Sombra Abilities and Strategy

Last updated on Jul 25, 2018 at 08:06 by Mournflakes 3 comments

Table of Contents

On this page, you will find a detailed overview of the abilities that Sombra has access to. We also explain how to best use these abilities.

The other pages of our Sombra guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

1. Sombra TL;DR Tips

  • Sombra cannot be played like the other flankers in Overwatch. Sombra is a slow-paced flanker and is best used by players who are methodical and can anticipate enemy movements.
  • Sombra is heavily team-dependent due to her ultimate dealing no damage. Therefore, Sombra is better left on the shelf if your current team seems uncommunicative or unwilling to work together.
  • Harassment and farming EMP Icon EMP is a completely healthy way to play Sombra (if her team is communicative and will follow up an EMP).
  • Keep pertinent health packs under your control through Hack Icon Hack to boost your team's healing and deny the enemy team a place of respite.
  • Use Translocator Icon Translocator to provide yourself an escape route before you infiltrate the enemy backline.
  • Provide your teammates information about the enemy team with Opportunist Icon Opportunist.

2. Sombra's Abilities

2.1. Opportunist

Sombra Opportunist
Opportunist Sombra
  • Passive

You detect critically injured enemies through walls.

Sombra's Opportunist Icon Opportunist is a passive utility ability that gives Sombra helpful information concerning the enemy team's health and positioning. Opportunist allows Sombra to see all enemy health bars that are lower than 100%, however, Sombra must be in line of sight of the enemy to see the health bar. Once the enemy is behind a wall, the health bar will no longer show on Sombra's screen. Additionally, Opportunist allows Sombra to see enemies through walls when they are lower than 50% health. However, if an enemy is healed past 50%, the x-ray vision of Opportunist will go away. It is important to note that information gleaned from Opportunist only shows on Sombra's screen (unlike Widowmaker's Infra-Sight Icon Infra-Sight). This means Sombra must communicate with allies to share her knowledge. See the videos for more details concerning Opportunist.

The X-ray vision of Opportunist only turns on when enemies are fully covered by a wall, and it has no cutoff distance, which means Sombra can always see enemies who are lower than 50% health regardless of her positioning.

2.2. Machine Pistol

Sombra Machine Pistol
Machine Pistol (LMB) Sombra

Sombra’s fully-automatic machine pistol fires in a short-range spread.

Sombra's primary fire, which is the only damage-dealer in her whole kit, is called Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol. This weapon is most like Tracer's Pulse Pistols Icon Pulse Pistols, but there are a number of key differences. Machine Pistol's clip takes much longer to fully unload when compared to Pulse Pistols. In fact, it takes Sombra 3 seconds to fire one whole clip, while Tracer can fire a whole clip of Pulse Pistols in just 1 second. This means Tracer can deal a potential 240 damage in 1 second, while Sombra can only deal a potential 160 damage in the same time frame (not factoring in headshot damage for either weapon). However, Sombra's damage per second total does catch up (and surpass) Tracer's over a 3-second period. Over three seconds, Sombra can deal 480 damage, while Tracer (due to her need to reload) can only deal 420 damage in 3 seconds. However, at 4.5 second intervals, Tracer and Sombra have equal damage outputs. Therefore, Sombra has less burst damage potential than Tracer, but has better sustained damage at 3 seconds, and ultimately both heroes have the same damage outputs on 4.5 second intervals. This means players who have slower reaction times and find it hard to land every shot may want to main Sombra over Tracer if they desire to play a flanker. Other Machine Pistol mechanics include:

  • A damage falloff range starting at 15 meters with Machine Pistol shots scaling to 2.4 damage a round past 25 meters.
  • Weapon spread of maximum 2.7 degrees
  • 60 Rounds
  • Takes 1.5 seconds to reload

2.3. Hack

Sombra Hack
Hack (RMB) Sombra

Sombra hacks enemies to temporarily stop them from using their abilities, or hacks first aid kits to make them useless to her opponents.

By far the most versatile ability in the game, Hack Icon Hack has a plethora of uses because it shutdowns various enemy ultimates, abilities, and secondary fires. Hack has a channel time of 0.65 seconds, stops enemies from using their hacked abilities for six seconds, reveals the hacked enemies health bar to all allies for 20 seconds (they must be in line of sight of the hacked enemy to see the bar) and shows allies if the enemy has full ultimate charge anytime within the next 20 seconds.

If Sombra loses sight of an enemy, the player fails to hold down the Hack button for the whole 0.65 channel time, or if the enemy breaks past the 15-meter reach of Hack while it is being channeled, the Hack will fail and the ability will reset. However, if Sombra takes damage while attempting to Hack, the ability is put on a two-second cooldown. A hack cannot permeate shields of any kind (like Zarya's Protective Barrier Icon Protective Barrier and Brigitte's Barrier Shield Icon Barrier Shield) and cannot target invulnerable enemies (like Wraith Form Icon Wraith Form Reaper or Zenyatta during Transcendence Icon Transcendence).

For your convenience, we have gathered all of Hack's interactions with other in-game heroes.

2.3.1. Hero Hack Interactions

In the following list, the term "prevents" means to disable a hero from initiating an ability while the term "cancel" means to stop an ability while it is in use.

  • Ana: prevents the use of Biotic Grenade Icon Biotic Grenade, Sleep Dart Icon Sleep Dart, and Nano Boost Icon Nano Boost;
  • Bastion: prevents the use of Reconfigure Icon Reconfigure, Self-Repair Icon Self-Repair, Configuration: Tank Icon Configuration: Tank, and cancels Configuration: Sentry Icon Configuration: Sentry and Self-Repair;
  • Brigitte: prevents the use of Repair Pack Icon Repair Pack, Whip Shot Icon Whip Shot, Barrier Shield Icon Barrier Shield, Shield Bash Icon Shield Bash, and Rally Icon Rally;
  • D.Va: prevents the use of Defense Matrix Icon Defense Matrix, Boosters Icon Boosters, Micro Missiles Icon Micro Missiles, Self-Destruct Icon Self-Destruct, and Call Mech Icon Call Mech and cancels the following abilities Defense Matrix, Micro Missiles, Boosters, and Call Mech;
  • Doomfist: prevents the use of Seismic Slam Icon Seismic Slam, Rising Uppercut Icon Rising Uppercut, Rocket Punch Icon Rocket Punch, and Meteor Strike Icon Meteor Strike;
  • Genji: prevents the use of Cyber-Agility Icon Cyber-Agility, Swift Strike Icon Swift Strike, Deflect Icon Deflect, and Dragonblade Icon Dragonblade, and cancels the following abilities Swift Strike and Deflect;
  • Hanzo: prevents the use of Wall Climb Icon Wall Climb, Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike, Storm Arrows Icon Storm Arrows, changing the currently selected arrow to Sonic Arrow Icon Sonic Arrow, and cancels the channel of Dragonstrike Icon Dragonstrike, which takes away his ultimate charge;
  • Junkrat: prevents the use of Concussion Mine Icon Concussion Mine (the placement and the explosion), Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap, and RIP-Tire Icon RIP-Tire and cancels RIP-Tire during its channel, which takes away his ultimate charge;
  • Lúcio: prevents the use of Wall Ride Icon Wall Ride, Sound Wave Icon Sound Wave, Crossfade Icon Crossfade, Amp It Up Icon Amp It Up, and Sound Barrier Icon Sound Barrier, cancels Lucio's song from Crossfade, cancels a current Wall Ride, and cancels Sound Barrier if Lucio is Hacked before he can hit the ground to initiate his ultimate;
  • McCree: prevents the use of Combat Roll Icon Combat Roll, Flashbang Icon Flashbang, and Deadeye Icon Deadeye, and cancels Combat Roll and Deadeye;
  • Mei: prevents the use of Cryo-Freeze Icon Cryo-Freeze, Ice Wall Icon Ice Wall placement, and Blizzard Icon Blizzard (Mei can lower her Ice Wall while Hacked);
  • Mercy: prevents the use of Angelic Descent Icon Angelic Descent, Guardian Angel Icon Guardian Angel, Resurrect Icon Resurrect, and Valkyrie Icon Valkyrie, and cancels Guardian Angel and Resurrect;
  • Moira: prevents the use of Biotic Orb Icon Biotic Orb, Fade Icon Fade, and Coalescence Icon Coalescence, and cancels Coalescence;
  • Orisa: prevents the use of Halt! Icon Halt!, Fortify Icon Fortify, Protective Barrier Icon Protective Barrier, and Supercharger Icon Supercharger, and cancels Supercharger if Orisa has not placed the charger before she is Hacked. Additionally, Sombra can Hack a Supercharger to shutdown its damage increasing effects for 10 seconds;
  • Pharah: prevents the use of Jump Jet Icon Jump Jet, Hover Jets Icon Hover Jets, Concussive Blast Icon Concussive Blast, and Barrage Icon Barrage and cancels Jump Jet, Hover Jets, and Barrage;
  • Reinhardt: prevents the use of Barrier Shield Icon Barrier Shield, Charge Icon Charge, Fire Strike Icon Fire Strike, and Earthshatter Icon Earthshatter and cancels Barrier Field, Charge, and Earthshatter;
  • Reaper: prevents the use of Wraith Form Icon Wraith Form, Shadow Step Icon Shadow Step, and Death Blossom Icon Death Blossom and cancels Shadow Step (Reaper must be hacked before leaving initial destination) and Death Blossom;
  • Roadhog: prevents the use of Take A Breather Icon Take A Breather, Chain Hook Icon Chain Hook, and Whole Hog Icon Whole Hog and cancels Chain Hook, Take A Breather, and Whole Hog;
  • Soldier: 76: prevents the use of Helix Rockets Icon Helix Rockets, Sprint Icon Sprint, Biotic Field Icon Biotic Field, and Tactical Visor Icon Tactical Visor, and cancels Sprint;
  • Sombra: prevents the use of Hack Icon Hack, Stealth Icon Stealth, Translocator Icon Translocator (placement and activation), and EMP Icon EMP;
  • Symmetra: prevents the use of Sentry Turret Icon Sentry Turret, Photon Barrier Icon Photon Barrier, and Teleporter Icon Teleporter and cancels the current channeling of Energy Ball Icon Energy Ball, but does not prevent further uses;
  • Torbjörn: prevents the use of Deploy Turret Icon Deploy Turret, Overload Icon Overload, and Molten Core Icon Molten Core, and can be used to disable turret for 10 seconds;
  • Tracer: prevents the use of Blink Icon Blink, Recall Icon Recall, and Pulse Bomb Icon Pulse Bomb, and cancels Blink;
  • Widowmaker: prevents the use of Grappling Hook Icon Grappling Hook, Venom Mine Icon Venom Mine, and Infra-Sight Icon Infra-Sight, and cancels Grappling Hook;
  • Winston: prevents the use of Jump Pack Icon Jump Pack, Barrier Projector Icon Barrier Projector, and Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage, and cancels Jump Pack;
  • Wrecking Ball: prevents the use of Grappling Claw Icon Grappling Claw, Roll Icon Roll, Adaptive Shield Icon Adaptive Shield, Piledriver Icon Piledriver, and Minefield Icon Minefield and cancels Grappling Claw, Roll, and Piledriver (EMP Icon EMP can shutdown a deployed Minefield Icon Minefield for 10 seconds while Hack does nothing to deployed mines);
  • Zarya: prevents the use of Particle Barrier Icon Particle Barrier, Projected Barrier Icon Projected Barrier, and Graviton Surge Icon Graviton Surge;
  • Zenyatta: prevents the use of Orb of Harmony Icon Orb of Harmony, Orb of Discord Icon Orb of Discord, and Transcendence Icon Transcendence, and cancels the build-up of a Orb Volley Icon Orb Volley, but does not prevent future Orb Volleys from being used while Zenyatta is hacked.

2.3.2. Health Pack Hack Interactions

As shown above, Hack can be used to disable the enemy team in a number of ways. However, Sombra can also alter the very nature of the battlefield by Hacking health packs. Hacked health packs are completely unusable by the enemy team, as opponents who walk over them will not have their health restored. To further aid her team, Sombra's Hacked health packs respawn at a faster rate than usual. Typically, small health packs take 10 seconds to respawn, and large health packs take 15 seconds to respawn. However, Sombra's Hacked health packs respawn in 2 and 4 seconds, respectively. Sombra can Hack a total of two health packs at a time, but a single Hacked pack will only stay under Sombra's control for a minute. Therefore, if Sombra wants to keep a health pack under her team's dominion, she must re-Hack the pack at least once every minute. Hacked health packs are denoted to the enemy team by a red Sombra symbol floating above the pack, allies can recognize a friendly Hacked health pack by the purple Sombra symbol floating above the pack. Additionally, teammates can see allied Hacked health packs through walls if they are within 30 meters of the pack. It should be noted that Sombra cannot Hack a health pack already Hacked by the enemy team.

2.4. Stealth

Sombra Stealth
Stealth (LShift) Sombra
  • Cooldown: 6 seconds

Sombra becomes invisible for a short period of time, during which her speed is boosted considerably. Attacking, using offensive abilities, or taking damage disables her camouflage. Run faster while moving forward

Stealth Icon Stealth is a personal utility ability that makes Sombra invisible to enemies and increases Sombra's mobility by 50%. When Sombra initiates Stealth, it takes 0.7 seconds to channel. If Sombra takes damage while channeling Stealth, or if she takes damage/is hit by a crowd control ability while invisible, Stealth is put on cooldown, and Sombra will become visible to enemies. Additionally, if Sombra attacks, begins to Hack Icon Hack, or attempts to use EMP Icon EMP while Stealth is active, Sombra will become visible and Stealth will go on cooldown. However, Sombra can use Translocator Icon Translocator while in Stealth without breaking her camouflage.

It is important to note that Sombra must un-Stealth before she can use her offensive abilities or Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol. This is crucial to understand as the process of un-Stealthing takes Sombra 0.7 seconds. During this time, Sombra is visible to enemies, and will state a voice line that lets enemies know that she is in the area and is un-Stealthing. The un-Stealthing voice line can be heard as long as the enemy is within 15 meters from Sombra. While un-Stealthing, Sombra can move, but is completely unable to attack or use Hack/EMP. Watch the video below for more details.

Sombra Un-Stealthing Explanation

One last point about Stealth, Hanzo's Sonic Arrow Icon Sonic Arrow and Widowmaker's Infra-Sight Icon Infra-Sight will reveal an enemy Sombra to a team even when using Stealth. The speed boost of Stealth still applies to Sombra if she is seen by Sonic Arrow or Infra-Sight (assuming she does not take damage,) but she can be targeted by lock-on abilities like McCree's Deadeye Icon Deadeye and Zenyatta's Orb of Discord Icon Orb of Discord. However, Sombra becomes invisible again if she exits the vicinity of Sonic Arrow, or if Infra-Sight runs out before Sombra's Stealth expires. See the video below for an example of a Stealthed Sombra getting spotted by Sonic Arrow, but becoming invisible when she leaves its range.

Stealthed Sombra Spotted by Hanzo

2.5. Translocator

Sombra Translocator
Translocator (E) Sombra
  • Cooldown: 4 seconds

Sombra tosses out a translocator beacon. She can instantly return to the beacon’s location while it is active by pressing E (including when it’s in mid-flight).

Translocator Icon Translocator is (yet another) utility ability for Sombra. When used, Sombra throws out a small device (the Translocator) in an arc in front of her. At any point, Sombra can use the ability again to instantly transport herself from her current position to the current position of the Translocator. The Translocator has 5 health and can be destroyed by the enemy team or by Sombra.

Once the Translocator device is used, the ability goes on cooldown for 4 seconds. However, if the Translocator is destroyed or canceled, it goes on cooldown for 2 seconds.

Sombra can use her Translocator for a number of in-game maneuvers such as:

2.6. EMP

Sombra EMP
EMP (Q) Sombra
  • Ultimate

Sombra discharges electromagnetic energy in a wide radius, destroying enemy barriers and shields and hacking all opponents caught in the blast.

EMP Icon EMP is yet another utility ability, but this one is Sombra's ultimate.

EMP is essentially a stronger version of Hack Icon Hack for a number of reasons such as:

The AoE distance of EMP is 15 meters around Sombra, but enemies must be in line of sight of Sombra when EMP is used. This means walls and obstacles stop EMP from affecting enemies. It should be noted that EMP will affect all enemies and their abilities in the same way as Hack (see the list above for hero-specific interactions.)

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.