Mei is a defensive hero that can create giant walls of ice to shield her team. She also has a self-healing ability that allows her to contest objectives in overtime while avoiding attacks, and an Ultimate ability that zones and freezes all enemies in their tracks.
In Overwatch lore, Mei-Ling Zhou is a kind and gentle climatologist. Based at Watchpoint: Antarctica, Mei and her team faced dwindling supplies due to a severe polar storm. To survive, she entered cryostasis along with the rest of her team, and they waited for Overwatch to rescue them. However, the rescue party never showed up, and when her cryostasis ended, Mei was the only survivor left.
She was able to escape alive and intact. Now she dedicates her time to re-establishing vital ecosystem networks that could save the world from climate change.
While her abilities are relatively straightforward, Mei’s playstyle involves a bit more “game sense” than other characters in Overwatch. She’s somewhat of a niche pick, especially for contesting objectives while on Defense. Knowing when and where to place an Ice Wall is critical to mastering Mei, and in the right hands she can be frustratingly hard to kill and counter.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 2.1 Base Stats
- 2.2 Main Attack: Frost Stream
- 2.3 Heroes that can avoid Frost Stream’s debuff effects
- 2.4 Alternate Attack: Icicle Projectiles
- 2.5 Frost Stream + Icicle Projectile
- 2.6 Ability 1: Cryo-Freeze
- 2.7 Tips for using Cryo-Freeze
- 2.8 Ability 2: Ice Wall
- 2.9 Tips for using Ice Wall
- 2.10 Ice Wall isolation
- 2.11 Ultimate: Blizzard
- 2.12 Tips for using Blizzard
- 2.13 Characters that can counter Blizzard
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Primary attack can freeze opponents briefly, making them vulnerable to all incoming attacks.
- Cryo-Freeze allows Mei to heal herself and avoid all attacks, including enemy ultimates.
- Ice Wall can zone enemy movements, prevent team pushes and protect allies.
- Must be dangerously close to enemies in order to freeze them.
- Ultimate ability is somewhat predictable and easy to escape.
- Not as viable on attack as she is on defense.
- Health: 250
- Armor: None
Main Attack: Frost Stream
- Description: Mei’s Endothermic Blaster blows a short-range stream of frosted air that damages, slows and eventually freezes enemies for a short period of time.
- Damage: 2.25 per projectile, or 45 damage per second. Freezes enemies after doing 80 damage.
- Ammo: 200
- Frozen Duration: 1.5 seconds
Mei’s primary fire unleashes a torrent of frozen air at a rate of 20 rps. Any target she deals a continuous 80 damage to will freeze for 1.5 seconds—just enough time for her to lineup a headshot with her alternate fire, Icicle Projectile.
It’s worth noting that even if a target doesn’t freeze, Frost Stream will slow them down, making them an easier target for Mei’s team to concentrate fire on.
Once an enemy freezes, it’s best to switch to Icicle Projectile in order to deal more damage and finish them off. While you can generally kill low-HP frozen targets by spamming Frost Stream, once the freeze effect wears off the debuff resets. This means Mei needs to deal another consecutive 80 damage to freeze her target again.
Heroes that can avoid Frost Stream’s debuff effects
These characters are able to avoid being frozen by Mei’s Frozen Stream.
- Reinhardt can Charge away from Mei
- Tracer can Blink or use Recall to escape
- McCree can use Combat Roll to dodge Mei
- Genji can escape using Swift Strike
- Pharah can use Jump Jet to stay away from Mei
- Widowmaker can use Grapple Hook
- D.va can use Booster to fly away
- Winston can use Leap
- Junkrat can step on his Concussion Mine to jump away (or knock Mei away)
- Sombra can use Translocator
- Orisa can use Fortify to avoid being frozen
- Zarya can use Particle Barrier
- Doomfist can use Rising Uppercut to escape
Alternate Attack: Icicle Projectiles
- Description: Mei fires a long-range frozen projectile.
- Damage: 22-74 (depending on distance)
- Ammo: 200 (25 per shot)
Mei snap freezes icicles inside her Endothermic Blaster, shooting a straight projectile at any target. Note that there is a slight delay in firing an icicle, as her gun charges for a split second. Each icicle consumes 25 ammo from Mei’s pool of 200—meaning she can fire 8 shots before reloading.
Icicle Particle is a long-range attack that compliments Mei’s short-range Frost Stream. Use it to snipe immobile characters across the map, such as a Bastion in Sentry Mode or a Torbjorn turret. Chip away at large characters such as Winston and Roadhog by shooting icicles at their bodies from a distance.
If there is less than 25 ammo left, Mei will still fire an icicle that does the same amount of damage. Handy if you find yourself caught with 5 ammo and need to perform a miracle shot.
Frost Stream + Icicle Projectile
Combining the frozen effect of Frost Stream with the headshot damage of a close-range Icicle Projectile gives Mei a pseudo-one-shot trick that most players are familiar with. Simply freeze an enemy, then lineup an icicle headshot. For added security, maneuver behind a frozen target before shooting them. This way you’ll remain hidden, and they won’t be able to retaliate as quickly when they thaw.
Ability 1: Cryo-Freeze
- Description: Mei encapsulates herself in a solid block of ice. She self-heals and ignores all enemy attacks while frozen, but she can’t move or attack.
- Cooldown: 12 seconds
- Duration: 4 seconds
- Heals: 150 HP (self)
Cryo-Freeze is an excellent ability that serves a lot of different purposes. Part healing, part damage avoiding, part distraction and confusion tactic, knowing when to pop Cryo-Freeze separate the good Mei’s from the inexperienced.
Note that Cryo-Freeze can be cancelled at any point. You won’t heal for the full 150 HP, but it might be strategically beneficial to Cry-Freeze at full health in order to avoid an enemy assault, then cancel it to begin your counterattack.
Tips for using Cryo-Freeze
- Advanced Overwatch players will switch to Mei while on Defense to contest a payload or objective. This is mainly due to Cryo-Freeze, which allows her to distract the enemy, soak up some damage, then contest for an additional 4 seconds while frozen. In many cases that’s enough time for fallen allies to respawn and join the fight again.
- Bait enemies to attack Mei, diverting their attention from the rest of your team. Once you’ve lured them away, cast Cryo-Freeze to catch them off-guard.
- If healers or health parks are few and far between, remember that Cryo-Freeze heals Mei for 150 HP. Self-healing abilities also charge Ultimate abilities.
Ability 2: Ice Wall
- Description: Mei casts a vertical or horizontal wall of ice that shields most attacks and blocks enemy advancements.
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
- Duration: 4.5 seconds
- Health: 500 HP per pillar
Mei’s Ice Wall is a strategic zoning ability with a variety of uses. It can be used both as a shield to block incoming attacks, and a way to capture enemies and prevent them from retreating. Ice Wall is comprised of 5 pillars, each with 500 HP. Bastion can rip through an Ice Wall quickly, but most heroes won’t do much but chip away at it.
Note that Ice Wall can be manually destroyed by pressing the assigned Ice Wall key again. This is useful if your team is launching their Ultimate attacks but you accidentally threw up an Ice Wall.
Tips for using Ice Wall
- Mei can ride her own Ice Wall to reach elevated positions. Simply cast Ice Wall beneath her and “ride” to a new vantage point.
- Allies can ride Ice Wall as well. By communicating with your team, you can essentially lift certain characters that can’t reach high ground easily, such as Ana.
- Use Ice Wall to block flanking passageways or capture enemies in a room.
- Remember, Ice Wall isn’t just useful for blocking off enemies, but for trapping them in an enclosed space with Mei as well. Follow an enemy into a narrow passage and block their escape route.
- Use Ice Wall to stall an objective by hiding in a corner and casting it in front of you. When it shatters, cast Cryo-Freeze to continue stalling.
- Use Ice Wall to block incoming damage if you’re trapped in Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
- Use Ice Wall to block Bastion in Sentry Mode or prevent Torbjorn’s turret from shooting your team.
- Use Ice Wall to protect your team from D.va’s Self-Destruct.
- Use Ice Wall to break Zenyatta’s line of sight, thereby preventing Orb of Discord from targeting anyone.
- Ice Wall doesn’t block a payload from advancing. Once the payload reaches an Ice Wall, it will push right through it.
- Remember your snipers. When you block the entire enemy team at a chokepoint, you’re preventing your snipers from dealing damage.
- Hanzo’s Dragonstrike is the only ability that can pass through Mei’s Ice Wall.
Ice Wall isolation
This advanced technique is excellent for discouraging an enemy push. The idea is to let one enemy pass through a chokepoint, then cast Ice Wall behind them, preventing the rest of their team from following. Have your team swoop in for an easy elimination. This technique works particularly well against Reinhardt and Orisa, as both characters usually lead the charge through a choke.
- Description: Mei tosses her robot pal in front of her, which creates a large area-of-effect frost spell that slows, freezes, and slightly damages anyone caught in the blast.
- Duration: 5 seconds (takes 3.5 seconds to freeze an enemy)
- Damage: 100
- Range: 10 meter radius
Blizzard is a useful AoE ability that’s more effective at zoning certain areas rather than directly killing and freezing enemies.
Remember that while Blizzard is great for contesting an objective before enemies arrive, it’s not very useful for contesting an objective if enemies are already there. Unless your positive you’ll be able to survive and eliminate the enemies that are contesting, you’ll just freeze them to the actual objective—which could help them win the match!
Tips for using Blizzard
- When casting Blizzard, Mei’s projectile can pass through shields and barriers.
- Try to take enemies by surprise. Blizzard is predicatable, but not if the enemy is distracted by something else (fleeing a McCree ult, or caught in a Graviton Surge).
- When prioritizing your frozen prey, go for healers first, such as Mercy, Zenyatta, Lucio and Ana. Then look for pesky flankers, like Sombra, Genji and Tracer.
- Don’t throw Blizzard directly at the enemy. Instead, throw it where the enemy will be.
- Cast an Ice Wall behind an enemy team before using Blizzard. This will prevent them from escaping and increase your odds of freezing each target.
Characters that can counter Blizzard
Blizzard is technically a projectile the moment Mei throws her robot to the when it lands on a surface. During this very brief period, certain heroes can counter Blizzard.
- D.va can absorb Blizzard using her Defense Matrix
- Genji can Deflect Blizzard against Mei’s entire team
General Tips & Strategy
Avoid using Ice Wall to block the whole enemy team from advancing. The idea is to let a couple enemies slip through, then to Ice Wall any reinforcements. Your team can pick off the stragglers, then take down the rest of the team.
Avoid chasing and freezing tanks. You won’t be able to one-shot them with an icicle to the head, and when they thaw, they’ll be angry.
You don’t always have to line up a headshot every time you freeze someone. If your team is behind you, let them pick off your frozen prey. This way you can freeze someone and keep moving.
Blizzard lasts for 5 seconds. Keep an eye on the clock and cast Blizzard on the objective 1-2 seconds before a match ends. Your opponent will have to risk being frozen in order to contest the objective.
Don’t waste Cryo-Freeze if one of your supports is trying to heal you. You might be the only thing protecting your Mercy from Tracer, and Mercy can keep healing you so you don’t need to waste Cry-Freeze.
Don’t Ice Wall your teammates inside the spawn room. Don’t trap them in a room full of enemies. Seriously. Don’t be this person.
Specific Map Tips
One of Mei’s most useful techniques is her Ice Wall isolation (detailed in the Ice Wall ability section). The following maps are perfect for stalling enemy advancements and eliminating valuable targets.
Most Attackers try to push the high ground onto Point B. Mei can deploy her Ice Wall isolation tactic to snag anyone that tries to enter this narrow corridor. She can also block the front entranceway into the temple, as well as the flanking route on the right. Either way, Mei is a great choice for guarding Hanamura’s many paths.
Temple of Anubis
An excellent Mei map if there was one. Use Ice Wall to push Attackers into the right passageway, or trap them in a room full of friendly Symmetra turrets. Ice Wall can block the choke that leads into Point A, forcing your opponent to scale the building on the left. While Defending Point B, use the Ice Wall isolation trick to target enemies that push through the main choke.
Attackers are forced to push the payload through a narrow passage to reach the end of Point B. Use your Ice Wall to cut them off from the payload (remember the payload will shatter your Ice Wall), or to prevent flankers from using the right passageway.
Mei is a balanced character that serves a pretty specific role in Overwatch. While not the best on an attacking team, she can still wreak havoc if no one counters her.
Genji: Mei’s Frost Stream is ideal for capturing agile heroes like Genji, Tracer and Sombra. Genji in particular is susceptible to Frost Stream, since he’s unable to deflect her primary attack. It also slows down his double jump, making him easier to catch and eliminate.
Symmetra: Symmetra can be tricky to hit—her slim profile is up there with Widowmaker’s in terms of hard to hit characters. However, she’s no match for Mei’s Frost Stream. In the event Mei is being melted by Sym’s Photon Blaster, simply Cryo-Freeze and try again.
Bastion: Mei is one of the best Bastion counters in the game. She can block his line of sight by casting Ice Wall in front of him, and she can whittle away at his health from a distance using her Icicle Projectiles.
Mei is countered by
Junkrat: Junkrat can outmaneuver all of Mei’s abilities using his Concussion Mines. He can leap away from her Frost Stream, or launch himself over her Ice Wall. Due to Mei’s slow mobility, she’s also an easy target to lob grenades at.
Pharah: Pharah can avoid Mei by staying in the air. With a couple well-placed rockets, Pharah can pick off Mei from safety.
Zarya: Zarya’s Projected Barrier allows her to escape Mei’s Frost Stream as well as her Blizzard. As long as her charge is high, she can melt Mei pretty swiftly.
Mei’s Rare skins are colored variations of her Classic skin—a warm white and blue polar outfit.
- Earthen: A green and brown variation of Mei’s Classic skin.
- Snow Plum: A shiny white, purple and green silk polar explorer’s outfit.
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Firefighter: A black and yellow firefighter’s uniform, complete with a robot that looks like a small fire hydrant.
- Rescue Mei: A classic orange and safety yellow firefighter’s uniform.
- Abominable: “Mei travels to remote regions around the world, investigating Ecopoints abandoned since Overwatch shut down.”
- Yeti Hunter: An outfit made for extreme arctic conditions. Mei is bundled up and covered in warm Yeti fur.
- Mei-rry*: A cheerful polar outfit fit for the holidays. (Winter Wonderland Event)
- Change’e*: A classic light-purple Chinese robe with elegant pants. (Lunar Event)
- Luna*: A fiery red and gold Chinese outfit. (Lunar Event)
- Beekeeper*: Mei tackles the fiercest beehives in this outfit, which includes a translucent beekeeper’s net.(Anniversary Event)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*