When it comes to the Overwatch healers, the peaceful Omnic Monk known as Zenyatta proves one of the strangest and toughest to master.
Zen wields orbs that can make for a devastating offensive barrage when aiming these tricky shots properly. And let's not forget those buff and debuff orbs, which, when allocated properly, can subtly nudge momentum in your team's favor. Zenyatta also has one of the most effective Ultimates in the game with his potent area-of-effect healing move, Transcendence.
Still, while this Omnic can absolutely run the table with these abilities, he can get dropped quickly and often. Given his low health, slow speed, and unorthodox playstyle, it's easy to stumble with him. His vulnerability and more passive healing are traits can be tough for newcomers to wade through.
With this established, let's examine some of the most common blunders with this unique and amusing support hero, and how they can be fixed.
10 Getting Destroyed By DPS In The Backline
As a general rule, support Heroes in Overwatch should hang in the relative safety of the backline more often than not, especially Zenyatta. This is because of his rather sluggish movement and his low health, which can quickly be melted away.
Unfortunately, even for Zens who do follow this crucial guideline will often get harassed in the backline as the rest of the team pushing forward too far. A cheeky tracer or stealthy Sombra can be a Zen's worst enemy in this regard, as they can reach you quickly while making it tough to counter-attack. When this happens, be sure to either scramble farther forward to get assistance, or call for help via voicechat. Call for protective buffs like Brigitte armor or Zarya bubbles.
9 Moving To The Treacherous Frontlines
On the flip side of things, some Zenyattas tend to either get too worried about this backline pestering, or get a touch too arrogant and push too far forward. This is an absolute no-no unless you're using Transcendence or in a 1 v 1 situation with a hero you match up well with like D.va.
Getting too far ahead of the pack - or even slightly positioned at the frontline can make you susceptible to deadly potshots by any sniper or hitscan DPS worth their salt. You can also put yourself in a near impossible situation to scramble to safety for healing. If you do want to push closer to your group, at least hang a bit back or take cover behind a tank's shield.
8 Failing To Call Out Orb Placements
Communication in Overwatch is usually a beneficial way to improve your team's synergy, and thus, your chance at victory. But comms prove especially key with Zenyatta's uniquely passive/support playstyle. Of course, it's helpful for your team to know who you intend on healing with your Orb of Harmony.
Though more importantly than this is letting your squad know who you've debuffed with your Orb of Discord. Since this ability makes the target more vulnerable and weaker defensively, it's crucial your team knows who has this debuff so they can focus on taking them out quickly and efficiently.
7 Failing To Prioritize Orb Of Harmony Targets
Since Zen's healing abilities revolve around the slower and steadier healing-over-time vs straight up concentrated heals, it's important to plan ahead and allocate this properly. With the Orb Of Harmony, many less-seasoned Zens will simply toss this orb randomly about, or put them on a DPS that's already essentially doomed.
What you'll want to do instead is focus more on your beefier tanks for this crucial healing orb. Keeping your human shields and your damage sponges up longer will ultimately help everyone. If you do go for DPS players, target those who are on the frontlines and engaging in a key dive attack. It can also be useful for more nimble heroes that are harder for the opposition to hit, like Pharah and Genji. You'll typically want to avoid self-healing heroes like Bastion, too. Yes, he's a fellow Omnic, but he can fend for himself!
6 Being Too Exposed
As any frequent Zen player will tell you, his vulnerability can be his most frustrating trait, which can bog down an otherwise highly effective DPS healer. Sometimes it can be a struggle just to find a safe spot to post up - frontlines are usually trouble, while hanging too far back makes you an easy target for the craftier DPS opponents. It's a bit of a tightrope situation.
Typically, you'll want to hang somewhat behind, but remain as close to the group as possible, using them as protection. Hiding in corners as you fling orbs like a madman or in confined, indoor areas can also be helpful. Many Zens just find themselves drifting too far from the pack or in the middle of open areas, which good opposing teams will exploit.
5 Trying To Juggle Too Much
One of the most common mistakes with Zen players is that they simply try to handle too much at once. Since your Orb of Harmony and Discord will work on their own once placed, trying to quickly shuffle these around to as many teammates as quickly as possible usually works against you. Just focus on the smartest, most effective targets (especially if you have a primary healer to back you up, which should be the case!), and let the DOT work for a few seconds before switching.
In true Zen nature, you'll want to try and slow things down and take a peaceful, methodical approach with these orbs. Your straight-up DPS orb shots should of course also be mixed in while doing this. Still, despite Zen's potent offense and effective long-range shots, Harmony and Discord should be your main focus, unless the situation calls for focused DPS.
4 Failing To Utilize Counters
A vital component to being effective with Zen is to be aware of your counters, and of those you counter. Sombra and Tracer can be a nightmare for this slow, squishy Omnic; as can Hanzo, Soldier 76, and snipers. If you see the enemy using a couple of these, you may want to reconsider playing Zen; or play a more conservative game by hanging close to your squad. Many Zen players just will just ignore these pesky counters and will drop over, and over, and over again as a result...
You can also take advantage of heroes that you excel against, however. If the opposition runs a couple of off-tanks like D.va, Roadhog, and/or Winston, you can really flex your Zen muscle. Simply hang back and unleash a barrage of Discords and Orb Volleys, and watch their health melt away while your Ult charge quickly climbs.
3 Improper/Ineffective Usage Of Orb Volleys
Speaking of these offensive Orbs of Destruction, Zen possesses a satisfying and useful charge move with this attack called Orb Volley. One of the biggest mistakes newer Zen players tend to succumb to is to release the shot before the charge has completed, or simply neglect this ability completely.
You should mainly fire off the single, rapid-fire orbs on the squishier, DPS and healing targets, while often walloping tanks with fully-charged Orb Volleys. You should avoid doing partial charges at all - though this can be tricky in the heat of battle, given how long the charge takes (a few seconds).
Try to anticipate when your enemies will show up and charge your shot a bit before you think they'll pop in. That way you'll be ready to launch a devastating assault on your unsuspecting foe once they're exposed. Basically, when Zen is idle, you'll usually want to have a charge brewing.
2 Botching/Poorly-Timed Reloads
One prominent weak area for Zen is his small amount of rounds per clip and his cumbersome reload. It may not seem like much, but if you're a Zen that emphasizes DPS, you'll be reloading frequently; and it always seems to happen at the worst time in a heated fight. There's nothing more annoying as a Zen player than being handcuffed with a cycling reload animation as you desperately try to shoot on an empty clip.
This healer demands preparation and anticipation - and it's no different here. Just like with your Orb Volleys, you'll want to plan ahead and reload during your downtime. Make a habit out of reloading often, and be sure to mind how many shots remain in your clip.
1 Ineffective Ultimate Usage
Perhaps the biggest strength of Zenyatta is his highly effective AOE Ultimate. Thus, it's important to execute and milk as much value out of his Transcendence as you can muster. During the 6 seconds of duration, you'll want to make sure you try and cover as many teammates as possible. You'll be impervious to just about everything, so you can take advantage of this by swooping right into dangerous firefights to quickly aid your squad.
You can also resort to popping Transcendence as a sort of "get out of jail free card" if you're in trouble. While Zen heals himself automatically, good DPS players will often whittle down your health at a rate too quick for the self-healing to kick in. What you don't want to do with transcendence is - mindlessly pop it while another healer is using their Ult, when the team's already in good shape, or if they're spread all over the map.