McCree Strategy & Gameplay Guide “I've got a bullet with your name on it.”
Table of Contents
- 1. Strengths
- 2. Weaknesses
- +3. Strategy
- 4. ChangeLog
This guide takes an in-depth look at how to play McCree 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
- Strongest close range hero in the game (assuming successful Flashbang usage)
- Can deal high damage at all ranges with perfect accuracy
- Very effective against tanks
- Viable on both Attack and Defense
- Weak escape mechanism ( Combat Roll) and low mobility
- No self-sustain of any sort
- Extremely vulnerable if Flashbang is not available or if it misses
- Very vulnerable while casting Deadeye (ultimate), which is also easy for the enemy to avoid
In this section, we will briefly go over the main strategies you should employ as McCree. We will begin with an Overview, and then we will go in depth more about each ability that McCree has.
McCree is the supreme champion of close range combat. This is due in very large part to the combination of his Flashbang ability and his alternate fire, a combo that can easily dispatch most heroes in the game. In addition to this, McCree can Combat Roll and use alternate fire again, in case the first 6-bullet volley was not enough to kill his target(s).
This signature combo means that any time McCree engages a non-tank in close range, he will come out victorious (not taking into account any mistakes such as missing with Flashbang or poor aim).
In addition to this, McCree can deal high and sustained damage at medium range, and is still very effective at long range (despite the fact that his bullets deal reduced damage there).
Your role as McCree is, primarily, to take as many close range fights as you can, since these will very often result in kills, which will provide your team with a steady advantage. You should try to make as much use as possible of corners and doorways, where your appearance will take enemies by surprise, allowing you to Flashbang and kill them.
Given your very low mobility (Combat Roll is not very effective for anything but the slightest of maneuvers, and of course for instantly reloading your pistol), you should avoid trying to backstab the enemy team, and you should generally try to stay in the vicinity of your teammates. This is because, if things do not go as planned, you do not have the same options of escape as other offense heroes like Tracer, Genji, Pharah, or even Soldier: 76.
If close range combat is not possible, you can still do a very good job of dealing damage at medium and even high range. You can do this whenever there is no close range action, but always keep in mind that your role is to act as a sort of close range guard dog for your team.
3.2.1. Primary Fire
LMB: Accurate, powerful revolver. RMB: Wildly fire remaining rounds.
Your primary fire as McCree is very important to your overall gameplay. Your pistol is very straightforward. It has 6 bullets, pin-point accuracy and little recoil. Accuracy while moving is perfect.
While the damage you deal at close and medium range is very high, you should keep in mind that there is damage drop-off at high range. As such, trying to duel an enemy sniper is generally not recommended, but you can easily take on other heroes.
As we explain below, for very close range encounters, it is advised to use alternate fire instead of your primary fire.
You can see a good example of KabaL using the primary fire in this video.
3.2.2. Alternate Fire
LMB: Accurate, powerful revolver. RMB: Wildly fire remaining rounds.
Alternate fire shoots all 6 bullets in your pistol in quick succession. The recoil of this quick spray takes practice to control, with the pistol's crosshair being pushed up (so, pulling down is the way to compensate for it). Overall, this is an extremely high-DPS ability with low accuracy. The damage that alternate fire bullets deal is much lower than that of primary fire bullets.
At high and medium-high range, alternate fire should never be used, as hitting with anything more than a single shot is practically impossible, and simply using primary fire will yield much better results.
At medium range, alternate fire can work, although it is a gamble. If enough bullets hit their target, then it is a quicker way to deal damage than using primary fire, but if the bullets miss, then you have wasted your opportunity. On the other hand, simply using primary fire at this range has a higher chance of hitting the target, but getting enough shots off to kill them will take longer.
It is close range (as close as melee range) where alternate fire really shines, however. At very close range, or against heroes with large models (the tanks, Bastion, Reaper), alternate fire is likely to have all 6 of its bullets hit the target, resulting in high damage (270). This is enough to kill any full-health non-tank (not counting added health effects), and will greatly wound tanks. Of course, some aiming is still required, but the close range makes this fairly easy.
As mentioned above, alternate fire at close range is part of a combo with Flashbang (to incapacitate your enemy and keep them in place, making aiming at them very easy) and with Combat Roll. Combat Roll instantly reloads your pistol, meaning that you can use alternate fire twice in a row for double the shots. The resulting 540 damage (assuming all 12 shots land) is very high, and allows you to be a formidable damage dealer. Rolling to give yourself another alternate fire is also useful if you are facing more than 1 enemy hero.
Lastly, remember that you should always use your melee attack as well whenever you are in melee range, and doing so together with your alternate fire will increase your already high damage potential even further.
You can see a good example of KabaL using the alternate fire in this video.
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Stun enemies in front of you.
Flashbang is McCree's most impactful ability, and the main reason (together with his alternate fire) why he is so feared by his enemies.
Using Flashbang is simple. Aim it at your desired target and fire it off. Remember that Flashbang works in a small radius, so you do not need to aim it at a hero in order to hit them. It is easier and more effective to aim it at the ground next to the hero(es) you wish you stun.
Whenever you run into anyone in close range, the first thing to do is Flashbang them. This will give you sufficient time to kill them with your alternate fire.
There are three important things to keep in mind about Flashbang.
First of all, while its primary use is to stun heroes so that you can kill them, the stun in itself can be a very powerful tool even if you cannot yourself follow up with a kill. Stunning Reaper, McCree, Pharah, or Roadhog during their ultimates will cancel them, which can save your entire team.
Second of all, when you are using Flashbang against Genji, make it a habit to always use at the ground next to him. This will ensure that it will not hit his Deflect, which, if it does happen, is guaranteed to get you killed.
Lastly, if faced with an enemy Reinhardt that has his Barrier Field up, you can Flashbang him by throwing the Flashbang up so that it explodes above the shield. This is extremely effective, since otherwise the shield blocks Flashbang's effect (if it explodes in front of it) as well as the Flashbang itself (if you want to throw it through the shield).
3.2.4. Combat Roll
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Roll in the direction you're moving and reload.
Combat Roll serves two purposes. It immediately reloads your pistol, and it allows you to quickly move forward a short distance.
The movement element of the ability can come in handy in a variety of situations. While the distance that you travel is very short, it can be enough to allow you to dodge a projectile (such as a Pharah rocket), move to cover to avoid being shot by a McCree or Soldier: 76 ultimate, or get out of Mei's Blizzard before you are frozen solid.
That said, movement is not the only thing that makes Combat Roll powerful. The reloading element is extremely potent, allowing McCree to dish out tremendous amounts of damage, as we wrote earlier in the guide. Getting into the habit of rolling to reload whenever there are enemies around is important.
Faceoff against your enemies. Press Q to lock on, then Q or LMB to fire.
Deadeye is a potentially very powerful ultimate ability, but it is difficult to use and it renders McCree very vulnerable while active.
The ability is a bit more complicated than the usual Overwatch ability, so we will explain how it works first.
When you cast Deadeye, McCree enters a sort of reverse bullet time for up to 10 seconds. During this time, he moves very slowly, and he lines up shots simultaneously on all enemies in his line of sight. Each enemy on his screen has a red circle around them, which shrinks over time that that enemy is in McCree's line of sight. When the circle shrinks all the way to a single dot, it turns into a skull.
If McCree re-casts Deadeye during this time, he will fire a shot at every enemy hero in his line of sight. The damage he does to each hero depends on the size of that hero's red circle. The smaller the circle, the higher the damage, with skulls being guaranteed kills. Mechanically, for each second that an enemy hero is in McCree's line of sight, they will take 100 damage when Deadeye is activated for the second time.
It is also worth noting that the bullets shot by Deadeye are blocked as usual by shields such as those of Reinhardt or Winston. Moreover, when McCree first activates Deadeye, a loud audio warning is issued to the other team ("It's high noon."), alerting everyone that you are acquiring targets.
Using Deadeye successfully is difficult, and it requires McCree players to be cunning and opportunistic. McCree announces Deadeye to the enemy, and then has to get out in the open, and on top of it all he moves at greatly reduced speed during this time. All of these factors together make McCree an easy target whenever he uses Deadeye. Even if the other team does not choose to engage and kill McCree at this time (which still presents a risk that he will be able to hold Deadeye for long enough to get some kills), they may simply hide behind cover, making Deadeye a zoning ability at best.
To obtain good results from Deadeye, you instead need to surprise the enemy team. It works best if you can come at them from an unexpected angle, one which forces them to stay out in the open to face you or run into the rest of your team. Indeed, relying on the rest of your team for distraction at this time is highly recommended, because a lone use of Deadeye is unlikely to result in any kills.
The absolute best time to use Deadeye is when your teammates are using ultimates on the other team. Reinhardt's Earthshatter and Mei's Blizzard have the potential of stunning multiple heroes, so a Deadeye used at this time can yield great results.
We mentioned earlier that Reinhardt's shield blocks Deadeye, but there is a trick you can make use of if there are 3 or more enemies behind the shield. You can charge up your Deadeye even though the enemies are behind the shield, and then release it once the circles turn into skulls. The shield will be destroyed by the damage of 2 of your shots, while the other shots will kill the remaining enemies.
That said, we feel that Deadeye is a bonus to an already-powerful hero, rather than an integral part of McCree's kit. You can play an excellent game as McCree, getting many kills and contributing to your team's success, without using Deadeye even once, so do not try to create artificial situations for Deadeye; your pistol and Flashbang are strong enough on their own.
You can see KabaL using Deadeye successfully here.
4. ChangeLog+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
- 17 Jun. 2016: Updated the guide to account for McCree balance changes that reduce the damage of his alternate fire.
- 17 May 2016: Made several updates following KabaL's review.
- Reworded the Weakness list to add that Combat Roll is an escape mechanism for McCree.
- Reworded the evaluation of the difficulty of controlling McCree's alternate fire from "difficult" to "requires practice."
- Added that you can use Flashbang to blind a Reinhardt by throwing the Flashbang above the shield.
- Added that you can break Reinhardt's shield with Deadeye and still kill some of the enemies behind it.
- 29 Apr. 2016: Guide added.
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