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How to win by playing as Hanzo in ‘Overwatch’

Overwatch offers the perfect chance for FPS newcomers to get their feet wet in some multiplayer matches, as several characters are designed to ease players into the action with straightforward, powerful abilities and a formidable weapon. Hanzo, the honorable archer from the East, is not one of them. Considered one of the most difficult characters to use in the game, Hanzo requires impeccable aim, but with a few helpful strategies, you’ll be holding off Reapers and Winstons with ease.

Since we like Hanzo so much, we’ve put together a guide. Here are some tips to using this difficult character.

Stay moving

Hanzo’s bow does a ton of damage from a distance, but players can be prone to panic when enemies slip through the lines and close. The worst thing you can do at this point is try to beat a close-range fighter such as Tracer or McCree at their own game. Instead, make use of Hanzo’s climbing ability. By holding the jump button, you can quickly scale flat walls and escape danger. If you can help it, however, do this before your targets get too close. Hanzo thrives on firing arrows from elevated, strategic positions, and you can quickly turn the tables by finding a good vantage point.

… Unless you have a healer

Online shooters are often played solo, and while it’s definitely possible to succeed as Hanzo without the help of your friends, they will make your life a whole lot easier. Have a teammate choose Mercy, find a choke point where the enemy team will funnel through in attempt to take the objective, and fire volleys of arrows while your buddy heals you from around the corner. This works especially well on Temple of Anubis, given there is a corner at the tail end of the map where enemies never seem to look. Nearly every map has a long corridor where you can set up shop with your selfless ally, though.

You’re not Widowmaker, and you’re not going to kill her

Widowmaker Example
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Seriously. If you don’t learn this from reading our guide, you’re going to learn it after playing a few matches. Widowmaker is the only sniper class in the game, and her well-placed headshots are capable of taking down Hanzo before he can even draw his bow. While the long range of your weapon might make you think you can go toe-to-toe with her, Widowmaker is simply too difficult to take on alone. Instead, mark her position with one of your special sonic arrows and let a close-range specialist go in for the kill.

Scatter arrow, scatter arrow, scatter arrow

The scatter arrow ability is primarily designed to damage multiple targets at medium to long range and flush enemies out of cover, but it’s far more useful than that. See a group of players moving the payload? Shoot a scatter arrow to break them up and allow the rest of your team to go to work. Is the enemy team making a charge toward the objective? Back away as you fire a scatter arrow to damage, and potentially eliminate, several targets at once. Most important, however, is that the scatter arrow serves as the antithesis to Hanzo’s primary shot. Killing enemies as Hanzo requires patience and very good reflexes, but if you get cornered, you’re free to fire off a scatter arrow with almost no aiming to deal some serious damage.

Don’t angle your dragon

Hanzo Example
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hanzo’s Ultimate ability, Dragonstrike, is absolutely devastating. If you fire it at a team moving a payload, you can easily kill all of them in a matter of seconds. However, its best feature — the ability to move through obstacles — is also its biggest weakness. You should be shooting from an elevated position as much as possible when playing as Hanzo, but if you aim the Dragonstrike from a higher location than your targets, it has a tendency to dive into the ground and miss the majority of them. Instead, make your way to ground level and fire the attack from a level plane. The difference is night and day, and you’ll likely be seeing Hanzo on the “play of the game” highlight reel quite a bit more.

Never alone

Even if you don’t have a healer by your side, simply standing next to a few teammates during a fight can help you stay alive. Hanzo isn’t very big, and by dividing the enemy team’s attention between you and a few of your closest new friends, you have a much better chance to shoot off a few scatter arrows and a Dragonstrike. Just don’t expect to stay invisible forever — the other team will notice eventually.

Playing as Hanzo seems like a daunting task, especially for players drawn to automatic weapons and rocket launchers, but with these tips by your side, you won’t even miss the fancy technology. All you need is a bow, your wits, and an enormous magical dragon.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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