Here are all of Sombra's abilities: what they do, and how we think they'll be used

Sombra is finally here. The long-teased Overwatch character was announced at the Blizzcon opening ceremonies today, and is coming to the Public Test Realm next week. Sombra is described as a "stealthy offensive infiltrator" with teleportation, hacking, and invisibility powers—our own Tom Marks, who's reporting from Blizzcon, is livid about that last part, and he's probably not alone

Tom has just played Sombra, and he'll have deeper thoughts on how she fits in to Overwatch, and if her invisibility is too much, a little later. For now, though, let's dig into what we know about all of Sombra's abilities and weapons, with some details from Tom's play session at hand. (For starters, she has 200 HP, which puts her in line with most of the roster.)

Machine pistol

"Sombra’s fully-automatic machine pistol fires in a short-range spread."

She's a close-range, low accuracy fighter. Her machine pistol reloads a bit more slowly than Tracer's Pulse Pistols, according to Tom, but it has a much deeper deeper magazine—60 bullets compared to 40.


"Sombra hacks enemies to temporarily stop them from using their abilities, or hacks first aid kits to make them useless to her opponents."

Running up to a first aid kit to find it doesn't work would be irritating as hell, so that's plus one to Sombra's demoralizing effectiveness. Hacking opponents to suppress their abilities is interesting, as an astute player could prevent a Mercy resurrection, or otherwise delay an ult to ineffectiveness. She could also ground a Pharah and flip the switch on Reinhardt's shield, which is a bit terrifying. From the short clip that plays on the official site, though, it looks like Sombra has to get pretty close to execute the ability, and it takes a few seconds to take effect. 

Tom has a few more details from Blizzcon: Hack attempts are interrupted if Sombra takes damage, and she can't hack while invisible. Hacked enemies are visible through walls to your whole team, along the lines of Widowmaker's Infra-Sight. Hacks on enemies last for about 6 seconds, but hacks on other things last much longer, "probably a minute or two," says Tom.

Thermoptic Camo

"Sombra becomes invisible for a short period of time, during which her speed is boosted considerably. Attacking, using offensive abilities, or taking damage disables her camouflage."

This or EMP will be Sombra's most controversial ability. When invisibility powers are too effective, everyone else's fun tends to disappear, too. Too many restrictions or an obvious shimmering outline, though, and what's the point?

Blizzard has gone with the standard setup: an invisibility timer which can be interrupted by taking damage or taking an action. Tom says that invisibility lasts 5 or 6 seconds, and that the speed boost she gains during invisibility is faster than Reaper's Ghost Form, but not as fast as Zenyatta when he's cast his ult.

I doubt she'll be invisibility-walking behind a big point defense and scoring a team wipe with her machine pistol alone—especially since any splash damage taken trying to get there will reveal her. I'd instead expect invisibility to be best used for 1v1 surprise attacks (especially countering snipers) or to set up her ult at the risk of eating dirt after it goes off. Tom did find her gun pretty powerful, though, especially because of its big magazine, so I could be way off.


"Sombra tosses out a translocator beacon. She can instantly return to the beacon’s location while it is active (including when it’s in mid-flight)."

This is Sombra's escape route. After using invisibility to get within range for her hack ability or ult, she'll be able to teleport to safety like Tracer, just with the added step of having to throw out a beacon beforehand. 

Once thrown, it has about a 15-second window to be used, according to Tom. After you translocate, there's a 6-second cooldown before you can throw it out again.

It's basically Unreal Tournament's Translocator.


"Sombra discharges electromagnetic energy in a wide radius, destroying enemy barriers and shields and hacking all opponents caught in the blast."

This is a worryingly badass ultimate. If I'm reading it right, this will destroy Mei's ice barriers, take down Reinhardt's shield (and "all shields," we were told at BlizzCon, which should include Zarya's, Symmetra's ally shields, and erasing the shields created by a Lucio ult), disable turrets, interrupt any ults in progress, and disable all other enemy abilities for a short period of time. Using invisibility to get into the center of a defended point and laying down this ult will win matches for sure. On paper, it definitely follows Blizzard's code of "Make everyone feel OP."

The Public Test Realm sure is going to be an interesting place next week.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.