Hanzo Guide “True mastery is the highest art.”

Last updated on Jul 25, 2018 at 07:22 by Mournflakes 5 comments

Table of Contents

Hanzo Portrait
  • Hanzo Personal Details Real Name: Hanzo Shimada, Age: 38
  • Hanzo Occupation Occupation: Mercenary, Assassin
  • Hanzo Geographical Origins Base of Operations: Hanamura, Japan (formerly)
  • Hanzo Affiliation Affiliation: Shimada Clan

Hanzo Overview

Regarded by many as a hero with a high skill cap (and as the biggest meme in the first two years of Overwatch history), Hanzo is a defensive hero that utilizes a bow and arrow to deal massive single target damage. Hanzo is technically in the sniper class, but he is a special snowflake when compared to his mates, Widowmaker and Ana, due to his inability to scope into his weapon, Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow. Despite his differences, Hanzo can deal devastating blows to enemy teams and score "one shot, one kill" headshots like all great sniper class characters in first person shooters (SSG08 buyers represent).

In the passive ability department, Hanzo has two mobility moves, Wall Climb Icon Wall Climb and Lunge Icon Lunge. Wall Climb allows Hanzo to (big surprise) climb walls, not unlike Genji's climbing abilities granted by Cyber-Agility Icon Cyber-Agility. While Genji won gold medals in the high jump, Hanzo preferred to show his expertise in the long jump, demonstrated through his Lunge Icon Lunge. Lunge allows Hanzo to move horizontally through the air in whatever way he is currently traveling. This can be used to dodge enemy abilities or quickly change positioning for a better shot on a target.

Hanzo's Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow is the primary source of all of his damage. The mechanics of Storm Bow present various challenges for Hanzo newcomers (shots must be channeled, arrows shot from far away must lead targets since they are projectiles, and arrows drop off past a certain distance). Due to these mechanics, a player who wants to master Hanzo must practice aim, patience, and reaction time in order to stay composed when enemies attack.

As Hanzo is difficult to utilize at extremely long ranges, he can group up with his team and be used in mid-range team fights to help deal damage to enemy tanks and protect healers from harassing flankers. Additionally, Hanzo's ability Storm Arrows Icon Storm Arrows allows him to dish out a quick volley of shots, which is perfect for taking down key targets in the middle of a fight on an objective.

Hanzo's only utility ability, Sonic Arrow Icon Sonic Arrow, helps Hanzo and his team prepare for enemies who are coming around corners or trying to run away from fights. Sonic Arrow allows Hanzo and his teammates to see enemies through walls as long as they are within a certain distance of the arrow's placement.

Finally, Hanzo has a fiery ultimate called Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike, which is often a feast or famine offensive ability. In some circumstances, Hanzo can kill entire enemy teams with Dragonstrike. However, cunning and unpredictability are two main components of any good Dragonstrike, and without those, Hanzo is apt to miss the entire enemy team with his spirit dragons.



  • High damage potential at close and medium range
  • Sonic Arrow Icon Sonic Arrow provides critical information for his team
  • Ultimate (Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike) can zone enemies effectively, and score several kills
  • Storm Arrows Icon Storm Arrows is a great tool for fending off enemy flankers
  • Viable on both Attack and Defense


  • Not consistent at long ranges
  • Missing shots can cause a significant dip in team damage output
  • Lacks consistent escape or survival abilities
  • Dragonstrike can be underwhelming

Hanzo Synergies

When Hanzo is free to take Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow shots at enemies without having to worry about his allies or his positioning, it relaxes the player and allows him or her to take confident aim at opponents. For this reason, Orisa's Protective Barrier Icon Protective Barrier is one of the most comfortable positions from which Hanzo can deal damage. The fact that Orisa can provide a meaty 900-health barrier for Hanzo is only superseded by that fact that Halt! Icon Halt! can setup Hanzo for easy headshot kills. In a similar vein, Brigitte can create headshot opportunities for Hanzo through her Shield Bash Icon Shield Bash, and she can take care of herself, freeing the Archer from his babysitting duties. Lastly, Reaper is the perfectly awkward complement to a Hanzo main, as one's strengths are the other's weaknesses (this only works if they are both high skill players).


Hanzo Counters

Hanzo has a difficult time dealing with the other defensive-hero sniper, Widowmaker. The sheer range of her scoped Widow's Kiss Icon Widow's Kiss shots (and the fact they are hitscan dps) makes Hanzo an easy target. Brigitte's Barrier Shield Icon Barrier Shield frustrates Hanzo's plans, just like her armored 250 hit points denies Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow a headshot instant kill. D.Va can use her Defense Matrix Icon Defense Matrix to erase Hanzo's arrows from existence, and this includes the source of Hanzo's ultimate Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike, making her a fine counter to his reliance on every shot.


Hanzo Is Strong Against

Hanzo thrives on slow-moving heroes who pose no real threat to his ability to deal burst damage. Due to her lack of Hanzo-countering utility abilities, and her having to stand still and scope in on allies to heal them, Ana is one of the worst healers to have against the bow and arrow assassin. In regards to dps heroes, Pharah comes in last place against Hanzo due to her typical flight patterns and the fact that Hanzo is arguably the most efficient and straightforward Pharah-killer.


Hanzo TL;DR Tips

  • Aim is everything for Hanzo (especially with the removal of Scatter Arrow Icon Scatter Arrow and the introduction of Storm Arrows Icon Storm Arrows). If you have poor aim, or if you do not have time to practice your aim, Hanzo is not the hero for you.
  • Hanzo players should always rely on their Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow first before breaking out Storm Arrows. Storm Arrows is too precious of an ability to waste on starting an engagement with. Therefore, Storm Arrows should only be used when flankers or tanks are closing in on Hanzo, or to follow up the damage from a Storm Bow shot that connects to secure the kill.
  • All Hanzo needs is one headshot to kill a number of enemy heroes. This means it is better to take your time aiming your shot and hitting your target rather than haphazardly shooting and hoping for a good result. Patience and knowledge of other heroes damage potentials is crucial in making the best shot possible before you die.
  • Storm Arrows can be used to destroy enemy barriers, but be warned: you should only do this when you feel safe because you are among your teammates.
  • Lunge Icon Lunge should be used to dodge obvious enemy ability mechanics (like when McCree rolls towards you, you should Lunge backwards to dodge his obvious attempt to gap close and stun you with a Flashbang Icon Flashbang. Resetting your aim is always better than being dead.
  • Wall Climb Icon Wall Climb is an awesome tool that can be used to create split-second positions where you can shoot at the enemy in mid-air when they least expect it.
  • Hanzo can hold on to a channeled Storm Bow Icon Storm Bow shot through a Wall Climb, allowing him to prepare for a high ground confrontation before engaging the enemy.
  • Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike should be used in conjunction with ally ultimates like Graviton Surge Icon Graviton Surge, but if no other ultimates are up, Hanzo can use his ultimate to split enemies from one another, zone enemies from an objective, and to start engagements.
  • Sonic Arrow Icon Sonic Arrow should be used to constantly scout for your team, but if an enemy is trying to duel you, save Sonic Arrow to scout a corner from which you know your enemy is going to come from to setup an easy headshot when the enemy rounds the bend.
See our Abilities page for further information

About our Author

Mournflakes is a flex Grandmaster Overwatch player who boasts a career high SR rating of 4433. His favorite heroes are Roadhog, Soldier: 76, and Ana. He has played Overwatch since its initial release, and has put over 700 hours into competitive play. When not writing guides, you can catch Mournflakes streaming on his Twitch channel.


Reading Further for Hanzo

To take things further, we have 4 more pages that you can read:

  • Abilities and Strategy: an overview of your hero's abilities and how to use them;
  • Playstyle: a detailed explanation on how to play your hero;
  • Maps: how to make the best use of your hero on each map;
  • Synergies and Matchups: where we detail your synergies, your counters, and the heroes you work well against.


  • 25 Jul. 2018 (abilities page): Storm Arrows section updated for patch 1.26
  • 22 May 2018 (abilities page): Updated Storm Arrows section for patch 1.24.
  • 25 Mar. 2018 (this page): Guide updated and moved to new format.
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