Zarya is one of the best tanks in Overwatch to carry games with. She is capable of protecting herself and her teammates while also increasing her own damage. A good Zarya ultimate can single-handedly win your team a fight. Here’s how to use her abilities to win games.
Particle Barrier/Projected Barrier
Zarya’s two abilities are both barriers that block damage, help with crowd control, and cure status conditions (like anti-heal and burning). Each Barrier has 200 health, lasts for two seconds, and gives her charge when it takes damage. Zarya deals more damage with her Particle Cannon the higher her charge is. You can use the Particle Barrier on yourself on a 10-second cooldown and the Projected Barrier on an ally on an eight-second cooldown.
Using Zarya’s barriers correctly is the most important part of playing her. If you use them well, you will be able to save your teammates and gain weapon charge, which will in turn lead to you dealing more damage and charging Graviton Surge faster. Using Zarya’s barriers takes knowledge and practice, though, so here are some tips.
- Play aggressively when you have your personal barrier and use it when you start taking damage
- Use your secondary barrier on teammates in danger. For example, if you have a teammate that gets hooked by Roadhog, use a barrier on them
- If you suspect an enemy has an ultimate, save a barrier
- Don’t just use barriers on cooldown. Make sure each one has a purpose
Zarya’s Particle Cannon has multiple functions. Her primary fire is a beam that deals damage per second based on how much charge she has. It cannot headshot, so don’t attempt to. Her alternate fire lobs a projectile bomb that explodes when it hits an enemy or the ground. This has more range than the beam but uses up 20 ammo per shot.
Use Zarya’s beam on enemies that are close and use the bomb on enemies far away. The bomb also does AOE damage, so you can use it to deal damage to multiple enemies if they are close together (like when they are stuck in her ultimate).
Zarya has one of the best ultimate abilities in Overwatch in Graviton Surge. It’s a projectile (it has the same physics as her Projectile Cannon’s alternate fire) that explodes into a field that sucks in enemies and traps them. Enemies cannot use escape abilities to get out (except Reaper’s Wraith Form, Moira’s Fade, and Orisa’s Fortify).
This ability is fairly straightforward to use. You just want to catch as many enemies as possible in it. The difficult part is making sure you get value out of the ultimate. Enemies will likely save defensive ultimates like Lucio’s Sound Barrier to counter Graviton Surge. Therefore, it’s important to communicate with your team that you have your ultimate and try to combo it with other abilities like Hanzo’s Dragonstrike or Doomfist’s Meteor Strike.
When learning Zarya, focus on using your barriers and your ultimate. Once you get the hang of these abilities, you will be able to stay at high charge and deal a lot of damage. Zarya works best with Reinhardt but is a decent pick on most Overwatch teams, especially at lower ranks. Remember to have fun and focus on improving!