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Sombra PTR Impressions

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Gaming’s longest new character tease is finally over – the elusive hacker, Sombra, has finally made her debut in Overwatch. Well, sort of. She’s on PTR right now, so if you stick to playing on the live servers you’ll have to wait a bit longer, but how does she play so far? Read on for our thoughts.

LMB: Machine Pistol

Sombra’s only weapon is her machine pistol. As you might expect, the pistol is better at close range, though you won’t experience any damage fall off until you start shooting at targets farther than 35m out. That said, the pistol just doesn’t deal a whole lot of burst damage, so Sombra in a 1v1 fight feels kind of dicey at the moment. Sure, she can hit targets farther out than a Tracer can, but she doesn’t have the ability to rapidly hit-and-run the way Tracer does in a close range engagement. I’m no pro, but I feel her gun is probably somewhere between mediocre and OK right now.

RMB: Hack

Using RMB, Sombra can channel a hack on enemies and health packs. Hacking enemies disables their abilities, but it can be risky to pull off given the fact it takes roughly two seconds to complete the cast and breaks on damage. Still, it’s potentially devastating if you can get a flank on the right enemy as you can shut off incredibly important abilities such as Reinhardt’s shield. Possibly even more potent, bordering on dare I say overpowered, is Sombra’s ability to hack health packs. Hacked health packs cannot be used by the enemy team and respawn three times faster. This can really shut down enemy flankers who rely a ton on health pickups, but it can also do a great deal to tilt a defense or offense push in your favor.

SHIFT: Thermoptic Camo

Using Thermoptic Camo, Sombra can stealth for six seconds and receives a speed buff while concealed. The stealth is pretty delicate as she can be unveiled by enemy fire, so it’s best to stealth in from a flank, but you’ll need to be careful even if you find a flank since Thermoptic Camo does not silence footsteps. This is likely to be more of a liability in pro play than in quick play or ranked, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.  You can’t attack or use abilities while stealthed without breaking it and there appears to be a slight delay when coming out of stealth normally, so that’s something to keep in mind.  Like stealth in any game, this is likely to be a divisive ability. Given the aforementioned downsides of Thermoptic Camo, I don’t feel this ability will be overpowered in high level play, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a ton of complaints coming from mid- to low-level players, especially if Sombra’s gun gets some buffs before she goes live.

E: Translocator

Aside from her ult, Translocator is probably Sombra’s most important ability. This is a device that can be thrown like a grenade and then can be activated again within 15 seconds to teleport you back to its location. This ability, especially combined with Thermoptic Camo, will allow Sombra to gain favorable positioning with very little risk given the generous duration of the device and the unlimited range. I expect pros to make some pretty creative use of this skill. For the rest of us mere mortals, it should let us screw up and get away with it.

Q: EMP (Ultimate)

Sombra’s ultimate is basically a PBAoE Hack that does indeed check for line-of-sight (think hiding from D.Va ult). Properly executed, this is a teamfight and perhaps game winning ultimate. I fully expect to see compositions built around proper use of EMP and it’s very likely to shift the meta. If Blizzard was looking to shake things up with a new character, Sombra’s EMP is going to do it.

Have you played Sombra on PTR? What are your impressions so far?


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB