Leader of the Deadlock Gang, Ashe enters the world of Overwatch as the latest playable character. Packing an assortment of guns, explosives, and a large weaponized robot on speed dial, she’s looking to get her hands dirty on the battlefield. The initial trailer piqued my interest in her, but having played her for the past few weeks has been really eye-opening.
She is a DPS character who excels in mid-to-long range combat. Her single-shot rifle is deadly accurate, especially when she aims down the sights of her gun. As someone who has been playing primarily as Hanzo over the past few months, having the ability to look down sights and shoot instantly has been a blessing. Her shots may not have the same stopping power as Hanzo’s arrows, but they still pack quite the punch. One headshot will end most squishy characters, and she can kill non-tanks with roughly three body shots.
Looking down the sights gives her precision aim, but there’s a trade-off. She fires at a slower-than-average speed. At the right distance, it’s not going to matter much. But if an enemy starts to gain ground, you won’t be able to fire off shots at a fast enough pace. In these situations, firing from the hip is not a bad alternative. She can fire off her bullets at a fast rate, and while consecutive shots are impacted by random spread, I generally found them accurate enough in a scramble. In a pinch, I can quickly unload a clip into someone that’s too close for comfort. It’s not ideal, but I get a decent percentage of my kills this way.
However, doing so highlights her biggest weakness: reload speed. Having to load one bullet at a time into the chamber can really slow her down and effectively make you a sitting duck if you let it empty out completely. You can cancel the reload animation and simply fire with whatever bullets you were able to get in there, but you’re still at a disadvantage by mismanaging your ammo. As such, I find that reloading often is the best course of action, so that I’m ready for the scramble where I have to unload a clip in an emergency. Otherwise, I’m trying to pick people off from distance, reloading after every few shots or after scoring an elimination.
Ashe has a second gun on hand, but it’s not necessarily a tool for killing. Her coach gun only hits at short range and has an incredibly wide spread. It only really does meaningful damage at point-blank range. Instead, it’s best for creating space or traversing to new heights.
In moments where your enemies are tight, one coach gun blast will send her and her enemies flying backwards in opposite directions. Not gonna score much in the way of damage, but it’s an excellent tool for creating space. If you’re heady enough, you can also squeeze in a few shots as your enemy is flying backwards. Or if you’re close to the edge, you can do the Lucio boop to knock them off the stage.
You can also use the coach gun like a rocket jump. Aim the gun to the ground and fire in order to launch Ashe into the air. It’s a nifty way of reaching ledges for a better shooting angle or to take out a pesky sniper. Getting the feel for how far you have to be in order to give yourself enough lead time to successfully land on a ledge will take a bit of work, but once you do, it’s a great tool to have in your back pocket.
I’m just a scrub and this is still the early days of Ashe, but I think her best secret weapon is her TNT. She lobs a lit stack of dynamite forward, which will blow up when the fuse runs out. Any enemies in range will take sustained fire damage. The long fuse time is a pain to work with, but you can circumvent that by shooting it. I’ve found that if you’re able to shoot it out of the air in a crowd, you can score a ton of damage and make it considerably easier for your team to clean house. This takes even more practice than the coach gun jump, but it opens up her game considerably.
Last but not least is B.O.B., her sidekick and ultimate. When summoned, B.O.B. rushes into the scene to provide supporting fire. If he runs into anyone, he’ll launch them into the air before shooting them down. B.O.B. has a ton of utility, from stopping the payload, to being able to rack up multiple kills when placed in the right spot. Put him in the wrong spot and he either just stands in an empty room, or is shot into oblivion. But find that right spot and he can help your team in all sorts of ways.
Though the game has almost 30 heroes at this point, I think Ashe is finally the one to end my multi-year character crisis. Having found bits and pieces I’ve liked in a number of characters – Ashe feels like the total package for me. Her tools and the way I like to play the game seem tailor-made for each other. Whether I decide to take Ranked play seriously or mostly play it as a social pastime with friends, Overwatch for me has been at its best when I’m playing as her.