Updated 20th December 2017: Our Soldier: 76 guide contains ability and strategy tips, counter advice, and everything else you need to know to master this hero.
It's not for no good reason that Soldier: 76 is the first character you're introduced to in Overwatch's tutorial, and this particular hero represents the most immediately familiar shooter archetype amongst the imaginative collection of heroes in the game. He packs a rapid-fire weapon with grenade-like side-functionality, and a sprint ability to get in - and out - of danger nice and quickly. So far, so familiar you might think, and you may not believe you need much of a guide to get the most out of this character.
You shouldn't underestimate his potency on the battlefield though, just because he lacks some of the more outlandish design streaks found elsewhere in Overwatch's colourful roster of characters. As well as packing considerable firepower, he also enjoys the option to self-heal - and this bonus effect even extends to his buddies if they're nearby. He struggles to flank quite as impressively as the likes of Tracer and Reaper, but he is extremely versatile and rarely a bad choice of Offense character.
In our Soldier: 76 guide, we've got lots of useful advice on how to extract even more power out of all of these abilities, along with some strategy tips that we think should ensure you always come out on top in a fight. We've also got some useful advice for you on Soldier: 76's counters, and who he should be targeting to ensure a fight goes in his favour. In the coming weeks we'll also be adding some map-specific tactics for this Hero as well.
Editor's note - Update #4: In the first of our Soldier: 76 guide updates for 2017, we've added a few general gameplay tips for the hero, and pulled together some map-specific advice too. We've also taken the opportunity to bring all of the character's cosmetic details right up to date as well, so you can find all of the new seasonal stuff further on down the page. Finally we've included one of our favourite video guides, so you can see how this all plays out in practise!
A new event has just hit Overwatch! Check out our essential Retribution guide for all the tips, tricks and strategy advice you need to master this new PVE mode.
Soldier: 76's abilities and strategy tips
As we've already mentioned, there's much that's familiar about Soldier: 76's fundamental combat capabilities. Nevertheless, here's a quick rundown of how each of his core Abilities work in battle.
Heavy Pulse Fire [LMB] - There's nothing at all that's particularly complicated about Soldier: 76's standard weapon. It's the kind of high-powered, laser-firing pulse rifle that you've seen in many games before, and it's capable of rattling off a rapid series of shots that do a good job of ripping through the target's health pool. Even better, the magazine clip size is pretty generous all things considered, reducing reload downtime.
Helix Rockets [RMB] - When you really need to go for the kill hard, switch over to this weapon's Helix Rockets alternate fire by hitting the right-mouse button, and then fire a big old pile of rockets into your opponent's face. You also get a good bit of splash damage when firing at multiple targets too, and it's a good way of taking out high HP units like turrets and tanks from range.
Sprint [SHIFT] - Holding down the Shift button allows Soldier: 76 to gain a temporary burst of additional speed. Not only is this boost great for catching up with the rest of the team after you've respawned, it can also help you make a break for safety if you come under the kind of fire you really can't handle all by yourself. The cooldown on this ability is pretty short too, so make sure you've got eyes on its availability at all times and make free use of it.
Biotic Shield [E] - Along with his impressive burst damage, Soldier: 76 also brings a little utility to team fights in the form of his Biotic Shield Ability. Drop one of these fellas onto the floor and you'll not only provide yourself with a heal-over-time boost - a particular advantage in duels - you'll also provide the same benefit to any friendly Heroes who are close proximity to its radiating effect.
Tactical Visor [Q] - Soldier: 76's Ultimate Ability is, in effect, an ultra-accurate aim-assist that makes it extremely easy to flick between targets and polish them off in quick succession - simply wait for your target to fall within the expanded reticule and then fire. Note that this ability auto-focuses on the chest areas of enemies, preventing you from pulling off more critical headshots. Just something to keep in mind.
|Ability||Ammo||Fire Rate||Duration||Cooldown / Reload||Heals||Damage||Range|
|Heavy Pulse Rifle||25||8.8 RPS||-||1.5s||-||6-20|
|Helix Rockets||-||-||-||8s||-||120||2m radius|
|Biotic Field||-||-||5s||15s||40 HPS||-||5m radius|
Here are a few tried and test Soldier: 76 tips, and we'll update this section of the guide throughout the upcoming beta and into launch. Let us know your own special tactics in the comments section and we'll add them to our guide.
- Sprint is an extremely versatile ability - use it to get back to the fight quickly, dart forward and scope the danger for your team, flank the enemy, or just get out of Dodge when it all goes disastrously wrong!
- Note that the longer you hold down fire on your pulse rifle, the more inaccurate your aim becomes. For this reason it can be more effective to fire this weapon off in tight, controlled bursts - particularly against distant enemies.
- Soldier: 76's Ultimate is a powerful thing indeed, and best used to focus on the squishiest characters in front of you if you want to get the most out of it each time.
- The Helix Rockets cooldown is a mere 8 seconds, so do get into the habit of working them into your standard combat mentality. They're particularly powerful when it comes to gaining an edge in a one-on-one duel - and they can absolutely annihilate squishier Heroes.
- Try to tuck yourself away somewhere before activating Biotic Field. On objectives we like to get in a corner of the room that lies between you and the enemy. Get yourself in there nice and snug and then heal up!
- Keep in mind that your Biotic Field radiates out of a device. That means you can place it on a moving object like the Payload, and have it travel with the team!
- Tactical Visor immediately reloads your ammunition to its maximum capacity, so try to rattle off anything you have left in the tank before activating this incredible skill!
- While your Sprint ability is very useful, if you fire your weapon or reload your weapon you will have to reactivate it to maintain speed.
- The direct damage of Helix Rockets won't land against a Genji who's activated Deflect, but the splash damage will - aim them at the ground by your target to gain this effect.
- You can only hit one target at a time while Tactical Visor is activated so make sure you focus your attention on a squishy target, and get the crosshairs as close to them as possible. You still need to aim while your Ultimate is activated!
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Map-specific tactics for Soldier: 76
Here's a little advice for doing well with Soldier: 76 on Overwatch's many maps.
Soldier 76: Assault tips (Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries)
Flank hard with Soldier: 76 when it comes to attacking on these sorts of maps. You have a certain amount of survivability when it comes to rushing through a chokepoint into a side area and healing yourself up, but keep in mind the enemy will know you're on the prowl. If your team are taking a point and the enemy's coming, be ready to drop a heal for everyone's benefit.
When defending, Soldier: 76 is pretty good at picking off enemy health bars bit by bit from range, and making them feel very nervous about continuing the push. Keep watch for any flankers and make sure you regularly patrol the different approach points if you've no targets in sight.
Regardless of the side you're on, try to attack with your Ultimate from an unexpected direction and with a height advantage wherever possible. Soldider: 76 isn't exactly shy about announcing the start of Tactical Visor, so you need every element of surprise you can draw upon.
Soldier 76: Control tips (Ilios, Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis)
Once the point's been taken, do a little patrolling back and forth to make sure every entrance point is being covered - sooner or later, someone will break away from the mass brawl and try to flank. Soldier: 76 excels at midrange fighting, which means once a point has been taken he's in great job to pick off would-be assailants before they can start pinching it.
A quick note on using your Ultimate in these sorts of close-quarters environments, although it's relevant to all fights. Try to gain an element of surprise before unloading Tactical Visor, and drop a Biotic Shield on the ground first (if it's available). The extra heal can often be enough to scrap another victim or two for your tally as the enemy team scrambles to deal with the threat you represent.
Soldier 76: Escort tips (Dorado, Route 66, Watchpoint: Gibraltar)
When escorting the Payload stay just behind your frontline and ensure you're constantly spitting out damage. Often players make the mistake of shooting anything that's exposed - enemy tanks in particular. Sure, this is a good idea if they've put themselves in an extremely vulnerable position, but your aim should always be trained on the enemy damage dealers or healers. This way you'll be putting far more pressure on your opponents!
Soldier 76: Hybrid tips (Eichenwalde, Hollywood, King's Row, Numbani)
Combine the above tips and you've got the perfect combination. Focus on the right targets, stay behind your frontline and when holding the point - always be on the lookout for any flankers or healers.
Unit Lost's Soldier: 76 guide
We've started the process of adding Unit Lost's series of videos to our hero guides, and Soldier: 76 is up next. Make some time to watch the whole of this video, as it'll go a long way in helping you put all of our advice into practise.
Although the video's a little old at this point, there's still much to be learned from it!
Soldier: 76 counters and match-ups
All Overwatch Heroes have their counters, but that also means each one has juicy targets of their own to focus on. Here's how things shape up for Soldier: 76 in the current metagame.
We've focused on the top three threats in the table below, but we've added some extra notes after.
|Soldier: 76 is strong against||Soldier 76: is weak against|
Mercy, along with any other squishy backline Support Heroes, make for great Soldier: 76 targets, and she's particularly vulnerable if you can catch her without a partner by her side. Heroes like Pharah who exploit verticality and mobility are very vulnerable to 76's Ultimate ability too, and Roadhog makes a notably solid sponge for you to charge up your Ult with.
Soldier: 76 excels at medium range, which means anyone who gets really close to him can cause a major problem - hello Genji! While Soldier: 76 can rattle through Reinhardt's shield, it does at the same time counter his ability to tap rear targets during a push. Mei can, of course, leave him very vulnerable as well thanks to her freezing effects.
Soldier: 76 Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines
There are all manner of emotes, skins and assorted other customisation options that can be unlock for Soldier: 76 through gameplay. Here's a quick reference chart for every single one of them - you can see all the skins in our gallery just above!
|Night Ops: 76||1000||Legendary|
|Strike Commander Morrison||Promotional||Legendary|
|Stunt Rider: 76||1000||Legendary|
|I See You||250||Epic|
|Locked And Loaded||250||Epic|
|Take A Knee||250||Epic|
|Locked And Loaded||75||Rare|
|Bring The Noise||Seasonal||Common|
|Get Off My Lawn||25||Common|
|I'm An Army of One||25||Common|
|I'm Not Your Father||Seasonal||Common|
|I Didn't Start This War...||0||Common|
|I've Still Got It||0||Common|
|Not Getting Any Younger||Seasonal||Common|
|Not On My Watch||25||Common|
|Smells Like Victory||25||Common|
|That's "Sir" To You||25||Common|
|The Rooster Crows||Seasonal||Common|
|Trick Or Treat||Seasonal||Common|
|What Are You Lookin' At?||75||Rare|
|Whatever You Say||Seasonal||Rare|
|You're The Other One||75||Rare|
|You Didn't Make The Cut||75||Rare|
|You Want A Medal?||Seasonal||Rare|
|Looking At You||250||Epic|