While every team should have at least one Support with two being more optimal in many cases, Lucio and Mercy used to more or less dominate as the most picked Support Heroes, with Symmetra seeing some play on Defense, before the first point is taken due to her teleport. Zenyatta got a little bit forgotten about, which is a crime because it’s the most fun to play besides Lucio, in my opinion.
Having said that, there were good reasons WHY Zenyatta was almost never picked. The robot has 150 life, which is the smallest health pool in the game. With the popularity of McCree and Widowmaker, Zenyatta was a frag donor. Things changed, however. While Zenyatta still dies to McCree and Widowmaker, these heroes are played less due to the recent nerfs, giving the omnic monk some breathing room.
Before we dive in properly, you should know a couple of things about this Support. First of all, Zenyatta is very aggressive. Make sure you have a very good reason to play her on defense. Second, never play Zenyatta if your team doesn’t have a Lucio or Mercy to help you heal because healing is more of an afterthought than what this hero does, really. Different from Mercy, Zenyatta is much better at getting enemies killed than healing allies.
Okay, we can talk about Zenyatta’s abilities now. Her “weapon” is called Orbs of Destruction. It has two modes, left-click or right-click. The monk has 20 rounds of ammo, shooting approximately 3 orbs per second, dealing 45 damage each, and headshotting for 2x the damage. That’s 135 damage per second in body shots. While Zenyatta’s orbs do have a travel time, they move quite fast. Personally, it’s easier to hit an enemy with Zenyatta than it is with Lucio.
If you click the right mouse button, Zenyatta will release a bigger Orb Volley, that will deal 35 damage; however, if you keep the button pressed and charge the attack until 5 orbs are charged up (you can see them appear around your screen), you will do 175 damage. DPSing targets from far away is much better than fighting up close because Orbs don’t change their trajectory, their damage doesn’t fall off, and they move quickly enough that enemies can’t really dodge them if you aim well. It’s weird, but Zenyatta actually does decent damage if you can pull it off. Just don’t get bloodrage, going for kills instead of healing allies when you can.
Speaking of healing, Zenyatta’s Left Shift is called Orb of Harmony. When you press it when targetting close to an ally, The Omnic releases a healing orb, which will heal any friendly target it attaches to for 30 health per second. While it’s somewhat a press and forget ability, the Orb of Harmony WILL return to you if you lose line of sight of the ally you’re healing for 3 seconds, die, or put it on someone else. The biggest juggling act for Zenyatta is moving the Orb of Harmony to different allies to avoid overhealing as that would be wasteful, while also staying safe behind cover and attempting to refresh line of sight every couple of seconds or so.
If Zenyatta sows Harmony among her allies with her Left Shift, her E ability, Orb of Discord, seeds… discord in the ranks of her enemies. By pressing E when your crosshairs are close to the desired enemy, Zenyatta hurls this nasty Orb towards the target, revealing the hero even if he’s behind cover and making him take 50% more damage from you and your teammates. It works in a similar manner to Orb of Harmony, as the Orb will return to you if you lose line of sight for more than 3 seconds. This ability makes Zenyatta a very good pickup against tanky enemy lineups or annoying but squishy heroes who can’t easily duck LoS, like Pharah.
Zenyatta’s Ultimate ability is Transcendence. Once activated, the Omnic monk become invincible for several seconds and provides his team with an AoE heal that restores 100 health per second, for 6 seconds. When Transcended, Zenyatta can’t attack, only being able to move. Also, she can’t be affected by some CC, while Knockbacks still work. While Transcendence can heal through several offensive Ultimates, it doesn’t work if your ally gets hit by more damage than he has health at once. Pharah’s Barrage is fine, while Tracer’s Pulse Bomb is not. You shouldn’t be too tight with your Ultimate. Zenyatta spends a lot of time in combat, so it charges quite quickly.
While Zenyatta’s abilities aren’t that difficult, keeping track of everything in the middle of battle with the lowest health in the game paired with no mobility and the Ult as your only way to defend yourself from damage is. If you start getting targeted by mobile offensive Heroes like Genji or Tracer, don’t try to run, you won’t succeed. Instead, E them in the face and go to town with Orb of Destruction. While you won’t often kill them, you might soften them up enough for your teammates to take them out. Also, stay as far back as you, with the best vantage point of the battlefield you can get to safely, as that should let you optimize line of sight on both enemies and teammates.