I’ve been playing a lot of Sombra lately, and have been cataloging my thoughts concerning her viability on various maps. These are my conclusions thus far.
Sombra’s most powerful ability is not her weapon, her stealth, or her teleport; these merely facilitate her most powerful ability:
Now hear me out before you dismiss this entirely; A hacked healthpack effectively heals around 50 HP/second, with the downside of it being stationary and requiring DPS participation. However, Sombra can keep at least three packs hacked at once at any given time, maximum five if she does everything perfectly and never hacks enemies, and even more with proper ult utilization.(That’s another trick I rarely see people use; her EMP instantly hacks any nearby healthpacks, making it into a very potentially useful survival ability in the right circumstances) With the capability for 250 healing per second at any given time, this makes her, potentially, one of the best healers in the game.
Furthermore, nobody denies that as a straight attacker, Sombra pales in comparison to several other choices such as Tracer, Soldier, or several others. However, she has an advantage over many of these characters when it comes to vertical maneuverability.
Therefore, I have ranked the following maps largely on those two criteria; Healthpacks and Verticality. Any additional potential bias is based purely on my tendency to succeed or fail on various maps.
King’s Row – Attack or Defense: Two healthpacks directly adjacent to Point A, with two more in tertiary locations. A good Sombra can more than easily cover a slot otherwise taken by a healer. She then becomes much more superfluous while pushing the payload, as there are few healthpacks along the route and they are not easily accessible. The final push, however, gives her the opportunity to be incredibly useful once again, with multiple healthpacks available, especially the one in the room to defender’s left directly adjacent to the point. Additionally, strong verticality allows her a great degree of maneuverability, allowing for easy attacks or escapes.
Lijiang Tower – Night Market and Control Center: A very strong pick for either area. Plentiful healthpacks as well as terrain that can be teleported around or above. By hacking the enemy-side pack you can be fighting on a healthpack virtually indefinitely.
Nepal – Sanctum: An incredibly strong pick. Seven(!!) Healthpacks in direct proximity to the point makes denial especially powerful and healing incredibly useful. It takes skill to keep them all hacked, but if you can do so, you could theoretically heal more than any healer in the game. However, limited space and low verticality make escape or attack difficult. High risk, high reward here.
Eichenwalde: Attack or Defense: With a healthpack immediately past the choke and easily accessible, as well as two healthpacks near the point, Point A makes for a strong pick for attack or defense. Sombra especially shines on defense against the payload, however, as the nature of Eichenwalde’s payload track allows for her to flank from virtually any direction. Also, there are accessible healthpacks scattered evenly throughout the map, but most importantly the one down the stairs to defender’s left out the gate, which must be passed by virtually everyone at some point during the game.
If Sombra is unable to hold the payload from reaching the gate, she actually achieves an even stronger defensive point, with two healthpacks in immediate proximity to the enemy entrance point, giving her an effective ~100 constant healing on her teammates. Combined with a Symmetra shield generator(which should be inaccessible because of the incredibly tight chokepoints near the gate) your defense can be nearly unbreakable.
If the enemy is able to push through such an advantage, you are most likely not going to win the game.
Volskaya Industries – Attack: Point A has two healthpacks in immediate proximity, as well as one on the attack route. You should be able to hack all three without any great difficulty, while your allies push using your hacked healthpack. A return flanking ult should be more than enough to weaken them to cause a retreat, allowing your team to get to the point and your other two healthpacks. Point B is trickier, with no immediately adjacent healthpacks, but high verticality and maneuverability partially make up for it.
Route 66 – Attack or Defense: There are a lot of healthpacks scattered throughout the initial area, allowing for a fluid and mobile defense over the entire area, or for denial of packs to be especially powerful. Decent verticality allows for powerful flanking opportunities, as well. However, Sombra isn’t ideal for the final push, as there are no close proximity healthpacks to hack.
Hollywood – Attack: Much the same as Volskaya, healthpacks on the point allow for a powerful push from behind if you can get there. Several packs on the way there also allow for the choke to be more easily bypassed, especially going left and below. Once again, the payload section is not a good place for Sombra to play, as healthpacks are quickly bypassed and mobility could be better served with a different character.
Temple of Anubis – Attack: Again similar to Volsakaya, with healthpacks in immediate proximity to Point A. Unfortunately, point B packs are not nearly so accessible, with the closest being beneath the bridge directly in front of the point. While handy to have hacked for denial purposes, it is difficult to access and use consistently, and no other healthpacks are within viable range. Ideally, use for point A then switch.
Lijiang Tower – Garden: No packs are directly on the point, however there are fantastic packs available for enemy denial, especially the one on the enemy side. Additionally, on the buildings side there are three healthpacks in very close proximity. In the event of a strong push from the cliff side, a retreat to these healthpacks can allow for a quick and effective recovery. Additionally, holes in the side of the point allow for a very quick Sombra entrance and EMP, significantly faster than any other character in the game.
Illios: There are multiple healthpacks available, but most are not immediately accessible. Decent verticality, but little in direct proximity to the point. Additionally, on Well, the rather large hole in the middle can be an easy target for an accidental translocator throw. In general not quite as nice to play as some other maps, but still moderately viable.
Numbani, Dorado, Watchpoint Gibraltar, Nepal:Shrine and Village, Honamura. Either healthpacks are not accessible, do not exist, or the conditions do not facilitate good sombra play. For example, on defense, a hacked healthpack in plain sight of the enemy is virtually useless, as there’s no way a healthpack can outheal the entire enemy team. Alternatively, healthpacks are too far away to easily get to and return; while an attacker could easily do so, an unhacked pack would suffice just as well, and tanks would not be able to take advantage of consistent healing to stay alive.
Special Edit: Hanamura: *As multiple people have pointed out, Attack Hanamura is an excellent location for an early-game EMP to break tightly-gathered enemies near the chokepoint. I don’t disagree with this, as it can be a very effective strategy, but I still hold that she’s in general an ineffective pick for Hanamura on either side, as once you use that ultimate, you will not have any great degree of verticality or easily accessible healthpacks anywhere on the map. Point A’s healthpacks are a 8-10 seconds walk to get to barring the single pack to attackers left behind the point, and Point B’s packs are either too far away to be practically useful(attacker’s right, in the medium-sized room below) or are inside very confined locations that do not facilitate continuous use. Attackers right directly adjacent to the point is a perfect example of this, as if you’re trapped inside you are almost guaranteed to die.
So there is a limited niche pick available on point A, I still hold that it would be more effective to switch to a different character for attack B.
That’s it! Hopefully this helps some people!