With Overwatch, the charming hero shooter from Blizzard, launching this week, we want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to help your team dominate. Overwatch’s main focus is clearly on the interplay between its dynamic characters, so in order to become competent, you’ll need to understand how every character works. Throughout the week, we’ll be publishing guides on each of the twenty-one launch heroes, three at a time, with the hopes that you’ll be able to recognize certain patterns on the battlefield.
Aside from Tracer, Reaper seems to be a favorite for more casual players (AKA you’ll sometimes see full teams comprised of the two). Despite his relatively low barrier of entry, this hero-hunting mercenary also boasts a pretty high skill ceiling. Reaper’s Hellfire Shotguns are absolutely devastating from short range, though they dramatically lose effectiveness as encounter distance increases. For this reason, you’re going to always want to try and attack him from mid-to-long range. What’s more, Reaper generates a collectible health orb whenever he kills a foe, meaning that he can go on some absolutely devastating runs if opposing players get too close.
Despite the fact that Reaper’s core weaponry is extremely simple to use and understand, his abilities require far more planning and strategy. Shadow Step gives you the ability to teleport from your current position to one of your choice, which is extremely useful for sneaking behind opposing players or getting to an objective quickly. The twist is that teleporting using this method isn’t instant like, say, Tracer’s Blink. Because there’s a one-to-two second delay where you’re completely vulnerable at play here, Shadow Step is a terrible choice for escaping losing fights. Luckily, Reaper’s other core ability, Wraith Form, gives him the ability to becime completely invisible and glide for a brief amount of time. While you cannot shoot while using Wraith Form, it’s a wonderful ability for getting out of trouble, assuming you aren’t just going to be followed after a one-on-one gunfight. Wraith Form is also outstanding for setting up Reaper’s devastating ultimate, Death Blossom. A spinning 360-degree barrage of shotgun bullets, Death Blossom is great for clearing out an objective, assuming that distance-based heroes aren’t able to pop a few bullets into him at range (Reaper is totally vulnerable during this attack).
When you’re new to Overwatch, Bastion is the absolute bane of your existence. Inexperienced players far and wide complain that he’s overpowered, but thanks to Overwatch’s mechanic of enabling in-match hero swaps, savvy players can get some really simple kills off of everyone’s favorite bird-loving robot.
Bastion is different from most of Overwatch’s heroes in that his main ability alters his main weapon. His standard configuration, Recon, allows him to move freely and gives him a moderately powerful assault rifle designed for medium range encounters. His Sentry configuration is his most useful, and potentially most frustrating, setup. In this mode, Bastion is completely stationary, but has a turret that can do insane damage at close, medium and long range. Needless to say, running straight into Bastion when he’s hanging out in his Sentry configuration is straight up foolish. Add this to the fact that his other ability, Self-Repair, allows him to heal himself, and it’s easy to see how Bastion can be frustrating for those who just bumrush an objective without thought. Oh, and let’s not forget that Bastion’s ultimate, Tank Configuration, not only makes him more mobile and gives him a powerful rocket launcher, but it also decreases the size of his hitbox significantly.
Still, defeating Bastion is actually pretty simple. When he’s in his Sentry Configuration, he actually gets a second critical hit zone on his back, so any character that can sneak behind him is going to be able to make short work of him. Needless to say, Tracer and Reaper, with their Blink and Shadow Step abilities, respectively, are awesome against Bastion. In addition, characters like Junkrat and Pharah are really awesome at causing massive amounts of explosive damage to Sentry Bastion. Finally, if you have a coordinated team, you can certainly use Reinhardt’s massive shield to absorb Bastion’s gunfire while other teammates unleash chaos on him from safety.
Great Against: Reinhardt, Reaper, Roadhog and all Healers
The first thing you need to know when playing as Mercy is that you’re not in it for the kills. It’s entirely possible that Mercy might be the only character you have a negative K/D ratio with, and that’s actually totally fine. The name of the game with Mercy is to heal your teammates, and as such, pulling out your Caduceus Blaster should be a last resort. Think about it: any moment you’re using your relatively under-powered offensive weapon is a moment where you could be letting one of your teammates die. Granted, Mercy wouldn’t have a pistol if she didn’t need to use it at times, but it shouldn’t be the main item that you use when picking this character.
Mercy’s Caduceus Staff allows her to attach a healing beam to a single ally in her immediate area, and this should be done as much as humanly possible. There isn’t necessarily a point to playing Mercy if the Caduceus Staff isn’t the main focus of your activities, especially considering that Mercy’s secondary abilities all play into her knack for healing teammates. Guardian Angel is both Mercy’s most useful ability and the skill that most players completely forget to use. By pointing your reticle at one of your teammates, you’ll be able to rapidly fly towards them, allowing you to either get right up in the action or heal a distant enemy. The one thing to keep in mind with Guardian Angel is that you need a clear path towards your teammate, so you’re not going to be able to warp through walls or ceilings.
Mercy also boasts a slightly passive perk known as Angelic Decent, which allows her to fall slowly when in the air by holding the jump prompt. This not only allows her to hide in plain sight, but it will also allow for moments of healing without being right in the thick of the action (survival is the name of the game with Mercy). Finally, Mercy’s ultimate seems simple to use, but it’s a wonderful way to frustrate your team if you’re careless. Resurrect gives Mercy the power to revive fallen teammates, which is exceptionally useful when trying to take over an objective or win in overtime. However, simply spamming the ultimate button whenever a teammate dies isn’t the most effective use of this ability, as it can often mean causing a swift second death. We recommend waiting for either multiple teammates to be down, or timing it for a massive push on an objective. As always, remember that Mercy is there to help, so in order to play this character effectively, you need to be committed to the success of others, which might not be your style if you’re always seeking your next triple kill.
Great For: Healing all teammates (not inherently designed for killing)
Weak Against: Widowmaker, Hanzo, Pharah and Reaper