The veteran vigilante Soldier: 76, once known as Jack Morrison, was one of the founding members of Overwatch. In game, that translates to a character who is much like the typical hero you expect to play when playing an FPS. He’s Overwatch’s Jack Morrison of all trades, master of none.
Classed as an offensive character, Soldier: 76’s main focus is on dishing out damage and engaging the enemy team. He excels at medium range, is great for taking out and harassing aerial combatants, favors skirmishes, and is even able to support his allies. You’d think that this would make him a perfect solo artist, but his negatives are that he has a hard time winning one on ones, finishing enemy heroes off, and his lack of heavy burst damage.
Soldier: 76 is a versatile character with familiar mechanics, making him a great first hero to learn for newer players. You’re best off picking Soldier: 76 on maps and in situations where the enemy team is forced into medium range confrontations. Such maps are Hanamura, Volskaya Industries, Dorado point one and three, Watchpoint Gibraltar point two, Hollywood point one, King’s Row, Numbani, Illios, Lijiang Tower, and Nepal. In terms of team compositions Soldier: 76 is a great pick when you find yourself without a secondary support or in need of someone who can both dish out damage while assisting the rest of the team. Our vigilante is a great counter to aerial heroes, such as Pharah, Mercy, and D.Va, while also performing well against less mobile characters such as Torbjörn, Zenyatta, Reaper, and Roadhog. As Soldier: 76 you should fear heroes with a high mobility or who can slow him down, such as Tracer, Genji, and Mei. Avoid picking Soldier: 76 when which you mainly fight either closed or long ranged battles, or when your team lacks a Reinhardt behind whose shield you can hide.
Even though you are playing an offensive hero, Soldier: 76 works best as a secondary or tertiary damage dealer who supports the rest of his team. As Jack you want to position yourself near the frontline of your team. Look to assist your tanks in putting pressure on the enemy team, while also assisting your backline by defending them. If the enemy team has any aerial combatants they become your priority targets. Use your Helix Rockets to deal a surprising burst of damage, especially against static targets like Bastion or Widowmaker. If anyone asks for a heal, don’t forget that you can make your support’s job easier by dropping Biotic Field. If you do find yourself flanking make sure to always get the higher ground as elevated positions make it easier for you to target the enemy team, while making it harder for the enemy team to hit you.
Left-click: Heavy Pulse Rifle
The Heavy Pulse Rifle is Soldier: 76’s weapon of choice: so much so that, accordingly to the lore, he pulled off a heist in order to steal it. As a rapid fire hitscan weapon the Heavy Pulse Rifle shoots 10 round per second, has a falloff range of 35 to 55 meters, and does between five and 17 damage depending on how far away your target is. With a rate of fire of ten rounds per second he can deliver in between 50 to 170 damage per second. With a magazine size of 25 rounds his damage per mag is between 125 and 425 damage. Plus, the Heavy Pulse Rifle can land headshots, which inflict double damage.
The key to using your main weapon effectively is knowing what range gives you the most consistent damage. In other words, try to maneuver yourself into a position where you can consistently hit your shots while still making use of the higher damage capabilities of your weapon. As Soldier: 76 gets out-damaged by most other heroes at both short and long range, you want to use your left click at a medium range—about 40 meters—to take out heroes who are harder to hit with projectile type weapons, such as aerial heroes or heroes who harass your backline. As you fire your Heavy Pulse Rifle your spray pattern increases in size, thus decreasing your accuracy. To compensate for this, fire in bursts instead of holding your left mouse button continuously.
E: Biotic Field
The Biotic Field is Soldier: 76’s only deployable piece of equipment. It restores 76’s health the health of any allies’ as long as they're within the radius of the Biotic Field (although the healing doesn’t extend through walls). With a radius of five meters, a heal of 40 HP per second, a duration of 5 seconds, and a cooldown of 15 seconds the Biotic Field is a weak single target heal and a mediocre group heal. The Biotic Field is a valuable tool when used properly, however. Turn on the hero-specific option in the settings menu to see your allies’ health bars, which will help you spot who’s wounded.
The Biotic Field can serve multiple purposes: it can be used to heal an ally that is at low health, it can be used to self-sustain during a one-on-one fight, or it can be used to heal yourself up after you’ve escaped the line of fire. Keep in mind that the Biotic Field is a stationary deployable meaning that you have to stay in the radius to get healed by the ability. It is therefore pivotal to place your Biotic Field in the right position if you want to reap the full benefits of the heal. As you want to remain in its radius, using the Biotic Field mid fight will make your movement more predictable for enemies.
Q - Ultimate: Tactical Visor
Jack’s visor isn’t just some cool Cyclops cosplay, it’s the source of his ultimate ability. The Tactical Visor allows Soldier: 76 to temporarily home in on targets with his Heavy Pulse Rifle, while also cutting its reload speed in half. Essentially, it’s a six second aimbot. With a 1500 point charge required to be able to use the Tactical Visor, it falls in the highest required point charge class out of all of the offensive heroes.
There are two ways of using Soldier: 76’s ultimate. You either use it to finish of an enemy hero and harass the enemy team after that, or use it as a set-up ability with which you harass the enemy team so your team can follow up and finish the enemy off. Even though the Tactical Visor is one of the most self-explanatory abilities in the game, it takes some getting used to in order to reach its peak effectiveness. Due to both a loud voice line, your visor gaining extra visual effects and its lack of burst damage it is easy for the enemy team to maneuver out of your line of sight and into safety. Therefore it is important to position yourself in as much of an open space as possible. That way enemies have a minimum possibility of escaping your line of sight. Positioning yourself in an open space is a double edged sword, so make sure you either have an escape route or use your Biotic Field prior to using your ultimate to minimize the risks of being in an open space. Reload your main weapon before using Tactical Visor to get the most out of your ultimate.