Overwatch Character Highlight: Sombra

Published: November 26, 2016 9:00 AM



Overwatch's 23nd character is finally here and she brings with her a fascinating skill set. Sombra is an Offensive technical hero; her abilities let her play very similarly to Tracer, only with more damage output in lieu of speed. Most of the Offensive class heroes in Overwatch are divided into two categories: the kind that can be front liners and survive on the field (like Soldier 76 and Pharah) and those who are best suited for working their way around the map and attacking from behind (such as Genji or Reaper). Sombra's design allows for a mixture of both, and I've found the best way to play her is to be selectively aggressive.



Sombra's Abilities Include:

  • Primary Fire
    • Sombra's main weapon and only form of damage is her Machine Pistol. The pistol has 60 ammunition, fires 20 rounds per second, and deals 2.5 - 8 damage per hit. This weapon does best at close to medium range, and it's excellent at finishing off enemies on the brink of death.
  • Hack
    • The Hack ability has many functions, and it can be difficult to use without practice. The Hack abilities has three uses:
      • Hacking an enemy player disables their abilities for 6 seconds, only allowing the use of their weapons.
      • Hacking a Torbjorn turret shuts it down for 6 seconds.
      • Hacking a health pack will increase spawn time for your own team and make it exclusive to your own team for one minute.
  • Thermoptic Camo
    • This is an invisibility skill. Sombra turns invisible for five seconds and increases her speed considerably. After cloaking, Sombra is truely invisible; there is no shimmer or sign of presence unless Sombra takes damage. Sombra can use her translocator without revealing herself but firing her weapon will end the camouflage.
  • Translocator
    • The Translocator is a small device that is thrown. Sombra can warp to the Translocator at any point after it's been thrown within 15 seconds. Sombra can warp to the Translocator in mid-air, though she will not continue to fly but instead drop where she is.
  • Passive Ability: Opportunist
    • Sombra's passive ability allows her to see enemies through walls if their health is below 50%.
  • Ultimate Ability: EMP
    • Sombra's Ultimate activates a hack over a wide area. Any enemies caught in the EMP blast will have their shields and barriers destroyed and be hacked for six seconds.
Being selectively aggressive with Sombra is tricky, because you have to switch back and forth between knowing when to attack and when to hide. If you try to go on an all out offense, you're gonna have a bad time. Sombra has great damage output, but she won't be winning any head to head fights. It seems that Sombra is actually more effective for teams actively trying to cooperate. It's important to tell your team what health packs you hack, what heroes you've hacked, and so on.

I've found that one of my favorite strategies for Sombra is to throw a translocator on a hacked health pack, camouflage, get behind enemies, deal some damage, and warp back at the first sign of danger. Rinse and repeat. The Opportunist ability is excellent for finishing off enemies on the run and then warping back to safety when you're in trouble.



Tips and Tricks for Playing Sombra:


  • Hacking gets interrupted if you take damage, so whenever you attempt an offensive hack, make sure you do it stealthily. If you go after a turret, make sure you approach it from behind.
  • Keep track of the time remaining on your Translocator. It's easy to lose track and not notice that it's deactivated.
  • Using her invisibility right out the gate is excellent for catching back up to your team or getting behind the enemy lines quickly. It's usable again after only six seconds or so, so use it often.
Heroes Sombra is Best Against:

Tanks are probably Sombra's best targets—Reinhardt, Zarya, D.Va—all rely very heavily on their secondary abilities and getting hacked shuts all of them down, not to mention they're the largest targets for her Machine Pistol.

Support heroes are also great for Sombra to target; they have low health and low offense. Ana in particular is extremely reliant on her abilities to heal others, while Mercy would only lose her Guardian Angel and resurrection ability.

Counter-Heroes to Watch Out For:

Junkrat is easily one of the best heroes against Sombra. His random nature makes him difficult to plan around, and one of the best strategies against Sombra as Junkrat is to find her Translocator, place your trap and your Explosive Mine, and just wait. The second she warps, she gets trapped and then explodes.


Winston is one of the best Tanks against Sombra. Getting hacked barely stops his momentum, and he could easily last the 6 seconds before he can jump again.

Lastly, if you're in a fight against another Sombra, it's worth going for the kill rather than trying to hack her back. In the time it takes to get hacked, you could easily just take her out.

The metagame for Overwatch before Sombra was very shield focused. Lucio was easily the best healer because of his ultimate, giving your entire team near invincibility for a few seconds. Sombra is an attempt to change the meta from being so focused on shields and defense. All of her abilities are designed for disruption, and I honestly believe she is more intended for competitive play than she is causal. She's fun to play for sure, but without proper coordination, the impact she makes isn't that great.


Sombra only just came out, so I'm only giving you the bare bones for how to play Sombra effectively. If you enjoyed this or have your own strategy for Sombra, leave your thoughts in a comment below!

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Author: | Former Staff Writer
 I've been playing games my whole life, mostly Nintendo and Playstation. My all time favorite game series are Pokemon, Infamous, Golden Sun and Persona