The following is a bit of a guide/discussion on what it takes to be a good Reinhardt and how to carry with him up to Diamond and above. I make no claims to be an amazing player or the best Reinhardt in the world; I’m just someone who has a lot of hours on Reinhardt and have picked up some of the finer points of playing him well and wish to share this with people who may not understand these finer points or even realize they exist.
Currently, I am playing at about Diamond level in season 2 (~3150 season high so far), last season high was 67. My most played hero is Reinhardt, followed by Soldier. I can play just about anything, but Reinhardt is my “go to” and I have played him a lot in 6 stacks.
A lot of players dislike playing Reinhardt or refuse to learn him, which is a huge mistake. But I think the reason they refuse to do so is because they don’t understand the intricacies of playing him. They think playing Reinhardt is just holding up your shield and swinging your hammer. They don’t understand that Reinhardt is all about positioning, mind games, and situational awareness/game sense.
It’s pretty well understood at the higher levels of play that Reinhardt is almost a required pick on most maps (Aside from KoTH). All things being equal, having a Reinhardt on your team will increase your odds of winning and not having a Reinhardt (Except under extreme circumstances) will often be a contributing factor in your loss.
When to play Reinhardt: Any CP/Payload/Hybrid map on either side. On KoTH if the enemy team is running 3 DPS.
When not to play Reinhardt: When other tanks are better picks for KoTH. Namely Zarya.
What Counters Reinhardt and what Reinhardt counters: Everything and nothing. Obviously there are heroes that give Rein problems, but this is dependent upon several factors. Genji or Reaper giving you problems? Your team needs a McCree. Bastion giving you problems? You need a Soldier, Genji, or Pharah. Junkrat giving you problems? You need a Genji or Pharah. Pharah giving you problems? You need a Soldier/McCree.
Basically, both teams need a Reinhardt and it’s up to the rest of the team to counter the enemy team (and vice versa) so that Reinhardt is supported. His shield can block 2k damage at a time, which is equal to 10 DPS characters health pools.
The characters that burn through your Reinhardt shield the fastest are as follows: Bastion, Reaper, Roadhog, D.Va, Junkrat, full charge Zarya, Pharah, Soldier. Shotguns > Explosives > Energy > Ballistics.
In a chokepoint battle of shields (such as the first point on Eichenwalde), the team with the better shield breaking ability (See: Reaper, Roadhog) will be able to dictate the terms of the engagement. It’s important for everyone to understand this.. Not just the Reinhardt. As Reinhardt, however, if you feel your team does not have enough sustained DPS to break enemy Reinhardt shields you may want to suggest someone on your team change to one of the characters above. As good as Genji, Mei, or McCree may be in certain situations, they are not good at breaking Rein shields.
Let’s go over Reins abilities and when and how you should be using them:
Rocket Hammer (Primary attack): Your Rocket hammer does 75 damage in a wide Arch, that will knock back any enemies hit. If they are jumping, they will get knocked back more than if they are standing. It can only hit any given target once, but it can hit any number of targets at a time. It passes through shields (Rein/Winston), but not through barriers (Zarya/Mei). The range is greater than most melee attacks, and if you spin yourself in circles while swinging you can effectively hit targets that were behind you. It can be difficult to hit people like Genji who are bouncing around above you.
Hitting someone with Rocket hammer gives you approximately 7% Ult charge, which means that if you get into the fray of battle while defending or attacking an objective and hit several targets with every swing, you can build ulti charge very quickly. If there’s an annoying Lucio dancing around a payload or along the walls of an objective, a Reinhardt hammer can make their life hell. This is also very good against D.Va mech, as she has no way to stop it, and as soon as she’s out of Mech she’s a 2 hit kill. Tracer can also only survive 2 hits.
Use it close to the edges of a map to knock people off. If you have a dedicated healer on you (mercy/zen), use it on enemy Reinhardts when you’re face to face and they are holding their shield up. This applies pressure to them and gives you free Ulti charge.
Energy Shield (Secondary fire): This is a shield with 2000 health. It’s a big rectangle that only a few weapons can fire through (Symmetra primary and secondary, Winston Primary, Rein Fire Strike). Even if the shield only has 1 Hitpoint remaining, it will block the full damage of an attack. Eg: A D.Va ulti will be completely blocked, even if you only have 1 HP of shield. After lowering your shield for a few seconds (2) it will begin to charge at a rapid rate. Approximately 225hp per second. If your shield is broken, it will go on cooldown for 5 seconds before recharging.
This means it’s important to control your shield charge. As soon as your shield starts cracking (around 750 hp), you need to inform your team that your shield is going down for a moment. Tell them to take cover. Take cover yourself and let your shield charge to full if possible. This can be improved by having a Zarya on your team that shields you when you drop your shield. It will give her free charge and give you an additional 2 seconds of breathing room.
It’s important to take cover and lose line of sight on the enemy team so you don’t get focused down. A Discord orb and Roadhog hook can take you out of the fight very quickly. A well timed (or placed) flashbang can make you an easy target. 500 HP is a lot – but it goes very quickly under focus fire.
Your shield can block the damage from D.Va ulti and Riptire (Junkrat Ulti). The Junkrat has to maneuver his ulti THROUGH (or around) your shield in order to damage you and anyone behind you. If you spin to face the Riptire and keep your shield between the riptire and yourself, you will survive. Tracers ulti does 400 hp damage. If you get stuck, you will survive if you have full health as long as you don’t let her hit you again or she dies after ulting you. Again, a Zen/Mercy pocketing you will keep you alive in situations like this.
Fire-Strike (E): This is an energy projectile that fires in a straight line, passes through shields and targets, and goes infinitely until it flies off the map or hits an a world object. It does 100 damage to every target hit (including Rein AND his shield). This is your primary source of ulti-charge and you should be using it on cooldown. For every target you hit you get approximately 10% ulti charge. This is one of the key abilities to understand as Reinhardt and the better Reinhardts will land this reliably and usually on several targets. Always go for the “easy” shot to land. Wait until enemy Rein has his shield up and his team is grouping behind him, then use Fire-Strike. If enemy Rein uses his Fire-Strike, it’s on the same cooldown as yours. Keep track of when he uses it and expect him to use it again as soon as it’s off cooldown. You want to be playing footsies (dodging left and right), attempting to juke his Fire Strike. If you can land more than he can, you will ulti-charge faster and you will win the ulti-trade.
You need to play mind-games with your shield. When two Reins are facing off against each other, the one who drops his shield first becomes the most vulnerable. You need to keep track of not only your Ulti charge but the enemy Rein ulti charge as well. Pay attention to how many Fire strikes both of you have landed and how much melee’ing both are doing. Try to out-perform the enemy Rein in these areas so you get your ulti first. Once you have your ulti there is no longer a reason to fire-strike; so you can start playing mind games with your shield.
If you have your ulti, assume enemy Rein does as well. Drop your shield for brief moments to bait out an enemy ulti. Once the enemy Rein presses Q, his hammer takes a moment before it hits the ground. If you can tap your shield and bait out a Hammer from their Rein, you can block his entire ulti and respond with an ulti of your own, giving your team a huge advantage.
Rocket Charge (LeftShift on PC) – This is Reinhardts charge. It has a long range (55 meters) It has a relatively large hit box. It will “pin” the first target struck in front of you and will deal 50 damage to anyone you “connect” with and knock them back. If you pin a target against a wall or world object you will do 300 damage to them and stun them for a moment.
Charge should be used very sparingly, and only when you know your team can support and follow up on it. Generally I save it for isolated tank targets, or for after I use my Ulti. It’s also good for getting back into a fight after dying, but try to avoid charging headlong into the enemy team randomly. Do not use it on cooldown. Use it intelligently. It does a lot of damage but it’s also the fastest way to leave your team without a tank if used improperly. Make sure you get a pin. Best way to do so is to focus enemy tanks or use it in narrow corridors. Be very careful using it around Zarya, Mei, or McCree. A McCree with Flashbang will end your trip quickly. You will feed Zarya charge, and Mei can cockblock you in several ways.
Also be careful using this around steps or doorways. Your hitbox will often collide with them wasting your charge and putting it on cooldown. I like to use it if Zarya ulti’s a large portion of the enemy team as it guarantees a kill and will deal 50 additional damage to everyone in the ulti. If you use a Fire-strike into Zarya ulti (or your own ulti!) right before your charge that’s 150 damage total.
Your Ulti is EarthShatter. It does 50 damage infront of you in a cone and stuns every target hit for 2.5 seconds with a range of approximately 20-25 meters. It will travel up and down staircases but the cone will be interrupted by walls and barriers. A Zarya with Barrier on standing directly infront of a Rein can fully interrupt his ulti. A Reinhardt shield in front of Reinhardt ulti will often completely block the entire ulti. This is why the mind games are so important.
It’s important to use the Ulti when the enemy team is vulnerable. You need to wait for the enemy team to not only be positioned properly but also not have any response to your ulti in the form of shields.
Your ulti has a delay. Much like Lucio ulti, it is not activated immediately. You need to make contact with the ground. If you get knocked into the air and press Q your ulti will not take effect until you hit the ground. It’s important to know this and to plan accordingly.
The full combo for Rein is as follows:
Ultimate (50 damage), Fire-Strike through as many targets as possible in a line (100 damage), 1 hammer swing (75 damage), Charge (50-300 damage).
This combo will wipe most teams, as you have a potential for 275 AOE damage and 575 damage on the target you pin. Don’t worry about pinning squishies, as if they aren’t dead from your initial combo your team should be able to pick them off while you dispose of the front line Rein/Roadhog/Zarya/etc.
Now, to pull this all together and wrap it up: As Reinhardt you are the front line. Your priority is to build ulti-charge quickly and keep your shield up to protect your team. Use your rocket hammer to clear objectives (payloads) and protect people behind you if they get dove, but try not to lose sight of the forest through the trees. Deciding whether you need to keep your shield up or swap to damage is one of the most important things to learn as Rein. Save your charge for when it’s a guaranteed kill, and for when you’re unlikely to die because of it.
Play footsies with enemy Reins. Keep track of their ulti charge and play mind games with your shield to bait out the enemy Ulti’s/Hooks. Allow your shield to charge often and communicate your shield status with your team.
If you do all of this, it is VERY possible to Carry as Reinhardt.
Good luck, my fellow Germans. Hope this breakdown/guide helps. Otherwise I just wasted a bunch of typing. 😀