Tips and Tricks for Overwatch’s revamped Junkenstein’s Revenge modes

Overwatch’s Halloween event has returned, and part of the festivities include a revamped version of Junkenstein’s Revenge, the fan favorite event which debuted in 2016. This mode pits four players against waves of AI enemies, defending the gate in Eichenwald’s courtyard from Dr. Junkenstein and his Zomnic army.

Dr. J has learned a few things since his defeat at your hands last year, so he’s enlisted a new ally and has a few new tricks of his own. Read on and we’ll fill you in on what’s new and provide some strategies to help you beat back the Zomnic hordes.

How to play

Junkenstein’s Revenge is an endurance battle. The game continues until the door is destroyed, all four players die at once, or the win conditions are satisfied when the players defeat Dr. Junkenstein and his allies. For the most part Dr. Junkenstein stays out of player view, sending an occasional Rip-Tire speeding towards the door. These will deal heavy damage to the gate if they make it past your defenses, so prioritize destroying tires above all other threats.

Individual Zomnics don’t provide much menace  to players, but they’ll damage the giant door of the castle if they can get close enough. There are two types of Zomnics: the small ones ignore players and beeline for the door, while larger ones hang back and lob moderately damaging projectiles at players.  Managing these minor threats is important, but the real challenge for players comes from Junkenstein’s allies. 

After some time killing waves of Zomnics and Rip-Tires, Overwatch hero characters will spawn at set intervals. Reaper, Roadhog, and Mercy allied with Junkrat in last year’s event, and this year he’s joined by Symmetra as well.

What’s new

Symmetra adds a new wrinkle to the main horde mode, but she’s not the only addition. Last year, players could only choose the difficulty level of the mode they wanted to play, and were limited to playing as either McCree, Soldier: 76, Ana, or Hanzo. This is still true in the main mode, but this year’s “Endless” mode adds four new heroes to the roster. In Endless mode, players can choose any of the original four or can mix and match with Zenyatta, Törbjorn, Widowmaker, and Genji. As you might expect Endless mode has no win condition, so you’ll face waves of enemies until either the door is destroyed or all four of you are defeated simultaneously.

There have been balance changes and tweaks to almost every character since last year’s event, and these are reflected in the enemy heroes’ abilities as well as your own. Roadhog has become a lot harder to kill thanks to his damage reduction and ability to move while Taking a Breather, and Reaper’s passive change means he’ll heal slightly with every shot that connects. Meanwhile, Ana will need to land three hits on a Zomnic drone to kill it instead of two since her damage per-shot was reduced. On the plus side, McCree’s Deadeye locks on considerably faster than last year, so he’ll be able to use it much more effectively. And the Rip-Tires don’t move as quickly as they do in the live game, so you’ll still have a chance to destroy them before they slam into the gate.

General Strategy

Coordination is the key to victory in every game of Overwatch, but it’s especially true in both of the holiday modes. Whether you’re playing on PC or a console, you’ll have a lot better time if you mic up and call out threats to the rest of your team.  Apart from that, every character has their role to play, and knowing when to use certain abilities will be the key to success.

Ana is the only dedicated healer, and it’s her job to keep the rest of the team in the fight. She should stand near the gate on the raised section to the right or directly in front of the gate, making sure she has a good line of sight on the other three characters. You can track your team’s health using the UI element in the upper left, and it also lets you know whether your allies have their ultimate abilities ready. Your sleep dart can be used as crowd control to remove a boss or nasty Zomnic from play for a few seconds, allowing your team to focus on a more pressing threat.

If your team is all fully healed, don’t be shy about pumping some darts into the Zomnics, and don’t forget you’re the only character with a scope. If you’re new to Ana, keep in mind you don’t need to be completely accurate to heal your allies; landing shots anywhere in the triangular reticle in her scope will count as a hit on your allies. Try to save your Biotic Grenade for when you yourself need healing, or as a last ditch attack to destroy a Rip-Tire. Using Nano Boost on McCree will allow his Deadeye ultimate to track much more quickly, so try and coordinate with him to take out higher health bosses like Roadhog and Junkrat. If that won’t work, Nano Sights is another good option for taking out a pesky boss.

Soldier 76 is a generalist at all times, and that’s true in Junkenstein’s Revenge as well. He can do decent damage to the Zomnics and also plays a support role, healing the team when Ana is otherwise occupied. Soldier is the only one who can heal Ana if she doesn’t have her grenade available, so try to stay close to her if you can. Use Helix Rockets whenever they’re available, aiming for bosses, large Zomnics, or groups of the smaller ones. Don’t worry about hitting with every shot, but do your best to get plenty of lead in the targets and, if you can, take advantage of double damage when you hit headshots. Soldier’s ultimate charges pretty quickly so you can use it to clear the courtyard if things are looking hairy, or save it for a difficult boss encounter.

Hanzo can take advantage of the high ground to make his job a little easier. There’s a perch he can climb to on the left of the gate, and this is a great place to set up shop. Unfortunately his Sonic arrow isn’t especially useful in this mode, but you can still use it to highlight enemies behind the clutter across the bridge, or those spawning on the upper left section. You still get credit for recon kills made using Sonic arrow, so this will help charge your ultimate. Use Scatter arrows on groups of Zomnics, bosses, or Rip-Tires, and try to get headshots with your normal attacks whenever possible. Your ultimate ability is the best way to deal with Dr. Junkenstein, so save it for that fight if possible. Keep in mind Ana may not be able to see you if you’re up high, so don’t be shy about calling for healing if you get low.

McCree will more than likely be your team’s main source of damage, and his ultimate is the best way out of a bad situation. He can play well in any position, but most McCrees like to take the top left section overlooking the bridge so they have a clear view of the entire courtyard.  He won’t be able to heal himself and he’s unable to evade, so Ana should always be keeping an eye on his health. McCree can one-shot a small Zomnic if he hits it in the head, so do your best to land those critical shots. His Flashbang can help you set up a headshot or interrupt a boss’s ultimate, and his ultimate can turn the tide in a nasty situation. Deadeye can clear out a horde single-handedly, and can also one-shot any boss if you can channel it long enough. Work with Ana if possible, as her Nano Boost will significantly speed up the rate at which Deadeye locks on to enemies.

Boss Tactics

Reaper is the first boss you’ll face, and he’ll respawn several times throughout the fight. If you take too long to clear a wave he’ll join in out of sequence, and this can mess up your strategy significantly.  He can’t do much at range, so try to deal with him at a distance if possible.

Reaper always spawns on the far wall and teleports to the center of the bridge. McCree can use his ultimate to take Reaper out quickly as long as he’s not in Wraith form. He’ll trigger Wraith form after taking some damage, so the other characters should beat him up a bit before McCree triggers Deadeye. Ana’s biotic grenade can prevent him from healing when he attacks, but if you use it before he goes into Wraith form the effect will be cleared once he solidifies. He’s not too tough to deal with but can be distracting if left alive too long, allowing Zomnics an opportunity to slip through your defenses.

The summoner Symmetra is a new addition to the fight, and she’ll always spawn on the top left. Her first move will be to place a Shield Generator where she spawns, then will protect herself with a photon barrier and begin moving towards the door. Her beam deals more damage the longer she’s locked onto a player, so try to deal with her at range. McCree’s flashbang or Ana’s sleep dart can interrupt her attack, though she’ll still maintain her damage when she recovers. When she’s dead, make sure one of you goes up to the top left and destroys her shield generator, as it can make every other boss considerably tougher to kill if it remains on the field.

Roadhog Is basically a big pile of hit points, and a coordinated attack will still take some time to take him down. Ana’s biotic grenade can prevent him from healing during Take a Breather, so try to hit him with it before he can heal himself. He’ll try to hook a character and blast them, though thanks to his damage nerf earlier this year he’s no longer capable of one-shotting anyone at full health. If he lasts long enough he’ll charge Whole Hog and pepper the team with shrapnel, but this can be interrupted with a flashbang or sleep dart. Roadhog is a minor threat in this mode, and it’s best to prioritize other bosses if more than one are in play.

Junkrat himself always appears on a ledge to the upper right, and never moves from that position. He doesn’t need to reload, so he’ll launch a constant stream of explosives straight down the bridge towards the door until he’s dealt with. Fortunately, he doesn’t have access to his trap or mines. Hanzo’s ultimate works wonders on him, since he won’t be able to move out of the way. If the dragons don’t finish him off, Soldier and McCree shouldn’t have too much trouble getting headshots. If there are other bosses in play, Ana’s sleep dart will allow you to focus someone else before taking him out. Junkrat is a moderate threat thanks to his constant damage, so he should be destroyed ahead of lesser bosses like Roadhog and Reaper.

Mercy is the final challenge, and even though she’s not too tough on her own, she brings back three of the other bosses when she arrives on the scene. Reaper, Roadhog, and Junkrat will all be resurrected at the beginning of the fight, and you’ll need to deal with all four before you win. Once Mercy has resurrected her team, she’ll start following Roadhog around and healing him. This makes him nearly impossible to kill, so focus fire on her before moving to other targets. The strategies outlined above still work, but you’ll need to prioritize your targets and work as a team to defeat the enemies. I recommend taking out Mercy first, followed by Junkrat or Reaper, and killing Roadhog last.

Endless Mode Strategy

The only differences here are the heroes you can choose from and the fact that enemies and bosses do not spawn in a set order. It’s possible to have multiple copies of the same boss on the field at the same time, and you’ll probably end up with multiple Roadhogs in your face if you play long enough. Let’s go over what you can do to keep playing as long as possible.

The four new heroes each add some different strategy to this mode, but you’ll probably want to mix some of the new heroes with some of the old ones. You can’t choose any hero you want, so picking a good team composition is essential.

Törbjorn is amazingly useful here, and his turret does wonders when it’s placed on the raised section slightly to the right of the door. Keep the turret healthy and it’ll clear a lot of the trash out, allowing your team to focus on bosses. Don’t forget to throw armor for your team when you can, as it’ll help keep them in the fight. The Zomnics don’t drop a lot of scrap, but you’ll generate some over time. Rip-Tires have enough health and are fast enough to evade the turret unless nothing else is on the field, so be prepared to jump down and blast away if one gets near the door. Your ultimate charges pretty quickly, so use it whenever there’s a boss or the field looks a little crowded.

Widowmaker can be slotted in to replace Hanzo, though I’d recommend choosing one or the other rather than making the attempt with two snipers. Her strategy is similar to Hanzo, though she won’t be able to deal with Junkenstein as effectively. She’ll need to land multiple headshots on him to replace the damage dealt by Hanzo’s dragons. Her ultimate ability is effectively useless here, and her secondary venom mine does too little damage to help with bosses or Rip-Tires. She’s probably the weakest pick for Endless mode, and I’d recommend staying with Hanzo if you want to play a sniper.

Genji is an interesting choice. He can’t provide the consistent damage McCree or Soldier can, but his ultimate is great for clearing the board. Swift Strike can be used almost constantly since it recharges when you get a kill with it. His deflect ability won’t be as useful in general since the small Zomnics don’t shoot at him, but it’s great for reflecting Junkenstein’s explosives back at him or countering Reaper’s shotgun blasts. He’ll struggle against Symmetra if she locks on to him, and your healer will need to keep an eye on him since he can’t recover on his own. Genji is best left to skilled players, so for consistent value one of the other offense characters is probably a better choice.

Zenyatta is a great addition to this mode, and I’d argue that he and Törbjorn are very nearly must-pick characters. His Discord orb will make it much easier to deal with bosses, and provides a visual cue to your team to help them know what to focus on. It’s still a good idea to call out your targets, of course. He can’t provide as much healing as Ana, but is capable of dealing far more damage to Zomnics and bosses. He should play just in front of the door, firing constantly, keeping both orbs up as much as possible, and acting as a last line of defense for Rip-Tires. If one of your teammates is in trouble, pop Transcendence and move to assist them. It can easily negate Symmetra’s beam damage or undo the damage from Junkrat’s blast balls.

Endless mode can become overwhelming quickly since bosses seem to spawn randomly, and you may end up with multiple copies of the same boss on the field. Make sure to destroy Symmetra’s shield generators as soon as possible. The effect stacks, so every shield generator on the field increases the enemy team’s health by 75. Take out Mercy first whenever she shows up, then prioritize targets as mentioned above.

You’ll earn a loot box for playing through each version of Junkenstein’s Revenge, and a series of sprays can be earned if you meet certain achievement criteria. However you play, it’s a lot of fun, and a nice break from the PVP mayhem of the main game.  The event runs through November first, so enjoy it while you can.