The Ultimate Overwatch Winston guide

overwatch winstonActivision Blizzard

Winston has become the face of Overwatch in many ways, but playing him can be a bit tricky. This guide has some hypotheses and deductions for you to master our favorite scientist. 

Overwatch is full of great Tank heroes, but perhaps none can be more rewarding and fun to play than the game’s poster child, Winston.

The high-flying scientist can be a bit challenging though, and can be easily punished if played incorrectly. To prevent this, and master the monkey, here’s a full guide on Winston’s gameplay, abilities, lore, skins, and more.


Overwatch Winston lore

winston and lucioActivision Blizzard
According to his lore, there are other genetically modified monkeys out there just like Winston, but they turned on him.

A product of science, rejected by his fellow creations, found home anew with the Overwatch team. Winston’s story is one of optimism and possibility, despite his oftentimes less-than-ideal reality.

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Winston was created among a group of scientists at Horizon Lunar Colony, where he developed above-average cognitive function and was taught science and learned about the Earth from his creator, Dr. Harold Winston.

However, the other gorillas that had been tampered with struck back against the scientists, taking the facility by force and rejecting Winston, who took his creator’s name as he fled.

From there, Winston ended up with the Overwatch team, helped Tracer with her chronal accelerator, and has helped lead the team on many missions. An optimist and a lover of peanut butter, Winston is the beacon of hope that all players see immediately when they login to the game.

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Winston’s weapon

The Tesla Cannon is one of the less conventional weapons in all of Overwatch. While it doesn’t require as much aim as others, it can still do a shocking amount of damage over time.

Tesla Cannon

  • multi-target beam
  • 100 ammo per clip
  • 1.7-second reload
  • 60 damage per second
  • 20 shots per second
  • 8-meter max range

NOTE: Winston’s Tesla Cannon can not deal head shot damage and fires as long as a player holds down the trigger.

Overwatch Winston abilities

winston primal rageActivision Blizzard
Winston’s Primal Rage can be used for a variety of different things, but is best used to displace enemies and initiate team fights

Winston is typically utilized in a dive style of gameplay, getting him to enemy backlines to wreak havoc. Use his abilities to get in, create chaos, and get out.

  • Jump Pack
    • 1 damage from jump, 1-5 damage from landing
    • 18-22 m max range
    • 5-meter area of effect
    • 6-second cooldown, 2 seconds with Primal Rage active

NOTE: Winston leaps in the air, dealing damage and staggering enemies when he lands. This can be used more frequently during his ultimate.

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  • Barrier Projector
    • 700 health
    • 5-meter area of effect
    • 9-second duration
    • 13-second cooldown (begins immediately after use)
    • Not usable during Primal Rage

NOTE: Winston creates a large bubble-like barrier that absorbs damage until destroyed. Allies inside the barrier can shoot through it.

  • Winston Ultimate Ability: Primal Rage
    • Health increases to 850
    • Gains 150 armor
    • 40 damage per swing
    • +30% movement speed
    • 10-second duration

NOTE: Winston becomes filled with rage, only able to do damage with his fists. He gains a massive amount of health as is able to jump much more frequently during his ultimate, at the cost of being able to use his barrier.

How to play Winston: Overwatch tips

winston overwatchActivision Blizzard
Winston is a character best played on the move, never stay in one place too long!

Winston is a tank that is best used in a dynamic way. Always moving and looking for ideal matchups to exploit. His playstyle is most similar to D.Va and Wrecking Ball.

A good Winston player will look for one of two things, either weak backline Support heroes to jump on, or favorable DPS matchups like Genji or Widowmaker. Other Tank heroes will be able to deal with Winston rather easily on his own, so make sure to avoid solo fights with other tanks if possible.

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When going for a dive, it’s key to have your abilities all ready to use. A good sequence to stick with is starting with Jump Pack, dealing landing damage to a Support or DPS hero, immediately dropping Barrier Projector, getting a kill or forcing ability use, then jumping out again with Jump Pack.

This will prevent any peel from tanks, and get you back to your teammates to get healing. Don’t overstay your welcome as Winston, as he’s a large target and easily burst down.

Overwatch Winston skins

Name Tier Cost Skin
Winston Red Planet Rare 75 winton red planet
Winston Atmosphere Rare 75 winston atmosphere
Winston Banana Rare 75 winston banana
Winston Forest Rare 75 winston forest
Winston Desert Epic 250 winston desert
Winston Horizon Epic 250 winston horizon
Winston Undersea Legendary 1000 winston undersea
Winston Frogston Legendary 1000 winston frogston
Winston Explorer Legendary 1000 winston explorer
Winston Safari Legendary 1000 winston safari
Winston Gargoyle Legendary 1000 winston gargoyle
Winston Catcher Legendary 1000 winston catcher
Winston Werewolf Legendary 1000 winston werewolf
Winston Yeti Legendary 1000 winston yeti
Winston Wukong Legendary 1000 winston wukong
Winston Specimen: 28 Legendary 1000 winston specimen 28
Winston Flying Ace Legendary OWL Tokens winston flying ace

Winston Overwatch 2 Changes

winston overwatch 2 changesActivision Blizzard
Winston’s Overwatch 2 changes, up close and personal

Winston, along with many other heroes, is getting a bit of a makeover in Overwatch 2.

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The most identifiable changes are to his armor. It used to feature the logo of Horizon Lunar Colony, but now features only the Overwatch logo, a nod to his lore to be sure.

Additionally, his jetpack now reads “A-07” where it used to read “A-60.”

These changes, along with some sharpening and what looks to be Just For Ape black hair coloring, make Winston feel a bit more polished, like the leader he needs to be. These aesthetic changes come alongside sweeping ability changes coming for tanks in Overwatch 2, according to developers.

Fancy trying your hand at other epic heroes from Overwatch? We’ve got a whole host of guides to help you master their unique playstyles right here: Ana | BaptisteD.Va | Genji | Lucio | Mei | Mercy | Moira | Reaper | ReinhardtSombra | TracerWidowmaker