There are a lot of heroes in developer Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter Overwatch, but one of the most popular is the mercenary known as Reaper. A former member of Overwatch, this masked killer is a close range fighter that absolutely devastates targets with his Hellfire Shotguns. However, despite being one of the highest damage output offense heroes, Reaper has largely been pushed into the shadows. This is mainly due to other damaging heroes like Soldier: 76, Tracer, and Pharah offering more versatility for fewer risks to the team.
However, developer Blizzard is aiming to change that as Reaper has received a number of changes to hit kit recently with most notable two being his Wraith Form now reloads his shotguns and he gains health by damaging enemies. These alterations are to hopefully make him a more powerful character that doesn’t feel like a burden if he’s picked. This guide will focus less on beginner concepts and more on advanced tactics, so we are assuming you know the general use of Reaper’s kit.
If you are looking to pick this hero up, here are 10 tips you will need to know:
1. Reaper is Not Just a Tank Buster
One of the most common misconceptions I see about Reaper is that the character should only be picked if the enemy team is running a lot of tanks. While it’s true he is fantastic at putting characters like Winston and Reinhardt into the ground, Reaper is actually a very useful 1v1 fighter. Up close, Reaper can win virtually any fight with a hero as his shotguns currently do an excessive amount of damage. This means he can out damage any other duelist based hero like McCree of Genji if you close the gap.
Because of this, it’s important that you break the mentality that Reaper is only good for tanks and let him focus on dueling high-value heroes like healers or other DPS characters. Your role as Reaper should be to kill a target either during a chaotic team fight or right before one begins. He can be played as a front line fighter but where he really becomes dangerous is when the enemy team’s attention is elsewhere.
2. He’s Better on Attack Than Defense
Reaper is one of those offense heroes that seems to perform better on offense than defense, mainly because his kit is designed to flank enemies. Looking at the map Hanamura, Reaper is able to teleport by enemies via the main door or through the top entrance. In contrast, Reaper cannot do much at the choke other than spam shotgun rounds and hope they dive in to attack you. While it’s okay to go out on your own, you will have way less escape options if you’re caught behind enemy lines while on defense.
The best game modes to play this mercenary on are Control and Payload maps as these levels typically have way more flank and escape routes a good Reaper can utilize. Try to stay out of the main charges and take alternate routes while the enemy’s attention is diverted. For example, if your team pushes onto Nepal’s Sanctum objective through the front entrance, have Reaper flank around either the outside or the small tunnel entrance by the main door. Ask yourself before you take a path the following questions:
- Do you have multiple escape routes?
- What are the chances of this entrance being watched?
- Can you kill a target without being spotted?
3. Don’t Wear Reaper’s Pumpkin Skin
Undoubtedly the Reaper Pumpkin skin from the Junkenstein’s Revenge Halloween Event is one of the coolest outfits in the game. However, the problem is that it turns this close ranged killer into a giant orange beacon that screams “Kill me now!” Reaper is most effective when he goes unnoticed and is able to get behind a team, so having a giant orange head is quite easily spotted even from a distance. While it’s not a deal breaker, I would recommend changing his outfit to something slightly less conspicuous. Just remember, wearing different skins do not alter your hitbox, but it will make you a way easier target for people to spot in a fight.
4. It’s Okay to Wraith Form With Full Health
Reaper’s Wraith Form allows this character to gain a brief movement speed increase and become immune to damage from all sources. Many players will use his ability after they’ve taken a substantial amount of damage in a fight, however, the problem is Reaper can’t exactly outrun players in this form. This means if you have low health and then use Wraith Form, there is almost nothing stopping an enemy following you to clean up the kill once you exit this ability.
Because of this, make sure to try and escape when you still have some of your health or are able to get to a health pack before you exit. Since you now reload your shotgun after exiting, it’s okay to open fire with everything you have before exiting. This can also be used to take down big targets like Roadhog who will try to hook you before they perish. Simply fire into them, Wraith Form when they hook, and then finish them off with the additional 8 rounds you have. Wraith Form is a good utility power now that can be used for more than just running.
5. Know When to Shadow Step
Reaper’s Shadow Step ability allows him to vanish and reappear within a 35-meter range of where he initiates this move. Despite being great for flanking enemies this move has one rather massive flaw. Whenever he finishes warping Reaper blurts out a rather loud voice line that alerts everyone around them he just moved. This makes countering or being aware of his attempted flank easy to spot, so try to not warp behind enemies before a fight begins.
Once the chaos has started, Reaper’s voice line will easily get lost in all the commotion, making it easy for that player to slip behind them unnoticed. If you are trying to set something up, have your team fake an attack to divert their focus and allow you a brief window of time to sneak passed them. Also if you do decide to warp, try to have cover by the area you’re warping because the giant column of red smoke is pretty easy to spot.
6. Stop Saving Your Ultimate
A nasty habit a lot of new or lower ranked players have is knowing when to use their ultimate, as these moves can easily swing an entire fight in your favor. Holding onto Reaper’s Death Blossom for a possible quadruple or more kill is foolish and it will almost never go exactly as planned. While you can wipe an entire team with this move, this scenario is unlikely as you rise through the ranks. Instead of keeping your ultimate up for the one Play of the Game moment, try using it more liberally to get just two or three targets. Reaper can gain his ultimate back rather quickly, so you can easily be almost half way there by your next big team fight.
Use Death Blossom as a way to quickly clear high-value targets like healers or people you know have their ultimates. The best way to look at this move is an instant delete button for anyone you activate this next to. Because of this, Death Blossoming just a Mercy and Soldier: 76 is a huge win because that’s removing two key components from the enemy in a matter of seconds.
7. Prioritize Targets
Like any hero, it’s important to prioritize targets with Reaper if you get into a big team fight. However, because he can function as both a straight attacker or flanker we will break this up into two lists for how you should focus targets down.
Open Team Fight:
When trying to flank remember that you will only have a few precious seconds to attack someone before everyone notices you, so wasting your shotgun shells on a tank is not a good idea. This is because it’s going to be very rare you kill them before they can turn around or receive some sort of healing, so picking off smaller targets like Zenyatta or Symmetra is far more viable. Don’t get greedy, however, if you manage to get behind the enemy and pick someone off, don’t linger around for everyone to attack. Simply run away or Wraith Form back to your team before they know what hit them.
In contrast, during a big open fight where everyone is on the point target the tanks first. Given the healers will typically be a bit away from the fight, you won’t be able to get to them unnoticed. Focus down the tanks, build your ultimate charge and let longer range DPS like Pharah or Soldier: 76 worry about the support characters.
8. Learn to Bait Attacks
This is a simple trick, but you will need to master it if you want to be a successful Reaper in the long run. Certain heroes like Ana, McCree, and Roadhog all have a way to immobilize Reaper. This will leave him vulnerable and most certainly killed if he’s caught by one of these characters. However, you can easily bait these attacks by predicting what the enemy will do. When you round the corner and to say a McCree you can fully expect that player to try and Flashbang you instantly. You can exploit this instinct by Wraith Forming, making them miss, and then reappear right on top fo them so you can easily secure a kill. The same thing goes for Ana and Roadhog, who are pretty easy to read because they will try to line themselves up with you for a hook or sleep dart.
9. Learn Every Map’s Ambush Spot
Reaper’s Shadow Step allows him to access a variety of locations he normally couldn’t reach on his own. It’s important that players learn multiple ambush spots that make the most of the open areas or confined chokepoints that players have to pass through. The same goes for flanking routes, of which there are a lot in Overwatch, so take some time in a Custom Game and run around looking for new areas. You will want spots that allow you to not be seen when teleporting or allow players a good element of surprise before they engage. Also, as a general rule of thumb try to not use the same flanking maneuver twice in a row, because there’s a high chance they will be watching that section the second time around.
10. Know When to Pick Reaper
Let me say this right out front, Reaper is not good for every team composition. He is a very good character that benefits from a team that is focused less on mobility and more on having a straight forward team fight. If you are looking to run the “dive” composition, don’t take him with you because Reaper is not nearly fast enough to keep up that momentum. Likewise, if your team has a Genji or Tracer already picked don’t choose Reaper as you will then lack any distance firepower. Reaper is best when he has a friendly McCree, Soldier, or Pharah helping him out. This ensures your team has a good frontline DPS, along with someone who can sneak behind and disrupt.
Since Pharah/Mercy is one of the biggest combos right now (especially on consoles), if you’re team has no way to deal with this from the start don’t pick Reaper. Understanding when to choose him and what group he works best with is the key to having a successful match or not in Overwatch.