Sombra Overview

November 18, 2016 - Esports

The newest Overwatch hero to be released, Sombra, was in the middle of one of the best marketing campaigns in the the admittedly short history of new hero releases in Overwatch. Announced at BlizzCon, Sombra turned out to be an extremely mobile hacker, who can teleport around the field of battle, turn invisible, and hack, or disable, enemy abilities. While she is compared to Tracer due to her mobility and similarly quick rate of fire, as well as the damage falloff at longer ranges, the truth is that Sombra is nothing like Tracer, despite the similarities. In fact, where Tracer is the epitome of the offensive flanker, Sombra is almost a Support, only with a higher rate of fire, better damage and no teammate-saving utility.

We will talk about these abilities in more detail a little bit later, but for now, let’s just say that the things Sombra can do are not designed for straight up fighting, like Pharah, Soldier: 76, McCree, or Tracer, for example. Instead, Sombra is a Saboteur. She’s a Support capable of great damage, only she doesn’t help or buff her team, she makes the enemies weaker. If you are playing Sombra and see a vulnerable opponent, you’re supposed to take the fight and win. What you’re NOT supposed to do, however, is straight up duel people. That’s not the identity of the hacker Sombra.


Passive – Opportunist

When enemies are below 50% health, you will be able to see their silhouette through walls, similar to Widowmaker with Infra-red Sight on. In general, you should be the player who uses the rest of his abilities to go behind enemy lines and take out these targets. Going up against a proper offensive heroes, you might lose unless you’re clearly better, due to combat abilities these other heroes have, where your kit is packed with utility.

Machine Pistol

Sombra’s Primary Fire ability is somewhat similar to Tracers, only with a vastly bigger clip. Firing your Machine Pistol, you will unload hitscan bullets at the rage of 20 rounds per second. The damage will fall off the farther away the enemy is, with the gun dealing 2.4 damage per round at 25 meters and more, and 8 per bullet at 15 and less. Your clip has 60 rounds, so you can shoot for 3 whole seconds before you have to reload, which will take you 1.5 seconds. Sombra’s bullets can also headshot. Altogether, this makes Sombra get in close to minimize damage falloff and spray her opponents with a rain of bullets.


Sombra’s secondary fire, Hack, can screw over your opponents in multiple ways. On a 12 second cooldown, you can channel it for 1.2 seconds at the max range of 15 meters to interrupt your enemies channelled effect, like Pharah’s Barrage, for example, prevent enemy players from activating any abilities except Passives, and reveal their ultimate status and health bar. Also, you can also take Health Packs and Turrets out. How long do those disables last? Well, after you hack an enemy, he won’t be able to use abilities for 6 seconds, his ult status will be revealed for 12, enemies won’t be able to use specific Health Packs you hacked for a minute, and Torbjorn’s Turrets won’t work for 10 seconds.

Thermoptic Camo

Sombra’s Shift turns her invisible and increases movement speed. Sounds OP, right? Well, not really. The ability does have great many uses, especially when you’re trying to sneak up on half-dead enemies. When you activate the ability, you will turn invisible, moving at the speed of 8.8 meters per second for 6 seconds on a 6 second cooldown. The problem is that the ability can be disrupted by incidental damage, making you come out of the camo. For this reason, it’s not a very good escape tool, being much more suitable when going on the offensive.


When you press E, Sombra will drop a beacon as an arcing projectile, which will last for 15 seconds, on a 6 second cooldown. When you activate the ability again, you will instantly return to the beacon’s location. Now THIS is an escape ability. Of course, nothing is perfect, so you have to pre-plan it, dropping the Translocator before getting up to dangerous stuff, preferably with the invisibility of your Shift, Thermoptic Camo.


Finally, the Ult which had so many people worried and Support mains who like Lucio piss their pants in fear. When you activate this ult, Sombra explodes with electromagnetic energy, destroying barriers, shields, and hacking everyone in a wide radius. So far, it seems like you can hack or stop five Ultimates with your EMP. These are McCree’s Deadeye, Reaper’s Deathblossom, Roadhog’s Whole Hog, Pharah’s Barrage, and Lucio’s Sound Barrier. The rest should be okay.


All in all, Sombra is an exciting hero with no clear place in the current metagame. She can’t really be relied upon for damage as McCree and Soldier 76 are currently, because her damage output is inferior due to her great utility, yet she also can’t be played in place of a Support because she doesn’t shield or heal. For Sombra to be played a lot, the metagame would have to shift in some way to make room for her. Before that can happens, it remains to be seen what the pros can make of her kit. If they deem it strong enough, the meta will shift to fit her in, but if not… The only times we will see Sombra will be in Competitive and Quick Play.