One of Overwatch’s most popular heroes, Genji is notoriously hard to master due to a high skill ceiling and precision aiming that requires sharp reflexes. However, in the right hands he’s an absolute beast that can slink around the battlefield like a ninja, picking opponents off one by one in quick succession.

In Overwatch lore, Genji Shimada is the youngest son of the Shimada ninja clan, an elite criminal organization. Unlike his older brother, Hanzo, Genji spurned proper ninja training and pursued a a playboy lifestyle. When his father died, Hanzo demanded that Genji alter his lifestyle and take control of the Shimada empire.

Genji refused, and the ensuing fight between the two brothers left Genji on the edge of death.

Hanzo believed his brother to be dead, but Genji was actually rescued by Overwatch. With the help of Mercy, Genji’s body was rebuilt using cybernetics. Combined with his ninja training and innate agility, Genji is an even deadlier assassin than before.

If you’re ready to move on from easier heroes to something more difficult to master, consider experimenting with Genji. But be warned, it’ll take many hours and many games until you’re truly effective at playing this powerful hero.

Thankfully, we’ve got some strategies to help you learn how to play Genji like a pro.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths

  • One of the most mobile and agile characters in Overwatch
  • Devastating Ultimate ability that can annihilate entire teams
  • Highly adept at finishing weaker characters and surviving 1-on-1 encounters

Weaknesses

  • High skill ceiling makes Genji one of the hardest heroes to play
  • Relatively weak primary attacks are ineffective for holding off multiple enemies
  • Predictable Ultimate ability

Abilities

Base Stats

  • Health: 200
  • Armor: None

Main Attack: Shuriken

  • Description: Genji burst-fires three deadly ninja stars in a straight. line
  • Damage: 28 per star (84 total)
  • Ammo: 24

Genji’s Shuriken is a long-range projectile attack capable of dealing a significant amount of damage. As there’s no fall-off penalty to his damage, Genji actually makes an effective long-range fighter. However, there is a bit of travel time to each burst of Shuriken, meaning precise aiming and timing is required in order to hit most moving targets.

When honing in on single targets, use Shuriken to deal headshot damage. Use Shuriken from a distance to tickle enemies and bait them into chasing you.

Alternate Attack: Fan Attack

  • Description: Genji throws his three stars in a fan-like spread, capable of hitting multiple opponents or shredding enemies up close.
  • Damage: 28 per star (84 total)
  • Ammo: 24

Genji’s alternate attack is great for deterring multiple opponents as well as damaging larger targets from close-range. It’s important to note that Genji’s alternate attack is faster than his primary attack, meaning you can release multiple fan attacks in quick succession compared to his regular Shuriken attack.

Ability 1: Deflect

  • Description: Genji deftly weaves his sword in front of himself, deflecting any incoming attacks back towards his enemy.
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • Duration: 2 seconds

Deflect is an excellent ability with the potential to eliminate opponents with their own attacks.

Note that all deflected shots will be returned in the direction of Genji’s crosshairs, so aiming while deflecting is still important if you want to damage any enemies at the same time. This means you should remember to aim at your enemy before using Deflect, especially if you want to align a headshot in advance.

At higher levels, Deflect becomes much more predictable, and your enemy will simply stop firing and wait out the duration of your Deflect before resuming their attack. At this point it’s better to use Deflect as a way to shield allies from attacks by quickly dashing into a fight, deflecting any damage you can, then moving out of the fight before you’re picked off.

Tips for using Deflect

  • Deflect only works against projectiles that are within Genji’s view. Attacks from behind can’t be deflected.
  • Use Deflect in front a Bastion in Sentry Mode to disrupt his attack or instantly eliminate him.
  • Use Deflect to save low-health allies from death by jumping in front of them and deflecting incoming attacks.
  • Use Deflect against Hanzo’s Sonic and Scatter arrows to gain the effects of each one.
  • Use Deflect against Roadhog’s Hook to prevent it from grabbing you or your allies.
  • Use Deflect to safely close the distance between yourself and your target.

Attacks Deflect does NOT work on

Channeled weapons counter Genji’s Deflect, such as:

  • Mei’s Frost Stream
  • Symmetra’s Photon Projector Beam and Sentry Turrets
  • Zarya’s Particle Beam
  • Winston’s Tesla Cannon
  • Reinhardt’s Rocket Hammer
  • Doomfist’s melee abilities

Ultimate abilities Deflect DOES work on

  • Zarya’s Graviton Surge
  • Tracer’s Pulse Bomb
  • Pharah’s Barrage
  • McCree’s Deadeye
  • Reaper’s Deathblossom
  • Soldier’s Tactical Visor
  • Bastion’s Tank Form
  • Mei’s Blizzard can only be deflected before it lands on a surface

Ability 2: Swift Strike

  • Description: Genji slashes his katana, striking any opponent in his path while moving across a short distance. Swift Strike’s cooldown is instantly reset whenever Genji gets a kill.
  • Cooldown: 8 seconds (resets upon each kill)
  • Damage: 50 (45 vs. armor)

Although it doesn’t deal a ton of damage, Swift Strike has numerous uses, the most obvious being a method to quickly eliminate low-health opponents that are near Genji.

Swift Strike can be used as a mobility tool to reach new areas of a map, or to escape from an enemy attack. It can be used in conjunction with Genji’s passive ability to reach and climb walls across long distances. It can also be used to maneuver behind enemy shields.

Swift Strike’s cooldown immediately resets whenever Genji eliminates a target, meaning you can string together multiple eliminations and Swift Strikes (this becomes much more important when using Genji’s Ultimate ability). It’s important to always keep this in mind, since you should be using Swift Strike as much as possible.

Note that Swift Strike will cancel Genji’s Shuriken and Deflect animation, which is useful if you’re caught in a bind. It won’t cancel his melee, however.

Tips for using Swift Strike

  • Swift Strike low-health characters to kill them, then Swift Strike away from danger if enemies hone in on you.
  • Swift Strike through opponents to confuse them, as they’ll be forced to turn around to track you.
  • Swift Strike into the air to escape enemy attacks.
  • Swift Strike towards health packs to reach them faster.
  • Swift Strike doesn’t damage traps, like Junkrat’s Steel Trap and Widowmaker’s Venom Mine.
  • Swift Strike does damage turrets.
  • You can’t escape Zarya’s Graviton Surge using Swift Strike.

Swift Strike Combo

Swift Strike can be combined with Genji’s abilities to form a powerful combo. The most common combo is to Swift Strike an enemy, then use a Shuriken attack followed by a melee attack. This combo can deal 164 damage when properly timed.

Another combo is to use Fan Attack and then Swift Strike in one consecutive motion. Start by firing your Shuriken, then immediately cancel the animation using Swift Strike. This is a great close-range attack, and can deal 114 damage.

Passive Ability: Cyber-Agility

Description: Genji can climb walls and perform a double jump in mid-air thanks to his cybernetic implants.

Genji’s cybernetic body enables him to double jump while in the air. Like his brother, Hanzo, Genji can also wall climb to reach higher elevations and to escape most enemies.

Deflect, Swift Strike and Genji’s Shuriken attacks can all be used while double jumping.

Ultimate: Dragonblade

  • Description: Genji unsheathes his katana while imbued with the power of a ferocious dragon. While using Dragonblade, Genji can land devastating sword strikes against his enemies.
  • Duration: 6 seconds
  • Damage: 120 per strike
  • Total Number of Possible Strikes: 9

Dragonblade is one of the most powerful abilities in Overwatch. When Dragonblade is active, Genji can’t use his Shuriken attacks, but he can still wall climb, double jump, Deflect and Swift Strike. Genji’s movement speed is slightly increased as well, and Swift Strike is instantly reset as soon as he casts Dragonblade.

Genji doesn’t gain any health or armor perks while using Dragonblade, so make sure you’re health is topped off before engaging anyone.

Note that Dragonblade has a lengthy casting time (1.2 seconds). It’s a good idea to either take the enemy by surprise, or give yourself enough time to cast Dragonblade before rushing into a team of angry opponents.

Tips for using Dragonblade

  • Swift Strike into the air before casting Dragonblade, as you’ll gain an additional Swift Strike as soon as it begins. This allows you to traverse long distances and reach enemies faster, or Swift Strike through a group of enemies, activate Dragonblade, then Swift Strike back through them.
  • 1-2 sword strikes almost guarantees a kill against most heroes. Remember that each kill resets Swift Strike, meaning you can reach multiple enemies quickly, cut them down, then Swift Strike to another opponent.
  • Increase your survivability by using Deflect while Dragonblade is active. The best time to Deflect is when you’re trying to reach an enemy but you’re still out of range to attack them with your sword.
  • You’ll know Dragonblade is winding down when you hear a sudden rush of noise.

Pair Dragonblade with these ally abilities

  • Zarya’s Graviton Surge
  • Zenyatta’s Transcendence
  • Lucio’s Sound Barrier
  • Ana’s Nano Boost (assuming she Nano Boosts Genji)
  • Reinhardt’s Earthshatter
  • Sombra’s EMP
  • Mei’s Blizzard
  • Widowmaker’s Infra-Sight (to make it easier to find potential victims)

General Tips & Strategy

Flank your enemies at every opportunity. Genji’s mobility makes him one of the best flankers in the game, and at no point should you be running headfirst into an enemy team. Always maneuver behind your enemy, and isolate individual targets like healers before moving on to more dangerous characters.

It’s enough to be a nuisance. Like Tracer, Genji is adept at “tickling” enemies: attacking them from behind in order to distract them, then disappearing before they chase after you. This tactic can be repeated to wear down tanks or distract dangerous DPS characters.

Remember to wall climb. Genji’s passive is perfect for escaping danger or leaving less mobile enemies behind.

Think like a ninja. Genji has soft footsteps and can deftly reach new heights to surprise enemies from. His Shuriken can travel across long distances, allowing him to pick off stationary targets like Bastion, or get the jump on turrets and tanks from behind.

Keep aiming while deflecting. Deflect is a great ability to negate incoming damage, but it also has the potential to defeat opponents as well.

Don’t go in alone. It’s tempting to 1 v. 6 with Genji, but he’s not built to withstand huge teamfights and focused fire. Always attack along the outskirts of an enemy team, and remember to coordinate with your allies, too. Is McCree consistently taking out your healers. Either make him a priority, or pocket your supports to help them out.

Speaking of healers, don’t really on them too much for health. Genji, like Tracer and Sombra, is a flanker that utilizes every asset on a map. This means you’ll often find yourself away from your team, and you’ll need to know where every health pack is on a map to be truly effective.

Specific Map Tips

Genji is an excellent offensive character that can perform well on every map and game type. He’s slightly better on Attack than Defense, but overall he’s a solid choice for any team composition.

Hanamura

Attackers have two options for capturing Point A: either wall climb the left side of the gate to reach the opening, then hard flank left all the way to the objective, or Swift Strike through the gate into the right hand room, then quickly make your way to the point. For Point B, Genji can Swift Strike across the gap on the left side of the temple, thereby bypassing a tricky choke point so he can harass enemies from behind.

Numbani

Genji can utilize a variety of indirect routes on Numbani, including a large room that extends over the tunnel that’s right before Point B. Use the platform that overlooks Point B from this room to surprise your enemy with a Dragonblade + Graviton Surge combo.

Eichenwalde

Eichchenwalde’s first choke point can be hazard to deal with, but Genji can take two flank routes depending on the circumstances. He can either wall climb the stone arch, Deflect any incoming damage, and head the room on his left, or he can head right and use a similar strategy to reach a passageway on the far right that leads to the objective. Either way, getting behind your opponent’s defense is a crucial role for Genji to perform in order to break their formation.

Match-ups

Genji can deftly 1-vs-1 a lot of heroes in the game, but enemies that deal channel damage (Mei, Symmetra and Winston) are especially dangerous.

Genji Counters

Widowmaker: Next to Winston, Genji is the best counter to Widowmaker in the game. He can wall climb to any of her sniping positions, Deflect her headshots and (if he’s lucky) Venom Mine, and close in for the kill with Swift Strike before she can pinpoint him with a scoped shot.

Mercy: Mercy shouldn’t be much of a problem for Genji. The problem is actually reaching her, since a good team will keep its Mercy close. Stay in the shadows until you can isolate Mercy, then unleash your Shuriken and Swift Strike from behind to remove her from battle.

McCree: Genji can hold his own versus McCree. Not only can you Deflect McCree’s Flashbang, stunning him instead, but even if he does stun you, you can quickly Deflect afterwards to send his whole Fan Hammer attack right back at him. Genji can also Deflect Deadeye, but watch out—if not timed correctly, McCree can outlast your Deflect before firing.

Genji is countered by

Winston: Winston’s giant electric cannon is Genji’s worst nightmare. Not only does Winston have a large HP pool perfect for absorbing Genji’s tiny Shuriken, but he can counter Genji’s mobility by using Leap to reach him. Unless Genji can Swift Strike away quickly, Winston’s Tesla Cannon will tear through the metal ninja.

Symmetra: Symmetra’s Sentry Turrets and self-aiming photon beam have Genji’s name written all over them. Not only do her Sentry Turrets prevent the ninja from flanking around her team, but they slow him down as well, making him easier for the rest of her team to target. Genji can’t Deflect her photon beam, either, making her especially deadly at close-range.

Reinhardt: The best way to defeat a squishy cyborg ninja? Swing a giant Rocket Hammer around. Reinhardt has no reason to fear Genji, especially when a couple hammer strikes is all it takes to destroy him. Although Genji can Deflect Reinhardt’s Fire Strike, Rein still holds the upper hand in this match up.

Skins

Rare Skins

Genji’s Rare skins are colored variations of his Classic skin—a white and grey cybernetic ninja outfit that covers his entire body.

  • Azurite (Light Blue)
  • Cinnabar (Orange)
  • Malachite (Green)
  • Ochre (Yellow)

Credits: 75

Epic Skins

  • Carbon Fiber: Genji’s armor is entirely black, with hints of dark blue.
  • Chrome: Genji’s armor is white, much like his Classic skin, but now he’s extra shiny from the chrome covering.
  • Nihon*: Genji pays respect to the Land of the Rising Sun in this white and red outfit that features the Japanese flag. (Summer Games)

Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*

Legendary Skins

  • Sparrow: Genji was a brash and undisciplined playboy that didn’t care for the Shimada Empire. Here he is as a young man wearing the traditional garb of Shimada ninjas.
  • Young Genji: What did Genji look like before he became mostly cybernetic? Apparently he was a green-haired anime hero.
  • Bedouin: Genji wears the silk clothing common among the Bedouin—a traveling group of nomadic Arab peoples.
  • Nomad: As Genji wandered the world looking to come to terms with his new cybernetic body, he wore this stylish travelers outfit.
  • Oni: Genji wears the mask of a Japanese demon. Red horns and fangs project from his face, while his body has traces of glowing neon red throughout.
  • Blackwatch*: Roughly 75% of Genji’s body is cybernetic. This was Genji’s initial form following the repairs that Mercy made in order to save his life. A part of his chest and face is exposed, but otherwise he is mostly machine. (Uprising Event)
  • Sentai*: Otherwise known as a Power Ranger, Genji embraces the superhero he’s meant to be, a neon green Super Sentai. (Anniversary Event)

Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*

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Categories Heroes