In Overwatch 2, Kiriko is the last hero rounding out the competitive game’s launch roster. Marking the third Japanese character in the game, this new support brings a high healing output with staggering lethality too.
Kiriko is the first new support character added to Overwatch in nearly three and a half years, so her introduction is a pretty big deal. She was never part of the Overwatch 2 beta though, making her brand new on Overwatch 2's launch. Overwatch 2 heroes are harder to play, and Kiriko leans on that side of the equation. While she's far from impossible to master, Kiriko is one of the harder support characters to get your head around.
That is fitting, too, because she has a lot in common with one of Overwatch’s difficult yet highly rewarding DPS heroes, Genji. In fact, developers of the game have told us that she was designed from the ground up to be a support that Genji players would love to play.
However, how does that possibly work for a healer? Just why is she potentially so difficult to master, and how does she fit alongside other Overwatch 2 characters? Well, she has a fascinating kit that is all about deliberate and well-timed execution. Once you get used to this, Kiriko is incredibly overpowered, but you can stop your entire team from dying to an ultimate with just one ability.
Here’s what you need to know to get closer to mastery.
Overwatch 2 Kiriko
Overwatch 2 Kiriko: Story and Background
There is a duality at the heart of Kiriko. The young ninja has adopted two philosophies from matriarchal forces in her life. Her Grandmother taught her about spirituality and community, as well as her ancestral history with the Kanezaka Shrine. This connection has even given her a spirit fox who accompanies her.
On the other side, her mother is an exacting and disciplined ninja, all about taking action and standing up for what is right. Her mother also taught Genji and Hanzo, and Kiriko trained alongside them, meaning she has a solid link to the Shimada brothers.
However, in the present, after the fall of the Shimada clan and the rise of other, less moral criminal organizations, Kiriko runs with a group of young gifted individuals called the Yokai, who try to protect the streets of Kanezaka.
Overwatch 2 Kiriko: Gameplay breakdown
Kiriko is another ‘battle support’ like Baptiste, Moira, and Zenyatta. Like those heroes, she can deal a lot of damage and, in certain instances, can even outperform her DPS counterparts. However, that will be at the cost of your team's healing.
More so than other support heroes, Kiriko is about precision and timing. She has a high skill ceiling, with her offensive abilities closer to Genji, but her healing is much easier than others in her class. This is fitting as Kiriko spent some time training with the cyborg ninja when he was younger.
It’s even said in the developer update that Kiriko inherited the Kunai, originally Genji’s weapon, in early testing. She is fast and furious, and at the top tier, she will be mighty in the hands of players who master her, potentially putting her towards the top of the Overwatch 2-tier list. However, expect growing pains before you get to that point, as she’s not as pick-up and playable as most other supports.
Primary fire: Healing Ofuda
The Healing Ofuda is a powerful healing ability and makes up Kiriko’s primary support aspect. When using the power, Kiriko throws two Ofuda at a time, and she has ten before she has to “reload”, meaning you can fire five bursts of healing in one rotation. That said, the reset doesn’t take too long.
Think about it like Moira’s healing gas, except it can track your allies at great distances. The healing is broken up again when she has to ‘reload’, but she also doesn’t need to charge her healing ability back up like Moira.
Tips and tricks
- Kiriko is a good healer for airborne heroes like Pharah and Echo due to the Healing Ofuda tracking decent distances. You don’t have to play Mercy for your Pharah every time now.
- While they heal a lot, the Ofudas are a healing projectile, meaning that they don’t heal instantly and need time to reach their target. Anticipate incoming damage.
Secondary fire: Kunai
Kiriko can undoubtedly do a lot of healing. However, she also has enormous lethality and can finish opponents if you can click on heads. This ability to kill comes from her secondary fire, her Kunai.
The Kunai can be excellent in the hands of a skilled player but can also be underwhelming if you lack the mechanical skill to make the most of it. This ability can hit for enhanced critical damage meaning that if you are accurate, you could rival other DPS heroes for kills. It does an underwhelming body shot damage if you can’t hit heads, meaning you might be better off healing.
Tips and tricks
- Like Baptiste and Moira, Kiriko is a balancing act of deciding when to heal and when to go on the attack. Go for kills, but don’t leave your Tank without your enormous healing output.
- Support your DPS players killing tanks. Tanks generally have larger heads, so should be easier to do more damage to.
Ability 1: Swift Step
Swift Step works like a blink of sorts and is unique in Overwatch. When Kiriko activates the ability, she can teleport to another player. While some will liken this to Symmetra’s Teleport, it seems to work more like a Sombra beacon… only if the beacon was another player.
Interestingly, this ability allows Kiriko to blink through walls and surfaces. Even if you can’t see your hurt tank, you can instantly get to them. The blink distance is generous, too, meaning that Kiriko is perhaps one of the most mobile heroes in the game, able to instantly turn up anywhere on the battlefield in the blink of an eye.
Tips and tricks
- Just because you can blink to a hurt ally, doesn’t mean you should. Blinking to someone in an unwinnable situation will only get you killed too. Show restraint and only join fights you can win.
- This is another way Kiriko can help support airborne heroes as she can blink up to them and then strike the battlefield as she falls.
Ability 2: Protection Suzu
The Protection Suzu is a potent ability; if timed right, it can instantly turn the tide of fights. This ability makes Kiriko and her allies in a medium radius invincible and unable to take damage for around a second.
Baptiste’s immortality field has been controversial since his release, and that ability doesn’t mitigate damage in any way. However, the trade-off here is that the Protection Suzu lasts for a short time and has a reasonably long cooldown, so you have to pick your moment exactly to save yourself and your team.
Tips and tricks
- This is an incredible ability against instant damage. It can completely negate Junkrat’s Tire, a swipe of a Genji blade, a Rein charge, a Soldier helix Rocket, or anything else that is about to kill you or a player. Just time it well as the attacker can wait out the ability with no problem.
- This ability also cleanses debuffs such as anti-healing from you and your allies.
Passive: Wall Climb
Kiriko has learned from her time training alongside Hanzo and Genji. Putting the time in with the Shimada brothers means that she has adopted their passive, the ability to wall climb.
This works just as you might imagine, as it already exists in the game. Kiriko can scale vertical surfaces for a couple of seconds, unlocking new areas for her to access and new approaches that other heroes just can’t pull off.
It also is a lovely narrative nod to her relationship with both Genji and Hanzo.
Tips and tricks
- Sharing this passive with Genji and Hanzo makes her a great partner with either. You and your DPS partner can climb up to higher ground and act as a separate squad to create a crossfire with the rest of your team.
Ultimate: Kitsune Rush
Kitsune Rush is a very strong ultimate that supercharges your team in many different ways. This is like several support ultimates combined… as long as your team can stay within a confined space.
When Kiriko casts the Kitsune Rush, a metaphysical road appears in front of her in a straight line (that can go up and down surfaces). It's marked by Torii arches and her spiritual fox that runs along it. Everyone benefits from movement speed, attack speed, reload speed, and cooldown reduction when you and your team are on this road.
That’s a lot of buffs and makes this a beneficial ability… in the right circumstances. You can only move in a straight line and are pretty confined to the ultimate’s area, so it's only good if the terrain is suitable.
Tips and tricks
- This is an excellent initiating ultimate. Especially if you have to push through a choke point, this will give you and your team an exceptionally powerful burst to take the space.
- Think about which DPS this pairs well with and who benefits greatly from increased fire rate, such as Soldier 76, Ashe, Cassidy and others.
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Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.