Reaper is a powerful Overwatch assault character and also the game’s resident edgelord.
In Overwatch lore, Reaper was originally known as Gabriel Reyes, commander of Overwatch’s covert ops division, Blackwatch. As conflict grew within Overwatch’s ranks, Reyes lead a rebellion against Jack Morrison (Solder 76). The final fight created an explosion that supposedly took the lives of both Reyes and Morrison. Now the man known only as Reaper operates as a ruthless mercenary, carrying out a personal vendetta against his former Overwatch agents.
To the untrained eye, Reaper might seem like a poor choice as neither of his abilities inflict damage. However, clever use of Reaper’s kit and some strategic planning can make him a difficult character to counter in almost every game mode.
Reaper is an anti-Tank hero that can cripple stray Winstons and Reinhardts while disrupting the enemy backline. Due to the nature of his intended play style, you’ll be operating away from your team in order to flank from the sides or behind during a team fight.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- One of the best anti-tank heroes in the game
- Tears through anything at close range due to high damage
- Abilities benefit positioning as they allow instant long range travel and temporary invulnerability
- High health compared to other DPS heroes
- Gains a health orb from any eliminated enemy
- Can shine on both attack and defense
- Can potentially wipe a whole team out using Death Blossom
- Only effective at close/short range
- Obvious target due to low speed and loud footprints
- Predictable Ultimate means coordinated teams can easily avoid it
- Vulnerable while using Shadow Step and casting Death Blossom
- Can’t attack while using Wraith Form
- Health: 250
- Armor: No armor
Main Attack: Hellfire Shotguns
- Description: A pair of high-damage shotguns
- Damage: 2-7 damage per pellet, 20 pellets per shot
Reaper sports a pair of mean looking shotguns that unload two rounds per second. The falloff range is 11-20 meters, making his attack strictly short-range. Players will have to reload after 8 shots, which takes 1.5 seconds.
While Reaper’s basic attack can take down any full health hero fairly quickly, Reaper is best used against enemies who have already taken damage. You’ll need to get up close and personal, attacking from behind to make the kill before they even have a chance to retaliate.
Since close range is Reaper’s forte, avoid running headlong into a fight. Plenty of heroes can take you out before you’re in range, and there’s nothing worse than Reaper getting mauled by Mercy’s peashooter.
Ability 1: Wraith Form
- Description: Reaper becomes invulnerable, moves faster and automatically reloads his shotguns, but can’t deal damage
- Duration: 3 seconds
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
Wraith Form allows Reaper to turn into a spectral entity that makes him completely invulnerable for 3 seconds. It’s perfect for escaping a fight you can’t win, fleeing an exploding D.Va mech or avoiding enemy fire when trapped in a Junkrat mine.
Additional Wraith Form Benefits
- Debuffs any negative effects, such as Zenyatta’s Discord Orb
- Allows Reaper to collect health packs and Soul Globes
- Reloads Reaper’s shotguns automatically
- Increases Reaper’s movement speed by 7.1 meters/second
- Allows Reaper to contest objects and payloads
- Negates all enemy attacks. Less obvious attacks include using Wraith Form to escape Mei’s Blizzard, Zarya’s
- Gravitation Surge and Tracer’s Pulse Bomb
- Reaper can’t be hacked by Sombra while using Wraith Form
Another great way to use Wraith Form is to let a fight break out between both sides, then Wraith Form through the fight behind enemy shields. Not only are you causing a major distraction (a few enemies will likely keep their eye on you, leaving them exposed), but you’ll be able to take out Reinhardt or Mercy while the main fight draws everyone’s attention.
Ability 2: Shadow Step
- Description: Teleports Reaper to any location within range
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Shadow Step enables Reaper to warp to any location up to 35 meters away from. It’s a bonafide flanking ability, allowing Reaper to place himself in strategic locations and get the drop on the opposing team.
That said, Shadow Step has a couple drawbacks. While casting, you’re vulnerable to attacks and glow like a Christmas tree, making you particularly enticing target for snipers. It’s also extremely loud—enemies can hear Shadow Step by the tell-tale sound of squawking crows, but they won’t necessarily know where Reaper is. Avoid using this ability where enemies can clearly see you.
Passive Ability: The Reaping
- Description: Reaper consumes the Soul Globes of dead enemies, regaining 50 HP per globe
Whenever an enemy is eliminated, they’ll leave behind a Soul Globe that only Reaper can see and use. Pick up a globe and Reaper gains 50 HP—wipe out a team and Reaper is fully charged. Since Reaper won’t be around his healers too often, The Reaping keeps him topped up while on-the-go.
Note that Soul Globes only last on the battlefield until the enemy that dropped it respawns. In addition, Soul Globes can’t heal Reaper beyond his max HP of 250.
Ultimate: Death Blossom
- Description: The Reaper empties his guns into all nearby enemies.
- Damage: 200 per second (600 max)
- Duration: 3 seconds
Reaper unloads his shotguns in a twirling cyclone that hits all enemies within range, Death Blossom is incredibly powerful, with the potential to wipe an entire enemy team, provided they are bunched up and distracted.
In spite of the Reaper being primarily a solo hero, Death Blossom works well when combined with other ultimate abilities. A Nano-Boosted Reaper is nearly unstoppable when using Death Blossom, while Zarya’s Gravitation Surge can group everyone together for any easy Team Kill.
Note that movement speed is reduced while using Death Blossom, and outside of another character stunning you there’s no way to stop Death Blossom once it starts.
Tips for using Death Blossom
As you face more experienced players, Death Blossom becomes increasingly predictable. With that in mind, try to stay hidden and use Shadow Step to your advantage. Wait for a fight to break out and use the element of surprise.
Even though Reaper can become predictable, certain tactics can work against uncoordinated teams. If you can’t Shadow Step anywhere in time, try using Wraith Form to drift directly into the fight, then immediately use Death Blossom. If your squad is pushing behind you, the enemy team won’t be able to track your Wraith Form movements while defending at the same time.
Remove an enemy D.Va from her mech before attempting Death Blossom, as she can easily use Defence Matrix to negate your ult. On the other hand, if your team has a D.Va she can use Defence Matrix to protect you.
Soul Globes can still be consumed while using Death Blossom, helping Reaper polish off any survivors.
For optimal effect, combine Death Blossom with the following abilities:
- Reinhardt’s Earthshatter
- Zarya’s Gravitation Surge
- Winston’s Barrier Shield
- Mei’s Blizzard
- Sombra’s EMP
Death Blossom can be countered by:
- Lucio’s Sound Barrier
- Ana’s Sleep Dart
- Sombra’s EMP
- McCree’s Flashbang
- Roadhog’s Chain Hook
- Genji’s Deflect (which will also kill Reaper in the process)
- D.Va’s Defense Matrix
- Winston, Reinhardt and Orisa shields (Death Blossom can break these but will deal significantly less damage to enemies)
General Tips & Strategy
Rule of thumb for any map is that Reaper is most effective in enclosed spaces, where the damage of the shotguns can be used to full effect. Wraith Form allows for quick escapes and Shadow Step can place you behind your opponent and out of harm’s way.
On Assault maps, Reaper’s strategy works on both Attack and Defense: flank, kill, move. Whether you’re picking off lone wolves in smaller areas or massacring the entire enemy team when they’re bunched up in open spaces, the protocol is the same.
On Control maps, this character may not be the best choice since to capture control points you can’t exactly flee.
Reaper isn’t good at hunkering down, but once you do have points for your team, Reaper is good for picking off potential invaders. Death Blossom can clear out a group of opponents bunched up on a control point or stop a team from pushing before they even touch the objective.
If your target is facing you, you’re doing something wrong. If you’ve been in a fight for more than a few seconds, you’re also doing something wrong. Reaper’s kit is designed to get in and get out, preferably from hard to reach places where opponents least expect you.
Always go for low health enemies to benefit from Reaper’s passive ability, and remember that you can still pick up health packs and Soul Globes while in Wraith Form. Shadow Step is a fantastic way to escape when in enclosed spaces, but it’s also a sure way of getting killed out in the open, as you’re vulnerable while it’s casting.
Remember that people seldom look upwards, and most cover protects from attacks on the same plane as the person using it. Attacking from above, especially when firing your ult, is a great way to not only to get the jump on your opponents but to ensure that they’re not being protected by anything.
Using Wraith Form automatically reloads Reaper’s guns. Unload your entire clip (hopefully killing someone in the process), Wraith Form to collect their Soul Globe, line up your next target and immediately start firing with freshly reloaded shotguns.
Specific Map Tips
Reaper is comfortable on any map, but here are a few he’s particularly well-suited for.
Hug the city sides of this map (as opposed to the cliff side) and work your way through the alleys until you’re close to the enemy spawn point. From here, you can quickly eliminate stray enemies from behind and Wraith Form away into various nooks and crannies. Since teams like to set up right by the entrance to the Well arena, you can drop Death Blossom behind them with usually great results.
King’s Row provides plenty of flanking opportunities for Reaper to attack unsuspecting victims. Use vantage points like the large archway that looks over Point A to pring a sneaky Death Blossom at just the right moment.
At the third chokepoint on El Dorado (the high archway outside the bank right before entering the Lumerico building) Reaper can take the high ground, which circles around the entire square. Wait for the enemy team to group up before spring Death Blossom from above.
Bastion: Bastion is vulnerable from behind, taking twice as much damage from his weak spot so flanking him is an excellent option. Use Shadow Step to position yourself behind him,
Mei: Although Mei sports a strong close-range weapon, the Reaper’s DPS and health are just too high giving him the upper hand. Shadow Step is an easy way to get behind her Ice Wall.
Winston: A lone Winston is an easy target for Reaper, as he mainly relies on allies for cover. Stick with your team and wait for Winston to dive behind you, then walk inside his bubble shield and start shooting.
Widowmaker: As a long-range sniper, Widowmaker is precisely the kind of enemy Reaper is meant to deal with. Her Venom Mine can be avoided with Shadow Step or healed with Wraith Form if triggered.
Reaper is countered by
D.Va: Although Reaper can make quick work of most tanks, D.Va poses a problem. Her Defense Matrix can protect allies from his short-range attacks and eat Death Blossom, leaving Reaper defenseless (and probably a little embarrassed!)
McCree: McCree’s Flashbang gives him the upper hand against Reaper, which can cancel Death Blossom too. He can also land a quick headshot against any Reaper using Shadow Step.
Pharah: Reaper can’t do much against flying opponents, and while Mercy is simply beyond his range, Pharah can easily kill the Reaper without being in any danger herself.
Lucio: Sound Barrier completely negates Death Blossom, while Soundwave can push a Reaper out of effective range. Additionally, Lucio can heal and increase the movement speed of allies making him the most dangerous counter to the Reaper.
Reaper’s rare skins are all colored variations of his Classic skin—a hooded black cloak and sinister skull mask.
- Desert: A sandy tan cloak for desert operations.
- Wight: A completely white outfit, with accents of blood red.
- Shiver*: Reaper radiates icy blue frost and his cloak features a glowing snowflake motif to fit the festive seasonal event. (Winter Event)
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Nevermore: Reaper channels Edgar Allen Poe in this Raven-esque skin, complete with beaked mask and feathery cloak.
- Plague Doctor; A sickly brown and green recolor of Reaper’s Nevermore skin.
- El Blanco: A decorative white coat with golden accents and skull embroidery, inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead. Includes a stylish sombrero.
- Mariachi: A black and red recolor of El Blanco.
- Blackwatch Reyes: Gabriel Reyes as he appeared before becoming Reaper. Together with Jack Morrison (Solder 76), Reyes lead the original Overwatch strike team. (Overwatch: Origins Edition)
- Pumpkin*: This Halloween exclusive skin replaces Reaper head with a glowing jack’o’lantern. (Halloween Event)
- Biker*: Is there an edgier sport than BMX? Reaper wears a cool leather outfit with slick orange and black highlights. (Summer Games)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*