What a year it's been. Overwatch released just over a year ago, and since then has garnered tons of players, loads of fan art, and plenty of new content to keep everyone happy. Not all content is created equal, however. The anniversary event released 11 new legendary skins, more than any other event before it. So let's take a look at what each of these heroes got, how they stack up against each other, as well as how they compare to the rest of their wardrobe.
#11 – Solider: 76 "Cyborg: 76"
First up and worst up is the Soldier: 76 "Cyborg: 76" skin. Some fans have taken to using this armor as a picture of how 76 looked shortly after recovering from the attack on Overwatch HQ. 76's other skins would cover up all the cybernetic bits that this event skin shows off, so there's nothing in those skins that can disprove this theory. True or not, the end result is still a rather garish mess.
The tubes look like those long balloons clowns make animals out of. The needles sticking out of his shoulders feel unnecessary and cause a hiccup to the flow of the skin. 76 is already losing his hair, but apparently when he gets shaved down, he looks worse than I imagined. The Cyclops visor works well with his other skins because that face mask helps pull it together. Here, it just looks like it's interrupting his face. Finally, his feet. I feel like there has to be a cooler way to show that he has prosthetic feet, because the ones we have now just make it look like he has tiny shins and ankles (although technically he doesn't have either).
His gun doesn't do much from his base model, just fits the color scheme of the rest of his skin. Compared to his other skins, this one is a step backwards.
#10 – Hanzo "Cyber Ninja"
Hanzo has been in somewhat of a content drought, compared to the other heroes. As events came, Hanzo was left without a legendary skin. He would find himself with an epic skin with "Demon," but Hanzo mains were still clamoring for something more. Well the day has finally arrived, Hanzo has his legendary skin, "Cyber Ninja." The sleekness of its design is good, and doesn't interrupt the character's natural silhouette.
The skin attempts to fuse back together Genji and Hanzo, as originally they were just one character, a cybernetic ninja with a bow and a blade (and stealth and instant kills, if you can believe that).
Still, there's no fun to be had with this skin. Many of the other skins you'll see on this list have an element of fun to them. This is a celebration event! A fun time, a birthday party if you will. The Halloween event gave us spooky skins. The Winter event gave us Winter holiday skins. The anniversary event has given us a lot of fun and interesting skins, expect in the case of Hanzo.
Hanzo's bow doesn't change much with the new skin, again just taking on the color scheme of white and orange that the new skin has. First 76, and now Hanzo, it's starting to look like white, orange, and black together don't make for a great team-up. You're better off going with Hanzo's wolf-themed skins, and getting that sweet doggo spirit ult.
#9 – Zarya "Cyberian"
Poor Zarya. While Hanzo has had little in the way of new skins, Zarya has had a few legendaries thrown her way, in fact she was one of the first heroes to get new content at all. Yet, fans of Zarya have always found her skins a tad disappointing (don't get them started on her "epic" "Frosted" skin). Sadly, it looks like this year is no different. Some may find her mecha-style skin to be awesome, but I honestly do not. Zarya is known for her pink hair. It's an awesome contrast to her burly look. However, covering 80% of her skin in bubblegum colors just doesn't make for a good look.
Strangely, her gun doesn't match her "Cyberian" skin that well. While she is mostly pink, white, black, with a little bit of gold and blue, her gun is primarily blue. This is by no means a bad skin, it's just an underwhelming skin. It's better than her other skins, however, so if you do happen to unbox the Cyberian Siberian, it's a net gain. I just wish we could get her Heroes of the Storm skins in Overwatch.
#8 – Bastion "Dune Buggy"
And here we go with the orange, white, and black again. I suppose it fits, as orange, black, and white are the colors of the Overwatch logo. This is also our first really fun skin in this anniversary pack. Bastion has always had aesthetically pleasing skins, whether he's made out of wood or pulled from a steampunk era, Bastion manages to look cute, cool, and deadly all at once.
The "Dune Buggy" skin has some hiccups, though. The pipes running along him fit with the design basis, but I still find it off-putting as it again looks like slapped on. Take away the orange safety frame, and there's a really cool looking, almost Portal-inspired, design in there.
The skin gets a lot of points for what it does for Bastion's gun, too. Specifically, his ult form, which is no longer tank mode, but dune buggy mode! "Woodbot" and "Steambot," Bastion's original legendary skins, still are his best, and "Rooster," though just being a recoloring, is one of the more stylish palette swaps. There's a lot of fun to be had with Bastion's "Dune Buggy," all the same.
#7 – Mei "Beekeeper"
Mei really enjoys playing dress-up. With her current wardrobe, she can be a firefighter, a yeti hunter, a Chinese festival stylish attendee, and even Mrs. Claus. Now the frustration-causing hero can be a "Beekeeper!" The reason the above pic is shown from the back and not the front, like all the others, is because the real star of the show is her drone. Mei's drone loves to cosplay as much as its creator, and this skin is no different. To go along with Mei's new vocation, the drone is dressed up like a bumble bee! It's so sweet it's giving me cavities.
Mei's gun also gets a fitting makeover. The gun gets a wooden handle and a honey wand (?) loader. The barrel of the freeze ray gets some bee-inspired yellow and black stripes, and at the end of a gun is a damn stinger. Awesome! The rest of the skin isn't much to look at, at least not compared to her other skins. However, this skin could have reached the top 3 if only it switched her ice color from arctic blue to honey gold. Come on, Blizzard. That's free.
#6 – Pharah "Bedouin"
Pharah has never struggled with looking good. Even her original epics, "Anubis" and "Jackal," provided her with more than just a color change, but a color change to the always popular white and black color schemes, as well as Egyptian god Anubis helmets. Her mecha legendaries show Zarya how it's done, and the Nativa American themed legendaries are stylish and cool, and bring in an often under represented culture into the gaming world. Even her event skins, although only epic, were somehow more than just that. "Possessed" is an eerie purple and black, with cracks in her armor, rising spooky smoke, and the haunted visage of an undead Pharah. "Frostbite" covers the flying hero in arctic blue and icicles, making the already awesome character even cooler.
Pharahs' "Bedouin" skin is no slouch, either, but compared to her other skins it's just not nearly as cool. The color scheme is too similar to her default model, and she keeps the same hawk-themed helmet. The accessories are nice, but her wings somehow end up looking weak, almost cheap. Her rocket launcher at least looks cool, but again doesn't do much outside her base mold to make it stand out. On its own this would be a really cool skin, but it has to compete with her other skins which honestly look way better.
#5 – Tracer "Graffiti"
The poster-child for Overwatch, Tracer always gets great skins. Well, her summer event skins had the problem of her cape looking like it was magnetically repelled by Tracer's back, but overall her skin selection is top notch. This year is no different. Tracer's normal orange visor is replaced with a gas mask that still resembles her usual look. Though her light blue hoodie isn't much other than being cute (no surprise, Tracer looks cute in a hoodie), her tights are where the skin really shines.
Tracer's tights are splattered with paint, contrasting sharply with its dark blue base color. Her hoodie, too, has splotches of paint, never completely washed off from the street youth's look. Tracer's gun gets a lgiht maker over. Added to the labeled "Tracemaker" is a can of "Winston Acrylics" spray paint, helping to complete her Jet Set Radio look.
The only issue is that we've done the rebellious Tracer look before. Though arguably a better design than her default legendaries, "Punk" and "Ultraviolet," "Graffiti" still pulls from a similar well. Regardless of recycled themes, the skin is yet another welcomed addition to her closet.
#4 – Symmetra "Oasis"
Ever stylish, always beautiful, Symmetra once again proves she is the best dressed hero in the current line up. Symmetra's "Oasis" skin has a beautiful color scheme of white, gold, and neon blue (which glows in the dark!). The hidden eyes helmet look is always cool, and since Symmetra is wearing it, it looks sleek as well. My only worry is that having a nearly all white head, and glowing blue portions, will make her an easy target for snipers.
Symmetra is not hurting for other great skins, though. Her "Vampire" skin employs the always cool color combo of red and black, and changes her sentries into creepy eyeballs. Symmetra's "Devi" and "Goddess" skins turn her into a literal goddess. "Oasis's" gun is just as fashionably designed as the rest of her outfit, doing far more with the base gun model than other legendaries sometimes do. The sentries, too, get a sleek makeover. Again, the only points going against a skin in this event is whether or not it's fun, celebrating the character and the diversity of the cast. This one is awesome looking, but just doesn't meet that tone, for me.
#3 – Genji "Sentai"
And now we're into the top three, the best the anniversary event has to offer. Any of these three could have taken the top spot, so it really came down to personal preference here more than elsewhere on the list, in order to decide who took home what medal.
Genji gets in on the cosplay action that Mei has been enjoying with his "Sentai" skin, fully embracing the cybernetic hero ninja and becoming a Japanese transforming hero, ala Kamen Rider or Power Rangers. Even with a look that's fun, Genji manages to maintain his cool style. The green and black color combo is always great, and one of my personal favorites.
His sword, too, looks great, and is designed almost like it's trying to dress up just like its wielder. It's just a shame you only see it during his ult. Blizzard may run into some trouble by using the name "Sentai" for this skin. The term "Sentai," I believe, is owned by Haim-Saban, the company that puts out the aforementioned shows and many like it. The company can be somewhat litigious, cracking down on even fan homages with threats of legal action.
#2 – D.Va "Cruiser"
Once I had determined Genji for the #3 spot, I had to then choose between the top two spots for the last two amazing skins. I went back and forth on this choice a lot, but in the end some deciding factors caused D.Va's "Cruiser" skin to just barely make the top of the list.
Based on 1950's rockabilly style, the "Cruiser" skin redesigns D.Va's meka into something resembling, well, a cruiser, with red rocket headlights, sky blue coloring, and even a little pine tree air freshener in the cockpit (Mountain Dew and Doritos stink can get to you). D.Va too gets to put on the era's style, with big hoop earrings, a bow in her hair, an ascot and high-waisted jeans. Even her gun gets a pair of fuzzy pink dice to hang off the hilt. Like Symmetra and Tracer, there's not a skin she has that she doesn't look good, if not great, in.
The only reason D.Va is #2 and not #1 is because she has a great list of skins already, so the inclusion of this awesome skin doesn't impact me as hard. Hell, just this month D.Va got a great police-themed legendary skin you could unlock by playing Heroes of the Storm. D.Va herself, in pilot mode, is also a better look than the meka, but not by much. Since you'll primarily want to be in the meka and not pilot mode, you'll be seeing less of her and her cute gun. These are very minor points taken off, but were just enough to give the #1 spot to the last remaining hero…
#1 – Lucio "Jazzy"
Here we are, #1, and I get the feeling this entry won't be a surprise to many because the reception for this skin has been stellar. Black, white, and gold, the colors of celebration and anniversaries. Sunglasses with sparkling gold frames. Rolled up white sleeves, with a black embroidered vest and a stylish purple tie (not as great as Kira's infamous purple tie, but still good). Freakin' trumpets on the back!
When I think about celebrations, anniversaries, I think about this kind of look. It's fancy, but it's fun. It stands in recognition of the accomplishments that Overwatch has made. Years from now, when someone puts on this skin and enters a game, a new player, unfamiliar with the game up to that point, will instinctively know that the "Jazzy" skin was given in celebration of something important.
Lucio's skin also changes up the music he plays when he switches beats. This music is fast and fun jazz, and actually there is the one blemish on this otherwise perfect skin. Right now, when switching to the speed beat, the music incorporates some obnoxious trumpets. If I was certain those were there to stay, it would have put Lucio back at #3. However, Blizzard has had no problem with making minor changes in patches based on fan feedback, before, so I am confident that the trumpets will be toned way down in a future patch.
So there you have it, my ranking for the the skins released in the anniversary event for the first year of Overwatch. No doubt people will disagree with where certain heroes ranked on this list, and that's awesome! I'd love to hear your thoughts about my list, and where you would rank all the heroes, and why, as well. So please feel free to leave a comment about the anniversary skins.