Step aside, Roadhog – there’s a new monster in Overwatch 2. If you’ve sunk time into Blizzard‘s shooter in recent weeks, you probably know who I’m talking about: Orisa. The robot horse girl turned war machine is dominating matches and tier lists across the board, and now that Roadhog’s finally been taken down a peg by the balance team, it’s Orisa’s time to shine.
As a long-time tank player who’s remained at the side of Reindhart and Roadhog since the first Overwatch beta, Orisa managed to win me over last month – ironically, when Roadhog was the go-to pick for everyone else. Rusty from years away, I was getting frustrated with Roadhog’s reliance on his hook and wanted something a little bit more consistent. My definition of consistent meant more sustained damage, or a few more options for tanking – but when I started playing Orisa, the definition of consistent became appearing in nearly every Play Of The Game.
What’s not to love about Orisa? With a chunky health pool, an ability that deflects attacks and another that helps soak them up, she certainly satisfies her duties as a tank. But lean in, and I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t care about tanking. If you play Orisa aggressively, you’re going to be a relentless robot meatshield regardless of what you do, so you might as well dish out some pain – especially when she makes it so easy.
Orisa’s main weapon is an infinite-ammo chain gun that gets more powerful the closer you get to its target. It can fire just about endlessly, if you pay attention to its temperature to avoid overheating. Turning a squishy Junk Rat to Swiss cheese is a joy in its own right, but there’s more: Orissa also has a javelin that sends its victims hurtling backward, pinning them to a wall if they hit one, and an ultimate that transforms the hulking robo-horse into a thermonuclear whirlpool, pulling enemies toward her for a devastating explosion. You can charge this explosion up for even more damage, but it runs the risk that your would-be victims will escape its blast zone. Instead, it becomes a game of chasing that sweet spot – letting it charge up for as long as possible, and releasing the blast just as its desperate targets think they’re about to escape.
There are few heroes that can survive Orisa’s ultimate – meaning that barring a pesky counter-ult from supports like Lúcio or Ana, the odds of killing most of the enemy team with a well-placed ult are generously stacked in your favour. At first, seeing your Orisa ult replayed in Play Of The Game is a giddy ego rush, but it becomes so commonplace that it’s genuinely surprising when someone else’s achievement upstages you.
Yes, I know. Orisa is broken. Like Roadhog, she shouldn’t really be dishing out this much damage while still shrugging off every bullet, bomb and blast that hits her. It’s unfair. But when you’re playing on the dark side, unfair is delicious. It’s like giving your pal the dodgy controller to play GoldenEye – you know you have an unfair advantage, but that doesn’t mean a thing when you’re nine kills up and tripping on your own ego. Even in a fair state of play, Orisa’s kit is some of the most fun you can have in Overwatch. Landing a javelin on an infuriatingly flighty Mercy so your team can tear her to shreds is immensely satisfying, as is deflecting a Roadhog ultimate’s barrage of minigun fire with the flick of Javelin Spin.
Before I was an Orisa convert, Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller told me she was strong. Now, I’m a true believer. Who wins from this balance of power? Not the enemy team, who are subjected to several minutes of oppressively one-sided shootouts. Sometimes, even my own teammates don’t win. I’ve had a few angry teammates who, despite winning a match, think Orisa out-damaging our DPS means something is (in more colourful language) inherently wrong with me. The real winner, selfishly, is me: Orisa is fun as hell, and feels far more fun than Reindhart holding up a shield for a bunch of ungrateful teammates.
Balance in Overwatch 2 is a hydra – cut off one overpowered pick like Roadhog, and another beast will take their place. Sometimes, that flavour of the month is infuriating – remember Bastion’s reign of terror in the first game? But in cases like Orisa, her number one spot has introduced me to my new favourite kit – one that thousands of Overwatch players love. Balance may change, and one day there will be a new tank in town – but in my heart, Orisa will always be the centaur of attention.
Overwatch 2 is available on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and PC.