tank it

Reinhardt Tips

Fair warning, this is gonna be a pretty long post but that means it includes a lot of things which will be helpful, so bear with me.

IMPORTANT: Your shield is by far the most important part of your kit. Even when you are doing other things you always need to keep your shield close to the front of your mind, because it will always be useful.

Communication:

As a main tank, communication is absolutely vital. Voice chat is always best, but if that is not possible use the built-in commands and occasionally text chat to let your team know what you need them to do.

If nobody else is doing it, you need to call out whenever you see a flanker going behind your team, and alert your teammates to the position of any sniper in a threatening position. You should not make them a priority because you need to anchor your team with your shield but calling them out will at the very least make your team aware of threats and ideally they will focus them.

Call out when your shield is at half and quarter health, and when you’re about to put the shield down. This will give your team time to get into cover so they don’t get picked. This is not as vital, but calling when you will use your firestrike will also let your team know they won’t have shield momentarily. Don’t be afraid to call people to get behind your shield if they are walking too far forward, because the magic blue rectangle saves lives.

Being the anchor tank means there’s a good chance you will be the one calling the pushes. If your team makes one or two key picks, or has some other advantage, call out for your team to move in and start walking in yourself. If your team moves all moves in as a unit, there’s a much better chance you’ll win the fight. This also means you need to call for your teammates to fall back and regroup if you’re obviously losing the team fight. This will stop them throwing away precious ults in an attempt to turn around a fight you’ve already lost. It takes time and practice to know when to call your team out of the fight and when it’s worth pushing a bit harder, but you’ll improve over time.

Positioning:

You want to hold either in or just behind choke points most of the time. You are your team’s first line of defense against front-on attacks, so you should be in front of your teammates. The area behind your shield becomes a space where your low mobility teammates will gather, so make sure that it’s up as much as you can have it. It’s also very important to have permanent cover at the edge of your shield, so your teammates can retreat to safety when the shield is down. Setting up at the back of a doorway or choke means your team can easily retreat to safety when your shield goes down.

When you’re playing, always be thinking about what you’re going to do when the shield breaks and the enemy pushes. You need to have an escape plan and ideally you want to have a clear path to the next place you’ll be holding. For the first point on Hollywood, you want to hold to the left of the car so that you can fall back to the point instead of being forced to the right and being cut off from your team.

High ground above a choke can also be effective, particularly at the start of Gibraltar and Dorado defenses, and to a lesser extent Junkertown. If you do this, remember taking cover can be as simple as stepping back from the edge. You also need to drop down quickly with your team when the enemy does push through, and call out that you’re doing that.

When the hold falls apart and it turns into a skirmish on the point, your positioning becomes slightly less vital, but you need to make sure you are still close to your team and you don’t overextend. Never ever lose sight of your healers, they are your lifeline in a team fight and there is nothing worse than a healer who could heal but their team is just slightly out of sight.

It is not your job to take care of flankers, because you have an extremely limited range and your main job is to protect the team from the front. Call out to your team to try to take out the flankers, and don’t let them distract them from your main task. If a Tracer or Genji pokes you and you turn to try to take them on or walk away from the choke, you’re giving the enemy team a huge opening to push in and take out your teammates. Try to only turn your shield when your teammates are in need of shielding from behind, or if the rest of the enemy is not at the choke.

Abilities

Shield

This is Rein’s most valuable ability, and what your gameplay should be focused around. You want to have it up as much as you can. Never let your shield break from chip damage through a choke, you need to take it down when it’s at about 250-100hp, depending on how much damage it’s taking. A broken shield will be unusable for several seconds while it recharges, while even a very low health shield in an emergency can be invaluable. Save the last hp of your shield to block single-damage ults such as D.Va’s bomb or another Rein’s shatter.

Try to recharge your shield in between team fights when there is no danger to your teammates. If this is impossible, call your team back to cover and take cover yourself while it charges back to full.

Jumping

When you’ve got your shield up, you will move slowly. Jumping and then putting your shield up will allow you to cover valuable ground while moving at full speed in the air. This is especially useful around corners. Jump around a corner and put your shield up, so you’ll end up in the right position to hold much faster. That way your shield also won’t start taking damage until you’re in a good position to shield the team.

Firestrike

This is how you will gain most of your ult charge. Try to use it pretty much as soon as it’s off cooldown, but keep your shield up and wait if your teammates are at very low hp. You need to exploit the firestrike’s ability to travel through enemies when you use it, so try to fire at dense groups of enemies, or wherever gives you the best chance of hitting multiple times. For example, this line on hollywood almost always hits 2 or 3 enemies. With enough practice you’ll start seeing good lines for firestrikes in a lot of chokes.

The Firestrike puts out 100 damage (130 damage boosted), which means it’s great for finishing off low hp targets. Low mobility heroes are easiest to hit but with enough practice you can predict where low health flankers will go and take them out a surprising amount of the time.

Charge

Your charge is very effective, but also very risky. Before you charge, think to yourself “what will happen if I miss”. There’s a good chance your target can avoid your charge and you want to be able to recover from that without losing the fight. This means you DO NOT charge straight through a choke at the enemy team. Ideally, you want your target close in front of you and a wall not far behind them. When you’re defending a choke, wait until a tank or support has walked through the choke and then charge sideways across the choke at them. This way when your charge ends you are still in the defending side of the choke and you will survive.

DO NOT charge off a cliff, it’s almost never worth it. You will most likely kill the enemy when they hit a wall anyway, or at least damage them enough that your team can finish them off.

Try to avoid charging onto the point as initiation unless you have teammates there who can support you. The last thing you want is to be separated from your team.

That said, charge is an extremely powerful tool because it has the ability to open a team right up by picking a key hero right out of the middle of the team. If you do have support, by all means charge aggressively onto the point, because even if you miss the charge you’ll send the whole enemy team back to the point to defend it. With enough practice, you’ll eventually get a feeling of when it is good to charge and when you need to walk forward with your shield instead.

Target Selection

You’re most likely to pin tanks because they are slow moving and have large hitboxes, but supports - especially mercy - are also valuable picks so choose whichever is likely to have the best results with the least chance of catastrophic failure.

When you’re attacking, targets such as rein and Orisa are good targets, but watch out for Orisa’s fortify - make sure it’s been used before you charge. While bastion is a stationary target and easy to hit, you are quickly melted by the damage, so unless the bastion is immobilised by a shatter or you have a Zarya shield, or the bastion is distracted by your team, avoid charging at a bastion.

Earthshatter

This is great as an initiator ult for a team fight, so try to use it when there are two or more enemies in the area of effect. Be very aware of what blocks your ult. Rein, Orisa and Winston shields stop it dead in it’s tracks, while a Zarya shield will save their target AND anyone standing behind them. Mei walls will also block the effect. Try to use your team to bait out or break these before you shatter. A great opportunity to use shatter is when the enemy Rein is using fire strike since they can’t put their shield up to block, but you have to be quick if you do decide to go. Tell your team when you’re going to ult so they don’t blow extra ults (grav) and so they can get ready to take out the stunned enemies. After a good shatter, you can often gain as much as 70% of your next ult just from the damage you do. You won’t get ult from enemies who are stunned but once they get up, you’re already in the middle of them and doing damage. Firestrike and charge the ulted enemies and then start swinging.

Hammer

When you’re swinging your hammer your shield is down and your team is vulnerable so you have to pick your moments. In very close chokes such as Hanamura or Hollywood 1st, get in close, make a single swing, and then quickly put your shield up again. This minimises the time your team is left exposed.

When the team is on the point and all hell breaks loose, it’s a different story. Swing that hammer at low hp enemies to finish them off, or at groups of enemies to exploit the fact that your hammer hits everyone in its arc. Always remember your shield though, and alternating between shield and swing is important. You want about a 60/40 split of hammer/shield, with more shield if you’re taking a lot of damage.  Your ult can charge surprisingly fast like this, so be sure to use your shatter if there is a good opportunity to do so.

Hero matchups

Rein

Playing against another good Rein is one of the great joys in the game. Your main job is to protect your team, but you also play a big part in ensuring the enemy Rein can’t do their job.

The enemy team will be gathered behind the shield and Rein moves slowly so he’s a great target for firestrikes. Try to jump out of the way of the enemy firestrikes if you can. Sometimes dropping your shield for faster movement is worth it to deny the enemy rein ult charge.

Rein, and tanks in general, are good charge targets.

Shatter when the enemy Rein doesn’t have their shield up, after it’s been broken or while they’re firestriking. Try to bait out the enemy ult by momentarily dropping your shield when you know the rein has ult and pretending to use firestrike, but instead bring the shield up again to block the shatter.

Try to figure out when an enemy rein has ult by looking at how they position themselves and how they act. Some players are very eager to use ult and baiting them can draw it out pretty easily if they have it.

D.Va

D.Va’s Defense Matrix can delete your firestrike, so try to strike when it’s on cooldown. Sometimes, coordinating a firestrike just before a Zarya, Hanzo or Mei ult can ensure DM is on cooldown so the ult won’t get eaten.

Roadhog

Your shield blocks his hook, so keeping it up will save your team from being picked. When you firestrike you are vulnerable to hooks yourself so try to stay out of range or be somewhere the hook will break. Close range he is dangerous but also an easy charge target, but beware of being hooked after the charge.

Pharah

There’s not much you can do against a free roaming Pharah apart from asking your team for assistance. Try not to be too distracted by the Pharah and keep your shield focused on where the other enemies are unless your teammates are very low.

Bastion/Junk/High damage heroes

These heroes melt your shields very quickly. Use map cover as much as you can, But if your shield isn’t staying up long enough to be useful, consider switching to Orisa or Zarya.

Snipers (fight toe to toe you cowards)

You’re the team’s main protection against these threats, and you have to rely on your team to take them out. Call out sniper positions and keep your shield up as much as possible.

Attacking and Defending

When you’re attacking, you want to play more aggressively. Your firestrike becomes a valuable tool for making opening picks or taking out a torb turret, and your charge is a good way of peeling open the enemy defense. If you have a lot of heals, you can afford to play very aggressively but make sure you don’t overextend. Your shatter is a great way to secure the win in a team fight. Even taking out a support and one other player with a shatter can really turn the tide of a battle. Exploit the fact that your ult starts charging the second you use your ult and do as much damage as you can while the enemy is down.

When you’re defending, play a lot more conservatively. Use your charge to punish enemies who push too far into your team, and use your firestrike to do damage to key targets like tanks and supports. Your shatter can shut down a push completely and it’s a great way of stopping the enemy from reaching the point in overtime.

How do I get better?

The only way you’re going to get better is by practice and perseverance. Spend time playing Rein and try to think about what you’re doing and where you’re positioned. When you die, or lose a push, or miss a shatter, don’t get upset. Instead, try to think what you could of done differently to improve your play. Losses are always going to happen no matter how well you play so be gracious in defeat, because if you’re angry or bitter you’ll learn nothing about how to play better next time.