Our updated, massive guide to handling Hanzo in the heat of battle.
Our huge Hanzo guide contains lots of ability and strategy tips, counter advice, and everything else you need to know about mastering this Overwatch character.
It’s safe to say that Hanzo is one of the trickier Heroes to truly master in Overwatch, combining as he does the same sort of necessarily precise gameplay that Widowmaker specialises in with frantic and furious close-quarters combat. In this sense, then, it’s actually quite fitting that he’s the in-game brother of Genji – if you’ve dabbled with this latter Hero at all, you know he likewise has a very high skill ceiling. The good news though is that our massive Hanzo guide is packed to the brim with tips, tricks and strategy advice to get you up to speed with the character nice and quickly
The first thing to note about Hanzo is that he’s innately a lot more aggressive than the likes of Widowmaker, and so he’s equally comfortable working with offensive characters in the thick of a team fight, as he is at lurking in the shadows and quietly waiting for his moment to strike. Once you’ve mastered both long-range aiming and the tricky demands of melee mobility with this Hero, you’ll be a exceptionally deadly force to be reckoned with.
The fact that he also has access to one of the coolest Ultimate abilities in the game is the icing on the cake really, and we think all players will get a big kick out of messing around with this character. Once you’ve seen that spectral dragon tear through a massive pack of enemy Heroes, we think you’ll find it hard to switch to anyone else!
In our comprehensive Hanzo guide, we start by outlining all of his core abilities and how they should be used to greatest effect on just about every map. After that we’ve got a solid collection of tips to help you get started with this Hero, followed up by some advice for both choosing your targets as Hanzo, and countering this character when you find yourself on the other side of the fight. Forewarned is forearmed, after all.
Editor’s note: Update #3 – Hanzo was one of the last characters we got around to when we compiled our Overwatch guides, and so we felt it was high time we updated it. In this update, you’ll find a few extra general combat tips, while further down the page we have some essential advice on playing this character on Assault maps. We’ll expand on this section in the weeks ahead.
A new event has just hit Overwatch! Check out our essential Retribution guide for all the tips, tricks and strategy advice you need to master this new PVE mode.
Hanzo’s abilities and strategy tips
Hanzo offers up an intriguing blend of both long and close-range combat, and so it’s important to understand how his abilities work. He is not an easy character for anyone to master, but hopefully this overview should help you get a handle on things.
Storm Bow [LMB] – It’s really important that you understand the mechanics of Storm Bow, as it plays very differently under certain conditions. If you charge up a shot by keeping the left mouse button held down, then your shot will not only fly straighter but it’ll also do more damage when it lands. On the one hand that’s obviously very useful, but on the other your mobility is slowed down as long as your shot is charged up. It’s not as bad if you choose to fire without charging, but you should expect your shots to be weaker and fly less accurately, and with a much greater arc as a result.
Sonic Arrow [SHIFT] – In a similar vein to Widowmaker’s Infra-Sight ability, Sonic Arrow allows Hanzo exposes the location of all enemy targets within the radius of a fired arrow. It’s by no means as powerful as Widowmaker’s Ultimate, but to compensate it can be fired off every 20 seconds – amazing when you need to bust through a particularly bothersome chokepoint. Don’t forget that these arrows also do a bit of damage when they hit their mark too – take a look at our ability breakdown table for more details of the stats behind it.
Scatter Arrow [E] – This superb ability fires off an arrow that fragments and bounces off surfaces, and can hit more than one enemy at the same time. As you might imagine, this is an incredible ability to use in close-quarters combat, but make sure you aim the arrow ahead ahead of the enemy’s direction of travel. This will ensure they take a lot of ricochet damage. See our tips section further down the page for more advice on using this skill to maximum effect.
Dragonstrike [U] – You can take a surprising number of enemy Heroes out with a well-aimed Dragonstrike. Once put into play, this incredible-looking Ultimate will send a ghostly dragon roaring through walls and other obstacles, devouring any enemy Heroes it encounters within a 4 metre radius. People are getting better at dodging this assault, but it’s still great for doing a lot of damage while sending tightly-packed teams scattering from one another to escape its clutches.
Wall Climb [SPACEBAR] – Hanzo has one final Passive ability that allows him to scale walls with ease. Simply approach a vertical surface and tap Spacebar a couple of times to clamber higher up it.
|Ability||Fire Rate||Cast Time||Cooldown / Reload||Damage||Range|
|Storm Bow||1 RPS||0-.5s to full||–||29-125||–|
|Sonic Arrow||–||0-.5s to full||20s||29-125||10m reveal radius|
|Scatter Arrow||–||0-.5s to full||10s||75||–|
|Dragonstrike||–||1.5s to full||–||>200 DPS||4m radius|
We reckon Hanzo’s right up there with Genji when it comes to the challenge of mastering Overwatch’s roster of Heroes. Here are a few tips that we think should help you get on top of this character a little faster.
- If a target is close to death and fleeing from you, use non-charged shots to ensure you get the job finished off.
- While Sonic Arrow will keep tracking an enemy it lands on, note that certain Heroes have the capacity to remove its effect altogether. Tracer’s Recall will revert her to a previous state, while a Reaper who shifts into Wraith Form will lose the tracking effect.
- Scatter Arrow also has a charging up time, but unlike his typical arrows this only affects the distance the shot travels – not the actual damage it does when it finds its target(s).
- One of the coolest Sonic Arrow tricks we’ve seen on YouTube involves firing one shot directly into the air above Hanzo, 18 seconds before a match begins. It’ll land on the same spot and stay there, but because the match hadn’t started yet you can actually fire a second Sonic Arrow once the match clock starts ticking. This gives you the benefit of having two arrows active at once – this may or may not be patched out of the game in the weeks following launch.
- Scatter Arrow is particularly effective at dealing with enemies in cover. If you’re really struggling to land a direct shot on an enemy Hero, you can use the scenery to increase the chance of getting a shot off onto them.
- Equally, Scatter Arrow works particularly well in confined spaces where there are a) lots of enemies and b) lots of surfaces for the arrows to rebound off. Even against a solitary target you can cause absolute carnage with this tactic. If you can get a clean shot at a Bastion or Torbjorn turret, the multiple damage sources will do much to deal with the threat.
- Try to coordinate your use of Dragonstrike with other friendly Ultimates. Think of Widowmaker’s Infra-Sight, or the slowing/gathering effects provided by Heroes like Mei and Zarya. Reinhardt can also use his Earthshatter effect to pin opponents into position.
- To make your Dragonstrike as effective as possible, cast a Sonic Arrow to expose the best possible line of approach for your Ultimate.
- If your team is approaching a chokepoint and the ability is off cooldown, Sonic Arrow can provide your team with vital intel about the nature of the defensive force they’re about to face down. You can’t use this skill too much!
Hanzo counters and match-ups
Certain characters are designed to ensure that there’s a potential headache for Hanzo lying just around the next corner. That also means, of course, that there are specific Heroes that he himself would do very well to focus on.
Here’s our pick of Hanzo’s top-three counters and preferential match-ups. Read on after the table for more detail on these and other characters to watch out for in combat.
|Hanzo is strong against||Hanzo is weak against|
We like Hanzo against stubborn opponents like Bstion and Torbjorn because he’s capable of using Scatter Shot to mess up these defenses – his Ultimate is, of course, also incredible against slow-moving or entirely immobile opponents too.
If he lacks verticality-based escape routes, Tracer can take him down fast as well, while D.Va can outlast his damage output easily and Widowmaker can pick him off cleanly. Other threats include the likes of Roadhog and his deadly hook, and Reaper or Pharah.
For help with other Heroes, make sure you check out our complete Overwatch: Counters guide.
Hanzo: Assault tips (Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries)
Hanzo’s fantastic at getting to hard-to-reach Heroes like Widowmaker and picking them off, which in turn provides the attacking team a window of opportunity to make meaningful progress. Whether defending or attacking on these maps, you can well imagine the carnage he’s capable of inflicting against clustered enemies hanging around the capture point.
As well as providing strong intel for both sides, he’s also great at getting into corners and corridors and dishing out midrange mayhem. You should be using the parts of the map denied to most other Heroes as well though – Hanamura in particular provides a feast of rooftops to clamber around or onto in order to gain an advantage over your enemies.
Hanzo: Control tips (Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal)
Hanzo: Escort tips (Dorado, Route 66, Watchpoint: Gibraltar)
Hanzo: Hybrid tips (Hollywood, King’s Row, Numbani)
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Hanzo’s Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines
If you want to freshen up Hanzo’s looks a little, there are loads of customisation options to unlock via Loot Boxes. Here’s a list of everything currently available for this character.
|Over The Shoulder||75||Rare|
|Expect Nothing Less||25||Common|
|Flow Like Water||25||Common|
|From One Thing…||25||Common|
|I Do What I Must||25||Common|
|Never In Doubt||25||Common|
|Never Second Best||25||Common|
|Remember This Moment||25||Common|
|Step Into The Dojo||25||Common|
|My Aim Is True||250||Epic|