• Home
  • Nerf This: A Guide to D.Va

Nerf This: A Guide to D.Va

by - 1 year ago

D.Va is a ranged Warrior from the Overwatch universe. However, this label is a bit misleading as she has two distinctly different playstyles based on whether or not she is inside of her Mech.

In Mech Mode, D.Va plays like a short ranged Bruiser who can harass and disrupt the enemy team. In Pilot Mode, she is a ranged Assassin with high sustain damage and low survivability.

While players do have some control over which Mode they are in, there is no avoiding having to repeatedly switch back and forth between both Modes over the course of the game. As a result, playing D.Va well will require players to become proficient at both styles of play.


Just like her playstyle, D.Va’s kit varies depending on which Mode she is in.

She has the following abilities in Mech Mode:

  • Boosters (Q): Increase D.Va’s movement speed by 125% for 2 seconds. Enemies that are hit during Boosters take damage and are knocked away. D.Va cannot be Slowed while Boosters are active.
  • Defense Matrix (W): Channel a defensive field in the target direction for 3 seconds, reducing damage dealt by enemy Heroes inside it by 75%. D.Va can move her Mech while channeling, but cannot turn. Damage dealt to the Mech by enemies within Defense Matrix grant charges for Self-Destruct.
  • Self-Destruct (E): D.Va ejects from her Mech, setting it to self-destruct after 4 seconds, dealing damage in an area based on how close targets are to the center of the blast. This ability deals 50% damage to Structures. Self-Destruct gains 1% Charge for every 2 seconds spent using Basic Attacks and 30% charge per 100% of Mech Health lost.
  • Bunny Hop (R): D.Va’s Mech becomes Unstoppable and jumps around every 0.5 seconds, dealing damage and Slowing enemies by 40%. This ability lasts 4 seconds.
  • Mech Mode (D): D.Va’s movement speed is reduced by 15% while in this Mode, but she can shoot while moving. When D.Va’s Mech is destroyed, she is ejected after 0.75 seconds and can continue to fight in Pilot Mode. Destroying D.Va’s Mech only awards 50% of a normal Hero’s XP.

She has these abilities in Pilot Mode:

  • Call Mech (E): Call a new Mech and enter Mech Mode. While in Pilot Mode, each Basic Attack lowers the cooldown of this ability by 0.5 seconds.
  • Big Shot (R): D.Va deals damage to all enemies in a line. Call Mech’s cooldown is reduced by 8 seconds for each enemy Hero hit by this ability.
  • Pilot Mode (D): D.Va has normal movement speed while in this mode and can use mounts. As a Pilot, D.Va only awards 50% of a normal Hero’s XP.

While in Mech Mode, D.Va has a variety of tools at her disposal. Boosters can be used for mobility, damage, or escape depending on the situation. It is important to note that you can only hit each enemy once while Boosters are active so if you are using it as a knockback you need to be conscious of what angle you approach from. Defense Matrix allows D.Va to reduce the effectiveness of enemy damage dealers while still charging up Self-Destruct. Self-Destruct does solid damage and can be an effective zoning tool. You can also propel the Mech forward while detonating by triggering Self-Destruct while Boosters are active. Using Self-Destruct immediately resets the cooldown of Call Mech. Use all of these tools to charge up Self-Destruct as quickly as possible and look for the proper time to detonate your Mech. Once you do so you can decide if you want to immediately use Call Mech to summon another Mech or remain in Pilot Mode.

While in Pilot Mode, D.Va has some of the highest sustained damage of any Hero in the game. This damage comes at a price however as D.Va has very low mobility and health while in Pilot Mode. Her auto-attack animation is also such that she pretty much has to stand still to do optimum damage, which makes her even more vulnerable. It is much safer to operate in Pilot Mode when you have Call Mech available as an escape tool. If Call Mech is on cooldown you have to play more cautiously while it recharges.

The Build

Level 1: Hit the Nitrous (Q) – Initial speed of Boosters increased to 475%, then decays to normal speed over 0.5 seconds. During this time Boosters deals 100% bonus damage.

Hopefully, you like crashing into things because you are going to be regularly using Boosters to deal damage to enemies. This Talent provides a solid dps increase and can also be used as an emergency escape tool if necessary. On larger maps that require a lot of rotation Rush-down (Q) is also a solid choice.

Level 4: Bring it On (E) – Self-Destruct’s Charge amount gained from losing Mech Health increased by 30%.

This is the starter talent for new D.Va players. The goal is to have as much uptime as possible on your Mech but new D.Va players are much more likely to get their Mech destroyed. This Talent helps get you back into your Mech faster in the event that that happens. As your skills improve and you find your Mech being destroyed less often, I would recommend switching to Fusion Generator (W) instead.

Level 7: Aggression Matrix (W) – Basic Attacks in Mech Mode against Heroes lowers the cooldown of Defense Matrix by 0.25 seconds.

This Talent takes advantage of D.Va’s ability to do AOE damage while moving to greatly increase how often Defense Matrix is available.

Level 10: Bunny Hop (R) – Requires Mech Mode. D.Va’s Mech becomes Unstoppable and stomps every 0.5 seconds, dealing damage and Slowing enemies by 40%. Lasts 4 seconds.

Both Heroics are reasonable choices, but if you manage your Mech health properly there is less value in the cooldown reduction of Call Mech that Big Shot (R) provides. If you find that your Mech is being frequently destroyed, or you opt for a more Pilot Mode focused style of play, then go with Big Shot instead.

Level 13: Emergency Shielding (D) – When D.Va’s Mech would be destroyed, instead gain a shield for 6 seconds.

This is the safety net talent for new D.Va players to help them avoid losing their Mech as often. Once you are able to keep your Mech from frequently being destroyed you should switch to Expensive Plating (D) as it is a much better talent. If you manage your Mech properly it is essentially a 20% health increase for free. Ablative Armor (D) is also a viable choice that provides excellent damage mitigation, particularly against auto attack heavy comps.

Level 16: GG, WP (E) – Increase Pilot Mode Basic Attack damage by 75%. Participating in a Takedown while in Pilot Mode instantly refreshes the cooldown of Call Mech.

This Talent takes D.Va’s already high Pilot Mode damage and makes it even better plus it provides a mechanic for regaining Mech Mode faster.

Level 20: MEKAfall (E) – Call Mech is instant and can target a location. Upon landing, the Mech deals damage to enemies in the impact area.

Provides good utility by allowing you to control exactly where you re-enter Mech Mode and adds a DPS option to Call Mech. Stop and Pop (R) is another good option for those players with solid micro ability. Pro tip: press H before landing to ensure that you are not moving at the moment of impact.


What makes D.Va such an interesting Hero is the contrast between her two Modes. Regardless of what you may prefer, there is no avoiding having to alternate between both Modes repeatedly throughout the course of a game. Being able to play both Modes effectively will be the key to success with D.Va.

As a general rule, you either want to be in Mech Mode or have the option to enter Mech Mode available. This means you don’t want to have your Mech destroyed. Not only does it give experience to the enemy team, but it also greatly reduces the number of abilities available to you and leaves you much more vulnerable. There are benefits to operating in Pilot Mode, but you ideally want to have Call Mech available so that you are immediately able to switch back to Mech Mode should the situation call for it.

Playing D.Va is a repeating cycle of charging up Self-Destruct, detonating your Mech, and then summoning a new one. At higher levels of play stance dancing to min/max the benefits of each mode will be essential to getting the most out of D.Va, but the average player should spend most of their time in Mech Mode, especially when they first start playing D.Va. The better you are at keeping your Mech alive the more aggressively you can play while in Mech Mode. Likewise, if you are in Pilot Mode and have Call Mech available you can be more confident in standing your ground and dealing damage. If you frequently find yourself in Pilot Mode waiting for Call Mech to recharge then dial back your aggressiveness in Mech Mode and consider taking some of the talents that allow you to recharge Call Mech faster.

Now get out there and own all those noobs!

Lee Vaughn

Lee has been playing Blizzard games since the 90's and Heroes of the Storm since the Tech Alpha. If he isn't playing a Blizzard game he is probably tweeting about one.