Understanding Orisa, the Newest Hero to Overwatch

Behold, the next hero in Overwatch! A majestic robot-centaur-traffic cop lady!

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Who needs Doomfist when you can play as a cyborg-cow built by an eleven-year-old genius? Image courtesy of VG247.

Abilities and Interactions

Fusion Driver (Left Click) – Orisa’s gun fires a rapid stream of green laser-like projectiles that move just slowly enough to force players to lead their targets. Firing it causes her to move slowly like D.va. There is substantial spread at long ranges and 150 rounds per magazine.

Tips for using the Fusion Driver: Without damage falloff, her gun is useful at all ranges. Boasting 150 rounds, you won’t run out of ammo anytime soon, so go ahead and spray-and-pray to keep enemies pinned down behind cover. However, if enemies dive onto you, retreating without firing may be a better option so that you don’t slow yourself down. Unlike many other guns in Overwatch, reloading constantly isn’t ideal for Orisa, who takes about 2.5 seconds to fully reload.

Halt! (Right Click) – Orisa launches a slow-moving green orb that will detonate upon making contact with a surface or after she activates it again with the same button. Once it detonates, it will pull nearby enemies towards the center of the orb like Zarya’s graviton. It can pass through barriers but it will not pull enemies through barriers.

Tips for using Halt!: You can pull enemies off of high ground – or even off of cliffs – using this ability. Save it for when you need to peel for your team or bring an enemy into a dangerous position. For best effects, try to combo it with teammates.

Protective Barrier (E) – Orisa launches a sphere in an arc towards a location in front of her. When it makes contact with a surface, it will form a barrier in a semicircle with 900 health. After a moderate length of time, the barrier will disappear.

Tips for using the Protective Barrier: At the beginning of a round, Orisa players on defense can launch the barrier straight into the air, thereby starting the cooldown on the ability. Because the barrier will not start its internal cooldown to disappear until it reaches the ground and deploys, you can do this trick in order to have another barrier ready by the time enemy players make contact, effectively giving you 1800 health in shields at the beginning of the round if used properly.

Fortify (Left Shift) – Orisa takes 50% less damage for a few seconds. While active, she will not be affected by movement-impairing effects.

Tips for using Fortify: Try to save Fortify to counter enemy crowd control effects such as Roadhog’s Hook, Reinhardt’s Charge, Pharah’s Concussive Blast, Mei’s Blizzard, etc. When used at the beginning of a fight, it can give you 800 effective health points. It can also prove useful for escaping a lost fight.

Supercharger (Q) – Orisa deploys a small Drum with 200 health at her feet. While active, it will give allies in line-of-sight a 50% damage increase. It can be destroyed by enemies.

Tips for using the Supercharger: The supercharger is a proactive ultimate that is intended to win fights outright rather than save a losing fight. Use it at the beginning of a teamfight when your whole team is alive. When possible, place it around a corner to defend it against enemies. Although some suggest to use a Protective Barrier to defend it, this generally isn’t worth it as that same barrier could be used to shield your team instead.

Orisa’s Playstyle

Blizzard has referred to Orisa as an anchor tank, and while this may seem true on the surface, Orisa is no replacement for Reinhardt. Without a movable barrier, Orisa is very susceptible to dive comps and other tanks like D.va who can simply walk through her immobile barrier and fire at her face.

That said, she’s still more effective when playing on defense than offense. Her Protective Barrier lends itself to defending chokepoints more than breaking through them, and her gun complements this defensive playstyle well. Unlike Reinhardt, who plays at close range, Orisa is best positioned farther away from a choke where she can lay down suppressive fire and peel for her supports using her Halt! ability.

Synergies and Counters

Orisa works well with characters who can benefit from her Halt! ability. By using Halt! above an enemy Reinhardt, you can lift him up into the air and give your own Reinhardt an opening to land a free Earthshatter. Likewise, Halt! works well when setting up easy picks for Roadhog. Like Zarya, she also proves helpful to Reaper, Genji, Pharah, Mei, and any other character that can benefit from limited version of Zarya’s Graviton Surge.

As mentioned above, Orisa doesn’t perform well when enemies jump in her face. Multiple characters diving onto her, such as a Winston, D.va, Genji, Tracer, and others will counter her. Sombra also counters her by hacking her or using her ult to break her shield and remove her utility. Speaking of breaking shields, spammy characters such as Junkrat and Bastion can put in a lot of work on her shield. If you’re looking for ways to avoid the shield entirely, try playing Widow or Pharah to reach angles where Orisa’s shield becomes useless.

Will Orisa shake up the meta and redefine the ladder? Or will she flounder and sink into obscurity like Sombra? It’s a bit too early to tell since she hasn’t hit the live servers as of today, but it should be interesting to see how players adapt and push her to her limits.

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