Overwatch Reinhardt Beginner’s Guide

by wackygonz


Reinhardt has always been one of the most popular heroes in Overwatch since Season 1 of Competitive. Despite over 2 years of Overwatch, Reinhardt has basically stayed the same, not counting bugs and bug fixes #FixRein2018. Despite this, a lot of Rein players haven’t mastered the fundamentals of what it takes to be a good Rein. In this guide, I will be talking about general Rein positioning, cool down usage, shield management, and more. I understand that in ranked not everybody is going to group up or use the shield but it’s important that if you’re reading this that you build good habitsthat every Reinhardt player needs. This is more on the fundamentals of Reinhardt, so if you feel like you’ve already mastered this or already a top level Reinhardt then you probably won’t get a lot out of this. If you’re interested in learning more I’ve made a guide about the Reinhardt mind games.

General Positioning

  • General positioning tip is that you want some sort of hard cover right next to you so that if your shield goes down. Now, I know people take this advice very diligently to a fault, and that they only either shield a choke and then hide. I will talk about when you should move out of cover in the next piece of advice. But for the general rule there should be some sort of place for you to hide if your shield is low.
  • Next thing about positioning is that you are the main tank with the blue rectangle so it’s important to be in front. That’s pretty obvious right? Well, that also means first one in and last man out. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a Reinhardt decide to move to a different location, drops his shield, moves to that spot and the team behind him dies. Instead you should’ve waited for your team to move in that direction, shielding them, and then move with them.

Playing Aggressive

  • So, in the previous positioning tips I talked about having hard cover, which is fine. Now as the Reinhardt, it is also important in managing your aggression to create space (essentially safe areas for your team to be effective) for your team as much as possible. Meaning, that this is not the time to not rely on hard cover, but instead, move up, mixing between swinging and popping the shield.
  • You are the main tank, you should be creating opportunities for YOUR team, not the other way around. The best time to be aggressive is if your team has a clear advantage and the enemy team is falling back or caught out. If this is the first time for you figuring this out, remember that you will mistakes and that’s fine.
  • The important thing is to figure out why you made those mistakes and then learning from it. Aggression as Reinhardt has a time and place and figuring out when to do it takes time, experience, and learning.

When to Play Passive

  • There are times where Reinhardt’s should be able to tone back the aggression and play a more passive style. Some good examples is if, you don’t have another tank with you but the enemy team does, the enemy team has a lot of CC, or if they have some sort of ultimate combo. Those are only a few examples but there are plenty of times where you should be toning back the aggression as Reinhardt.
    • For the example of you’re solo tanking as Reinhardt when you’re against 2 tanks, no matter what, you are not going to win a 1v2 tank battle so your best bet is baiting them towards your team to do damage to them.
    • More times than not though, especially in an even Rein 1v1 matchup you want to be the more dominant Rein. It’s difficult finding the right balance to play aggressive and when to play passive but with experience you’ll get better.

Effective Communication

  • This doesn’t have to be some elaborate plan for your team taking first point King’s Row. Instead, this is about having basic effective communication that all Reinhardt players should be aware of. Since Reinhardt is usually the first one in the fight, you want to be telling your team when and where you are going and to follow you in. Be decisive in this call, don’t just say you’re going in then suddenly back out in the middle of the enemy team’s spam.
  • Next thing to do is call targets, you are most likely the least mobile hero on your team so calling the targets you are on, will help your team focus them down. I understand that not everybody will listen to this, but if just 1 or 2 people listen to you, it can make all the difference in killing an enemy quickly.
  • Call out important enemy cool downs. Cool downs like Roadhog’s hook, Ana’s sleep, Moira’s fade, Zarya’s bubbles, etc. All very useful things to call out so that your team mates will know if they can capitalize, but also helps you build a good habit of recognizing cool downs and how they might change how you play. Like if the enemy Zarya uses both her bubbles very early but your Zarya hasn’t used hers yet, then those are cool downs that can help you win the tank battle very decisively.
  • Do your best to call when you’re dropping your shield, when it’s low, and when you have to recharge. This lets your team know if they can play near you or near certain cover.

Important Techs/Animation Cancels

  • Fire Strike Cancel: Hammer swing then fire strike mid swing to get 175 burst damage. It doesn’t add extra damage but if there’s a target that is less than 200HP this is the best way to one shot them.
  • Hammer Swing Cancel: Put your shield up any time during the hammer swing animation. Helps to block enemy shatters or important cool downs if your reaction time is quick enough.
  • Shield Hopping: While picking a direction drop shield then jump + put up shield. Good for quickly advancing and disengaging from fights, while minimizing the amount of damage taken. Just be aware that Reinhardt’s know the timing of this and can shatter in between shield hops.
  • Shield Sidestepping: Similar to shield hopping, but instead of moving forwards or backwards you try to sidestep enemies as best you can by moving away or around an enemy that has closed the distance against you. Some examples of those heroes are Reaper, Mei, and Roadhog.
  • Hammer Swing Knockback: The first Reinhardt swing always goes from right to left. Since the swing has knockback you can force an opposing player to a certain direction if you tap the key/button for Rein’s primary fire. This can be good to force a Rein to one side for a shatter or an enemy near a ledge or pit.
  • Momentum: Holding your jump key/button as your are pinning gives you that extra distance at the end of your charge if you’re trying to join your team quickly. Just remember, you don’t want to do this in the middle of the enemy team or off the map.

Shield Management

  • Players have generally gotten better with this as time has gone on. My biggest advice for is know when your team is about to fully engage the enemy team. You don’t want to go into a team fight with only half your barrier left.
  • That means not taking shield damage as your team is regrouping. I understand that team’s in plat and below almost never regroup or take way too long to regroup but think about it this way, when you put up your shield, there has to be a purpose, whether you walk forward with it, retreating with your team, or blocking a shatter, there should always be a purpose for why that shield is up.
  • Don’t put up that shield if nobody is behind you or just for the sake of putting up the shield. You will get yelled at by people who like to stand in the open doing trash damage but remember you’re doing the right thing.
  • Never let your shield break, it takes way longer for the shield to recharge if the shield breaks.

Fire Strike

  • This is your number 1 way to get ult charge for your earth shatter. At the beginning of matches and in between team fights, it’s important to build ultimate as fast as possible, and that means launching fire strikes at the enemy team.
  • Fire strike is also very good at confirming kills so if you see a half HP target don’t be afraid to fire strike.
  • Balance fire striking when you know when the enemy Rein, or you yourself have shatter. Fire striking when you have shatter is generally acceptable because if you don’t fire strike that will give the signal that you have shatter. B
  • Be aware when the enemy Rein has shatter and don’t bait yourself by bait yourself by being a Rein who spams fire strikes because better Reinhardt players will pick that up and just shatter your team when your fire strike.


  • THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I SEE REINHARDT’S DO IS CHARGE INTO THE ENEMY TEAM. I get that one shotting an enemy from Narnia is very satisfying but you know what’s even more satisfying? Winning. If you’re satisfied at your rank and just playing Rein for fun then sure, Narnia charge away, but if you want to legitimately improve and get better then this HAS to stop. You aren’t only feeding the enemy team, but your team can never push in without their Reinhardt.
  • Try to go for the pin if it’s a short distance that will get value but still be in range of your team behind you.
  • Don’t charge in when you have no barrier. Tell me if you seen this before, “Rein stands at choke, barrier breaks, feels useless, charges into enemy team, dies.” Sounds like a great idea doesn’t it? U
  • se the charge if you know you can’t dodge the enemy Rein, Doomfist, or Brigitte from charging/stunning you. This is important, but what I personally like to do if I know I can dodge that enemy Rein from pinning me, I sidestep him, then charge back at the direction I know the Reinhardt will be. You don’t have to do this but it’s just a suggestion that I like to do.

Earth Shatter

  • I’ve already made a guide about different ways to win the Reinhardt mind games. My best advice here is don’t be afraid to make mistakes with Earth Shatter. You will get blocked and you will get stunned doing it, but learn from why that happened.
  • Shatter doesn’t always have to be a 6 man, getting 2 or 3 people, especially if they have ultimates can win you a team fight. Be aware if your team can follow up on that shatter, or you yourself can follow up on it, because the worst thing you can do is land a shatter but the rest of your team is dead and now you just wasted your ultimate.
  • If you do land a good shatter and your team can follow up on, then swing your hammer a couple of times, fire strike, then pin the last remaining person. You can also fire strike first if they aren’t in range of your hammer and are lined up nicely.
  • Please don’t charge right away after you land a shatter, it sends the entire enemy team flying so your team can’t follow up on the kills. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT CHARGE RIGHT AFTER THE ENEMY REIN BLOCKS YOUR SHATTER.
  • There are niche situations where you can shatter defensively to break the enemy team’s momentum. It can work in the right situations but is a very risky defensive play if you don’t land it.

Stats/Ult Charge Rate

  • Hammer Swing:
    • 75 damage
    • 6% ult charge per person
  • Fire Strike:
    • 100 damage
    • 7% ult charge per person
  • Charge:
    • 50 damage on brushing = 3.5% ult charge(varies sometimes idk why)
    • 300 damage on connecting = 22% 300HP+ targets, 14% 200HP targets, 30%-40% for an environmental kill on a full health tank
  • Earth Shatter:
    • 50 damage

Remember that this a Beginner’s Guide and only meant to teach the basics and fundamentals about Reinhardt. I targeted the key concepts that I see most beginner Rein players struggling with. Some of these tips might be easy to pick up, others will be harder as you have already developed a bad habit and will take time to break. You might lose games trying to implement a concept, but remember, it sometimes takes 1 step back to take 2 steps forwards.

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