Since release, Overwatch had 21 Heroes, 4 of which were Supports. Two months after the launch of the game, a new Hero was released. She is Pharah’s mother, Ana, a Support sniper with one of the highest skill caps in the game, which will finally demand great aim from a Support player to be effective.
What can Ana do?
Ana’s primary attack heals any ally you shoot for 75 HP per hit, while dealing 80 damage to enemies. Ana can get off one round per second with 8 rounds in her clip. Similar to Widowmaker, you can use your secondary attack button to zoom in to make it easier to heal or damage enemies from long range.
Left Shift is a Sleep Dart, which does 5 damage and disables any enemy hit for 5 seconds on a 12 second cooldown. Sleep Dart isn’t very easy to hit because its hitbox is quite small. Also, if any damage is done to the sleeping enemy, he wakes up.
Ana’s Biotic Grenade, bound to E, is an AoE attack with a range of 3 meters, which flies in an arc similar to Junkrat’s primary or McCree’s Flashbang. If you hit enemies with it, it will deal 60 damage and stop them from being able to get healed for 5 seconds on a 10 second cooldown. If it hits your allies, however, it will heal them for 100 HP and improve healing done to them from all sources for 5 seconds.
Nano Boost is Ana’s Ult. Once it’s charged, you will see a targeting window similar to Zenyatta’s Shift or E. When you activate it on an ally, it’s will turn him into a juggernaut, increasing his movement speed, damage, and toughness.
Okay, but what can I do with these abilities?
You can do a lot. Seriously. While Zenyatta, Mercy, and Lucio can heal allies, they do it over time. Ana has no such problem. Her heals are instantaneous. She’s not purely a single target healer either, like Mercy or Zenyatta (Ult excluded) are. While you bread and butter healing tool, your primary, works on single targets, you can drop E into a bunch of your allies, to immediately restore 100 HP to all of them. If that wasn’t enough, you will be able to keep them up better by shooting them with your rifle for 5 seconds. If the team has an additional healer like Mercy, for example, that teammate could tank through some serious enemy fire for five seconds.
Another thing you can do to screw with your enemies is Grenading essential targets after their Zenyatta pops ult to let your team DPS them down. This brings up a serious niche that could possibly make Ana more or less mandatory in most high level situations. What happens if the enemy team has an Ana and yours doesn’t? You might have Mercy Lucio to their Mercy Ana, for example. A team fight is happening. Their Ana Grenades a couple of your players and their DPS start focusing them down. Now, none of your healers can do anything to save them. You’re in a really bad spot. Something else, let’s say that their Ana Ults her Roadhog to come and get you. You’re stuck focusing him down, but the problem is that you can’t do it effectively, especially if she also dropped a Grenade on him and Mercy is helping to heal through your team’s damage. What would happen if you had an Ana on your team? She would simply Sleep Dart the Hog. As long as nobody deals damage to him for 5 seconds, most of enemy Ana’s Ult will be wasted.
Now, let’s talk more about Sleep Dart. While I admit that it’s very hard to hit, CC is quite rare in Overwatch. It just so happens that Sleep Dart is one of the best. As long as you can hit it, you can stop numerous enemy ults or even ult combos. Ana is the ultimate rooster-block. Genji is Ulting? Sleep Dart. Winstone went bananas? Sleep Dart him. Zarya just Ulted and enemy Pharah activated her Ult? Go to sleep, Pharah, it’s past your bedtime.
Okay, so when do I play Ana?
While Ana can heal a lot, her heals are much harder to land than Mercy’s or Zenyatta’s, without even saying anything about Lucio. This means it unlikely that Ana is going to be the preferred solo healer. It’s much more likely that she will be a second or even third Support, combined with Mercy, Lucio, or Zenyatta. Of course, having a single Support on your team is hard. Three of them? Not bloody likely. Though who knows, Ana is actually a very fun champion.
That is not entirely a good thing, however. I suspect that it will be known as the “fun Support”, meaning people who aren’t necessarily good with it will play Ana whenever they are made to Support, forcing you into playing Mercy, Lucio, or Zenyatta, even though you might be able to do more with Ana.
One thing to remember – if your team has Ana and enemies don’t they are screwed, provided you can land some good Bionic Grenades. The same goes for the other scenario, where enemies have an Ana and you don’t.
Ana is very fun. Ana can do a lot to screw with the enemy team, while also being the only source of true burst healing in the game. Her skill cap, however, is extremely high. She requires sniper-player levels of aim, combined with a Support’s game sense, while also rewarding imaginative plays. If you like to play Support, be sure to pick up and git gud with Ana because she will definitely be a part of the meta, with the possibility of even defining it.