The role of the sniper is an interesting one, a bad sniper weighs down the team and can barely do anything.
With that said, a good sniper, is invaluable.
Even a bad sniper can have decent accuracy, so what makes a good sniper? The answer is fairly simple, positioning and sight-lines.
There is a misconception that playing a sniper is to get kills, this is false. Above all a good sniper delivers information of targets they miss, “Reinhart has gone left out of spawn.” Widowmaker’s ultimate isn’t for helping to get kills, it’s to gain information. However this is fairly basic stuff in pro games, communication decides matches.
So let me finally get to the second part of being a good sniper, understanding sight-lines and good positioning. As a sniper you never want to be completely in the open, else you will be counter-sniped. Thus it is necessary for you as a sniper to find position that grant both excellent sight-lines and easy escape routes. The difference between a good and bad position can be a couple of metres.
Let’s use the final point of Anubis for this example. I’ll use the accepted call-outs, so staying close to Arches would seem to be the best spot, however it is much better for you to stand on the bridge leading to point B, as if you’re taking pressure you move down into underpass and then from there reposition with a grappling hook.
If you’re on a team against a good Widowmaker, and you know where she is. Suddenly that sight-line is no longer a logically route, you’ll need to get out of her way. Using Point B on Anubis again, you can’t go through the main entrance and in many cases won’t be able to go through alley. Instead you have to go through gap which the enemy team knows, unless your team is being supported by a Reinhart.
Thus we finally come to counters and counter-picks. If you have first pick, you should NOT pick Widowmaker, the enemy team will have a different mind-set for their picks. That said, if you have last pick, grab Widowmaker, it is likely they haven’t choose one of her counters and thus have to re-plan their strategies to deal with her.
Continuing with counters, Widowmaker is best countered by one of four characters:
- Tracer – Tracer ability to dodge into and out of sight-lines makes it difficult for a Widowmaker to keep tabs on her.
- Reaper – Wraith form, as it allows Reaper to get close to her and quickly take her out. Also he can warp into a position that’s out of her vision and from there flank.
- Reinhart – His shield allows him and his allies to enter Widowmaker’s sight-lines without fear of death. He is the best counter pick against Widowmaker.
- Roadhog – I’ll do a full guide on him later. But in short, his hook allows for him to force bad positioning.
And lastly the situation where Widowmaker is a counter-pick. You should pick Widowmaker when the opposing team has one of the following characters:
- Zarya – Her extremely short-range, combined with her shield needing a teammate to be useful. An out of position Zarya is dead to Widowmaker.
- Soldier: 76 – While effective in mid range encounters, at long range, S:76 becomes near useless. Of course at this range Widowmaker excells. At the current time, Overwatch has no overheal mechanics, meaning even in his healing dome, Widowmaker can snipe him.
- Mercy – Due to Mercy moving slowly while in mid-air, Widowmaker can take advantage of this by killing her when she’s out in the open. Also Mercy doesn’t have enough damage output to kill Widowmaker before dying herself.
- Pharah – Similar to Mercy, Pharah can suffer from requiring aerial maneuverability. Unlike Mercy, she can kill Widowmaker as she has enough damage output.