Overwatch Character Ranking 5: Hanzo

Aww yes, now we’re getting into characters that I really dig into. Let’s start with… Hanzo. Don’t worry, I carry my flame shield for those who’d **** on those picking Hanzo.


Back in those days, when Overwatch was first to be unveiled, I just knew that Hanzo would be one of those guys I will try out. I mean, seriously, the designs all hit me in the right places. In a world more likely running on sci-fi, there’s this archer guy that shoots out dragons? And named after one of my favorite ninjas in Japanese history? … Okay Hattori Hanzo wasn’t a 100% ninja, but it still counts! But at any rate, of course I was gonna be interested in this guy on the first sight!

And when I got to play him, let’s just say he changed on how I looked on archers in general. Hanzo turns out to be quite versatile that he has the tools to facilitate his archery. Or just how he shoots in general. You can charge his arrow so it goes for a more straight line that can make him a sniper, with bow and arrow. If it headshots, good for you, but if it hits anywhere else, it still deals a good chunk of damage.

And personally, I think what gets me right on Hanzo is that while he’s best at long range, he can have a surprise at close range too. Especially with his Scatter Arrow, which gets his arrow transform into multiple arrows on contact of anything. So if headshotting isn’t your forte, there’s that, shoot the ground. Just mind the reflection angle, and sometimes, you can even one shot an enemy to death. This works on long and close range, and you don’t always have to charge when you’re in that range. But I cannot stress this enough, that close range thing is last resort only. I still enjoy it better than Widowmaker’s close-range mode rifle.

Also, insight is important for Hanzo and that’s why the Sonic Arrow is one of the best things for that, since it lets you know which enemies are moving near the place the arrow is placed at so you can line up a good shot. And guess what, that’s not even his ultimate! With a few seconds, he can just shoot more sonic arrows, less area of coverage, but also can be done more in areas you’re focusing at! And he can also climb walls to better position himself. Not as good as Widowmaker’s hook for positioning but very serviceable and can sometimes make you escape from difficult positions.

“Ryuu ga waga teki wo kurau!”

Now his ultimate Dragonstrike might look a little too inefficient in competitive meta, but it has its uses. And I wouldn’t deny that it looks GODDAMN AWESOME. Like I said, it shoots an arrow that magically goes through wall and then turn into two energy dragons that damages anyone walking around it. It’s just so slow that may be easily dodgeable but it can disrupt the flow of a fight since the enemies certainly don’t want to stand in the range of the dragons and die. And since it goes through walls, they can’t know where the dragons will come. So if you can stand in a position where they won’t expect the dragons to come, even from beyond the wall, and you can just scare out the enemy the moment they hear that awesome line above.

And storywise… let’s just say that Hanzo also has a very compelling story on his own that at least hits me on the right spot, even if he might not be the most virtuous person. Basically, he was born as the heir of the Shimada clan, and being the dutiful son, he did what the clan trained him to be… a criminal empire boss. But regardless of how unsavory the job was, a family is a family and Hanzo dutifully put up to them… until his father died, and on his elders’ order, he was to set his wayward little brother Genji straight in the way of ruling the empire together. That didn’t go so well and Hanzo ended up brutally putting Genji to near death…


That was the last straw for Hanzo, he felt so guilty and ashamed that he left the clan in chaos and rejected his inheritance, now working as a wandering mercenary. And the family… sent out assassins for leaving the clan. That’s everyday life for Hanzo. But still, he’s a man of his personal principles, not unnecessarily killing people, kills when necessary and only by following the code of a warrior… and with every deaths like that comes honor that he hoped would redeem himself from the sin of killing his brother.

… Except that eventually he found out that his brother lived as a cyborg ninja and rendered his attempts to ‘redeem himself’ useless by forgiving him for the crime. The shock from all those, from learning that his attempt to redeem himself became useless and instead added more crimes by having him kill others and that Genji ‘forgave’ him made him more bitter, but they’re still brothers. But somehow, Genji’s words has an effect on him that he is trying to be a better man. At least enough that he bought a cake for a certain boy for Christmas.

What can I say? Hanzo is a complicated man, but the air of mystery, surrounded with his own sense of honor and his conflicting feeling about Genji makes him a good character. At the very least, you get a sense that perhaps if Hanzo truly succeeded in ruling the Shimada clan, he would’ve probably reformed the clan into something more honorable. That’s why he is more skeptical when Widowmaker offered him a chance to restore his clan… under Talon’s influence. Sure shows that he still has a heart of honor even if he’s hellishly aloof at the moment.


Of course, speaking of him may be incomplete without speaking of his brother, but this is Hanzo’s section after all. Regardless, I know that right now, he’s not being too hot in the meta because of how snipers in general get a bad rap in this game (he technically is a sniper-archer), but hell, that won’t deter him from liking him this much. He’s a great character storywise, if a bit complex, and I can still sympathize with him, not to mention sniper-style or not, I VASTLY enjoy his archery. I have absolutely no regrets that he probably is literally the very first character I’d use in this game (if my memory serves me right), and I really look forward on where he’ll go from this point.

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