Sombra is an offensive hero who plays an infiltrator role. She is most useful when targeting supports or snipers by getting into the back line with her Thermoptic Camo (LSHIFT), or disrupting the tanks such as Reinhardt or D.Va with Hack (RMB) and leaving the opposing team open to an aggressive push.
Sombra is another character that has been added to the flanker arsenal in Overwatch. Heroes such as Tracer and Reaper excel at this role and are a constant nuisance to the enemy back line. Sombra’s main mission is to get behind the enemy and hack their defenses or kill their supports. Using almost guerilla-type warfare, Sombra can use her Translocator (E) to set up on a health pack she has hacked, weave in and out of battle getting quick kills with her Machine Pistol, and hack an opposing champion to create an opening for her team to go all-in or set up a perfect ultimate combo.
Dependent on playstyle or what the current match situation looks like, Sombra players are going to have one of two options as they weave in and out of the battle using Thermoptic Camo and Translocator. Option one is targeting the supports and snipers. Sombra’s high damage and fire rate is enough to quickly melt 200 health enemies (i.e. Zenyatta, Mercy, Hanzo, Windowmaker). Option two is to disrupt the enemy tanks. Sombra may not be getting these kills on her own, but disruption creates advantage points for her team through hacking and taking attention away from the team’s front line that’s itching for a fight.
Sombra’s ultimate is a nightmare of most ability oriented heroes. EMP (Q) is an area of effect (AoE) hack that will destroy all barriers and shields in a medium ranged circle surrounding Sombra, such as Lucio’s ultimate or Zenyatta/Symmetra/Zarya’s health bar. It’s up to the player when they want to use this, they just need to be mindful of enemy ultimates after Sombra has used hers, and who to re-hack to keep in check after the primary engage, since EMP will highlight all enemy health bars and ultimate statuses for each hero hacked. It will appear over the character’s head, but only be visible to the Sombra player, so communication is key. Using this ability with proper timing can turn an oppressive enemy rush into a disastrous one, or make team engages even better (Sombra may even steal Play of the Game since there will be free reign to let loose with Machine Pistol*). Enemies can avoid EMP’s disruption by hiding behind walls and remaining out of sight from the ulting Sombra player, so using her ult when the most people are vulnerable is key.
Heroes Who Synergize Well With Sombra
Zarya: Zarya makes any flankers’ life easier with her ranged shield application, charging up if her teammates noticed or make a bad flank, and providing cover to get out of sticky situations. Zarya and Sombra’s ultimate ability combo is also devastating, because if Zarya lands a big Graviton Surge, it opens up and very easy EMP opportunity to leave their team essentially useless by taking away any shields or barriers they might have had.
Zenyatta: Zenyatta works will with most flankers because of his ranged heals and damage vulnerability to a primary target. If Zenyatta is working with Sombra to pick off the back line, her Machine Pistol damage with the boost from Orb of Discord will be enough to quickly take care of low-health enemies and still give Sombra enough time to translocate back.
Widowmaker: This is a mutual pairing: if Widowmaker can’t quite finish somebody off, it allows Sombra to see where they are with her passive, Opportunist, to go and finish the job. This ability allows Sombra to see enemies under 50% health anywhere on the map. She can also help the Widowmaker by hacking targets such as Reinhardt to destroy his shield that usually stops Widow from sniping squishy targets.
Heroes Who Counter Sombra
Winston: Winston is one of Sombra’s biggest counters. He’s tanky, has a shield, and doesn’t have to aim. He just walks toward her and holds down right click. Sombra will have to use Translocator to get away because she isn’t able to do anything worthwhile to Winston aside from being a distraction.
Torbjorn: Even though Sombra can hack his turrets, it’s only useful if her team dedicates to a push and somebody tanks the turret for her. Otherwise, it’s pretty useless to try and hack it. Doing so takes a player out of the ensuing fight, so it’s better to just straight up destroy it unless Torbjorn’s ultimate, Molten Core, has been used. There is no reason to hack Torbjorn himself, and his shotgun-style right click shreds Sombra.
Hanzo: Hanzo is another counter to Sombra. If he can keep his flanks covered with Sonic Arrow, he’ll be able to see her coming. The vision sonic arrows grants Hanzo will reveal Sombra while her invisibility is active (same is true for Widowmaker’s Ult), and Overwatch players are all familiar with what a scatter arrow does when aimed at a low health Hero’s feet.
What You Can and Can’t Hack
Hack is an ability with very specific uses, given that it has unique interactions with each hero. Most abilities that make a character un-targetable, such as Reaper’s Wraith Form, Zenyatta’s Ultimate, and Mei’s Cryo-Freeze, cannot be hacked.
Channeled ultimates such as Pharah’s Rocket Barrage, Reaper’s Death Blossom, and Roadhog’s Whole Hog can be stopped with Sombra’s hack. An example ultimate that is safe from disruption is Genji’s Dragonstrike: once the sword is out, the only thing that can stop it from swinging is killing him.
There is a lot of healing that can’t stop with hacks either. Mercy, Lucio, and Ana all have healing that is a part of their primary weapons. Only Zenyatta has a primary healing ability, and once it is connected to somebody hacking him doesn’t stop the orb from healing his target, just prevents Zenyatta from placing it on somebody else. Sombra can always hack Health Packs as well, which stops the enemy from picking them up and gives it a shorter respawn timer. Keep in mind that Sombra can’t hack through barriers and Zarya’s shields, but they can be destroyed with EMP.
Happy Hacking! Good luck on the battlefield.