Sombra has been underwhelming. According to Masteroverwatch‘s stat tracking, she’s currently the least picked hero in competitive play. Sombra also has the 4th lowest K/D ratio and the 5th lowest medals/game ratio. Blizzard is committed to changing her, but they’re taking it slow. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director, recently said, “We have ideas if we need to bump her up, but we’re just being slow and patient so we don’t have Ana 2.0 all over again.” Translation: The Overwatch team wants to avoid over-tuning Sombra and turning her into a must-pick, which is what happened to Ana in Season 3.
Many people have made guides on how to play Sombra, Overwatch’s newest hero, but what about playing with a Sombra on your team? This article outlines the steps you and the rest of your team can take when someone picks Sombra.
Don’t become tilted the moment someone on your team picks Sombra.
Let’s first start with the most basic tip. If you assume that you’re going to lose a match before it starts, chances are your prediction will come true. Don’t complain on your mic or switch to a hero that wrecks the team composition, or the next thing you know, your team will consist of a Widowmaker, Torbjorn, and Hanzo. Asking nicely for a Sombra player to switch is fine, but don’t overreact and complain that the match is lost before it even begins.
Pay attention to your team composition.
Sombra works well in a few types of team compositions.
- Dive comp: In the chaos of a fight, Sombra can hack priority targets and help other flankers eliminate enemy supports. Sombra’s main gun is too weak to solo most 200hp heroes, so it’s advisable to run another hero that can help her clean up kills. Winston, Tracer, Genji, Pharah, and Zenyatta are viable candidates that complement a Sombra.
- Traditional 2-2-2 comps: Sombra – for the most part – should take a DPS slot in your team composition. A 2-2-2 team composition is a good way to go. Soldier: 76, Pharah, and McCree are decent picks for the 2nd DPS hero. Sombra usually doesn’t output enough damage to be the sole DPS hero in a team running three tanks, but if the team does decide to go 3 tanks, make sure there are enough damage dealers among them (such as Roadhog).
Sombra doesn’t work as well in 1 healer comps. In many cases, Sombra’s health pack hacks don’t compensate enough to run only 1 healer. Going around and hacking health packs takes time, which leaves the team fighting 5 v 6. Even on King of the Hill game modes, it’s usually advisable to run two healers because you can’t always rely on Sombra’s hacked health packs to compensate for the lack of healing. Running to health packs takes players away from the fight, so Sombra doesn’t completely take the place of a healer. Dive comps with Winston/Tracer/Genji usually require both Lucio and Zenyatta, so even those compositions require 2 healers. Games can be won with only one support, but it’s not the optimal way to go unless the solo healer is extremely reliable and skilled. Ana is the only hero that can reliably solo heal in high-ranked matches.
Pick heroes that synergize with Sombra’s ult.
Sombra’s ult charges quickly and works extremely well with nearly every offensive ultimate in the game. She prevents enemies from neutralizing or blocking your team’s offensive ults. She also charges her ult incredibly fast, so make sure that you and your team are ready to initiate when your Sombra has ult. Notable ult combos include:
- Zarya + Sombra. Graviton Surge is one of the strongest ults in the game, but it can be partially or fully countered by a few things, including Zenyatta’s ult, Lucio’s ult, DVA’s defense matrix, and Reinhardt’s shield. Sombra’s ult shuts down everything that can prevent your team from securing kills in a Graviton Surge. Throw in another offensive ult with Zarya + Sombra for an easy wipe.
- Sombra + Soldier: 76, Reaper, McCree, Genji, or Pharah. These heroes’ offensive ults can be effectively neutralized by other popular heroes, including Reinhardt’s shield, Roadhog’s hook, DVA’s defense matrix, Zarya’s shield, Zenyatta’s ult, and Lucio’s ult or speed boost. Letting Sombra ult first will make it much easier for your team’s DPS heroes to secure kills when they ult.
- Sombra + Reinhardt, Mei, or DVA. These three ults are very hit-or-miss. Allowing Sombra to ult before popping a Reinhardt, Mei, or DVA ult will ensure that no enemies will be able to escape or block the ult.
- Sombra + Ana: Ana’s nanoboost is usually paired with another damage dealing hero or ult. As with the scenarios listed above, allowing Sombra to ult before nanoboosting a target will make it much easier for your team to secure kills.
- Others: Some heroes usually don’t justify comboing with Sombra. Tracer and Junkrat’s ults can one-shot most heroes, Winston’s ult is mostly used for disruption, and Bastion, Torbjorn, and Roadhog’s ults deal plenty of damage by themselves and are usually better off baiting out support ults from the enemy.
Help Sombra charge her ult.
Did you know that Sombra receives ult charge when she or another hero uses a health pack that she has hacked? She charges her ult faster than most heroes, so don’t be afraid to take chip damage from the enemy team and seek out Sombra’s hacked health packs. This tactic works especially well when your team is attacking the first point of 2CP and hybrid maps, which always have health packs close to the first choke point.
Change your engagement tactics.
Sombra’s actions leave her out of the fray for long periods of time. While she’s off hacking health packs, waiting for cooldowns to reset, or flanking, your team is left fighting 5 v 6. If your team is running a dive comp, you should engage when Sombra does. If your team is running a standard composition, you should wait for Sombra to ult or hack an important target before you engage. Sombra’s ult should charge faster than everyone else’s, which will give your team an advantage in many team fights. Sombra’s ult disables the enemy’s ults, but often times enemy supports aren’t close enough to their tanks and Sombra’s ult will only be able to disable the enemy team’s frontline. Don’t be afraid to use offensive ults to draw out the enemy team’s support ults.
Sombra isn’t very effective at taking down heroes by herself, which makes communication very important. If the Sombra on your team doesn’t have a mic, make sure you’re frequently pinging your ult charge status. Sometimes the Sombra player isn’t communicating at all, in which case you’ll have to do the best you can to follow up on Sombra’s ults. You can also call out the location of hacked health packs and Sombra’s ult status to your teammates if your Sombra isn’t communicating.