After Yesterday’s Overwatch Update, Being A Hanzo Main Isn’t So Bad

After Yesterday’s Overwatch Update, Being A Hanzo Main Isn’t So Bad

Sometimes, Overwatch force-feeds its players unwanted changes, such as giving its robot turret Bastion an overpowered self-healing arm or breaking porcine tank Roadhog’s hook. On these days, the sky falls.

Other days, it’s Overwatch Christmas, complete with a big ol’ sack of crowd-pleasing balance changes. Yesterday was one of those days: Blizzard solved its two-year-old Hanzo problem.


Balancing Overwatch‘s roster of 27 unique heroes is like balancing 27 spinning porcelain plates while hundreds of thousands of people tell you what to do. The goal is for every hero to be playable – or even necessary – in a good number of situations, but not all of them.

Back when Mercy was too strong, playing a game without her was risky. On the flip side, the hero Symmetra has about 30 seconds of play time in the Overwatch League total, and that’s probably all from players trolling.

Yesterday, Blizzard released a big, beautiful and comprehensive balance patch that’s making players very happy. Most notably, two years after /”Hanzo main” became a slur, players can finally stop ridiculing each other for picking the archer hero. Now, he’ll do more reliable damage and be a little more mobile.

Since his release in 2016, Hanzo’s had an over-powered “scatter arrow” ability that shoots a ton of arrows that can bounce around a room, and the rest of the time, was considered pretty weak and hard to handle. Blizzard’s rework entirely removed “scatter arrow”. It just wasn’t very fun to play against.

Now, he has “storm arrows”, six arrows he can rapidly fire at full power, and a lunge ability that lets him leap horizontally. Also, he can use his his “sonic arrow” ability, which lets him see where enemies are, more often.

“Hanzo is now much more mobile with his new Lunge ability, and with the combination of the bow projectile speed increase and the new Storm Arrows ability he can now deal his high damage more consistently than ever before,” Blizzard wrote.

Today, Hanzo feels like a way more threatening sniper. He can one-shot squishy heroes with relative ease if played by a competent aimer. And he can get out of the way faster if danger is heading towards him. Everybody in my Overwatch Discord has now decided they’re a Hanzo main. Good thing I’m not playing against them.

More good news: Nerfs to Blizzard’s grenade-launching hero Junkrat. As a self-professed hater of chaotic, DGAF-incarnate hero Junkrat, yesterday’s tweaks filled me with maniacal glee.

My biggest issue with him is that he’s frustrating to play against. His high-damage grenades bounce around at random and his RIP-Tire ultimate ability can, sometimes, feel as though it’s coming out of nowhere.

Now, his grenades’ projectile size is smaller, so he’ll have to aim with more care, and it will be harder to manoeuvre his fatal RIP-Tire, which can take out a whole team in one fell swoop. All of this, Blizzard says, is intended to lower “some of the most frustrating parts about playing against Junkrat”.

Some other good news: Overwatch‘s too-powerful new hero Brigitte got a small nerf to her stunning “shield bash” move that’s making life miserable for tanks. More nerfs are on the way for her ultimate ability, too, so those who complain that she has a 58 per cent win rate in Overwatch‘s competitive mode might have a little less to complain about. Also, Lucio’s “wall ride” ability just got way stronger.

Overwatch‘s full patch notes are here


  • Considering that they delayed Brigitte from being added to comp for a month and a half because they wanted each season to have its own “identity” and to give players time to get used to the changes, it’s baffling that they added the reworked Hanzo after the current Competitive season had already begun.

    • I’m probably wrong, but I think it was because his storm arrows are a good counter for Brigitte (no shield means no shield bash).

      • Even if that’s the case, still doesn’t change the fact on the one hand they’re delaying new heroes and maps from being added to Competitive so as to give people time to get used to them, but on the other hand reworked heroes with all-new abilities get thrown in straight away without giving people time to get used to them.

        • Never said it didn’t change the fact. just suggested a possible reason for Blizzard decision to do that. Is it a good reason to add him straight to comp? Probably not. Although from memory I don’t believe they’ve held any hero reworks out of comp in the past. Just completely new heroes.

        • My guess is the delay to rank has less to do with bronzies and more to do with league play. You don’t want to add characters mid season and throw out strats that teams had built, she will likely be added after pro season finishes or she gets nerfed to a point where you won’t see her in just about every high tier game.

  • I don’t play sniper characters but I got killed by a Hanzo’s storm arrow last night, and I saw the GUI for it on the kill cam. It’s quite a smart design, it brings up six little arrow icons that boop out as you use them up.

  • Being a Tracer is now absolutely pathetic. I can’t recall another game that actually gets worse with every patch. It’s like their balancing is solely about pros not normal players.

    It’s been rapidly getting worse with things like the Sombra hack speed change that meant she could hack you before you could hear it due to latency. Then Moira came alone and can shut down talented characters like Genji and Tracer with no skill or aim (just hold down the attack). Then came Brigette who can once again shut down the two most skilful characters with no aim or skill required. All she needs to do is hit attack. Now Hanzo who bollocks snipes on console are now even faster. And then they nerf Tracers bomb suddenly after two years.

    I have little to no faith left in the games balancing team.


    • Really? With the exception of Bridgitte the game is actually a lot more balanced than at launch if you watch high tier streams, I mean obviously the game is going to suck a little on console because mechanically the game was still very much designed for mouse and keyboard making certain characters a little unweildly, but otherwise most of the characters are fine.

    • Wait… are you complaining about them balancing solely for pros, or making it easier for normal players? You need to make up your mind.

      Moira was especially designed to give the less mechanically abled player a way to take part and positively contribute to team fights, much like Mercy. Brigitte also gives normal players a way to get more involved right in the thick of things without being useless. And the quicker Sombra hack also gives the normal player a way to be more effective.

      So which is it? I guess if you’re one-tricking Tracer every time, you might feel left out, but the point of the game is to be flexible and contribute to the team. Maybe try playing these other heroes you feel are so much easier to play? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • even an average player needs skill to play characters like Genji and Tracer. Whether it is their movement, their low hit points or the fact without the ability to aim and track the player wouldnt be effective. (ie one doesnt need to be a pro player to play them just someone with good instinct and hand/eye coordination).

        in fact pretty much all characters require skill to play to even Mercy, Brig and the like, but each character has different skill set to be effective. The problem lies in the fact in the case of Moira and Brig who can shut down highly skilled characters, that rely on movement and aim, with no movement or aim on their part. thats like giving a character a rocket launcher to kill something with one hit point. THERE IS NO BALANCE THERE. Tracer is all about risk vs reward. She does high damage, but there is always the risk that virtually everything can one or two shot her in the game, if she isnt good. That is risk vs reward. McCree can flashbang and kill Tracer easy as, risk vs reward, but is he misses the flashbang, then its Tracer chance to have her skill win fight. Thats balance. Brigette has heaps of reward but no risk, she just keeps swing her flail. Sombra, when they buffed her but pre-nerf, could spam hack with barely a second or two refreshed (now slightly changed) she could basically spam hack like a never ending flashbang of McCree. IE no risk for her reward. Moira likewise could kill high skill characters using unskilled means.

        Easy mechanical characters are good. But not when they supply a hard counter to highly skilled characters. Thats where the problem is. The reason why Tracer little health is because she does high damage and high movement, yet so many things in recent months have introduced was to strip away skills from other characters. in the case of a tank with heaps of health, they can survive losing control for a few seconds, but for Tracer and Genji, they are dead in the water. That isnt balance. Especially when the things doing it, like a no skill flail AOE that requires no aim, is simply appalling balance.

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