Escort involves one team pushing a payload, usually a car of some description, round a winding track and through a series of checkpoints, whilst the defending team try to stop this from happening. If the match time runs out before the payload has reached the last checkpoint then the defending team wins, but the timer is increased with each checkpoint the payload goes through. Escort games take place on the maps Dorado, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, and Route 66. Each of these maps have their own specific chokepoints, sniper positions, and so on, but there are general tactics that apply to all of them, as well as heroes that work best for games of Escort. Read on to discover what these may be.
The early stage of the match is much easier if you're attacking, because the enemy team's respawn point is much further away than your own. You just need to keep pushing, and keep the enemy team off the payload as much as possible. The speed of the payload reaches its maximum when three members of your team are pushing, so there's no need for any more of you to be doing that at one time; the other half of the team can concentrate more on taking out the enemy.
Once you get to the late stage of the match you'll be right on top of the enemy spawn point, so it's an opportunity for them to push you right back or, at the very least, stop you advancing. The payload will stop moving if even one of them are pushing it back, even if your team are still on it, so in some cases keeping them back is more important in the final stretch than actually killing them. If you run into overtime the meter will stay full as long as someone is on the payload, so if it gets that desperate skew more towards tanks with shields who can soak more damage.
Soldier 76 is a good attack to play as; his gun has a good rate of fire and his ultimate will let you pray and spray to take out a load of attackers at once, plus he can self heal so doesn't need as much support. Of the other offense heroes McCree, Tracer, and Genji will be good for countering the other team too, especially McCree's flashbang, and Genji's widespread shuriken attack combined with his melee capabilities. Tracer's fast movement is good for skipping around the payload and avoiding enemy fire, too.
Bastion is a good go–to for attacking, because he's easy to play as and can plant on top of the payload itself, which means there's always a player on it to push it forward, and that player is also a mini–gun. Hanzo is the most useful of the rest of the defense heroes, because his arrows do a lot of damage and can one–hit kill with headshots, but is a little better at fighting up close than Widowmaker.
Reinhardt is probably the best tank for this mode. He can stomp ahead of, or sit on, the payload and go shields up, making it difficult for the enemy team to get you off the payload. This is great in combination with Bastion, who can fire through the shield, especially if you're backed up with support healing. Winston is a mobile tank and is good for countering enemy heroes, especially fast ones like Tracer and Genji, because his primary weapon will jump automatically to near targets without having to aim exactly.
A personal favourite is Lucio, because his passive healing ability will give a boost to anyone nearby, so if you're staying around the payload you can keep healing anyone pushing it forwards. The secondary fire on his weapon will blast enemies away from the payload to keep it moving, and his speed and mobility make him harder to hit.
If you're coordinating well with your team, however, then Mercy is great to combo with a Reinhardt and a Bastion. Reinhardt can go in front of the payload with a shield, Bastion can go full attack mode, and Mercy can boost his damage and heal if needed to keep everyone in the fight.
The defending team in a game of Escort don't actually need to dig in like you would when your objective is to protect a control point. You need to be more mobile and aggressive, but you can still get good use from builders, especially in the earlier stages of the fight when your spawn point is furthest away from the objective; builders can also set up turrets to keep the enemy slowed down even if your team has all had to respawn and aren't at the frontline.
If the enemy aren't on it payload will start moving back towards the last checkpoint, so keep them away from it as much as kill them, and don't get distracted by attacking a group of them away from the payload, because that can give a lone member a chance to push it forward while nobody's looking. The payload will also stop moving if even one member of your team is contesting it, which can be crucial in the metres before it reaches a checkpoint, especially if there are only a few seconds left.
Pharah, Reaper, and Tracer are all mobile characters that can get behind and around the enemy team to attack them from all sides. They deal high damage (Pharah in particular has a lot of splash damage on her attacks) and their ultimate abilities can take out a lot of people in one go. They're also all easy to get the hang of and play effectively.
Torbjorn can set up turrets along the route to harass the attacking team from all sides, and can slow them down a lot, whilst Mei's ice wall can be put up in front of the payload to stop it moving forwards even if the enemy team are on it, and can immobilise faster and support heroes with her primary weapon. These guys are both more difficult to play than other heroes, but they're really effective if you can get the hang of them, so it's worth putting some time in.
The snipers, Widowmaker and Hanzo can be useful as long rage support from further back, but you need good aim. Hanzo's ultimate attack, in particular, can clear out all the enemies on the payload if you aim it correctly.
In many cases the opposing team will use a Reinhardt, and he's surprisingly good at countering himself. You can use a charge to knockback a Reinhardt using a shield and take out the protection it's giving his team. Zarya is a harder tank to play but her shielding abilities will allow your offensive teammates to move independently whilst still being protected, and D.Va, who can likewise be difficult to play as, but can be great for harassing the team, and her ultimate ability can take out a large group if they're clustered around the payload, or force them to scatter.
Symmetra is a great hero for defense on Escort missions. The secondary fire from her weapon can pass through shields, which will help against tanks on the enemy team, but her building abilities are really useful too. You can set up clusters of her sentry turrets on forward facing walls so that the enemy won't notice them until they've passed them with the payload. They'll take a facefull of damage and may not even notice where it's coming from, and if they're running with a Reinhardt up front with the shield this will hit them from behind.
Mercy is another good support hero from the point of view of healing, since on defense your team won't be as up together and Mercy can targeted heal much better, as well as buff damage to take out tanks or high damage characters like Bastion. You can also get good mileage from Zenyatta because his Orb of Discord attack can help your teammates bring down enemy heroes that are giving you trouble.