A Beginner's Guide to Zenyatta

by theScore Staff Feb 6 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Peace be upon you, for omnic monk Zenyatta is about to sow discord among your team, and kill you with several steel orbs.

Don't let this metallic monk's status as a Support character fool you. While Zenyatta counts healing as part of his arsenal, he's more than capable of tearing through enemies with damaging attacks and a powerful debuff. Top it off with a powerful ultimate, and he is arguably one of the most versatile heroes in Overwatch.


Orb of Destruction is Zenyatta's primary attack, where he fires a single orb at a rapid rate. It's useful for providing covering fire to allies, since he can deal high amounts of damage while still healing.

Zenyatta's alternate attack is Orb Volley, which charges up to a maximum of five projectiles he fires at once. It's difficult to hit moving targets with the attack, but stationary enemies are prime picks for the relatively high burst damage it brings.

Orb of Harmony casts a healing orb onto a targeted ally, regenerating their health for a moderate amount every second. The effect lasts for as long as Zenyatta has the target in sight, ending three seconds after the target is out of sight.

Orb of Discord is a debuff ability that increases the amount of damage an enemy takes. Much like Orb of Harmony, the effect goes away three seconds after Zenyatta loses line of sight. The lowered defense is a bane for every enemy hero, but tanks in particular will suffer as their high health is no longer an advantage.

Zenyatta's ultimate is Transcendence. Upon activation, Zenyatta becomes immune to all damage, and heals his allies for an absurd amount over several seconds. In practice, the ultimate is best used to counter an enemy ultimate or to launch a coordinated attack.

When is Zenyatta a good choice?

Zenyatta's true strength lies not just in his healing, but in his ability to debuff enemies while providing solid damage on the side.

Zenyatta is a good choice when:

  • His team includes heroes that can deal high damage
  • The team needs damage alongside healing
  • Transcendence can negate multiple opponents abilities, allowing your team to more effectively defend or assault an objective

Zenyatta can be more difficult to play when:

  • He is a solo support, as Orb of Harmony does not provide rapid enough team healing on its own
  • The enemy is using flankers like Tracer and Genji, since he's not quick enough to outrun or survive their attacks

Zenyatta thrives in areas where:

  • He has good sightlines to effectively use Orb of Harmony and Orb of Discord, such as the Sanctum map on Nepal
  • He can defend a point through timely use of Transcendence, such as the final point on Assault maps

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.