Symmetra Abilities and Strategy

Last updated on Jul 02, 2018 at 12:50 by Mournflakes 14 comments

Table of Contents

On this page, you will find a detailed overview of the abilities that Symmetra has access to. We also explain how to best use these abilities.

The other pages of our Symmetra guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.


Symmetra TL;DR Tips

  • Symmetra's Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turrets should always be placed together for maximum damage output, as scattering three turrets in a variety of locations is typically unhelpful.
  • Symmetra can use enemy barriers to build up Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector's damage.
  • Allies can use Symmetra's Teleporter Icon Teleporter during a channel ability, which means Symmetra should coordinate Teleporter with abilities like McCree's Deadeye Icon Deadeye and Reinhardt's Charge Icon Charge to catch enemies off-guard.
  • When defending yourself against flankers, Energy Ball Icon Energy Ball is your best opening move when your Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector is uncharged.
  • Do not be afraid to use Photon Barrier Icon Photon Barrier preemptively because it lasts 15 seconds, which means it is better to use it early in a teamfight as opposed to using it too late.

Symmetra's Abilities


Photon Projector

Symmetra Photon Projector
Photon Projector (LMB) Symmetra

Short-range beam weapon with increasing damage. Damaging Barriers does not consume ammunition.

Symmetra's main source of damage, Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector, is a laser-based primary weapon that increases in damage output the longer it is used. Initially, Photon Projector deals 60 damage per second, but after two seconds of use, the damage increases to its next tier of 120 damage per second. After another additional two seconds of use, the damage output reaches its maximum of 180 damage a second.

It is important to note that when we say the word use, we mean effective use, in other words, when the weapon is actually dealing damage. Symmetra's damage output will not increase unless she is dealing damage. Although hitting smaller more mobile opponents (like Tracer and Genji) is an elusive way to charge the beam, she can use Reinhardt's, Winston's, and other enemies' barriers to ramp up her damage before taking on hard-to-hit targets. Therefore, on the whole, enemy tanks are the best way to increase Photon Projector's tiers.

While dealing damage feeds Photon Projector's damage output to higher tiers, failing to deal damage results in tier decay. Once Symmetra reaches the second or third tier of damage, she must continue to deal damage to maintain her current damage level.

This concept is a little difficult to understand, so think of it like this. The damage buff tiers are like a game of tug-of-war. Symmetra fights against the clock to deal enough damage to reach the next tier (or stay at tier three). The seconds are always ticking in one way or another, if Symmetra is not dealing damage, the clock is winding down, if Symmetra is dealing damage, the time on the clock increases. Therefore, the damage mechanic is only static once Symmetra has completely lost progress.

The nice thing about the tiers is that they give Symmetra two-full seconds of guaranteed use before going to a lower tier. Assume Symmetra deals damage for two seconds, after two seconds of damage, the damage output increases to tier two. Although Symmetra has only stored two seconds of damage, the game gives Symmetra 2 full seconds of tier 2 use before melting away. Therefore, at two seconds of tier one use, Symmetra is rewarded with two seconds of tier 2 use. These seconds do not count toward the tier three reward, they only count towards resisting tier 2 drop off.

So if Symmetra goes from no charge at all, deals 2.1 seconds of damage, she will then have 2.1 seconds of tier 2 damage stored before going back to tier 1. Rather than storing only 0.1 seconds of tier 2 damage, she has 2.1 seconds stored. The same is also true for tier 3 damage, if Symmetra goes from no charge at all, deals 4.1 seconds of damage (hitting tier 3 at 4 seconds), she then has 2.1 seconds of tier 3 use (rather than 0.1 seconds). If Symmetra fails to deal damage once she hits tier 3, she will then go back to tier 2 after 2 seconds. After another 2 seconds of no damage, Symmetra will then go back to tier 1.

It is also important to note that once Symmetra loses a tier, she only has to makeup the time discrepancy to once again trigger a tier increase and automatically store two seconds of tier damage. For example, suppose Symmetra gained tier three damage, then loses it after two seconds of not damaging anyone. As soon as Symmetra loses tier three, she can hit an enemy and instantly gain her tier three damage. Again, this triggers an automatic 2 seconds of tier 3 damage, as mentioned above. Therefore, it is much easier to gain tiers than it is to lose them.

Other mechanics of Photon Projector

  • Maximum range of 10 seconds;
  • 70 ammo (7 rounds used per second);
  • 1.8 second reload speed;
  • When firing at enemy barriers, replenish 7 rounds a second.

Energy Ball

Symmetra Energy Ball
Energy Ball (RMB) Symmetra

Hold to charge, release to fire explosive orb.

Energy Ball Icon Energy Ball is Symmetra's secondary fire which is a channel ability that launches orbs of energy in the direction in which Symmetra is aiming. With no channel time, the orb will deal 6 damage on impact and 6 damage of splash damage. When Energy Ball is fully charged, the orb will deal 60 impact damage and 60 splash damage. As you may have guessed, the impact and splash damage are always equal to each other and increase based on how long Symmetra charges the orb.

As Energy Ball is a projectile-based weapon, players must successfully time and release their shots to strike their targets. Unfortunately, this can be difficult based on the range of the shot and the mobility of the target. However, a fully charged shot deals almost half of most characters' health, and therefore, this ability should be used often.

Mechanics of Energy Ball include:

  • A travel speed of 20 meters a second;
  • A minimum charging time of 0.2 seconds, and a maximum charge at 1 second;
  • A 0.063 second recovery time between shots;
  • Same ammo pool as Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector;
  • Consumption of 1-10 rounds of ammo depending on the charge time;
  • Option to hold for the ball for 1 second (2 seconds from initial use);
  • Unlimited range.

Sentry Turret

Symmetra Sentry Turret
Sentry Turret (LShift) Symmetra

Deploy a small turret that damages and slows enemies.

Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turret is a projectile ability that, when used, fires a small turret that latches onto walls, becomes a stationary ally, and deals damage to enemy players who get too close.

In projectile form, the turrets are literally harmless to the enemy, and opposing players can shoot them out of the air before they latch and turn into a threat. The turrets travel at a rate of 12 meters a second while in projectile mode, but, as stated earlier, are stationary once they latch to a wall.

Each turret has 30 health, and Symmetra can lay a maximum of three turrets at any given time. If Symmetra uses a fourth turret, the first turret she deployed will instantly self-destruct.

Each turret deals 50 damage per second, which means keeping turrets spread out from one another is hardly worthwhile due to their lackluster single-target damage. However, when three turrets are hitting one opponent, they will deal 150 damage a second, which is fairly substantial.

Similar to other projectile abilities (like Junkrat's Concussion Mine Icon Concussion Mine), Symmetra stores up uses, and in this case she can store up to three. However, once Symmetra uses a turret, the use has a 10-second cooldown before the turret is ready for redeployment.

It is important to note that a deployed turret prioritizes enemies based on proximity. Therefore, whichever enemy is closest to the turret once deployed will be attacked. Unfortunately, this means coordinated teams can easily use tanks to soak turret damage while the rest of the team kills the turrets.

One other noteworthy attribute of Sentry Turret is that it is one of the few projectiles that cannot be deflected by Genji's Deflect Icon Deflect or erased by D.Va's Defense Matrix Icon Defense Matrix.

Other mechanics of Sentry Turret include

  • A casting animation of 0.5 seconds per turret;
  • A deployment time of 1 second after contacting a wall (during this time, the turret can be destroyed despite its inability to attack);
  • Its life is not time-based, which means turrets can only be removed by enemy damage or by Symmetra launching a fourth turret, therefore erasing the first turret she deployed.


Symmetra Teleporter
Teleporter (E) Symmetra

Create two teleporters that enable instant travel between them.

Teleporter Icon Teleporter is a utility ability that allows Symmetra and her allies to enter a gateway that moves them from one area of the map to wherever Symmetra places her exit.

When the Teleporter ability is used, Symmetra is shown an outline of her Teleporter exit that remains unbuilt until she places it where she wants it. Once placed, the Teleporter exit takes shape and begins to deploy. While the exit deploys, the entrance simultaneously deploys at Symmetra's feet. After a short while, both the Teleporter entrance and exit are ready for use, and allies (and some of their abilities) can travel to and from the gateways.

Allies and Symmetra must press the interact key bind to use either gate. However, entities that are separate from players (Symmetra's Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turrets, D.Va's MEKA in self-destruct mode, etc.) can automatically go through the gates without the interact key bind.

It is crucial to note that both Teleporter gates are identical, and that entering one gate will have the character exit the other gate in the same position. When Symmetra places her pad, if she enters the pad facing forward, she will exit the other pad facing forward. If she enters the pad facing in the opposite direction of the pads placement, she will exit the pad facing in the opposite direction of the pads placement. Therefore, whatever direction a character is looking in when they enter a pad is the direction they will be looking in when they exit the pad.

Teleporter has the following mechanics:

  • Both the exit and entrance have 300 hit points.
  • If one of the portals is destroyed, then the other one is destroyed as well.
  • Symmetra can place the Teleporter exit up to 25 meters away from her current location:
  • It takes one second to cast (which means Symmetra cannot use her other abilities during this time) and an additional second to deploy and become operational.
  • It lasts for 10 seconds as long as it is not destroyed.
  • Its cooldown is 12 seconds from the end of its cast time not its deployment time.
  • It can move Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turret, Torbjörn's Deploy Turret Icon Deploy Turret, D.Va's Self-Destruct Icon Self-Destruct MEKA, and Junkrat's RIP-Tire Icon RIP-Tire.
  • Ally heroes who are using abilities will continue to use abilities if they move through a Teleporter. Therefore, Reinhardt can Charge Icon Charge and use Teleporter to continue his charge through the exit. Additionally, McCree can channel Deadeye Icon Deadeye, use Teleporter, then release Deadeye on the other side.


Symmetra Photon Barrier
Photon Barrier (Q) Symmetra
  • Ultimate

Deploy a massive energy barrier.

From non-existent, to an ability, to an ultimate, Photon Barrier Icon Photon Barrier has been through a lot. However, at this point, it has become Symmetra's main defensive ability. Photon Barrier is a massive map-length barrier that has whopping 5,000 health.

To use Photon Barrier, Symmetra uses her ultimate, and a huge outline of her Photon Barrier will pop up on her screen. At this point, Symmetra uses her sight lines to move the outline of the barrier closer towards or further away from her team. Once she has the outline of the barrier where she wants it, she will click her fire key bind to place it on the map.

As previously stated, the barrier stretches across the whole map, dissecting buildings and other in-game objects. Therefore, in theory, Symmetra can use her Photon Barrier from the spawn room to protect her team.

It is crucial to note that the barrier is automatically positioned perpendicular to Symmetra, but if she presses her ultimate button once more, the shield will rotate to be straight down the middle of her field of vision (exactly like changing the orientation of Mei's Ice Wall Icon Ice Wall. Therefore, the shield can be place horizontally from Symmetra's position, or in a line cutting Symmetra's body in half.

Other mechanics of Symmetra's Photon Barrier include:

  • A placement range of up to 25 meters away; this only matters when Symmetra is placing her Photon Barrier in a horizontal position from her body.
  • The barrier covers the whole play area, which means there are no "ceiling gaps" that Pharah can shoot through.
  • The barrier lasts for 15 seconds, or until it is destroyed, whichever comes first.
  • Allies can shoot through the barrier as it only stops enemy damage.

About our Author

Mournflakes is a flex Grandmaster Overwatch player who boasts a career high SR rating of 4433. His favorite heroes are Roadhog, Soldier: 76, and Ana. He has played Overwatch since its initial release, and has put over 700 hours into competitive play. When not writing guides, you can catch Mournflakes streaming on his Twitch channel.