GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Overwatch 2 - Zarya Hero Guide

Zarya is a tank hero who uses barriers to mitigate damage and power her main weapon.


Overwatch 2 has finally launched, bringing new modes, maps, and heroes to the hero shooter. It also changes the game to a 5v5, dropping one tank on each team, shifting the meta. While the strategies might be different, Zarya, a tank hero who can deal a ton of damage after mitigating damage, is still quite powerful. Here's how to best use Zarya in Overwatch 2. You can see how all heroes, including this one, stack up in our Overwatch 2 tank tier list, DPS tier list, and support tier list. Where did your favorite land?

Zarya overview

Zarya is a tank hero who uses her barriers to mitigate damage and increase the power of her main weapon, the Particle Cannon. The Particle Cannon either shoots a short-ranged beam or can fire projectiles with a bit more range. Zarya has two barrier charges that can be distributed to either teammates or herself. Damage taken by the barriers is converted into energy, which increases the damage output of the Particle Cannon. Her ultimate ability is the Graviton Surge, which fires a projectile that creates a gravity well that pulls enemies into and prevents them from leaving.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Overwatch 2 Launch Trailer

Zarya abilities

Particle Cannon: Main fire is a short-range linear beam. Alt-fire shoots an exploding ball.

Particle Barrier: Create a damage barrier around Zarya.

Projected Barrier: Create a damage barrier around an ally.

Graviton Surge ultimate: Launch a gravity well that pulls enemies in.

Energy passive: Damage blocked by barriers increases Particle Cannon damage.

To bubble or not to bubble

In Overwatch 2 Zarya has two charges of her barriers (sometimes referred to as bubbles) which she can disturb how she sees fit. The bubbles serve two purposes, which you will need to consider when choosing who to give them to. The first purpose is mitigating damage. While the bubble is on either you or a teammate, it will absorb a set amount of damage or go away after a certain amount of time, making the person with the bubble invulnerable. The second part is that the more damage it takes, the more charge Zarya gets, increasing how much damage she deals significantly. To maximize your bubble usage, you want to use them on someone who is getting shot at and taking a large quantity of damage. As the tank, you can always bubble yourself and charge the enemy for some easy energy charge.

The almighty beam

Zarya wields the Particle Cannon, a powerful beam weapon.
Zarya wields the Particle Cannon, a powerful beam weapon.

With a high power charge, Zarya's Particle Cannon deals a ton of damage, making Zarya a powerful damage dealer. In addition to that, since it's a beam weapon it goes through most damage mitigation and other reflect abilities like Genji's reflect. This makes Zarya a great counter to enemies like Genji or D.Va, who normally can mitigate most attacks thrown at them. Zarya can also use her weapon while she has a bubble on her, so you can use one of those to get in close to your enemies while not taking any damage. Zarya's health pool isn't as high as other tanks, but the bubbles make up for it if used properly.

Graviton Surge

Zarya's ultimate ability is functionally similar to something like Reinhardt's, where it sets the enemy team up to get taken down by the rest of your team. It doesn't deal damage, but it does pull enemies together if they are close enough to it, making them unable to leave. This can be combined with a high damage ultimate ability, like Reaper, Bastion, or Moira, to get a team kill or at least a multikill. The enemies need to be grouped up relatively close to each other to get pulled into the ultimate, so you will need to pick your spot. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the Graviton Surge is considered a projectile from the time it's fired until it lands. That means that it can be eaten by mitigation abilities or reflected by Genji, something important to keep in mind if the enemy team has those kinds of abilities.

Other Zarya tips

  • Both barrier charges can be used in rapid succession, but they cooldown one at a time.
  • Each Zarya barrier can give up to 40 energy charges if it is completely destroyed.
  • If you play aggressively as a tank, you might want to reserve both bubbles for yourself.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story