How to play Ana: Overwatch hero guide

Overwatch’s grizzled mother is incredibly powerful when used the right way.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Ana Amari, the sniping medic, lets fans play out an unfulfilled gaming fantasy: Taking down enemies as a 60-year-old mother. The mother of Overwatch rocketeer Pharah is more than just a badass mom, though. The new hero adds much needed diversity to the support role in a unique way?—?with a sniper rifle that heals friendlies as much as it hurts foes.

If you’re new to Ana, she’ll likely feel weak. The Egyptian mom might be the toughest hero to play in Overwatch. Her kit is stocked with incredibly powerful and nuanced tools, but their power only shines when used by an organized team.

Become the killer grandma you want to be with Dummy’s top 5 Ana tips.

Ana has a high aim requirement thanks to her ability to both dish out damage and heal teammates with her sniper rifle. She also features multiple cooldown abilities complicating interactions with both friends and foes. To play Ana, you’ll need an innate understanding of the flow of a game and the heroes on the field to maximize the effectiveness of her kit.

We’ll break down Ana’s kit with some tips for mastering the complex support hero.

Image via Blizzard

Biotic Rifle

Given its dual nature, Ana’s biotic rifle is one of the most versatile weapons in the game. Nanotechnology created by Mercy allows Ana?—?and her weapon?—?to heal and hurt using the same weapon. The key here is to pick out the right targets, making sure you’re used to the quirks of her sniper rifle.

Not all shots are equal when fired from the rifle. When unscoped, the biotic rifle fires a dart projectile with perfect accuracy and no arc, but it’s a projectile, meaning you have to aim where you think the target will be. By scoping?—?which uses the mouse 2 button?—?the rifle shifts into hitscan mode, allowing her to simply point-and-click. There’s no difference in damage or rate of fire between the two modes, save for the time it takes to scope; you’ll want to use them based on what you’re most comfortable with. Hitscan however is naturally a superior firing mode as it puts all accuracy in control of the shooter, but the smaller field of view could make the immobile Ana vulnerable in some situations.

Friendly targets have hitboxes that feel about twice the size of those of her enemies, meaning there’s a bit of wiggle room in terms of targeting teammates. That also means you’re much more likely to heal friends than damage foes when firing into the thick of the fray, so keep that in mind when picking targets.

Deciding who to shoot is the key to success. Pound for pound, healing is better than damage. Giving a teammate another 75 health lets them get out another shot that likely does more damage than your dart would have, but sometimes finishing off a key target is the better choice.

Image via Blizzard

Sleep Dart

Ana has, in many ways, the most powerful control ability in the game on a 12 second cooldown. Her Sleep Dart puts an enemy target to sleep for six seconds, causing them to drop to the ground and nap until the duration completes or they take some damage.

The sleep dart is great for countering enemy ultimates, turning a Dragon-Blade wielding Genji into a sleeping baby for the duration of his power. Reinhardt shield in your way? Land a sleep dart when he goes to Fire Strike and you’ll have a major window to wipe his team. Deployed Bastion blocking your path? He’s basically begging for a nap.

This kind of crowd control ability?—?longer duration, but one that breaks on damage?—?is very common in games in other genres, but it’s a bit tougher to coordinate in a fast-paced shooter. It’s really easy for your well-meaning teammates to mess up. Many players will see a sleeping target and salivate at the prospect of landing an easy shot, but that easy shot could wake up a sleeping dragon. Communication is key. Make sure your teammates know who you plan to put to sleep and if you’re ready to, say, take that ulting Genji out of the game for a while. You’ll also want to be mindful of the action around them. Sleeping a target that’s in the middle of a battle will inevitably lead to a wasted dart, as chip damage wakes them up instantly. It’s usually best to use it on a key target in a safer position, leaving them out of the fight for a significant time.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may need your sleep dart to stay alive. Ana is one of the least mobile characters in Overwatch, but the dart lets her dictate the terms of many fights. You can sleep a tank that jumps you and gain some distance, or you can use that time to combo him, landing a biotic rifle shot and biotic grenade, maybe with a melee and even a second Rifle shot, to burst down a foe and win a one-on-one.

Your enemies won’t be napping until you practice landing that dart, though. It’s easy to miss the shot. The projectile is perfectly accurate and has zero arc, but it’s deceptively slow moving, making it difficult to land in many situations against many different heroes. Practicing your Sleep Dart accuracy will be key to mastering Ana, as missing such a powerful ability on a long, 12 second cooldown could cost your team a fight?—?or even the game.

Biotic Grenade

This is one of the most versatile abilities in Overwatch. Few 10 second cooldowns have the capacity to shift a fight as heavily as Ana’s grenade. Like her rifle, the Biotic Grenade deals both damage and healing, making it a dynamic way to shift a team fight, striking enemies for 60 damage and healing allies for 100 health. The best part about it, however, is its interaction with future healing.

Allies hit by the Biotic Grenade will receive double healing for around six seconds. Enemies hit by it won’t receive any healing at all.

It changes a powerful cooldown like Lúcio’s amp it up into a mini ultimate, pumping out 80 healing per second to affected targets. It makes a target of Mercy’s caduceus staff nigh invincible with 100 HPS output. And Ana’s own rifle nullifies 160 damage per shot on affected targets, making a beefy target nearly invincible during the duration.

Against enemies, it’s even better?—?it stops all healing. Genji trying to jump in and dash out with a sliver of health? Nail him with a biotic grenade as he reaches his Mercy, and he’ll be crying to his grave. That Zenyatta transcending into outer space? Ground him with grenade and make his ultimate worthless.

Healing is incredibly powerful in Overwatch, and Ana shifts its balance completely in your team’s favor with one well-aimed grenade.

Landing a biotic grenade can be tricky. While it’s a fairly fast projectile, it has a heavy arc and a small area of effect, making it tough to hit a large number of targets. That’s fair though, considering how effectively it can change the balance of power in a team fight.

Keep your biotic grenade handy for a variety of situations. It’s best used in a well-timed attack with your teammates, as coordinating an aggressive push with a breaking enemy Reinhart shield and a well-aimed grenade will gives your team a huge window to capitalize on vulnerable foes. The biotic grenade is also great for counter-engaging. If the enemy pushes into your team, hitting a few targets on both sides will put the fight on your terms.

Also, keep in mind that the grenade gives Ana some burst output, both in healing and damage. Ana may be spry for a 60-year-old, but her lack of mobility makes her a juicy target for enemy flankers. Landing a grenade on you and your foe is a huge swing in a one-on-one fight, or when saving a similarly pressured teammate. You can even combo it with the sleep dart if you find yourself in an unfavorable situation. Land the dart and you can guarantee 140 damage and 100 healing with a grenade and rifle combo.

Image via Blizzard

Nano Boost

On paper, few abilities are as scary as Ana’s ultimate, Nano Boost. When you hit Q as Ana, the Nano Boost infuses the target hero with a boost of damage output, rate of fire, and damage mitigation. When she was first introduced to the game, Nano Boost also increased hero speed?—?but that’s been nerfed, changing heroes most likely to be boosted.

The possibilities are endless when thinking about potential combinations. Boosting an ulting Genji was commonplace when Ana was first introduced, with the increased speed making him almost invincible. Now, the meta’s changed to favor heroes who don’t necessarily need the extra speed to do a lot of damage. Now, ranged heroes?—?like Soldier: 76, McCree, and Pharah?—?are more effective targets for the boost.

You’ll want to make sure your team, and more importantly, your target is ready when you’re about to Nano Boost. Make sure you hit the right one. It’s surprisingly difficult to hit the correct target, especially if your team is grouped up. Missing the expected target could cost you the game, so it’s important that your target knows it’s coming so they can help you land the shot.

While your teammate will need to take advantage of Nano Boost, it’s more intuitive than something like Sleep Dart. Giving someone the boost is a big sign you want your whole team to get in their and wreak havoc. Use your power wisely.

Ana will be a tough hero to master, in large part because most of her abilities require specific actions from your teammates. That said, using them in situations where it’s logical and easy for teammates to take advantage will pay lots of dividends if you’re queuing by yourself.

Players picking up Ana for the first time will likely find her a little underwhelming, but she’s a powerful hero once you figure out how to take advantage of her hidden power.

When you’ve finally mastered Overwatch’s most grizzled granny, make sure to partake in one of the great pastimes of the genre.

There’s always a place for a little tasteful teabagging.