Reinhardt is easily one of the best and most recognizable characters in all of Overwatch. He’s also probably one of the characters you’ve seen the most in game, since he fits great into almost every team comp. Let’s take a look at what makes everyone’s favorite German rocket knight tick, and how you can take advantage of his beefy skills to pick up some big wins.
Reinhardt is an “anchor tank”, a defense hero who protects his team. His massive shield is the first line that stands against the enemy. His goal is to escort his allies into position and then lead the charge into the fray.
Reinhardt’s primary fire is Rocket Hammer. This ability is pretty straightforward. When you hit your primary fire button, Rein will swing his hammer. If it hits enemies, it does damage. There you go. That’s Rocket Hammer.
Rein’s secondary fire is his signature ability, Barrier Field. When holding down the button, Reinhardt will place a massive shield in front of him, protruding from his gauntlet. This shield will absorb quite a bit of damage before it eventually pops, exposing Rein and all of his allies behind him.
You want to use Barrier Field to block damage, that should be fairly obvious. But Rein is more than that. The goal here is to protect until the moment is right. You won’t be able to hold it down forever, lest you run out of shield juice before you really need it. Instead, you want to use Barrier Field to push an objective. Walk with or ride the Payload and save your allies from inevitable death.
You can also block a significant amount of DPS ultimates like Rocket Barrage or Tactical Visor if you react fast enough.
Rein’s first ability is Charge, which is also pretty straightforward. When Rein activates this ability, the rocket on his back will heat up and propel him forward very quickly. If Rein runs into an enemy hero during this charge, he will pick them up and deal near lethal damage if he hits a wall before his charge ends.
This is one of Rein’s coolest abilities and easily separates the good players from the bad. The key to using Charge is restraint. Too often, Reinhardts will charge into the enemy team and get instantly murdered. Charge should be used when everyone else is ready to go or to help protect an ally from an enemy in the backline.
Fire Strike is Rein’s second ability. This is his only ranged form of combat. When the button is pressed, Rein will swing his hammer, causing a slice of fire to project forward. This ability has a long cooldown but does very high damage. Try and save it for when someone has low health just out of range or tries to escape from you after a solid beat down.
Earthshatter is Reinhardt’s ultimate ability. When the button is pressed, Rein will wind back and slam his hammer into the earth. This will cause a shockwave to drive forward along the ground, dealing damage and knocking over every enemy hit.
This is a very powerful form of CC and can completely turn a team fight. Earthshatter should be saved for that perfect moment when it can hit as many heroes as possible. Once they’re down, Rein has an excellent opportunity to use his charge and use Rocket Hammer to level the playing field, eliminating most of his enemies. If paired with something like a Rocket Barrage, Earthshatter can destroy the entire enemy team in a single moment.
When to pick Reinhardt: Teammates and match-ups
Reinhardt is a perfect ally to have for DPS friends that struggle in the health and mobility department. Characters who don’t always want to flank like Soldier 76 can really benefit from a big shield. On the other hand, characters who need to get in close like Doomfist can really use the escort and can help protect Rein’s exposed back.
Rein is of course awesome for any and all healers and offers a perfect, symbiotic relationship with them. Even behind his shield, Rein will inevitably get hurt by splash damage or a flank. Having a healer like Mercy at your back can really save your bacon. On the other hand, keeping your shield up can do wonders to help protect that same Mercy, keeping them safe from the Pharahs of the world.
But Reinhardt is slow and can be easily outmaneuvered. A alone Reinhardt is a dead Reinhardt, so any charachter than can isolate and murder you quickly is tough to deal with. Damage characters like Tracer and Genji are especially problematic for Rein. Doomfist can also just dive in and ruin any fun times you’re having.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick Rein into these characters. As we mentioned before, Reinhardt is almost never a bad pick up. But if you’re dealing with a heavy dive comp, or a Sombra that can hack you, you have to be sure that someone else can carry the banner.
Having another beefy tank like Roadhog or Orisa, who can tank the brunt of the damage when things go bad, is really helpful. Reinhardt is very lethal at close range, so if you can drop the shield and start meleeing fools, you’ll usually win. All you need is for someone else to watch your back while you do it.
How to win with Reinhardt
Focus. Focus is the name of the game for Reinhardt. You are very slow moving and able to have an interesting perspective on the battlefield. Your job is to keep an eye (and he only has one) out for enemies, call them and make sure you position your shield around your allies. A distracted Reinhardt, one who just wants to fight, will lose his team the game. A focused Reinhardt can push forward an otherwise bad team comp.
Rein is just kind of an essential piece to the Overwatch formula. There are plenty of characters that can kind of do what he does, but he is the Swiss Army knife of tanks (even if Mercy is really the only Swiss charachter, heh). Bring Reinhardt into a game and stay focused on the objective. Remember that your job isn’t to kill but to protect and you’ll do just fine.
Tips and tricks
- Reinhardt isn’t much of a tips and tricks kind of dude, but the biggest mistake you can make with him is getting too confident. Please, for the love of god and the sake of your team, don’t just charge into the enemy thinking you can win. You can’t and you won’t.
- Play conservatively with Rein. You will have very specific moments where you can go HAM, but you should otherwise stay around the objective and protect your backline.
- Don’t be afraid to drop your shield. When an enemy dives, take a second to defend your allies with your Rocket Hammer.
- Even when attacking, listen in for DPS ultimate call outs like “It’s High Noon,” “I've got you in my sites,” “justice rains from above” or lots of shouting in Japanese. A quick Reinhardt can react instantly and raise their shield, saving their squishy allies.
- Don’t let your barrier pop. If the barrier is almost dead, drop it and let it recharge before it hits zero. If it takes lethal damage, it’ll take far longer to come back.