The first Hero to be released after Blizzard’s new IP, Overwatch, hit the market to overwhelming success, Ana is a Support sniper with a niche in CC, burst healing and heal denial, which could change the whole competitive meta once pros get comfortable with playing it.
While Ana is extremely fun and powerful, especially after the recent buff to her rate of fire and ammo capacity, she is one of the hardest heroes to play in Overwatch. While you can take Lucio and at least be useful to your team, Ana needs to be practiced or at least understood very well in order to be used to her full potential. Two of her abilities are skillshots. Without the ability to hit them consistently, you will be more or less useless to the team. I’m speaking for your future teammates when I implore you to NOT play Ana in Competitive until you spammed the hell out of it in Quick Play.
Ana’s weapon, Biotic Rifle, has two modes of fire, each dealing 80 damage to enemies and healing allies for 75 HP, without the ability to headshot to avoid her turning into a DPS Hero. When shoot in hip-fire mode with your LMB, her shots will act as linear projectiles, meaning that you will have to adjust for movement of your target, similar to Zenyatta’s orbs, just faster. Once you shoot it in scoped mode by pressing RMB, however, her shots become hitscan, which means that the shots hit as soon as you press Fire. In a recent buff, Ana’s rate of fire was buffed by 20%, to 1.2 rounds per second, increasing her clip by 2 (from 8 to 10 rounds). You should use the scope for targets which are far away or move a lot to make it easier to hit them, while stationary or close targets are better shot with hip-fire mode, usually.
Ana’s Shift ability, Sleep Dart, has so many applications that it’s staggering. Once you activate the ability, Ana quickly pulls out her sidearm and shoots it towards your cursor. Sleep Dart’s hitbox is small, it has a travel time and it has a short delay before release, making it quite hard to hit unless the target is a huge tank, stationary, or really close. Hit it you must, however, because if you don’t, it will go on cooldown for 12 seconds. If you DO hit it, Sleep Dart will deal 5 damage and knock out the target for 5.5 seconds, unless it takes damage. It takes 0.5 seconds for the target to wake up after receiving damage. Hitting the ability in the first place is a serious challenge, however, once you get good at it, you should start communicating with your team, calling out your target before launching the Dart, so that your team knows to cut all DPS to avoid accidental breaking of the CC. This ability is extremely powerful when hit consistently and not broken too soon. You can stop numerous ults with a press of Shift. It’s really powerful.
Ana’s E is Biotic Grenade. Once thrown, it moves in an arc and splashes anyone in its range, be it enemy or ally. If you hit an enemy, it will do 60 damage and debuff them, stopping them from getting healed for 5 seconds, allowing your team to burst them down. If you hit an ally, Biotic Grenade will heal him for 100 HP and increase their healing from other sources by +100%. Basically, if you hit your teammates with Biotic Grenade, other healers on your team will be able to sustain them through a lot of damage for five seconds. This ability is hard to hit at long ranges, however. Just like Sleep Dart, you need to practice doing it until you can hit Grenades consistently. Once you can hit Sleep Dart and Biotic Grenade in difficult conditions, feel free to take it to the Competitive Play mode, not before. Your teammates will thank you! You will be more useful on Mercy or Lucio before that happens!
Finally, Ana’s Ultimate is called Nano Boost. It’s a targeted hitscan ability, which increases the damage dealt by the buffed target by 50%, reducing their damage taken by 50%, and increasing the target’s movement speed by 30%. It lasts 8 seconds once activated. Some of the best targets to Nano Boost are Genji once he has Dragonblade up and wants to use it (like everything else when playing Ana, this will require communication), or Reinhardt, especially when he has his Earth Shatter.
Ana is a difficult Hero to position properly. On one side, it’s a sniper. Naturally, it should be played far back, where you can overwatch the battlefield, healing those who need it with your rifle. Yet, her Biotic Grenade and Sleeping Dart are much harder to hit over longer distances, pulling her towards close quarters combat. Seeing as her Shift and E are extremely useful, I would stay at the maximum range which still allows you to use them effectively. I must repeat myself once again, however. DO NOT play Ana in Competitive without practicing it a lot in Quick Play to get the hang of it. Numerous pros said that it’s a Hero with one of the highest skillcaps in the game. Don’t expect to just pick it up and pwn noobs with it unless you’re some kind of Overwatch savant, like Faker is over in the Summoner’s Rift.
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