Calling Jack Morrison the poster child of Overwatch isn't hyperbole; literal statues sporting his likeness are still visited to this day. After leaving farm life to join the military, his exemplary service put him in the running for a special program for "enhancing soldiers" through new scientific techniques. He proved himself during the Omnic Crisis and became Overwatch's first commander, a lofty title that put him in a place of great power, as well as the center of a giant target for his enemies. He used Overwatch as a tool to unite humanity, but the organization was soon shaken by rumors and tragedy. In a heated battle with once-friend Gabriel Reyes, Morrison was lost in an explosion and assumed dead - but he survived. Years later, he would take the role of the mysterious mercenary, Soldier: 76, whose ultimate goals remain to be seen.
In battle, 76 is one of the most versatile and dynamic offensive heroes in the game. He's a self-sufficient gunner with the mobility and burst damage to really get the most out of flanking runs, as well as the long range accuracy to be a threat on the front lines.
76 is often considered the gateway character for converted Call of Duty players, considering how much he controls like your standard proto-military grunt. His sustained damage is consistent and reliable no matter how far he is from the target. He has no real specialization, but he can do a little bit of everything, and he makes the perfect compliment to any team composition.
76's main weapon is the Heavy Pulse Rifle, a hitscan gun with pretty nice damage and a high rate of fire. It's a very accurate gun, too. The first five bullets are perfectly accurate, with the spread getting wider the longer you hold the trigger down. This makes pulse firing the recommended method of shooting for any enemy mid-range or longer. You have some counter snipe ability against those pesky Widowmakers, as well as a high damage profile that can even take a beefy Roadhog by surprise. That said, stay out of likely sniping alleys and keep high damage flankers at a distance; you can dominate the mid-range game with this weapon alone. Somewhat basic in comparison, it's still one of the best primaries in the game.
When paired with Helix Rockets, the burst damage produced by a couple seconds of Pulse Rifle sustained fire is devastating to anything under 200 health. The cluster of rockets themselves are high-damage, fast-moving projectiles that can really take a bite out of your enemies. When you've already got a stream of bullets pelting a foe, slipping these in will seal the deal. If you can't hit them directly, you can still do reduced splash damage. But be careful - you can be hurt by the splash damage as well. Only use in close proximity if you're very sure you'll survive.
76 is one of the only characters that can increase his basic movement speed with Sprint. When holding down the button, Solider: 76 gallops in the chosen direction. He can use this as often as he likes, because there is no cost, cooldown, or duration. This helps Soldier get to objectives quickly or work his way behind enemies in short order. He cannot use other abilities while he's sprinting, though.
Biotic Field allows 76 a bit of sustainability. After a short animation, he drops a beacon that heals everyone within a five meter radius for 40HP/sec for 5 seconds. This is pretty significant healing for a non-support character, and it shouldn't be scoffed at. Biotic Field can provide some extra cushion in prolonged firefights, as the extra health per second can buy you time to line up a headshot, finish that Helix cooldown, or just make it out alive. It also heals other friendly characters for the same amount so long as they can see the beacon, so Soldier is suddenly an off-healing compliment to you normal support suite.
His ultimate, Tactical Visor, is admittedly less impressive than other big abilities, but it has plenty of playmaking capability. While activated, Soldier auto-targets enemies closest to his crosshairs. Every bullet or rocket shot within Visor's duration will be auto-aimed at this enemy. This is great for getting the drop on squishy supports or those more frail flankers. It's also important not to waste this time on tanks or other higher health targets because they can probably be hit without much trouble regularly, and you only have a limited time that is better spent not chewing through rails of HP.
- Soldier: 76 is never a bad choice, especially when you need more damage output. He is a great frontline presence, especially when supporting a proper tank, and can outflank with the best of them.
- At close range, forget everything we said about burst firing. You have no great close range options, and you need all the damage you can get. His weapon is still relatively accurate when on full auto, so don't be afraid to push it.
- Helix Rockets are most effective when hitting someone directly. Work with your team to synergize stuns and snares like Flashbang or Steel Trap. Baiting pursuers around corners and into tight spaces is another good play, as well as saving Rockets for when an enemy begins channeling their ult.
- When your Helix Rockets are on cooldown, you become a hotter target because you've lost your burst damage for eight seconds. Stay defensive whenever they aren't available.
- Always Sprint when not in combat. Solider's mobility is one of your biggest advantages.
- Drop Biotic Fields as skirmishes start to get the most out of their pseudo-armor healing benefits.
- If there is an Ana on your team, 76's Biotic Field gets a huge boost in effectiveness thanks to her Biotic Grenades.
- Tactical Visor lowers your reload time to half a second, making you the ultimate dealer of rapid fire damage. It does not make your shots any stronger though, so don't think you're breaking through a Reinhardt or Winston shield with anymore vigor.
- The biggest enemy to a Soldier: 76 is a patient and well-played Mei. Ice Wall can block sight to the Biotic Field beacon, as well as completely interrupt the line of sight needed for Tactical Visor to work. Her Blizzard field negates the speed bonus of your Sprint, and when in danger, she can just Cryo-Freeze herself. Unless you're aiming for the face, don't take Mei on alone.
With these tips, you can make Soldier: 76 the fears battlefield tactician that he was written to be. If you need any more help, come to the Overwatch Wiki. And let us know how the good fight is going on Twitter and Facebook.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.