into the lower ranks as well. Although the lower leagues will still stick with the good old 2-2-2 set up. It's common to see more tanks being played, especially D.Va and Reinhardt, who are played nearly every single game. Mei is great for players that aren't quite able to aim very well. D.Va's Shield Matrix can't absorb Mei's primary fire, and Reinhardt simply can't run away fast enough if you maneuver correctly.

Advantages

  • The current tank meta makes it easy to Mei to freeze them. Tanks are larger than normal heroes, and are easier for you to freeze.
  • Mei can self heal. You won't need to rely on healers to keep you alive. Especially at lower ranks where healers aren't quite as good as they could be.
  • Mei has one of the best ultimate abilities in the game. Just make sure that there are team mates around to shoot whoever you freeze down.
  • Ice wall can mean easy picks for you and your team. Bad Mei players are notorious for trapping their team mates with bad walls, but well placed ones will cut the enemy team in half. Try to trap at 1 or 2 enemies in front of the ice wall to get easy picks.

Disadvantages

  • It's hard for Mei to confirm kills on her own. She's great for 1 on 1 duels, but her utility falls off during team fights without her ult. If you can get into a good spot and keep some enemies frozen she can be incredibly useful.
  • It's hard to get used to using her wall. Once you master it, you'll be able to turn the fight in a big way. Keep practicing her wall but don't rely on it until you have it down.
  • Her secondary fire, though incredibly strong, is hard to aim. You should be using it to finish off frozen targets. Aim for the head!

Tips for Playing Mei

Make sure you aren't doing trash damage with Mei. Her icicles are strong, but aren't strong enough to one shot very many characters at full health. It's easy to get into a poke battle, only to charge the enemy Mercy and Ana ultimate abilities.

It's helpful to use her more for ambushes. Jumping in to save a team mate by freezing whoever is chasing them, and finishing them off with some help from the team mate. Remember that it takes a long time for Mei to finish off opponents by herself because of the time it takes to launch an icicle. You may be taken out while waiting for the icicle to even launch.

Make sure you're using Ice Wall effectively. It's best to use it when you're cutting the opposing team in half, or saving your own team. Using the wall to trap enemies in spawn at the start of the match is only a nuisance. If you can cut a few key heroes off from the rest of the team it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

3. Zenyatta - Best for Coordinated Teams

It's easy to underestimate a good Zenyatta player. His attack can be hard to aim for newer players, but also can deal some incredible damage with discord orb. His ultimate ability can turn the entire fight around and sometimes win games, while his discord can make short work of the enemy tanks. Using Zen will require a bit of cooperation, but can be seriously powerful in the right hands.

Advantages

  • Discord orb increases damage done on targets by 30%. This is even more useful when communicating to team mates that they should shoot whoever is discorded.
  • Zenyatta's shields regenerate themselves, and most of his health is sheilds. If you position yourself correctly you can stay alive for a very long time.
  • Zenyatta's right click is a powerful tool to peek against enemies. If you find yourself in a peeking battle, Zen can one shot most enemies with his charged attack.
  • Transcendence can be used to quickly get to the point. If your allies are all low in health, you can use the ult to quickly get to where they are and heal them to full health.

Disadvantages

  • Low maneuverability. This means you'll have to learn how to position yourself as well as possible so you don't die.
  • Hard to aim at lower ranks. Some people are amazing at landing his shots, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still hard to hit Pharah in the sky. Focus on discording the right targets first.
  • Communication can win or lose a game. If your team isn't killing what you are discording, you'll need to tell them. Try not to come off as a jerk though.
  • Zen can't self heal, but can regenerate shields if you haven't taken damage recently. This gives him surprising survivabilty, but he's still very fragile.

Tips for playing Zenyatta

Target prioritization is key here. If you Discord the right enemy you can do some massive damage to them. Keep in mind that you need to discord the right enemy first though. Mercy is always a high target, as well as any other supports. Once they're down the rest of the team should fall swiftly. After the supports are down I usually switch to discording the DPS that are less mobile like McRee.

Don't switch Discorded targets too often. If your team is trying to shoot whoever you discorded and you switch suddenly, they might end up confused and you'll end up causing more problems than you solve. Get the discord on the target you want first, if a team mate can kill it, keep the spell on the same target.

Don't use discord on only what's in front of you. You should be thinking about how much damage your team can do. You're playing support after all. Place a discord on an enemy that your DPS can shoot easily. It will take some map awareness to do, but that's important to learn when you play any character.

Keep your Orb of Harmony on a character that can't self heal. It allows them to stay on the field longer, increasing the over all damage they can do. As long as the damage they do ends up in killing the enemy.

Use the orb of harmony on team mates that are taking fire. This could end up saving them and winning the battle. Once they're safe or healed sufficiently you can put it back on the character that can't self heal. It's okay to switch who's getting healed in a pinch.

4. Reaper - Great Pick Against Tanks

Reaper isn't played nearly as much as he used to be, but can be incredibly strong when facing a lot of tanks. He is actually strong compared with most other heroes as well. His damage output is the highest in the game in close range. Many will say that Roadhog is a better Reaper these days because of his Hook and increased health, but Reaper shines in solo queue because of his survive-ability. If used correctly and in the right situations, Reaper is still a strong pick.

Advantages

  • The Reaping passive skill gives Reaper more health as players die. You should focus on killing weaker characters so you can keep the souls around to heal yourself when you need it.
  • Best close range shotguns allows Reaper to shred tanks. With the 3 tank meta, this gives Reaper a huge advantage.
  • Wraith form helps Reaper get out of trouble in a pinch. You should be relying on good positioning throughout the game, but if you find yourself in trouble you should be able to escape nearly any situation.

Disadvantages

  • Roadhog can do Reapers job just as well as Reaper, with added value. This doesn't mean that Reaper is useless. He's still more mobile than Roadhog and can get out of sticky situations more easily.
  • Ineffective at long range. He won't be able to take down Pharah, especially if there is a Mercy pocket healing her.
  • You'll have to position yourself carefully as Reaper. He tends to play like a flanker but doesn't have the mobility of one.

Tips for Playing Reaper

Generally Reaper plays similarly to how he used to, but you have a lot less options when it comes to picking who you can kill. You'll have to get behind enemy lines to pick off the support heroes still, which Reaper can be excellent for.

Reaper can be a flanker that is able to deal massive damage to enemy tanks. Tracer is able to do this as well if you're skilled, but at lower ranks Reaper tends to be easier to use. Remember not to over extend yourself. A common misconception is that flankers should always be behind the enemy, which isn't true.

While you will be doing a lot of flanking as Reaper, he is extremely powerful in team fights. After you get a pick, or make someone retreat, be sure to join your team in the team fight. It's your job to take down key targets as one of the DPS.

You need to do your work while everyone is distracted. Shotguns do most damage at close range, and to get in close enough you'll need to walk into the fight amidst the chaos.

Use Death Blossom while everyone is distracted as well. If you have a Zarya nearby be sure to coordinate with her to get a bubble on you while you ult. Once you do the whole enemy team is going to turn around and try to burst you down. The worst feeling in the world is using your ultimate on a juicy group only to be shut down.

5. Symmetra - Best on Hybrid Defense Maps

Blizzard buffed Symmetra recently in an attempt to make her less of a situational hero. Despite their efforts, she pretty much still remains situational, though she can be used in more situations now.

Her strength still lies in maps like Dorado, Kings Row, Hollywood, and Numbani, where her Teleporter ultimate ability cuts her allies walk time back from spawn dramatically. Thanks to her new ult, Shield Generator, she remains viable after the first objective is capped. Some teams even forgo Lucio for the greater benefit of Symmetra's shields on defense.

Advantages

  • Well placed Sentry Turrets can really bring enemy teams to a halt in Silver and Gold leagues.
  • Teleporters can completely change how Point A will be played. It forces the enemy team to coordinate to either kill the teleporter or push together after grouping up.
  • Shield Generator provides 75 extra shield to all allies. Shields take the same damage as normal HP but have the added bonus of regenerating if not damaged for short period of time.

Disadvantages

  • Short range and Low HP make her ineffective in team fights. Though her weapon is powerful, you'll need to be careful about your positioning.
  • Still very situational. She's just not as good at attack as she is on defense.
  • Low mobility. It will be hard for you to escape because she doesn't have any special movement or crowd control abilities.

Tips for Playing Symmetra

Symmetra doesn't work well when you need to set up turrets mid battle. Her primary fire is a powerful weapon, and if you need to spend time setting up turrets you may be wasting valuable DPS.

Her primary fire's range has been extended with the last patch. This, in conjunction with her right click, may allow you to deal significant damage to anyone who overextends. Don't be afraid to punish anyone for overextending.

An effective way to do this is to use her right click to cast a barrier that you can hide behind while zapping people to death. Don't try this alone, as you'll need someone who can cover you while you do this. Ideally you'll still be fighting in a team.

Try using turrets to cover your teams weak points. Don't think about just your weak points. If a Genji keeps sneaking, place a few turrets where he seems to go most.

Current State of the Silver and Gold Leagues

Professional Players have a huge influence on the rest of the Overwatch community, but we have to remember that pro players have skills far beyond what normal people are capable of. These players literally play the game for a living. You have to remember that you need to play with your strengths if you want to climb the ladder.

Currently Silver and Gold don't seem to follow the 3 tank meta very much. When 3 tanks are played, you don't see 3 support heroes and instead you'll often see 2 DPS. The fatal flaw with this set up is that if the enemy team is running 3 tanks, your team won't have enough healing to support your own team. Instead the extra DPS on your side will charge the enemy ults which normally results in losing the ult battles.

The 5 heroes here can disrupt the triple tank strategy with a bit of communication. They may not be the best over all, but I find that they are really under used for how powerful they can be in the right hands. All it takes is a little practice.

Which hero do you choose?

What is your favorite Overwatch Hero to climb the ranks?

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