Sombra Playstyle

Last updated on Apr 10, 2018 at 19:14 by Mournflakes 3 comments

Table of Contents

On this page, you will find out how to properly play Sombra. From general playstyle advice, to more specific advice like ultimate usage or combos, we tell you everything we think matters to master your hero.

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

1. Introduction to Sombra

Sombra, like Genji and Tracer, is a flanker. However, when compared to other flankers, Sombra has to be extra methodical. Genji and Tracer can dive, and with minimal planning, come out alright, but Sombra's lack of mobility while fighting enemies forces her to attack using deception and surprise. When playing Sombra, your goal is achieve maximum damage while staying alive. Although securing kills is beneficial for her team, Sombra should not be as aggressive as other flankers. In fact, some of the best Sombra players focus on harassing the enemy team and farming ultimate charge rather than dealing straight damage or dueling enemy players.

2. Offensive Combos for Sombra

We are going to give you the combo first, then we will break down the reasoning behind the combo and when to utilize the combo situationally.

2.1. Sombra Combo 1

  1. Use Hack Icon Hack and Translocator Icon Translocator to setup an escape route if needed.
  2. Use Stealth Icon Stealth to infiltrate the ranks of the enemy team, typically using roundabout pathways.
  3. Walk up to a split enemy and use Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol to deal as much damage as possible.
  4. Secure the kill on the enemy, or use Translocator to escape before dying.

Sombra's go to plan of attack, this ability chain is simple, yet effective. In fact, it could be argued that this approach is the least skill-based combo chain of any of the flankers offensive maneuvers. Positioning is key in this approach, and waiting patiently for the right time to strike, as opposed to forcing an engagement, is handsomely rewarded. If you are paying attention, you may have noticed that Hack Icon Hack is not used on target. This is because this variant of her combo should be used on opponents who pose little threat to Sombra. Enemies like Ana, Zenyatta, and Widowmaker, should be focused with Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol rather than Hacked. The goal is to deal as much damage as possible because these heroes have a hard time out-damaging you when confronted up close. Watch the following video for more details.

2.2. Sombra Combo 2

  1. Use Hack Icon Hack and Translocator Icon Translocator to setup an escape route if needed.
  2. Use Stealth Icon Stealth to infiltrate the ranks of the enemy team, typically using roundabout pathways.
  3. Walk up to a split enemy and use Hack Icon Hack.
  4. Use Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol to deal as much damage as possible
  5. Secure the kill on the enemy, or use Translocator to escape before dying.

This variation of Sombra's straightforward combo insinuates that the enemy is a threatening target as opposed to the theoretical Ana from the above example. The enemy has real weapons or abilities that can turn the tables on Sombra if he or she remains unHack Icon Hacked. Therefore, Hack plays a pivotal role in shutting down the damage output of the target. Additionally, this combo can be used on slippery opponents like Tracer or Pharah to ensure they stay put while you secure the kill. See the video for examples.

It is important to note that Sombra's first offensive combo is also Sombra's only harassment combo. If Sombra fails to secure the kill on her target, her harassment is still annoying to deal with and distracts enemy players. Additionally, Sombra's harassment leads her to farm ultimate charge.

3. Defensive Maneuvers for Sombra

  1. Use Hack Icon Hack on enemy attacking your or your teammate.
  2. Use Machine Pistol Icon Machine Pistol to deal damage
  3. Use Translocator Icon Translocator to escape from attacker or chase low enemy
  4. Use Stealth Icon Stealth to hide from enemy

If you are trying to help a teammate escape from an attacker, your one and only hope is Hack. Although you have no crowd control abilities, Hack can completely shut down an enemy's ability chain, rendering them defenseless from a counter attack from you and your teammate. However, Hack will not permeate shields, and Sombra must stay in line of sight of the assailant to complete her Hack. Therefore, Hack is definitely not the best defensive ability out there.

If Sombra is out-gunned and must escape from an attacker, her main defensive combo is to use Hack, if possible, then use Translocator to either get to high ground if the assailant has no vertical mobility abilities, or clear away from the attacker by throwing Translocator at a corner. Once Sombra rounds the corner or gets to high ground, she should use Stealth to disappear from view and either reset with her team or find a health pack and lay low.

4. Ultimate Usage for Sombra

Sombra's EMP Icon EMP is a fairly straightforward ability, but its usage can be crucial for defending or pushing an objective. When used at the wrong time, EMP is practically useless. However, when used at the right time, Sombra's EMP can have insane clutch potential.

4.1. Wrong Times to Use EMP

While impossible to say these uses of EMP are ALWAYS wrong in every scenario (for example, if its the last fight of the match and you have EMP, you should use it, even if it is against these guidelines), it is highly discouraged to use EMP in the following scenarios.

  • When the enemy team has a two-player advantage over your team.
  • When your team has a two-player advantage over the enemy team.
  • When your team is split from one another.
  • When split from your team and you do not have a microphone to tell your team you used EMP.

The idea behind not using EMP when your team or your enemy has a two-player advantage is that using EMP in either of these scenarios is typically a waste. When EMP is used against an enemy team while they have a two-man advantage, your team is arguably too outnumbered to effectively follow up its use. When your team has a two-man advantage, the use of a friendly EMP would be overkill. Therefore, EMP should not be used when one team is outnumbered. Additionally, an EMP use is highly team dependent, which means Sombra should refrain from using EMP when she cannot communicate its use to her team if she is in the enemy team's backline or if her team is split and preoccupied.

4.2. Right Times to Use EMP

Now that we have covered incorrect times to use EMP, we can now cover excellent uses of EMP.

  • To initiate a fight
  • To interrupt an enemy ultimate
  • To stop an enemy push onto an objective
  • To secure a teamfight on a critical portion of the map (a checkpoint or objective)

Positioning is a key component of effective EMP usage. EMP does travel a good distance, but Sombra typically needs to be in the middle of the enemy team to EMP multiple aggressors. Therefore, it is always recommended to use Stealth Icon Stealth or Translocator Icon Translocator to secure a an effective position among the enemy before using EMP. The primary ability that you should use to secure a healthy position for EMP is Translocator. Translocator, when compared to Stealth, is the better positioning tool for EMP for the following reasons:

  • EMP (if not using Stealth) is an instant cast after Translocator
  • Translocator can be used to travel over the enemy team for a mid-air EMP
  • Translocator has higher mobility than Stealth

Timing and speed are critical components of an effective EMP. If Sombra can instant cast her EMP (something she cannot do while in Stealth thanks to the .07 second deStealth timer, look at the ability page for more information) she is more likely to EMP multiple enemies. Additionally, objects and scenery in the map can block the effects of EMP. If Sombra can get above the map with Translocator, low-lying objects like boxes and stairs are less likely get in the way of Sombra's EMP.

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.