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This is a page for more in-depth strategy with Zarya, which includes tactics, teammates, and strength in certain hero matchups. This also includes good Ultimate abilities to partner with her Graviton Surge, and how to work with those combos.

Playing against ZaryaEdit

Zarya's Particle Barriers have cooldowns, so take advantage of the points where they are in cooldown. If Zarya reloads while her shield is up, shoot through the shield and kill her. Shooting the shield charges Zarya, but killing her sets it back to 0. Zarya's Particle Cannon has a small range to it, so she is still susceptible to ranged attacks. If Zarya is at high energy, she must be killed immediately or the team risks death via her Particle Cannon, or a Graviton Surge.

Strong against Zarya Edit

Hero

Details
Bastion icon

Bastion

Bastion in Configuration: Sentry easily destroys Zarya's barrier and can finish her off in roughly 1 second. The massive amount of damage deters Zarya from attempting to use Bastion's line of fire to farm energy. In Configuration: Recon, Bastion can hold its own really well against her, or can just Reconfigure if things are looking bad.
Hanzo icon

Hanzo

Hanzo can break Zarya's barrier with 1 Scatter Arrow, or can finish her off with one aimed at her feet if all projectiles hit. He can also use 2 charged arrow headshots to kill her. Hanzo also normally positions outside of Zarya's effective range, meaning she can't do much to retaliate.
Reaper icon

Reaper

Reaper's high damage in Zarya's range normally gives him the advantage over her, but if she has her barrier available and sufficient energy, she has a possibility of retaliating against him, but his passive will allow him to survive her attack unless she is at maximum energy. Additionally, his Wraith Form allows him to escape Graviton Surge.
Sombra icon

Sombra

Sombra can potentially be a threat to Zarya. She can hack Particle Barrier and Graviton Surge, simultaneously cancelling possible ultimate combos can rendering Zarya defenseless.
Widowmaker icon

Widowmaker

Similar to Hanzo, Widowmaker stays outside of Zarya's effective range, but cannot break her barrier as easily, and can fight from even farther as her weapon is a hitscan weapon rather than a projectile weapon.

Weak against ZaryaEdit

Hero

Details
DVa icon

D.Va

Zarya can gain good amounts of energy from D.Va's Fusion Cannons, not to mention her Particle Cannon's primary fire pierces through Defense Matrix, and can easily hit Suited D.Va because of her large hitbox. Even without a barrier available or with low energy, Zarya can pose a threat to D.Va because the latter's limited range allows the former to back up while still dealing damage. Zarya's Particle Barriers can be used to shield herself and her allies from D.Va's Self-Destruct. Keep in mind that Defense Matrix can delete Graviton Surge's projectile.
Genji icon

Genji

While Genji's mobility can prove to be troublesome, his relative lack of damage and the Particle Cannon's ability to pass through Deflect gives Zarya a bigger advantage, and usually forces Genji to flee. Additionally, Particle Barriers will require two Dragonblade swings to destroy, which will severely hamper his kill potential. Keep in mind that Graviton Surge can be Deflected.

Other notable heroes Edit

Hero

Details
Junkrat icon

Junkrat

Zarya can use Junkrat's grenades and RIP-Tire to farm Energy and gain the upper hand, however, Zarya is at a major disadvantage if she is caught in his Steel Trap or is in a tight area, because he can just lob grenades and his Concussion Mine in her general direction to get an easy kill.
Mei icon

Mei

Zarya can be a problem for Mei by thawing out her freeze victims because Zarya's Projected Barrier thaws them out. Both of Zarya's barriers reset the freeze, so she can cause problems for Mei. However, while Zarya can escape from Mei once, if she gets caught with no Particle Barrier, Zarya does not stand much of a chance.
Pharah icon

Pharah

Pharah stays outside Zarya's effective range and is very tricky to hit with her Particle Cannon's secondary fire. However, Zarya can use Pharah's rockets to gain easy energy, and her Particle Barrier resists Concussive Blast, meaning a confrontation between the two can go either way depending on whether Zarya has her barrier available or not.
Reaper icon

Reaper

Reaper's high damage in Zarya's range normally gives him the advantage over her, but if she has her barrier available and sufficient energy, she has a possibility of retaliating against him, but his passive will allow him to survive her attack unless she is at maximum energy. Additionally, his Wraith Form allow him to escape Graviton Surge.
Roadhog icon

Roadhog

Zarya can use allies hooked by Roadhog to easily gain energy via her Projected Barrier, and at high energy, will be able to win against Roadhog when his Chain Hook is available, even if he uses Take A Breather. Zarya's personal barrier can be used to block the hook, and one shot is normally enough to give the entire 40 energy, however, if Roadhog hooks Zarya while her barrier is unavailable, he will have the upper hand provided he shots his primary fire at her.
Soldier76 icon

Soldier: 76

Soldier: 76's damage can destroy Zarya's barrier in a reasonably short time, even without Helix Rockets, and can use his Biotic Field to mitigate damage from her Particle Cannon. With Sprint, he can quickly move away to gain a more advantageous position and shoot at Zarya from outside her effective range. However, Zarya can still pose a threat to him if he is in an enclosed area, and can farm Energy from his Helix Rockets if the situation calls for it. Soldier: 76 often fails to kill her in time without assistance after destroying her barrier, if he chooses to do so.
Tracer icon

Tracer

Tracer can deal high damage at close and can stick Zarya with a Pulse Bomb with relative ease, but if Zarya has her Particle Barrier available, she can absorb the damage from either Tracer's Pulse Pistols or Pulse Bomb and turn it against her. In that case, Tracer's use of Recall and whether or not she has it decides who has the advantage.

Playing with Zarya Edit

Zarya's Projected Barrier favors aggression over passivity, meaning if one receives the barrier, they should usually go on the offensive. If Zarya is at high Energy (indicated by how much she's glowing), stay close to her, as her damage output willl quickly soften targets, and the face that he's at high Energy means she most likely does not have either of her barriers available, so she'll need assistance to be most effective in such a scenario.

Good teammates Edit

Hero

Details
Ana icon

Ana

Ana can keep Zarya healthy with her strong healing and benefit from Zarya's large health pool by being able to charge Nano Boost faster, despite Zarya not being a good boost target without high energy. Ana's Biotic Grenade also stops Transcendence from shutting down certain ultimate ability combos with Graviton Surge.
Mercy icon

Mercy

As Mercy needs to stay relatively close to her teammates to use her Caduceus Staff, Zarya can apply a Projected Barrier onto her is she takes fire from the enemy. Mercy's strong healing can also keep Zarya healthy, and her damage boost is always helpful.
Orisa icon

Orisa

Orisa can throw a Protective Barrier towards Zarya to help her out if she's in trouble, and can use Halt! to pull tagets into the Particle Cannon's effective range. Zarya can project a barrier onto Orisa to help her out when firing at the enemy, as the Fusion Driver slows her movement speed. That, combined with her large hitbox, allows Zarya to gain energy with ease if Orisa is the barrier's target.
Reinhardt icon

Reinhardt

Zarya can use her Projected Barrier on Reinhardt to allow him to drop his Barrier Field and attack without fear, while also conserving barrier HP. Reinhardt, being who he is, provides a massive Barrier for all of his teammates to benefit from, Zarya included. Although Earthshatter combos well with Graviton Surge by making the targets as vulnerable as possible, it is rather wasteful, and Reinhardt is better off hammering the trapped targets while protected by Zarya's Projected Barrier, as it is more beneficial in most cases.
Soldier76 icon

Soldier: 76

While Zarya can give Soldier: 76 a Projected Barrier along with all its benefits, Zarya's most useful asset for him is her ability to counter D.Va, who is a massive thorn in his side. Once D.Va is out of her mecha, Soldier: 76 can go almost uncontested.
Winston icon

Winston

Zarya can apply a Projected Barrier to Winston as he leaps into the enemy to protect him, gain Energy from the damage directed towards him, and allow him to cause chaos for a longer amount of time. His Tesla Cannon also works well with Graviton Surge, as all enemies trapped will get zapped by it.

Ultimate ability partners Edit

This is a list of heroes who can partner well with Zarya, but their ultimate ability's synergy with Graviton Surge is their main appeal, rather than an added bonus. For combos countered by Transcendence, Ana's Biotic Grenade can be a big help.

Hero

Ultimate ability

Details
DVa icon

D.Va

IconSelfDestructSelf-Destruct

D.Va's Self Destruct, if positioned and timed correctly, will eliminate all opponents trapped inside due their lack of escape options, as well as Self-Destruct's massive damage. This combination is an all-or-nothing type, as Self-Destruct will kill enemies even if they're protected by Transcendence and Sound Barrier, but combining the two ultimates requires good timing and positioning to be effective, because Graviton Surge can run out before the mecha explodes. Keep in mind that Barriers make this combo near-useless.
Genji icon

Genji

IconDragonbladeDragonblade

Genji's Dragonblade will hit all enemies trapped inside and be able to do its maximum damage, but is vulnerable to close-range attacks and abilities such as Flashbang and Chain Hook. When using this combo, remember to be wary of Transcendence.
Hanzo icon

Hanzo

IconDragonstrikeDragonstrike

Dragonstrike is wide enough to hit every trapped enemy, and if Hanzo is positioned correctly when using it, will ignore Barriers, Defense Matrix, and Deflect. Sound Barrier will block some of the damage, but the enemies will be left severely weakened and easy to finish off. Transcendence will outright negate the damage, but it can be bypassed if Hanzo receives a Nano Boost. Similar to the combo with Self-Destruct, this combo needs good timing.
McCree icon

McCree

DeadeyeIconDeadeye

Graviton Surge will force the enemies into McCree's line of sight, and Zarya can place a Projected Barrier on him to prevent him from being killed while charging Deadeye. It will kill enemies through Transcendence, and while Sound Barrier can prove to be problematic, Deadeye will be charged enough to kill any target even with a temporary shield by time Graviton Surge runs out, not to mention that Sound Barrier would have decayed at least 50% by then.
Mei icon

Mei

IconBlizzardBlizzard

A combo with Blizzard and Graviton Surge is not as focuses on timing as the others, and while it won't kill trapped enemies, it will make them easy pickings for nearby teammates. Sound Barrier is not very useful against this combo, and if Blizzard is used at the last possible second, Transcendence won't last long enough to keep the team alive.
Pharah icon

Pharah

IconBarrageBarrage

If Pharah is close enough to the trapped enemies, Barrage can damage all of them. Zarya can apply a Projected Barrier to Pharah to prevent her from dying during the animation. This combo deals more damage than Sound Barrier can block, though Transcendence will very likely outheal the damage if Pharah is not boosted or Nano Boosted.
Reaper icon

Reaper

IconDeathBlossomDeath Blossom

Death Blossom's radius is wide enough to damage all trappped enemies even if Reaper is not in the center of them. During Death Blossom, Zarya can project a barrier onto Reaper to prevent him from being killed or interrupted. Both Transcendence and Sound Barrier counter this combo, but Sound Barrier will still leave the team severely weakened.
Roadhog icon

Roadhog

Whole HogWhole Hog

Roadhog's Whole Hog does not knock enemies out of the black hole and deals far too much damage for Sound Barrier to block, but it's possible for enemies in Transcendence to survive.
Sombra icon

Sombra

IconEMPEMP

Sombra's EMP will be able to hack all targets inside, preventing any troublesome abilities (Barriers and Sound Barrier in particular) from reducing damage. If timed correctly, Zenyatta won't be able to use Transcendence to save his team. If using this to enhance an ultimate combo, keep in mind that 3 ultimates will be used, so this combo might be somewhat wasteful if used in this way.
Tracer icon

Tracer

IconPulseBombPulse Bomb

Pulse Bomb will deal its maximum damage to all enemies if it sticks onto a trapped enemy. A properly timed Sound Barrier will block all of Pulse Bomb's damage, so be wary of that. Additionally, if the enemy team is using Barriers, Tracer needs to be careful not to stick her bomb onto one.