Ashe is now available to play in Overwatch. That’s quite a quick turnaround after her BlizzCon announcement! She’s the first hero since Ana primarily designed around her gun. That makes Ashe simple to understand, but difficult to master. She’s not quite Widowmaker and not quite McCree. She’s a mid-range, burst damage hero that, with some discipline, can change the course of a match. Here’s how she works and what to focus on if you want to learn how to play her.
It’s worth talking about Ashe’s gun, The Viper. It’s her main source of damage and a core part of her impact in the game. If you can’t hit your shots, you won’t get the value out of choosing a hero like Ashe.
Her rifle has two firing modes: un-scoped (a.k.a. hip fire) and scoped. Her un-scoped damage is lower than McCree’s, but all 12 of her shots can be fired off rapidly. Although the shots experience considerable spread after the second bullet. So you typically want to use this mode at close-range to finish off enemies.
While scoped, the rifle deals a whopping 85 damage and can two-shot most heroes in the game (with headshots). Mercy‘s damage boost makes that a one-shot kill, just like a normal Widowmaker attack. Ashe experiences slower movement speed while scoped, but doesn’t have to deal with any spread. You should note that at extreme, Widowmaker-like ranges, Ashe suffers severe damage falloff. So she should stay closer to the enemy team than your typical sniper hero.
Ashe also packs a bundle of Dynamite (with a 10-second cooldown). She can toss it into the air and detonate with her rifle or her Coach Gun. Otherwise, it’ll go off on its own after a couple seconds. The Dynamite creates an explosion of AOE damage (naturally) and lights enemies on fire for five seconds. The burning effect is cleansed by health packs and abilities like Zarya’s Particle Barrier and Moira’s Fade. It also damages Ashe, if she’s close enough to it. Dynamite can be eaten by D.Va’s Defense Matrix and Deflected, but not manually detonated by Genji.
Ashe’s Coach Gun acts like other shotguns in the game. It deals damage via pellets that spread out at long ranges. This 10-second cooldown ability pushes enemies back and also propels Ashe into the air. It doesn’t matter what direction you aim it; Ashe will receive some height.
If you shoot it directly below you, like a rocket jump, you’ll fly about as far as a Widowmaker Grapple Hook. That will get Ashe to any sniper perch in the game. If you shoot it at a Deflecting Genji, it’ll deal the damage back at you and send you back double the length. The skill deals both Ashe’s self-knockback and the deflected offensive knockback. Basically, don’t shoot it at a deflecting Genji. That is unless you want a trip to Horizon Lunar Colony.
Ashe has the most unique ultimate ability in the game. You can call out her sidekick butler, BOB, to rush forward and knock back enemies. Then he starts shooting like a Torbjorn turret. BOB’s charge deals 120 damage and sends enemies flying upward. Then, once he impacts a wall, his Arm Cannons deal about 112 damage per second.
The butler has 1,200 health and lasts 10 seconds after he starts shooting. But here’s the twist: BOB is treated like a seventh player on your team. Not only can he contest and capture objectives, he can be Ana Nano Boosted, sleep darted, damage boosted, frozen, and stunned.
Ashe is a tricky hero to explain because, for the most part, she depends on your ability to aim. She can duel Widowmakers and drop into the fray to deal considerable, McCree-like damage. But everything in her kit requires you to aim to get anything done. Thankfully, we already have a hitscan guide to teach you the basics of mouse sensitivity, movement, and positioning. Consider checking that out before proceeding.
You could compare Ashe to Widowmaker, but with some key differences. Ashe’s scope zooms in at a different level than Widowmaker’s. So it requires a different “relative aim sensitivity when zoomed“ setting. That, combined with her faster movement while scoped, means you want to strafe so that your crosshairs lines up with the target, instead of moving your mouse. Ashe doesn’t have to wait for her shots to charge up like Widowmaker. So this method makes it easier to react to enemy movement.
Dynamite All Day
You should utilize Dynamite whenever it’s available. It puts the onus on the enemy team to move out of the way, heal through the damage, or panic and search for health packs. It’s an annoyance that adds enough damage to turn fights in your favor. And if you also shoot the Viper, or send in BOB at the same time, it should win a fight outright. Dynamite is also key for checking corners. Toss it in around a corner and to force anyone there to move out into your view.
Coach Gun deals damage, but you’ll mostly use it to reach high ground. In between fights, you should rocket up high to deal opening damage as the enemy team moves in. If things get rough, you can use Coach Gun again to knock away attackers. However, since it’s a shotgun, the pellets are fairly unpredictable against small targets like Tracer.
BOB is the only ultimate that can stall a point all by itself. Summon him just before you die if your team is rushing back from spawn. Having someone (or something) stall points just long enough to regroup during in overtime can win games.
BOB has a lot of health, but Ana can easily knock him out with darts. Not to mention his large size absorbs a ton of damage very quickly. It helps to plan where and when you want to send BOB. Sometimes it’s best to send directly into a wall. That will active his turret mode instantly. Other times, you can sending him charging to encourage the rest of your team to follow. BOB doesn’t have any obvious “must do” uses. So get creative and remember that he’s a great distraction, if nothing else.
Ashe is weak to fast heroes (like Genji and Tracer) as well as mobile tanks (like D.Va and Winston). Coach Gun deals significant damage, but doesn’t stun like McCree’s Flashbang. So it’s hard for Ashe to stop heroes that dive close. You can’t use Dynamite, either, because it’ll kill you if it’s too close.
Her best escape mechanism is to use Coach Gun to escape to high ground. With this in mind, you should play Ashe at mid-range. That way you can get help from your team. You can also use Coach Gun to blast yourself into fights to clean up stragglers. But save the skill if most of the enemy team is still in fighting shape.
What to Practice
The best Ashe players have impeccable positioning and aim. As with any hitscan hero, your positioning enables your aim, not the other way around. You put a ton of demand on your ability to aim if you try to duel a Widowmaker head-on, versus flanking her from an advantageous position before she even knows you’re there. Practice finding places to be that are relatively safe. That way you can hit your shots without a ton of pressure. And remember to go for body shots if the target has low health. It may not look fancy, but it gets the job done.
Ashe’s Dynamite damage can weaken enemies so that they only need a body shot to die. Take every opportunity to toss and trigger it to explode. Most of the time, this is easiest while your rifle is un-scoped. You can combine that burst of damage with the Coach Gun to take out targets behind barriers while you’re up in the air.
Ashe is a difficult hero with a huge demand on your mechanical skill. You need to spend considerable time to improve your aim and movement. Aim improves over time, so don’t get discouraged if you’re missing shots—everyone does. Use her unique abilities put yourself in scenarios where the shots are easy. You’ll see how much power Ashe has in Overwatch.