7 Best Ultimate Abilities (& 7 That Need Improvement)

7 Best Ultimate Abilities (& 7 That Need Improvement)

After long periods of delays and radio silence from Blizzard, Overwatch 2, the pseudo-sequel/pseudo-update to Overwatch, is finally in players’ hands. However, despite the game’s popularity, Overwatch 2 has become controversial among players for several reasons, including harsh monetization (accompanying the game going Free to Play), a lack of major content additions, and a horrendous launch that saw players not able to get into the game for the better part of a week.

Editor’s Note: A lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges the company has engaged in abuse, discrimination, and retaliation against its female employees. Activision Blizzard has denied the allegations. The full details of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit (content warning: rape, suicide, abuse, harassment) are being updated as new information becomes available.

With Overwatch’s array of heroes, play maps, and game modes, every character varies in effectiveness (depending on the match). While most heroes are given a well-balanced package of weapons and basic abilities, it’s their “ultimate abilities” that often impact games the most.

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However, not all of them are equal. While some offer immense value that can single-handedly turn a game when used correctly, others have proven to be too weak or difficult to use effectively and are in dire need of re-tuning.

Updated on November 12th, 2022 by Quinn Levandoski

After long periods of delays and radio silence from Blizzard, Overwatch 2, the pseudo-sequel/pseudo-update to Overwatch, is finally in players’ hands. However, despite the game’s popularity, Overwatch 2 has become controversial among players for several reasons, including harsh monetization (accompanying the game going Free to Play), a lack of major content additions, and a horrendous launch that saw players not able to get into the game for the better part of a week.

However, despite its rocky start, Overwatch 2 is undeniably a fun game at its core, and there have been enough tweaks and additions that the best and worst Ultimate Abilities are no longer the same as they once were. While characters with disappointing Ultimates usually make up for it with other parts of their kit, knowing which Ultimate Abilities are the strongest can help players turn the tide of matches.

The Best Ultimate Abilities In Overwatch 2

Self Destruct (D.Va) Is Devastating

Overwatch 2 Hero D.Va Laying on Her Mech Suit

D.Va may be a tank with great survivability and the ability to nullify enemy projectiles with her Defense Matrix, but her ultimate ability has been a powerhouse since the early days of Overwatch. Self Destruct sees D.Va jump out of her mech, after which it propels itself forward and explodes.

It was always a strong way to clear out an area, but changes to characters like Orisa in Overwatch 2 make it even better. With Orisa losing her shield ability and only one tank being on each team (down from two in the previous game), there simply aren’t as many ways to block this giant, mechanical bomb.

Dragonblade (Genji) Doubles Down on Mobile Damage

genji in overwatch 2 trailer

Genji sometimes gets an unfair reputation since his engaging visual design means that newer players tend to use him without really knowing how he fits into a team, but the cyborg ninja is an incredibly mobile melee piece that can make life difficult for squishy targets in Overwatch 2 with his powerful katana.

Dragonblade isn’t as flashy as some Ultimates, but it’s powerful since it simply amps up everything that Genji is already good at. He becomes far quicker, and his damage elevates significantly. While Genji is always scary in close spaces, he can rack up several quick kills when popping Dragonblade in an enemy backline.

Graviton Surge (Zarya) Sets Up Massive Damage

An image of Zarya using their ability in Overwatch

While Graviton Surge can be useful on its own as it helps to pull enemies out of cover or stop the opposing team from advancing through a choke point, its best feature is that it helps to make everyone else’s attacks and abilities better.

It isn’t really difficult to catch at least three enemies in Zarya’s black hole and while caught, enemies become sitting ducks for DPS characters to take out. This versatility, including both area denial and damage promotion, makes Graviton Surge one of the best ultimate abilities in Overwatch.

Transcendence (Zenyatta) Is A Great Counter-Ultimate

An image of Zenyatta using their transcendence ability in Overwatch

Transcendence is the perfect combination of easy-to-use and is incredibly powerful. The ability’s effect is twofold, as it makes Zenyatta invulnerable and continuously heals everything within a short distance. Given that Zenyatta can still move while in this special state, it’s easy to heal injured teammates or pre-emptively trigger healing during an important positional advance.

Furthermore, Transcendence is notable because it can shut down many damage dealing ultimate attacks. A team can easily withstand a Dragonstrike or RIP-tire with Transcendence’s protection.

EMP (Sombra) Is Multifaceted

An image of Sombra using the EMP in Overwatch

Sombra’s basic abilities focus on disrupting the enemy team, and her ultimate ability, EMP, is an incredibly strong extension of the gameplay archetype. EMP deals damage to enemies equal to 40% of their health and hacks every enemy player, stopping them from doing anything other than their basic attack. This ability combos with her new passive in Overwatch 2, which grants Sombra 50% more damage to hacked enemies.

This effect is devastating any time enemies are grouped up and is easy to use effectively on area-control maps. Furthermore, it’s one of only a few abilities that cancel out other enemy Ultimates already in progress.

Blizzard (Mei) Stops Enemies In Their Tracks

An image of Mei firing her gun in Overwatch 2

Any ability that takes movement or attack control away from enemies is usually incredibly strong, and Mei’s Blizzard does both. With enough diameter to almost lock down entire capture points, Blizzard is equally useful when defending or attacking.

The delayed movement can keep enemies away long enough to stall out a victory at the end of the round, and once frozen, enemies become easy targets for higher damage characters to take out. While this ability is slightly less impactful on escort maps (especially offense), it’s still one of the most devastating and foolproof ultimate abilities in Overwatch.

Sound Barrier (Lucio) Is A Great Team Buff

Lucio emitting his healing aura in Overwatch

Lucio is an amazing support character that excels in point-capture maps (which allows him to utilize his healing and speed boost to their fullest effect). His ultimate ability, Sound Barrier, functions as a boosted version of his passive and adds incredible survivability to anyone in its casting area.

Equally important to its raw strength is its versatility. While boosting the health of nearby teammates is useful as a last-ditch defense against a wave of enemies, it’s also a great foil to offensively oriented enemy ultimate abilities, rendering them largely useless.

Overwatch 2 Ultimate Abilities That Need Improvements

Configuration: Artillery Doesn’t Work Well In This Meta

Bastion and Hanzo in Overwatch

Bastion received perhaps the biggest overhaul in his transition from Overwatch to Overwatch 2. While he’s still an exceptionally fun character to play, his new ultimate ability leaves something to be desired. Bastion’s old ultimate, which saw him turn into a tank, has been partially reworked into a normal ability. In its place, Bastion can now turn into a mortar launcher when his ultimate is charged.

The attack does strong AEO damage, but there are two issues that hold it too far back. First, the lower player count in games and the change from two tanks to one means that players aren’t grouped together as often, and Bastion is also left vulnerable while aiming.

Minefield (Wrecking Ball) Is Too Situational

Overwatch 2 Wrecking Ball Using Minefield Ultimate Ability on Junkertown Final Point Area of Map Against Reaper in Background

Wrecking Ball is unique in Overwatch as the game’s most mobile tank. Overwatch 2 only allowing one tank is controversial among players because it means that side-tanks like Wrecking Ball are harder to justify. While his mobility is certainly useful, his ultimate ability is too situational in its current form.

When using the ability, Wrecking Ball launches a field of explosives to cover an area. It does a fantastic job of covering a choke point, but it’s rare that one small spot is impactful on several of the maps currently in the game. It also requires significant team coordination to take advantage of, so it’s hard to use, too.

Infra-Sight (Widowmaker) Doesn’t Do Enough

An image of Widowmaker using her ability in Overwatch

Though Widowmaker’s look is a popular cosplay, her ultimate ability isn’t as impactful as it should be. By highlighting enemy combatants in red for 15 seconds, Widowmaker can certainly benefit a team as it allows the player to predict movements and help the other members avoid ambushes.

However, the problem with this is that both Hanzo and Sombra are able to do something similar (though on a smaller scale), which takes away some of its impact. Without changing it entirely, Widowmaker’s “infra-sight” could be improved if they decreased the charge speed of her sniper rifle while it’s active to give her a temporarily boosed offensive presence to stage advantage of the enemy locations.

Deadeye (Cassidy) Is Too Hard To Pull Off

An image of McCree using his Deadeye ability in Overwatch

While Cassidy’s “ultimate” may pay homage to the character roots found in some of the best classic Western movies, it’s incredibly difficult to make work.

With the potential to take out an entire team with one quick burst, this upside needs improving as the low-health McCree has to stand exposed and slowly lock onto targets (which can simply step out of the line of sight to avoid damage). To be used for more than a quick reload, Deadeye would be improved by lowering the potential targets it can hit while decreasing the time it takes to fire.

Valkyrie (Mercy) Is An Awkward Rework

An image of Mery firing a gun in Overwatch

While Mercy is a great single-target healer in Overwatch, she’s gone through quite a few changes over the years, and her ultimate is not currently in a good spot. Her original ultimate from the game’s release, Resurrect (which revives a recently downed teammate), was shifted over to a regular ability, leaving her in need of a brand-new Ultimate created from scratch.

While there are certainly positives to giving Mercy the ability to fly and letting her Caduceus staff chain to more than one ally, as an ultimate ability, it fails to have an immediate and significant effect compared to many others.

Whole Hog (Roadhog) Has Improved, But It’s Still Lacking

An image of Roadhog firing a gun in Overwatch

Roadhog’s Whole Hog isn’t bad, it’s just much more situational than the better ultimate abilities in the game. The low-damage but high-push Gatling gun does have uses as a brief area denial tool or to finish off an enemy that’s stuck inside of a tight space, but it does almost nothing in open spaces. However, it did receive a small update in Overwatch 2 that makes it better than it once was.

Whole Hog can now be manually fired instead of starting automatically, and it no longer stops on stun abilities. What this doesn’t solve is Roadhog’s lack of team synergy. With the move to only one tank per team (from two in the original game), Roadhog desperately needs an ultimate that offers some form of support for his teammates. Currently, he plays more like a Damage character with higher health.

Meteor Strike (Doomfist)

An image of Doomfist using the Meteor Strike in Overwatch

Doomfist’s ultimate has seen both ends of the usefulness spectrum, moving it from incredibly scary to incredibly situational. Initially, this brawler’s Meteor Strike was capable of one-shot killing a large percentage of the roster and could take out multiple enemies if they were relatively close together.

However, the ability’s nerf focused too much on damage area, making it too easy to sidestep and leaving Doomfist in a vulnerable position after use. The ability is more useful now as an escape technique than an attack, which has it uses, but Doomfist currently finds himself in an awkward spot now that he’s been switched to the tank class. He doesn’t offer enough survivability or protection to be a great tank, and he also doesn’t do enough damage to make up for it.

Next: 10 Best Overwatch Characters For Those Just Starting

Author: Jack Cook