Overwatch Countering Ultimates Guide

by SonOfGarry

There’s a lot of confusion floating around about how different ultimates work. Why do some get cancelled by a stun and some don’t? Why can some be eaten or deflected? Why does Sigma’s ult not cancel when he dies?

I’ve put together a grouping of ultimates by categories showing how they can be countered. They are as follows:

  • Channeled Ultimates (instant and sustained)
  • Transformation Ultimates
  • Buff Ultimates
  • Deployable Ultimates
  • Launchable Ultimates
  • Instantaneous Ultimates

Let’s get started:

Channeled Ultimates:

There are a lot of channeled ultimates, so I’ve gone ahead and separated them into two categories; instant and sustained.

Instant Channeled Ultimates (Baby Dva, Rein, Ball, Sombra, Lucio):

  • These ults have a short window before activation where they can be cancelled by stunning or killing the target
  • Once activates, deals an instant burst affect. Each effect can be countered in its own way.
  • Rein and Lucio are unique, as their ultimates require them to touch the ground before activating.

Sustained Channeled Ults (Roadhog, Pharah, McCree, Reaper, Moira):

  • These ults either have to charge or deal an “over time” effect
  • Can be cancelled by a stun during their duration
  • Prevents the user from activating other abilities while ult is active

Transformation Ultimates (Winston, Bastion, Genji, Soldier, Torb, Mercy, Zen)

  • These ults activate instantly and cannot be cancelled by a stun
  • The only way to fully shut down these ults is to kill the ulting enemy
  • These ults essentially replace the user’s weapon with a more powerful one. In most cases, all other abilities can still be used (The exceptions are that Winston cannot use bubble, Bastion cannot switch configurations, and Torb and Zen can’t use any of their other abilities)

Buff Ultimates (Widow, Ana, Brig):

  • These ults are similar to Transformation Ultimates, in that they can only be cancelled by killing the ulting enemy (for Ana obviously you have to kill the boosted enemy instead)
  • However, these ults specifically provide a status buff to their team while active

Deployable Ultimates (Orisa, Sigma, Ashe, Junkrat, Sym, Baptiste):

  • These ults function by placing down a powerful object
  • Once the ult is placed, it will not be cancelled if the ulting enemy is killed. However, some can be cancelled before or during the placing animation (Orisa, Sigma, and Junkrat follow this rule)
  • Once placed, these ults can typically be destroyed in one way or another. The exception is Sigma’s, but certain abilities can be used to escape it instead

Launchable Ultimates (Zarya, Hanzo, Mei, Tracer):

  • These ultimates function by firing a single, powerful projectile
  • Once the projectile has completed its “firing” animation, it will activate no matter what
  • I’m some cases, of the ulting player is stunned or killed before the animation has completed, the ult will be canceled
  • These ults can also be deflected and/or eaten by Dva, Sigma, and Genji

Instantaneous Ultimates (Dva Mech, Doomfist):

  • These ultimates activate instantly, you cannot stun or kill the enemy to cancel it
  • The only way to counter these two ultimates is to avoid or block them

Edit: there’s a bit of confusion regarding Dva’s ultimates. Baby Dva (listed under Instant Channeled Ultimates) refers to the Call Mech ult, while Dva Mech (listed under Instantaneous Ultimates) refers to Self Destruct

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