Mar 23 2017 - 5:00 pm

Sombra Overwatch guide: Abilities, tips, counters and more

Overwatch’s Mexican hacker's recent buffs raises her potential. Here's what to know.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
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Image via Blizzard Entertainment

¿Dónde está Sombra?

Overwatch’s Mexican hacker forced herself into the first-person shooter after a long teaser period. She’s not the new kid on the block anymore, either, given that Orisa has just entered the arena. Overwatch players are still getting to know Sombra—figuring out the ways to play her that are the most fun and effective.

Want even more advice? #1 Sombra player Codey gives his top tips.

Though she’s classified as a DPS flanking hero like Tracer and Reaper, Sombra’s most interesting abilities have less to do with damage dealing. It’s that she can hack both players and health packs. Her kit is specifically designed to get into back lines and bother the enemy team—chuck a translocator over the front lines to teleport in, hack a character who’s ultimate ability is essential to holding their defense, and get out using thermoptic camo.Playing Sombra right can add a serious advantage to your team.

Everything can be hacked

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Sombra’s hacking ability can be used on enemy characters and health packs, making this ability very versatile. She was initially introduced with a 12 second cooldown on her hack ability, making it far too precious to use wildly. However, Blizzard recently buffed hack, lowering its cooldown from 12 seconds to eight seconds. While it’s still important to choose your hack targets wisely, it’s much less precious. Hack has the potential to devastate teams on defense, taking down Reinhardt’s shield and creating an opening for attack.

Hacking an enemy takes their abilities offline for six seconds, eclusing an enemy’s passive abilities or basic weapon. To use hack, you’ll have to get in pretty close, as it’s a short-to-medium range ability. Taking damage during a hack will shut down the ability, but Blizzard’s made that easier to do, too. Casting hack takes just .8 seconds now.

Hacking health packs is one of Sombra’s coolest abilities. Health packs go offline for enemies for 60 seconds, and during that time, they refresh quicker for teammates—something that’s going to require other flankers who rely on health packs to rethink their strategies. Plus, this just puts Sombra in an interesting spot as a support and DPS hero. Each time players get health from a health pack, too, her ultimate charges—so Sombra can get that up really fast. Her ultimate is really important for creating openings for her team, and the more you have it, the better position your team will be in.

Been here all along

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Thermoptic camo allows Sombra to go completely invisible for six seconds, with an added speed boost. It’s got a six second cooldown, which isn’t too bad, making thermoptic camo a good way to get back to your team after respawning, too.

Invisibility can be uncovered by taking enemy fire, so if enemy teammates see you turn it on, it’s not likely to help much. That said, it’s a pretty good way to get into the back line quickly; throw your translocator to a nearby health pack to quickly refresh your health and get back in there. It’s also important to note, you can’t attack enemies while invisible, unless you want to turn it off. Widowmaker and Hanzo will prove themselves useful against Sombra in this instance; Hanzo’s sonic arrow will detect Sombra if she’s within his line of sight, though not behind walls, while Widowmaker’s infra-sight will reveal Sombra regardless.

Don’t worry about getting healed by Mercy while invisible, by the way—Mercy’s beam won’t show up for enemy teams.

See ya later

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Using the translocator, Sombra can teleport. For 15 seconds after throwing out the beacon, as Sombra, you can teleport to that location. The beacon will stay in place for 15 seconds, and it’s another six seconds before it’s usable again. The beacon doesn’t need to have landed to be used, which will allow you to drop into fights from interesting angles. Be careful doing that, though—you’ll want to make sure your teammates are around for support. Sombra’s squishy. She’ll go down fast without help.

It’s essential for flanking, too, in getting close to the other team to knock ’em out with an EMP blast, or to hack a major enemy with a shield—ahem, Reinhardt.

¡Apagando las luces!

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

This is a game-winning ultimate. Sombra’s EMP sets off an electromagnetic blast that destroys enemy shields in a wide radius, while also hacking all enemies within the detonation area. Sombra herself is the center of the blast, so to use EMP effectively, you’ll need to use stealth abilities like her invisibility or translocator to really get in there. It’s essentially her hacking ability on a massive level. It’ll take down Reinhardt’s shield, disable Torbjörn’s turret, remove Lucio’s sound barrier, and stop McCree’s ultimate—and more.

Sombra’s ultimate is more focused on setting up the team for huge plays, so communication while playing her is going to be necessary. If no one on your team is around after you’ve used EMP, it’s not likely going to do much good.

The matchups

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Strong Against

Reinhardt, Zarya, Bastion

Reinhardt and Zarya are important in keeping their teams safe, and they’re abilities ensure they’re able to do that. But by taking out their abilities, they become a lot less useful. Sombra has the ability to eliminate Reinhardt and Zarya’s key abilities—both have shields—and allow their team an opening to pick off important targets.

As for Bastion, Sombra can be devastating. One hack will pull Bastion out of its turret ability and remove its self-heal ability. And with Bastion’s recent changes, you need to remove his ability to heal. He’s more tough in Configuration: Recon now, but taking out his key abilities is a big advantage. Plus, Sombra can get in without being noticed and remove herself from battle before Bastion can knock her out.

Weak Against

Widowmaker, Hanzo, Winston

Widowmaker and Hanzo are effective against Sombra for one major reason: They can reveal her when she’s in stealth mode. Winston, too, is a good hero for finding a Sombra lurking about: His tesla cannon can suss out a nearby Sombra without really knowing where she’s hiding. Should he know where her translocator is—or make a good guess—his jump ability is the fastest way to get at a retreating Sombra.

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