A super smart ape with a heart of gold, Winston is an agile tank-type hero adept at scattering team compositions and sowing chaos and confusion on the battlefield.

In Overwatch lore, Winston is a genetically engineered gorilla that happens to be a brilliant scientist. He was created on the moon, at Horizon Lunar Colony. The colony represented humanity’s attempt to reestablish space exploration, and enhanced gorillas were used to study the effects of life in space.

One gorilla was especially smarter than the rest, and he was eventually cared for by Dr. Harold Winston. Dr. Winston taught the young gorilla the potential of science and math, and imbued in the young ape a deep admiration for humanity. The remaining gorillas rebelled, forcing Winston to escape to earth, where he adopted the name of his caretaker.

After the fall of Overwatch, Winston took it upon himself to gather the remaining heroes together again.

Winston pairs well with another tank, such as Zarya or Reinhardt, and a healer he can return to when his health drops.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Excellent mobility for a tank.
  • Primary Attack can hit multiple enemies at once and bypass enemy shields.
  • Ultimate ability fully heals Winston and can scatter enemy team formations.

Weaknesses

  • No long-range attacks means Winston has to be near enemies in order to deal damage.
  • Weak primary attack means Winston can lose 1-on-1 fights.
  • Barrier Projector is relatively weak compared to other tank shields.

Abilities

Base Stats

  • Health: 400
  • Armor: 100

Main Attack: Tesla Cannon

  • Description: Winston carriers a hefty electric cannon that deals channeled damage as long as the fire trigger is held down.
  • Damage: 60-65 DPS
  • Ammo: 100

Winston’s Tesla Cannon shoots a steady stream of electric damage, zapping anyone caught in front of him. There’s no real need to aim, making Winston a perfect choice for players that are new to Overwatch or FPS games in general.

One of the best features of Tesla Cannon is that it can hit multiple enemies at once. Tesla Cannon’s electric beam splits according to the number of enemies within Winston’s range. Each beam does the same amount of damage, meaning the more enemies Winston can hit, the more effective his attack will be.

Tips for attacking as Winston

  • Tesla Cannon penetrates enemy shields. Use Winston to counter Reinhardt, Winston, Orisa and Symmetra by attacking them through their shields.
  • Enemies caught in Zarya’s Gravitation Surge are excellent targets for Winston, since he can attack all of them at once.
  • Utilize Winston’s melee attack as much as possible. Winston’s melee does an instant 30 damage, whereas Tesla Cannon takes roughly .5 seconds to do the same amount of damage.

Ability 1: Leap

  • Description: Using a rocket pack, Winston leaps through the air, dealing damage to enemies he lands on while traversing long distances.
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds (2 seconds when Primal Rage is active)
  • Damage: Up to 50 (fall-off distance applied)

With a generously short 6-second cooldown, Winston’s Leap ability is his primary means of moving across a map. It also makes him one of the most mobile tanks in Overwatch, next to D.va.

Leap’s height and direction can be controlled based on which way Winston is moving and facing when Leap is activated. Leap can also be used in mid-air—a crucial technique that can save Winston if he’s knocked off the edge of a map.

Tips for using Leap

  • Use Leap to chase enemies. Low-health opponents are perfect for Winston to chase down with his Tesla Cannon.
  • Use Leap to save an ally by jumping onto their pursuer.
  • Use Leap to throw yourself into a Widowmaker, Hanzo or Bastion, disrupting their attack and creating an opening for your team.
  • Use Leap to reach higher elevation.
  • Use Leap right after respawning to reach the battle faster.
  • Use Leap in combination with Barrier Projector to dive into an enemy’s defense and create a momentary shield for your team.
  • Combine Leap with Winston’s jump to move further. For example, Winston can jump from an elevated surface, then use Leap to move even further than if he’d used Leap without jumping first.

Ability 2: Barrier Projector

  • Description: Winston activates a bubble-shaped barrier that can absorb a moderate amount of damage. Allies can fire through the barrier.
  • Cooldown: 13 seconds
  • Health: 600 HP

Barrier Projector is a dome-like shield that Winston can deploy from any position. When activated, Winston creates his Barrier Projector on the exact spot he’s located. This means if Barrier Projector is used in mid-air (or mid-Leap), it will drop to the ground from the location it was activated.

Note that Barrier Projector begins its 13 second cooldown the moment it’s activated. This means you should try to make liberal use of Barrier Projector rather than saving it for the perfect moment.

A common mistake made by Winston players is to Leap into an enemy team, then drop Barrier Projector. The problem here is that most enemies will simply maneuver outside of Winston’s Tesla Cannon range, effectively making him a sitting duck within his Barrier Projector.

Instead, try to use Barrier Projector on your team before leaping into the enemy. This way they can fire from safety while you dive into your foes to disrupt them. Once Leap is available again, you can dive back to your team (and your Barrier Projector, if it’s still around).

Tips for using Barrier Projector

  • Barrier Projector can block D.va’s Self-Destruct. Pop Barrier Projector over her mech before it explodes to protect yourself and your team.
  • Use Barrier Projector to protect choke points and provide cover for your long-range attackers.
  • Use Barrier Projector to protect a friendly Bastion or Torbjorn turret.
  • Remember that Barrier Projector isn’t just for protecting Winston! Deploy it around a low-health teammate so they can get patched up, or activate it on your McCree when he’s casting Deadeye.
  • Barrier Projector works on moving platforms and objects. Use Barrier Projector on the payload to create a massive moving shield.
  • Enemy attacks can’t penetrate Barrier Projector. Enemies caught within Barrier Projector can’t fire outside of it, either. This means you can drop Barrier Projector on an enemy Bastion and it will block his shots for a short period of time.
  • As Barrier Projector takes damage, cracks begin to form in the shield.
  • Bastion can destroy your Barrier Projector with a steady stream of fire in 1.5 seconds.

Attacks that can pass through Barrier Projector

  • Enemy melee attacks go through Barrier Projector.
  • Winston’s Tesla Cannon and Symmetra’s Photon Orbs pass through Barrier Projector.
  • Reinhardt’s Fire Strike cuts through Barrier Projector.

Ultimate: Primal Rage

  • Description: Winston goes WILD, transforming into a ferocious animal. While in Primal Rage, Winston has increased health, melee strength and a drastically reduced Leap cooldown. However, he can’t use Tesla Cannon or Barrier Projector.
  • Health: Fully heals Winston and increases his HP to 1000.
  • Duration: 10 seconds
  • Cooldown: Leap is 2 seconds (instead of the regular 6 seconds)
  • Damage: 40 per hit (deals AOE damage and knockback)

Primal Rage turns Winston into a rampaging ape. His Leap resets every 2 seconds (instead of 6 seconds), and his primary attack turns into a powerful melee swipe that knocks opponents far away.

Primal Rage is relatively weak when it comes to damage potential. It’s especially hard to eliminate opponents because they’re knocked back each time you hit them, meaning the only way to effectively eliminate someone is by trapping them in a corner.

However, Primal Rage is an excellent ability in terms of zoning and denying areas of the playing field. It’s extremely useful against organized teams that like to stick together behind a Reinhardt shield, or for opening up well-defended choke points. Nothing inspires more chaos than a raging ape that’s attacking from behind.

Keep in mind that besides Leap, none of Winston’s regular abilities can be used while in Primal Rage. This means it’s a good idea to drop a Barrier Projector around your team before activating Primal Rage.

Tips for Primal Rage

  • Use Primal Rage as a life-saving technique. It instantly replenishes your HP and raises your maximum health to 1,000.
  • Use Primal Rage to escape a fatal knock back attack.
  • Use Primal Rage after a team fight has broken out. Rather then engaging your opponent with Primal Rage, it’s better to take them by surprise when they’re distracted.

Enemies that counter Primal Rage

Nothing really counters an angry, 1000 HP gorilla, but a couple heroes can withstand Winston’s Ultimate better than others.

  • A Bastion in Sentry Mode can’t be knocked back by Primal Rage, and Winston can’t deal enough focused damage to kill him before he kills you.
  • Torbjorn’s Level 3 Turret (Molten Core) has 800 HP and enough firepower to kill Winston. Best to avoid his turret if you can.

General Tips & Strategy

Winston excels at “diving” into the enemy team—He’s one of a handful of characters that can be combined to form a powerful dive combination. The idea is to “dive” onto the enemy’s position, eliminate crucial support characters and weaken the enemy’s defense to quickly overwhelm their backline before they have a chance to react.

Use Leap to maneuver behind an enemy team, and pick off their supports. Winston is great at killing squishy targets like Mercy, Zenyatta, Lucio and Ana. By diving into the backline, you’ll distract the enemy healers from supporting their tanks in the front, allowing your team to hone in for the kill.

Remember your team. Winston’s survivability depends on how you use Leap to return to your healers. Dive into 1-2 enemies, tickle them with your Tesla Cannon, drop a Barrier Projector, then Leap back to your team to synch up again.

Prioritize killing Genji, Tracer and Lucio. These pesky heroes are notoriously hard to target, and they’ll constantly be trying to eliminate your team’s healers. Genji in particular should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Activate Primal Rage right before you die. Winston’s Ultimate fully recharges his health, meaning you can bait enemies into thinking they’ll kill you before springing Primal Rage on them.

Don’t bother attacking tanks. Unless that Roadhog has 200 HP and an Orb of Discord attached to him, you’re better off focusing on enemies with 250 HP or less. Winston just doesn’t output enough damage to effectively win a tank vs. tank battle.

Combine Tesla Cannon with Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord to quickly melt most heroes. Look for Zen’s floating purple orb above your foe’s head.

Use Leap to help your Mercy stay alive. By leaping straight into the air, she can use Guardian Angel to fly to your position, buying her some time to float in the air towards safety.

Specific Map Tips

Winston performs well on every map and game type, but he’s especially useful for countering mobile heroes and snipers. Here are a few ways you can flank your enemy to surprise them with Primal Rage.

Oasis: All maps

University includes small rooms and passageways that Winston can control with his Tesla Cannon. For health, you can walk into the huge pit in the center of the control point to grab a mega health pack. Then you can Leap right back into the action. The Gardens has a platform in the middle of the point that Winston can Leap to for safety. He can also Leap over the ledge of the control point towards either spawn room, where he can grab a secluded mega health pack before heading back to the objective.

Horizon Lunar Colony

A fitting map for Winston, Horizon Lunar Colony has high vantage points that Winston can Leap to in order to survive or survey his surroundings. Point A defenders can hold the high ground catwalks just outside of the rock wall climbing area. Attackers heading into Point B can Leap all the way over the enemies defense, causing them to turn their back to your team.

Ilios: Lighthouse

The maps on Ilios are perfect for Winston, especially the Lighthouse. The objective is surrounded by empty space, meaning Primal Rage has an excellent chance to knock entire teams off the map. Just be careful to not accidentally Leap off the map yourself!

Match-ups

Winston excels at eliminating agile characters, since his primary attack doesn’t require responsive aiming. However, due to a lack of long-range attacking power, Winston is susceptible to characters like McCree and Soldier, who can dish out long-range damage well out of Winston’s reach.

Winston Counters

Symmetra: Winston is a go-to pick for eliminating Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets, since he can simply spread his Tesla Cannon around until they’re all destroyed. Symmetra players often hide behind their team, planting new turrets and defending their Shield Generator or Teleporter. Winston can dive behind enemy lines to zap Symmetra before she has a chance to set up her defenses.

Widowmaker: Widowmaker can reach certain sniping positions that are off-limits to most characters, but not Winston. Using Leap, Winston can dive into an enemy Widowmaker and zap her with his Tesla Cannon before she has a chance to escape. Her weak alternate fire won’t be able to kill Winston, either.

Genji/Tracer: Winston is one of the best counters to Genji and Tracer in Overwatch, so much so that it’s worth switching to Winston if either of these heroes are harassing your team. His primary attack doesn’t require precision aiming, making it perfect for draining the health from these two highly mobile and pesky characters.

Winston is countered by

Reaper: Reaper is the de facto counter to Winston—his shotguns can swiftly shred through Winston’s Barrier Projector and HP. If Winston can’t Leap away from Reaper, he’s in a lot of trouble. Take Reaper by surprise or avoid him altogether if you’re up against one.

Pharah: Winston’s Tesla Cannon doesn’t have the range to damage Pharah. Even a well-timed Leap may only get him close enough to shave off some of her HP. She can easily target Winston from safety with her rockets and Barrage attack, which cuts through Winston’s Barrier Projector.

McCree: McCree can use Combat Roll to escape from Winston’s Tesla Cannon range while aligning some fatal headshots. As Winston dives onto a team from above, McCree can Flashbang and stun Winston, then unload his powerful revolver using Fan Hammer.

Skins

Rare Skins

Winston’s Rare skins are colored variations of his Classic skin: a polished white space suit intended for the apes that lived on Horizon Lunar Colony.

  • Atmosphere (Blue)
  • Banana (Yellow)
  • Forest (Green)
  • Red Planet (Red)

Credits: 75

Epic Skins

  • Desert: A camouflaged suit designed for desert operations.
  • Horizon: A special version of Winston’s Classic skin featuring the orange and silver theme of Horizon Lunar Colony.
  • BlizzCon*: “Through the power of science, Winston found himself teleported into BlizzCon 2017—and picked up this souvenir skin to mark the curious occasion.” (BllizzCon 2017)

Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*

Legendary Skins

  • Frogston: A sleek black wetsuit designed specifically for Winston. Ideal for covert underwater operations.
  • Undersea: An exclusive Overwatch diving suit that Winston uses for conducting deep sea studies.
  • Explorer: A faded tan explorer’s uniform. A grey mustache helps Winston look distinguished.
  • Safari: Binoculars in hand, Winston is ready for a scientific safari. He wears a striped blue shirt and a sturdy adventurer’s helmet.
  • Yeti*: Winston looks like a terrifying Yet in this legendary skin. His fur is bright white and he has two giant fangs protruding from his mouth. (Winter Wonderland)
  • Wukong*: A skin based on a character from Chinese mythology. Winston looks like Sun Wukong, king of the monkeys. (Lunar Event)

Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*

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Categories Heroes