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Overwatch Reaper Guide: Mastering the Edgiest Character

You too can master Overwatch's spookiest villain if you just follow this simple guide!

If you’ve been playing Overwatch these past couple weeks, you’re probably hooked just like everyone else. You might’ve found a couple heroes you jive with, and you’ve likely decided who your favorite one is right now. I’m sure you’ve been playing them a lot and you’ve been having a great time.

And I’m sure, at least once, a Reaper has appeared from behind you and killed you almost instantly. But how did he do it? Is it all smoke and mirrors? Something else? In this guide, we’ll be talking about how you can get a headstart with Overwatch’s ultimate bad-boy, Reaper. (And if you need help dealing with an enemy Reaper, we can tell you how to do that too.)

First, let’s take a look at Reaper’s skillset.

The Reaping: this is Reaper’s passive ability, and it’s a pretty strong one at that. Every time you kill an enemy they drop a red orb, signifying their soul (yes, even robots have souls!) If Reaper walks over it, he is healed for 50 health. This passive is especially potent when moving in a line of destruction, since every successful kill will heal you a considerable amount.


Hellfire Shotguns: The Hellfire Shotguns are Reaper’s primary attack, meaning you just point your crosshairs at something and left-click. Considering they are shotguns, these babies do way more damage up close, and are incredible at shredding squishies and tanks alike. Reaper can fire 8 shots before having to reload -- and by reload, of course, we mean just pull out another pair of guns!


Wraith Form: For 3 seconds, Reaper renders himself invulnerable and slightly increases his movespeed. During Wraith Form, Reaper cannot attack or make use of any of his other abilities, nor can he end Wraith Form early. This ability is basically Reaper’s get-out-of-jail-free card, giving him incredible escape potential if he accidentally finds himself in a dangerous situation. 99% of the time you use this ability should be to escape danger, not enter it.


Shadow Step: One of Reaper’s coolest abilities in my opinion, Shadow Step allows Reaper to teleport to a visible location after a brief cast time. This ability is incredible for reaching vantage points or slipping past enemy lines -- however, escape usage is not advised. The cast time renders Reaper incredibly vulnerable, as does a brief animation delay when he reaches his location. Teleporting to a place in plain view of the enemy team is extremely ill-advised.


Death Blossom (Ultimate): Finally, we have Reaper’s ultimate. Upon activation, Reaper creates a whirlwind of destruction as he fires his weapons in all directions, obliterating unprotected enemies. While dishing out massive amounts of damage, Death Blossom renders Reaper relatively vulnerable during the cast, and so we will discuss strategies on how to best utilize this ultimate later in the guide.  

Now that you know Reaper’s abilities, you can probably think of a few ways to synergize them. However, there are a couple play styles that let Reaper truly shine, which ultimately depend on the team you’re against -- not to mention the map.

Defense Heavy Teams

If you’re playing Reaper, you’re probably on “attack”. So you’re likely going to be coming up against some Widowmakers, Bastions, and Torbjörns. Obviously, running out into the open against these heroes is a deathwish. This would be true for basically any character, but it’s especially true for Reaper, since his guns have such a short effective range. By the time you’re anywhere close to a Widowmaker, she’ll have sniped your head off.

So, this is where we’ll be employing some tactical stealth. Using Shadow Step, you can traverse gaps without walking past them and revealing your location, and can reach high windows or other high points that defense characters may be less likely to look at. Essentially, the quicker and more efficiently you can get behind the enemy team and not be noticed, the better.

Once you’re successfully behind a Widowmaker or Bastion, I’m assuming you can fill in the blanks. This strategy is obviously best against stationary characters, but dropping in behind the enemies on the ground can also lead to some good kills. The only problem withthis gameplay style is that it requires your team to be actively pushing forward so the enemy can be distracted while you run amok behind their lines. Additionally, remember to use Wraith Form if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Offense Heavy Teams

Maybe you’re like me, and you dig Reaper so much you play him on defense. That’s cool -- obviously there’s no rule saying you can’t. Reaper doesn’t have as good “fortifying” capabilities as other offense heroes like Soldier: 76 or Pharah, who have enough range that they can sit in one area and fight back the enemy team. Since Reaper is only really effective at melee range, you’ll still need to be a bit more mobile.

Fanning out from the defense point is never a bad option, especially on maps with more claustrophobic architecture like King’s Row. You can basically do reconnaissance, or even pick off characters who don’t stay with the main offensive. Hell, you might even catch another Reaper by surprise who’s trying to use the first strategy I discussed.  

Using Reaper’s Ult

Reaper’s ult is such a good AOE damage dealer that it works in a variety of situations, but as I said before, it can leave you kind of vulnerable. The best way to get around this is to use the flanking techniques I laid out in the first strategy -- if they have 4 people on the objective staunchly trying to defend it, running in headfirst and ulting is a surefire way to get killed. Furthermore, do NOT use Wraith Form to enter a cluster of enemies. I have seen this time and time again -- all it does is give the enemy adequate time to train their weapons on you.

There are also many things that counter Reaper’s ult directly - Mei wall, McCree flashbang, Roadhog hook, Zarya shield...the list goes on. So, because of all these shenanigans, you really gotta catch people by surprise. You can even activate Death Blossom while falling, so dropping off a ledge behind the enemy and ulting as you fall down gives your victims very little time to react. 

Final Notes

Reaper excels at killing tanks. Yes, he can kill Tracers and other squishies with one shot sometimes, but no other offense character can melt tanks the way he does -- and lining up his big circular crosshair on the gigantic tank player models is a piece of cake. Playing Reaper against tank heavy teams is a very viable strategy.

Shadow Step is excellent for teleporting directly behind a Widowmaker, but make sure you’re truly out of her field of view. The animation at the end of your teleport is more than enough for her to line up a headshot on you.

When playing against a Mei: Wraith Form and run away and let someone else deal with that crap. Seriously, due to Reaper’s need to fight up close, if you don’t get her with two PERFECTLY lined up shots to the face/body and kill her, she will freeze you before you get the third one off. Then you’re dead.

I hope you enjoyed the guide and learned a few things! If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below -- I am in no way a professional player, just someone who Reaps a lot!

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Published Jun. 9th 2016

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