Overwatch: How to beat Storm Rising

Storm Rising, the latest event for Blizzard’s team shooter Overwatch, is available from now through May 6. Overwatch has been criticized for its lack of a story mode in the past, but the popular yearly Archives event isn’t too far from a traditional campaign. For a few weeks every year, Archives lets players experience four-player story missions that take them through the history of the organization, and explore turning points in Overwatch’s past.

The Storm Rising event takes place two years after the Retribution episode, which exposed Blackwatch, a faction within the larger Overwatch organization which handled the nastier end of the business. This time, you play as a member of the strike team tasked with abducting Omnic money launderer Maximilien, first introduced in the Doomfist comic. The business ‘bot handles financial transactions for Talon, the evil mercenary organization that serves as a dark mirror of Overwatch.

This mission takes place in Havana Cuba, just before an intense hurricane is due to hit the area. Like previous Archive events, you’ll be squaring off against Talon’s finest as you fight your way towards Maximilien’s hiding place. Storm Rising includes two modes; a Story mission where you can choose between four predetermined characters, and an All Characters version where you can build a team however you like.

The Retribution and Uprising episodes also make their return, so you can explore other incidents from Overwatch history for as long as the event remains available. If you need help with either of these missions, be sure to check out our guide from last year. For now, let’s take a look at what you can expect from Storm Rising.

Welcome to Havana

Storm Rising is set on an entirely new map, so it’s a good idea to play it through on Normal difficulty a couple of times just to get the lay of the land before attempting any of the higher difficulty levels. There are four sections to play through before you reach the end of the story mode: a streets phase, an arena battle set within a rum distillery, a payload section where the team must escort a truck filled with explosives, and the finale, in which Talon throws everything they have at your team.

Enemies here are lifted from Retribution, and behave almost identically, so you may want to play through last year’s event first to familiarize yourself with the opposition.

Most of the Talon soldiers you’ll be facing are simple cannon fodder called Troopers, but there are four other types of enemies to deal with. Enforcers appear frequently, and their Railguns deal much greater damage than the assault rifles carried by Troopers. They also have more stamina, and are a little tougher to take down. Fortunately, the railguns are slower to fire, and you can dodge some of their attacks by simply strafing back and forth when facing them.

Enforcers start with a small amount of shielded health, which will regenerate if they’re allowed to retreat. Troopers and Enforcers aren’t especially threatening individually, but can quickly overwhelm the party due to their sheer numbers advantage.

Get sniped

Snipers are the biggest threat at higher difficulties, and more will show up than you may be expecting. Whenever a Sniper makes an appearance, prioritize them above all other targets. They’re easy to spot because they always have a glowing orange laser sight trained on their next target, and you’ll hear them locking on to you if you’re in their sights.

If you’re the next victim, make sure to get behind cover, or move inside Winston’s barrier immediately. Whenever you’re within a few feet of them, they’ll put away their sniper rifle and switch to a sidearm. This is your chance to destroy them without exposing yourself to the heavy damage they deal at range.

Assassins can stick to walls, and will phase around the room before attacking, making them difficult to pin down. When they do attack, they’ll run towards a specific team member and leap on top of them, incapacitating them until the rest of the team intervenes.

You can knock an assassin off a friendly player by using your quick melee or any stunning attack, but when you do it’s likely they’ll phase away and set their sights on another target.

Finally, Heavy Troopers serve as the boss fights in the distillery and Sea Fort sections. They carry twin miniguns, and are capable of charging and pinning your party members out of position. Heavies can also punch your team members to knock them away.

They have tons of health, so you’ll need to work as a team and attack from different angles to take them down. They have three weak points; aim for either their heads or the two glowing red ventilation ports on their backs to deal critical damage. Don’t be shy about using your Ultimate abilities when fighting Heavies.

For the streets phase, there isn’t much to challenge the party. You’ll cut your way through several groups of enemy soldiers, but the only elite enemy you’ll encounter is a Sniper just outside the distillery. Genji and Winston can take care of the enemies who appear in the windows, using Wall Climb and  Swift Strike to close the gap, or Leaping up to them.

The Distillery arena is a bit more challenging, introducing an Assassin, multiple simultaneous Snipers, and climaxing with a Heavy trooper. The payload phase sets you against several waves of Troopers and Enforcers, and you’ll need to watch for Snipers and an Assassin as you get close to the Sea Fort.

Finally, the battle within the Fort will be the greatest challenge, as you’ll need to defeat several waves of Talon elites before you can breach the wall and capture Maximilien.

Meet the team

The Overwatch Strike Team tasked with capturing Maximilien consists of Tracer, Genji, Mercy, and Winston, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with each of these characters, and their role in the party. You’ll need to complete Storm Rising at least once with each of these characters to unlock the “Storm Warning” achievement, though this can be completed on any difficulty level.

Tracer

Tracer is the first character you’ll see in the introductory video, which plays before the mission, though the motorcycle she rides on is sadly unavailable during the assault. She’s best at cutting through the cannon fodder Troopers and Enforcers, but her low health pool means she’ll need to be a bit more careful than the rest of the squad. Mercy’s damage boost can really help Tracer out, allowing her to finish off Enforcers with a single clip of ammunition.

She should be able to charge up her Pulse Bomb ultimate fairly quickly, so don’t be shy about using it on large groups or elite Talon operatives. Be careful not to set it off too close to yourself, as Tracer can kill herself with her own bomb if she’s still in range when it goes off.

Genji

Genji is the only character to appear in both Retribution and Storm Rising, and his role is similar in both missions. He’s excellent at dealing with the Talon Snipers which appear all along the route, either by reflecting their shots back at them with Deflect or by closing the distance with Swift Strike and forcing them to switch weapons.

Reflecting a headshot can take down a Sniper in a single shot, but you’ll have to make sure they’re targeting you before they fire. If the Sniper is aiming at one of your teammates, save Deflect and just try to get in close to disrupt their aim.

Genji’s Dragonblade Ultimate is one of the best tools for dealing damage to a Heavy Trooper, so be sure to save one for the climax of the Distillery and Sea Fort sections. Whenever possible, Mercy should boost Genji’s damage while he’s swinging the sword to ensure the Talon enemies are dispatched more quickly.

Mercy is more mobile than Moira thanks to her Guardian Angel ability, so it’s easier for her to keep up with Genji. That said, it’s still not a good idea for him to wander too far from the rest of the party. If Genji gets taken down somewhere far away from the rest of the team, it’ll be up to Winston to resurrect him, and your teammates will be annoyed.

Mercy

Mercy is the only Support available in Storm Rising.  She can heal the team’s injuries, or amplify the damage dealt by a single player if everyone is already topped off. Her secondary Resurrection ability is less vital because any character can revive a downed player by standing nearby, but it’s nice to have in an emergency since it doesn’t take as long as the revival drones.

Use Guardian Angel to keep up with Winston and Genji, do your best to keep the team topped off, and you won’t need to use Resurrect.

Whenever Mercy isn’t healing other players, she should either amplify the damage of one of her teammates or assist with her pistol. The caduceus blaster is a surprisingly accurate weapon, and Mercy will be able to take out enemy snipers at range if she can get a line of sight on them.

Apart from that, amplifying Winston’s damage can be surprisingly effective, as his Tesla Cannon and Leap attacks can hit multiple enemies simultaneously. Otherwise, amplifying Tracer or Genji as discussed above is usually Mercy’s best course of action.

The main benefit of Mercy’s Ultimate is that it applies her healing or damage amplification beams to the entire party as long as they’re all close together. Use it whenever multiple teammates have taken serious damage, or during Heavy Trooper encounters to take them out more rapidly.

Winston

Winston is the only character making his debut in an Archives event this year. The primate has an important role in shielding his teammates from the multiple Talon Snipers along the route, and it’s vital to manage his cooldowns carefully to make sure you have the right tool when it’s necessary. Take advantage of his Tesla Cannon’s ability to cleave damage onto multiple enemies whenever possible to help charge his Ultimate ability quickly.

Leaping using his Jump Pack lets Winston attack enemies on the second story of buildings, or just move quickly and get himself into a better position. Landing on or near enemies will do some damage, but more importantly it puts them in range of his Tesla Cannon.

He doesn’t have any long-range attacks, so Jump Pack is essential for getting close to Snipers and Enforcers before they can pick him apart. Leaping to a Sniper’s platform will cause them to fall to the ground, making them much easier for the rest of the team to deal with.

His Barrier Projector blocks incoming fire, making a temporary safe space for his teammates. It can stop Sniper bullets from finding their mark, and allows the rest of the team to attack elite enemies without fear of reprisal for a few seconds. Make sure to place the bubble in a position where your squad can get inside if they need to.

Placing it too far from enemies means you’ll need to leave its protection to engage with them, so try to put it close enough to packs of Troopers and Enforcers that your Tesla Cannon can hurt them. You can also leap on top of a group of enemies, place the bubble over them, and leave it to shoot them from the outside. Work with your Genji, since he won’t be able to Deflect incoming fire if your barrier is in the way.

Winston’s Primal Rage Ultimate isn’t as useful as some of his teammates’ abilities, but he can still use it fairly effectively against some of the elite Talon troops. It seriously boosts his melee damage, and lets him leap using Jump Pack much more frequently, in addition to fully restoring and doubling his health.

This can be useful when facing multiple Snipers, as he’ll be able to leap from platform to platform and knock them down from their perches for the other team members to mop up.

He won’t have any opportunities to knock enemies off the map except during the early part of the payload section, but using Rage here should give him plenty of time to build another Ultimate before the final Heavy Trooper makes an appearance. Rage is also useful if one of your teammates goes down, since the giant health bonus it grants should let you stay in position long enough to revive them no matter what Talon is throwing at you.

If you don’t have a Primal Rage available and a teammate falls, leap to their position and put up a Barrier to help get them back on their feet.

Uprising Updated… again

Since last year, Overwatch’s chief engineer Torbjörn has been updated with a new set of skills that significantly change how he needs to be played in the Uprising campaign. His new Molten Core ability is far better at dealing with swarms of Omnics than it used to be, allowing him to deny a much greater area than his old Ultimate.

He also has greater survivability and damage potential due to the new Overload ability, so it may be worth your time to revisit Uprising if you’ve had trouble beating it on some of the higher difficulty levels in the past.

Since his turret can now be thrown a short distance, he can place it in some positions which will be harder for the Omnics to attack. It’s still best to keep it fairly low however, since Reinhardt will be able to protect it more effectively when it’s placed at a level from which he can block incoming fire.

The turret can no longer be supercharged using Torbjörn’s ultimate ability, so it’s up to the player to deal more damage with his rivet gun. Overload’s increased fire rate more than makes up for the reduced damage of the turret, especially if you can hit headshots.

Torbjörn doesn’t need to collect scrap or worry about armor packs anymore, but this means the rest of his team will have less of a damage buffer and will need to be a little more careful about avoiding enemy fire. On the plus side, the new version of Molten Core can wipe out a wave of Omnics singlehandedly, and is especially good at taking out the small Slicers and slow-moving bombs which attack the payload.

It’s also super effective against the Bastion units who show up in turret configuration since they won’t move even if they’re sitting in a puddle of slag. Use it whenever a large wave of Omnics attacks, as it’ll charge very rapidly as long as you’re doing damage to the robots.

Retribution hasn’t changed all that much since last year, though McCree should find it faster locking on to enemies when using his Ultimate, Deadeye. Moira should also find it a little easier to keep the team topped off since her healing Biotic spray now provides additional healing over time, and Reaper benefits from the additional lifesteal added to his weapons.

General tips

As always, coordinating with your team is important. Try to work with friends, and engage in voice communications, especially if you plan to tackle the higher difficulty levels. Enemies deal far greater damage and have much more health in Expert and Legendary mode, so you’ll need to move slower and work as a team, calling out threats and focusing fire on the enemy soldiers. Working in a group also lets you earn experience faster, so it’s a great way to earn more chances at the new cosmetics.

The All Characters mode lets you choose any four heroes to play, but it’s usually best to include at least one Tank and one Support. It’s possible to beat the mode with any four characters, but you may end up relying on the revival drone more often than you’d like if there isn’t at least one character healing the others. If no one wants to play a healer, consider choosing characters who can heal themselves or regenerate their shields such as Mei, Symmetra, Zarya, or Roadhog.

Apart from the Heavy Troopers, Snipers should be your primary focus whenever they make an appearance. If possible, Winston should provide a barrier and let the other three characters shoot Snipers from within its protection. If this isn’t an option, Genji and Winston should close the distance with Snipers to reduce their effectiveness.

In All Characters mode, several abilities can help the team deal with Snipers. Roadhog’s Hook, Pharah’s Concussion Blast, Orisa’s Halt, and Brigitte’s Rocket Flail can all knock them from their perches and make them easier to deal with on the ground.

Troopers and Enforcers aren’t especially difficult to deal with, but can quickly overwhelm the party if left alone for too long. Dispatch them as swiftly as you can while keeping other threats to a minimum. Don’t forget Genji’s Swift Strike recharges whenever he dashes through an enemy, and chain it through Troopers to take out groups in a hurry. This is especially effective if they’ve already been weakened by Winston’s Tesla Cannon.

The Heavy Troopers like to charge and pin a character, but won’t be able to do so for quite a while after they use this ability. You can bait it out with Tracer, Winston, or Genji, using movement abilities to avoid the incoming tackle. Tracer can blink to the side, Genji can double jump over the Heavy, and Winston can simply leap out of the way. Mercy should avoid standing near the Heavies since her movement ability is dependent on the other heroes’ position, and is less reliable as a result. Don’t ignore the lesser Troopers and Enforcers that spawn at the same time; Tracer should probably focus her attention on these after dropping her Pulse Bomb on the Heavy.

Storm Rising adds more than 50 new cosmetics to Overwatch in addition to the more than 150 returning from years past. Of particular note are Wrecking Ball’s new highlight introduction (a nod to the dramatic chipmunk meme that includes the appropriate music) and Ashe’s Socialite skin, featuring a classy butler version of B.O.B. and dynamite stored in a fancy pink purse. You can see all the new skins in a gallery below.

Storm Rising and the rest of the Archives events will be available from now through May 6, and players who haven’t yet bought Overwatch can play free through April 23. All versions of the game are heavily discounted while the promotion is running, so if you haven’t bought Overwatch yet, it’s a great time to jump in.

The sale ends Sunday, April 28.