As the hero who’s been added latest to the roster, Ana has an awkward spot in competitive. The two weeks after she came out, people shunned you and thought they had an insta-loss if you picked her. Even now, people still don’t want to acknowledge Ana for the amazing healer she is.
She’s hard to play because of her unique utility based playstyle. She supports through throwing off the balance in the fight, rather than just healing alone. It’s a steep learning curve, but it’s so damned fun if you get past that.
For the people who haven’t read it yet, I also released a guide on being a support in general. I strongly suggest reading this one before continuing this guide. Overwatch Healing Guide
I suggest you read that one first, before reading about the specifics of Ana.
This guide is organised as follows:
- Biotic Rifle
- Biotic Grenade
- Sleep Dart
- Nano boost
- Positioning and role
- When to pick Ana
Warning: I try to be as in-depth as possible. This means lengthy posts.
Healing: 75 HP per shot, 1.2 shots per second, 90DMG per second.
Damage: 80 DMG per shot, 1.2 shots per second, 96DMG per second.
Ammo: 10 shots
Ana’s main weapon, the biotic rifle. It’s designed to be a sniper that shoots healing rounds. As you can see by the DMG stats, it can definitely pack a punch, and when combined with the Biotic Grenade’s healing this baby heals very, very quick.
Ana’s sniper is made for both healing AND attacking, so you’ll often find yourself trying to do both at the same time. However, instead of trying both and failing at both, I generally prefer healing my team as much as I can, but as Ana has such a high firing rate and 10 shots to use, I usually end up shooting at enemies anyways. It’s a fine balance, and usually people who start with Ana skew too much towards attacking, and too little towards healing.
Another neat thing about Ana’s gun is the two different ways of shooting. When you’re unscoped, she shoots “slow” projectiles towards enemies. When you zoom in, these projectiles turn into hit-scans (meaning: if you aim at something, the moment you pull the trigger that something gets hit). In both scoped and unscoped cases, her hitboxes are very forgiving. You don’t have to aim 100% directly at your target. I definitely recommend starting a practise range and learning what your exact limitations are while firing at bots.
This amazing piece of gear is your bread and butter. Using it on tanks (no matter which team) racks up your ultimate faster than you can say Ana’s own rendition of the “justice rains from above” voice line. It’s also a great counter against Pharah as she needs just 3 hits to die, and she’s very easy to hit if she flies up. Mercy also dies very quickly. Turrets? You can easily snipe them from afar.
Now… I’ve explained how amazing this weapon is. But Overwatch wouldn’t be balanced if there weren’t downsides.And boy does this weapon have a downside. Thing is, you cannot hit enemies if other allies are in front of you. You cannot heal allies if other allies are between you and them. Your bullets stop at the very first target they encounter. This can cause you to accidentally heal the wrong hero, or prevent you from attacking the enemy because there’s people right in front of you. In order to use this weapon positioning is key key, and I’ll explain positioning later in this guide.
Healing: 100 HP, +100% healing for 5 seconds.
Damage: 60 DMG, no healing on target for 5 seconds.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
I don’t know who designed Ana, but please give that person an award. A woman that shoots you in the face with heals who also has a grenade that heals you? Wut?
Ana’s biotic grenade has wonderful uses. You can use it in so many varying situations. Just keep in mind that, just like your rifle, you only have 1 impact. If you hit anything, be it environment, ally or enemy, this thing activates.
Using the grenade’s healing capabilities, you can clutch heal any team member, big or small. Upon landing it instantly gives a chunk of life back to any ally that gets hit, and it allows you and any other healer to heal them even faster for a whole 5 seconds. If I see a tank getting heavy damage, I throw my grenade at him and start shooting him. It’s wonderful to see a tank go from (almost) zero to hero so quickly. If I’m almost down? Aim at the floor and self-heal.
Using the grenade’s anti-healing capabilities you can stop a Mercy from healing whomever, you can stop Roadhog and Soldier76 from healing themselves, you can even mess up a Mei’s ice-block if you hit her with a grenade before she goes in it! Any enemy that gets hit cannot heal! Amazing!
Let’s recap that last sentence. “Any enemy that gets hit cannot heal”. Now.. Let me sketch you a common scene and keep that sentence in mind.
Imagine we’re on King’s Row, pushing the payload. The timer says 0:10; only 10 seconds left. We’re all sweaty from the entire match. But this is it. Our last push. Ult check. Zarya has her ult. Perfect. We rush towards the enemies’ last stand. They also know this is the final moment. In the heat of the moment, our Zarya uses her ult and captures 5 heroes of the enemy team in it. Perfect! This is it…! This is our chance…! Our mome——– NOOO! THEIR ZENYATTA HAD HIS ULT READY!
And now we lost because we used our last ult and it got countered by Zenyatta. Any enemy that gets hit cannot heal. I wish we had something against that ult… Any enemy that gets hit cannot heal. Hmm… Any enemy that gets hit cannot heal.
I think you get it; Ana’s biotic grenade counters Zen’s ult.
Damage: 5 DMG, and slept for 5,5 seconds or until being hit.
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Upon hit, the sleep dart puts enemies in a deep sleep for 5,5 seconds. This is a very long time for a fight. You can basically create a 6v5, which is a HUGE advantage to any organised team. You can also use the sleep dart to counter ultimates. Roadhog firing his ult? Sleep him. Pharah and McCree getting ready/starting their ults? If you have good aim: sleep them. Reaper coming in? Genji? Try to predict where they’re going and sleep!
Using the sleep dart for self defence is very valuable as well. When you hear a flanker behind you, be aware. He often tries coming in close for easy hits, and this is when you can sleep them and run away.
The trick to being a helpful Ana is to master your timings with your sleep dart. Always be aware if enemies have their ult (or just used it). Enemies who have their ult are more important to sleep than anyone else. If there’s no ult about to be used, be aware of flankers. If you know the enemy team has a flanker and that flanker could be close, save your sleep dart for him. Neither of these apply? Try to sleep as many enemies as you can, preferably on “the outskirts” of the battle, so that when you sleep them they won’t be in the middle of the battle (creating a 6v5) or enemies that are heavily damaging your team members (sleep an enemy, save a life).
A very good trick to have up your sleeves is for when you already slept someone. The Shoot + Grenade + Punch combo deals a high amount of damage, and can be executed in such a short time that the enemy has no chance to heal.Even though it got nerfed, it still deals more than enough damage to have flankers retreat if you hit them with it.
Specific sleep dart moments to look out for
Against a shielding Reinhardt: When the enemy team is behind a Reinhardt, there’s often a moment in which your entire team reloads/takes cover for a split second. It’s usually in this moment where the Reinhardt tries to to hurt someone using his blast. If you time it right, you can snipe Reinhardt with your sleep dart as he uses his blast! No more shield for 5 seconds!
Against a charging Reinhardt: A charging Reinhardt kills squishies. A charging Reinhardt can deal heavy damage to a tank. Sleep him whenever you have the chance! It’s very easy to predict the movement of a charging Reinhardt, so use that to sleep him before he even hits the wall.
Against Roadhog: When Roadhog hooks you or a teammate, you just know lots of damage is incoming. If your teammate is hooked, instantly turn to the Roadhog to sleep him. This can save their life and allow them to run away. If I’m hooked myself, I still try sleeping Roadhog. Even though sleep dart has a small delay before firing, it’s small enough to sometimes save myself from Roadhog.
Damage: +50% DMG
Damage Reduction: -50% DMG
Movement speed: +30% speed
Duration: 8 seconds
Some people just want to watch the world burn, and Ana is one of them. She sets someone on fire and hopes for the flames to engulf the enemy team.
Before I explain how to use the Nano Boost, I want to say that you should focus on getting it as quickly as possible and using it in the first good situation where you can. I sometimes have my Nano Boost ready within 20 seconds due to continuous healing of our tanks and damaging enemy tanks. You can get your Nano Boost so quickly, it’s almost a shame not to use it. During an average match, I think I use it at least 8 to 10 times.
Nano Boost is very valuable if used correctly. Combining it with heroes who have their ultimates is amazing, as it not only sends their damage output sky high, it also increases their chance to stay alive (and thus having them use their ult to the fully extent). A reaper using his ult while Nano Boosted, for example, has the ability to wipe entire teams while moving quickly enough and having enough damage reduction to last for a long while.
Some good ult combinations:
- Torbjörn (Molten Core & Nano Boost? Heavy damage, almost unstoppable, mobile enough to chase characters around)
- Roadhog (Not for kills, but to push enemies away / create a chaos in which your team members can pick several targets)
Even when a hero doesn’t have his ult, a Nano Boost can be very valuable. A Reinhardt or Reaper deal massive damage when boosted, and so do Winston (on squishies), Soldier76, McCree.
However, there’s a side to Nano Boosting that a lot of players don’t get. A lot of new Ana players don’t understand that Nano Boost isn’t just about getting kills. I’m glad when my Nano Boosted target kills one or two people, but I often use it just to scare the enemy away or to heavily damage them and force them into retreating. Sometimes I even use it to save a tank when he’s very low on health. Give him the Nano Boost and quickly heal him to change the tide of the battle into your favor. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t kill too many people. It matters that you still have an equal amount or more heroes than the enemy team.
If I’d have to list all heroes in order of best to worst Nano Boost target, I’d make it look something like this:
- Winston (During his ult or when facing squishy enemies)
- Zarya (When she’s fully charged, and sometimes to draw aggro to her so she can charge quickly)
- Genji (Preferably during his ult)
- Torbjörn (During his ult is a good time though, if he’s in a good position)
Positioning and your role
Ana isn’t a frontline fighter like Tracer or Genji. She fits perfectly just a bit behind the team, staying covered as she has line of sight on all of her team members and a few enemies as well.
I always try to get a position where all my team members are in sight. If I don’t see everyone, I reposition to the safest position that allows me to. Sometimes this means being a bit more inside of where all the action happens, but never in front of the tanks. As I mentioned in my other guide, staying alive is very important as support and that means you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire. If you stand on the high ground you’re often in the best spot to see everyone, while still having enough cover to not get picked by the enemy team.
Due to Ana’s sleep dart, I personally feel secure enough to not always have to be covered. I stay aware of my surroundings and where enemies can hit me from, so I can sacrifice a bit of cover for just that more people in my line of sight. If an enemy tries coming for me, I have my sleep dart ready. When my sleep dart is not ready, I find myself going for cover again a little bit. It’s kind of like going back and forth between being more active in combat and being a bit more defensive. I do not suggest doing this until you feel comfortable with Ana.
Your role as support
As I stated before, a lot of people often skew too much towards attacking more as Ana. With my background as supporting Mercy and Lucio, I find myself focusing a lot more on healing. I make it my first and foremost goal to heal everyone and keep them alive, before I allow myself to “get lost” in the fight that’s happening. I find that an Ana that heals her team while supporting through good use of heal-denial with her grenade and sleeping the right targets has a way higher impact than an Ana that just tries to be a DPS.
Healing your teammates gets you your ultimate very quickly. Using your ultimate at the right times (and always, always call out to your teammates that you want to use it on them!) can change the fight in your favor, even though you’re not directly attacking the enemies yourself.
When to pick Ana
Ana is a great pick for Attack points and payload maps. She’s also very valid on defense, however I usually prefer to pick other Lucio or Mercy in these cases, as their ults impact the defense of the entire team.
I don’t use Ana as single healer that much, but I’m trying to figure out how to!
King of the Hill maps are usually my enemy, as Ana just doesn’t really shine as much in the close quarter combat. There’s not enough spots to safely stand in the current KOTH maps without being attacked from any possible direction AND still having eyes on your entire team, so I often find myself dying when I try to.
You also have to keep in mind that a big part of playing Ana is her Nano Boost. If there’s no teammates who are usefull to Nano Boost, it might be a better option to switch to a different healer.
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide and learned things from it. This concludes all of what I have to say about playing Ana. People requested in the comments of my previous guide that they’d love to see hero specific guides as well, so here is the first! I hope to finish the other three (Zenyatta, Lucio and Mercy) in the coming few days.