overwatch lunar new year guide

Overwatch Lunar New Year Guide

Latest posts by Mikala Beers (see all)

Bottom Line Up Front

The Lunar New Year event on Overwatch coincides with the Lunar New Year Festival, which is celebrated across many countries in Asia. Overwatch has been celebrating this holiday since 2017! The event spans three weeks and follows the zodiac symbol associated with the Lunar New Year celebrations.

We see cosmetic changes to certain aspects of the game during this event, which we will delve into! With in-game coins, you can also unlock or purchase new gear themed around the Lunar New Year event.

I am always a fan of in-game events for Overwatch; seeing the little changes in aesthetic they make to the game tends to re-ignite excitement and passion for the game amongst players, including myself. But, the Lunar New Year event is my favorite, so let’s talk about everything we know about it in this Overwatch Lunar New Year guide!

New Gear

Lunar New yEAR

Every year new skins, sprays, and emotes are added to the roster of curated goodies available during Lunar New Year. Here is a breakdown of all the Epic and Legendary skins that have been added to the game spanning every Lunar New Year event since 2017.

New skins have continued to be added every year of the event. So, if you miss out on the skin you wanted this year, no worries, you will be able to equip it during next year’s Lunar New Year event too!

  • Ana: Tal (Epic Skin)
  • Ashe: Tiger Huntress (Legendary Skin)
  • Baptiste: Terracotta Medic (Epic Skin)
  • Bastion: Dragonfire (Legendary Skin)
  • Bastion: Rooster (Epic Skin)
  • Brigitte: General (Epic Skin)
  • Brigitte: Opera (Legendary Skin)
  • Cassidy: Magistrate (Epic Skin)
  • Cassidy: Xiake (Epic Skin)
  • Doomfist: Monk (Legendary Skin)
  • DVA: Palanquin (Legendary Skin)
  • Echo: Kkachi (Legendary Skin)
  • Genji: Baihu (Legendary Skin)
  • Hammond: Paper Cutting (Epic Skin)
  • Hanzo: Huang Zhong (Legendary Skin)
  • Junkrat: Firework (Epic Skin)
  • Lucio: Samul Nori (Legendary Skin)
  • Orisa: Bull Demon (Legendary Skin)
  • Orisa: Sanye (Epic Skin)
  • Mei: Chang’e (Legendary Skin)
  • Mei: Luna (Legendary Skin)
  • Mercy: Fortune (Epic Skin)
  • Mercy: Zhuque (Legendary Skin)
  • Moira: Masked Dancer (Legendary Skin)
  • Pharah: Qinglong (Legendary Skin)
  • Reaper: Imperial Guard (Epic Skin)
  • Reaper: Lu Bu (Legendary Skin)
  • Reinhardt: Guan Ya (Legendary Skin)
  • Reinhardt: Wujing (Legendary Skin)
  • Roadhog: Bajie (Legendary Skin)
  • Sombra: Face Changer (Legendary Skin)
  • Symmetra: Qipao (Epic Skin)
  • Torbjorn: Zhang Fei (Legendary Skin)
  • Tracer: Hong Gildong (Legendary Skin)
  • Trader: Rose (Epic Skin)
  • Widowmaker: Black Lily (Legendary Skin)
  • Widowmaker: Pale Servant (Legendary Skin)
  • Winston: Ancient Bronze (Epic Skin)
  • Winston: Wukong (Legendary Skin)
  • Zarya: Xuanwu (Legendary Skin)
  • Zenyatta: Sanzang (Legendary Skin)

If you are lucky, you will be able to unlock some of these skins in the Lunar New Year loot boxes through the event. If not, no fear, you can use those good ole’ coins and purchase them for the price of 3,000. I always like to hoard my coins as the date of events in-game is approaching, just in case I do not unlock the skins I want, so I can just buy them! 

Sometimes you can get a sneak peek at the upcoming year’s skins if following the Overwatch Twitter @PlayOverwatch. They tend to post teasers or even full images, giving their followers an early release of what is to come. 

In-Game Changes

Game Modes: Capture The Flag

Capture The FlagCapture the Flag is a crowd favorite event. It was an Arcade Game that was first introduced during the first Lunar New Year event on Overwatch, “The Year of the Rooster,” in 2017. I can still remember the screaming matches between my friends and me when this game mode first came out in 2017. Great memories. 

The game mode is just as it sounds. You are split into teams of 6 players in the queue. You and your team have 5 minutes to capture the opposing team’s flag while guarding your own. Then, the team with the most flags captured at the end of the time wins!

Or if one team captures three flags, the game automatically ends. When this game mode hit our screens in 2017, it quickly became one of Overwatch’s most beloved game modes. There were rumors that Overwatch would make it a permanent staple in the game, at least as an Arcade game. But even now, it is seasonal and comes and goes from the gaming platform. 

When this game mode first began, there were no limitations to abilities while in possession of the flag. As a Pharah main, I loved being able to snag the enemy flag and fly into the air unharmed. However, this was quickly nerfed.

Now, essentially any heightened movement ability is restricted while holding the flag. If I were to play CTF and try to fly, it would force me to drop the flag dead in my tracks. This goes for any hero’s movement ability. You can only simply walk with the flag and hope your team can run interference allowing you enough time to bring it to your side.

Since this was such a crowd-pleasing event, in 2018, Overwatch added a Competitive Capture the Flag game mode. It worked just like standard Comp in the game, where you would have to play ten placement matches and, from there, would be ranked by your ability at this specific game mode. 

Capture The Flag Blitz

The Capture the Flag Blitz game mode was also introduced to Overwatch players during a Lunar New Year event but during the 2020 event. It is just like regular CTF but on steroids. All of the stakes and rules of the game are the same except for one new component. The map it is played on is much smaller, so flag captures and takedowns happen at an exceedingly higher rate. 

If you enjoyed CTF, this Blitz mode was insane but so fun. Everything in this game mode was heightened and frantic and overall fantastic. This is also an event-based game mode and not a permanent fixture to the Arcade game options.

Bounty Hunter

Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter game mode is the newest addition to Lunar New Year games, being introduced to the game just last year in 2021. This Arcade mode is, in short, a free for all death match. Everyone in the game is trying to kill each other.

Periodically the “bounty target” is selected as the target of the rest of the players, “bounty hunters.” But even if you eliminate a hero that is not the target, you still get points. How demented? On the bright side, if you are deemed the bounty target, you have increased speed in healing and free Ultimate usage. 

Cosmetic Changes

The most notable change we see in the game is the newly decorated Lijiang Tower. This map gets a makeover during the weeks spanning the Lunar New Year event, all fitting in with the theme of that year. In addition, there are also special loot boxes for the time the event is running as well.

Every single loot box you open during the event will be decorated for Lunar New Year; it looks much cooler than the generic gray loot boxes. 


Question: What was the order of themes for the Lunar New Year?

Answer: The first year the Lunar New Year event occurred was in 2017. 
• 2017 was the Year of the Rooster. 
• 2018 was the Year of the Dog.
• 2019 was the Year of the Pig.
• 2020 was the Year of the Rat.
• 2021 was the Year of the Ox.
• 2022 was the Year of the Tiger.

Question: Does the Lunar New Year event in Overwatch occur on the same dates every single year?

Answer: It occurs in the same time frame, but not the exact same dates year after year. The Lunar New Year celebrations, in general, do not happen on the same day every single year either.

It takes place between the months of January and February, but the exact celebration dates are dependent on the Lunar Calendar for that specific year. This year’s Lunar New Year Celebration started on January 31st and commenced on February 15th of, 2022. However, in Overwatch, the event started earlier on January 25th and ran through February 15th. So, the game does try to match up with the actual holiday, but the dates are not always exact. 

Question: What was the best Lunar New Year event in Overwatch?

Answer: The best year, for me, was the OG Year of the Rooster for the debut event in 2017. Since this was the first year they introduced the event to the game, we were unsure what to expect. Seeing the entire aesthetic of the game change in those weeks was incredible and the first time Overwatch did a full-fledged event like this.

I think the skins for all Lunar New Year events are the coolest-looking limited skins the game has. And, with the introduction of such a well-loved game mode like Capture the Flag, the Year of the Rooster is hard to beat.

Overwatch Lunar New Year Guide Conclusion

The Lunar New Year event has always been one of my favorites. From the iconic game modes to the coolest-looking skins, this event is rightfully a fan favorite. What I appreciate most is the commitment to festivities the game does. The loot boxes match the theme, and we get a new menu page, voice lines from heroes, limited-time emotes, etc.

As a long-time Overwatch player, events like Lunar New Year remind me why I love this game so much. 

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