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Reinhardt Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “Crusader online!”

Last updated on May 21, 2016 at 20:30 by Vlad 10 comments

Table of Contents

Reinhardt Portrait
  • Reinhardt Personal Details Real Name: Reinhardt Wilhelm, Age: 61
  • Reinhardt Occupation Occupation: Adventurer
  • Reinhardt Geographical Origins Base of Operations: Stuttgart, Germany
  • Reinhardt Affiliation Affiliation: Overwatch (formerly)

This guide takes an in-depth look at how to play Reinhardt 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 reliably protect his team from high amounts of damage
  • Deals extremely high melee damage
  • Very good at initiating fights
  • Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter (ultimate) has great team-wiping potential
  • Viable on both Attack and Defense

2. Weaknesses

  • Low mobility
  • Very low damage outside of melee range
  • Cannot perform any actions while protecting his team with Barrier Field Icon Barrier Field
  • Needs his teammates for protection and support

3. Strategy

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

3.1. Overview

Reinhardt is perhaps the most iconic tank in Overwatch. His most recognisable state is protecting his team with his massive Barrier Field Icon Barrier Field. In addition to his Barrier Field, Reinhardt has very high melee range damage (and his melee range is greater than that of other heroes), while his Charge Icon Charge gives him the potential to break up an enemy team and get a nearly-guaranteed kill.

Reinhardt's Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter ultimate is in the category of ultimates that are a nice perk on top of an already-powerful hero. Making frequent use of it is not required; instead, we will advise you to save it for opportune moments.

Despite this high damage and killing potential, Reinhardt should spend most of the game trying to protect his team from damage, since he excels at this. The protection that Reinhardt's shield offers gives his team a lot of momentum (provided that they carefully take cover behind the shield), allowing them to progress very quickly.

Reinhardt has low mobility, and he is vulnerable to heroes that can stay out of his range; this means that he should not wander off on his own. He does best when he is together with his team.

3.2. Abilities

3.2.1. Rocket Hammer

Reinhardt Rocket Hammer
Rocket Hammer (LMB) Reinhardt

Devastating melee weapon.

The Rocket Hammer Icon Rocket Hammer is Reinhardt's only way of dealing damage without a cooldown. It is a melee only weapon that Reinhardt can swing freely. It deals 75 damage to all enemies in a wide arc in front of Reinhardt and knocks them back slightly. Reinhardt has no other melee attacks, making him the only hero in the game not to have an attack bound to V by default.

It is important to note that Reinhardt can animation cancel his attacks using Right Mouse Button during his swing animation. Doing so will instantly stop the attack, allowing Reinhardt to then attack again sooner than he would have been able to do if he had let the whole swing animation finish. The drawback to this is that the cancelled swing will only damage those enemies that had been hit before the animation was canceled (possibly reducing or even removing the AoE component of the swing, depending how many enemies had been hit when it was canceled). This technique is especially useful for increasing Reinhardt's DPS against immobile or very large targets (such as other tanks) who are close to him.

The very high damage of Rocket Hammer, coupled with its relative ease of use make Reinhardt a very dangerous hero in melee range. As such, if you are engaged by other heroes, hitting them with your hammer gives you a solid chance of killing them or forcing them to run away. We advise this course of action any time you run into enemies in confined spaces, unless you are keeping your shield up to protect teammates that are with you (who can then do the killing themselves).

That said, there are a few fights from which even Reinhardt should run away. McCree and Reaper can both kill you in melee range. McCree's Flashbang Icon Flashbang, if you do not block it with your shield, almost guarantees your death. Even without Flashbang, however, McCree is capable of extreme burst damage. Reaper's shotguns will also make quick work of your large model. In short, against these two heroes in particular you should avoid confrontation and look to retreat.

A more advanced technique is to have a Lúcio use Crossfade (Speed Boost) Icon Crossfade (Speed Boost) to increase Reinhardt's movement speed so that enemies cannot run away from his Rocket Hammer swings, thus almost ensuring that they will die.

3.2.2. Barrier Field

Reinhardt Barrier Field
Barrier Field (RMB) Reinhardt

Hold to deploy a frontal energy barrier.

Barrier Field Icon Barrier Field is a large shield that is activated while you hold down your Right Mouse Button. It absorbs up to 2000 damage (from most sources, as we will see below), most notably blocking enemy fire.

2 seconds after the shield is no longer active, it will begin regenerating 225 points per second. If the shield is destroyed (due to absorbing its maximum damage), it cannot be activated again for 5 seconds (and it must still recharge based on the 225/second rate).

Before we discuss recommended usage of Barrier Field, we must look at some notable things that it does and does not block.

Barrier Field blocks:

  • all pistol, rifle, and rocket projectiles;
  • damage from Symmetra's Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turrets, and Junkrat's Rip-Tire Icon Rip-Tire (if the tire explodes in front of the barrier);
  • damage from Zarya's weapon;
  • Roadhog's Chain Hook Icon Chain Hook and Reinhardt's Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter.

Barrier Field does NOT block:

  • melee attacks;
  • channeled weapons (Winston's and Symmetra's);
  • Symmetra's Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector orbs and Reinhardt's Fire Strike Icon Fire Strike;
  • AoE effects (Hanzo's Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike, Mei's Blizzard Icon Blizzard, etc.);
  • player models (including Junkrat's Rip Tire).

To understand how to use Barrier Field, you must understand its strengths and weaknesses. It is most useful when you have teammates around you, and when they are taking enemy fire. Your entire game plan for Barrier Field should be ensuring that it is charged up for these moments.

If there are no enemies around, having your barrier active serves no purpose and simply slows you down. If there are no teammates around to take advantage of your barrier, then the enemies will simply shoot at it until it is depleted. This is a problem because the barrier will then not be available for some time, and you might need it to protect teammates who join you during this time.

The only reason you might want to use Barrier Field when you are alone is to keep yourself safe from ranged enemies (while you are perhaps pushing a Payload by yourself against an enemy Widowmaker or Pharah), or to cover your retreat.

So, your ideal way of playing is being on or near the map's objective, having your teammates behind you, and having your Barrier Field active and protecting them.

While Barrier Field is active, your positioning is extremely important, as this directly affects how the barrier is positioned and what areas it is protecting. You will want to rotate around so that you protect yourself and as much of your team as possible from the most dangerous of opponents.

Particularly, Barrier Field is great at stopping the damage of such powerful enemy abilities as Pharah's Barrage Icon Barrage, Reaper's Death Blossom Icon Death Blossom, D.Va's Self-Destruct Icon Self-Destruct, or Soldier: 76's Tactical Visor Icon Tactical Visor. Whenever these heroes are in the game and alive, be prepared to use your barrier against them.

Naturally, a great part of your barrier being useful comes from how well your teammates utilise it. Less experienced players will not always take advantage of it, instead straying off to the side, or even running out in front of it. Unfortunately, given your low movement speed while the barrier is active, there is not much you can do to protect these players. Instead, we recommend that you communicate with your team (ideally by voice) to remind them to take cover behind the safety of your barrier.

If your barrier is broken by having taken its maximum amount of damage, you and your team are very vulnerable. You should take cover and let your barrier regenerate, but more than this, you should do your best to avoid the situation in the first place. This means you must be very careful when using your barrier, and do not hesitate to deactivate it when you feel it is simply taking damage while not providing anything in return (such as if a Torbjörn turret is damaging it while it is not protecting anyone except you).

3.2.3. Charge

Reinhardt Charge
Charge (LShift) Reinhardt
  • Cooldown: 10 seconds

Charge forward and smash an enemy against a wall.

Charge Icon Charge causes Reinhardt to charge forward in a straight line until he hits an obstacle or until the maximum charge distance is reached (this is very long, so this hardly ever happens).

The first enemy that Reinhardt comes in contact with is picked up and taken along for the remainder of the charge. This deals 50 damage to that hero, and if Reinhardt then hits an obstacle, this further deals 300 damage to that hero. Any other heroes that Reinhardt comes in contact with after the first target are knocked back and take 50 damage.

Reinhardt himself does not take any damage from hitting obstacles while charging, but he also cannot cancel the charge or perform any other actions while charging, except to very slightly alter the charge trajectory. Lastly, if two enemy charging Reinhardts collide with each other, both of them will be stunned and knocked down. This happens to be a good way to counter an enemy Reinhardt that is Charging into your team.

Generally, when faced with a choice between keeping up your Barrier Field Icon Barrier Field and using Charge, you should use your Barrier Field. This is especially true when your team is located behind your Barrier Field; the damage you expose them to while Charging is probably not worth the damage you do with your Charge. That said, Charge has great offensive potential, as any non-tank that you manage to pin with it will die as a result, and even tanks will take great amounts of damage (on which you can then follow up with your Rocket Hammer Icon Rocket Hammer).

If your Barrier Field is depleted, or if there is no one to protect (either because you are alone, or because your teammates are spread out), then it is perfectly viable to Charge the enemy, although you must also decide whether it is better to Charge or to use your melee attacks.

In general, using your Rocket Hammer during a fight is better than using Charge, due to its superior damage output. The only exception is when your Charge can take out a particularly important enemy hero, such as a tank or support (killing a Mercy or Lúcio is extremely valuable). Even in these cases, only Charge when the enemy damage dealers are engaged in a fight with your own team, as otherwise you will be an easy target.

When using Charge, there are two dangers to be mindful of.

  • You cannot stop Charge if it becomes a bad idea; this means you risk charging into more enemies than you had wanted, or charging off the map to your death.
  • Your speed while charging is not very high, meaning that alert enemies will be able to avoid it, rendering it useless.

One especially important use of Charge is to use it against an enemy Reinhardt who has his Barrier Field active. Reinhardt will Charge directly through the shield (since it does not block players), taking out the enemy Reinhardt and his shield. This is an excellent initiation move.

3.2.4. Fire Strike

Reinhardt Fire Strike
Fire Strike (E) Reinhardt
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds

Launch a fiery projectile.

Fire Strike Icon Fire Strike is Reinhardt's only means of dealing damage outside the range of his Rocket Hammer Icon Rocket Hammer. Fire Strike deals 100 damage to every enemy in its path (going through enemies and shields), the only other ability to work this way being Symmetra's Photon Projector Icon Photon Projector orbs. Keep in mind that Fire Strike does not go through either of Zarya's shields.

Fire Strike is a great way of charging up your ultimate, unless you are taking part in a proper fight (when its damage component is also very important). In fact, outside of a fight, dealing damage with Fire Strike should only be done it if it also charges your ultimate; otherwise (if your Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter is available), Fire Strike will simply result in damage that the enemy healers have a chance to heal up, granting them ultimate charge in return. Keep in mind that using Fire Strike deactivates your Barrier Field Icon Barrier Field for a few seconds, which can mean that you and your team will take a lot of damage in that time.

Another thing to consider is that Fire Strike has travel time, and while it is quite fast, it is still possible for your enemies to avoid it.

3.2.5. Earthshatter

Reinhardt Earthshatter
Earthshatter (Q) Reinhardt
  • Ultimate

Knock down all enemies in front of you.

Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter is a frontal cone-shaped AoE ability that damages all affected enemies for a low amount (50 damage) and stuns them for 2.5 seconds.

As an AoE stun of such great length, Earthshatter is a tremendously powerful ability. The ideal usage is, of course, against a group of 5 or 6 stacked enemies, but this requires set-up and coordination with your team to perform. The other team will be very wary of you using this ability in the first place, so any time you are seen running up to the other team, they will disperse to avoid it. This is not a bad thing, however, since splitting up the enemies to make them easier to pick off is advantageous to your team. Having a Lúcio use Amp It Up Icon Amp It Up/Crossfade (Speed Boost) Icon Crossfade (Speed Boost) to help you get close to your enemies quickly and surprise them is a good idea.

As tempting as getting a 5 or 6-man Earthshatter is (and if you see an opportunity for it, by all means take it), we feel that Earthshatter is better used in a more modest but reliable fashion. Even using it to stun 2 enemies can be very powerful, and it is much easier to achieve. Moreover, you can even use it against a single opponent, if it means you will get the kill on them, or especially avoid dying yourself (such as if you run into McCree).

After using Earthshatter, you should follow up with a guaranteed hit of Fire Strike Icon Fire Strike against the stationary targets, after which time you should keep hitting them with your Rocket Hammer Icon Rocket Hammer. This will result in the most damage output (which will also charge up your next Earthshatter), and it is superior to using Charge Icon Charge to follow up on Earthshatter. This last technique should only be employed if you want to Charge an enemy hero that you know has their ultimate ready and whom you want to kill at all costs (such as Mercy and her Resurrect Icon Resurrect).

Finally, note that Earthshatter has a short casting time of 0.5 seconds, so take that into account when planning its usage.

4. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 21 May 2016: Updated the guide following review.
    • Added Strength that Reinhardt is a good initiator.
    • Added Weakness that Reinhardt relies on help from teammates.
    • Added information about Rocket Hammer animation canceling.
    • Improved Charge section with better recommendations for when to use it, as well as mentioning what happens when two enemy Reinhardts charge one another.
    • Changed Fire Strike recommendations to only using it when it will charge your ultimate or when its damage is efficient (such as during a proper fight).
    • Revamped Earthshatter recommendations.
  • 04 May 2016: Guide added.
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