Overwatch Reinhardt – Mastering the Most Formidable Tank in the Game

Overwatch Reinhardt is really the ultimate tank. He is imposing, has a large amount of hit points, and can activate an immensely powerful defensive shield to protect his teammates. Reinhardt is therefore one of the best tanks in Overwatch, and plays an important role in an attack, as in defence. It is his task to be in the front line and take enemy fire, while the other members of the team protect him and eliminate individual enemy threats.

Complexity within simplicity

Though his shield is extremely powerful, once that shield is up, Reinhardt is very vulnerable to attacks by Tracer, Reaper or Farah. This is because his shield tends to protect against frontal attacks, and these heroes can easily pass behind him. It is precisely because he’s vulnerable when flanked or when attacked form behind that Reinhardt is a team player, and must always be accompanied by his teammates.

While Reinhardt actually takes a lot of judgement to play for the pro player, it is also the choice of those starting out on the game, because Reinhardt is able to quickly ravage the line of an enemy defence, at least if it does not count too many tanks in its ranks.

Overwatch Reinhardt – Skills and Abilities

Reinhardt’s only weapon is the rocket hammer, which operates on the left click, and which is only used in melee or close combat.

Charge, which operates on the left shift, allows Overwatch Reinhardt to charge forward. The knights charge can literally explode an enemy formation while crushing one of those opponents for 300 damage. The first enemy he hits is trailed along with him, and suffers heavy damage if he’s crushed against the wall. His hammer blows allow him to bring in some extra kills at this point.

Overwatch Reinhardt gameplay

Reinhardt skills include the fire strike, which operates on the E Key, and sends a shot in a straight line through all the opposing heroes standing in that line. Reinhardt can defend himself quite effectively with the fire strike, which is capable of reaching far off targets.

Overwatch Reinhardt’s barrier field deploys a shield that can take 200 points of damage, and which can stop almost any attack. Finally, Reinhardt’s earth shatter causes a shock wave that knocks down and stuns all enemies in its area of effect for several seconds.

A man for every situation

Reinhardt’s ultimate attack allows him to strike the ground, effectively stunning all enemies in an area of effect. If using this also allows him to chain several hammer attacks together, it provides a golden opportunity for other players on his team to also unleash their own ultimate attacks.

Reinhardt’s ultimate becomes utterly lethal in combination with the skills of heroes such as Farah, Junkrat, Bastion or Tracer. If there is indeed a hero who fits all scenarios and maps, it is Reinhardt. Whether in attack or defence, Reinhardt’s shield provides indispensible protection to his allies, from not only the common attacks of their opponents, but also from some ultimate abilities. His own skills and his ultimate are also utterly devastating when properly mastered.

Some important tips

You must never forget that if Reinhardt’s shield drops to 0 hit points, it breaks, and there will be a short period where you will be unable to use it again. Another important tip is that you can use your fire strike to charge your ultimate ability. The fire strike charges the ultimate quickly, especially if it touches several heroes in its line of attack. The fire strike is an excellent ability to use on grouped enemies, because it will charge the ultimate quickly, which you can then unleash upon them.

The rocket hammer can hit many targets at once in melee combat, so do not hesitate to make sweeping movements around you to damage enemies in a considerable area around you.

Since the knight’s charge does not move more than a certain  distance, it is possible, if you can judge the distance accurately, to push an opponent in front of you into a chasm or a void, without falling into it yourself.

Overwatch Reinhardt – weak points

Despite his considerable strength, Reinhardt also has weaknesses, particularly in terms of mobility. Fast and mobile heroes can easily move around a Reinhardt, evading his attacks and shooting past his shield, harassing him and taking care to keep him at a distance.

When several agile heroes coordinate their attacks, they can quickly put down a Reinhardt, while is several DPS heroes coordinate their attacks, they can overwhelm Reinhardt’s shield. If Reinhardt’s shield is broken, it makes it useless for a certain period of time, an also renders Reinhardt quite powerless, since he does not really have much of a distance attack.

Reinhardt shield barrier field

Which characters combine well with Reinhardt

Ana

Ana creates a very powerful combination with Overwatch Reinhardt, since Ana’s healing can keep Reinhardt alive for a long time. In addition, Ana’s nanoboost makes Reinhardt very powerful, as it massively enhances his damage, while also making him resistant to enemy attacks.

Lucio

When Reinhardt deploys his shield, he moves very slowly. This makes the speed boost offered by Lucio very significant, and allows your team to make a more aggressive attack.

Heroes that counter Reinhardt

Roadhog

At first glance Roadhog does not seem to counter Overwatch Reinhardt, since his steel hook is deflected by Reinhardt’s barrier field.  However, Roadhog’s secondary fire, operating on the right click, is devastating and will quickly drop the hit points of the shield.

Tracer

Tracer’s immense mobility can effortlessly counter a Reinhardt, since Tracer can easily work around Reinhardt’s shield to harass him, or to place a bomb among his allies.

overwatch tracer

The role of a tank in Overwatch

In Overwatch, as in all games that use a combination of DPS, tank and support, the role of a tank is to absorb as much damage as possible to protect his teammates. To do this effectively, a tank is often the first to enter the fray, and will usually position himself between the opposing team and his own team.

In Overwatch, the role of a tank is even more tactical

He must actually control the strategy of the enemy team in order to create space for his own team to execute their strategy. The tank must disturb the enemy’s defence, in order to make priority targets on the enemy team accessible, while negating as many enemy’s skills and abilities as possible.

The best way to use a tank is to allow it to do all this, while the other members of the team make sure that keeping the tank alive is a priority. Overwatch Reinhardtis unique among tanks because of his ability to shield his teammates to an extent not equalled by any other hero.

This is really what makes Reinhardt so important, and what makes him currently irreplaceable in a team composition. However, with this ability come a lot of mechanics, and the need to carefully manage the hit point pool of the shield. This can be a strategic mind game all on its own.

Shield management

The way Overwatch is set up right now, Overwatch Reinhardt’s shield is a constant target for damage by enemy DPS heroes, and it is impossible for any player to keep it constantly deployed. Reinhardt’s main role is therefore not to constantly shield his teammates, but rather to block the key capabilities of the enemy team.

Some of these abilities are the steel hook, the sleep dart, and Zarya’s capabilities. Ana’s grenade is also something you should try to counter.

In certain circumstances, the shield can also be used to prevent an enemy team’s access to healing, for example, when Reinhardt positions himself between an enemy Ana and the rest of her team.

Countering another Reinhardt

The other most important purpose of Overwatch Reinhardt is, rather obviously, to counter the Reinhardt of the opposing team. Countering an enemy Reinhardt is completely dependent upon your judgement of whether or not the enemy Reinhardt has his ultimate ability charged. Indeed, Reinhardt’s shield is the most effective counter to Reinhardt’s ultimate ability, since it completely cancels out the enemy ultimate ability throughout the area behind the shield.

Judging the Ultimate

The job of a good Overwatch Reinhardt player, therefore, is to sense if the enemy has his ultimate ability charged. Sometimes this can be quite obvious, but at other times, it may not be so, as the ultimate ability can quickly be charged by Reinhardt’s fire strikes. Even if you carefully observe Reinhardt in play, it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether his ultimately ability has been completely charged by his fire strikes or not.

overwatch reinhardt hammer

Do not allow the shield to break… if possible

Do remember that you must hold some hit points of the shield in reserve to prevent it completely breaking. As a general rule, there should be 500 to 700 shield hit points held in reserve. Despite your best efforts, however, Reinhardt’s shield is regularly broken. At other times, your shield can become so weak that it gives the opposing team an opportunity to attack. This occurs particularly regularly in defence.

Whether Reinhardt’s shield is usable or not is often the criteria by which a team decides whether it can open battle or not. This means that many Overwatch battles turn into a shield war where professional teams try to find the best way to destroy each other’s Reinhardt’s shields.

Using the shield most effectively

A D.Va on the team can make the shield extremely difficult to destroy, since she can block all projectiles and thus protect the Reinhardt’s shield. At the same time, Reinhardt’s shield is actually meant mostly to counter key abilities, and so must be lowered as much as possible.

It should be noted that it is Reinhardt’s allies who should adapt to his use of the shield and not Reinhardt who should put up the shield to protect his allies from direct damage. Professional Reinhardt players advise you to not put the shield up to take spam, but instead use it to prevent abilities from reaching the team, or to use it to block and prevent enemy healing.

The shield, therefore, is used as a utility, rather than as mere protection. A team that is aware of this tactic will not rely upon Reinhardt to protect them with his barrier field.

Engaging the enemy

A Reinhardt’s team engages the enemy when Reinhardt’s own shield is about to fall, or when the enemy team’s Reinhardt’s is. That is really the time to start the fight. If it’s not always Reinhardt’s role to engage the enemy, let us over here at least go over the possibilities.

Reinhardt in command

Most professional players think that it’s Reinhardt’s own role to decide when and how he charges, and not that of his team, since only the Reinhardt player can accurately judge what his capabilities are at any one period of time. The Reinhardt, therefore, must be a good team leader and tactical player, who fights on his own initiative and decided when to charge, which his team will follow up as much as possible.

When a Reinhardt targets an opponent in the engagement phase, it means that all the attention of his team must be towards him, in order to help him, and assist him in killing the target, if it’s a tank, which is otherwise impossible to do.

The sort of charges you make depend upon the composition of your team. You can make long and aggressive charges if you have a Zarya on your side. If you do not, you should make opportunistic charges at short range.

It is highly advised that a Reinhardt informs his teammates of the status of his shield, so that they can prepare to protect themselves without it. You can tell your teammates when your shield is down to half its hit points, and tell them that the shield is low when it is at around 500 hit points.

Is it possible to play without a Reinhardt?

While many pro teams do seem to consider Reinhardt a must have, there are teams like Misfits or Rogue, that experiment with not having a Reinhardt on the team. Their compositions are usually based on having three DPS, one tank and two supports.

Teams have to balance Reinhardt’s abilities with the potential benefits of other heroes. Ana, for example, is a relatively must have in the current meta. Zenyatta and Lucio, while extremely effective, are not able to keep many tanks alive.

Is there a problem with trying to operate without Reinhardt?

The main problem with trying to operate without Reinhardt is that the teams have to be made of complex heroes that balance and benefit each other, and that an extreme level of team play and communication is needed when going up against pro teams that actually have the same level of team play and communication, and who are actually using a Reinhardt.

This means that choosing to play without a Reinhardt makes game play difficult and sophisticated, when it can be much simpler and easier to execute. This gives any team playing with a Reinhardt a massive advantage. A team that relies upon complex strategies to do without a Reinhardt is a team in which a single mistake can be fatal. Such a team is a well oiled machine, and when one gear of this machine jumps out of place, the whole mechanism collapses. Simplicity, in Overwatch, beats complexity, when playing against teams of equal skills.

Rienhardt with Hot Girls

Overwatch Reinhardt – the ultimate team player!

Beware the winds of change

While all this may hold true today, Blizzard’s regular patches do tend to change game play on a regular basis. If a three DPS combination might seem harder to play today, this doesn’t mean that it won’t be a central factor in game play in the future. Experimenting with combinations that do not include Reinhardt is still crucial for a team in case Reinhardt is patched and his game play changes dramatically. At such a point, a pro team must have a card in hand and be able to play with strategies that do not include Reinhardt.


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