Overwatch 2 Sombra guide: how to use her reworked abilities

Overwatch 2 Sombra shoots her machine pistol
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The Overwatch 2 Sombra rework that we began the season with made her one of the most powerful characters. However, after numerous community complaints, the devs over at Blizzard made some vital changes to her abilities. This was in hopes of bringing "Sombra more in line with the rest of the roster" says community manager Andy B in a community post.

Sombra is a returning face from the classic Overwatch roster, and she's received a major loadout makeover. In Overwatch 2, her hacking and infiltration throughlines have been amped up only slightly, which means she's still a pain in the backlines but not as powerful as she was at the beginning of Overwatch 2. 

Sombra is a fast and lethal character who finds and cuts down isolated enemies. Zenyatta, Ana, and, to be honest, most of the Overwatch 2 characters will have the fear of being picked off by Sombra anytime they find themselves alone.

We have you covered if you want to get every ounce out of her. We’ve compiled a breakdown of Sombra’s entire loadout and useful tips and tricks to best utilize her on the battlefield. 

Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about playing Sombra.

Overwatch 2 Sombra

Overwatch 2 Sombra: Story and Background

Sombra is one of the world’s greatest hackers, having cybernetic implants along her spine and brain. She can hack technology through touch and reach well-hidden information with a mere click of her fingers. There's little going on in the world of Overwatch that Sombra isn’t privy to. 

However, she started life rough. She was displaced as a child in Mexico thanks to the Omnic Crisis war. However, she eventually honed her hacking skills for the Los Muertos gang, who were trying to take back from the rich who had taken advantage of the vacuum created by the conflict. 

She eventually found herself working for the terrorist organization Talon, which made use of her extensive knowledge of political and financial secrets. However, while she is associated with the group, she uses them as a means to an end. She has shown she is mostly out for her own and has no trouble betraying Talon, as she proved in the Infiltration short, where she thwarted a plan to kill the Volskaya Industries' CEO to make her a personal informant.

Overwatch 2 Sombra: Abilities

Primary fire: Machine Pistol

Sombra uses her machine pistol

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: A fast-firing machine gun that fires a spread

Sombra’s Machine Pistol is an excellent basis for her loadout and is something that can shred opponents as they find themselves hacked.

While the gun has a fairly large spread, don’t be afraid to use it at range. It can secure kills from a safe middle distance, with decent accuracy and a fairly large magazine, meaning you can one clip a lot of heroes in the game.

Some tips and tricks about this weapon:

  • The Machine Pistol has a surprising amount of range, killing a 200 hp target with only 2/3rd of a clip from 25 meters – when they're hacked, you can do it in less than half of a clip
  • The machine pistol excels with headshots – if possible, take high ground above opponents, hack them and then fire down on their skulls
  • While ‘building EMP’ is less important on Sombra now due to hack changes and slower building Ultimates in the game, shooting tanks from a distance is always a viable option to help get there faster if you have nothing else pressing to do

Ability: Hack

Sombra uses her Hack ability

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: Hacked enemies can’t use their abilities briefly, take more damage and can be seen through walls. Health packs can be hacked to only help friendly players and recharge faster.

Hack is the core of Sombra’s loadout, and in Overwatch 2, it has seen a massive revamp. In Overwatch 1, her Hack disabled enemies, meaning they couldn’t use their abilities for an extended period of time. 

Hack in Overwatch 2 is far more multifaceted. The bad news is that it no longer stops characters from using their abilities for very long, but it will interrupt them for a second. This is great for stopping powers that are casting or are being channelled. That said, the timings on these are exceptionally tight, so it’s much more skill-based now. 

However, there are a couple of perks that come with Hack. Now hacked enemies will take an increased amount of damage. However, the damage multiplier was reduced from 40 to 25%.  While you can track hacked enemies through walls, they will no longer be available to be hacked a second time while still in the duration of the first Hack. 

Oh, she can now hack while invisible without coming out of stealth. She will be visible for a very short period, but will remain invisible after the hack. 

Some tips and tricks for this ability:

  • Use hack as an interrupt now rather than a true disable – this can work wonderfully against things like Mercy Resurrections, Roadhog Take A Breathers or Moira's Coalescence  
  • Hack most health packs – while you are stealthed, hack any relevant stations. This not only gives you a way to heal but denies enemies the chance to get respite
  • Single out supports specifically and while invisible look for stray heroes that are isolated from their team – hack them and benefit from the increased damage against them

Ability: Translocator

Sombra uses her Translocator ability

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: Throw a beacon and then activate again to teleport back to it.

Sombra’s translocator is a key part of her loadout and is integral to her rotation of survival. Generally, you want to place it either somewhere safe or, if possible, near a health pack. 

Think of it somewhat like a get-out-of-jail-free card. You generally want to place it, push out, find an opportunity to kill or harass an enemy, and then once you start to take too much damage, you teleport back to safety. 

You can, of course, use the translocator aggressively too. If you see someone low on health and trying to escape, you can throw it to close the distance and finish them off. However, only do this if you are sure you can get the kill and are in relative safety. Without her translocator placed, Sombra is exceptionally vulnerable, and if enemies know you don't have it available, it will make you a priority target.

Some tips and tricks for this ability:

  • Place this next to hacked health packs – when you translocate back, you'll return to full HP and be ready to place another and return to the fight
  • Translocator can be used to set up a massive EMP, by throwing it into an enemy team, translocating in the air, and then using your ultimate – only do this with the support of your team though as you will have no outs if it goes wrong
  • Use translocator to take high ground – high ground is always valuable and if you can remain relatively safe, you will shred opponents from above

Ability: Stealth

Sombra uses her Stealth ability

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: Become invisible and move quickly. 

Sombra’s ability to become invisible is almost as recognizable as her ability to hack. This makes her an exceptionally powerful hero on the battlefield, as it’s never certain where she is or what she's planning. 

It's also a great information-gathering tool that allows you to see the other team composition relatively safely, much sooner than anyone else. 

In Overwatch 2, she can now hack while in Stealth, which is a very powerful combination.

However, remember that if you take stray damage, you will come out of Stealth. If you're annoying the other team enough, they will start shooting behind themselves to try and tag you. Always try to be out of the way of areas where stray damage could hit you.

Some tips and tricks for this ability:

  • Sombra will briefly become visible when doing a hack. Be sure to not be in the line of sight of anyone when you execute one
  • Sombra can be detected at 4 meters away from an enemy now as opposed to the 2 in Overwatch 1 so be sure to keep a further distance than what you are used to
  • Sombra can actually come out of stealth faster than in the base Overwatch 1, meaning you can shoot much sooner

Passive ability: Opportunist

Sombra sees through walls using her Opportunist ability

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: You can detect critically wounded enemies through walls.

Sombra benefits massively from her Opportunist passive, which is excellently named as that's the role she now embodies on the roster in Overwatch 2. 

It’s a fairly simple concept – Sombra can see through walls when a character is below half health. This lets her pinpoint characters that are vulnerable and finish them off. 

Some tips and tricks about this ability:

  • Only you can see enemies through walls with this ability, so be sure to relay to your team if you think you can work together to finish someone off

Ultimate: EMP

Sombra uses her EMP ability

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Description: Sombra hacks enemies and does 40% of their current health in a massive radius

Sombra’s EMP is a different beast in Overwatch 2, and the differences are important to get your head around. Now, EMP is more aggressive, opening Sombra up to do more damage and secure kills herself – however, it enables her team a little less. 

Because of how hack works, enemies' abilities will only be disabled for one second. This means, for instance, EMP will no longer counter Zenyatta’s Transcendence, as he will be able to activate it just a second later, healing everyone. 

That said, you also get the benefits of the new hack, which means that not only will opponents take more damage from you, but they'll also be revealed through walls for a prolonged period of time.

Some tips and tricks for this ultimate:

  • You need to approach EMP differently – Use it less for team utility, and instead use it to secure your own kills as getting two kills early in a fight is often enough 
  • Be careful about Translocating in like in Overwatch 1 – you are the one who will be making the plays off the ultimate so putting yourself amongst the enemies without a way out is much less advised unless you have a team to back you up
  • Can combo nicely with Tank ultimates like Zarya’s Graviton Surge or Orisa’s Terra Surge – but again, don’t be afraid to use it more selfishly than previously

Overwatch 2 Sombra: Gameplay breakdown

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Sombra in Overwatch was always a complicated hero to get to grips with. Previously she lacked the offensive firepower of other DPS heroes, but her ability to stop enemies from using their abilities and get information while invisible was exceptionally powerful. However, she always required communication and teamwork, something that can be hard to do with a group of six random players thrown together through matchmaking.

In Overwatch 2 though, she’s seen a rework, taking away some of her utility in favor of making her more in line with the damage roster. She's now less of a disabler and more of an opportunist. Your role on Sombra is to find key moments where other heroes are weak or out of place and capitalize for easy kills.

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

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.