Hi all — just wanted to throw some tips out of there for people who are interested in playing Sombra more. This season has been especially fun to play her, given how favorable the current meta is. I’ll just throw some tips out there that have been helpful in climbing. I don’t claim to be the best Sombra out there, but I do have a lot of hours on her and am currently playing her exclusively.
If it matters, when I started playing with her in S3 I was at about 2200, and am currently around 3250.
Primary ability: SMG with 60 rounds
- Underrated and misunderstood. People unfairly compare it to Tracer’s weapon, however it’s a poor comparison. SMG, though does have spread, can have a better effective range.
- Can be used to take down medium-distance targets, such as Pharah after re-positioning or even a Widowmaker
- Spread is immediate, so there is no use of burst firing
- Effective range is 25m, but can still do reasonable damage beyond
- SMG can one-clip a teleporter/shield generator
Secondary ability: Hacking disables special abilities and will stop certain ultimate abilities
- Targets almost always worth hacking: Winston, Rein, Tracer, Genji(esp while ulting), DVa, Mercy, Ana, Reaper(but not 1on1), Sombra, Bastion, Mei, Roadhog
- Targets almost never worth hacking: McCree, S76, Zenyatta, Lucio, Orisa, Hanzo, Torb(only his turret during MC but this is hard to do), Symmetra, Widowmaker
- Hack disrupts the following Ultimates: McCree, Roadhog, Pharah, Reaper, Torb(not MC itself but his turret)
- Hack doesn’t stop these Ultimates, but can reduce their effectiveness: Genji, Winston
- There is no limit to how many health packs you can hack. You can tell which ones are about to lose their hacked effect by the graphical appearance of the skull. It becomes more distorted as the hack fades down.
- Hacked small health packs spawn every 2.5s, mega packs are every 3.75s.
Special ability: Cloak – Sombra is invisible for a short duration and has increased movement speed.
- Useful for movement advantage at start of match — can use in combination with translocator at beginning of KOTH matches or to get back to the fight. Short cooldown makes it useable by the time you get there.
- Firing your weapon, hacking, using your Ultimate, or melee takes you out of cloak. Reloading, jumping, crouching, and throwing your translocator do not take you out of cloak.
- Friendly Zarya can harm you by bubbling you while cloaked, as the enemy can see an empty bubble and know your location. Most friendly Zarya’s do not know this and think they are helping.
- A message reading “detected” occurs when an enemy sees you through cloak – Hanzo’s sonic arrow and Widowmaker’s hallhacks are examples. A current bug(?) exists where running too close to an enemy while cloaked also allows them to detect you.
Translocator: Sombra lays a transporter on the ground and can later recall to it:
- Useful to place on top of a hacked health pack as you can recall and immediately heal up.
- Useful to gain positional advantage, such as to get closer to Pharah or Widowmaker or to simply get high ground advantage.
- Your enemy can see your translocator, which you can use to your advantage. Placing it down and then not recalling can bait an enemy into sitting idle for several seconds while you reposition.
- Several bugs exist. Sometimes when exiting cloak and throwing it, there’s a throwing animation but the translocator fails to deploy. You can immediately throw it again if this occurs. Also, your hitbox exists in two locations for a brief second which can result in frustrating deaths after you translocate(though I think this has recently been patched).
- Throwing your translocator off the map immediately resets it only after it goes the depth that a player would normally die. This is useful to know because you may fear that you threw it off the map, but you can tell so by waiting another second or two and seeing if it resets. If you translocate too soon, you might suicide off the map.
Ultimate: EMP – removes shields and applies hack effect to targets within its radius
- EMP removes personal shields, notably Symmetra(and shield gen), Zenyattas, and Zaryas. EMP can be used on these characters to turn them into super squishy targets, most notable Zenyatta.
- EMP pairs very, very well with other ultimates. Particularly useful teammates to pair with are: S76, Genji(particularly if enemy Zen may have his ult), DVa, Zarya(can be used either before or after her ult depending on if enemy team has DVa or Genji to eat/deflect Grav Surge), Rein, Pharah, Reaper, McCree. Any of these combos should yield multiple kills or a team wipe.
- EMP is the fastest charging ult in the game, so use it frequently – particularly if your teammates are using your health packs. If Zarya is at 50% ult and little charge, you can ult now and probably have EMP available again before she has hers.
Passive: allows you to wallhack low health enemies
- This is visible even while dead if you disable kill cam. You can assist in call-outs to your team by calling out low health targets.
- One of the more common and effective strategies is the Sombra coward loop. Hack a health pack, place your translocator on it, then run and cloak behind enemy lines. Try and pick a healer or just build some ult and then translocate back to safety. This is a very fast way to build ult as you get both damage and healing charge.
- The primary disadvantage of the loop is you no longer have your translocator available to use for positional advantages, such as to obtain high ground.
- Coward loops are the most effective way in lower rank(silver, gold), however; become less effective as you rank up(plat, diamond, master). You risk dying by running behind the enemy, as they can often burst you down before you have a chance to teleport away. In addition, missing out on the positional advantages given by translocating can make you less effective.
- On KOTH, as soon as the match starts translocate as far as you can then cloak to get to the point first. There, you can hack key health packs(Ilios ruins mega pack, for example) and have your cooldowns reset by the time the action starts. You can also do this after deaths in Assault, 2CP, and hybrid
- Sometimes putting your translocator on your hacked health packs is not the best decision. For example, on Route 66 defense I will often hack the mega pack in the tunnel as soon as the match starts, however through my translocator beneath the gas station before running behind for a pick. This way, when I recall I am less likely to encounter enemies who frequently go through the tunnel, I disable that particular health pack for enemy use, and I am now immediately under the gas station to hack another mega pack.
- Solo-ulting a target can be totally worth it if it’s a valuable target. I will sometimes EMP an enemy Zenyatta if I suspect he has transcendence available. Another prime example is that if Mercy is flying in for a 5 man rez, EMP is faster and more secure than trying to hack or kill her.
- If possible, EMP Lucio after his ult lands to negate his ult rather than before which simply stops him from using it.
- Some maps allow Sombra to act as basically a second healer and allows an additional DPS player on your team. Ilios Ruins is the best example, where there are 5 relevant Mega Packs surrounding the point. This also generates ult for you very, very fast. Another example is Hanamura 1st point, especially if your team is going with builders. The packs are a bit more spread out in this one, but I’ve had good success here with a single Mercy or Ana healing.
- Sombra is well-equipped to handle Pharah. Teammates demanding you swap to McCree or S76 simply to counter her are misinformed, as your gun has surprising range and you can reposition close to her. She is also a good hack target at times as it disables her from gaining altitude.
- Communication is key, except when it isn’t. Sombra works best when your teammates are cooperative, but at times they will be toxic for no reason other than the fact that you are Sombra. Sometimes muting a teammate is better than allowing yourself to get tilted.
That’s all the tips I have for now, anyways. I hope this helps for anyone interested in playing her.