Overwatch: How to play Echo, the game’s newest hero
It’s been nearly a year since Overwatch added a new character to its roster, and many assumed we just wouldn’t see any major updates to Blizzard’s hero shooter until the sequel’s release. But three weeks ago, a brand new character called Echo was made public on the PC’s Public Test Region. Starting this week, she’ll be available on all four platforms (though it’ll still take a couple of weeks before she can be played in the game’s competitive modes). Echo will be the final hero released before Overwatch 2, so it’s likely we won’t be seeing any new characters for quite a while after today.
We’ve been testing and analyzing Echo’s kit and playstyle since she made her PC debut. In this guide, we’ll break down her abilities and provide some tips and tricks to help you work with a friendly Echo, or counter Echo on the enemy team.
Echo is an advanced artificial intelligence housed inside a sleek, streamlined frame. The magnum opus of Dr. Mina Liao, her creator intended Echo to be capable of learning from her environment and adapting to any situation she comes across. At some point before the fall of Overwatch, Echo was placed into stasis because of the threat she represented if her programming were corrupted by a malevolent AI.
Echo made her debut in the 2018 short film “Reunion,” which also introduced Ashe and B.O.B. to the world. Although many assumed she would be a Support character based on her design, the final version of Echo is instead a fast, mobile assassin. She’s a real glass cannon, capable of dealing incredible damage but quite fragile on her own. When played well she’s nearly unstoppable, but her high skill ceiling means players will have to be at the top of their game to realize her full potential.
Let’s take a look at her abilities. Keep in mind everything here is subject to change as the developers continue tuning Echo to fit in with the rest of the cast.
Mobile weapons platform
Echo’s greatest asset is her mobility. She’s second only to Pharah in her ability to dominate the skies, though her attacks are more suited to harassing and removing threats than area denial. True to her programming, Echo is one of the most versatile damage characters on the roster. She can be used as a speedy flanker, or played in a dive composition to help focus key targets before the enemy can respond.
Her wings aren’t just decorative. Echo can take to the skies almost at-will using her movement ability, Flight. This skill allows her to boost herself in any direction once every six seconds, and she can continue gaining altitude by holding the jump button for a few seconds after the initial ascent. She can also descend during this period by pressing the crouch button while airborne.
Her passive ability, Glide, is similar to Mercy’s Angelic Descent. It lets Echo fall more slowly by holding the jump button, and gives her greater freedom of movement in the air. Game director Jeff Kaplan likened Mercy’s descent to a parachute, while Echo’s is more like a hang glider.
Pressing the Flight button while the ability is still active will cancel it immediately and begin the cooldown for Echo’s next Flight. This can be useful if she doesn’t need the full boost to get where she wants to go, and ensures Echo will have her most important ability ready to go when she needs it. Flight is Echo’s only means of escape, so it shouldn’t be used without good reason.
Basic machine learning
Echo’s primary fire is called Tri-Shot, a projectile weapon which fires out of her right pointer finger. As you might expect, triggering this attack will fire out three shots at once in a triangle pattern. The shots are very accurate, but spread apart from one another the farther they travel. Their speed is comparable to Genji’s Shurikens, though they move slightly faster and their tighter pattern means it’s a little easier to hit a moving target with multiple shots. Echo can fire up to three times per second, and can launch 15 bursts of Tri-Shot before she needs to reload.
Connecting with Tri-Shot will do 17 damage to an unarmored target for each pellet that makes contact with an enemy. Landing all three pellets deals 51 damage per shot, and the pellets are capable of dealing double damage if they hit an enemy’s head or other critical areas (e.g. Bastion’s rear in turret form). If all of her pellets find an enemy’s head, Echo can take down a 200 health character with just four shots. Tri-Shot can be absorbed by Sigma and D.Va and deflected by Genji. Paired with damage amplifying effects from Mercy, Zenyatta, Baptiste, or Orisa, even Echo’s most basic ability becomes incredibly deadly.
Fetch the stick
Echo’s alternate fire lets her launch a series of six glowing Sticky Bombs at her enemies, once every six seconds. Each bomblet will deal 5 damage if it makes contact with an enemy and explode for an additional 25 damage one second later. Sticking all six bombs will deal a whopping 180 damage, though the chaotic nature of an Overwatch match means this isn’t likely. The bombs also do minimal splash damage thanks to their 2 meter explosion radius. Sticky Bombs will travel in a perfectly straight line until they hit an enemy or something in the environment, and have no effect on friendly players. However, Echo can hurt herself if she’s standing too close to her own bombs when they detonate. She’ll take half the normal damage (about 12 per bomb) if one goes off nearby.
Like Tri-Shot, Sticky Bombs can be deflected by Genji and absorbed by D. Va and Sigma. Bombs will stick to barriers, so Reinhardt and Brigitte can drop their shields temporarily to make the bombs fall to the ground (This usually isn’t worth it though- we’ll go into why a little farther down). Similarly, many escape abilities will cause sticky bombs to drop to the ground and explode harmlessly. Reaper and Moira can fade out of harm’s way, even after being stuck.
Tracer can Recall to escape bombs, Sombra can Translocate, and Doomfist can trigger Meteor Strike to save himself. Mei’s Ice Block protects her from harm, though a sneaky Echo can time her bombs to explode right after the Ice Block expires. Zarya’s bubble shields will absorb a full volley of bombs, though she’ll still take damage if she doesn’t time her barrier correctly, or if it’s depleted before the bombs activate. Because of this, it can be beneficial to go against conventional wisdom and shoot at Zarya’s shields when you have an Echo on your team. Finally, Symmetra’s teleporter has no effect on Sticky bombs. Travelling through a teleporter won’t remove enemy bombs, and the bombs cannot travel through a friendly Symmetra’s teleporter.
Echo’s other attack is called Focusing Beam, and it’s intended as a follow-up once one of her enemies has already taken some damage. Focusing Beam has a slightly longer cooldown than most of Echo’s other abilities, refreshing once every eight seconds. The beam has a range of 20 meters and deals 50 damage per second over 2.5 seconds, provided the target is above half of its maximum health. It’s when a target is below this threshold that Focusing Beam really starts to turn nasty.
Whenever Echo uses Focusing Beam on something below half health the damage quadruples, dealing 200 per second to anything in her path. This is more damage than a fully charged Symmetra beam, and it extends nearly twice as far. It’s worth pointing out that the target of Focusing Beam doesn’t need to be a player; it’s a great tool for burning down enemy barriers and constructs as well. If you see cracks forming in an enemy barrier or Mei wall, trigger Focusing Beam and watch it melt away.
Unlike Echo’s other attacks, Focusing Beam cannot be absorbed or deflected. This makes it an excellent tool for dealing with D. Va, Sigma, and Genji until their projectile spoiling abilities expire. Focusing Beam can also be cancelled early by hitting the same button used to trigger it. This can be useful if you’ve already finished off a target and want to start the cooldown a little sooner, or if you want to switch to another form of attack.
Copy protection offline
Echo’s ultimate ability is called Duplicate, and it allows her to temporarily take on the form of an enemy hero. For the duration of her ultimate, Echo gains access to the weapons, abilities, and even the ultimate attacks of one of her enemies. It’s an incredible tool to have at your disposal, and Echo feels especially rewarding in the hands of someone who’s put time into multiple heroes rather than specializing in just one or a handful of favorites.
When Echo triggers her ultimate ability, she becomes temporarily invulnerable while switching and then becomes a full-health copy of the targeted enemy for a maximum of 15 seconds. This gives her access to all of that character’s cooldowns, and Echo’s ultimate charge rate is boosted by 650% as long as she’s copying another character. This means she can sometimes earn multiple ultimate attacks during her transformation, especially when copying characters who already charge quickly such as Tracer and McCree.
You can’t use her ultimate to become a copy of a friendly character, and she can’t copy turrets, enemy Echoes, B.O.B., enemies which have already been eliminated, or any character behind a barrier shield. This is why Reinhardt and Brigitte should refrain from dropping their shields if they think Echo might be waiting to copy them. There’s no danger of mistaking an Echo copy for an ally, though the copy does use the same skin as the targeted player. Echo copies appear to be constructed of glowing, team-colored pixels and have a chunky, blocky effect applied to them. As long as Echo is copying an enemy, that enemy is prevented from switching to another character in the spawn room.
If Echo copies a character who can deploy a long-term object such as Torbjörn’s turret, Ashe’s B.O.B., or Baptiste’s Immortality Field, she’ll be able to call in those objects, but the same rules apply to her as the original and she can only have one active at a time. Any objects Echo summons or projectiles she fires while copying an enemy will remain on the battlefield for four seconds after she reverts. This is usually less time than a normal ultimate ability takes to complete, so it’s best to use duplicated ultimates quickly after earning them. There are many interesting interactions regarding specific characters’ ultimates and deployables, we’ll go into these below.
After 15 seconds or if Echo is damaged down to 1HP while copying another player, she’ll revert back to Echo with the same temporary invulnerability. Any ongoing effects such as Ashe’s dynamite fire or Ana’s biotic grenade will be cleared when she reverts, as will any beneficial effects such as Zenyatta’s healing orb. She’ll be fully healed, and all of her cooldowns will be reset when she reverts. Triggering Echo’s ultimate can act as an escape ability in a pinch, though it’s usually better used to shift the balance in a team fight or press the advantage near an objective. No matter how you use it, it’s like getting an extra life when Echo reverts back to her normal form.
Specific Duplicate interactions
Many of Echo’s Duplicate targets have some quirk which you might not be expecting. This isn’t a complete list, but hopefully it’ll answer some questions you might have.
- Copying D. Va will start Echo with a fully healthy M.E.K.A. suit, even if she copies a D. Va who has been de-meched.
- Orisa’s Halt projectile will continue to move if it was fired before Echo reverts, but she won’t be able to trigger the pull function as Echo. It will still pull enemies if it detonates after hitting a wall or another piece of the environment. The Protective Barrier will remain until four seconds have passed or until it’s destroyed.
- Reinhardt’s Earthshatter ultimate is one of the few worth waiting until the end of your Duplicate timer for. If you time it right, you can stun the enemy team and then follow up with Echo’s high damage output to secure several eliminations all by yourself. Although much more risky, it’s also possible to use Charge to pin an enemy into an environmental hazard and then use Flight to escape the pit yourself after you revert.
- Sigma’s Gravitic Flux will not complete if Echo reverts midway through the ability. However, because it takes captured opponents down to half health, it works particularly well with Focusing Beam.
- Wrecking Ball’s Minefield remains in place for 10 seconds, and you can start charging a new ultimate as soon as the mines pop up. If you deploy a new minefield while the old one is still active, the first set of mines will disappear.
- Similar to Reinhardt’s ultimate, Zarya’s Graviton Surge will remain for a few seconds after Echo reverts. Skillful players can time their reversion to follow up on their own Graviton Surge, and Sticky Bombs do wonders against a group of clumped-up enemies. Both of Zarya’s barriers will disappear immediately when Echo reverts.
- Ashe can cause lingering effects with her Dynamite and B.O.B., and it’s not hard to earn multiple ultimates during the 15 seconds Echo has to work with. As long as B.O.B. has some health left when Echo reverts, he’ll stay on the field for 4 seconds past the time Echo is no longer duplicating Ashe. Keep in mind you can only have one B.O.B on the field at a time, though you can call in a new one if the first gets low or if you’d prefer a different location for him. Additionally, if you set yourself on fire using Ashe’s Dynamite the effect will be cleared once Echo reverts, so don’t be afraid to use it at close range.
- Doomfist’s Meteor Strike ultimate will not trigger if Echo runs out of time before activating it. Instead, she’ll transform back to Echo in the center of the targeting reticle.
- Hanzo’s Dragonstrike ultimate will continue on its path for four seconds after Echo reverts. If she fired a Sonic Arrow before reverting, its effect will continue briefly as well.
- Junkrat’s Concussion Mine and Rip-Tire will both explode if Echo runs out of time before detonating them. The Steel Trap will remain in place for four seconds, though a trapped character will be freed when it disappears. Dying as Junkrat does not trigger his Total Mayhem (bomb drop) passive ability, instead Echo just reverts to her regular form.
- Mei’s Ice Wall and Blizzard ultimate will remain on the field after Echo reverts. Frozen enemies are easy to finish off with Tri-Shot and Focusing Beam, so it may be worthwhile to try and time Blizzard towards the end of your duplication.
- Pharah’s primary fire rockets will land wherever they were fired when Echo reverts, but the missiles from her Barrage ultimate disappear as soon as she changes back to Echo. On the plus side, Echo doesn’t need to worry as much about killing herself with Barrage. Because she’ll revert if she takes too much damage, she can be more aggressive with the ability than Pharah.
- Soldier: 76’s Biotic Field will remain in place for a few seconds after Echo reverts if it’s placed at the very end of her duplication. Because she is restored to full health when she reverts, however, this is less useful than it seems.
- Anything Echo hacks as Sombra will remain hacked for 4 seconds past Echo’s reversion. She can freely use the Translocator, but it will disappear as soon as she reverts.
- Assuming they aren’t destroyed, Symmetra’s Teleporter, Sentry turrets, and Photon Barrier will all remain in place for 4 seconds after Echo reverts. It’s also worth noting that only one Photon Barrier ultimate per team can be active at a time. If you have a friendly Symmetra on your team and they trigger their ultimate, it will overwrite yours, and vice-versa. You will also overwrite your own Photon Barrier if you earn a second while the first is still active.
- Torbjörn’s turret and the slag from his Molten Core ultimate will remain in place after Echo reverts. Unlike most deployables, Echo can place multiple Molten Cores with a single activation of her ultimate, and the older one will remain in place. This is a fantastic area denial tool, and makes Torbjörn one of Echo’s better Duplicate targets.
- Ana’s Sleep Dart and Biotic Grenade effects will both remain briefly after Echo reverts. Using Nano Boost on a friendly target will cause Ana to stop earning ultimate charge, so you can’t Nano Boost multiple team members at once unless there’s also a natural Ana on your team. Keep in mind that if Echo transforms or reverts while under the effect of a Nano Boost the benefit will be lost, so it’s a good idea for Echo to coordinate with her Ana and make sure they’re both on the same page before using it.
- Baptiste’s Immortality Field and Amplification Matrix both remain after Echo reverts, as does the heal-over-time effect from his Regenerative Burst. Both Sticky Bombs and Tri Shot can be boosted by Amplification Matrix, so Echo should try to place it somewhere she can take advantage after she’s reverted.
- Brigitte’s Rally armor will not remain on teammates when Echo reverts, and she’ll lose the benefit as soon as she changes. The temporary armor provided by Repair Kits will remain, however, as will the heal-over-time effect triggered by Inspire.
- Similarly, Lucio’s Sound Barrier will not remain on teammates, nor will a reverted Echo retain the extra health it provides.
- Moira’s Biotic Orbs will bounce around for a few seconds after Echo reverts, though Coalescence will end immediately once Echo is no longer copying Moira. Try to use Coalescence early since it has a long casting time and you’ll only have time to use it once.
- Similarly, Zenyatta’s Transcendence will end abruptly if you run out of time before it’s completed. His orbs of Harmony and Discord will also disappear when Echo reverts.
Working with Echo
For the most part, you can use the same strategies and synergies with Echo as you would with a friendly Pharah. Ground-based supports like Lucio, Moira, and Baptiste will find it difficult to heal her, so ranged healers such as Ana, Brigitte, and Zenyatta tend to work better. Mercy pairs beautifully with Echo, particularly when she can use her staff to amplify Echo’s damage. A Mercy who’s pocketing Echo may find it hard to heal the rest of the team, so choosing a second main healer for the other four players is usually a good idea.
Echo’s versatility means she fits in well with most team compositions. Depending on the need, she can harass healers, duel with other Damage heroes, burn barriers to give friendly snipers a clean shot, or just scout the enemy team and provide information from her bird’s-eye view.
Since Echo fits so well into a Dive composition, she works best with fast-moving tanks such as Winston, D. Va, and Wrecking Ball. Her versatility allows her to take angles and positions the enemy may not expect, and her high damage potential can cause nightmares if she can consistently harass their back line. Her low health pool and lack of escape options mean she really shouldn’t play too far from the rest of the team, though. Playing as Echo isn’t all that different from playing as Genji; you’ll fare a lot better if you keep your escape options open and make sure you know how to get to the closest health kit in a hurry.
Echo fares poorly when she’s forced into a composition which can’t take advantage of her fantastic mobility. If your tank line consists of some combination of Reinhardt, Roadhog, Orisa, Zarya, or Sigma, consider choosing a different damage character for this round.
Because she has no hitscan attacks, it can often be a good idea to choose a hitscan character to complement Echo as a second Damage hero. Ashe, Widowmaker, McCree, Soldier: 76 and Sombra are all good choices. Sombra is a particularly deadly ally since she can call out low-health targets for Echo to finish off with Focusing Beam. It’s possible to create a “death from above” composition consisting of Echo, Mercy, and Pharah, but be mindful of enemy hitscan players since they’ll frequently have a clear shot at you as you zip through the sky.
Although Echo can be deadly in the right hands, she’s not invincible. Long range hitscan characters like Ashe and Widowmaker are her greatest weakness, especially because she has to get fairly close to use her most damaging attacks. Using Sombra to hack her is another excellent choice, especially since Echo is so reliant on her abilities. It also helps that Sombra can’t be Duplicated while she’s invisible. If you’re not confident in your aim, pick Soldier: 76 or McCree, play for their ultimates, and use the auto-aim features of their ultimate abilities to shut Echo down. If this still isn’t working, Torbjörn’s turret can cause her problems if it’s placed well.
If you’re not playing as a Damage character, you can still choose Tanks or Supports that can make life difficult for Echo. Ana is easily the best Support to counter Echo. Zooming in with Ana’s scope turns her Biotic Rifle into a hitscan weapon, and three body shots on Echo is enough to bring her down. Ana’s Sleep dart is also a great counter to Duplicate, robbing Echo of a lot of its value. Hitting a Duplicating Echo with a Biotic Grenade makes her much easier to focus and can knock her out of Duplicate early.
Baptiste isn’t quite as good as Ana at dealing with Echo, but he’s pretty close. His primary fire is a hitscan weapon, so he can plink away at her from range. Amplification Matrix will help him bring her down with ease, and Immortality Field can deny the value of her ultimate. It helps that both Ana and Baptiste do burst healing, which helps to nullify the big bursts of damage Echo can generate.
If you’re tanking against Echo there are fewer options. Her mobility lets her ignore most barrier shields, and she’ll shred through them anyway with Focusing Beam. Echo’s worst matchup in the Tank roster is D. Va, who can chase her down and deny damage with Defense Matrix. D. Va’s Self-Destruct ultimate can often catch Echo out in the open, especially if her Flight ability is on cooldown.
Winston and Sigma are less effective at dealing with Echo, though they’re both better at it than most of the other Tanks. Winston can Leap up to Echo to do some damage in the air, and his Barrier Projector is omnidirectional, as opposed to the one-way barriers provided by Reinhardt and Orisa. If her Flight is on cooldown, Winston can pounce on a stationary Echo and take her down quickly. Use a quick melee attack as you land and she’ll have much less time to react.
Sigma shares D. Va’s ability to nullify some of Echo’s damage with kinetic Grasp, though he’ll likewise have to be careful of Focusing Beam. His Experimental Barrier can be used to return Sticky Bombs to their sender, and can also block many Duplicated ultimates.
Playing against an enemy Echo can be frustrating, particularly when she’s using your own ultimates against you. If she’s really shutting you down, consider swapping to another hero who might not be as enticing of a Duplicate target. Some picks that Echo players tend to ignore include Soldier: 76, Widowmaker, Winston, Symmetra, and Lucio. Countering Echo with another Echo will also reduce the number of Duplicate targets available to her.
Play to your strengths. Try to determine which hero on the enemy team would best complement your team composition, but if you don’t feel comfortable duplicating a particular enemy hero, don’t. Echo’s ultimate is far too valuable to waste by duplicating a hero you have no idea how to play.
Duplicating a third Tank or Support for your team is generally better than Duplicating another Damage character. Echo’s damage output is already outstanding, so copying another Damage player is unlikely to add much to your team’s composition. Adding sustainability with another Tank or Support, on the other hand, can often turn the tide of a battle. What’s more, Tank and Support ultimates tend to be more powerful than Damage ultimates on average.
The exception to this rule is the rare occasion when the enemy team contains a damage character who’s already part of your squad. It’s exponentially harder to deal with two Meis or Tracers than it is to handle just one.
It’s possible to eliminate Echo before her ultimate finishes processing, though the window is very brief. It doesn’t seem possible to stun her out of it at this time. If you’re playing as Echo, try not to trigger Duplicate if you’re below 50% health to reduce the risk that you’ll lose it.
While Echo’s Duplicate ability almost always results in a copied ultimate, don’t ignore the other abilities you gain by copying an enemy. Duplicating Mercy to resurrect a key teammate or Baptiste to gain access to Immortality Field could make all the difference in a team fight.
Echo has a nearly unique option to require a confirmation before activating her ultimate. Ana shares this option, which adds a single button press to confirm the use of the ultimate but makes it less likely you’ll use it on the wrong target.
Got any tips of your own? Questions about something we missed? Let us know in the comments below.