Overwatch 2: How To Counter Zarya Guide (2024)

Zarya is a tank hero in Overwatch 2 that can annihilate your whole team if not paid attention to. Her skillset consists of 2 shields on a short cooldown that can be used on a teammate or Zarya herself and charges primary fire for all the damage mitigated.

She wields a weapon called Particle Cannon which shoots hitscan beams at close range and projectiles that affect an area at long range.

The ultimate ability is Graviton Surge, which pulls enemies into a small area without them being able to escape. This ability paired with another AoE skill has team tremendous wipe potential.

Upon Overwatch 2’s release, Zarya quickly began to dominate Ranked games in both low and high elo. Initially, the cooldown between shields was extremely short, and her weapon charged up almost instantly in a 5v5 teamfight and could shred through enemy lines in just a few seconds.

Blizzard nerfed her shortly, but a well-experienced Zarya can be just as much of a menace as the previous one

How To Counter Zarya in Overwatch 2

The easiest way to counter Zarya is to exploit her lack of mobility and escape. Even though her hitbox is smaller than most tank heroes, she can be eliminated with proper communication and skill usage. Some general notes are:

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Keep track of barriers – If you see a low hp Zarya use a barrier, destroying it can be beneficial. She won’t survive even with high damage if the enemy team has weak healers like Zenyatta or Lucio.

Communicate with your team about cooldowns. Since the nerf, Zarya’s barrier duration has decreased and the cooldown is increased, making being in the frontlines against her more forgiving. Since Particle Cannon doesn’t charge as quickly, the option of disengaging has also opened up. Tell your team when you plan to back up so they don’t over-commit, and when you want to dive in.

Burst her down. Without the barriers, Zarya is very vulnerable and can be fairly easy to eliminate. A coordinated burst of abilities from you and your team makes short work of a mispositioned Zarya.

She can also be shut down by heroes that take advantage of her weaknesses. Below is a list of heroes that counter Zarya:

Sombra

Sombra Ovewatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

Zarya can’t absorb any damage if Sombra uses her ‘hack’ that prevents heroes from using abilities. Zarya is effectively dispatched without the barriers, and can’t protect her team as well.

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Reaper

reaper overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

The ability to deal significant damage to tanks and armoured heroes while also regenerating makes Reaper one of the most ideal counters against Zarya. Even at a medium range.

His Hellfire Shotguns deal significant damage that goes towards destroying her barrier. Reaper can also effortlessly disengage if he finds himself in an unfavourable situation.

Zenyatta

zenyatta overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

Zenyatta is not considered a counter for his ability to 1v1 against a Zarya, but because of his ultimate ability. Transcendence provides huge amounts of healing to teammates within a specific range.

Since Graviton Surge pulls everyone together, it makes his ultimate much more effective. Essentially, Zenyatta can prevent an entire team wipe with a well-timed ultimate. His Orb of Discord also makes Zarya squishier when her barriers are on cooldown.

Bastion

Bastion Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

While Bastion is in Sentry form, he will melt Zarya down if she has barriers unavailable. However, the same can happen to Bastion if he charges up her weapon, which he can do within seconds if not careful. Since Bastion lacks mobility as well, (except his grenade) it is crucial to stay on high ground, behind your tank, or with your supports. 

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Winston

Winston Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

Although Winston might not have enough damage to kill Zarya, he can make her use protective cooldowns. She also won’t be able to kill him due to his mobility. He can also dive past her into long-range supports like Ana and Baptiste, forcing them to focus on him while his team focuses on Zarya. If threatened, he reposition back and help finish her off.

Pharah

Pharah Overwatch 2
Blizzard Entertainment

Pharah can easily maintain a safe distance from Zarya while hitting her so that the rest of the team can help complete the job. There is a very slim chance of Zarya’s secondary fire hitting Pharah while she is in the air as it is a projectile and has an arc-shaped trajectory.

Pharah can easily dodge Graviton Surge with Jump Jet, and because everyone wants to follow up on a Zarya’s ultimate, it opens up an opportunity for a high impact Rocket Barrage.

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