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Torbjörn Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I don't like all this standing around.”

Last updated on Jun 23, 2016 at 12:27 by Vlad 15 comments

Table of Contents

Torbjörn Portrait
  • Torbjörn Personal Details Real Name: Torbjörn Lindholm, Age: 57
  • Torbjörn Occupation Occupation: Weapons Designer
  • Torbjörn Geographical Origins Base of Operations: Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Torbjörn Affiliation Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

This guide takes an in-depth look at how to play Torbjörn in Overwatch. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the hero, and we go over mechanics, recommended strategies, and things to beware of.

The guide has been written based on our extensive experience playing the game since before the Closed Beta began, and it relies on our decades-long FPS experience. That said, our aim is to keep the guide relatively brief and easy to understand, making it accessible to veterans and new players alike.

If you have any comment on the guide's content or structure, please let us know in the comments! :)

Stamp of Approval

This guide has been reviewed and approved by michr, formerly one of the best Day of Defeat players in Europe, who now plays Overwatch for OWKings. He also writes for Gosu Gamers.

1. Strengths

  • Can provide teammates with Armor that increases health
  • Turret is capable of dealing high, sustained damage
  • High damage output even without his turret
  • Ultimate (Molten Core Icon Molten Core) makes Torbjörn and his turret extremely damaging and difficult to kill

2. Weaknesses

  • Turret is stationary and has limited range, which makes it an easy target for long range enemies
  • Torbjörn lacks escape, movement, or survival mechanisms

3. Strategy

In this section, we will briefly go over the main strategies you should employ as Torbjörn. We will begin with an Overview, and then we will go in depth more about each ability that Torbjörn has.

3.1. Overview

Torbjörn is a defensive builder in Overwatch. Even though, thematically, Torbjörn specialises in placing his turret, upgrading it and repairing it, he is actually a very potent hero even without it. His Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun is capable of very high amounts of damage, and the Armor Pack Icon Armor Packs he can provide for his teammates are strong.

Torbjörn's downfall is his lack of mobility, which makes him vulnerable to agile or long-range heroes. Long-range heroes can also make quick work of his turret.

3.1.1. Attack Versus Defense Viability

In our opinion, Torbjörn is very weak on Attack, particularly on Point Capture maps, where we recommend never choosing him. On Payload maps, attacking with Torbjörn is also problematic, unless the player is very skilled, and Torbjörn has the support of a coordinated team. Indeed, for him to viably work when attacking on Payload maps, the following must be true.

  • Your team should have a highly mobile line-up capable of flanking the other team and creating space for Torbjörn.
  • You have time to set up a turret on the Payload.
  • The enemy team should have heroes that prefer to skirmish rather than to execute full-on team fights.

In such a situation, a Torbjörn turret placed on the Payload can go a long way, especially when Torbjörn receives support from a hero like Zenyatta.

Aside from this situation, which requires a good deal of coordination (unlikely to be found at most levels of public matchmaking), Torbjörn is a poor choice even on Payload maps. Do not be tricked by the seemingly appealing idea of placing your turret on the Payload. Failing to meet all of the above requirements, placing your turret in such an exposed location will ensure that it is very quickly destroyed (even if you somehow managed to upgrade it to level 2). There are several reasons for this (pertaining not strictly to Payload maps, but Attack in general).

Firstly, you will have a very hard time making good use of your turret on Attack. Setting up your turret requires that you first place a level 1 turret, and then hit it with your hammer 5 times while it is at full health for it to upgrade to level 2 (and it needs to be level 2 in order to present a threat to the enemy). Setting up a turret in this way in a location that is actually in line of sight of your enemies is very difficult, however, as they will most likely start shooting at you and your turret as soon as they see you. Therefore, you are unlikely to even manage to upgrade it to level 2. If, on the other hand, you set it up out of defenders' line of sight, it will probably never see any action at all, since no one will push forward towards it.

Even if you do manage to set up your turret in a good location, as soon as your team makes some progress (by pushing the Payload forward, for example), the position will become irrelevant and you will need to re-place your turret, which brings all the above challenges with it again.

Secondly, Torbjörn needs to collect Scrap from the corpses of dead teammates and enemies in order to fuel his Armor Pack Icon Armor Packs, but picking up Scrap from dead enemy defenders will prove very difficult, since these players will generally die in locations that are not safe for the attackers to access (unless they have managed to completely push the defenders back or kill them all).

On Control maps, Torbjörn is just as bad, if not worse than in other game modes, as in addition to the previous problems, his lack of mobility also hampers him greatly here.

3.2. Abilities

3.2.1. Rivet Gun (Primary Fire)

Torbjörn Rivet Gun
Rivet Gun (1, LMB, RMB) Torbjörn

Press 1 to select. LMB: Slow firing and long ranged weapon. RMB: Inacurate but powerful short range weapon.

The primary fire of Torbjörn's Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun fires single projectiles that deal 70 damage, and which have no damage drop-off at range. However, as projectiles, their trajectory does drop off, and they have travel time (although their speed is quite high).

The Rivet Gun's primary fire is Torbjörn's only way of reliably dealing damage at medium or long range (aside from the damage his turret does). Whenever you have no other, more important action to perform (notably placing, repairing, or upgrading your turret), you should use your Rivet Gun to damage enemies at range.

It will take some practice to get used to the exact arc of the projectiles (and even then, hitting distant targets is not easy to do reliably), but the damage potential of the Rivet Gun is excellent (especially if the projectiles headshot), so you should not hesitate to use it. Against stationary targets such as Bastion or Torbjörn's turrets, the Rivet Gun is especially effective.

In close and melee range, as we will see below, you should instead use the Rivet Gun's alternate fire.

3.2.2. Rivet Gun (Alternate Fire)

Torbjörn Rivet Gun
Rivet Gun (1, LMB, RMB) Torbjörn

Press 1 to select. LMB: Slow firing and long ranged weapon. RMB: Inacurate but powerful short range weapon.

Your Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun's alternate fire shoots a burst of projectiles. The damage of these projectiles does drop off at range, which, coupled with the spread of the burst, means that it is only effective against nearby targets.

Whenever you are engaged in close range or melee combat, you should use the alternate fire.

3.2.3. Forge Hammer

Torbjörn Forge Hammer
Forge Hammer (2, LMB) Torbjörn

Press 2 to select. Swing to improve your turret or damage an enemy.

Your Forge Hammer Icon Forge Hammer is a melee tool/weapon that serves 3 purposes.

  • When used on a damaged turret, it repairs it at a rate of 50 health per swing.
  • When used on a full-health level 1 turret, it upgrades it to level 2 (this requires 5 full-health swings, but progress towards level 2 is not lost if the turret is damaged in the meantime).
  • When used on an enemy, it deals 75 damage to them (but its range is lower than that of a normal melee attack).

It is also worth noting that if you switch to your Forge Hammer for at least 2 seconds, this automatically reloads your Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun.

The main use of the Forge Hammer is to repair and upgrade your turret. Effectively, whenever your turret is not at full health, you should use your Forge Hammer to repair it (and if it is taking damage, you should stand next to it and continue swinging at it to keep it alive). Aside from this, any time you place a new turret down, you should use your Forge Hammer to upgrade it to level 2.

Despite being designed to repair and upgrade your turret, the Forge Hammer is actually an excellent weapon, especially since you can use it while you are out of ammo in your Rivet Gun and benefit from the automatic reload it provides. So, whenever you are fighting someone in close range and you run out of Rivet Gun ammo, switch to the Forge Hammer for at least 2 seconds.

3.2.4. Build Turret

Torbjörn Build Turret
Build Turret (LShift) Torbjörn

Build an upgradable turret.

Build Turret Icon Build Turret places a turret at the designated location. Torbjörn's turret automatically fires at targets in its line of sight and range (which is quite high, but not infinite). It rotates 360 degrees, it cannot miss, and its rate of fire is steady, never needing to reload. The turret has a short target acquisition time (of about 0.5 seconds). This is how long the turret needs before it starts shooting at a target that just entered its line of sight. It means that the turret is vulnerable to heroes that can strafe in and out of cover quickly, as it will never have enough time to acquire the target and start shooting. As stated above, your Forge Hammer Icon Forge Hammer can be used to repair a damaged turret at a rate of 50 health per second. Each Torbjörn can only heal his own turret, even if there are multiple Torbjörns and turrets on the same team.

The turret persists even if Torbjörn dies, but you can only have one turret up at any given time. When your turret is firing at an enemy, this is indicated on your screen (the turret is alway visible to you even through walls), so in that sense it can give you some indication of enemy positions.

When Build Turret is used, the resulting turret will be level 1. Level 1 turrets have 150 health and deal a modest 28 DPS. By hitting level 1 turrets with your Forge Hammer, you can upgrade them to level 2. Only hits on full-health turrets make progress towards an upgrade, and 5 swings on a full-health turret are required to upgrade it.

Level 2 turrets have 300 health and they deal 56 DPS. The only way to upgrade a turret to level 3 is by using your Molten Core Icon Molten Core ultimate (more details below), and the turret will revert to being level 2 when Molten Core ends. Level 3 turrets have 800 health and they deal a very high 181 DPS.

Torbjörn benefits greatly from making good use of his turret at all times, but he does not depend on it for his viability (it is his Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun's damage output and his Armor Pack Icon Armor Packs that account for that). So, the turret is really just a bonus for Torbjörn. As such, the best strategy is actually to place your turret and then ignore it until it is destroyed, instead spending this time engaged in the fight using your Rivet Gun.

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to your turret.

You have to find good positions for your turret. Since the turret's range is limited, if you place it somewhere where enemies can see it from very far away, your turret will simply be killed by enemy Widowmakers, Hanzos, or Pharahs. The rate at which you can repair the turret (assuming that you yourself are safe from enemy fire) is not high enough to keep it alive, and as stated above, you should not be doing this anyway. So, you should instead place your turret in protected areas, from where the turret has line of sight of (and range to) the choke point or objective where you expect your enemies to be.

In any case, when considering where to place your turret, try to be creative. The locations that are "best" are typically also the most popular so the ones most likely for the enemy to prefire or prepare for. This is especially true once the enemy team has seen and been killed by your turret a few times. They will most likely plan their next attack with your turret in mind, so suddenly changing its location can be very advantageous.

You also need to consider that your level 1 turret is extremely weak, so you need to always pre-place your turret so that you have time to set it up and upgrade it to level 2 before it encounters any enemies. Trying to set up a turret out in the open, facing the enemies, is an impossible task that you should not waste time with. If your turret is destroyed during a team fight, you are better off building a new level 1 turret and then using your Rivet Gun to participate in the fight, instead of taking the 5 seconds needed to upgrade your turret to level 2 (not counting any time spent repairing it through any minor damage it might be taking).

3.2.5. Scrap Collector

Torbjörn Scrap Collector
Scrap Collector Torbjörn
  • Passive

Collect Soul scrap to gain resources.

Scrap Collector Icon Scrap Collector is a passive ability that allows Torbjörn to collect Scrap. Each time a player is killed (regardless of whether they are an ally or an enemy) a piece of Scrap appears at the location of their corpse, where it persists for a long time. Scrap is only visible to Torbjörn (in case of multiple Torbjörns in a game, all of them can see all of the Scrap). By moving close to the Scrap, Torbjörn collects it. The pick-up radius of Scrap is quite large, meaning that Torbjörn does not need to be exactly on top of it to get it.

Torbjörn has a maximum capacity of 200 Scrap, and each piece of Scrap he collects grants 25 scrap. There is only one use of Scrap, which is to create Armor Pack Icon Armor Packs (see below).

There is not much to say about collecting Scrap, except that you should make an effort to collect as much as you can without putting yourself in danger. Where Scrap dropped by enemies is concerned, you must be especially careful not to expose yourself to enemy snipers. It is always better to ignore Scrap than to get killed trying to collect it.

3.2.6. Armor Pack

Torbjörn Armor Pack
Armor Pack (E) Torbjörn

Build an armor powerup.

At the cost of 50 Scrap, Torbjörn can create an Armor Pack Icon Armor Pack, which he drops on the ground in front of him. The Armor Pack is lobbed forward in the direction of the crosshair, much like Tracer's Pulse Bomb Icon Pulse Bomb or Junkrat's Concussion Mine Icon Concussion Mine. Assuming that you correct for its trajectory drop-off by aiming sufficiently high, you can throw the Armor Packs very far away.

Once an Armor Pack is thrown, your allies can see it on the ground, and if any ally (or Torbjörn) runs over it, they will consume it, receiving 75 Armor. There are several things to note about how the Armor provided by Torbjörn works.

  • Armor is added on top of the player's existing health, increasing their current and maximum health by 75.
  • When the player takes damage, they first lose their Armor before their actual health. In case the player also has a Symmetra Photon Shield Icon Photon Shield applied to them, the shield is damaged before the Armor.
  • Armor that is lost (through taking damage) cannot be healed or regenerated in any way, except to pick up a new Armor Pack.
  • Multiple Armor Packs (from the same or different Torbjörns) do not stack, but if even 1 point of Armor has been lost, a new Armor Pack can be picked up to fully refresh the Armor to 75.

Since you do not target teammates directly with your Armor Packs, your best choice is to place them in areas that your teammates are most likely to pick them up. This means placing them near or on top of the objective, outside of the spawn room, or even throwing them directly at the feet of one of your teammates so that they automatically pick up the Armor Pack.

There is not much to say about this ability except that you should pick up as much Scrap as is safe, and use it to create as many Armor Packs as possible.

There is no real priority as to whom you should try to give Armor to first (and this is going to be difficult to set up, anyway, unless you are playing with a group of coordinated players), since all heroes benefit from the Armor equally. That said, you can consider giving Armor to first to the most fragile teammates, namely those heroes who have only 150 health (Zenyatta, Tracer, and Genji), as well as to other heroes who are vital to your team (Mercy and Lúcio).

It is worth pointing out that, since you can pick up your own Armor Packs, it is a good technique to drop Armor Packs for yourself while you are fighting another hero. Since each Armor Pack is essentially a 75-health heal, picking up several of them during a fight against an offense hero that has ambushed you can give you a good advantage, and it allows Torbjörn to be a surprisingly efficient brawler.

3.2.7. Molten Core

Torbjörn Molten Core
Molten Core (Q) Torbjörn
  • Ultimate

Increases your weapons' attack speed and gives you bonus armor. Also upgrades your level 2 turret to level 3 for the duration.

When activated, Molten Core Icon Molten Core buffs you and your turret for 10 seconds, granting the following effects.

  • You receive 300 Armor for the duration of Molten Core (or until the Armor is lost through damage taken).
  • The rate of fire of your Rivet Gun Icon Rivet Gun and the speed at which you swing your Forge Hammer Icon Forge Hammer are doubled.
  • Your turret (provided that it is level 2) is upgraded to level 3 for the duration of Molten Core. This adds 500 health to the turret (which is directly added to the current health it has) for a maximum of 800, and it also greatly increases the turret's DPS.

The effect on your turret happens regardless of how far away you are from it when you cast Molten Core. If you do not have a level 2 turret active at the time, but upgrade a turret to level 2 while Molten Core is still up, the turret will instantly become level 3.

Molten Core turns Torbjörn and his turret into a formidable threat that can completely decide the outcome of a team fight. Both Torbjörn and his turret have so much health during Molten Core that they are extremely difficult to kill, and they both deal very high damage.

The best usage of Molten Core is to activate it during team fights. The 10-second duration lines up nicely with the length of most large encounters, and assuming that your turret is positioned correctly, it will have devastating consequences. During this time, it is probably not worth repairing the turret, since it has a lot of health and most enemies will not even bother attacking it (and rightly so). Instead, you should turn your own strong damage potential against the attackers, as well as throw down Armor Pack Icon Armor Packs. In any case, as we stated in the Build Turret section, this is a decision you should take on the spot, and if you find your turret is being focused down during Molten Core, repairing it (at the increased rate provided by your increased swing speed with Forge Hammer) can be very strong.

If you use Molten Core without a level 2 turret up (or if the turret is destroyed just as you used Molten Core), you should quickly set up a new turret and upgrade it to level 2, in order to benefit from the strong level 3 turret.

That said, there are other times when using Molten Core is a good idea. Even lacking a proper "team fight", Molten Core can help you hold down an objective when you are severely outnumbered, and it can also help keep the enemy off a point for its duration.

Lastly, you can use Molten Core as a last resort survival ability, since the healing you receive from it is usually enough to save you and allow you to kill the hero or heroes you are up against.

4. ChangeLog

  • 23 Jun. 2016: Updated a mention that Molten Core fully heals the turret to state that the bonus 500 turret health is added to its existing health.
  • 08 Jun. 2016: Reworked the Attack Versus Defense Viability section slightly for improve coherence.
  • 22 May 2016: Updated the guide following michr's review.
    • Revamped the guide as a whole to de-emphasise the role and importance of the turret and to instead highlight that Torbjörn's Rivet Gun and Armor Packs are what make him truly viable.
  • 12 May 2016: Guide added.
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