I wanted to make a guide about how to play junkrat correctly and be an asset to your team, not a liability. Here is my overbuff account, where you can see that I’ve made it to masters league and have a 62% win ratio with junkrat.
I don’t mean to brag, but I really believe that I have found a way to make him a great help to the team, and I wanted to bring in evidence that I’m not making this up.
In any case, let’s get started
Junkrat can be played as an aggressive flanker, and his life is not important to keep alive. My junkrat playstyle revolves around twisting the arm of the enemy team, making them take bad fights, or cut their losses and retreat. My own life as junkrat does not need to be protected, rather, I often throw away my life if it means my team getting kills or getting through a choke point. His ultimate best encapsulates this ideology, so I’ll start with that.
This does max 600 damage, has 100 health, and can climb walls. It charges very fast, and will be shot down by an aware team. I use the tire to scare and intimidate the enemy team, the actually killing is not important. When they hear “FIRE IN THE HOLE,” with screeching tires, they retreat. You wouldn’t believe how much this scares the shit out of people, and that’s it’s true strength.
I use the tire when my team needs some space, and the enemy needs to be zoned. I’ll save it until the enemy team wants to be aggressive, or if my team needs to get their foot in the door. I mentioned that junkrat is an aggressive flanker, this works well with him being close to the enemy. The enemy team has to choose between avoiding the tire, or stopping my team. The tire itself is again, not important. It is simply my twisting the enemy’s arm, and if they do ignore it, I can kill the supports, or a tank.
For example, I notice the enemy reinhardt is about to charge in. I immediately ult, and throw my tire at the enemy. They either:
- A) retreat and kill the tire, and let their reinhardt die and his ult is wasted
- B) keep pushing through and die to the tire
It’s about creating a catch-22 for the enemy team. Yes the tire is the most easily shut down ult in the game, but it also can attack from any angle, and is very spammable. Therefore, I turn its weakness into a strength. The enemy team can shoot it down, but they have to lose the push. Or they can push forward and die. The fact that junkrat’s ult deploy time was buffed makes this even stronger now, the enemy team has no time to react.
I even deploy the tire across the map from far away, if it means scaring the enemy team. I’m always watching what my teammates are doing, and if they’re about to be in trouble, I’ll ult. I don’t kill anyone, but the enemy team backs off, letting our reinforcements arrive, or saving a teammate.
Additionally, you can goad enemy supports into wasting their ultimate. For example, my team desired to push the point on Koth. I asked them to feign a push with their stance, right after I ulted. The enemy lucio used his sound barrier, and my team simply retreated. Did my tire kill anyone? No. Did I get the lucio to waste his ult, where mine is less valuable and charges way faster? Yes.
Again, it’s about making the enemy team take unfavorable trades, and using yourself as a tool to help your team. It’s not about getting gold elims and damage, it’s about making the lucio waste his ult.
As a final note, you can just go idle with the tire until the enemy team gives you an opportunity to kill them. As long as the tire is alive, they’re unwilling to push. So just hold the tire as a 10-second threat to hold them back. This is fantastic for keeping people inside their spawn when pushing the last point, as they won’t come out until the tire is dead. They either leave spawn and die, or sit inside being useless to their teammates.
Special final final note: I kill mostly reinhardts with the ult, if I kill people at all. People expect the tire to come in from the side, but you can just come from the front. The enemy team has usually backed up, but reinhardts still have their shield up. Killing off the reinhardt is a great way to let your team in.
BEAR TRAPS, CONCUSSION MINES, AND BOUNCING GRENADES
People think that snipers, genji, tracer, and reaper counter junkrat. I disagree with this. If an enemy needs to kill you, then they need line of sight. Junkrat can bounce the frags up to 3 times before they detonate, so you shouldn’t be exposing yourself ever, unless it means going for kills. If a widowmaker is trying to snipe you, then just bounce the grenades off a wall and push the reinhardt combo back. She can’t shoot you, but you can shoot them. I know that some people think that junkrat feeds zarya’s damage, but I’ll get to that later in this post.
Junkrat doesn’t have to just spam the combo, he can disrupt any move the enemy makes. Like said before, it’s not about just damaging the enemy, it’s about zoning off the enemy. From the weirdest angles, you can stop flankers dead in their tracks. This works against literally every hero except hanzo and D’Va. When a reinhardt charges in, or someone else ults in, I ignore them. I keep spamming the enemy team trying to follow up on any initiation done by their tanks, and just hold the supports back. Usually a lucio or ana tries to come in after their tanks went in, and here’s why I appear. I start shooting at them and getting their attention, and throw my concussion mine to thrust them into the air. This prevents them from giving support to their team, which is a fantastic trade in my opinion. Like I said before, I aggressively flank.
you can spam the combo, and here’s how. You have the highest DPS in the game, but you charge zarya’s shields. So, what I do is spam only the reinhardt shield. That thing is massive, you shouldn’t be missing it. Otherwise, I usually don’t spam the main choke point unless it means keeping the supports back. Because I flank so much, I usually have angles to spam the supports rather than the tanks, and I only spam when the enemy team desires to push or hold off a push.
Notice how I’ve said nothing about kills or gold damage. Everything I’ve mentioned so far is about providing utility to your team, and disrupting the teamwork and cooperation of the enemy.
As for how to bounce the frags, you’ll need to learn it yourself. There are so many weird places where you can spam the enemy team, you can get really creative. Something I forgot to mention: it’s okay for you to die, as long as you made the enemy take a shitty fight. If the enemy team REALLY wants to kill me, they can totally do it. But I don’t let them do it unless my team can take advantage of it. You have to understand, the only thing that matters is winning. The medals and being on fire means nothing if you don’t win. So even if you die, if it means your team killing the two enemy tanks, then it’s a good trade. So many times I’ve been mobbed by enemy flankers and dps’s that they just abandon their tanks. And by the time I die, their zarya and reinhardt are dead, because they didn’t have back up. Yes, they killed the junkrat, but at what cost?
It’s my job to provide my team with great opportunities to kill the enemy team, or provide my team with safety and zoning. As junkrat, I do not need to be the one getting the kills or amazing ults.
This philosophy applies to the concussion mine. Unless you can kill an enemy support quickly after hitting them with one frag, than your mine is for your team’s safety. So many times a reaper, genji, or tracer tries to jump our ana/lucio/zenyatta, and my 120 damage is there to hold them back. The assassin, we’ll call it, takes 120 damage and has to immediately reconsider going after your supports. They get thrown up into the air, and they’re also low health. It’s great for denying aggression.
Similarly, you can use the concussion mine to throw enemies ulting into the air. I don’t care if a nanoboosted reinhardt is charging in, he’s not going to him my team. I simply throw down my mine and make him completely out of position. The enemy team tries to follow up on the space created by their nano boosted reinhardt, but because there is no space, they just die.
The bear trap is great for helping your team too. You can use your concussion mine to jump high in the air, and throw down the bear trap amidst the enemy team. They step in it, trust me. This visually overwhelms your opponents, because now they have to think about you, junkrat as a threat, they have to think about dodging the frag grenade coming their way, and also think about the bear trap you just threw down. This isn’t mentioning that your team is probably pushing as well, which really confuses the shit out of the enemy and creates space for you team.
Have I mentioned how to get gold elims and damage? How to be on fire and get quintuple kills with your tire? Nope.
The bear trap is also great for disrupting assassins. If the enemy does not see you, junkrat, then they’re waaaay less likely to notice the bear trap. You use the trap to create space and opportunities for your team, rather than requiring them to help you out.
And anyway, you can throw down the trap and the enemy will immediately retreat until it’s dead. It gives your team a valuable two seconds to get out or runaway. Does the trap catch anyone? No. Does it stop the roadhog for a good two seconds, allowing your team to react and not freak out? Yes. It also acts as a scout for your team, letting you know where the enemy is.
Finally, the bear trap is great against winston and mei, and to some extent reinhardt. Mei goes into her icecube, so just throw it down at her feet. She’ll take 80 damage and be stuck there when she comes out. Winston likes to leap in on your supports, so just lock in place while your supports escape.
The bear trap can also stop the enemy tanks from aggressing, which really disrupts their flow when trying to push. So many times a reinhardt gets nanoboosted and uses his ult, only to get stuck in my bear trap. And since I flank a lot, I can throw another right down on his feet, making sure that fucker STAYS there.
You can actually punish zarya’s a lot too. Since they’re the most aggressive tank in the game (in my opinion), they step in my traps the most. This lets your team, and your mei, follow up and kill her.
Enemy zaryas judge the situation, and use their bubble for safety. However, if they get stuck in a spot that’s way too aggressive, then they’ve horribly misjudged, and will pay with their lives. They’re not expecting to get stuck in a spot, so they take more damage, and thus you can kill them. And because I aggressively flank as junkrat, I can spam other heroes than zarya, so it doesn’t matter. She can’t really do anything about you spamming Ana, zarya has to deal with what’s in front of her. And the only time I die while aggressively flanking is if I give my team an opportunity to escape/take advantage and kill the enemy.
For example, I’m on the side spamming out the lucio and ana. I retreat when zarya comes out, and come back in when she gives up. If the enemy commits enough heroes to kill him, then they get stuck in a corner, and my kills them.
Junkrat also counters Ana in a way too, because if you hit on frag on her, she uses her healing grenade on herself. Normally, if you don’t kill the ana and die yourself, that’s bad. But Junkrat can simply shoot someone else, and make her waste the grenade.
As for charging the enemy healer’s ultimate abilities, all I can say is, don’t spam unless it helps your team. You don’t need to be holding down M1 for the entire match. I only spam if it means disrupting the enemy team, or I know for sure that I’ll a support.
I also forgot to mention why junkrat counters tracer/genji/reaper. It’s because you just have to do damage to them while abusing corners and walls to deny line of sight, and the trap prevents them from getting aggressive. It’s also really funny to see them ult right after you just threw them into the air with your mine, making them waste it.
SOME LAST THOUGHTS
Really, the best way to play junkrat is to be creative and sneaky. There’s no rule saying you just have to stare at the chokepoint holding M1. There are so many weird places you can bounce frags to spam key locations, and prevent or zone flankers from doing anything. In my opinion, junkrat is way stronger on attack than defense. Like the first point on Route 66, you can use that weird bend around the road to safely spam the diner. Nobobdy expects the junkrat to be able to attack from there, but the enemy reinhardt’s shield will be depleted by the time you push, or else he just has to retreat. I’ve bounced frags off of lamp posts and gotten kills, it’s really funny to see the enemy team rage about how bullshit it is. Use your concussion mine to throw a roadhog into the air after he hooks a teammate, so that he misses his shot. Help your team!
Overall though, remember that your job is to zone the enemy team and provide golden opportunities for you team. Your life as junkrat does not matter, you getting gold elims and damage does not matter. That’s all.