The Newcomer’s Introduction
D.Va is a high mobility, high utility tank that often gets categorized as a “brawler,” or an “off-tank.” Using her high mobility, she can chase down almost any other hero in the game, delivering fair but consistent damage with her rapid-fire hitscan shotguns at close range. At longer ranges, D.Va is an invaluable asset to her team, capable of intercepting all kinds of projectiles and hitscan weapons with her incredibly useful Defense Matrix. With high armor, a large health pool, and a second life in the form of pilot mode, D.Va probably has the highest survivability in the game. Her one weakness is her large headshot hitbox. By picking her fights carefully, and using her Defense Matrix to support her team, D.Va is a fantastic hero for any player that likes to rapidly oscillate between offensive and supportive roles.
The Advanced Introduction
D.Va is — at this time — a poorly understood hero, at least in North America. Her greatest use was largely during her overpowered state in Season 3. At that time, she was used, but far, far from optimally. At this time only a handful of professional players play D.Va anywhere near optimally.
If you read and study this guide with care, you won’t always play D.Va optimally, but you may begin to understand where you came up short. Understanding optimal D.Va play and executing it are two different things entirely, and this guide is primarily oriented towards merely outlining optimal D.Va play. In order to execute it, you’ll have to put in many hours of careful practice.
Optimal D.Va play is achieved through a very careful understanding of her character match-ups both in and out of mech, and optimal use of well practiced D.Va ultimates — on every map in the game. For simplicity’s sake, the guide will be organized in its first release to explore the general, map-nonspecific points of optimal D.Va play in mech.
D.Va is a high mobility, 400 hp, 200 armor Tank with rapid-fire hitscan shotgun weapons that deal a maximum DPS of 147 at point blank, falling off rapidly with distance.
D.Va’s armor makes her particularly good at fighting 1v1s against high RoF (Rate of Fire), low DpR (Damage per Round) weapons, like Winston’s Tesla Cannon. This is because armor cuts damage from sources that would deal less than 10 damage to D.Va in half, or, if they would deal more than 10 damage to D.Va, reduces the damage source by 5 damage.
As shotguns with a lot of fall-off damage, D.Va’s fusion cannons are best used in extremely close quarters. An additional feature of the weapons is their momentum killing property. No matter how fast D.Va is going, she can reduce her speed to nearly zero by firing her primary weapons in mech. This is useful to avoid getting booped off the map by enemy D.Vas, Lucios, or Pharahs, and prevents her from getting tossed around too much by a hammering Reinhardt.
D.Va’s shift ability boosts her into the air in any direction D.Va points for up to two seconds, cancellable by shooting or meleeing. Any heroes she hits in the meantime will be pushed away from her with a decent amount of momentum, and will take 25 damage. This ability is on a five second cooldown, and is therefore good to synchronize with her Defense Matrix. It is also important to distinguish between the two methods to cancel D.Va’s Boosters. Meleeing cancels Boosters, and keeps her momentum relatively the same. Shooting the fusion cannons fully removes her momentum and — if she’s in the air — drops her like a rock. It is wise to distinguish between the two boost canceling methods.
D.Va’s signature tool is her Defense Matrix. A fully charged Defense Matrix can last up to 4 seconds, and deletes any and all projectiles and hitscan rays in the game, including many ultimate abilities. Once emptied, Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to fully recharge. After releasing Defense Matrix, reactivation is disabled for 1 second, and D.Va does not recharge Defense Matrix during this time. Therefore, after D.Va fully empties Defense Matrix, it will not actually be fully recharged for 11 seconds. This heavily disincentivizes D.Va from rapid-toggling Defense Matrix. Choose wisely when to toggle it — Defense Matrix is a very powerful ability, but there’s not always very much charge to go around.
D.Va’s bread and butter (B&B) engagement combination is Booster bump + melee for a total of 55 damage. The melee needs to be timed slightly after D.Va Booster bumps her target, because she often needs to close the gap the bump just created. Meleeing (rather that shooting) out of her Boosters helps by not mitigating her momentum, and helping her close the gap in on her targets.
D.Va can also use Defense Matrix while boosting, and this will not cancel the Booster. This is very useful in some of her match-ups when engaging, but is useless to disengage.
Disengaging with D.Va usually synergizes her Defense Matrix charge with her Booster cooldown. A standard engage + disengage cycle with D.Va looks like this: D.Va B&B engages a target, and sprays it down for three seconds. Enemy teammates arrive to confront D.Va. She walks backwards, away from her threats, Defense Matrix targeting her enemies. When Boosters comes off of cooldown after two seconds, she Boosts away to safety, letting go of Defense Matrix. If Defense Matrix falls before she can boost away, she turns away from her enemies, hiding her very large headshot critbox, especially from enemies with high burst damage.
Self-Destruct and the L-Nuke
D.Va’s ultimate ability — Self-Destruct — is a large radius explosion on a three second fuse, dealing up to 1000 damage at the center of the explosion, rapidly dropping off to 0 damage at 20 meters out. During the fuse countdown, D.Va is stuck in pilot mode, but instantly earns 100% Call-Mech charge once her mech — colloquially, “the nuke,” or, “the D.Va bomb” — detonates.
Proper use of D.Va’s ultimate can get her multi-kills at any (and every) skill level. Contrary to popular belief, it is an incredibly high-skill cap ability, which allows players with mastery over the L-Nuke technique (to be described below) to detonate D.Va’s ultimate anywhere an optimal D.Va player desires.
It is simple enough for the average D.Va player to understand how to execute a typical “Shift+Q” Booster Nuke. Sometimes, that’s simply the best option. A good D.Va will be able to discern — in the heat of the moment — when the time calls for such a nuke. Generally, however, the best nuke for almost any situation is the L-Nuke.
The L-Nuke refers to intentionally exhausting some of D.Va’s Booster charge (2 seconds in total) moving purely horizontally, before launching D.Va’s nuke at some vertical angle, in order to place the D.Va bomb at the desired location and height at the moment of detonation. It is an incredibly high skill technique that requires dozens upon dozens of hours of practice and patience to execute on the fly, in any given situation, with precise accuracy. Optimal use demonstrates an excellent understanding of D.Va’s Booster timing, an ability to change trajectory rapidly, and understanding how D.Va’s exploding mech parabolically arcs in the air. When mastered, D.Va can place an exploding nuke anywhere.
There are a few things to always keep in mind whenever launching a D.Va nuke, that an optimal D.Va player will evaluate in his/her head, to assess the potential value of using the ultimate at any time:
- Has the enemy team just engaged your team?
- Are the enemy Zarya’s bubbles on cooldown?
- Is the enemy Lucio’s speedboost on cooldown?
- Is the enemy Orisa’s shield on cooldown?
- Is the enemy Winston’s bubble on cooldown?
- Where is the enemy Reinhardt in relation to the rest of his team?
- Where am I in relation to the enemy Reinhardt, and also in relation to the rest of his team?
- Is there a nuke I can throw — Shift+Q or L-Nuke — that is likely to detonate at or near an intersection?
- Is the teamfight occurring at or near that intersection?
- Can I throw a nuke to detonate and cover possible safety spots — locations that enemy players will intuitively think are safe from the nuke, but actually aren’t?
All of this information — and more — is circulating in an optimal D.Va player’s head whenever they have Self-Destruct ready to launch. Here is the fundamental principle concerning its use:
The Golden Rule:
D.Va’s nuke should always be launched at the earliest possible moment after both teams have psychologically decided that it is time to engage one another, and the team fight is about to begin — ideally when two Reinhardt’s are within melee range. The goal is to give the enemy team an option: they can focus on the nuke, and lose the teamfight, or focus on the teamfight and get wiped by the nuke.
If you launch D.Va’s nuke too early — enemy players will disengage and wait it out before beginning the teamfight. Launch D.Va’s nuke too late, and it’s inconsequential to the teamfight. You can get three kills with the D.Va nuke, and if the teamfight is over, it is completely inconsequential that you got three kills. Stay true to the Golden Rule, and you’re well on your way to optimal D.Va bomb usage.
D.Va’s Hero Matchups
As a bulky, skill-eating, semi-mobile tank, D.Va is one of the best heroes for 1v1s. As such, it is very important to know her match-ups against all the heroes in the cast, and what to do in important and dangerous situations. In alphabetical order, here are all of D.Va’s match-ups:
Due to Ana’s typical displacement in the far back of enemy lines, there are often opportunities for D.Va to dive her during teamfights and attempt to seek a kill. Try, to the best of your ability to predict Ana’s Sleep Dart. She can’t hope to run from you, so her best chance of dealing with you is the Sleep Dart. Pay attention to the early signs of an incoming Dart: the animation and the sound of the Dart. Read it, Defense Matrix it, and gun her down. If you find yourself Anti-Healed, as long as the enemy team isn’t stacking you, you’ll be okay. Just focus on Defense Matrixing the Dart.
In critical moments of teamfights, pay attention to when an enemy is almost dead, and Ana is trying to heal him/her. By Defense Matrixing, you can deny that hero healing from Ana, allowing your team to easily secure an otherwise much harder to earn kill.
Bastion’s pick-rate is fairly uncommon, and so you don’t usually have to worry about running into one all that often. That said, D.Va has a great matchup against Bastion, as long as you handle the situation delicately. In scout mode, simply gun him down. He can’t much do much of anything to get away from you, and you simply out damage him.
In turret mode, coordinate with your team through voice comms. It is absolutely critical to save up your Defense Matrix, and give your team a full 4 second window to deal with him. It is important that your team make use of this window to kill turret mode Bastion effectively and quickly.
Save up on Defense Matrix when you think Bastion nearly has his ultimate, as D.Va can almost completely mitigate it with Defense Matrix.
The D.Va 1v1 is, surprisingly, incredibly simple — probably the simplest for D.Va in the game. Engage the enemy D.Va if you want to gain ultimate charge. Otherwise simply do not engage. During the 1v1, just shoot at the enemy D.Va, never use Defense Matrix, except while disengaging (walk backwards + Boosters). If the enemy D.Va uses Defense Matrix, keep shooting. If you manage to de-mech D.Va early in a teamfight, do not bother to pursue Pilot D.Va to secure a kill. Your damage is usually better focused elsewhere, pursuing any remaining enemy tanks or supports.
Genji is usually too evasive and too threatening to D.Va for this matchup to be cost effective for her in a 1v1. For this reason, avoid finding yourself alone against a Genji, and in teamfights, avoid targeting him first. There are almost always better options for D.Va to shoot — usually enemy tanks and supports.
Try to Defense Matrix his projectiles, and pay attention to when Genji’s swift strikes into your team — that is the critical moment to dive at him. Always try to use D.Va’s B&B combo to initiate against Genji, and make liberal use of melees against him — they are almost always a more consistent source of damage than D.Va’s cannons against his elusive hitbox.
It is especially important to dive Genji during his ultimate ability, as D.Va is one of the few characters who can pursue a rapidly swift striking Genji, and D.Va’s B&B 55 damage can be critical to killing Genji during his ultimate. It is also not a bad idea to defensively launch D.Va’s ultimate in response to Genji’s. It is an effective way to give Genji a bad choice: waste his ultimate or die. It is important to use D.Va’s ultimate when Genji is not focused on her. Otherwise, Genji will kill pilot D.Va before her nuke can detonate.
Hanzo can be very threatening to D.Va, and should be watched (and Matrixed) methodically. Pay particular attention to when Hanzo is likely to attempt to Scatter Arrow D.Va, as this can do massive damage to her large frame. Try to avoid 1v1s with Hanzo, unless Hanzo is already somewhat injured (at least 33% of his health gone), or if you know he has already used Scatter Arrow. Hanzo has almost no mobility, and D.Va can easily and safely chase him by boosting at him with her Defense Matrix active. The best and easiest way to deal with Hanzo as D.Va is to employ the help of any damage dealing teammate, all of which can easily kill Hanzo while he is Defense Matrixed.
Hanzo’s ultimate ability is the easiest in the game for D.Va to Defense Matrix. Pay particular attention to Hanzo’s spinning animation and unique ultimate voiceline, as both provide warning to D.Va that he has used his ultimate ability. In order to Defense Matrix it, D.Va must be within medium-to-close range. Boost at an ulting Hanzo with Defense Matrix active for the best effect.
In narrow spaces, Junkrat can annihilate D.Va (not to mention your entire team.) Use Defense Matrix liberally, baiting Junkrat to reload his weapon. Once he begins to reload, dive him and engage him at point blank. At this range, Junkrat is easily bursted down and killed. Try to avoid Junkrat’s spike trap, as D.Va triggers this particularly easily, especially while boosting around. Junkrat — like many high burst damage, 200 hp heroes — is best engaged for 1v1s at less than full health, as D.Va can quickly engage him and secure a kill before he has too much time to respond.
When Junkrat uses his ultimate ability, either dive onto the tire with D.Va’s B&B, or boost towards the location of the ulting, immobile Junkrat himself. This puts pressure on Junkrat to suboptimally use his ultimate to merely de-mech D.Va, and in many cases you’ll be able to reach Junkrat in time to kill him before he finishes guiding and detonating his tire.
Lucio is very, very slippery for D.Va. Although he can’t pose a risk to D.Va in a teamfight, he can be a massive waste of time to pursue. Unlike Mercy, Ana, or Zenyatta, it’s nearly impossible for D.Va to secure a hasty teamfight kill against Lucio due to his innate self-healing and mobility. When you do engage Lucio, engage him with D.Va’s B&B for maximum effect, as it can help to alter Lucio’s momentum, often putting him in more compromising situations than a good Lucio player would otherwise allow. Always try to disengage Lucio when he amps up his healing, as you’re practically wasting your time shooting him. Focus instead on less mobile supports and other tanks.
If Lucio uses his ultimate, it is sometimes a good idea to use D.Va’s ultimate to counter. D.Va’s bomb has such high damage that even behind Drop the Beat’s massive barriers, D.Va’s bomb can secure kills on squishier targets. As such, enemy players are often forced to disengage or die, wasting the opportunity to capitalize on Lucio’s ultimate.
In situations when it is obvious that Lucio is pursuing environmental kills with his “boop,” it is important to stay calm and keep firing D.Va’s fusion cannons. Hold onto Boosters just in case, but it is often enough to simply fire with fusion cannons in order to counter Lucio’s boop, as D.Va’s primary fire cancels all of her momentum, essentially grounding her.
McCree is an excellent target for D.Va to engage and kill. Similarly to Ana’s Sleep Dart, try to predict and Defense Matrix McCree’s flashbang. It is usually quite easy to predict, as McCree players typically liberally use it at the first opportunity when closest to D.Va. Shoot McCree freely, but also try to predict and Matrix his rapid-fire fan-the-hammer ability. At full health, D.Va usually has a fairly easy time 1v1ing McCree.
When McCree uses his ultimate, it is important not to panic and activate Defense Matrix immediately. Wait a second or two, allow Defense Matrix to charge (rather than drain), and then activate Defense Matrix. It usually takes McCree a moment to charge Deadeye before he is ready to kill anybody, and if you use Defense Matrix at the earliest possible moment against McCree, you run the risk of McCree simply outlasting you, as Deadeye can charge up to 6 seconds, and Defense Matrix can only last a maximum of 4 seconds.
Avoid Mei in 1v1 situations whenever possible. D.Va simply doesn’t have the damage to kill her, and getting frozen in a prolonged fight all but eliminates D.Va’s chances at survival. If you know you are going to get frozen outside of a teamfight, quickly turn away from Mei before becoming fully frozen. D.Va is unique in that her mech’s headshot critbox is only vulnerable from her front. By facing away from Mei, you can reduce Mei’s icicle damage to D.Va by more than half.
On many maps, a good D.Va player can try to bait Mei to use her wall by having D.Va be the first to walk past a critical choke point, only to boost up and away before Mei or her team can secure a kill on D.Va.
In teamfight situations, it is always better if Mei is freezing your teammates, as D.Va can fully protect them from icicle damage with Defense Matrix. Always try to keep her at a distance, and try to pay attention to when Mei might use her ultimate ability. With close enough attention, a good D.Va player will be able to predict Mei’s ultimate, and Defense Matrix it out of the air before it activates. Doing so effectively and consistently can change the outcome of entire teamfights.
Mercy is a great target for D.Va to engage and try to kill. Mercy’s self-heal activates after a second of taking no damage, but with D.Va chasing her, she always takes some damage, even if it’s just one or two points of damage at long range. This can effectively shut down Mercy’s self-healing, and make her much easier to kill. During teamfights, always try to single out Mercy and hunt her down first, as she can singlehandedly turn a lost team fight into a victory using her Resurrect ultimate ability. Chasing Mercy is a responsibility that often falls to D.Va, because few heroes can keep up with her rapid bouncing around the map, or can fly around and search nearby buildings for hiding Mercy’s as efficiently as D.Va can. Try to enlist the help of your teammates, whenever possible, to kill Mercy first in every teamfight.
D.Va counters Orisa particularly well. Try to Defense Matrix Orisa’s projectiles until a teamfight begins. Once it has begun, D.Va can massively damage Orisa by B&B engaging her. It is common for Orisa players to stay close to their barrier wall. By boosting into Orisa, unless Orisa uses her fortify immediately, she will be displaced from the wall. Once displaced, it is easy for D.Va to land consecutive headshots on Orisa and kill her extremely quickly.
Watch out for Orisa’s ultimate. When used, Orisa’s paltry damage is massively inflated, and it is important that D.Va immediately use and exhaust her Defense Matrix. In some situations, you’ll be able to send D.Va’s ultimate barreling towards Orisa’s ultimate ability “bongo.” This can be a very effective way to counter Orisa’s ultimate and perhaps secure a kill or two as well. Be very careful near ledges against Orisa, and try to keep Boosters off of cooldown just in case she tries to get an environmental kill on you.
Given the shape and contour of the map, and D.Va’s positioning relative to Pharah, D.Va’s matchup against Pharah ranges from mitigating Pharah’s damage to outright deconstructing Pharah. In large open spaces, try to actively Defense Matrix every other rocket Pharah fires. Attempting to block every rocket results in burning too much Defense Matrix charge, which D.Va needs to keep near maximum in order to counter Pharah’s ultimate. In close quarters, and smaller, indoor spaces, B&B engage Pharah and aggressively pursue a kill against her. This can help displace her, and can sometimes help to waste Pharah’s jump jet. Without jump jet, Pharah cannot escape D.Va’s pursuit.
On certain maps (especially Lijang Tower), it’s crucially important to Defense Matrix Pharah’s concussive blast, preventing Pharah from securing several environmental kills against your team.
Against Reaper, it’s often best for D.Va to simply employ the help of her teammates, who can easily kill Reaper while D.Va Defense Matrixes him and blocks all of his damage output. That said, D.Va can still win 1v1s against Reaper with the right predictions. Try to Defense Matrix the first three or four of Reaper’s shots, forcing him to reload. At that moment, begin to shoot Reaper. Defense Matrix the first two or three shots of his new guns, and then try to kill Reaper again. When he tries to escape, boost to the nearest large health pack before Reaper can arrive. Once he does arrive, Defense Matrix his shots again and kill him.
Try to keep a relatively full Defense Matrix against Reaper, as at any moment, it may fall upon D.Va to Defense Matrix Reaper’s ultimate in order to prevent massive team wipes.
Reinhardt is a particularly dangerous foe for D.Va to 1v1, as he can usually out damage D.Va in a 1v1, and if he lands a pin on D.Va, he instantly wins the fight. Nor can D.Va Defense Matrix his main source of damage, as it’s a melee attack. As such, D.Va should try to stay just outside Reinhardt’s melee range, only engaging him at point blank in teamfights.
Rather than kill Reinhardt, D.Va’s main job is to deny him his ultimate, the incredibly powerful Earthshatter. She can do this by making sure to Defense Matrix all of Reinhardt’s fire strikes, as these are Reinhardt’s main source of ultimate charge.
When Reinhardt is low on health, he may raise his shield and try to disengage. With his shield raised, Reinhardt moves about as fast as D.Va while firing her fusion cannons. As such, D.Va should jump at and engage Reinhardt (at first not firing), and once D.Va has reached Reinhardt, she should point blank fire at Reinhardt’s head from the front.
Roadhog is as threatening to D.Va as D.Va is annoying to Roadhog. Get a feeling for the pace and timing of Roadhog’s shots, and try to individually Defense Matrix as many of them as you can. Play behind or within your team. It is critically important that D.Va does not get hooked. If any teammate gets hooked — that’s fine — D.Va can Defense Matrix Roadhog’s point blank shot, thereby mitigating his Hook+Shot combo. Generally avoid 1v1s with Roadhog where possible, as Roadhog has a very simple Shoot+Hook+Shoot combo that kills D.Va at full health, and D.Va is among the easiest targets in the game to hook. Make good use of your Defense Matrix against Roadhog, and invite your damage dealers to gun him down under the cover of Defense Matrix.
When Roadhog uses his ultimate ability, use as much of your Defense Matrix as you can while disengaging and getting to cover. Once in cover, let your Matrix charge for about 1 more second, and then re-engage Roadhog’s ultimate with Defense Matrix. Roadhog’s ultimate lasts 6 seconds, and Matrix lasts just 4 seconds, so this is the most effective way to mitigate most of Roadhog’s ultimate. Remember to keep some charge for when Roadhog finishes his ultimate, as his hook combo will be off of cooldown.
D.Va has a fairly strong 1v1 matchup against Soldier 76, although some caution is necessary. Begin by simply shooting at him at medium range, with your goal being to bait his biotic field. During his biotic field, simply Defense Matrix his shots until it is about to disappear. Then B&B engage Soldier 76 and gun him down. Be careful around his Helix Rocket, which you should try to predict and Defense Matrix. Sometimes, instead of Matrixing during his biotic field, it is best to simply B&B engage him and knock him out of the biotic field’s range. Soldier will try to run back into the biotic field, making his motions predictable, and making it much easier for D.Va to land massive damage.
In team situations, Soldier 76 exports a massive amount of hitscan damage. Capitalize on this by Defense Matrixing him whenever possible, especially when he launches his Helix Rockets. Before teamfights begin, always try to keep Defense Matrix at or near maximum charge, as Tactical Visor is an incredibly strong ultimate ability that D.Va can massively help to mitigate.
In a 1v1 matchup, Sombra is something of an enigma. Sombra poses a significantly greater threat against D.Va when D.Va is already lightly damaged, as an armorless D.Va takes much more damage from Sombra than a fully armored D.Va. At first contact, avoid wasting D.Va’s B&B combo on Sombra, as she will usually teleport away before any teammate can kill her. When Sombra begins to get low on health, D.Va’s B&B combo can sometimes catch Sombra by surprise, killing her before she can teleport away. When Sombra is focus firing D.Va’s critbox, it is important to Defense Matrix the shots briefly. Many Sombra players will try to hack D.Va during this time. Immediately stop Matrixing and shoot Sombra to cancel the hack in progress. Immediately raise Defense Matrix again and keep firing. Sombra’s hack takes longer than the delay between dropping Matrix and firing, so it is easy (with a little practice) to cycle Sombra with Matrix and firing.
It is important against Sombra — in teamfight situations — to use D.Va’s ultimate a bit earlier than is otherwise optimal, as it’s very important to use it before Sombra uses her own ultimate, hacking your entire team and rendering it impossible for D.Va to optimally use her ultimate in teamfights.
When Sombra is invisible near your team, it is important for D.Va to blind fire somewhat randomly. D.Va alone has the infinite ammo and area saturation necessary to maximize the chances of randomly hitting an invisible Sombra, thereby revealing her. In fact, it is optimal for D.Va to fire almost nonstop in any game against Sombra, making it much more challenging for an invisible Sombra to flank your team.
The 1v1 matchup against Symmetra is fairly precarious. If you can manage to B&B engage her and deal the full 55 damage before she notices you and begins to beam you, you can usually secure the kill with certainty. If she is fully aware of D.Va beforehand, Symmetra usually has the advantage. Track her center mass carefully, and don’t be afraid to make liberal use of melee attacks when Symmetra’s health begins to get low. Avoid Defense Matrixing, and unless boosters are available immediately, do not bother disengaging from Symmetra, as you will usually die. Once you are locked in a 1v1 with Symmetra, you are in a tango to the death. Try to make sure it’s Symmetra that dies.
Be sure to gun down Symmetra’s turrets, as D.Va’s rapid fire makes this fairly easy. Against Symmetra’s teleporter or shield generator, don’t be afraid to make use of D.Va’s ultimate to destroy either, as D.Va rarely has enough burst damage to kill the teleporter or shield generator under pressure. Make sure to drop the ultimate directly on top of the teleporter / shield generator, as Symmetra can sometimes use her projectile barrier to protect it from a poorly placed D.Va ultimate.
Try to engage Torbjorn’s turret early on in teamfights, as it can really do a number of the squishier members of your team. One of the best (and perhaps only) ways of mitigating Torbjorn’s ultimate ability is to prevent him from having a level 2 turret at any one time. Make liberal use of Defense Matrix to provide windows for your teammates to destroy the turret. When the turret is placed in an elevated position, feel free to use D.Va’s B&B combo to engage it and destroy it quickly.
Try to avoid Torbjorn in 1v1s, as his shotgun can really do a number on D.Va, and his armor can make it very difficult for D.Va to damage him with her fusion cannons, especially if Torbjorn regenerates his armor in the middle of a fight. Torbjorn has a very long reload animation, so feel free to Defense Matrix his shots until he is forced to reload, at which point shooting and killing him is significantly easier. As with most shotguns users, it is almost always better to Defense Matrix a high damage teammate, making it easier for your teammate to kill Torbjorn, than it is to shoot and kill Torbjorn in a 1v1 yourself.
Tracer is always a much greater threat to D.Va when D.Va is injured, or her armor is gone, and always much less of a threat when D.Va is at full health, or has extra armor. In either case, always try to Defense Matrix her bursts of damage, making it easier for your teammates to damage her, forcing her to recall. After she has recalled, continue damaging her until she tries to blink away. At this point, you can B&B engage her and try to secure the kill. Try to avoid using your B&B engage until after Tracer has recalled, as otherwise you waste it and have no way to chase her when she tries to blink away.
It is fairly easy to predict when Tracer wants to use her pulse bomb, as she will try to close the gap very quickly with a series of rapid blinks. When this happens, use Defense Matrix immediately. Even if she is only going to fire on D.Va, the same reactive Matrixing that blocks Tracer’s primary fire can also fairly consistently mitigate Tracer’s pulse bomb. Focus especially on Matrixing low health, fairly defenseless teammates like Zenyatta, Ana, or Mercy, as these are typically Tracer’s primary targets.
D.Va can 1v1 Widowmaker fairly consistently, but it is important to remain cautious, as failing to Matrix Widowmaker sniper shots will de-mech D.Va extremely quickly. When diving Widowmaker, it is important to first walk to a point at which a B&B engage is guaranteed to fully close the gap between the two heroes and deal the full 55 damage. Only engage Widowmaker when you are certain that the enemy team will not collapse onto you, or cannot collapse onto you. When flying at Widowmaker, make use of Defense Matrix to protect D.Va from massively damaging headshots, and whenever Widowmaker has not shot recently, make sure to Defense Matrix as well, as this is Widowmaker preparing to headshot you, even at point blank. Keep gunning her down, and be prepared to have to B&B engage Widowmaker again if she tries to use her grappling hook to get away.
At full health, D.Va is a very effective counter to Winston. When he dives your supports and uses his bubble, try to B&B combo him away from your supports, and outside of his bubble. This way, your team can rapidly damage him and try to secure a kill before any of your supports die. Be very careful to never B&B combo him into your supports, as this is a quick way to ensure their demise. Keep firing on him, but watch your health. If you dip below 300 health, try to disengage, as you no longer have armor protecting you from half of Winston’s tesla cannon damage.
When Winston uses his ultimate, unless you need to charge your own ultimate, it is often optimal to ignore him entirely, as his massive 1000 health pool is a distraction from hunting down and killing critical enemy supports and squishier heroes. Winston doesn’t do a lot of damage in this state, so it is somewhat safe to simply leave him to his devices and focus your attention elsewhere.
If Winston jump packs high in the air, it is sometimes optimal to B&B engage him up in the air, as this can change his trajectory and prevent him from landing on or killing your supports, which is very important for D.Va to prevent. In 1v1s, avoid Defense Matrixing at all, as it does nothing to mitigate Winston’s damage.
Simply speaking, avoid Zarya entirely. Block line of sight on her whenever she tries to beam you, and fly away with boosters if you cannot. Make liberal use of the barriers of teammates to avoid getting hit by Zarya, and be ready to swap targets at any moment if — and when — Zarya uses her bubbles. Give your teammates a lot of space to deal with her in teamfight situations, and always try to find yourself away from the Zarya in teamfights, leaving her to heroes with far better matchups. If Zarya is at half or less of her health, it is only then safe to try to B&B combo her, but be wary of her bubbles, as she can still kill you incredibly quickly. It is almost always safer to hold onto boosters in order to disengage from Zarya as needed.
When trying to counter Zarya’s ultimate with Defense Matrix, it is sometimes useful to pretend to look away, or break focus on Zarya, only to snap back to face her with a surprise Defense Matrix. Absorbing a single Graviton Surge is often more than enough to turn the tide of any teamfight. If Zarya is paired with an enemy Zenyatta, always prompt your team to chase and kill Zenyatta first, as there’s almost nothing D.Va can do to a Zarya with a harmony orb.
Zenyatta has a reputation as a fairly formidable tank killer, and for this reason D.Va needs to play somewhat cautiously around him. Killing him is rarely as simple as B&B engaging him, as he will likely discord you, condemning you to get swarmed and de-meched rapidly by the enemy team. In fact, in mere 1v1s, Zenyatta has more than enough damage to de-mech D.Va during a dive. The optimal time to engage Zenyatta is always when his attention is focused elsewhere. If D.Va can B&B him, dealing the full 55 damage before Zenyatta even turns to discord D.Va, she can usually easily secure the kill, taking minimal damage. As with Symmetra, it’s a dance to the death. Do not try to run. If absolutely necessary, D.Va can engage Zenyatta with a fairly advanced technique: Defense Matrix while flying, and release the Defense Matrix at the last possible moment to properly execute a melee attack before boosters run out, and just before D.Va impacts Zenyatta with her boosters. When paired with a strong damage dealer, it is often better for D.Va to simply Defense Matrix Zenyatta, preventing his massive damage, allowing your teammate to secure an easy kill on him.
When not diving Zenyatta, try to block line of sight to him, especially when he has applied discord to you. It is often better for non-tank teammates to be discorded, as D.Va can Defense Matrix for them, and their small hitboxes prevent a lot of damage D.Va and other tanks have a lot more trouble with.
When Zenyatta uses his ultimate, this is a fantastic time for D.Va to counter and use her own ultimate. Zenyatta’s ultimate only provides large healing over time, and so massive burst damage (like McCree’s Deadeye, or D.Va’s bomb) can still kill all non-invulnerable targets, especially when they brazenly believe themselves safe due to Zenyatta’s ultimate.
D.Va is an incredibly mobile and bulky tank with an enormous amount of utility in the hands of the right players. On top of needing to master the many, many diverse applications of her Defense Matrix (and when to save it), D.Va players need to have excellent tracking and spatial awareness in order to maximize effectiveness and survivability. Finally, optimal D.Va players need to have finesse, careful control, an analytic mind, and a considerable degree of patience to optimize use of her ultimate ability. I hope that this guide has begun to set you down the path of more optimal D.Va play.