Widowmaker is a powerful sniper capable of eliminating heroes across the battlefield with a single shot. Her abilities are perfect for light reconnaissance: a grappling hook allows her to reach high-elevations and stay mobile, while her Ultimate ability enables her entire team to see enemies through walls.
In Overwatch lore, Widowmaker is a ruthless assassin that works for the criminal organization Talon. But before she became an ace sniper, Widowmaker was the renown French ballet dancer Amélie Lacroix. Her husband, Gerard, was a talented Overwatch agent that lead numerous assaults against Talon. Unable to eliminate Gerard, Talon kidnapped Amélie instead, torturing and manipulating her until she became a sleeper agent. She was discovered by Overwatch agents soon after, and returned to a normal life.
Then, two weeks later, she killed Gerard while he slept.
Talon proceeded to turn Amélie into the cold-blooded killing machine known as Widowmaker. Secret experiments slowed her heart rate and turned her skin blue, giving her inhuman accuracy while rendering her incapable of human emotion. She’s now Talon’s most effective assassin.
Although Widowmaker requires much more skill in terms of aim and accuracy, she’s a strong hero in the right hands.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 2.1 Base Stats
- 2.2 Main Attack: Widow’s Kiss (Sniper)
- 2.3 Tips for sniping
- 2.4 Main Attack: Widow’s Kiss (Assault)
- 2.5 Ability 1: Grappling Hook
- 2.6 Tips for using Grappling Hook
- 2.7 Ability 2: Venom Mine
- 2.8 Tips for using Venom Mine
- 2.9 Ultimate: Infra-Sight
- 2.10 When to use Infra-Sight
- 2.11 Tips for using Infra-Sight
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Fully charged headshots instantly kill most heroes
- Slim profile makes her difficult to hit
- “Wall hack” Ultimate ability enables Widowmaker’s whole team to see enemy positions
- Ineffective at short-range
- Long cooldown for abilities
- Ultimate ability doesn’t guarantee kills
- Health: 200
- Armor: None
Main Attack: Widow’s Kiss (Sniper)
- Description: When scoped, Widowmaker’s assault rifle becomes a powerful sniper rifle capable of charged shots.
- Damage: 12-120
- Ammo: 30 (3 per shot)
- Charge: 1 second to reach 100%
Widowmaker is a sniper, and you’ll be spending a lot of time shooting through her scoped rifle. You’ll notice three small bars and a percentage gauge below her crosshairs when aiming through the scope—this indicates the “charge” of her current shot. Always try to fire a fully charged shot when initiating combat, this way you can deal the most damage possible. Follow up with a quick succession of semi-charged shots to take out low-health characters.
Keep in mind that Widowmaker is much more vulnerable while aiming down her scope since her peripheral vision is pretty limited. Be aware of your surroundings and listen for enemy footsteps. Keep an eye on enemies that will flank or dive you as soon as they see you, such as Winston, Genji and Tracer.
Tips for sniping
- Always prioritize the enemies you snipe. Target support heroes in the backline first, as well as enemy snipers. Follow up with high-level assault heroes, like McCree and Soldier, before moving onto tanks, which should be your last target.
- Practice scoping, charging, firing and unscoping. The sooner you have a feel for quickly charging and lining up shots, the more dangerous you’ll be in combat.
- While sniping from high ground is a tactical advantage, it exposes Widow to the enemy team. Consider firing behind your tank’s shield on ground level, which also makes lining up headshots easier.
Main Attack: Widow’s Kiss (Assault)
- Description: When not sniping, Widowmaker’s gun is a fully-automatic assault rifle.
- Damage: 13
- Ammo: 30
Although you’ll mostly be sniping, Widowmaker does have a short/medium-range attack option in case you’re caught in a tight spot. You’ll have to compensate for a relatively wide spread, but otherwise her assault rifle is useful for gunning down pesky flankers and large tank characters that are low on health.
Widowmaker’s assault rifle is also useful for when you need to capture a point or push an objective. Widow players have a bad rap for not playing the objective or contesting the point. Don’t be that person! Use her rifle to get up close and personal with enemies in order to help your team.
Ability 1: Grappling Hook
- Description: Widowmaker fires a grappling hook which then reels her towards a new position.
- Cooldown: 12 seconds
Grappling Hook is a mobile utility that allows Widowmaker to reach new areas on the map. The hook needs to connect to a surface, such as a wall or object, in order for Widow to be drawn towards a new destination.
Note that, depending on the direction you’re moving, Grappling Hook adds a bit of velocity to Widowmaker’s movement. For instance, if you’re propelling upward Widowmaker will continue to move beyond the hook. This allows you to hook the edge of a platform and still be able to land on top of it.
This effect is enhanced further if you jump in the air before using Grappling Hook.
Tips for using Grappling Hook
- Use Grappling Hook to reach new sniping spots. See below for specific tips on where Widowmaker can position herself effectively.
- Use Grappling Hook to quickly escape a fight or explosion.
- Use Grappling Hook to cross distances other heroes can’t.
- You can scope and fire while in mid-air. Flashy, but effective.
Note that you can cancel Grappling Hook in mid-air by pressing the jump button. This will not reset the cooldown, though, so be careful when you choose to disengage.
Ability 2: Venom Mine
- Description: Widowmaker fires an adhesive proximity mine that explodes when enemies are near, damaging them over 5 seconds.
- Damage: 75
- Cooldown: 15 seconds
- Duration: 5 seconds
Widowmaker is an opportunist that can either cordon off an area of the map with heavy sniper fire, or wait for her prey to fall into a trap. Her Venom Mine ability allows her to soften up flankers and supports, making them easier to finish off with a charged body shot.
There are two great uses for Venom Mine: (1) to weaken squishy targets; and (2) to warn you of nearby flankers. Playing as Widowmaker means you’ll be spending a lot of time separated from your team. This gives sneaky flankers a chance to take you out 1-on-1. Venom Mine can be used as a alert system, warning you of anyone closing in on your location.
Place mines in narrow corridors that flankers will use to conceal their approach from your gaze. As soon as it detonates, either prepare for an incoming threat, or grapple hook away from the area to confuse your pursuers.
Note that enemies can destroy a Venom Mine before it deals damage by simply firing at it. Take advantage of Venom Mine’s adhesive nature to hide it from their line of sight. A great place to attach them is above doorway entrances, on ceilings, and within foliage.
Tips for using Venom Mine
- Venom Mine is an AOE ability that effects all enemies within a 3 meter radius.
- Venom Mine does not damage Widowmaker or allies.
- Placing a new Venom Mine automatically eliminates the previous mine if no one has triggered it yet.
- Genji can use Deflect against your Venom Mine in mid-air, damaging you instead.
- D.va can absorb Venom Mine with her Defense Matrix.
- Symmetra’s turrets will target and eliminate a Venom Mine if it’s in their range.
- Venom Mine does not attach to shields.
- Description: Widowmaker activates her recon visor, allowing her (and her entire team) to see each enemy’s exact position.
- Damage: None
- Duration: 15.5 seconds
Widowmaker’s Ultimate ability is either tremendously effective or virtually useless, depending on how it’s used. For roughly 15 seconds, you and your team are able to see the position of each enemy on the battlefield. Known colloquially as a wall-hack, the only other characters with this ability are Hanzo (Sonic Arrow) and Sombra (Opportunist).
More often than not, Widow players with simply fire off this ability without giving it much thought. After all, it highlights every enemy in a bright red silhouette, making them slightly easier to hit (especially as they turn a corner).
However, clever Widow players will know when to use this ability so that it helps them and their team.
When to use Infra-Sight
- Against advanced players, enemy teams will often group up before advancing on your position. Counter their push by using Infra-Sight before they have a chance to initiate.
- Infra-Sight is a great way to reveal flankers such as Genji, Tracer and Sombra that are harassing your team while hiding in and out of cover.
- Use Infra-Sight to help you prioritize targets and threats. Is a Mercy hiding from a big team fight so she can Rez her fallen comrades? Infra-Sight will allow your team to flush her out so she doesn’t save the game.
Tips for using Infra-Sight
- Infra-Sight has a meter on the left-side of Widowmaker’s HUD that shows how much time is left before the effect wears off.
- Infra-Sight can easily be heard by the enemy team when Widowmaker activates it. However, unless that team is coordinated they won’t be able to react to your wall-hack efficiently.
- On that note, try to coordinate with your team before using Infra-Sight. Are they worried about Pharah trying to flank behind and use Barrage? Maybe there’s a Reaper creeping around the objective, biding time until he can use Death Blossom. Infra-Sight will reveal these pesky heroes to your team.
- If you’re fighting against Symmetra, try to use Infra-Sight to locate her Teleporter or Shield Generator. Although you won’t be able to see the exact location, you’ll be able to see any enemies coming out of a Teleporter, and you might be able to see where Symmetra goes to hide it.
- Infra-Sight’s wall-hack benefit continues to aid your allies even if you die while it’s active.
General Tips & Strategy
Keep moving. Don’t linger in one sniper spot for long, as the enemy will be on the lookout for you. Use Grapple Hook to relocate as soon as it’s available.
Don’t draw attention to yourself. A common mistake Widowmaker players make is to fire from one spot until the enemy notices her, then try to escape before they take her down. Instead, fire 1-2 shots, preferably shooting to kill. If you don’t get an elimination, it’s okay. Relocate and try again.
Try to charge every single scoped shot to 100%. The only time you’ll need to fire rapid uncharged shots is if an enemy is extremely low and health.
Go for headshots, but body shots are important too. It’s hard to nail consistent headshots, especially when under pressure. If you’re accuracy is starting to slip, don’t fret. You can still contribute by making fully charged body shots.
Always keep space from your enemy. It takes time and experience to calculate the appropriate distance between you and the enemy team, but eventually you’ll know how far back you need to reset in order to set up the perfect sniper’s nest. When in doubt, try to include a chokepoint in your line of sight, so that enemies are forced to squeeze through your shots.
Widowmaker’s footsteps are some of the loudest in the game. Bear in mind that if you’re behind enemy lines, you’ll want to crouch or stand relatively still in order to go undetected.
Listen for the sound of Reaper’s Shadow Step. He can teleport right behind you and kill you with two shots. If you hear him, you have enough time to lineup a headshot before he’s able to move out of Shadow Step’s animation.
Specific Map Tips
There are plenty of potential sniper perches to take advantage of in Overwatch. Here’s a list of our top locations for lining up the perfect headshot.
Attack Widows can open the match from the cathedral’s tower, seriously weakening the enemy defense from the get go. Otherwise, Widow can snipe from the second floor balcony of the theatre, which overlooks Point A. Defending Widowmakers can hold Point B by covering the entrance into the factory from the roof of the main Mega Health Pack room (the one that’s along the payload’s route).
On Defense, Widow can hold the high ground that wraps around Point A. She has a clear shot of the first chokepoint from the right side of the map (just watch for flankers taking the bottom passage). Widowmaker can either aggressively hold Point B from the main entrance to the factory (where there’s a ramp going up and down, sniping at targets as they make their way through the large clearing from their spawn. Or she can pull back and hold the last balcony before the Defender’s spawn room, which overlooks Point B.
Who says snipers aren’t good on Control maps? Widowmaker has three options on The Ruins map of Ilios. The first is above the Mega Health Pack room along the side of the cliff (right before the control point). The second is above the first entrance to the ruins, which as a large patch of foliage to conceal yourself in. The third spot is pretty sneaky—it’s on top of one of the broken columns that surrounds the main control point. Use Grapple Hook to land on the column, which gives you a clear shot of the entire arena, as well as any enemies coming from their spawn room.
A good Widowmaker is easily one of the most powerful characters in the game, capable of killing enemies across an entire map. As such, she does have some hard counters that can dispatch her easily if they feel like she’s too much of a threat.
Ana: Sniper fight! While Hanzo is an equal match against Widowmaker, Ana is much weaker in a 1-on-1 sniper battle. First of all, she needs to prioritze healing her team over attacking enemies, even if that means weakening Widowmaker. Second of all, Ana can’t deal headshot damage. This means Widowmaker automatically has a damage advantage when it comes to who can kill each other the fastest.
Sombra: Widowmaker’s wall-hacking Ultimate ability gets the better of Sombra, who is revealed through walls regardless of whether she’s using her stealth ability or not. Sombra usually teleports back to her translocator if she takes damage. Infra-Sight not only reveals where she teleports to, but Widowmaker can take her out before she’s even able to transport away.
Zenyatta: Zen’s slow mobility and predictable positioning make him vulnerable to Widowmaker. Widow can one-shot Zenyatta with a headshot, and chances are she’ll be far enough away that he won’t be able to throw a Discord Orb on her.
Widowmaker is countered by
Tracer: Tracer is a huge nuisance to most heroes in Overwatch, but she’s especially good at sneaking up on Widowmaker and shredding her to pieces. A single round of her dual pistols is enough to kill Widowmaker before she has a chance to escape. Tracer can Blink around the battlefield quickly, making it hard for Widow to track accurately. Keep to the high ground and use your Grapple Hook to change positions often in order to confuse Tracer.
Genji: Genji is one of the best counters to Widowmaker. He can double-jump and wall climb, making him a difficult target to hit while being able to reach Widow in all of her spots. He can Deflect her Venom Mine and instantly kill her if he Deflects a headshot. Switch to your close-range assault rifle and try to weaken him with a Venom Mine if you can’t avoid a 1-on-1 fight.
Winston: This big ol’ ape will rain on Widowmaker’s parade as soon as possible. Winston is able to Leap and reach Widow in all of her sniping spots, and can pursue her quickly if she grapples away. His large size and huge health pool make it difficult for Widow to eliminate him before he zaps her to death.
Widowmaker’s Rare skins are colored variations of her Classic skin—a skintight purple outfit that doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
- Patina: A dark gold outfit with hints of green.
- Winter: A white outfit with frosty blue outlines.
- Tricolore*: A striking red, white and blue outfit in honor of France, Widowmaker’s homeland. (Summer Games)
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Odile: “For much of her life, Amélie Lacroix was better known as an accomplished ballet dancer in Paris.”
- Odette: A black and teal ballerina costume reveals Widowmaker’s artistic side.
- Huntress: A traditional uniform preferred by hunters. WIdowmaker wears a black and gold jacket over a crimson vest.
- Comtesse: A regal outfit that’s remeniscent of Napolean’s traditional outfit.
- Noire*: A sleek black and hot pink sniper’s uniform. Widow’s hair is tied into a giant dreadlocked braid. (Overwatch Pre-Order Bonus)
- Talon*: Widowmaker as she appeared in the early days working for Talon. Her skin isn’t purple yet… (Uprising Event)
- Cote d’Azur*: A tropical blue bikini that reveals Widowmaker’s giant leg tattoo. Her recon visor is replaced with a stylish pair of sunglasses. (Summer Games)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*