Junkrat is a powerful but essentially defensive hero (though it may seem otherwise at first sight). He uses his frag launcher – an inaccurate but powerful grenade launcher – to try to kill his opponents. The grenades thus launched can even bounce against walls before exploding, making them difficult to predict for attacking opponents, and making any area they are launched in extremely hazardous for an enemy to pass through. The fact that the grenades bounce makes it possible to attack people and areas around corners or otherwise out of sight.
As Junkrat is immune to his own explosions, he can lay mines that can propel him to high ground, or otherwise enable him to cover ground quickly. These mines can of course be used to hurt enemies, but also to throw them into pits or other landscape hazards. He can also set traps, as well as drop grenades when he is killed that can take out an enemy even after Junkrat dies.
Note that Junkrat is a difficult hero to master, and it will take a lot of practice to use him effectively. However, he is also a difficult hero to counter when in the hands of a master. If you intend to play Junkrat professionally, you’ll have to master the timing of his weaponry, placing even projectiles in such a manner that they’re aimed, not at where your enemies are, but at where they will potentially be when the projectile lands. The same applies to Junkrat’s traps. Using Junkrat in pro play also requires that you choose your battles and battlegrounds carefully. You must choose when to fight and when to escape your opponents, and even so, you much choose just where you engage them with equal care.
Synergies and Counters
Junkrat is very effective at disrupting and damaging low mobility heroes.
Characters that work well with Junkrat…
Junkrat is most effective against…
Junkrat is physically quite weak and therefore has to stay hidden – or protected by other heroes – all the time.
Junkrat is most vulnerable to…
- Soldier 76
Junkrat’s capabilities and the basics of how to use them
Junkrat is an unpredictable and very dangerous hero. His watchword is destruction, but he has to use his capabilities wisely. He is unpredictable, but that very unpredictability can be both a strength and a weakness. His primary frag Launcher, for example, is excellent for slowing an enemy, or causing area damage to an enemy team, but is hardly effective in a one-on-one against a fast and agile hero.
Junkrat can launch a mine that has an 8 second delay. This can serve two purposes. As we said earlier, since Junkrat is immune to his own explosives, this mine can fling Junkrat aloft, and thus allow him to reach high points on a map. On the other hand, you can launch it to a certain distance and therefore to where an enemy is standing. In the explosion, the mine will inflict damage, but will also repel the victim. This technique is a good one to use against otherwise inaccessible enemies – for example, Junkrat can bring down a more agile enemy who has taken to the high ground in a map in this manner.
This ability allows you to use a steel trap that closes on an enemy when they step on it. It can immobilize an opponent for a few seconds and inflict damage. This technique can be used to directly trap characters like Tracer, who move at considerable speeds, and will not necessarily have time to see this trap. It can also be used to indirectly slow them down by forcing them to be more careful when they move, especially when in pursuit of Junkrat. Junkrat does not even have to use his ability to do this. The ability’s cooldown is 10 seconds.
Junkrat isn’t immortal, of course. However, he drops grenades when he dies, which means that he can take out enemies that are too close to him at the point where he dies. This happens automatically whenever this hero is taken down.
This is Junkrat’s ultimate ability, and it allows him to launch a wheel with spikes that rolls across the battlefield. This murderous wheel can even climb walls and cross obstacles. The wheel explodes after ten seconds, causing AoE damage, or when Junkrat chooses to trigger it. The wheel has 100 points of life, and is therefore not indestructible. However, when used against heroes such as Bastion when it uses its Reconfiguration ability, thus making it immobile, it can be terribly effective.
Junkrat strategies against individual heroes
- Against Doomfist deploy your trap in its charge line
- Send your concussion mine over Genji
- Use your ultimate against McCree‘s Deadeye Ability
- The same trick can be used against Soldier 76
- Use a double mine to get rid of Pharah
- Trap Reaper and die under him to bring him down
- Place your traps on the Sombra translocator and wait
- Make a grenade combo and melee attack against Tracer
- Prevent Bastion from approaching by pushing it away with your mines
- Against Hanzo, wait with your ultimate for when he uses his Scatter Arrow
- Against Junkrat be the first to use a mine
- When Mei uses her Cyro-Freeze, shove her someplace unpleasant with a mine
- Take Torbjörn‘s turret with a trap
- Kill Widowmaker by waiting noiselessly and ambushing her
- Bypass Orisa with your double mine and avoid her shield
- Launch your mine over Reinhardt to destabilize him
- Take Roadhog with your ultimate
- Set off your mine near you to repel Winston and wound him
- Oblige Zarya to use her shield by aiming above her
- Place mines on Lucio’s wall-ride route
- Prevent Mercy from landing with a mine and grenade combo
- Like Torbjörn, disable Symmetra turrets with a trap
- Push Zenyatta‘s ultimate away from his allies with a mine
Advanced tactics to use with Junkrat
Attack slow or motionless opponents and if possible take the high ground in your attacks. If you use Junkrat, you need to be able to aim his highly unpredictable projectiles, even against moving enemies. Spend time on this.
Use the concussion mine in enclosed spaces offensively, and to maximize your movement and avoid attacks when in the open.
Moving with your team
Stay behind your tanks if the rest of the team gets ahead of you. If you are ‘free ranging’, be ready to open another front so your enemies will be caught in a crossfire. If your enemies pass a precipice, use your traps and mines to throw them over the edge.
Use your ultimate only if you are sure to kill at least three opponents, and use Widowmaker’s infra-sight to be sure that your enemies are well grouped, or that they are attempting to hold a position. Remember that you have 10 seconds, which is long enough to make a detour and attack them on an unexpected vector. Above all, use it when one of your allies manages to immobilize your enemies (like the ultimate skill of Mei, Zarya or Reinhardt).
Fight in melee when you can, because you are immune to your own weapons
This allows you to wildly maximize damage while in the midst of your enemies. Even if you go down, a last-minute trap or the grenades you drop upon being killed will finish your foes. Junkrat isn’t a shy fighter.
Remember that fast enemies are hard to kill
Soldier 76 and Tracer can still be defeated with well-placed shots or a steel trap, but if you are against a Pharah, and lucky enough to be out in the open, use your mine to engineer your escape. It is the only thing you can do. If you still want to take on a Pharah – and I’ve already said it’s not recommended – you have to use a mine to throw yourself at her, and if you’re not dead yet, shoot her with everything you have!
Best team strategies for attack
If you have a tank like Reinhardt, Orisa, or Winston; stay by their side and use their defenses. This will allow you to accurately target the opposing team. They are the armor of your ‘unit’, you are the cannon.
If your attacks are pretty weak in the open against fast enemies, you’re extremely powerful against immobile or unmovable enemies – like most opposing Tanks. That’s where you need to place your shots. In general, if you come across an opposing teams composed of an Orisa, throw everything you have at her protective barrier so that it does not hold, allowing your allies to kill your opponents.
Best team strategies for defence
The moment a map starts, take the time to set your traps everywhere. In general, at the start of a map players tend to be focused on team goals, and will have little attention lapses that your traps can capitalise on. This is a great way to get some free kills.
If the map layout allows you to set your traps indoors, Junkrat’s traps are lethal in such a scenario. Junkrat fights better in enclosed spaces as a general rule, and his ammunition is very difficult to avoid in such scenarios. Fight in enclosed spaces whenever possible. Use the steel trap to immobilized someone in an interior space, and empty all your ammunition into them. Remember that your frag launcher even shoots around corners, so to speak.
In defence, engage only two types of enemies – those who are in a confined space, and those who are not very mobile. The other characters tend to stay around their tank, and will therefore be less affected by your incessant attacks.
Taking and holding a position with Junkrat
You are one of the fastest characters so take the opportunity to arrive at your objective as quickly as possible and secure it with your traps. You can make excellent combos with a Symmetra or a Torbjörn.
If you must take the position, shoot down the enemy turrets (Torbjörn, Symmetra, Bastion) to allow your team to advance.
If you have to hold the position, you’ll have to do it with a strategic use of traps, and use the steel trap against the Tanks (a charging Reinhardt or a jumping Winston) to keep them in check (this gives your allies more time to deal out dps). Your mines are also excellent for pushing back enemies.
If your team has the situation in hand, and there is a lull in enemy attacks, set traps to slow down any new enemy arrivals. This is especially effective against a team whose members engage you one at a time instead of all together. However, if the enemy attack in a group, you can always use your ultimate on them.
While Junkrat isn’t a tank, and can’t be a ‘wall’ to hold enemies off, he still does well enough, causing damage, slowing attacks, and halting individual enemies so that your allies can eliminate them.
Capturing a flag with Junkrat
Junkrat is one of the few characters who excels in this mode. Remember to always leave a steel trap on your flag, thus letting your team kill any of the faster and more agile enemy heroes who try to break through to get it. Even slower and more powerful characters will be held long enough for your team to block their exits. Use your mine to prevent an enemy with the flag from fleeing your base.
When on the attack, use your frag launcher to bomb enemy positions, pushing your enemies to take cover long enough to take their flag. You can use your mine to escape, while the steel trap can hold an enemy that pursues you too quickly.
Don’t forget to put down a steel trap or two near the enemy flag if you happen to be in the enemy base during an attack. It can happen that an enemy flag carrier is surprised and immobilized by your trap just long enough for you to win a round. When an enemy player is a few meters away from scoring, and right in his own base, he just might miss seeing that steel trap.
How to counter and play against Junkrat
Junkrat’s attacks are easy to dodge, so instead of watching him, watch them. In addition, he can launch only 5 before reloading, so take advantage of that time to kill him.
If you are a player that has to remain still or immobile to attack or to defend your team, and know you are facing Junkrat, make sure you combine with a member of your team who can provide you with adequate defence against him as you fulfil your own role.
Avoid engaging in melee with Junkrat
This is because he is most powerful in melee. He can trap you, severely damage you with his frag launcher, or simply escape using his mine – and that’s if he doesn’t use it to fling you away. And even if you kill him in hand to hand combat, don’t forget that he drops grenades when he dies, so flee his body.
While Junkrat’s ultimate is deadly, the RIP tire only has 100 points of life. If you bring its life bar down to zero, it will not explode, or cause any damage. In addition, remember that Junkrat is immobilized and completely helpless when he is guiding his RIP tire, so you can use this opportunity to take him out.
If your hero is fast, and you face Junkrat, it becomes your job to eliminate him, because he is vulnerable to fast heroes. Just don’t engage with him in enclosed spaces. If you’re not playing with a fast character, and you spot Junkrat, get your team’s snipers to counter and kill him while your tanks catch his shots on their shields.
When you’re pursuing Junkrat, do not follow the exact path that he takes, and watch out for traps.
If a Junkrat is causing your team too much trouble, you must counter him with snipers. However the best counters to Junkrat are the fastest heroes. These include Tracer, Soldier 76 and Genji. And then there’s Pharah, whom no Junkrat can stand against in the open.
Using Junkrat is all about knowing his strengths and his weaknesses. It’s about knowing which battles Junkrat can win, and which battles he is sure to lose. And finally, in a battle that Junkrat is going to lose, it’s about choosing the time and place of your demise so that you take one or more of your opponents into whatever afterlife is open to a digital character as perverse and demented as Junkrat.
Like this article? Don’t forget to read our other ones on how to play Overwatch Characters.
Like Junkrat? Check out this interesting female Junkrat cosplay…
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