How To Play Overwatch’s Ashe
With Blizzcon in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to take a closer look at Overwatch’s Ashe and how she fits into the grand scheme of things. Ashe is a fairly unique character within a relatively large hero pool, and she brings a couple things to the table that we haven’t seen in Overwatch since its conception.
Before delving deeper into Ashe’s overall strengths and weaknesses, let’s take a closer look at her abilities.
Keep in mind these ratios and cooldowns change on a fairly frequent basis.
Ashe’s main weapon is The Viper. She can shoot her semi-automatic rifle from the hip or aim-down sights to send out slower, more precise shots that deal much more damage.
Hip firing deals 20-40 damage, and the falloff distance is between 20 and 40 meters. The Viper carries twelve bullets, and the full reload animation takes almost five seconds to complete, something you should always keep in mind. Ashe reloads bullet by bullet, but thankfully you can cancel the reload animation and continue shooting.
When you aim through her scope, each shot deals 42.5-80 damage. The falloff distance is noticeably higher, but well-aimed shots can easily decapitate low-health targets, especially if you’re boosted by Mercy.
Next, we have her “Dynamite” ability. Ashe throws an explosive that detonates after a five-second delay or immediately upon being shot. The explosion applies a DoT (damage over time) on all enemies within the blast radius. The explosion itself deals 30-75 damage, but you’re really using this ability for its burn damage.
Each tick burns 100HP, and the burn lasts five seconds. That’s absolutely insane! Ashe’s dynamite is one of her most powerful abilities, and it has very little downtime. With a measly ten second cooldown, you’ll be throwing dynamite like an irritable prospector. Add in that the standard fuse is five seconds, and the ability (kind of) has a five-second cooldown. Furthermore, the burn affects shields, barriers, and turrets.
Detonating “Dynamite” yourself is incredibly easy as you can immediately aim down sights upon throwing it and have an almost guaranteed hit. Having such a potent tool on such a short cooldown will be one of your biggest assets, so use it as frequently as possible.
If you manage to land a good explosion, you can basically engulf the entire opposing team in flames and dish out a ton of damage before the team fight starts.
The only negative aspect of “Dynamite” is that it can burn Ashe as well, but that’s only if you’re throwing it just a couple meters in front of your face, which isn’t recommended…for obvious reasons.
Then there’s her “Coach Gun.” Ashe blasts every enemy in front of her with such force that it knocks back both herself and her target. More often than not, you’ll be using this ability to save your own life. In other words, you’re going to be using it defensively, rather than offensively.
“Coach Gun” also has a pretty short cooldown at just ten seconds, but the downtime is far longer than with “Dynamite.” Furthermore, “Coach Gun” is Ashe’s only escape. If the opposing team dives you and you don’t have it, those ten seconds can feel like an eternity. Use it carefully; without it, you could end up an easy target.
You don’t have any other ways to survive when the going gets rough, so only use it when you absolutely have to or when you know a fight won’t break out in the immediate future. You can also use “Coach Gun” to gain high ground. The jump you gain when blasting underneath your feet is a lot stronger than you’d think!
And lastly, you can use “Coach Gun” for some insanely creative things, like this: VIDEO
Finally, we have Ashe’s ultimate — B.O.B.
Ashe summons her omnic sidekick B.O.B. who immediately charges forward and knocks enemies into the air. No matter how you look at it, B.O.B. is one really strong fella’. After the initial knock-up, B.O.B. stops in place and starts shooting any opposing target in sight.
When he starts dishing out damage he’s basically a seventh member of the team. With 1,200 HP, 120 charge damage, and 112 DMG per second, he’s as good a team member as you can get. After colliding with an opponent, B.O.B. will stay in place for the next ten seconds.
After using your ultimate, B.O.B. will spawn in front of Ashe and start charging. If you summon him in a direction without any opponents, B.O.B. will stop after ~65 meters or after hitting a wall. He’s basically a huge, tanky turret, although he’s somewhat easy to kill if a couple opponents focus him down.
To make things even crazier, your allies can heal and buff B.O.B. like any other teammate. He literally functions as a seventh player because he can contest and capture objectives. He can even move payloads (kinda, since he doesn’t move.)
It’s hard to explain just how impactful a well-placed B.O.B. can be. He can swing the map in your favor, and because of that, you should only summon him when you see a big opening. It’s an incredibly strong ultimate that can make or break a game.
If you have an Ana on your team, make sure to synergize with her Nano Boost. A boosted B.O.B. is what nightmares are made of.
Playing as Ashe & Overall Strengths
The first thing you realize when playing Ashe is that she’s incredibly fun. Those who take command of her kit will be enabled and highly dangerous. Regardless of the meta, she can easily turn the tide of the game.
While her ability kit might not seem hard at first glance, you still need to utilize it correctly to get the best results.
Furthermore, if you’re not landing your shots, you’re basically useless. Since her primary fire isn’t that strong, you’re going to need to land those head (and body) shots if you want to have an impact.
Use your dynamite as frequently as possible and remember that the explosion isn’t one-dimensional. You can use it to damage multiple enemies that are grouped up, you can pressure certain areas of the map or take control of close corridors.
Your dynamite is a direct counter to team comps that want to cluster, as well as AoE healing. If you’re used to playing FPS games, then Overwatch’s Ashe will feel like home. After all, Blizzard worked closely with Treyarch (Call of Duty developers) in to nail certain aspects of her kit. And, if we ignore a couple bugs, they’ve done a stellar job.
The Coach Gun is, in a way, universal. You can use it anywhere, at any time. On the other hand, heroes like Widowmaker need a ledge or a higher ground she can hop onto.
Even though Ashe is a very powerful hero (in the right hands), she’s also pretty balanced. If the opposing team is positioning well and focusing her down, she’s an easy target. Even the Coach Gun can’t save you from getting swarmed.
If you manage to get a support like Mercy on your team, your effectiveness increases tenfold. With a powered-up scoped shot, you can one-shot many targets that would normally require two shots.
Finally, her ultimate is as good as they come. Landing a good B.O.B. almost gives you an unfair advantage. Not only will your opponents have to tame your omnic buddy, but they’ll also have to deal with your dynamite and long-range shots.
That’s a pretty stacked kit if you ask me.
First up, Ashe is a really “weak” pick if you’re not able to fully utilize her abilities. If you don’t land those headshots and create chaos with your dynamite, it might be best to go for a different DPS hero.
Countering Ashe, at least on paper, is fairly easy. She has a very concrete window when she’s vulnerable (“Coach Gun” on cooldown), and she’s not very strong if you get in her face. She’s incredibly squishy, and if you’re not careful with your positioning, diving heroes will have an easy time taking you down.
Speed, in general, is a very solid counter to Ashe. When Ashe is aiming down sights, she loses movement speed, and if you can’t take out an approaching target fast enough, chances are you’re going to get killed. In the best case scenario, you’re going to have some backup and peel from your teammates, but this isn’t a perfect world, so don’t expect a helping hand.
When playing Ashe, you need to walk on the razor’s edge. Coming too close will put you in danger, whereas shooting from afar won’t be as effective because of your damage falloff.
You’re not going to be insanely effective on Ashe when you first pick her up unless you’re a hitscan deity. Ashe has a solid learning curve, and perhaps above all, a high skill ceiling.
In other words, the more you play her, the better and more impactful you’ll be.
As for professional play, it’s hard to predict whether she’ll be viable, but she has the potential to be an S-tier pick for sure. Professional players and teams always find a specific, almost niche, way to utilize a hero so they will surely find a great use-case scenario for Ashe and B.O.B.
With the sophomore season of the Overwatch League coming up, things cannot get more exciting if you’re into competitive Overwatch. Watching top-tier Ashe play from the likes of Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang, Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, and Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim will be a thing of beauty.
In the end, even if Overwatch’s Ashe isn’t up your wheelhouse, you should play her regardless in order to get acquainted with her abilities and overall strengths. Even if she’s not your favorite, you’ll know how to counter her when she’s on the opposing team.
One thing’s for sure; you’re going to be seeing a lot more of her as the meta develops. She’s just too strong of a pick not to become a staple in the meta.