Reaper is arguably one of the most distinguishable heroes in Overwatch; you don’t get to run around the battlefield with two shotguns and a mask without getting a bit of a reputation. Fortunately, Reaper can back that reputation up thanks to his incredibly high burst damage. If you like the idea of a character who can slip behind enemy lines and then shotgun blast the healer’s face off, Reaper is your man.
Written by Steven Messner and James Busby
Hellfire Shotguns [LMB] – All of Reaper’s damage comes from his Hellfire Shotguns, the two large cannons he brings on the battlefield. Each one packs a devastating punch at close range but will feel like mosquito bites at a distance, meaning Reaper needs to get up close and personal to be really effective. Also, instead of reloading them, he just tosses them on the ground and materializes new ones—how badass is that?
Shadow Step [E] – So you have two amazing shotguns and you need to shove them in someone’s face? Shadow Step can do that for you. This ability lets you teleport to a targeted position after a short charge up, which means you’ll need to be careful about using it in the middle of a firefight. Combined with a good knowledge of map layout, Shadow Step lets Reaper get behind enemy lines and murder weaker heroes, but it can also be a useful escape when you sense the tide turning in a fight and need to get out—just remember it’ll take time to charge.
Wraith Form [LSHIFT] – Part of what makes Reaper so deadly is his Wraith Form ability, which temporarily makes him invulnerable while also giving him a boost to speed. The only downside is you can’t attack either. However, the ability does give him plenty of opportunities to safely reposition and unleash a barrage of blasts from his shotguns. When used well, Wraith Form can let you cross open spaces without taking damage, but it’s most effective when used to taunt out powerful abilities from rival heroes. Doing so will require an in-depth knowledge of each hero, but once you know which abilities to bait, Wraith Form can help Reaper escape serious damage before blowing some skulls apart.
The Reaping [Passive] – Each time an opponent is killed, a floating orange orb will appear over their body that Reaper can collect to earn back a small portion of his health. If you’re low and there’s no support to heal you, you’re going to need to kill something or wait for your teammates to drop a few enemies.
Death Blossom [Q] – Like Pharah’s Barrage, Death Blossom has a reputation for being one of the more devastating ultimates in the game. Once you press Q, Reaper begins wildly spinning around and firing in every direction, killing anything that gets too close to him. If you can get Reaper right into the middle of an enemy formation, Death Blossom can eradicate entire teams if they aren’t prepared for it. The ability is most deadly when opponents are grouped together or synergised with other ultimates such as Graviton Surge or Earthshatter.
Reaper Strategy Tips
Reaper can be an incredibly fun or exceedingly frustrating hero to play. The amount of damage he deals up close is ridiculous, but closing that distance requires being clever and having a good knowledge of the map. Reaper is best used right in the heart of conflict, like battling for a control point, because his damage will tear through just about every hero. When things get too sticky, use Wraith Form to escape and catch your breath. While Shadow Step might seem like an alluring way to blink out of action, the slow charge up on it makes it better used for flanking groups of enemies before unleashing a Death Blossom or taking out a pesky Tracer or Hanzo.
When it comes to ultimates, Death Blossom is one of the easiest to use since Reaper applies damage equally in all directions for a short period of time. The biggest challenge is knowing when and where to use it. Try to make sure that your opponents don't have any cover they can duck behind when you activate Death Blossom. This will waste your ultimate and leave you open to heroes like Roadhog and McCree who can interrupt your channel.
Like Pharah, triggering the ability in concert with another hero ultimate is always the best choice, but Death Blossom can be surprisingly effective when used to catch groups of enemies by surprise. Good players will never want to get too close to Reaper, but if you can get the jump on them before they have a chance to react, Death Blossom will tear them apart.
That said, range is always going to be Reaper’s biggest weakness, and having to get in close can feel like a blessing and a curse when you’re up against other shotgun-centric heroes like the tanky Roadhog. In these instances, using Wraith Form to avoid damage is going to be necessary, but I’d actually just recommend waiting for backup to arrive. Reaper isn’t a tank, so having the enemy paying attention to you is always going to end in defeat.