Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (2024)

Table of Contents

  • 1. Strengths
  • 2. Weaknesses
  • +3. Strategy
    • 3.1. Overview
      • 3.1.1. General Viability
    • 3.2. Abilities
      • 3.2.1. Widow's Kiss (Sniper)
      • 3.2.2. Widow's Kiss (Assault)
      • 3.2.3. Grappling Hook
      • 3.2.4. Venom Mine
      • 3.2.5. Infra-Sight
  • 4. Changelog

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (1)

  • Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (2) Real Name: Amélie Lacroix, Age: 33
  • Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (3) Occupation: Assassin
  • Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (4) Base of Operations: Annecy, France
  • Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (5) Affiliation: Talon

This guide takes an in-depth look at how to play Widowmaker in Overwatch.We look at the strengths and weaknesses of the hero, and we go overmechanics, recommended strategies, and things to beware of.

The guide has been written based on our extensive experience playing thegame since before the Closed Beta began, and it relies on our decades-longFPS experience. That said, our aim is to keep the guide relatively brief andeasy to understand, making it accessible to veterans and new players alike.

If you have any comment on the guide's content or structure, please letus know in the comments! :)

Stamp of Approval

This guide has been reviewed and approved by michr, formerly one of the best Day of Defeatplayers in Europe, who now plays Overwatch for OWKings. He also writes forGosu Gamers.



  • Extremely powerful ultimate that grants the entire team vision of theenemies (including through walls/other objects) for 15 seconds
  • Highest single shot damage potential in the game
  • Deadly at long and medium range
  • Good mobility and slim model grant decent survivability
  • In the right hands, can carry a game by herself



  • Very weak in close range combat
  • Tendency to stay at long range means she does not contribute to themap's objective
  • Loud bullet sounds and bullet animation mean that her position iscompromised as soon as she fires the first shot
  • Number of sniper nests is restricted, meaning that her positionsare quite predictable
  • If played sub-optimally, it affects her team very negatively (effectivelycausing them to play 5vs6)



In this section, we will briefly go over the main strategies you shouldemploy as Widowmaker. We will begin with an Overview, and then we will go indepth more about each ability that Widowmaker has.



Widowmaker is a defense hero, and one of two snipers in Overwatch(the other being Hanzo). Her specialty and greatest strength is longrange damage. Her Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (6) Widow's Kiss rifle allows her to zoom in (forincreased vision) and charge up shots that deal up to 120 damage at any range.This, coupled with her reduced close range survivability and extremely poorclose range damage mean that Widowmaker prefers to stay away from the actionand take out enemies from afar.

Widowmaker's Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (7) Grappling Hook allows her to reach varioussniper nests, as well as to move quickly during combat (especially whenambushed). Her Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (8) Venom Mine allows her to get a warning of enemiessneaking up on her, as well as to deal some more close range damage.

Finally, Widowmaker's Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (9) Infra-Sight ultimate grants her and herentire team complete vision of the enemy team. This ultimate has globalrange, and it is extremely powerful.


General Viability

Most Overwatch heroes are viable both on Attack and on Defense. In ouropinion, however, Widowmaker is hardly ever viable on Attack, and can oftenfail to be viable even on Defense.

Widowmaker's poor performance on Attack is due to her design. For Widowmakerto be able to deal a high damage shot, she needs to charge the shot up for 1second in preparation for shooting. While charging up (or being zoomed in witha fully charged-up shot), her movement speed is greatly reduced, and jumpingcancels the zoom/charge-up. This means that, in general, Widowmaker works muchbetter when she can stand back and wait for enemies to enter her field ofvision, rather than attempting to attack enemy positions herself.

This makes her much better suited for playing on the Defense side ofmaps, because it means she can set up in a safe location, far from thebattle, from where she can shoot players who approach the Payload/Point.Picking Widowmaker on Attack or on Control maps is much more difficultto justify. In certain niche situations, it can work very well. For example,if the defenders have set up a strong position just outside the spawn point(with snipers, Torbjörn turrets, or Bastion), then Widowmakercan work well for dislodging them. However, after this stage, once thePayload begins to move or when the team assaults the Point, Widowmaker is at asignificant disadvantage.

On Payload or Point Capture maps, in order to make the best of her rangeadvantage (and avoid being killed in close range), she will look to stay wellbehind team, overlooking the Payload or the Point. This allows her to damageor kill players who engage her team in melee range or who areset up on the Point; beyond this, however, her efficiency is greatlydiminished. Ranged defenders will set up in locations that reduce theirexposure, meaning that Widowmaker will have no chance of seeing them withoutmoving to the Payload/Point herself, where she is particularly vulnerable.In addition to this, any fight that takes place on top of a Payload poses greatdifficulties for Widowmaker since the Payload blocks line of sight, renderingher less effective.

On Control maps, again, Widowmaker can deal damage and get kills from afar,but she will not be standing on the point to actually help capture or contestit. Since most Control map Points provide some form of cover, enemy heroes whoare on the point and who have repelled Widowmaker's teammates can simply hidefrom Widowmaker, making her useless.

Even on Defense, however, Widowmaker is only viable if she is able toconsistently get kills. In each time fight, Widowmaker needs to take out atleast 1 and a half enemy heroes (the "half" refers to damaging another enemy)for her to justify her position on the team. In any case, you should look atyour team composition before choosing Widowmaker. This is because if your teamhas too many heroes that are not suited to contesting the Payload/Point youwill be at a great disadvantage.

For example, if your defensive team consists of Hanzo,Tracer, Torbjörn, Zenyatta, and Roadhog, itmeans that you have at best 2 heroes that can stand on the Payload/Point withrelative safety (Roadhog and Torbjörn, although that is not really Torbjörn'spreferred position). Picking Widowmaker in this case would result in a line-upthat might have great damage-dealing potential, but which is extremely weak toa coordinated push from the other team. We would advise picking a differenthero in this case. Soldier: 76, Zarya, Symmetra, orMei are just a few examples of heroes that work better in this type oflineup. If your team already has a good base of heroes that can fight at thefrontline, then Widowmaker can work very well.

As such, we feel that in games where both teams are equally matched interms of skill and coordination, choosing Widowmaker on Attack is sub-optimal,and there are other choices that can work much better (as mentioned above).If you are incredibly skilled with Widowmaker, you may be able to offset thisdisadvantage and make playing her viable. Even on Defense, to justifyWidowmaker, the player controlling her must be very skilled in order toactually contribute to the team. Of course, if your team is much betterthan the enemies and your teammates are able to dominate them even withoutrelying on your help, then it hardly matters.




Widow's Kiss (Sniper)

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (10)

Widow's Kiss(LMB, RMB)Widowmaker

LMB: Automatic assault weapon. RMB: Hold for long ranged sniper weapon.

The Sniper mode of your Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (11) Widow's Kiss is Widowmaker's bread and butterskill. It allows her to deal up to 120 damage per shot, with a 1-secondcharge-up time. Shots fired before being fully charged up deal between15 and 120 damage, depending on how long you allowed the shot to charge.Widow's Kiss has a 30-bullet clip, and each Sniper shot costs 3 bullets.Critical hits (headshots) have a 2.5 multiplier for Widowmaker, meaning thatfully-charged headshots deal 300 damage.

While you are charging up shots, you must be zoomed in (the default key forthis is the Right Mouse Button), and to shoot you willuse the Left Mouse Button. This should be yourdefault firing mode whenever you are aiming at targets that are at long ormedium range.

In general, we advise you to let your shots charge up to 100% beforefiring, as the damage you deal this way is very high. That said, there are afew situations in which firing quick shots is better. We list them below.

  • when you need to finish off a highly damaged target (possibly one thatyou yourself have just hit with a fully charged up shot);
  • when your target is about to run behind cover, and waiting to charge yourshot up would take too long;
  • when you wish to deal damage to objects such as Symmetra'sWidowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (12) Sentry Turrets.

So, we have established that this firing mode should be your defaultstance as Widowmaker, but that is not all there is to it. It is also importantthat, as Widowmaker, you know which enemy heroes to prioritise shootingat.

To begin with, it should be noted that some heroes are much easier tohit than others. In particular, it is very difficult to hit fast-movingheroes like Tracer and Genji. In part to compensate forthis, Tracer also only has 150 health, meaning that if you doland a fully charged up shot on her, it will almost kill her. Next, you haveheroes that have slim models, which are also difficult to hit. Finally,there are the easy targets, namely tanks, Bastion, andTorbjörn and his turret.

While it might be tempting to hit Roadhog with 5 fully charged up shots,this is not usually an efficient use of your time. Instead, you are muchbetter off prioritising heroes you can kill quickly, which also often happento be very impactful heroes. Here is our recommended priority.

  1. Support heroes: Mercy, Lúcio, and Zenyatta.
  2. Easy to kill offense or defense heroes: Tracer, Genji, McCree,Pharah, Hanzo, Bastion, Widowmaker,Junkrat, Symmetra (technically a support hero).
  3. More resilient heroes: Reaper, Soldier: 76, Mei,Torbjörn.
  4. Tanks.

That said, if you can only shoot at a tank, or even at Reinhardt'sWidowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (13) Barrier Field, do not hesitate to do so.

An important note should be made about headshots (or critical hits). Mostweapons in Overwatch deal double damage when they hit their target in the head,but Widow's Kiss deals 2.5 times the normal damage. This means that,theoretically, it ispossible for you to deal up to 300 damage in one hit, resulting in a kill onmost non-tank heroes (on all of them, assuming no health buffs).

In practice, this is not easy to achieve because movement speed inOverwatch is very high for many heroes, and movement itself can be veryunpredictable. Moreover, the amount by which Widowmaker's rifle zooms in isnot that great, making it difficult to see very well at long ranges. As such,hitting shots with Widowmaker can be difficult to begin with, but landing themon a small head hitbox can be even more so.

If you find that you have naturally good aim with Widow's Kiss and are ableto reliably hit headshots, then this is obviously optimal and it will result inthe higher damage output. However, newer players or those for whom handlingWidow's Kiss does not come naturally will find that hitting the body will bemore feasible, and it will generally be a more reliable way of dealing damageas Widowmaker. Going for headshots and missing the target altogether will costyou more than simply getting easier and less effective body shots.

That said, against stationary targets, you should make use of headshots.If your target is standing still, for whatever reason, then you should take theextra time to line up a head shot, as this will generally ensure a kill.Good examples of this are Torbjörn (standing still while repairing histurret), Roadhog (necessarily standing still while usingWidowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (14) Take A Breather), or enemy snipers (Hanzo or otherWidowmakers).


Widow's Kiss (Assault)

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (15)

Widow's Kiss(LMB, RMB)Widowmaker

LMB: Automatic assault weapon. RMB: Hold for long ranged sniper weapon.

The primary fire of your weapon works as an automatic rifle. It deals 13damage per bullet, and it shares your (30-bullet) clip with the Snipermode of the weapon. The low damage, high rate of fire andgenerally poor accuracy means that this is not an efficient way to dealdamage.

That said, it does have certain uses. The main use is for close rangecombat, such as when you are being ambushed/attacked by sneaky enemy heroeslike Tracer or Genji. In these cases, coupled with your meleeattack and Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (16) Venom Mine (see below), it allows you to put up a goodfight and deal significant damage, repelling some attacks.

You can also use this firing mode when you want to destroy objects such asother Venom Mines, Junkrat traps, SymmetraWidowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (17) Sentry Turrets, and so on.


Grappling Hook

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (18)

Grappling Hook(LShift)Widowmaker

  • Cooldown: 12 seconds

Launch a hook that pulls you towards a ledge.

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (19) Grappling Hook is an important tool for Widowmaker. Primarily,it helps to get her to the staple sniper nests located around the maps.The Grappling Hook's aim is heavily guided, meaning that you do not havevery much freedom as to where to go: the hook will latch onto the suitablearea that is closest to where you are aiming.

A large part of Widowmaker's survival relies on being able to stand inlocations that are difficult for the enemy to access, so you should makeuse of these locations as much as possible. Many are evident, but we willupdate the guide in the future to show you some of the best locations.

When in such areas, keep in mind that there are still heroes that can getto you, so you are by no means safe. Genji can get to almost anyarea of any map. Reaper is likely to be able to teleport near youusing Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (20) Shadow Step (although if you notice his animation, you canpre-fire him as he appears), and many other heroes can sometimes make theirway up to your location by taking the long way around. Finally, you can stillbe shot at by enemy snipers or Pharah.

Moreover, keep in mind that these sniper nests are where the enemies willexpect you to be, so do not think that your position there will be verysurprising.

A second and very important usage for Grappling Hook is as an escapemechanism. When you are being flanked, you can use it to run away, either toanother sniper nest that the enemies cannot reach, or simply towards the safetyof your team.

A third usage for Grappling Hook is simply to move faster, orunpredictably. You are not limited to targeting ledges with this ability, andyou can use it to pull yourself over to a wall or other object. You shoulduse the ability this way whenever you are running back after respawning.


Venom Mine

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (21)

Venom Mine(E)Widowmaker

  • Cooldown: 15 seconds

Launch a poison trap.

Your Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (22) Venom Mine is triggered by any enemy that comes in closeproximity to it, applying a damage over time effect on them and any otherenemies in a small radius (including Widowmaker, but not her allies). You canattach the mine to the ground, walls, ceilings, and any other object on themap. You can only have one mine active at a time, and enemies can destroy themine by shooting at it without triggering its effect.

The damage done by your Venom Mine is not high (75 over 5 seconds), but itcan often mean the difference between getting a close range kill or not.However, the Venom Mine also has another important usage, which is that servesas a warning of enemy movement. When your Venom Mine is triggered, you receivea warning. So, if you place your Venom Mine in a strategic location (such asa corridor that can be used to flank you), you will know when an enemyassassin is coming for you, (hopefully) giving you enough time to prepare orescape.

Indeed, it is this strategic usage of the Venom Mine that should be yourdefault course of action. Try to picture what path sneaky enemy heroes aremost likely to use to get to your location, and place your Venom Mine somewherealong that path. Since enemies can destroy the mine if they see it, youshould be creative with its placement. Placing it around corners, hidden behindvarious objects, or on the ceiling can be useful in making sure that theenemies trigger the mine.

If you are engaged in a close range fight, you should use the Venom Mineto help boost your damage. Against resilient opponents like tanks, this willnot be very effective and is unlikely to make much of a difference (but youshould do it anyway). However, against non-tanks, the 75 damage that the minedoes can make a big difference (against Tracer, that is half of her healthpool). That means that youonly need to do very little extra damage to them to score a kill (and usingyour melee attack is an easy way to deal more damage to these quick heroes).When using the Venom Mine this way, make sure you do not stand too close to itwhen it is triggered, since its damage can also affect you.

Given that the Venom Mine does its damage over time, it will sometimes onlykill your enemy after you yourself have died, but this is still a "win" foryou. When using your Venom Mine this way, simply try to place it on the groundin the area where your attackers are located.



Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (23)


  • Ultimate

Provide your team with a view of the enemy's location.

Widowmaker Guide: Strategy & Gameplay “I see you.” (24) Infra-Sight is an extremely powerful ability, due mostly to howvaluable information is in Overwatch. While active, the entire enemy team isvisible to your entire team, and this lasts for 15 seconds.

This allows you and your team to counter any attempted ambush, chase fleeingheroes with complete ease, as well as pre-aim and pre-fire at the opponents,giving you a great advantage in any duels you may take part in. Overall,a team against which Infra-Sight has been used is basically crippled for itsduration, and they must be on the defensive for the entire time.

Infra-Sight charges up quite quickly for Widowmaker, provided that she isable to land shots with her sniper rifle. This means that you should have quitehigh uptime for Infra-Sight throughout most games.

Generally, you should look to use Infra-Sight as often as possible, sothat you can get it charging up again quickly and have it available for useagain. The only time we advise saving Infra-Sight for later is when noconfrontation is imminent. For example, if your team was mostly wiped out andyou (or one or two other teammates) are left alive, using Infra-Sight issub-optimal (unless the other team is also weak enough that Infra-Sight couldallow you to get crucial kills). Likewise, if your team has just wiped out theenemy and has solid control of the Payload/Point, using Infra-Sight isunnecessary and best saved for when the enemies have respawned and are runningback into the fight.



  • 28 Jul. 2016: Removed mention of Zenyatta only having 150 health, since he now has 200.
  • 17 Jun. 2016: Updated the guide to account for changes to Widowmaker that lowered her Widow's Kiss alternate fire and increased its critical hit multiplier.
  • 01 Jun. 2016: Fixed an issue where we were referring to Genji's health as 150 (it is in fact 200).
  • 23 May 2016: Updates following user feedback.
    • Added a mention that the Venom Mine also damages Widowmaker, and that this should therefore be avoided when using the Mine in close ranged fights.
    • Reworded the section on getting headshots to more clearly express that natural aimers and skilled players can get headshots, and that if possible, this is ideal.
  • 22 May 2016: Updated the guide following michr's review.
    • Renamed the Attack Versus Defense Viability section to General Viability, and added that Widowmaker is often not viable even on Defense.
    • Added a mention that Widowmaker can pre-fire a Reaper that tries to sneak up on her with Shadow Step (if she notices him first).
  • 05 May 2016: Added a mention of headshots.
  • 04 May 2016: Guide added.

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