Blizzard has officially announced Overwatch’s long-teased support sniper, Ana.
Those following Overwatch lore have already suspected that this is offensive rocketeer Pharah’s mother, previously known as Sombra. In Ana’s origin story, Blizzard confirms that she was friends (or worked) with Reaper, Soldier: 76, Torbjörn, Mercy, McCree, Reinhardt, and what appear to be Hanzo and Symmetra. For reasons unknown, she hesitated when sniping Widowmaker, who then shot her eye out. Believed to be dead, Ana has now reemerged to protect her daughter.
Ana’s abilities are almost entirely dependent on whom she is aiming at: Her Biotic Rifle heals any teammates she shoots, and damages (over a short delay) any enemies she shoots for equal damage, which was hinted at in the leadup to her reveal. It has 6 bullets per chamber, dealing 80 damage or healing over about a second.
She also carries a Biotic Grenade, which either boosts the healing capabilities of her teammates, or prevents the healing abilities of enemies, a direct counter to self-healers like Soldier: 76, Bastion, and Roadhog. It has relatively small range, does 60 damage, lasts 5 seconds, and has a 10 second cooldown.
Most surprisingly, she’s armed with a Sleep Dart, which is shown to cancel McCree’s Ultimate. If this is the case, it will likely have Ultimate-canceling capabilities similar to that of Roadhog’s Chain Hook. It does 5 damage, lasts 6 seconds (unless the enemy is in any way damaged), and has a 12 second cooldown.
Ana’s Ultimate Ability, Nano Boost, is fired at a comrade to temporarily boost their movement speed, attack damage, and damage absorption, which has the potential to make some non-tank heroes into tank hybrids, and tanks into super tanks.
Blizzard has given Ana a 3/3 star difficulty-to-play ranking, and despite her diverse toolbelt, this rating seems appropriate. Ana has only 200 health, and no exceptional movement capabilities. To get into a preferred sniping position like Hanzo and Widowmaker can with their own abilities, Ana will either require a boost from a teammate or some legwork. Her shots, grenade, and dart all require great precision, and they have long cooldowns, meaning each use has to count and be well-timed. This is exceptionally true of her Ultimate, which could easily be rendered useless if used on a character in a bad position. She’s the weakest damaging sniper in Overwatch, and is fairly vulnerable (which makes sense for a war-damaged, older ex-sniper); she can only defend by firing a sniper rifle at close-range and stalling with her Sleep Dart.
That said, if Ana has a team that looks after her, and she stays safely back and times her specials and shots (and hits her targets), Ana is a unique support whose incredible range means that she can turn the tide of a battle from afar. She is the first support in Overwatch with long-range capabilities, and her abilities are multi-faceted and powerful. She can’t carry a battle in any way, but she can certainly turn one.
Ana is not out yet, but she’s “coming soon.”