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How To Play Sigma, Overwatch’s New Tank

Introducing Overwatch‘s Hero 31 – Sigma. A fairly advanced tank hero his skill set will take some getting used to. (Not for newbies). Right now Overwatch has four barrier tanks. Reinhardt, Winston, Orisa, and now Sigma. While the former three are what you would consider to be main tanks, there’s been a lot of debate on where the game’s newest hero fits in.

Until we see what teams in the Overwatch League or Contenders do with him, we’re not going to talk about who he works best with. But rather how you can get the most out of his abilities if you really want to play him in a competitive environment. Let’s dive into a little introduction and then onto his abilities.

Origin Story

Sigma‘s real name is Seibren de Kuiper. He’s an astrophysicist specializing in the study of gravity, specifically the immense power of black holes. He doesn’t have any ties to the rest of the cast, though it seems likely he may have some association with Zarya and Orisa. Both of whom have abilities which alter gravity.

During his research, he was accidentally exposed to an artificial black hole. The contact shattered his mind, and after the accident he was transferred to a high-security mental institution for treatment and observation. There he began to display gravitational powers floating objects around him. He was given the codename “Subject Sigma”.

When Talon learned of De Kuiper’s new gravitational powers, they organized a breakout and stole him away from the facility. With their help, he’s slowly learning to control his gravity manipulation abilities. He seems to be unaware that Talon is using him for nefarious purposes.

 

Primary Attack – Hyperspheres

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Sigma’s primary fire allows him to throw two explosive “Hyperspheres” in rapid succession. Firing new ones every 1.4 seconds. These Hyperspheres can bounce off of walls and detonate after a short delay. Similar to Junkrat’s frag grenades the spheres deal splash damage and will hurt Sigma if they explode nearby. Each does 60 damage on a direct hit, with rapid damage falloff as the target gets farther from the spheres’ core.

Due to their ability to bounce off walls and other objects use them indoors or over barriers to cause maximum damage. Just watch out for that splash damage. They will also explode when they make contact with a barrier.

Other than that they have a slight pulling effect on enemies when they detonate; nothing nearly as powerful as Orisa’s Halt. But it may be enough to force a character off a ledge if they aren’t paying attention.

 

Alternate Fire – Experimental Barrier

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Sigma’s attack doesn’t have any sort of alternate fire, so instead this button is dedicated to his Experimental Barrier. This barrier is similar to Symmetra’s old secondary ability, which deployed a shield in whatever direction she was facing. Sigma’s barrier is slightly curved and covers an area comparable to Reinhardt’s Barrier Shield. Holding the alt-fire button will launch the barrier away from Sigma and it will stop when he lets go of the button. Pressing the button when the barrier is already deployed will cause it to disappear. Allowing him to send it out again. This makes it easy to place the barrier wherever Sigma wants it, and it will remain in place until recalled or destroyed.

The Experimental Barrier has 1500 hit points when initially deployed, and like Reinhardt’s shield, it won’t regain health unless it’s put away. It regenerates approximately 100 hit points per second when recalled and not in use. The barrier will stop if the centre hits a solid surface, but it will travel as far as desired otherwise. If it’s ever destroyed, it will return to Sigma and takes five seconds before it can be redeployed, with a minimum of 500 HP. Throwing it towards an environmental hazard can cause it to fail, so be careful using it near ledges.

This is more forgiving than Orisa’s projectile barrier because Sigma can reposition the barrier without having to wait for a cooldown. You can use it to protect teammates at different elevations and in places you can’t get to yourself, as it moves fast and can be positioned at any distance.

 

Kinetic Grasp

Sigma’s secondary skill is called Kinetic Grasp, and it’s similar to Zarya’s bubble or D. Va’s Defense Matrix. The skill is on a long 15-second cooldown, and once activated Sigma can’t use any of his other abilities for the duration. Activating Kinetic Grasp will allow him to absorb enemy projectiles in front of him for about five seconds. 1/3 of any damage absorbed in this way is converted to temporary shields for Sigma. He can gain up to 400 extra HP using this method (though the likelihood of the enemy team shooting you so much while it’s active is pretty slim). Sigma can store up to 400 shields on top of his natural 300 health and 100 shield. So, with proper timing, there is potential to quickly beef up for a team fight.

Any projectile is a valid target, and this includes Ashe’s Dynamite, Junkrat’s Remote Mines, Orisa’s Halt, and both types of Moira’s orbs. Timed well, Kinetic Grasp can be used to negate Zarya’s Graviton Surge, Mei’s Blizzard, Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, Tracer’s Pulse Bomb, and any Ultimate which makes use of bullets. I’m talking about McCree’s, Soldier: 76’s, or Roadhog’s. Torbjörn’s Molten Core and Pharah’s Barrage can both be partially absorbed, but both last longer than five seconds, so it’s not a good idea to try and stand in their way. The range is shorter than Defense Matrix and the ability doesn’t last as long, so it’s easy to lose health rather than gain any if you try to absorb an attack which lasts longer than Kinetic Grasp.

As useful as Kinetic Grasp is, there are some types of damage to watch out for. The ability is useless against melee attacks, including any of Doomfist’s abilities, Genji’s Dragonblade, and Reinhardt or Brigitte’s primary fire. It also can’t absorb any beam weapons, so Moira, Symmetra, Mei, and Zarya will have no trouble damaging an enemy Sigma. If the enemy team has any of these, Sigma would do well to keep his distance. Watch out for Reinhardt’s Earthshatter, D. Va’s Self Destruct, and Junkrat’s Rip-tire; none of them can be absorbed, but Experimental Barrier can nullify the damage if used carefully.

 

Accretion

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Triggering Accretion causes Sigma to form a large boulder in front of him, which he’ll then fling forward in an arc. If the boulder connects with an enemy it will stun them and knock them down, dealing 80 damage. The farther the boulder is thrown, the longer the victim will be disabled. Up to four seconds at maximum range. The damage of the attack remains constant, however.

Accretion has a slight knockback effect in addition to the stun and may be used to boop other players’ positions or knock them into environmental hazards. The knockback in Accretion makes Sigma yet another booper, so try to use this ability to displace ulting Mcrees, Pharahs, and Moiras. It can also be used to knock enemies into the pit in Illios.

Accretion can be used once every 10 seconds, and the attack has some interesting interactions with other characters. Connecting with a turreted Bastion will knock the ‘bot out of turret configuration, removing the protection of its Ironclad ability and making it easier to destroy. The slow-moving boulder is easy to dodge and will stop if it hits a barrier. But it can’t be absorbed or nullified by an enemy Sigma’s Kinetic Grasp or D. Va’s Defense Matrix.

This ability has a few seconds of wind uptime, so you won’t want to cast it in a panic (save your kinetic grasp for that). Instead, try to use the Accretion to finish off low health enemies or break weak barriers. Accretion is somewhat slow-moving but has a large hitbox, so make sure to practice aiming with it.

 

Ultimate – Gravitic Flux

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Finally, Sigma‘s ultimate allows him to soar into the air, before targeting a large area on the ground, like Doomfist’s ult. When used a large targeting reticle will appear on screen. Any enemy players within the area of effect when Gravitic Flux is triggered will begin floating in midair. Helpless to do anything but shoot with their primary or secondary skills. After about a second, these characters are slammed to the ground violently. This deals half their maximum hit points as damage, regardless of their current HP (e.g. Tracer takes 75 damage since her maximum is 150, and Roadhog takes 300 since his maximum is 600). Because of this, the ability has the greatest effect on enemy Tanks due to their larger health pools.

The ability doesn’t seem to be affected by other factors such as armour. Though any temporary hit points like those granted by Brigitte’s Repair Packs are taken into consideration before the damage is applied. In other words, if a character’s hit points are currently above their normal maximum. It will half their current health pool when they hit the ground.

Gravitic Flux is sort of a fire-and-forget ability, and will still go off even if Sigma is stunned or killed partway through its effect. Only a few characters can escape it. Reaper can shift into Wraith Form, Moira can Fade, and Orisa can Fortify to avoid the slam damage. Apart from these three, everyone else caught in the Flux just sort of has to sit there and take it. Symmetra’s teleporter can’t be used since it will remain on the ground. Even Tracer’s Recall and Sombra’s Translocator are disabled once they’re caught in the singularity.

 

What To Remember

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Sigma is a low mobility, high skill character with strong team synergy. He is the tallest hero and is vulnerable because he has no way to escape danger. Luckily, Kinetic Grasp and Experimental Barrier should sustain him. While Accretion will make him formidable in a team fight.

Sigma should be played as an offensive main tank. He’s able to push the payload forward by constantly repositioning his shield and keeping the pressure on with Accretion. You’ll also want Sigma to use Kinetic Grasp to soak as much damage as possible for his team. As well as use that devastating ult to turn the tide of team fights in your favour.

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