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In Overwatch, there are several ways to buff the damage dealt by a hero: the alternate fire of Mercy's Caduceus Staff, Ana's Nano Boost, and Orisa's Supercharger.
Are they all governed by the same rules? What can they affect, or not affect?

This question exists to have a single reference point for the many, many questions that have been asked, instead of having to update each answer individually when game mechanics change

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All damage buffs work in the same way, affecting the vast majority of weapons and damaging abilities in the game with only a few exceptions.
The power boost is variable, with Mercy boosting damage by 30%, while Ana and Orisa boost damage by 50%.

The only damage sources that cannot be boosted are:

  • D.Va's Self-Destruct
  • Hanzo's Dragonstrike
  • Junkrat's RIP-Tire
  • Junkrat's Steel Trap
  • Symmetra's turrets
  • Torbjorn's turret
  • Widowmaker's Venom Mine (unsure, verify)

Edge cases

For completion's sake, here's a list of interactions that might not be intuitive at first glance:

  • Projectiles such as Pharah's rockets or Junkrat's grenades will deal boosted damage if the hero is buffed upon impact, not launch.
  • Genji's Deflected attacks deal damage based solely on Genji's damage buffs, not the original source's. It is not possible to infinitely increase damage by juggling a projectile back and forth between two damage buffed Genji.
  • The damage buff is reflected in the circles and skulls for McCree's Deadeye. A McCree that is constantly buffed will reach skull icons faster than a non-buffed McCree, but will revert back to normal damage if the damage buff is removed.
  • All damage buffs stack additively with each other, and they all stack multiplicatively with Zenyatta's Orb of Discord.
  • Damage buffs do not affect the healing dealt by Ana's Biotic Rifle.
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There are a few rules for damage boosting abilities.

  • Ana, Mercy, and Orisa's damage buffs stack additively with each other, while Zenyatta's Orb of Discord stacks multiplicatively.
  • Damage boosts are calculated when damage is dealt. This means heros must be buffed during detonation for abilities such as Pharah's rockets, Junkrat's grenades, or D.Va's Self-Destruct.
  • Damage buffs have no impact on non-damaging effects such as healing, freezing, or knockback.
  • Damage boosts of the same type cannot be stacked. This means there is no benefit to 2 Mercys damage boosting a single hero.
  • Damage over time effects deal boosted damage for as long as the hero is being buffed. This includes Widowmaker's Venom Mine and Hanzo's Dragonstrike

Here is a list of which abilities can and cannot be damage buffed.

Buffed when fired (Hitscan/Melee)

  • Ana's Biotic Rifle (scoped)
  • Bastion's Recon and Sentry bullets
  • D.Va's Fusion Cannons
  • Genji's Deflect (hitscan)1 and Dragonblade
  • Lucio's Sonic Amplifier (secondary)
  • McCree's Peacekeeper Pistol and Deadeye2 (Source)
  • Mei's Endothermic Blaster (primary)
  • Reaper's Hellfire Shotguns and Death Blossom
  • Soldier 76's Pulse Rifle
  • Sombra's Machine Pistol
  • Symmetra's Photon Beam (primary)
  • Torbjörn's Forge Hammer
  • Tracer's Pulse Pistols
  • Widowmaker's Sniper and Assault Rifle
  • Winston's Tesla Cannon and Primal Rage
  • Zarya's Particle Cannon (primary)
  • All character's melee attacks

Buffed during detonation/impact (Projectiles)

  • Ana's Biotic Rifle (unscoped), Biotic Grenade, and Sleep Dart3
  • Bastion's Tank Mode explosives
  • D.Va's Self-Destruct4 (Source)
  • Genji's Shuriken and Deflect (projectiles)1 (Source)
  • Hanzo's Storm Bow, Sonic Arrow, and Scatter Arrow
  • Junkrat's Frag Launcher grenades, Concussion Mine, and Steel Trap (Source)
  • Lucio's Sonic Amplifier (primary)
  • McCree's Flashbang
  • Mei's Endothermic Blaster (secondary)
  • Orisa's Fusion Driver
  • Pharah's Rockets and Rocket Barrage (note increased self damage)
  • Reinhardt's Fire Strike and Earthshatter5
  • Roadhog's Scrap Gun (primary/secondary) and Whole Hog
  • Soldier 76's Helix Rockets
  • Torbjörn's Rivet Gun
  • Tracer's Pulse Bomb (Source)
  • Zarya's Particle Cannon (secondary)
  • Zenyatta's Orb of Destruction

Buffed over time

  • Hanzo's Dragonstrike
  • Widowmaker's Venom Mine (Source)

Cannot be buffed

  • Ana's healing from Biotic Rifle or Biotic Grenade (Source)
  • Junkrat's RIP-Tire (Source)
  • Pharah's Concussive Blast
  • Soldier 76's Biotic Field
  • Symmetra's Sentry Turrets (Source)
  • Torbjörn's Turrets (Source)

Unknown

  • D.Va's Call Mech
  • Mei's Blizzard
  • Zarya's Graviton Surge

Sources

See Also

Notes

1Applied on-fire for hitscan abilities, on-hit for projectiles. Based on Genji's damage buffs. Buffs cannot be stacked with multiple reflects.
2Killing shots can be made before red circles finish locking on.
3Ana's sleep dart does 5 points of damage.
4Beam must be on mechless D.Va to boost explosion damage. See Is D.Va's ultimate affected by Mercy's damage boost?.
5Reinhardt's Earthshatter is not technically a projectile ability, but takes a small amount of time to travel

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  • The accepted answer is a community wiki. If you have improvements or corrections, you can just edit that one. – DCShannon May 24 '17 at 22:27

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