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Overwatch Tips: How To Play As Reinhardt

Overwatch has been out in the wild for 24 hours now, and after a closed beta and immensely successful open beta, the game’s popularity is through the roof. But how can we as a community better the experience?



There are a number of ways, but I think that Reinhardt — that big, clunky, powerful tank character that wields a smashing hammer and smothering shield — best exemplifies both the best and worst of Overwatch‘s community.

Now don’t get me wrong: this isn’t an attack on the Overwatch community, and I don’t want to sound like I’m shouting down from a perch, bemoaning the skill level of players. After all, the game’s only been out for 24 hours and I’m certainly not the best player going around (but I think I’m pretty good). What I do hope to do here is kind of make players aware of each character’s strengths, and I’m using Reinhardt as an example because he really highlights the importance of team play, structure and management.

When To Use Reinhardt

Reinhardt is my player of choice when playing Attack. This is because he creates a fantastic moving shield for your teammates to attack behind and slowly move forward. He is particularly useful with a moving objective because it gives your team more flexibility and scope of the enemy coming from ahead of the objective. I rarely use him in defense because you need a good balance of Support and Tanks to cover the perimeter, and as such you don’t really need a shield to help you progress forward. He’s useful when defending in some situations, no doubt, but he’s an absolute necessity when playing attack.

Obviously when your team is trapped at a spawn point and the defenders are farming kills from a distance, this is where Reinhardt comes into play. If you’re struggling to move forward, this is when you need to bring out his shield. It’s important to balance the placement of the shield to cover your teammates from snipers that might potentially be located at high vantage points, looking down on the central exit point.

What I personally like to do in the early stages of a map is aim my shield at snipers and Bastion, as well as any turrets placed nearby. These characters and tools tend to cause the most damage when on target, so it’s pretty important that you take them out quickly so that the team can progress.


The Problem With Reinhardt

Reinhardt is certainly not a perfect character. He has a low weapon range, and is fairly slow and clunky, but that’s for a good reason. If you’re on target, his Rocket Hammer causes decent damage, while the Fire Strike does a fantastic job of stunning enemies. The Charge is also great, but you absolutely must be on target or you just end up boosting past everyone into a brick wall. He’s certainly not an easy character to play as from an actual “attack” perspective, and as such he needs to be approached exclusively as a walking shield. The problem with this is that players pick him thinking his powerful swing and charge will help their team, but those abilities are more like additional, last line of defence features that should be used sparingly and only when absolutely needed. This means that you’re essentially giving up an “attack” spot on your team for a character that actually rarely “attacks” other enemies, but that’s not how you should look at him.

He should be looked at as, well, a giant shield. The problem is that all too often the community just doesn’t look at him that way. All too often I have chosen Reinhardt and opened up my shield, only for my teammates to rush past the shield directly into the line of fire. It basically makes him utterly useless and pointless from a character selection point of view.

Now, let’s look at what Reinhardt does, and how he should be used.

  1. His giant shield creates a squared protection zone directly behind him. A good player will move this shield relative to enemy placement.
  2. This shield can be shot through from behind, but it will take heavy fire from the enemy to take the shield down.
  3. As the shield absorbs all enemy fire, teammates need take out those enemies that are focusing fire on the shield.

If you flank around the shield, you’re just attracting fire. This puts your team at a massive disadvantage, especially if the defenders are farming the spawn point. Reinhardt is there to protect you as your team moves forward, so moving out from behind that shield is akin to going into the match with one less player (two if you include Reinhardt being utterly useless unless his shield is being utilised). I really can’t understand for the life of me why an offensive character would rush out and take on four or five defenders, mostly made up of snipers, Bastions and Turrets, when they have a shield there protecting them from enemy fire. It’s nonsensical.

The major challenge with Reinhardt in my experience is when he does actually attack, and how this can leave teammates vulnerable. The only time I drop the shield and charge is when there is another Reinhardt directly ahead of me, or if I am taking heavy fire and my shield is about to die. I love it when there is a Reinhardt directly opposite, shield up, and it’s like a quickdraw to see who will charge first. You have to take your chances in that situation, and then rush back to the point. At least then if your shield is down, you’re moving quickly and out of harm’s way, and then once the charge is over (and hopefully the person you charged is dead), your shield is regenerated.


Let’s Play As A Team

Reinhardt’s shield is the ultimate team weapon when attacking. Use it. The objective is to move forward, not to rack up kills. You have to consider that if you move out from the shield and get into a firefight with an opposing player, even if you take them down your chances are pretty slim against multiple opponents. They might respawn deeper in the map but so will you, so you lost any advantage you hoped to gain. Taking out an opponent from behind the shield means you survive the battle and the team keeps moving forward. Stick close to him, and only move out from the shield if you can break into a corridor that leads directly to the objective, or if you can sneak up behind the enemy and set up a turret or similar from behind.

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