Overwatch – A Guide to McCree

Does the enemy team have a troublesome Pharah or an absolute pain in the arse Tracer? If so, then look no further than everybody’s favourite gunslinger.

Does the enemy team have a troublesome Pharah or an absolute pain in the arse Tracer? If so, then look no further than everybody’s favourite gunslinger.

McCree is a very accurate hitscan character who is vital in countering mobile heroes and is deadly at close or medium range. Let’s go through his abilities:

Peacekeeper – McCree’s primary weapon is his Peacekeeper pistol, a single-shot hitscan revolver that deals 21-70 damage at a rate of 2 rounds per second with 6 bullets in the chamber.

Fan the Hammer – McCree can fan the Peacekeepers hammer to quickly unload the entire cylinder, dealing 13.5-45 damage per bullet (6 bullets in 0.67 seconds) for a maximum of 270 damage.

Combat Roll – McCree dives in the direction he’s moving, effortlessly reloading his Peacekeeper in the process over a maximum distance of 6 meters. This ability has an 8-second cooldown.

Flashbang – McCree heaves a blinding grenade that explodes shortly after it leaves his hand. The blast staggers enemies within a 2-meter radius for 0.7 seconds and deals 25 damage. This ability has a 10-second cooldown.

Deadeye – Focus. Mark. Draw. Deadeye is McCree’s ultimate ability. McCree takes a few precious moments to aim; when he’s ready to fire, he shoots every enemy in his line of sight. The weaker his targets are, the faster he lines up a kill shot.

McCree can be absolutely deadly when used correctly, or completely pointless when playing him wrong. Remember, the important thing in Overwatch is to remember that you have a particular role to play in a team composition, and with McCree’s abilities listed above, you can be vital in the right situations. Here are a few pointers on how to be the best McCree you can be:

Fight from the back – When playing as McCree, it’s easy to think you’re a mega-DPS, headshot-hitting, unstoppable killing machine. Newsflash – you aren’t. Although he does have excellent accuracy and damage—particularly if you can consistently hit headshots—McCree also has very low mobility and only 200 health, making him a vulnerable target. Stick with your teammates and take advantage of a Reinhardt shield or D.Va defence matrix.

Target the flankers – There are a number of very mobile heroes in Overwatch—Tracer, Genji, Sombra—that can be very troublesome and difficult to kill for the rest of your team. These heroes are also likely to try and attack from behind and target your healers. However, they aren’t very troublesome if they can’t move. That’s where your Flashbang ability comes in; use your flashbang to stop a Tracer or Genji dead in their tracks, and then either unload an accurate headshot or use Fan the Hammer to kill them quickly. A friendly Mercy or Zenyatta are very vulnerable against flankers, so stick with them and protect them; keeping them alive is vital for the rest of your team.

As a side note, please be careful that a Genji doesn’t deflect your flashbang and stun you, you’ll look like an absolute dickhead.

Target healers at close range – Speaking of healers, let’s speak about enemy healers. When you’re up close and personal with the enemy team you can take out low HP characters in no time as McCree. Go for the enemy Mercy or Zenyatta and you can kill them in just a couple of quick shots. Use your flashbang to stop an annoying Lucio with Speed Boost activated or even flashbang a Mercy to stop her resurrecting her teammates.

Use your flashbang wisely – As a sort of follow-on from my last point, it is very important that you use your flashbang at the right time, as once you’ve used it you won’t be able to use it for another 10 seconds. Flashbang is deadly against flankers or any hero with movement abilities—as noted before—but is also equally effective against enemies using their ultimate ability. For example, stunning a Reaper mid-ult completely stops his Death Blossom, which could potentially save the game for your team. Has the enemies Winston just activated Primal Rage and is currently bulldozing his way through your team like King Kong on steroids? Flashbang that big hairy bastard so you can all focus him quickly. Flashbang can also be used to save yourself; if you’ve pushed up too far or become isolated and are suddenly targeted by an enemy that is likely to kill you, use your flashbang to stun them and potentially give yourself a vital few extra seconds to get away.

Use combat roll – It’s easy to think this ability isn’t that important, but it is. As a hero with poor mobility, it’s vital that you use this ability—McCree’s only mobility-aiding ability—at the right time. It’s a defensive ability, meaning it’s best used when trying to get away from an enemy or retreating to the rest of your team quickly; when in danger of being killed by an enemy, quickly flashbang them and combat roll backwards to escape fast. Also use it to avoid incoming fire, such as a Pharah rocket or even a charging Reinhardt. One thing that’s easy to forget but important to remember is that McCree automatically reloads when using this ability, which makes using Combat Roll a much better option than reloading normally when you’re in a gunfight.

Target Pharah – Speaking of Pharah, targeting her is important for McCree. His Peacekeeper revolver is really accurate at mid-range, so if you can consistently hit headshots you can drop a Pharah quickly, which can make a massive difference to your team. McCree’s damage drops off a lot at long range, so if Pharah is managing to keep her distance from you or is being pocket healed by a Mercy then consider trying to persuade your team to have a Soldier: 76 as well as a McCree.

Side Note – Don’t forget, when Pharah uses her Barrage she is stationary in the air and very vulnerable; if you aren’t caught in the Barrage and you’re quick and accurate enough you can kill her before she does too much damage.

Hit Headshots – I know you’re probably thinking “Thank you, Captain Obvious” right now, but I’m bound to point out the obvious in a guide, aren’t I? And if you don’t need to know these tips, why are you even reading this guide? Huh? HUH? Anyway, I’ll keep this brief – consistently hitting headshots on moving targets is easier said than done, but practice, practice and practice again. If you can hit headshots you will drop people much faster than if you can’t. You’ll also look like an absolute badass.

Don’t fuck up Deadeye – Your team is in trouble. You’re being pushed hard. Teammates are dropping left, right and centre. Your healer is dead. Your team needs something, someone, a hero. “Don’t worry guys, I have ult”. You step out, you’re already smiling, here comes your Play of the Game. You’re going to be cheered, celebrated, paraded through the streets of wherever the hell you live and lauded as a saviour. This is your moment. “It’s High No….”. Oh, you’re dead, and you’ve lost the game. It happens, it’s happened to us all, but when it does happen you always feel like an absolute bellend. Deadeye is a potentially game-winning ult, and on the face of it, it sounds overpowered and completely lacking in any form of skill, but it’s so easily counterable (I know that isn’t a word but fuck it) that you really do have to think before using it. The skill is in using it at the perfect time. Let me break it down:

  • Use it from behind. When the enemy team hears “It’s High Noon!” they will immediately start looking for you, and they will naturally presume that you’re ahead of them. If you’ve flanked and you’re behind them, you’re far more likely to pull off Deadeye effectively.
  • Use it from high ground. The higher your vantage point, the higher the number of targets you’re likely to get with your Deadeye. Use custom games to find good vantage points on each map.
  • Be wary of shields. There is no worse feeling than activating Deadeye and then being faced with a Reinhardt shield, Orisa shield or a D.Va Defense Matrix. Suddenly, you’re about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Wait until D.Va is out of her mech or the shields are destroyed before using Deadeye, or use it from such a good vantage point that they’re unable to stop you.
  • Understand how vulnerable you are. When you use Deadeye, your movement speed slows right down and you have to wait for the targets to lock on, this makes you incredibly vulnerable. An accurate Widowmaker, Soldier, or even a fellow McCree could easily kill you before you can get your shot off. Equally, if you’re too close to the enemy team you could get hooked by Roadhog. As I’ve said previously, use it from clever vantage points and at the right time to minimise your chances of being killed before getting your shots off.
  • Don’t hold your ultimate for too long, waiting to use it at the perfect moment. It’s easy to think you should be using your ultimate to try and kill the whole enemy team at once, but this leads to too many McCree’s holding their ultimate for ages before using it. Don’t be afraid to use it if you know you can kill one or two important enemy heroes. For example, if you’re the only hitscan character and the enemy team has a Pharah being pocketed by a Mercy, using your Deadeye to kill them both can be vital in stopping an enemy attack.

I think I’ve taken you as far as I can now. It’s up to you to take these points on board and go out there and be the best McCree you can be. Target that Pharah, kill those flankers, use your flashbangs to stop enemy ultimates and use Deadeye correctly to seal your Play of the Game, you big glory-hunter.

Anyway, I’m off for my third lunch of the day. After all, it’s High Noon somewhere, right?

Chris is our resident FPS-obsessed football fanatic who, when not playing an FPS or FIFA, can probably be found spending the odd 100 hours or so building his perfect farm on Stardew Valley. Chris comes to you with a hint of cynicism and plenty of sarcasm.

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