Hanzo Guide “True mastery is the highest art.”
Table of Contents
- +Abilities and Strategy
- +Synergies and Matchups
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. 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 and Lunge. Wall Climb allows Hanzo to (big surprise) climb walls, not unlike Genji's climbing abilities granted by 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. 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 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 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, 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, 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 provides critical information for his team
- Ultimate ( Dragonstrike) can zone enemies effectively, and score several kills
- 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
When Hanzo is free to take 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 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! can setup Hanzo for easy headshot kills. In a similar vein, Brigitte can create headshot opportunities for Hanzo through her 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 has a difficult time dealing with the other defensive-hero sniper, Widowmaker. The sheer range of her scoped Widow's Kiss shots (and the fact they are hitscan dps) makes Hanzo an easy target. Brigitte's Barrier Shield frustrates Hanzo's plans, just like her armored 250 hit points denies Storm Bow a headshot instant kill. D.Va can use her Defense Matrix to erase Hanzo's arrows from existence, and this includes the source of Hanzo's ultimate 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 and the introduction of 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 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 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. Resetting your aim is always better than being dead.
- 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 shot through a Wall Climb, allowing him to prepare for a high ground confrontation before engaging the enemy.
- Dragonstrike should be used in conjunction with ally ultimates like 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 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.
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.
- +Abilities and Strategy
- +Synergies and Matchups
- End-of-Year Blizzard Update
- US Federal Trade Commission Files Suit to Block Microsoft Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
- Join Us Live on Twitch for the Icy Veins Podcast
- US Federal Trade Commission "Likely to File Antitrust Lawsuit" to Block Microsoft Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
- Blizzard in China: All the Details, Rumors and New Information
- NetEase Message to Chinese Blizzard Game Players
- NetEase Responds to Blizzard Licensing Agreement Expiration
- Most Blizzard Game Services to Be Suspended in China on January 23rd