Junkrat Sucks

The worst feeling in a first-person shooter is having absolutely no idea why you died. Overwatch took that feeling, compressed it into a small Australian man, and armed it with grenades.

Junkrat is Overwatch trash.

Every game against him turns Overwatch's impeccably-designed maps into booby-trapped dumpsters overflowing with exploding little Junkrat shits. As his teammate, you'll have an easier time coordinating with a dung beetle — at least until Junkrat does the thing with the exploding tire.

Junkrat's abilities include lobbing bouncing grandes across the map that explode when they hit you, dropping toothed traps, tossing concussion mines that send opponents into the air, and launching a tire bomb that remotely detonates. When you kill him, he offers a final middle finger as he farts out six grenade pellets that explode in his wake. Delete Junkrat. I say this every time one of his horrible grenades happens to fall into my path, or his abominable RIP-Tire wipes out my team with no warning.

Last month, Kotaku Pharah fanboy Nathan Grayson wrote an article titled "I Used To Hate Junkrat, Until I Tried Playing As Him." Grayson's argument is that Junkrat is fun, so if you hate him, you miss out on all that Junkrat fun.

Fun is fine when you're in Quick Play, Grayson, or playing random heroes in the Mystery Heroes mode. Fun is a jolly time when you're ranked in Bronze. You want to climb the ladder into Overwatch Nirvana? Time to get serious.

People complain that Overwatch's main healer Mercy is a no-skill hero. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can't tell you how many times my team has needed a healer, and a Junkrat player tells me that, actually, they can't play Mercy, or any other healer for that matter, because they need to play Junkrat.

Overwatch's only no-skill hero is not the one with a Ph.D, but the one whose only recourse for dealing with a challenge is to blow it up.

The beginning, middle and end of Junkrat strategy - and, yes, I have read guides on this - is to spew grenades everywhere and place your steel trap somewhere to protect the flank. If there's a shield, break it down, eventually.

Here's a line from one strategy guide: "Essentially, you should shoot your grenades anywhere where there are enemies." Here's another: "If you see a lot of enemies in front of you, simply lob a mine and detonate it quickly to deal a lot of damage."

Accuracy isn't really an issue. Neither are tactics. Junkrat gets lucky kills all the time. Really, the only thing you have to master is when to time your RIP-Tire ultimate ability.

This brings me to the absolute worst thing about Junkrat. Junkrat's RIP-Tire has no business being as fast, as powerful, and as sudden as it is. It can detonate faster than a second after Junkrat has announced it with a brief "Fire in the hole!" And it can take out an entire team.

It is one of the least avoidable ultimate abilities in Overwatch. Sure, you can shoot at the thing. Yeah, you can scatter your team or hide. But it will go on for 10 long seconds, searching for targets. Even killing Junkrat - who is immobilized while the tire lives - doesn't destroy the tire. What kind of bullshit is that.

Here's a question: If Junkrat can be so effective while requiring so little thought, why doesn't he get lots of pro play? Because his design is antagonistic to team coordination, that's why.

It's hard to target specific enemies like Tracer and Genji. It's hard to dive onto enemy backlines and stay alive. And it's hard to gang up with a buddy and take down the enemy healer. Pharah does lots of damage, too, and can break down shields, make tactical killing decisions, and freaking fly. That's probably why you see her more on the Overwatch League streams.

Now, sure, back in 2016, I thought Overwatch should delete Bastion. Now I play him all the time. Last year, I thought Overwatch should delete Widowmaker. Now I'm more effective at countering her. But this time? Delete this a-hole.


    Send a third-stage Video Game Journalist to Kotaku to outline details from the the defeated. The Salt must flow.

    Ah Junkrat.

    He was my first main back @ launch. Back when his grenades & ultimate used to damage him. Back when he required more strategy to play because of the risk vs reward in using him.

    His was my first golden weapon in game too.

    I've since moved on to other heroes, but he still remains my most played in game and I still return to him time and again because he's just so much damn fun to play!

    The Romans could fund an army for years with this salt mine.

    You're also missing the part where Pharah's own rockets can damage her if fired point blank while Junkrat is immune to his own grenades.

      Yes, but the thing is Pharah is intended to be a long range combatant, whereas Junkrat is intended for close combat.

      If Pharah kills herself with her own rockets, then you're doing it wrong.

        Completely agree with you. And Junkrat is intended to be more of an up-close hero, the problem being outlined here is he seems to be frequently used to hide or out of the main fight and lob grenades aimlessly into chokes, or over and around walls where he cannot be hit or fired upon. Hunting down and taking out a Junkrat doing this often results in them killing you with a point blank (or close enough) grenade where Junkrat receives no penalty.

    Spoken like a true plat.

    Continue to funnel in to choke points, fail to team coordinate, fail to adapt.

    People claim junkrat requires no skill while at the same time whining about how hard he is to counter.

    He's pretty easy to get around when you have coordination and a good understanding that you can press h to swap heroes in a spawn room.

    You could just run a high ground dive, but that would require not continually doing the same thing over and over.

    Last edited 15/03/18 9:58 am

    Any game this prick is in is a chore to play. I honestly don't understand why people find him fun to play either, just spam grenades and mines until you get his rip tire. At least Pharah's rockets damage her ffs!

      I honestly don't understand why people find him fun to play either, just spam grenades and mines until you get his rip tire.

      You answered your own question.

    See, I’d like to get into Overwatch, but these types of conundrums are a turn off. On the one hand you got a character that people seem to vocally hate but some players embrace. This alongside all the other complaints just turns the experience into a semi-emotional chore.
    I’m keeping my copy of Overwatch in a drawer. I can’t even right now.
    Splatoon 2 fulfills this niche for me nicely, with the added bonus of less player opinions and directions to factor in.

      its fine, just play arcade mode on random hero mode and find out who you like using, then do quickplay where people are not as bitchy, once your comfortable with a class, then go competitive. i use junkrat in competitive because hes the character im most proficient with and he can deal a lot of damage and cause a lot of mayhem for the opposing team throwing out their game plan at lower tier comp levels.

        Or don't even bother playing competitive, just come back every few months to grind a few event lootboxes then go back to splats :P

          this is what i do normally, im honestly too shit to play competitive. i did for a little bit, but was too venomous of an environment to really enjoy it.

    Thank you! These were my thoughts when I read Nathan 's article. If I see one more garbage Junkrat POTG of random explosion spams, I'm going to vomit all over my expensive keyboard.

    Last edited 15/03/18 11:52 am

    I just wish he took damage from his own grenades so there would actually be some risk for a junkrat player spamming in close combat (like there is for example with the demo-man in TF2). Combine his lack of self-damage and the martydom grenades he drops on death and he's the worst thing to run into for close range squishies like Symmetra who can die entirely from those death grenades.

      Originally he did take damage from his own grenades.

      Blizzard changed it because that actually worked against his intended role of a close quarters combatant.

      Last edited 15/03/18 11:15 pm

    The amount of times I've had the SAME people barge into the SAME flank corridor and get stuck in a trap in the SAME position in the SAME round, over and over again... If you stop for literally half a second and look before you storm into an enclosed space you can see the outline of a trap on the floor and destroy it, or better yet jump over it because if you do destroy it I'll know the route's compromised. Pharah and snipers who can shoot long distance are great counters because I can't actually get to them unless they, too, go into an enclosed space. If it is an enclosed space, that's when you want Moira's angry ball, Mei's freeze, Genji's deflect, McCree's stun, Sombra's hack, or just one (1) regular Winston, DVA or Roadhog. Just like every other character that people whinge about, if you actually adapt (gasp) you can counter Junkrat.

      I don't want to learn how to play though. I just want to do my own thing and expect everyone else to let me win.

      Of what I've played recently Moira seems all kinds of "how the fuck do I do anything against this?" Granted I'm shitcore-tier and playing with joysticks amongst keyboard and mousers (but I still have my decent rounds with Widowmaker and the like here and there despite it), but still. Any time Moira comes along it's just death, especially with that stupid angry ball that seems to be unavoidable. What are you supposed to do about it?

        DVA can eat the angry ball but I'm not aware of/haven't seen any other counters except running away or grouping up so damage is dispersed amongst several characters without being fatal.

          Oh, does it only have a fixed pool of damage it can deal before it runs out or something? I guess that's something at least.

            Yes, each orb can only do a maximum 200 damage, and that damage gets split amongst anyone within range.

    Visualise the following: You're in an open area, fighting dudes. You're doing pretty well. Suddenly, you're dead. Maybe you were McCree or Tracer or something.

    "How did I die", you ask yourself. There's only one way to find out: Death Cam.

    Cut to Junkrat's view. He's fighting some people, nearby but in a different area to where your fight was. He has no idea that some of his mates are in a team fight with you and yours. He's aiming, struggling to hit an airbourne Phara/Mercy combo. All of his shots miss... but in a few seconds time, your name appears on screen. ELIMINATED [you] 100.

    I don't like that aspect of Junkrat.

      This doesn't happen on a regular basis, it's pure chance that you happened to be in the same place as some rebounded ammo. If Junkrat's bombs exploded on impact with walls and floors, not just characters and shields etc. then he'd be massively OP. It'd be like Hanzo's scatter-arrow-to-the-feet times a thousand.

    Fun is fine when you're in Quick Play

    Nope. Fun is always fine, all the time. It's a game and it doesn't need to taken so seriously that an aspect of it being fun needs to be considered bad.

      Haven't you heard, good citizen?

      Fun is no longer allowed in the "Time to get fully serious, bros!" competitive modes.

      On that note, complaining about Junkrat 'ruining' things when trying to climb the ranked ladder is hilarious... If you can't deal with a Junkrat, then maybe you're right where you deserve to be on the ladder.

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