Hello guys, today I will be creating a comprehensive guide to playing Reinhardt in any SR 4300 and under. Some of you may remember me from the sad shield tank post during the Zarya Hog meta in ranked. I play main tank at the collegiate level, and I have been in GM playing tank for many seasons since role queue (those are my last season’s stats). This current season I’m floating between 4k and 4.1, but I am writing this in class and if I open Overwatch to take a screenshot, my laptop will take off sounding like a 747 and fly away.
Anyways, this guide is going to be divided into a few parts. Basic Reinhardt mechanics, basic Reinhardt theory, intermediate theory, advanced mechanics, and advanced theory.
Let’s begin with basic mechanics. There are quite a lot of very easy tips that will improve your Reinhardt gameplay in plat and below. I even see masters and diamond reins not obeying these principles sometimes.
Do not jump before shattering, ever. Just do not do it. It makes your ult much easier to block and gives enemies a split second longer to escape the area of effect. It feels cool to do, even I forget to not jump sometimes. But please, don’t do it! This is the most basic of basic tips.
Do not firestrike or swing at the enemy rein when you are below 250hp, unless your one firestrike or swing will undoubtedly kill the enemy rein. In higher levels of play I would even upgrade this one to 350hp as the limit. The amount of burst and spam damage that rein can take in this meta is ridiculous. There will be times that you try to firestrike and just instantly die. The more you hone your awareness of how many people are focusing you at once, the less this will happen.
Do not let your shield break unless you have to flash it at low health to block something important like an ana nade. It is almost always better to take your shield down and regenerate it around a corner than have it break. As we all know, the cooldown of the broken shield is much higher than if you take it down beforehand.
Firestrike is an animation cancel for your basic hammer swing. Inputting firestrike the instant you hear the melee hit indicator is one of rein’s most important combos in 1v1 matchups. Practice aiming firestrike in close range, and you will become even more of a threat up close than rein usually is. With practice, you’ll be able to deal 3/4 damage in an instant to any 200 hp hero that steps into your range.
Now for some basic Reinhardt theory.
Knowing where to play Rein and not to play Rein is important. Nepal Sanctum is a bad place to play Rein. Nepal Shrine is a great place to play Rein. Why? It all has to do with this simple concept. What is required to gain point control on these maps? On Nepal Sanctum, your tank needs to be ranged (Orisa, Sigma, Hog) or mobile enough to both pressure the point and also enemy snipers firing across long sightlines (Ball, D.va, Monkey). Rein is none of these. Snipers and other hitscans rule the sanctum, and if you play rein into them you’ll be stuck hiding under the point as ashes and hanzos break your shield across the gap. But shrine? Shrine requires melee range combat in small choke points (stairs) to capture the point. This is where Rein shines. Rialto A? Lijiang Control Center? Busan Meka Base? Amazing for Rein. Gibraltar? Dorado B? Not so much. Not everyone can be Large Huge Cloudy (LHcloudy) and play Rein in every possible situation, and knowing this will help you a lot in lower elo.
Charge: There are 2 types of charges. Short and long. Short charges are against a nearby wall and will not take you far away from your team. Long charges are self explanatory. Short charges are fine to do as long as you take note of enemy crowd control before you do it. A short charge at the enemy rein is a great way to force his hand when your team is up 1 or 2 players in a fight. (Side note: do not short charge the enemy rein when he has shatter and your team is only up 1 person) Long charges are NOT OK UNLESS: your team is up 3 or more people, you are coming back from spawn. THAT’S IT! NO MORE LONG CHARGES GUYS! IT’S FEEDING!
Tracking the enemy rein’s shatter is important. Don’t get caught sleeping!
Intermediate Reinhardt theory is in my opinion the most important part for climbing from diamond, to masters, to high masters, and then to GM.
You have a few mortal enemies as Rein. Sombra and Reaper (who are currently meta), Mei, and Ana. Ana will be getting her own tip. Always try to be aware of where the enemy Sombra is. Flick your shield around to deny her neutral hacks as long as you aren’t being shot from different angles. Track her EMP, and comm to help your team prepare for it. If the EMP hits you, pray that you have a lucio or zen with ult, or ask for a nano from your ana if she does not get hacked. That’s about all you can do against EMP. For reaper, the most important thing when fighting him is to manage your armor HP to swing/firestrike combo him. You can shrug off his damage until your armor is gone, and if he underestimates the damage reduction you may even be able to kill him up close. As soon as your armor is about to go, hold shield and ask your team for help.
Mei has not been meta for a while now but it is still relevant to talk about her as an enemy of rein. Most rein play relative to an enemy Mei revolves around team coordination and communication. Breaking wall if you get walled, bubbles for you if you are in blizzard. Make sure you are always comming to your team what you need when it comes to fighting a mei. Oh, and don’t feel bad about solo shattering her.
Ana, ana, ana. One of the most important things I learned while climbing from diamond to GM on Rein is this right here. Ana’s cooldowns are enemy ults in relation to you and you should track them as ults. Whether or not the enemy Ana has sleep and nade should drastically alter your playstyle. Eating nades and sleeps is one of the biggest issues I see in plat and diamond Reins. This is even more important if you are playing without a Zarya. Does ana have cooldowns? You may swing, but do not play aggressive, and never, ever charge. Ana used her cooldowns? Now you may swing. Go after the enemy Rein. Beat him to death
Playing Rein into dive: the litmus test for whether or not you can play rein into dive goes kind of like this. Am I able to consistently swing on their monkey or other dive tank? Am I making it hard for them to dive, or are they just running past me and spreading too far out for me to swing? If you can’t swing on people consistently enough against dive, you aren’t protecting your team and it is time to swap off of rein.
Advanced Reinhardt mechanics will be a short section. I have 4 small tips here.
If you can hit a tracer exactly at the end of your hammer swing arc (as it changes from right to left to left to right) you can potentially 1 shot her.
The wooden boxes on blizzard world and the moon rover on control center allow shatter to pass through them. To my knowledge this has not been fixed yet.
Holding down firestrike or shatter while you are in the charge animation will instantly activate them when you reach the max distance of charge.
If you ever feel like charge is bugged or inconsistently pins enemies, try this. Left shoulder = vacuum, right shoulder = boop. Aim to pin with your left shoulder.
Advanced Reinhardt theory here we go. I call this section “Reinhardt’s Trident”. 3 comprehensive points that will encompass all of your play as you climb. Shield management. HP management. Corner management.
Shield management is how you manage the HP of your shield. Put simply, would you push towards the enemy rein when you only have 400 shield HP? Of course not. You manage your shield HP by waiting, maybe even backing off from their rein, and reengaging when you actually have more shield HP. The most important part of shield management is to communicate to your teammates the status of your shield. “Wait wait I’m regenning shield” “No shield no shield no shield” “Charging my shield… ok push push push” are all common callouts I make to my team. “No shield” in particular is what I comm when I’m taking down my shield before it breaks.
HP management is partly to do with the basic tip of not dropping shield below 250hp. But it also has to do with HP as a third resource for Rein. Sometimes, it is ok to drop shield, take aggro, and swing. When you have nano. When you’re being pocketed. Or when you have the advantage in a fight and want to press the enemy rein. As long as you still have access to healing, It’s perfectly acceptable to use HP instead of shield to go from place to place. You may feed them ult charge a bit, but you are also feeding ults to your healers.
Corner management: Reinhardt is all about capturing corners in succession. Corners the most important parts of the map by far for rein. As you play rein at a high level, always have a plan of “I’m falling back to this corner if I get pressured out” not only do you need to have that plan, but you need to comm it to your team so they can follow you and execute it if you are pressured out. The payload can work as a corner on certain parts of certain maps, like the first choke of Rialto A, or Dorado A. For another example, the spire in the middle of Lijiang control center counts as a corner for these purposes of letting rein rest and regenerate his shield and hp. Capturing a corner means that you are standing on the corner, swinging on the enemy rein or shielding around it. Not only does this give rein heightened survivability and an easy place to swing to charge ult, shielding around corners frees up A LOT of space for your teammates. To show this concept, I drew eichenwalde C in microsoft paint on a trackpad. Scuffed corner management diagram. Obviously while you are managing your corners, you are also managing shield and hp. It all weaves together to create the massive space taking playstyle that we know and love for Reinhardt.
Last tip for those of you who reach GM on rein in the near future. If you find yourself up against Super, take his lunch money. But if you end up against Large Huge Cloudy, prepare to give him a weeks worth of SR.
For those who have read this far in my post, thank you for reading. I do completely free vod reviews on my personal twitch channel for anyone who wants them. If you want to submit replay codes or youtube videos to me, here’s a non-expiring discord invite to my server where you can get stream notifications and submit codes for review. I take tank gameplay masters and below, support gameplay diamond and below, and DPS gameplay gold and below as those guidelines sort of reflect my SR in each role. Anyways thank you again for reading, and feel free to ask me any questions below.