Hello everyone, this is LFG. Welcome to the first episode of my Overwatch hero guides. In this episode, we’ll be taking a look at our first offense hero: Soldier: 76, the former commander of Overwatch and current vigilante on the run. Soldier: 76 possesses 200 health, no armor, and no shields for a grand total of 200 HP. This is in line with most of the non-tank heroes in the game, and thus grants him average survivability on the battlefield.
However, given his useful abilities and that his optimal placement is at medium range within the relative safety of his teammates, he can sustain critical pushes or survive enemy onslaughts for much longer than one might expect. 76’s weapon of choice is his Heavy Pulse Rifle. Its main method of dealing damage is firing hitscan projectiles at enemies, which deal 20 damage up close and fall off to 7 at a distance. Headshots will double all instances of damage; even tanks will quickly fall to a barrage of well-aimed shots. Weapon spread gradually increases under automatic fire, so burst firing is recommended for all but close range engagements. Magazine capacity is fair, at 25 rounds total; reload time is also fair, at seconds All in all, Soldier’s sustained damage output is quite good across all ranges, but not as strong as other heroes up close or at a distance.
Alternatively, the pulse rifle can fire a volley of fast-moving helix rockets to deal explosive damage in a small area. Directly striking an enemy with the rockets will deal 120 damage; any other foe caught in the blast will be dealt only 80. Catching yourself in your own helix rocket explosion will cost you 40 HP, so be careful about using this ability in very close quarters. Rocket jumping is also possible by simultaneously jumping and firing the rockets at your feet, but its application is limited due to the short distance gained, the moderately long cooldown of 8 seconds, and the HP cost. The rockets function as quick burst damage, so don’t be afraid to fire them into a crowd or use them to finish off a key target. Soldier: 76’s first ability is his Sprint. Its function is self-explanatory; it allows him to move forward much more quickly. This is a simple, yet integral and effective part of Soldier’s kit, and part of the reason why he has higher-than-expected survivability and versatility. Escaping or getting back into a firefight is made much easier with Sprint, and because it has no cooldown, it is always available when needed.
Combining this ability with Lucio’s speed boost will allow you to move at ludicrous speeds; this combination is extremely effective at getting back to the fight at an even quicker rate. Soldier’s biotic field provides an area-of-effect heal to all allies within its radius. This makes him unique in that he is the only non-Support hero with the ability to heal himself as well as his teammates. The healing itself is quite strong, if a bit short-lived and infrequent; it heals 40 HP per second for 5 seconds, and has a 15 second cooldown. Given its moderately strong healing potential, this ability can be used both offensively and defensively. You can plant the biotic field to provide constant healing to yourself and your teammates to either sustain a fight as it’s progressing, or after a fight has ended in preparation for the next one.
Either way, it takes some of the burden off of your support heroes and makes Soldier a valuable pick in certain single-healer team compositions. Finally, 76’s ultimate ability is Tactical Visor. Essentially a temporary aimbot, Tactical Visor will grant you a special crosshair that locks your aim onto the nearest target within your line of sight. For the duration of this ultimate, your pulse rifle shots will be perfectly accurate and will always hit the enemy in your crosshair. Should an enemy escape your field of vision, the crosshair will automatically lock onto another target. As such, this ability shines at eliminating evasive, low HP targets like Tracer or Lucio, as the visor will lock on and follow their often erratic movements. Your helix rockets will also be positively affected, but direct impacts are harder to land due to their travel time. As some extra benefits, activation automatically refills your magazine, and you reload faster for the ultimate’s duration.
You’ll find that Soldier: 76 works well in a variety of situations and game modes, from Assault, to Control, to Escort. In order to deal maximum damage, staying at medium range is advised. This way, you’ll have more time to appropriately react to incoming enemies and manage your ability cooldowns; thus, you can pick your targets with less risk. Be sure to take advantage of Sprint and change your position frequently, especially on Defense; staying in one place for too long will open you up to potentially getting flanked or otherwise picked off by savvier opponents. Use your biotic field wisely if you sense a one-on-one engagement approaching; you can outheal many sources of damage this way and will have a greater chance of coming out victorious.
Avoid close quarters and tight chokepoints as best as possible, and don’t be afraid to sprint away toward the safety of your teammates to survive an unfavorable skirmish that you would have otherwise lost. Soldier: 76’s greatest strengths are his versatility and ease of use. He is very easy to pick up and play, especially for those coming from other first-person shooters, and can be devastatingly effective at winning team fights with his moderately high damage, good mobility, and his ability to heal. However, his greatest weakness is, ironically, his versatility. He will more than likely be outclassed by other heroes in most areas; Genji and Tracer have better mobility, Hanzo and Widowmaker deal more damage at range, and Reaper and Bastion deal better burst damage.
This lack of burst damage is also a major weakness; while Soldier’s damage output is far from bad, his burst damage up close is underwhelming. Nevertheless, with good positioning and careful aim, 76 can tear through even the most stalwart of defenses. So, if you’re looking for a hero that can truly do it all, this soldier… …is a Jack of all trades. Thank you very much for watching. Join me next time when I’ll be covering our first defense hero, Bastion. Until then, this is LFG saying, “¡Adios!”.
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