September 19 , 2016

HANZO GUIDE - In depth analysis on how and when to play him (The wolf marks its prey!)

1. Introduction
2. Strengths and Weaknesses
3. Skills and Abilities
4. Shooting
5. How to use your abilities
6. How to play Hanzo strategically (in-depth)
7. How to improve your mechanics
8. Picks and counterpicks
9. How to play against a good Hanzo
10. Conclusion



- Role - Defense

- Difficulty - High

- What is he good at - Hanzo is a mid-long range sniping type of champion that excels at getting picks before the fights even start. A good aim is obligatory when playing him and shooting for the head is one of the core things that will differ a good from an average Hanzo. With your passive wall climb you can position yourself far back and stay relatively safe while providing damage and vision (sonic arrow). He is better as defender, but on few maps can work as attacker too. Hanzo received a few nerfs and then buffs and his place in our Overwatch champion tier list has been going up and down! He is one of the favourite picks for a few of our Overwatch boosters due to his almost unlimited skill cap!

2. Strengths and Weaknesses (in-depth Hanzo analysis)

- Strengths - Hanzo is extremely fun and is the favourite hero of many Overwatch players from different skill ranges. He is extremely powerful in the hands of a good shooter. If you manage to get the headshots flowing this guarantees you a pick on the squishier targets. Hanzo is slippery if there is vertical terrain surrounding him. His very high skill cap makes him a deadly pick both when solo playing and with the proper 6 person team. The range he has on his bow is matched only by the snipers in the game, but if you are good you can outplay even a good Widowmaker. He is best suited for mid range shooting though. He has the highest damage Ultimate in the game which can singlehandedly stop attackers, and if combined with a Zarya ult can completely wipe the enemies.

- Weaknesses - The main weakness of Hanzo is that he has way too many counters. Genji, Winston, Widow and many others can make his game really hard and if they focus on doing that they will most likely succeed. Low movement speed. Positioning is extremely important. He is squishy and extremely dependent on how good you are shooting in the game. He is not fast and on some maps struggles to be mobile enough. Hanzo is not a pick you would want to see on each map.

3.Skills (Abilities)



Hanzo nocks and fires an arrow at his target.


Hanzo launches an arrow that contains a sonar tracking device. Any enemy within its detection radius is visibly marked, making them easier for Hanzo and his allies to hunt down.


Hanzo shoots a fragmenting arrow that ricochets off walls and objects and can strike multiple targets at once.


Hanzo summons a Spirit Dragon which travels through the air in a line. It passes through walls in its way, devouring any enemies it encounters.

4. Shooting (aim)

As previously pointed out a good aim is absolutely obligatory for Hanzo players.

His arrows do not have falloff damage with distance making him a long-range sniping type of champion. A thing that each player feels when starting to play him is the slight projectile that his arrows have when shooting. The more you hold the left mouse button before releasing the arrow the less projectile it will have, but it’s still there. What that means is that besides proper aim you need to have a sense of distance and calculate the exact trajectory that your shots will have. The longer the distance the higher you should aim. Getting a high % of hits is easier from mid-range, but that leaves you vulnerably to flankers and divers so you should always think where to position. Always charge your arrows fully when you can.

When someone attacks you from short range try to hit the head. You can not shoot too many arrows (cooldown on your shots) and if you try to spam them one after the other they deal significantly reduced damage. Everyone that has ever seen a bow knows why.

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5.How to use your abilities

Hanzo is not that hard to get used to. His abilities are pretty straight forward but the way to use them is where the mastery of the champion shows.

Passively Hanzo can climb walls. This allows you to get on high grounds easily, escape close combats, position yourself where enemies wont expect. Always think of the terrain in both vertical and horizontal way and use the advantage you have. Your movement speed is low so the passive is a must use.

Your Sonic arrow is probably one of the most useful abilities you have in terms of utility. Proper usage benefits your whole team and makes surprising attacks and flanks almost impossible. Use this ability on cooldown (20 sec). Aim for choke points, and places where you expect the enemies to be and come from. Combining that with the fact you have a wallhack the % of shots hit when u have vision should increase a lot.

Scatter arrow - aim for the ground in front of your enemies. Get some geometry in play and basically use this ability on cooldown. Save it only if you are expecting a flanker to appear. You can easily 1 shot a Tracer or a Genji with a proper Scatter arrow and you wont even need to try super hard to shoot the guy in the head.

Hanzo’s Ult is an skill can be combined with a lot of other champions abilities. It can make use of the map terrain extremely efficiently also. Zarya ult, Mei ult or wall, Reinhardt ult, Widow ult or even your Sonic arrow can be the perfect setup for getting multiple kills. Other times when u can not count on your team mates you can just shoot your dragon in a line where the enemies will have limited possibilities to move (small paths, choke points, the objectives etc.).

6. How to play Hanzo strategically (in-depth)

- Payload maps (attack & defense) - Payload maps revolve around movement and ability to fight in a constantly changing environment. Some places are better suited for the attackers, while other are like a well protected fortress. Hanzo on Defense is a good choice on these maps, but you need to think of your team composition before selecting him. Attacking on payload maps with him is occasional and in many cases not advisable. However he can make it work. King’s row, Numbani are maps where you can consider picking him even as attacker and look for that quick first pick before the fights. Your main concern on these maps is your positioning and movement. Never stay too close so that you can get rushed by the enemies. Think of the surrounding and stay near walls or just occupy the high grounds. One thigh that is certain is that if you are performing well the enemies will send a Genji, Winston or a Tracer to flank you and annihilate you. Think of the places where these champions can come from and be prepared to either shoot at them prior to their actual attack or to move quickly to a safer location. Having a support around you is also vital for your long term success since you don’t have any sustain. Either call out your supporters or get closer to them when needed, or look for a Healing pack anytime someone damages you. Staying at full health most of the time is crucial!

Leave the escorting part to your teammates and avoid being in the center of the action. You are a person that wants to stay in the back or at a high ground location separated from your team so that you can spam your arrows and headshots. Find a safe spot where you can periodically hide and appear so that you aren’t vulnerable at all time. A big factor on what you can do in the game is how both teams tanks perform. If the enemy tanks prevail you might have a hard time, since you’ll most likely need to reposition and maintain the distance advantage. This in many cases will limit your impact.

- Capture maps (attack & defense) - Defending on these is a good choice. Usually on these maps there is a choke point that is really hard to pass. Hanamura gate, Temple of Anubis gate and so on. These locations are perfect for a Hanzo. You have time to prepare your position and be the real damage dealer of your team. Your front line tanks will take the bigger chunk of damage and you should be safe in the back. It’s very important to stop the first rush at the start of the game. If you do so your team will charge their ultimates much faster than the enemies and you will have a huge edge for the upcoming fights.

Attacking however is not the road you want to take. These choke points are usually not well suited for long range shooting so your better choices are other champions like Mccree, Pharah, Genji. In most occasions when you try to snipe someone you will be in a vulnerably position. You are rarely going to find an optimal chance to do your part when you constantly need to move forward. In that regard you leave your team to do the heavy lifting, but if they don’t succeed you won’t either.

- Control maps - Control maps are full of action and litterary non-stop fighting. Close up encounters happen quite often. Staying in safe distance is a rare luxury. These are one of the main reasons why you should avoid playing Hanzo on KOTH maps. There are champion much better suited for these type of battles. Hanzo might be an alright pick on Ilios - Ruins. Apart from that do not consider him as your main choice.

7.How to improve your mechanics

o Basic mechanics you need to know / master

As said before shooting properly is obligatory. First start with some practice mode time. Get used to the projectile of your arrows and test it with different duration of its charge (LMB). Get different distance from your targets to get used to aiming from different places. Shooting for the head is usually the way to go, but for start just try to hit the body while moving.

o Advanced mechanics you need to know / master

Combining Sonic arrow to provide vision behind corners and after that Hitting a Scatter arrow, that will bounce from the walls next to it (Scatter arrow) will be a beneficial damage output in many occasions when you have nothing else to do. Setting up an attack is usually not instant so you need to make use of the time that you are not in the middle of the fight. Think of your Scatter arrow ability as something that doesn’t require a lot of aim, but more of a geometrical prediction. Shoot for near flat terrain and calculate the bounce direction. If you are getting a close-up face to face fight use it on the ground in front of your enemy.

A pro Hanzo thinks about many different things at all time. Positioning is one of the main aspects you want to be familiar with. High grounds are favourable for this champion, but not obligatory. Moving from place to place if it’s short distance is alright so preparing your paths in advance is advisable. Combine that with your vertical movement to get where you need to be faster. Using the walls is a must. Most champions won’t be able to follow you if you play your cards right even if they try to dive you.

Different maps - different locations you want to focus on, but your main task remains the same. Hit as many shots as you can, try to one-shot the squishier enemies and stand at places where it’s harder for the opposing team to get to you.


8.Picks and counterpicks

Picking him usually means you need a long range damage source or someone that can get a pick before the fight starts. Consider another champion if your composition has enough offensive power, but lacks tanks, disruptive champions or a reliable support. Avoid picking Hanzo on Control maps and also on most maps as Attacker.

Counterpicks: Genji, Winston, Widow, Tracer, Reinhardt, Zarya.

Example teamcomp where Hanzo will fit looks like that, but can be good in a thousand different ways:

Hanzo, Soldier, Zarya, Reinhard, Zenyatta, Lucio.

9. Playing against a good Hanzo

Countering a good Hanzo can be easy on some maps and extremely hard on others. A factor is how his team will play around the Hanzo. If they protect him well the task becomes 2x harder.

What you want to mostly focus on is getting in close battle with him. A pick like Winston, Genji, Tracer is perfect for the task. Another way to block a lot of the damage that a Hanzo can bring is to get a Reinhardt and advance with his shield blocking the shots. Pharah and Mccree can work, but can turn into a disaster also - here it’s about who will outplay who, giving the range fights edge to Hanzo and the rest to Pharah and Mccree.

You want to be in the face of the enemy Hanzo and force him to move into directions he wouldn’t usually want to go. Forcing his movement gives a breathing room for your team and a time window where they wont be punished by the damage he provides, sometimes that is just enough to take the objective and advance further on in the map.


Hanzo is a hero that can benefit a team significantly on some maps and in the correct team compositions. However he is an occasional pick. Your team needs to know how to act when they have a Hanzo in their team and provide at least some protection for him. He is a high damage hero that can turn fights around singlehandedly. Synergizes well with many champions, but has strong counters too. Requires great aim and tactical thinking.

Hope you guys liked our Overwatch Hanzo Guide! Please like / share on the social networks to help other players find their style.

Check out our Overwatch champion tier list regularly to stay up to date with what and when to play! You can find ahero guidefor each character you like and improve significantly for your next games!

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