One of the first Overwatch heroes shown prior to the game’s release, Winston is a longtime fan favorite whose agile playstyle stands out compared to most other Tanks.
In this Overwatch Winston guide, we’ll highlight the best tips, tricks, and strategies for playing as the brilliant scientist gorilla.
If you would like more tips and tricks, check out our Overwatch Beginner’s Guide, where we dive into hero roles, team composition, and best practices for winning.
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Winston Abilities and Role Explained
Winston’s high mobility allows him to reach different parts of the map, usually in just a single leap, to chase down enemies and contest the objective.
While he may not be the strongest hero in terms of raw damage, he has one of the best Ultimates for stalling and, in the right hands, can quickly turn the tide of battles.
Below, we’ll go over each of Winston’s abilities and explain their finer details along with general strategies for using them during games.
How To Use Tesla Cannon
The Tesla Cannon is Winston’s primary weapon and creates a constant cone of electrical damage that automatically locks onto any enemies within its 8-meter range.
Dealing 60 DPS, it’s far from the most potent weapon in the game but benefits from being able to target generally more evasive enemies without having to fine-tune your aim.
Even high mobility heroes like Tracer can have a tough time getting around the Tesla Cannon, making it ideal for taking down squishy DPS and Support heroes.
However, due to its abysmal damage, it’s generally not recommended for 1v1 battles with other Tanks since their higher heathpools allow them to resist the Tesla Cannon’s effects.
How To Use Jump Pack
Winston’s Jump Pack sees him taking a massive forward leap in whatever direction he’s facing, dealing damage and applying a knockback effect to nearby enemies upon landing.
Although the ability has a 6-second cooldown to avoid spamming, the distance it propels Winston is significant enough to pose a severe threat to enemies who would otherwise be beyond his reach.
This can be extremely useful for dealing with snipers like Hanzo and Widowmaker or any hero you catch separated from their team.
While in the air, players can make slight adjustments to Winston’s movement, allowing them to curve around corners for a surprise splashdown attack.
How To Use Barrier Projector
Winston’s Jump Pack works in tandem with his Barrier Projector, which allows him to spawn a bubble-shaped shield with 700 health and a 5-meter radius.
This shield is hollow, meaning that enemies can still damage Winston and his allies as long as they do so from within the bubble.
Players can take advantage of this by performing a sort of “dance,” in which Winston moves back and forth along the bubble’s edge to avoid taking damage during a fight.
Barrier Projector is one of the more fragile shields in the game, making it ideal for blocking short bursts of damage or gaining control of a targeted area but less effective at protecting the entire team.
How To Use Primal Rage (Ultimate)
Winston’s Ultimate sees him overcome with rage as his maximum health gets raised, his Jump Pack cooldown reduced, and his primary weapon changed to quick melee strikes that damage and knock enemies away.
Primal Rage lasts for 10 seconds, during which time Winston is unable to use his Barrier Projector, leaving him completely exposed.
Since Winston’s health is automatically refilled anytime Primal Rage is triggered, you can think of it as a sort of emergency button anytime you’re close to dying.
While his damage output is severely lowered without the Tesla Cannon, the knockback effects of Primal Rage’s attacks can be effective at pushing enemies off the objective and disrupting their strategy.
Considering Winston’s kit is designed around mobility, he naturally has a higher chance of surviving through constant movement and repositioning.
Good Winston players are always searching for cracks in the enemy’s defense that will allow them to pick off squishy Supports and DPS heroes and prevent the opposing team from controlling the objective.
He excels in dive-comp teams and can quickly build momentum if left unchecked; below, we’ll highlight the most notable heroes that synergize with Winston’s playstyle.
Which Heroes Combo Best With Winston?
- D.Va – Another Tank whose playstyle is centered on mobility, D.Va and Winston can work together to disrupt enemy teams and keep them off the objective.
- Zarya – Can grant Winston her Projected Barrier to boost his survivability and make up for his low damage output by reaching max charge with her primary weapon.
- Tracer – Can take advantage of the chaos Winston creates to pick off targets with ease.
- Genji – With Winston doing his thing, Genji can play more aggressively and rack up kills.
- Zenyatta – Benefits from Winston’s protection; can still heal him from a distance using Orb of Harmony.
- Widowmaker – Can trigger Infra-sight to reveal where enemies are located, allowing Winston to prey on targets using his Jump Pack.
Winston is one of those heroes whose weaknesses become apparent the moment you start playing.
Aside from his relatively small healthpool, weak primary weapon damage, and frail defenses, in general, there’s just not much depth to his playstyle.
This makes it easier for enemies to anticipate his strategies and adapt accordingly; below, we’ll highlight the main heroes to watch out for as Winston.
Which Heroes Does Winston Struggle Against?
- Bastion – Since Winston doesn’t fare well while stationary, he has a hard time dealing with turret Bastions capable of destroying his bubble and health bar in seconds.
- D.Va – As a disruptor herself, an enemy D.Va can create many problems for Winston and prevent him from fulfilling his duties.
- Reaper – Another close-range combatant, Reaper can outpace Winston’s damage and escape if necessary using his Wraith form.
- Roadhog – Can throw off Winston’s positioning using his hook and selfheal to recover any minimal damage taken from Tesla Cannon.
- Torbjorn – Like Bastion, Torbjorn’s turret poses a significant threat to Winston, forcing him to either deal with it himself or mitigate its damage using his bubble.
- McCree – With the ability to stun-lock enemies and engage from long distances, McCree will often see Winston coming from a mile away.
- Mei – One of Winston’s biggest counters, Mei can stop the monkey right in his tracks by freezing him or blocking his path with Ice Wall.
- Zarya – Can bait Winston into contributing to her charge via Particle Barrier; at max charge, her primary weapon can rip through Winston’s bubble and health.
General Tips for Playing Winston
Although Winston may not have the most complex abilities or even playstyle, it can take a lot of practice and experimentation to nail down the timing of his maneuvers.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that even though Winston’s a Tank, he can’t really hold his ground for too long once all his abilities on cooldown, so use them all carefully.
Before we wrap things up, let’s take a moment to highlight some more general tips to keep in mind the next time you pick Winston.
- You can use Tesla Cannon’s auto-targeting properties to counter high-mobility threats like Tracer and Genji by applying a constant stream of damage.
- If your team becomes trapped in a chokepoint, use Winston’s Jump Pack to leap past it and force the enemy to engage with you, clearing the way for the rest of your team.
- You can also use Winston to infiltrate the enemy team’s backline and create confusion amongst your opponents.
- Target any Supports you find separated from the rest of their team; doing so will charge up Primal Rage quickly and cause the enemy spawns to become staggered.
- Try to hold off on using Primal Rage until Winston’s health becomes critically low in order to maximize its benefits.