clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gaze into the Iris with our ‘handy’ Zenyatta guide

Handy. Because he uses his hands for his attacks. Do you get it

Zenyatta is a very good, very handsome Omnic boy, and he is one of Overwatch’s coolest and most fun characters. He is an awesome hybrid character who deals heavy damage while also healing his allies. Zenyatta is the ultimate hero that requires you to juggle a hundred things at once. If you love thriving in overwhelming situations, Zen is for you. Of course, once you pick with him, you need to learn how to win with him.

Zenyatta’s goal

Zenyatta is a long range, hybrid support character who needs to position carefully to keep his team alive while staying safe. His Orb of Discord and heavy damage means he can shred key targets (and counter tanks.)

Kit Breakdown

Zenyatta’s primary and secondary fire is Orb of Destruction. His primary fire is a single shot where he will throw orbs in a straight line. These are surprisingly easy to hit and require very minimal leading. His secondary fire is a charge up, where Zen will prepare multiple orbs to fire at once. When you release secondary fire, Zenyatta will launch his orbs at once.

Orb of Destruction is one of Zenyatta’s key abilities; if you are able to easily hit your orbs, you will be a great Zenyatta. If you struggle to hit your orbs, you will be missing out on a huge reason to play Zen. The secondary fire for Orbs of Destruction is very powerful but extremely difficult to hit. If you’re able to shotgun an enemy with them, you will find a lot of success.

But Zenyatta is a very squishy character, easily killed if he gets too close to the action. To solve this, try to stay in the back and weave your primary fire in-between your allies. Do not underestimate Zenyatta’s damage. He can easily kill low health characters and deal sustained, long range damage to most tanks as well.

His main healing ability is Orb of Harmony. Harmony is what we call a heal over time or a HoT. If you are looking for a lot of healing all at once, Zenyatta is not the dude for you. Instead, you are able to place Orb of Harmony on an ally. For the next few seconds, Orb of Harmony will heal them continuously. This leaves Zenyatta to do other things like attack.

Orb of Harmony is not as fire and forget as it sounds though. A good Zenyatta player will constantly be throwing their orb around between allies. Get that orb on your Tracer long enough to get them close to full before switching it over to someone else in need. You must constantly be juggling your orbs, tossing them too and fro between your allies in need.

Orb of Discord works very similarly to Orb of Harmony, but instead of healing your allies, it makes your enemies take additional damage. Place your Orb of Discord on your primary target or a high priority target for your allies. This will cause them to take far more damage than normal. Orb of Discord is a huge part of what makes Zenyatta such a threat.

Managing your two orbs is how you play Zenyatta. You should constantly be swapping between throwing an orb to an ally while swapping your Discord to a new enemy. Between your orb management, you should be attacking with your primary fire. Zenyatta players should essentially behave like they’re playing two games at once. The first is a normal game of Overwatch where they are firing at enemies with orbs. The second is Orb Simulator 2017 where you have to shuffle around your resources to keep your allies happy and your enemies dead.

Zenyatta’s most powerful heal comes in the form of his ultimate, Transcendence. When Zen pops his ultimate, he will gain increased movement speed and become immune to damage. However, he will be unable to use abilities. During this time, Zenyatta will have a healing aura around him that will quickly heal allies and himself.

This is a very powerful ability for teamfight healing. Transcendence is so powerful in fact that it can counter many other high damage ultimate abilities. Rocket Barrage? Transcendence can heal through that. Never underestimate the healing that Transcendence can provide. It is very rare that an ally will die under its effect.

When To Pick Zenyatta: Teammates and Match-ups

Zen is an awesome pick for most comps. He isn’t an awesome burst healer, so if your team will take extreme damage all at once from a character like an enemy Pharah or Doomfist, don’t pick him. However, Zen is perfect when you need more damage to take out enemy threats or big damage to take out tanks. He’s a fantastic secondary healer who complements a Mercy or Lucio well.

Stick Zenyatta with a Pharah, one of the harder characters to heal (without a devoted Mercy). Zen thrives at healing solo heroes like Pharah, Genji and Tracer. He can throw an Orb of Harmony on them and they can go do their thing. Zen is also great for healing up tanks like D.Va or Winston, as they have enough health not to get bursted through his Orb of Harmony.

Like most healers, you want to be very careful against high damage diving champions. The same allies that Zenyatta are great with can easily kill him. Pharahs, Widowmakers and Hanzos are especially dangerous however, as Zenyatta’s low movement speed makes him vulnerable to their long range, high damage attacks. If they choose to pick you off, you are going to have a hard time stopping them.

How to win with Zenyatta

Winning with Zenyatta isn’t terribly difficult or objective heavy. There isn’t really a secret to getting your Ws. Your skill with Zenyatta will boil down to two things: your aim and your ability to orb juggle. That’s it. That is how you win with Zen.

Getting your aim going is something you either have or you don’t. You can practice in the training arena but it’s something that you will naturally improve with as you play. Zen doesn’t require twitch movement the way that some of the sniper characters do. Instead, he just requires a consistent, steady aim over the course of a fight. If you can out-shoot your enemy, Zen will be a massive pain in their ass.

Orb management is something that takes a little more specialty time. This is an idea mostly unique to Zen. The best way to learn Zen is to play a bunch of Lucio. Try and pay attention with this much easier hero to who is in need and who is a threat. Get a sense of the game around you and trying paying attention to where your allies are, how they move and how they get hurt.

Once your game sense is on point, switch over to Zenyatta and watch in the same way. But this time you can’t just Amp it Up. You’ll need to be far more active in your healing, able to prioritize between who to heal and when to heal them. Zen’s usefulness will become apparent when you learn to heal your allies while making your enemies die faster.

Tips and tricks

  • Be ready to watch your Discord target. You can move it whenever you want, so switch to whoever your team is fighting, don’t just leave it on one target until they die.
  • Orb of Harmony is not a worthless heal, so don’t underestimate it. If an ally looks hopeless, still try throwing an orb their way, don’t forget that healing is your primary goal.
  • Always remember who has your orbs. If you threw it on a Genji and they went away to fight, they may be counting on those heals. Don’t forget to check the walls for allied health bars far away.
  • Keep your finger hovering over your ult, you can use it instantly to save an ally from some serious damage.
  • Watch your Transcendence positioning. The area is very big and you move very quickly, making it easy to hop between two fights at once.