Working The Graveyard Shift: A Brief Reaper Guide



Sat 8th Sep 2018 - 6:12pm

Now if you ask me, Reaper is probably one of the less appreciated DPS heroes in the game. It's not that he's bad or doesn't fit in any team comps, but the meta generally just hasn't been in his favor since the death of the dreaded "beyblade" meta. Regardless, he still has pretty decent short-range burst damage and there's no shortage of tanks to bust in the current meta. With that said, here's a few tips to help you up your Reaper game.

Knowing Your Role

As a DPS with a relatively large health pool and a life-steal passive, it may be tempting to run in and act like a one man army. Doing so will most likely end in your demise, and even if you can trade a kill or two, it may not be worth it in the end. As a Reaper, you have a couple of roles to keep in mind.

First off, because of your range, you'll mostly be doing work on the frontline. Not only are you going to be good at taking down barriers, you can pretty much burst down any tanks even without aiming for the head (though you really should if you can). In general, you should be focusing on tanks and barriers. If you can, go for any stragglers either overextending or trying to flank your supports, just make sure that you aren't leaving your tanks without any backup.

Second, you can also be a flanker. As weird as that may sound after reading the previous paragraph, Reaper also excels at sneaking into the backline and potentially assassinating supports and snipers. His kit is great for flanking and making cheeky plays, and being stealthy as Reaper can sometimes pay off big-time. On that note, let's take a closer look at Reaper's "weakest" ability.

Shadow Step

People tend to underestimate this ability due to how loud it is and how it leaves Reaper completely vulnerable while he's channeling it. While that may be true, Shadow Step still has its uses aside from letting you get out of spawn faster. One common mistake that people tend to make is that they use it to flank during the quiet downtime between big team fights. Reaper quite literally announces his presence whenever he teleports with this ability, so one way to use it in a "stealthy" manner is by using it to reposition yourself during a fight.

Even with the audio cue, enemies will most likely be too preoccupied with your team to actively hunt you down. Sure, some of them may have a general idea of where you might be, but depending on the situation, they won't be able to leave their team behind just to check if you're creeping up behind them. There's also a chance that they just won't hear or notice the audio cue at all, and you'd be surprised at how often that happens regardless of your skill rating.

Over time, you'll start finding more creative ways to use Shadow Step that isn't limited to just setting up for his ult. For example, you can use it to sneak past chokepoints that your team is struggling to push through (e.g. the first phase of Hanamura attack). Combined with crouch walking, you can easily sneak behind enemy lines without giving away exactly where you're going, with the only clue being that initial audio cue that they may not have even heard.


So now you've found your way behind the enemy team, what do you do next? Unlike Tracer who can safely zip in and out, disruption shouldn't be your main goal when flanking. As Reaper, you'll want to sneak up on the other team's support or long-range DPS players and quickly secure at least one kill before running to safety. Obviously, you shouldn't force it if you really can't without dying, and the distraction you'll cause could very well lead to your team securing a kill or two anyway. With the amount of effort required for Reaper to run around undetected though, it would be a bit of a waste if it only resulted in a bit of trash damage, so always assess the situation before engaging and see if you can catch someone by surprise.

As much as possible, don't lead with Wraith Form when you're engaging. Not only is it loud, you'll also be left with no means of escape afterwards. Even if you're not flanking, leading with Wraith Form makes your intentions very predictable. Some players tend to use Wraith Form in order to set up for Death Blossom, and this often just results in a quick cancel or a lot of damage mitigation in your face. At best, you could probably get someone to panic and waste their defensive ult (e.g. Sound Barrier or Transcendence), but you'd most likely just be dying for nothing. Instead, use Shadow Step on a place where they'd least expect you to attack from, such as an odd ledge above or a room that people wouldn't think to check.

On the topic of Death Blossom, depending on the situation, you should mostly just use it to secure a kill or two. As tempting as getting a team-wiping "play of the game" ult might be, you realistically won't get a lot of opportunities to do so, especially without the help of something like Zarya's Graviton Surge. Even then, you aren't always guaranteed to survive for the entire duration of your ult. If you find an opening that lets you jump in and use Death Blossom to instantly take out two key players in the backline, just go for it.

Final Thoughts

Reaper is and always has been a decent pick against tanky team compositions. In maps with open areas (e.g. Rialto), if you're facing someone you can't reach, such as Pharah, you should probably switch off to something else until you get to an area with tight spaces. Take note though, some of your teammates may be able to take care of that problem while you continue to do your own thing.

At the end of the day, Reaper's effectiveness is mainly based around good team communication and the player knowing how and who to engage. With the recent addition of Wrecking Ball, I'd say that it's a great time to start learning how to play Reaper. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start busting some tanks!

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