Overwatch – A Guide to Reaper

Some speak of a black-robed terrorist known only as the Reaper. His identity and motives are a mystery. What is known, is that where he appears, death follows.

Reaper wasn’t my first true love in Overwatch; that was Roadhog. There was nothing more satisfying than landing a hook and getting an insta-kill. Sadly, with the more recent updates this isn’t part of Roadhogs repertoire anymore, so I had to find a new love, and that was Gabriel Reyes AKA Reaper. The reason I chose Reaper was that he was the only hero that, if played correctly, could always kill me as Roadhog; especially if I missed a hook (which almost never happened, of course). Plus, he’s one of the cooler heroes in Overwatch, and I’m pretty cool, so it made sense.

Anyway, I’m making myself blush, where was I? Oh yeah, Reaper.

“Reaper, on the face of it, seems like an easy hero to play; you have dual shotguns, get close enough and you should kill them – that’s basically all you have to do.”

That’s not exactly true, the very well written sentence above teaches you how to be an average Reaper; the type of Reaper that, sure, gets a few kills, but also gets as many deaths, and the type of Reaper nobody really wants on their team. So, let me show you how to be a great Reaper, the type of Reaper that has Mercy gushing between the hips for you. (Sorry, Mum).

Let’s start with the basics, Reaper’s abilities:

Reaper Abilities

Hellfire Shotguns

Twin shotguns that can tear through any hero if Reaper can get close enough – these are Reapers only form of attack. Reaper fires 20 pellets per shot, with 2-7 damage per pellet at a rate of 2 shots per second.

The Reaping

This is Reapers passive ability, it’s basically life steal, you gain back 20% of the damage you deal as health. This is one of the abilities that makes Reaper a great tank killer.

Wraith Form

Reaper enters a shadow form for 3 seconds. While in the shadows, Reaper takes no damage and is capable of passing through enemies, however, while Wraith Form is active Reaper is unable to fire his weapons or use any other abilities. This ability has an 8 second cooldown.

Shadow Step

Shadow Step allows reaper to teleport to a nearby location up to a maximum range of 35 meters – very useful for getting behind enemy lines. This ability has a 10 second cooldown.

Death Blossom

Reaper’s Ultimate is one of the deadliest in the game if used correctly; when activated, Reaper will spin, emptying his hellfire shotguns into all surrounding enemies within an 8-meter proximity. Reaper deals 170 damage per second for 3 seconds, therefore doing a total of 510 damage to surrounding enemies.

Now, let’s move onto more important matters, actually being an effective Reaper:

Don’t stay as a team

Sounds mental, doesn’t it? Hear me out. If you play in a team (which you should), you’ll be familiar with the term ‘stay together’; Ignore that. Reaper is best when he’s alone, or at least when he’s using his team as a distraction.

While your team are storming the proverbial front gate, you, as Reaper, should be making your way around the back of the enemy, using one of the many side passages that can be found on every map in Overwatch (or by using Shadow Step) – once you’ve successfully breached enemy lines, pick off the healer (who can usually be found sitting at the back) then move onto the next most viable target; in a lot of cases this will be the tank e.g. Reinhardt or Roadhog.

Basically, on most Overwatch maps there are always 2-3 routes to the target location. Never go the same route as the rest of your team.

Master your Wraith Form

Reaper’s most powerful ability is Wraith Form – master it. I’ve seen so many Reaper players use Wraith Form just to get close to enemies; that’s all well and good until you need to get out of there and can’t because Wraith Form is on a cooldown (8 seconds, remember?). Even worse is using it to get into the middle of a group of enemies so you can pop your Death Blossom; WTF, do you think nobody is expecting it or something? How many times have you actually managed to kill more than one person with this strategy?

Wraith Form should be used as a means of escape and defence; never use it to enter battle and most certainly do not use it before you use your ultimate. You can also use Wraith Form mid combat, if for example, you are fighting with a Roadhog (or any other tank). The reason you would do this is because Wraith Form reloads your shotguns which is much quicker then actually reloading so pop into Wraith Form and then straight back out and carry on blasting the hog.

When should you use Wraith Form?

  • If you’re in battle and you know you are going to lose, enter wraith form and run.
  • If you have good reactions you can use Wraith Form avoid Roadhog’s hook or Lucios ‘boop’.
  • Wraith Form removes Tracer’s pulse bomb; if she sticks you, use it. (it also removes Zenyatta’s orb of discord)
  • If Mei is freezing you, or if she’s popped her Ult, use it to get away.
  • If you’re taking on a tank and need to reload .

Be Patient with Death Blossom

Before I go into any more detail about how to use your ultimate ability, I want to say something – never ever use it if the enemy has already seen you and has already started shooting, and never use it when you’re not at full health.

The trick to using Death Blossom effectively is surprising your enemy; there’s so many things that can stop Death Blossom in its tracks, from D.Va’s Defense Matrix to Reinhardts Shield and McCree’s Flashbang. Depending on your oppositions team composition, it might be worthwhile waiting for the biggest threat to die before using it; for example, let’s say the enemy team is made up of Reinhardt, Soldier 76, Zarya, Mercy, Tracer and a Zenyatta (that’s a good comp, by the way) – you might want to wait until the Rein is down, because then there’s little that can stop you (Zarya’s Barriers will be an issue, but you should weaken her enough for her not to be a threat once your Death Blossom is over). However, if the enemy team consists of several characters that can block or stop your Death Blossom, such as a Reinhardt, Roadhog and a McCree, you’ll just have to take the chance.

By surprising your enemies, they don’t have time to react before they die. For instance, a McCree will die almost instantly, and even if you are stopped mid Death Blossom by, let’s say, a Roadhog hook, you should have already done a fair bit of damage.

A surprise Ult (and the best way to perform Death Blossom) almost always comes from an aerial assault; by using Shadow Step, you can get yourself to high ground, ideally behind or to the side of the enemy. Once in position, jump down and activate your Death Blossom when you’re about halfway to the ground.

Know the Maps

As discussed previously, Reaper should stay in the shadows like a thief in the night, and make his way around the back, side or above the enemy. The only way you can effectively do this is by knowing all of the maps like the back of your hand. Start up a custom game and find all of the possible routes, passageways and high ground locations on all maps.

Now you know how to use Reaper’s abilities to the max, let’s look at who you should try to avoid in battle:

Main Counter

Pharah: Pharah is probably Reapers most annoying counter because even if her abilities are all on cooldown she can still get high enough for you to do minimal damage to her. The best strategy for dealing with a Pharah as Reaper is avoiding her. She’s not your problem, let a Soldier 76 or a McCree deal with her – even a bad Pharah can kill a Reaper as seen above.


Mei: Mei is a pain in the arse for Reaper (she’s an absolute pain in the arse for everyone, but especially Reaper), her health pool is large enough, especially with her Cryo-Freeze, that she can actually freeze you before you kill her. Sure, you can use Wraith Form to avoid it, but she has Ice Wall and as mentioned before, Cryo-Freeze – it’s always a tough battle, but depending on the skill of the Mei, it is winnable.

Soldier 76: Forget about killing a Soldier if you’re at a distance. However, if you’re close enough, you can wipe out a Soldier pretty quickly. There is a possibility of the Soldier running away (which they should do), and if they manage to get away you’ll probably die.

D.Va: D.Va’s Defence Matrix can cause you issues. However, if you only shoot her while she doesn’t have it activated, you can drain D.Va’s health pretty quickly.

McCree: If McCree lands a flashbang on you you’re as good as dead. However, if your reactions are quick enough you can avoid this, in which case McCree isn’t a real threat.

Honestly, the only hero that is a real issue for Reaper if you play him correctly is Pharah; if you play Reaper the way he should be played (like a silent assassin), then the other heroes don’t really stand a chance, they can all “Die! Die! Die!”…ahem, sorry, got a bit carried away there.

So. there we have it, a comprehensive guide on how to be a better Reaper – think we missed some valuable tips? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get them added if we deem them worthy.







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