Reaper Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “Things are looking grim.”
Table of Contents
- 1. Strengths
- 2. Weaknesses
- +3. Strategy
- 4. ChangeLog
This guide takes an in-depth look at how to play Reaper 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
- Extremely high close-range damage
- Excellent counter to tanks
- Higher than average health and good sustain through health globes
- Powerful, potentially team-wiping ultimate
- Decent positioning and escape mechanisms
- Equally viable both on Attack and on Defense
- Very low damage at medium and high range
- Large hero model and low movement speed make Reaper an easy target
- Ultimate can easily be countered by other heroes
In this section, we will briefly go over the main strategies you should employ as Reaper. We will begin with an Overview, and then we will go in depth more about each ability that Reaper has.
Reaper is an offense hero that excels at taking out targets in close-range. Because his shotguns have a wide bullet spread, he is most effective against targets with very large models, where all or most of the bullets (rather, pellets) can hit their target. This makes Reaper an ideal counter to large tanks such as Reinhardt or Winston, but it also means that he has difficulty dealing damage to heroes with slim models (such as Tracer or Widowmaker). In the case of these latter heroes, Reaper must get up as close as possible to them and aim as precisely as possible (against Tracer's 150 health, aiming at the head from close range can one-shot her).
Reaper is designed to be played as a stealthy and sneaky hero. Indeed, because his damage at medium and high range is very poor, charging out in the open with Reaper is not a good idea. Instead, players should look to utilise Reaper's Shadow Step ability to bypass the main battle and end up behind enemy lines. Since Shadow Step allows Reaper to end up in positions that he could not normally reach, it is a great tool for taking out opposing snipers or for setting up surprise locations from which to drop down and use Death Blossom, his ultimate ability.
A large part of Reaper's gameplay is centered around the player's ability to aim. As such, getting used to and practicing Reaper's shotguns and crosshair is very important.
3.2.1. The Reaping (Health Globes)
Collect Soul Globes to restore health.
Each time an enemy dies (even if it was not Reaper who killed them), they leave behind a health globe that only Reaper can see and pick up (by running over it). Each health globe restores 50 health, and if not picked up after a certain amount of time, it disappears.
This passive ability is responsible for much of Reaper's self-sustain, making him much more durable behind enemy lines.
3.2.2. Wraith Form
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Move faster and become invulnerable, but you cannot shoot.
Wraith Form causes Reaper to become invulnerable for about 4 seconds, granting him slightly increased movement speed and the ability to pass through enemies. Wraith Form cannot be canceled early, and while it is active Reaper cannot use any abilities or attack.
Wraith Form is a tricky ability to use. As far as allowing Reaper to escape an unfavourable duel once he had sustained damage, it is rather poor. This is because it does not last for a long time and the increase in movement speed is not high enough to allow Reaper to completely get away from his enemies. Also, because its duration is fixed, enemies will have an easy time predicting when Reaper will once again become vulnerable (and seasoned players will take the opportunity to reload their weapons or heal up). On the other hand, Wraith Form can be used to dodge certain devastating abilities like McCree's Flashbang, which immediately turns that particular duel in Reaper's favour.
Instead, Wraith Form should be used to help Reaper avoid dying, and give him a chance to turn the tide of a battle. While Reaper cannot attack or reload his weapons during Wraith Form, he can still pick up health packs and globes. Moreover, Wraith Form can buy Reaper the extra time to get in range of his teammates, or in some cases even to position himself more favourably against slow heroes such as Reinhardt.
As such, we recommend almost always using Wraith Form defensively in order to prevent death. One exception to this is setting up a deadly offensive combo, such as running into the other team in Wraith Form and then having an allied Zarya place her Projected Barrier on you to protect you as your Wraith Form ends and you begin casting Death Blossom. You can also use Wraith Form to run back faster after respawning.
Here are a few more tips for using Wraith Form.
- Wraith Form removes all debuffs from Reaper, allowing him to clear off the damage over time from Widowmaker's Venom Mine.
- Wraith Form can allow Reaper's team to gain a few more seconds contesting a Point or Payload (as he counts as contesting it even during Wraith Form, while he is invulnerable).
- Wraith Form allows Reaper to negate any incoming damage, making it ideal in situations where he could not otherwise escape (being caught out in the open against a McCree, Soldier: 76, or D.Va ultimate).
- Wraith Form also allows Reaper to escape from movement-impairing abilities such as Mei's Blizzard or Zarya's Graviton Surge. Also, passing over Junkrat's Steel Trap while in Wrath Form will not trigger it.
3.2.3. Shadow Step
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Teleport to a targeted location
Shadow Step is Reaper's main tool for positioning. This is what allows him to get behind enemy lines (ideally undetected) and set up his signature backstabs.
When using Shadow Step, you must be very careful. Reaper is vulnerable while casting the ability, and the location where he will appear is also marked ahead of time. This means that Reaper is easy prey for an enemy Widowmaker who can easily land a headshot, as well as for any hero that happens to be near Shadow Step's location.
Moreover, Shadow Step causes a noise when Reaper appears at his destination, further alerting his enemies of his presence.
This ability is too slow and clunky to be used defensively, so do not attempt it unless in the most peculiar of circumstances. Instead, you should be as creative as possible with its use to position yourself behind the enemy team, or to get up to sniper nests to take out opposing Widowmakers or Bastions. There are no simple rules for what positions are recommended; instead, you must dynamically evaluate the enemy positions on the map, and try to take advantage of distractions provided by your team.
Focus on ensuring that neither your point of origin nor your destination are within line of sight of your enemies. Remember that Reaper plays a long-term backstabbing game; you are not Tracer or Genji, so you often cannot simply dash behind enemy lines, get quick kills, and be gone before anyone knows what happened. Instead, you are better off infiltrating the enemy, waiting to find a good opportunity, and then striking decisively.
3.2.4. Death Blossom
Damage all nearby enemies.
Death Blossom is Reaper's signature move. Given how dangerous and potentially damaging the ability is, players are usually very cautious of being caught off guard by it.
As such, simply running into the other team to use Death Blossom will very rarely work (it only works against far less experienced players, or when supported by very heavy distractions from your team). Instead, you must be very opportunistic to pull off successful Death Blossoms.
One of the most effective techniques is to position yourself above the enemy team (mostly by using Shadow Step to get to ledges, roofs, or bridges) and to then drop down on top of them while using your ultimate. Death Blossom works best and is easiest to use when coupled with other devastating ultimates from your teammates, such as Zarya's Graviton Surge, Mei's Blizzard, or Reinhardt's Earthshatter. Another great strategy is for Reaper to sneak up behind the enemy team with an allied Lúcio, and then have Lúcio use Amp It Up/ Crossfade (Speed Boost) to allow Reaper to quickly run into the enemy team and use Death Blossom (if moving around, the extra speed will also make Reaper a hard target to hit during this time). This can further be combined with Zarya's Projected Barrier for even better results.
Despite the fact that getting a multi-kill with Death Blossom is a very appealing prospect, you should not hesitate to use your ultimate to get out of tricky situations. For example, if you are ambushed by 1 or 2 heroes in a narrow corridor, it is perfectly acceptable to use Death Blossom (especially if your Wraith Form is unavailable or unsuited for the situation).
Here are a few more tips about Death Blossom.
- Remember that you can move and jump freely while Death Blossom is active, but that you cannot use any other abilities.
- While Death Blossom is active, you can still pick up health packs and globes by walking over them.
- There are many ways in which Death Blossom can be countered, and you should
keep them in mind.
- Lúcio's Sound Barrier, Reinhardt's Barrier Field, and D.Va's Defense Matrix can completely negate Death Blossom.
- Winston's Barrier Projector can make dealing damage with Death Blossom extremely tricky. Remember that the Barrier prevents enemy damage from passing through it both from the outside in and vice-versa; try to position yourself so that you are on the same side of the barrier as the enemies you are trying to damage.
- McCree's Flashbang is a very effective way of completely shutting down your Death Blossom.
- Genji's Deflect is very effective against Death Blossom and will often result in you killing yourself.
- Remember that the sound warning for Death Blossom being cast happens a split second before the ability begins, giving very alert players a chance to react; make every effort possible to surprise the enemy team.
4. ChangeLog+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
- 06 Jul. 2016: Fixed the guide to correctly state that passing over Junkrat's Steel Trap while in Wraith Form does not trigger it, and not that using Wraith Form while trapped allows you to escape.
- 20 May 2016: Updated the guide following NiCO's review.
- Added a mention that Reaper can one-shot Tracer in close range with a headshot.
- Added several suggested combinations that allow Reaper to cast devastating Death Blossoms (such as combined with Zarya's Projected Barrier and/or Lúcio's Crossfade (Speed Boost).
- Added a mention that Wraith Form can also gain Reaper's team extra time contesting a Point/Payload.
- 29 Apr. 2016: Guide added.
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