Sombra is a stealthy assault character that manipulates the flow of battle by hacking characters and health packs.
She’s particularly effective against tanks, as her Hack ability disables shields and renders most short-range characters vulnerable. Her Ultimate ability, EMP, can shutdown enemy ults and disrupt even the most coordinated teams.
In Overwatch lore, Sombra was left orphaned by Omnic Crisis. Growing up on the war torn streets of Mexico, she survived using an innate sense of cyber manipulation. She eventually joined the gang Los Muertos as their resident hacker-in-chief, targeting government officials that were rebuilding Mexico primarily as a means to enrich themselves.
As her attacks became more widespread, she caught the attention of Talon, an elite criminal organization. Since joining their ranks, she fights alongside Widowmaker, Doomfist and Reaper. Having sided against Talon in the past though, it would appear Sombra is beholden to no one, proving that she can keep everyone in the shadows with her skills.
Sombra’s greatest strength is causing chaos and confusion on the battlefield. By creeping behind enemies, she can slowly pick off low-health characters, deny health packs in contested battle zones, and generally be a nuisance by hacking and disappearing.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 2.1 Base Stats
- 2.2 Main Attack: Machine Pistol
- 2.3 Tips for attacking
- 2.4 Ability 1: Hack
- 2.5 Hacking enemies
- 2.6 Enemies to prioritize hacking
- 2.7 Enemies that don’t need to be hacked
- 2.8 Hacking health packs
- 2.9 Hacking turrets
- 2.10 Ability 2: Thermoptic Camo
- 2.11 Tips for using Thermoptic Camo
- 2.12 Abilities that counter Thermoptic Camo
- 2.13 Ability 3: Translocator
- 2.14 Tips for using Translocator
- 2.15 Translocator mechanics
- 2.16 Translocator + Camo + Hack Combo
- 2.17 Passive Ability: Opportunist
- 2.18 Ultimate: EMP
- 2.19 Tips for EMP
- 2.20 Combine EMP with these abilities
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Can disable enemy abilities and Ultimates using Hack and EMP
- Good against large targets, such as tanks and DPS heroes
- Powerful stealth and teleportation capabilities with short cooldown times
- Weak damage output and accuracy
- Indirect Ultimate ability relies heavily on team coordination and follow up attacks
- Translocator can can be seen by enemies
- Health: 200
- Armor: None
Main Attack: Machine Pistol
- Description: A lightweight submachine gun that sprays bullets in a scattered spread.
- Damage: 2-8 per bullet
- Ammo: 60
Sombra’s primary attack is a short-range submachine gun.
While it’s innefective in most 1-on-1 encounters, her Machine Pistol can wreak havoc on unsuspecting foes, especially if Sombra initiates combat from behind. It also pairs well with her passive ability, which reveals the location of any enemy whose health is below 50%.
Tips for attacking
- Try to engage enemies from behind as much as possible. Sombra is relatively weak in a head-on encounter, but she excels at catching enemies off guard.
- Due to the wide spread of her Machine Pistol, it’s best to target tanks and large characters that can soak up a bunch of her bullets.
- In general, use Hack on a target before using your primary attack. You won’t be able to hack anything if you’re taking damage, so it’s best to engage with Hack, then start firing.
Ability 1: Hack
- Description: Sombra’s bread and butter, Hack is a versatile ability that can disable an enemy’s abilities for 6 seconds, deny and buff health packs, and disrupt Torbjorn turrets.
- Cooldown: 8 seconds
- Duration (Abilities): 6 seconds
- Duration (Health/Ultimate Status): 20 seconds
- Duration (Health Pack): 60 seconds
- Duration (Turret): 10 seconds
Hack is an incredible ability, and one you’ll likely be making the most use of as Sombra. With Hack, Sombra can do the following:
- Enemies: Disable regular and Ultimate abilities for 6 seconds
- Health Packs: Increase regeneration speed and deny access to enemies for 60 seconds
- Turrets: Disable Torbjorn’s turret for 10 seconds
Hacking a character, turret or health pack requires you to be fairly close to each one. Keep in mind that if Sombra takes any damage while she’s hacking, her attempt will be cancelled. Making use of the back alleys and passages in each map will increase your chances of taking enemies by surprise.
- Enemies have a brief amount of time (0.8 seconds) to react to Sombra’s Hack before their abilities are shut off. During that time they’ll see and hear Sombra’s hacking, which appears as floating skulls on their HUD.
- Hacking an enemy does not disable their secondary fire, unless it’s tied to their HUD (i.e. Lucio’s Soundwave).
- Hacking an enemy does not disable their passive abilities. (i.e. Torbjorn can still see and collect scrap, Genji and Hanzo can still wall climb, etc.)
- Hack won’t begin to cooldown until its been used successfully on an opponent or object.
Enemies to prioritize hacking
Some enemies are better to Hack than others. Disabling Symettra’s turrets and shield doesn’t prevent her from melting you with her Projector Beam. On the flipside, hacking D.va, Reinhardt or Tracer pretty much makes them a sitting duck.
- Reinhardt, to take down his shield and ranged attack.
- Orisa, to prevent her from using Fortify and Projected Shield.
- Zarya, to prevent her from using Projected and Particle Barrier.
- Roadhog, to disable his hook and prevent him from healing with Take a Breather.
- Winston, to disable his ability to escape with Leap.
- McCree, to disable his Combat Roll and Flashbang.
- Reaper, to prevent him from using Wraith Form to escape.
- Mei, to prevent her from usinf Cryo-Freeze to heal herself.
- D.va, to prevent her from using Defense Matrix and Boost.
- Genji, to prevent him from using Deflect and Swift Strike.
Enemies that don’t need to be hacked
- Torbjorn. You’re only preventing him from deploying a new turret or throwing armor to his allies.
- Lucio. He’ll still be able to heal/speed boost his team, depending on which song was active when he was hacked.
- Junkrat. He can’t use his mines or traps, but he can still deal plenty of damage with his primary attack.
- Widowmaker. Sombra can follow her Grapple Hook using Translocator, and her Venom Mine isn’t dangerous enough to warrant hacking.
- Soldier. He’s still dangerous at close-range even without Helix Rockets and Biotic Field.
- Hanzo. You’ll knock out his Sonic Arrow and Scatter Arrow, but he’s still deadly at long-range.
Hacking health packs
Besides hacking enemies, Sombra can also deny enemies from picking up the health packs scattered around each map. You also get the following perks:
- Small health packs now respawn every 2.5 seconds.
- Mega health packs respawn every 3.75 seconds.
- Allies can see hacked health packs through walls.
- Small health packs recharge almost instantly when they’re hacked. This means you can prolong a 1-on-1 gunfight by simply hovering around your hacked health pack, healing yourself whenever the enemy tries to attack.
- You can’t hack a health pack that’s been hacked by an enemy Sombra. You’ll have to wait out the 60 seconds if you want to hack it for yourself.
- Health packs remain hacked even if Sombra is eliminated.
- Torbjorn turrets should be hacked from behind an ally’s shield, as Sombra needs to be close enough for Hack to initiate.
- Unless Torbjorn is being an utter menace to your team, save Hack for health packs and high threat enemies. It’s difficult for Sombra to Hack turrets without taking damage.
- EMP will also shutdown a Torbjorn turret if it’s in the radius blast. This is a great way to nullify Torbjorn’s Molten Core for a few seconds.
Ability 2: Thermoptic Camo
- Description: Sombra activates a stealth cloak that buffs her movement speed and makes her invisible to the enemy. Any attacks that are made or received cancel the effect.
- Cooldown: 6 seconds
- Duration: 6 seconds (max)
- Movement speed: 8.8 meters per second
Sombra’s main means of getting behind the enemy line, Thermoptic Camo turns Sombra invisible while giving her movement speed a slight buff.
Note that all enemies can still see Sombra as a faint shimmer if she gets too close. Even while camouflaged, try to keep a distance between yourself and any nearby enemies.
Tips for using Thermoptic Camo
- Thermoptic Camo is disabled when Sombra uses her primary fire or when she attempts to Hack. However, it’s not disabled when she throws or teleports to a Translocator beacon.
- Thermoptic Camo begins to cooldown only after the ability is deactivated.
- The cooldown for Thermoptic Camo is suprisingly short, therefore you should always be using it in tandem with Sombra’s other abilities.
- Sombra’s movement speed increases significantly when Thermoptic Camo is active. Use this to quickly chase or flank weak characters.
Abilities that counter Thermoptic Camo
If Sombra is revealed by an enemy, a bright red “Revealed!” will flash on Sombra’s HUD. Her Thermoptic Camo won’t be deactivated, but the enemy will be able to see her position regardless. Also, if Sombra is revealed she is susceptible to auto-aim attacks like McCree’s Deadeye and Soldier’s Tactical Visor.
- Hanzo’s Sonic Arrow reveals Sombra is she’s nearby.
- Widowmaker’s Infra-Sight reveals Sombra’s location.
- Sombra’s passive ability (Opportunist) will reveal an enemy Sombra is she is below 50% HP.
Ability 3: Translocator
- Description: Sombra throws a translocator device in an arc. She can teleport to its location instantly as long as it’s active.
- Cooldown: 4 seconds
- Duration: 15 seconds
Translocator is another versatile tool in Sombra’s arsenal. At first glance it might seem similar to Tracer’s Recall, but without the healing properties. But it’s actually quite different, as it allows Sombra to completely disengage from a fight at anytime. She can also choose the exact location to teleport to—either to close the distance between herself and a weak enemy, or gain an elevated advantage.
Tips for using Translocator
- Use Translocator as a way to scale buildings and objects. With a 4 second cool down, it’s better to use it frequently rather than sparingly.
- You can translocate in mid-air. Useful if you need to quickly escape an attack (like Reinhardt’s Charge), but still want to stay in the fight.
- Translocate is thrown with a bit of an arc, and can bounce off walls and objects. With some practice, you’ll be able to lob a translocator pretty far—just make sure it doesn’t fall off the map!
- The enemy can see Sombra’s Translocator device (it glows red instead of purple). Savvy players will know Sombra will likely lay a translocator in or around a hacked health pack. Try to alternate where you throw a translocator so they can’t see it, otherwise you might teleport right into a Helix Rocket.
Translocator + Camo + Hack Combo
Sombra’s abilities work in tandem to create suprisingly effective combos, some of which allow her to escape unscathed while ensuring her enemies are crippled during a team fight.
Indirect subterfuge is the basis of Sombra’s playstyle. By utilizing hacked health packs on a map, she can turn each one into a sort of mini base to return to. Before engaging in combat, get in the habit of doing the following combo: drop a Translocator by a health pack, turn on Thermoptic Camo, flank the enemy from behind and Hack a high-priority target. Then dish out a little bit of damage (or pick someone off, if possible) before translocating back to your hacked health pack. Wait for Translocator to cooldown, then repeat the process.
If the enemy flushes you out, simply claim a new health pack and work around that one instead.
Passive Ability: Opportunist
Description: Sombra can see injured enemies through walls, enabling her to prioritize weak and helpless targets.
Sombra can automatically detect and “wall-hack” any enemy with 50% of their HP or less remaining. Only Sombra can see injured enemies, but if you have a mic it’s worth coordinating weak enemies to your team.
It pairs well with Sombra’s health pack denial, as she can hunt weak foes that leave the battle looking for a health pack. You don’t have to chase after every low-health opponent, but if the opportunity arises, you might as well turn on Thermoptic Camo and go hunting.
- Description: Sombra releases an EMP blast that hacks enemies caught in the radius. It also disables any shields and turrets
- Radius: 15 meters
- Duration: 6 seconds
Sombra’s EMP blast is essentially an AoE version of her Hack ability. As soon has it’s triggered, she releases a blast of EMP energy around herself, hacking and disabling enemies, shields and turrets.
To make the most of this useful ability, try to coordinate with your team as much as possible. Similar to Zarya’s Graviton Surge, Sombra’s ultimate is a catalyst for devastating team kills. In one second, she can disable the shields and abilities that the enemy would have used to retaliate.
Tips for EMP
- EMP should be deployed before an impending team fight. This means you’ll need to make a couple informed judgement calls, like which enemies have their ultimate ability ready and how likely they will be to push. This way you can shutdown their entire attack before it’s even begun.
- Enemies cannot block EMP by hiding behind shields or turrets, as these are hacked and destroyed in the process.
- If you’re team is going to follow up with multiple strikes after EMP, it might be worth it to kamikaze yourself in a blaze of glory. Just translocate mid-air over the enemy team and drop EMP.
Combine EMP with these abilities
- Zarya’s Graviton Surge
- Reinhardt’s Earthshatter
- Pharah’s Barrage
- Doomfist’s Meteor Strike
General Tips & Strategy
Play around health packs. Especially small health packs, since they’re more numerous and can replenish Sombra’s HP fairly quickly. You don’t necessarily need to hack a mega health pack for yourself, but it’s great for your team to have even better to deny it from your enemy.
Maintain a balance between hacking health packs and hacking enemies. It may seem trivial to hack health packs, but it’s actually one of Sombra’s dominant roles. It’s even better if you can communicate with your team and tell them to work around your hacked health packs. Not only will EMP charge faster, but your team can keep their HP topped up.
Don’t commit to a fight you can’t win. Sombra isn’t a head on damage dealer. In fact, it’s best to play her as the hacker she truly is: try to remain present but invisible. The best Sombra’s are rarely seen or heard.
Use Thermoptic Camo to intitiate fights, use Translocator to disengage and escape. A common mistake made by Sombra players is to ignore Thermoptic Camo until they need to escape a fight. The problem with this strategy is that the enemy can disable your camo simply by dealing damage (even 1 HP worth of damage).
Try to Hack, attack and disengage before Translocator expires. There is a rinse-wash-repeat strategy to Sombra, but things get a bit tricky if your Translocator expires in the middle of a fight. Either back out of a fight, reset your Translocator and sneak your way back into the enemies defense, or hold out until Translocator is available. Lob it behind your enemy or into a nearby room to make a quick escape.
Don’t wait to combine EMP with another ultimate if the opportunity isn’t available. EMP can still disrupt an onslaught of enemy ultimates and abilities if you can deploy it before your opponent has a chance to react.
Specific Map Tips
Sombra performs pretty well on Assault, Escort and Control maps. She may not seem like an obvious choice for Defense, but if the enemy has a Sombra of their own, it might be worth adding Sombra in order to protect the health packs around each objective.
Temple of Anubis
While Defending Point B, hack the mega health pack that’s underneath the bridge leading into the point. Try to keep this pack hacked since it’s located along a commonly contested area. It also denies the attacking team from picking up the only mega health pack in this area.
On Attack, Sombra can activate Thermoptic Camo and toss a translocator through the elevated window on the left side of the gate. Or you can toss it over the gate. From here, either take the left passage around the edge of Point A, where you can hack a mini health pack behind the objective. This is a great base of operations for harassing the defending team. However, you can also translocate over the gate and Hack/EMP the defenders if they’re holding the choke.
Horizon Lunar Colony
On Defense, hack the mega health pack that’s in the room to the right of Objective B. There’s also a small health pack behind the truck on the left. Most attacking teams utilize the top left entrance into the arena. Right behind this chock and down the stairs there is another mega health pack you can hack.
While it may seem like Sombra can counter nearly every hero with a well-timed Hack, she does have a few weaknesses that can be exposed by certain heroes.
D.va: Sombra acts as a hard counter to D.va, disabling her powerful Defense Matrix ability and opening her up to a variety of attacks. Unable to Boost away from the battlefield or absorb incoming damage with Defense Matrix, D.va is essentially a walking shell waiting to be destroyed.
Reaper: Reaper can be a pain, especially when he escapes from a fight using Wraith Form, only to heal up and come back for more reaping. Sombra can put an abrupt end to this strategy, leaving him stranded and vulnerable if hacked at just the right moment.
Doomfist: Without any of his physical/mobile abilities, Doomfist is left with just his auto-reloading Hand Cannon to deal damage. His huge hitbox makes him easy for Sombra to spray with her Machine Pistol, and he’s susceptible to Hack whenever he leaps and lingers in mid-air.
Sombra is countered by
Hanzo: Hanzo is ideal for countering Sombra because he can constantly locate her presence using his Sonic Arrow ability, which allows his whole team to see nearby enemies through walls and obstacles. Sonic Arrow reveals Sombra whether she is invisible or not, meaning Hanzo can potentially kill her before she has a chance to react.
McCree: McCree can stun Sombra with a Flashbang before she can escape with Translocator. If she’s revealed by an enemy wall-hacking ability, such as Hanzo’s Sonic Arrow or Widowmaker’s Infra-Sight, she’s susceptible to his auto-aiming Deadeye Ultimate ability, too.
Sombra: Fight fire with fire, right? Hacking Sombra will disable her ability to escape using Translocator. She won’t be able to use her invisibility, either. Just make sure you’re not hacked first!
Sombra’s Rare skins are colored variations of her Classic skin—a black and violet cloak with cybernetic fibers wovern throughout.
- Glitch: A bright silver and green variation of her Rare skins. Sombra’s hair is died neon green as well.
- Virus: A silky pink and blue outfit. Sombra’s hair is died a stark white.
- Peppermint*: Sombra could be one of Santa’s little helpers. Her stockings are striped like a candy-cane, and her Machine Pistol looks like it’s covered in wrapping paper. (Winter Event)
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Azucar: “Orphaned after the Omnic Crisis, a young Sombra found a willing buyer for her hacking ability in Los Muertos.”
- Los Muertos: As the main hacker for the Mexican gang Los Muertos, Sombra liked to wear eyecatching Day of the Dead makeup.
- Augmented: Sombra’s more cyborg than human. A silver skirt and breastplate cover up black body armor that’s laced with hot pink.
- Cyberspace: Could this be Sombra’s online avatar? A black and white suit of armor contrasts with her bright blue hair.
- Tulum*: Sombra looks casual in this purple and green snorkler outfit. A pair of neon yellow fins dangle from her hips. (Summer Games)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*