How to play Widowmaker in Overwatch 2 – strategies, counters, and best maps

One shot, one kill.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Widowmaker is the main sniper character in Overwatch 2. It can be sometimes difficult to excel with the fragile French assassin in such a fast-paced game. Good mechanics and head-clicking skills can get you far, but understanding fundamentals and the use of her skills can help offset what you may lack in the aiming department. For raw aim, there is only one proper way to improve — practice, practice, practice. For everything else, we’ve collected our best teaching strategies, tips, counters, and best maps for Widowmaker in Overwatch 2 below.

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Best strategies for playing Widowmaker in Overwatch 2

Positioning

You can sometimes feel like a turret when playing Widow, so proper positioning is more than just picking a spot to stand in. Rather, think about ‘angles’ and ‘sightlines’ all the time. While the high-ground advantage is most often a good go-to, it’s also what is expected. So think of ways of subverting that and trapping your enemies into looking where you might be, while hitting them from an off-angle. Whenever possible, look to have a corner or an obstacle to duck or hide behind. Otherwise, you’ll just be a sitting duck if you miss your shot.

Target priorities

With a fairly slow rate of fire, picking your target is of vital importance as Widowmaker. Sure, racking up high damage numbers by slamming tanks with bullets can look good on the scoreboard, but that’s not your job. Your one-hit potential is best used on the enemies’ fragile targets. Healers should be your number one priority, but their DPS characters that are an immediate threat are an even better target. Once you clear that threat, you can shoot everything else with impunity — healers first, of course.

Quickscoping

Quickscoping is a shooting technique that takes practice to perfect. Once you’ve mastered it, it can prove to be an invaluable tool in your arsenal. It used to be much more powerful in early Overwatch when Widow’s scoped ramp-up was quicker. Nowadays, you want to use it for quick damage or when you have your damage amplified, such as with a Mercy boost on you. To perform a quickscope, the best way is to pre-aim your target, and quickly scope in with the right mouse button, then immediately fire with the left click, followed by a quick release of the right to reposition.

Assault rifle mode

Unlike snipers in most other FPS games, Widow’s rifle has an assault fire mode that often gets overlooked. It’s a good idea to practice shooting with it, due to the spread of its spray. It will absolutely save your neck when you’re under pressure, especially if you miss that initial sniper shot and the enemy is in your face. 

Grapple Hook

Everyone knows that you can use the Grapple Hook to get to unexpected positions. You have also probably seen it used for jump shots. While undoubtedly fun to use that way (and that takes practice too), there is more that you can do with it. For instance, it’s your one and only mobility tool, so it’s a good idea to save it to escape if you expect to get pressured. You might not know this, but the grapple keeps momentum, so if you use it horizontally, you can press jump to spring a few more meters forward. In combination with Vemon Mine and Assault fire mode, you can pose a threat even on retreat. 

Screenshot by Gamepur

Venom Mine usage

Too many players overlook the humble Venom Mine. It not only deals damage but can serve as a trigger warning as well as a brief wallhack. The most obvious use for the Venom Mine is to place it at an off-angle so you don’t get flanked. Another use is to place it near you if you expect to get jumped, planning to move away and leave the enemy hero with a nasty surprise. One last, less obvious use is that you can chuck it into an unfolding brawl. The damage from the mine is AoE as well as DoT, so if you fire it into a clump of enemies, it will tick up damage on a few of them, which can in turn help your team win the fight.

Ultimate usage

When and how to use any hero’s ultimate is always a good consideration. The same applies to Widowmaker. Try to look for ways to benefit your team as well as yourself — those wall hacks can be indispensable for everyone. If you’re being countered or pressured, consider using your ultimate once you know that character has respawned. If you’re dueling another Widow, you may want to save your ult for when she pops hers, to counter it.

Screenshot by Gamepur

When to swap off

Overwatch 2 is a game that allows you to swap heroes in the spawn room on the fly, and you should always remember that you can take advantage of that. Sometimes you can get targeted and pressured into oblivion as Widowmaker, so you may have to swallow your pride and swap off for the good of the team. At other times, certain map sections are simply hard for Widow to play through, so you may want to have a pocket pick for such an occasion. If you really want to stick to the hit-scan theme, consider practicing swaps into Ashe, Soldier 76, Cassidy, or even Tracer. 

Related: Every Legendary Widowmaker skin in Overwatch 2

Best maps for Widowmaker in Overwatch 2

Widowmaker excels on maps with long sightlines and good high-ground positions. Open map sections where she can snipe at enemies with little cover can quickly become her playground as well. Most Control maps aren’t generally very good for Widow, as she’s not really a character that wants to stand on objectives, despite what voice chat wants you to believe. Some of Widowmaker’s best maps and map sections include:

  • Ilios (Control): An exception to the rule, the Ruins section is great for Widow, and both Lighthouse and Well are decent too.
  • Circuit Royal (Escort): Great Widow map on defense. Might be difficult to get angles on offense, however.
  • Havana (Escort): Another great Widow map, especially the 1st and 3rd sections.
  • Junkertown (Escort): Lots of open ground in 1st section, but 2nd and 3rd may need a swap if you get stalled or overrun.
  • Rialto (Escort): Especially the 1st section. Later on, it might be more difficult to maintain.
  • Route 66 (Escort): Also known as “Jump-shot paradise” by Widow enthusiasts.
  • Blizzard World (Escort): The 1st and 2nd sections are great for Widowmaker, but the 3rd is much less so.
  • Hollywood (Hybrid): Widowmakers have been known to single-handedly stall progress in the streets phase of this map.
  • King’s Row (Hybrid): One of the best Widow maps in the game. Except for that pesky streets phase.
  • Colosseo (Push): There are some really good sightlines on this map for Widow to thrive in.

Countering Widowmaker in Overwatch 2

Getting your or your teammates’ heads blown off is not always fun when you’re on the receiving end of Widowmaker’s scope. She can be difficult to deal with, especially when her team knows to fall back on her support. There are quite a few characters that stand a good chance of countering Widowmaker:

  • Widowmaker: The best weapon against a pesky Widow is another, better Widow. Sniper duels can be intense, but if one Widowmaker dominates the other, it might be time to swap.
  • Genji: Everything in the cyborg-ninja’s kit is well suited to dealing with an annoying Widowmaker player.
  • Tracer: Speed is Tracer’s number one weapon, and that is true when dealing with Widow too. Just sneak up on her and use the close-range advantage against her.
  • Ashe: What Widow has over Ashe in range, she lacks in consistency and rate of fire. A good Ashe can outduel a Widowmaker and provide better support to her team.
  • Hanzo: The king of jiggle-peeks and unreasonable headshots, Hanzo can often out-duel Widow from range.
  • Echo: With good speed and maneuverability, Echo can get in Widow’s face quicker than most.
  • Winston: One of the original Widow counters, the ape scientist can use his bubbles and jumps to constantly pressure her.
  • D.VA: Defense Matrix and rocket boosters allow this tank to get to Widow and minimize her damage.
  • Ana: Along with lore reasons, a good, aggressive Ana player can out-snipe Widow and make her think again about peeking too much.
  • Lucio: His speed and notoriously difficult head model can make him an absolute backline menace in the hands of a skilled skater.