Overwatch Countering Sombra With All Heroes Guide
Overwatch Countering Sombra With All Heroes Guide by Gangsir
After the recent rise of Sombra into the public view, and several posts expression confusion and annoyance at finding better and better sombras that seem to carry their team and asking how to counter Sombra, I decided to put together a little guide on how to stop or hamper Sombra as much as possible, from the perspective of an avid Sombra player. While I like playing Sombra, I’m not a complete sadist, so I’ll help out people that are frustrated by her. Since she’s not been a super common hero, lots of people don’t really know how to play against her.
For this first section, let’s go over a few details about sombra that people might not know. Kinda like “general anti-sombra tips”.
- Translocator cannot be interacted with until it hits the ground, at which point it can be destroyed, or camped. Determine which is a good idea when you see a translocator. Typically, during intense team fights it should be destroyed, and when things are chill, camp it. However, understand that camping it can get you outplayed. (I love to walk back to my translocator to find someone camping it, and give them a huge spook)
- Sombra’s hack range is 15m, which is the same as her “sound radius” (how far away you can hear her noises), as well as her weapon falloff, and the radius of EMP. This is a key range, learn it.
- Hack needs constant line of sight during the cast animation. Losing LOS for even a little bit of time will stop the hack. (It can be annoying with how fragile it is) Only damage puts it on cooldown, but there is a slight delay even when just interrupted. This means you can waste the sombra’s time by constantly breaking line of sight for a quick bit. More on this in the next section.
- Any damage breaks sombra’s stealth, however “targeted” abilities that auto-aim to some degree (moira’s pain ball & right click, sym/torb turrets, hitscan hero ults, etc) won’t target her while invisible. (In MOBA terms, she is ‘cloaked’, and ‘untargetable’ but not ‘invincible’ nor ‘intangible’.)
- When she is invisible and steps near you, she will appear and make a sound that sounds like sharpening a sword. This is referred to as “blinking” or “flashing” by Sombras. Pay attention, and if this happens, use melee toward the sound to immediately break her stealth. This can get her killed if she’s relocating to a new translocator place without the locator placed down.
- She deals 480 damage with one clip of her weapon, making her able to one-clip almost all heroes within her falloff, and for some distance outside of it. DO NOT disrespect her damage if you aren’t being healed. I’ve deleted many a cocky Orisa. Armor doesn’t necessarily save you, especially not with headshots. However, her reload is on the longer end, meaning you can be healed up during it.
- She deals 160 damage per second with all bodyshots, only slightly lower than soldier. With full headshots, this climbs to a whopping 320 DPS, capable of killing a squishy in less than half a second. (So don’t stand still and let her point-blank headshot you) If she happens to be Mercy boosted or you’re discorded, her full bodies and full headshots damage rises to 208/416 per second respectively. Don’t sleep on her damage.
- Remember that if you’re damaged, she can see your healthbar. Which means running around with 20 health is a bad idea. While other DPS might not know you’re low, she does. Additionally, if you’re less than 50% health, she has wallhacks on you. She can communicate your location and status. Don’t stay low, get healed or grab a pack.
- Hack lasts 6 seconds, both from EMP and her hack ability. Her hack ability has a cooldown of 8 seconds, which means that she is capable of keeping someone hacked for a grand total of ~18 seconds, if executed perfectly. Hack, wait ~5.5 seconds, EMP, wait ~5.5 seconds, hack again.
- When she translocates away, there is a beam shown momentarily in the direction she went. This can tell you if she’s deeper in your backline, or has returned to her team. Use it to track her down.
- Her translocator emits a unique noise when it’s sitting somewhere. Listen for it so you don’t walk right past it.
- Even when invisible, you can see her throw her translocator, or teleport to it. If you see a locator appear out of thin air and fly somewhere, shoot at where it came from.
Dealing with Sombra as every hero – 1v1 tips, peeling, etc
In this section, I’ll list all the heroes, and strategies and tips for dealing with a sombra, in the way that you specifically can as each hero. Dealing with Sombra is a team effort (just like Mei or Bastion) so it’s important that you contribute your piece.
I’ll also indicate whether I see the hero as a counter to sombra, (counters her (hard/soft)) or is countered by sombra (countered (soft/hard)). This is mostly my opinion however, and different (non plat) ranks will see it differently.
- D.Va (countered (medium-hard))
A tricky matchup, she counters you badly. Your guns have infinite ammo and good spread, so you make an excellent decloaker, and you can also peel for other people if they get hacked. If you get hacked yourself and the sombra is attempting to fight you, DO NOT fight her while hacked. You won’t do any sort of significant damage to her, and even if you do, she’ll just teleport away. Meanwhile, she can shred you due to your large head hitbox that doesn’t really move while you’re shooting at her. She is more than capable of demeching you, and if she’s good, she’ll demech you then teleport away, leaving you blue-balled and mech-less, just to waste your time.
Upon getting hacked, seek to disengage. Run around corners and play Ring-around-the-rosy around pillars to avoid her, until you get unhacked. Then fight her/chase her off. To avoid getting hacked, pay attention to high ground, and behind you. Periodically tap fire on key highground where she might be lurking waiting for an opportunity, as well as down alleys and flanks.
- Orisa (neutral)
One of the best tanks to run into Sombra, your shield is unaffected by her hack, and fortify persists even if you do get hacked.
Seek to annoy her with shots if she for whatever reason decloaks in front of you. While small damage, it keeps her from hacking. If you have to fight her directly, dance in and out of your shield, like you would against a reaper. She can shred you if you just sit there taking full headshots.
Note that even though sombra is untargetable, Halt still affects her. It won’t decloak her (and I believe that the little green beam doesn’t show either) but it will pull her. If you spam around the orb you might decloak her.
- Reinhardt – (countered (hard))
Quite possibly the worst main tank to run into sombra if you don’t know how to deal with her. Thankfully, you have this guide.
What you need to do is pay special attention to detail. (don’t worry, this isn’t a “pay attention 4head” guide) When you’re shielding, keep in mind the locations where sombra could stand to hack you. This will be small highgrounds, alleyways perpendicular to your path, etc. Unlike other tanks, you have the advantage of 3rd person while shielding. Pay special attention to your body, and when you see the little orange beams of being hacked, simply flick your shield towards it to cut off line of sight. If she tries again, repeat again. Call out where she is to your team.
I need to make this very clear. FLICK your shield around to momentarily break LOS, don’t fully turn around and block full-time. That’s how you get shatter-backstabbed. Simply flicking your shield will interrupt the hack, forcing her to start over and spend even more time. If she’s directly behind you, this will be a 180o flick, and another 180o flick back, very quickly. If you’re lucky, you’ll actually bait the enemy shatter doing this. Keep in mind however, that this doesn’t put the hack on cooldown, just interrupts it. This means that you’ll need to keep repeating the flick, about once a second. (While telling your team where she is) Even if you don’t comm her location, your team should notice you spazzing out and the little hack beams flashing, and track her down.
If you see her in front of you within hack range, DO NOT throw a firestrike. She can hack you during the firestrike. Just chill and tell people to shoot her.
- Roadhog (countered (soft) or neutral)
Also a solid tank to run into her, as long as you play purely defensively. Stick around, and seek to interrupt her hacks on your main tank with shotgun blasts (even a left click from range will hit her) and hooks on her. Peel for supports. However, if she hacks you, same advice as with D.va, break line of sight and don’t fight her. She will just farm you for ult. Be very careful pushing forward, if you get hacked at low health on the front line it’s a wrap for you.
Keep in mind that she can easily hack you during your reload if she’s good. Pull around cover to reload.
If you’re ulting and she tries hacking you, spin around rapidly. You’ll fire pellets everywhere which should interrupt it.
- Winston (neutral, potentially soft countered)
You’re a great sombra finder, due to your AOE gun, and you can even 1v1 a sombra effectively, as you’ll probably kill her before she kills you.
When playing winston on offense, your key defense from her is your bubble. It blocks her from hacking you. DO NOT stick around near a Sombra without your bubble, because if you get hacked in enemy territory, it’s a wrap for you. Can’t even ult to save yourself. Jump away as soon as you hear the hack starting.
Same in your ult, don’t get hacked. If you get hacked you lose your ability to close distance, so people can just kite away while farming you for ult. Big feed, don’t do it.
- Wrecking Ball (countered (EXTREME))
Without a doubt the WORST tank to run into a sombra. You will basically automatically die if you get hacked inside her team. (you lose all mobility and are kicked out of ball mode, so you can be headshot as you desperately try to spider-walk away) She is also very capable of killing you in a 1v1, as the chance you miss your shots is drastically higher than her chance of missing. Her ult also strips your shielding instantly, and prevents your mines from exploding.
I really have to recommend just switching to a different tank if she won’t leave you alone. If she doesn’t contest you though, feel free to stay. Most sombras will farm you though.
- Zarya (neutral)
Also a solid pick into a sombra, as you’re very capable of 1v1ing her as long as you can aim and have decent charge. Hacks on you aren’t as devastating as other tanks (unless you need bubble to survive something, in which case rip)
You can very effectively peel for other people that get hacked, and even though bubble doesn’t purge hack, you can save them from follow-up CC or damage. If you’re playing Zarya with a Rein, your job is to protect the rein when he gets hacked.
Keep in mind that since you have a very influential ultimate, some sombras will periodically hack you to simply check your ult status (appear, hack you, disappear). Keep tabs on this happening, so you know when they know you have ult. It can make it easier to deny your ult.
- Ashe (countered (very soft) or neutral)
Since you lack hard CC, most sombras won’t be terribly afraid to attack you, unless you’re a really good shot. Thus, to deal with a sombra, you need to have good aim. (4head) That’s your only real defense, other than disengaging with shotgun.
However, you’re effective at peeling for others, since your damage is high and will likely scare her off if she’s on somebody else. Chill and try to shoot her, or just dynamite her. Translocator removes the afterburn, but most sombras won’t want to stick around after getting dynamited.
- Bastion (countered (hard))
Since bastion is typically run in comps that revolve around the bastion, if she hacks you, the team loses a huge portion of it’s attack power. Additionally, if you happen to be alone and get hacked, she can pretty handily 1v1 you in recon form, since you can’t heal and your hitbox is huge.
If you start getting hacked, spin around while shooting to increase your chances of hitting her out of it.
However, definitely a suggested switch if you can’t deal with her.
- Doomfist (countered (very hard))
If she hacks you, you automatically die. Thus, don’t get hacked, whatever you have to do. Punch away, ult, etc. Keep in mind that she is a pretty effective peeler, if she’s playing with her team.
Also, pay attention and be wary of spawncamps. Due to the “auto-lose” issue with her hack, she can fully spawncamp you if she hacks you before you can react.
If she’s really on your ass and you can’t get much done without feeding or just trading 1:1, then switch off.
- Genji (neutral)
Both DPS possess ways to kill the other, or hamper them. If she hacks you, you’ll probably lose, so retreat to your team/around corners. However, if she doesn’t hack you, you can pretty easily dash-combo her like you would a mercy. Be careful about getting hacked in your ult, as it prevents you from dashing to your next target.
Tip: If you see your main tank get hacked, step in front of him and deflect. Chances are he’ll be focused, and you can deflect all that focus back at them.
- Hanzo (counters her (medium-hard))
Probably the best DPS to counter sombra, he’s able to very easily kill her even while hacked, and his sonar arrow provides a constant risk to her, especially if combined with an auto-aim thing like a turret, since getting blinked by his sonar makes her targetable.
Most smart sombras won’t go for you directly unless it’s to finish you off, so A) don’t stay low health for long, and B) use the fear she has of you to make her screw off of other people.
- Junkrat (counters her (soft))
Much like Hanzo, he can kill her before she can kill him, usually. Place traps on flanks as she’ll get caught even while invisible, and spam chokes to keep her from slipping through as easily.
When 1v1ing her, get as close as possible. It’s easier for her to hit you the farther away you are, and you -> her gets worse. However, DO NOT mine jump while fighting her, as that’s very easy to track. Don’t take large falls off highground either.
- McCree (counters her (medium-hard))
Not really reliant on his abilities to kill, McCree is an excellent pick against her. The stun can make her finally die (rather than get away) and his high damage can scare her away easy. Seek to stun and kill her when she’s distracted fighting someone else, or hide and wait for her to decloak to hack someone, then swoop in.
If she hacks you so you can’t flash her, then it’s all up to your aim. Given time, she will win (due to her being able to hit you easily) so you need to win via aim quickly.
- Mei (counters her (soft) or neutral)
Like genji, both have components that cause harm to the other. Freeze beam is really good at finding her (as well as forcing her to flee), but if she hacks you, you’re super vulnerable to her team.
Peel for other people (and use walls to protect your main tank when he’s hacked), but if you get hacked, be wary for team follow-up. If she’s stupid and fights you directly, just freeze n’ dink.
- Pharah (countered (medium-hard))
Whatever you do, DO NOT fly over her team. She’ll hack you, you’ll plummet, and die to a reinhardt’s hammer like a ground-peasant. (even if you’re too high, if you’re in hostile airspace she can throw her locator up to you and safely fall back down with you)
Basically, the name of the game here is to avoid her. Play from a longer range and high in the air so she can’t ground you with hacks. However, keep in mind that she is a hitscan and can still shoot you out of the air decently well.
If you do get hacked, fall down into your team, and aim for low-angle rockets towards her feet that won’t straight up miss.
As you have a good upper view, destroy her high-ground translocators.
- Reaper (countered (very soft))
Typically won’t interact with you, unless to hack you so you die to her team. If you hear hack begin, wraith away immediately. As for fighting her, get close. She outranges you, and will win if she plays ranges right, so be careful.
Use long range shotgun shots to deny her hacks if you see her trying to hack someone else.
Also, be careful teleporting, she can delete you while you stand still. (especially be wary for spawncamps)
- Soldier: 76 (countered (soft))
Key here is to not get hacked before you place healing station. If you do, she’ll probably win. Disengage around corners and buy time. However, if she just engages on you when you don’t have healing anyway, just left click her to death, and try to helix her when she gets beneath 120 health so she doesn’t translocate away.
Usually will only interact with you to steal high ground from you, or if you’re being an annoyance to her team.
- Sombra (neutral)
Trying to mirror-counter, eh? Trust nobody, not even yourself.
This can work, but only if you’re better at sombra. And if you are, you’ll know what to do. If you still need guidance, seek to destroy her translocators as you find them (you know where most sombras place theirs), and hack her so she can’t escape your team.
Something fun you can try is placing your translocator on hers, then waiting for her to appear. When she does, start hacking/fighting her, and when she teleports away, teleport to your locator and keep fighting her.
If it comes down to a 1v1, you just gotta have better tracking.
- Symmetra (neutral or countered (soft))
Her ult counters yours completely, (it instantly destroys it) so use it only when she doesn’t have hers. Additionally, turrets are great at blocking hacks, as they’ll damage her as soon as she decloaks. Place them on high ground or just randomly so she has to destroy them first, which buys your team even more time to react.
She can’t hack teleporter to stop it unless she EMPs it, so don’t worry about that. Teleporting away if you’re losing is a good idea.
When fighting her 1v1, use your orbs. Don’t bother with beam, trust me..
- Jason Björn aka torbjörn (neutral or countered (soft))
Can go either way. Either one can win, depending on aim, who does what first, etc. First of all, don’t get hacked before you can use overload. Overload is your only personal defense from her, because she’ll one-clip you easily without it. Thus, if you hear hack begin, overload and find her. If you don’t have your team to save you after, then you need to hit juicy shots with primary or secondary.
Your turret is great at hack-blocking provided it’s not already shooting at something. It takes her a lot of health to destroy it, and takes a while.
Basically, avoid fighting her without overload, and use your turret to deny her.
- Tracer (countered (medium-hard) or extreme)
You, along with Doomfist & Hammond, are part of the “die automatically club”. DO NOT, no matter what you have to do, get hacked. She’ll kill you, or somebody else will sneeze on you.
However, you’re a lot better than doomfist at not getting hacked, it’s only really a danger while you’re fighting someone else. Sombra IS indeed a peel agent, and by simply holding right click in your general direction, can zone you away, forcing you to keep shooting at her, or blink erratically. Thus, if she’s guarding her supports, go somewhere else or commit fully to killing her. Don’t dance around being all fancy, go straight in and one-clip her. As you continue fighting her the chances of her hacking you go up drastically. If she’s good, she’ll time her hack to where most of it is during your reload, and there’s not much you can do other than blink or burn recall.
I would just straight up avoid her. If you’re in your backline, you can peel for others with your high damage.
- Widowmaker (countered (hard) or counters her (hard))
Interesting. We have a hero that either memes on her, or gets memed on. This is my favorite matchup. Nothing I love more than fighting widows, and I mean that sincerely.
This is 100% going to depend on what “threshold of skill” you both are on. “Thresholds” are my term for actions taken and movements made by different skill levels, with higher skill levels doing different things.
As an example, a threshold for widow is “able to hit headshots whatsoever”. From there, it moves on to “able to hit headshots reliably on predictable targets”, and so on. But, this isn’t necessarily limited to purely mechanical actions. This might be gamesense related (eg a threshold for winston is “engages without leap vs with leap”, where better winstons stop leaping in if they can help it), or positional (a threshold for rein is “holds corners vs holding in the dead middle of the choke”, or “presses W a lot vs hangs out at the choke”), etc.
Essentially, this matchup is going to depend on the following thresholds: For Widow, the threshold is “can hit headshots/bodyshots reliably at close range under high pressure”. For the sombra, this is either “can reliably track a panicking widow”, or “unstealths outside of sound range vs inside”, and lots more.
Basically, as sombra, what I do is first try my lowest, easiest form of attack. This is to unstealth right next to them and blitz them down with full headshots. This tends to work on low gold widows and below. If they prove resistant to that (react instantly to the decloak and start strafing, or in extreme cases flick-headshot me), then I move up to the next level, decloaking a bit farther away (but still within sound) and try from there so they can’t evade me so easily. The only widows that I’ve seen that not work on is upper-plat+ widows, who are reliably able to scope-shot me to death, either with headshots or bodies.
Finally, I try decloaking outside of sound range, crouch up to them, then blitz them. (I don’t do this first as it’s harder and riskier if someone sees you) This works against most widows I’ve encountered, since there’s no indication (sombra’s crouch is basically inaudible) until you’re taking huge damage. For widows that are too tripped out on Adderall for this to work, (only GM or masters from what I’ve seen in QP) I concede and switch off or avoid them.
But, like the different stages I have, there’s ways to counter it. Positioning on high ground so I can’t sneak up so easy, strategic venom mine placement, etc. That’s why it’s so interesting.
This one was long, but TL;DR: Pay attention to your surroundings, and listen for the decloak. Most sombras will decloak inside sound range to kill you. Also, your ult prevents her from stealthing anywhere for 15 seconds, use it when you want her to be useless for a key moment. Place your venom mine on the stairs up to you so it’s harder to get right next to you, etc.
Also, she might try to double-team you along with her dive tank. If she does, you’re probably dead unless your team peels. But hey, you distracted and required two people, right?
At the highest levels, Sombra will avoid or be very careful around widows. (Watch FitzyHere, he tends to not take fights with GM widows unless he has strong advantage) But if you’re in lower ranks, she might try to remove you a lot. Probably succeed if you suck at close range fighting. Ask for team help.
- Ana (countered (hard-medium))
Tricky, but winnable if you can aim, or have peel from your team. You just need to land two shots to probably scare her into going away. She’ll probably hack you before engaging, so you won’t be able to sleep her or heal yourself, so you have to be quick.
Like widow, stay aware. Don’t let her walk up to you and blitz-headshot you at point blank. If you notice her decloak on high ground, put shots into her to stop her hack before she hacks your main tank.
If you happen to sleep her, you need to do the combo perfectly otherwise she’ll warp away before you can kill her.
- Brigitte (counters her (depends, none-hard))
This depends on how you play brig. If you are just going brig as a “got mine, good luck zen lol” type thing, then yeah, you’ll probably be safe, but that’s not countering her. You counter her by keeping her off of people. You can’t really reliably deny hacks due to your range (unless the sombra is an idiot) but you can help the people getting hacked with repair packs and shielding.
Keep in mind that if she hacks you and stays away, she can still kill you. Her range is quite long, much longer than tracer’s, and she can realistically kill you, or get you killed by her team.
Remember to do your bash-strike-whip combo for 150 damage. You might be able to kill her with that before she teleports away, but a good sombra won’t let you get close enough to stun them.
- Lúcio (countered (very hard))
Ooh. Not gonna lie, similar issue as with Hammond, potentially the worst support to run against her, except maybe Zen. Your kit is really neutered by her hack (no songs, healing or speed, no mobility, etc) so she’ll usually win if she hacks you. But, that’s not the real issue. Hack stops your songs, so you can’t support your team. If they need to be sped away or healed, if you’re hacked, you can’t.
It gets worse. Her ult instantly destroys yours. All that shielding gone instantly. This means you REALLY need to anticipate EMP, stay out of line of sight, and use the ult AFTER she EMPs. If you use yours first, she’ll just EMP it off of you, and you’ll get wiped.
Don’t get hacked. Stay away from her, and tell your team when you are hacked. Don’t be a reddit lucio (hyper aggressive support killing lucio) when there’s a sombra on the enemy team. She’ll hack you, and you’ll get deleted.
- Mercy (countered (medium))
Real big important interaction to know is that hack cancels rez. Smart sombras will try to do this as much as possible, so don’t immediately go to rez someone if they die, chances are sombra is waiting to appear and deny it. (She can see you going for it, and going for it and the animation of rezzing is long enough for her to decloak+hack) Other than that, run away from her like you would any other DPS. Don’t get hacked, fly away as soon as it begins. Be careful when Pharmercying above their team, she can hack you down just like pharah since you lose hover while hacked.
However, your ult isn’t really impacted by her hack (other than preventing you from speeding around with GA or rezzing), so ulting when you hear hack begin is also an idea.
- Moira (counters her (soft), or countered (soft))
Excellent at denying hacks, but you can die to her (or her team) pretty easily if you get hacked at low health, since her damage (if her aim is good) can overwhelm your self heal. She can also 1v1 you directly if her aim is good enough.
Remember that your damage orbs and your right click don’t damage her if she’s invisible (because your damage is targeted, and she’s untargetable). This means the only way to break her stealth is to melee her.
Be careful to not get hacked out of coalescence, spin around like roadhog would to hit her and stop it.
- Zenyatta (countered (medium-hard))
Tough one. You’ll generally lose in 1v1s unless her aim is bad or yours is really good, her ult damages you significantly, but other than that, you aren’t really too hurt by hacks.
Discord her when she shows up to make her scared a bit and increase the chance someone will kill her. If you know she has EMP, play out of line of sight from the rest of your team, then save them with trans. Ask someone to escort you if you’re being spawncamped.
As a tip for predicting EMP, lots of sombras will throw translocator into the air, teleport to it, and EMP. Play near corners, and dip out of line of sight if you see this happen. Don’t just ult immediately however, as smart sombras will try to bait you and use your awareness against you.