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How To: Play as Genji

By Diploid - 26th June 2016 - 15:52 PM

A strategy guide on Genji.

Do you hate Bastion and Torbjorn players? Do you enjoy going wherever the heck you want, quickly? Do you want to piss off all your friends? If the answer is yes, congratulations! Genji is the character for you.

Genji is an offensive utility character with a gigantic pool of mobility options to play with. He excels at positioning, escape, and also has a high potential to target support characters and destroy (most) heavy defensive characters. His powerful passive combined with swift strike allow him more access to a map space at any given time than ANY other hero(with the exception of Tracer’s control of horizontal space). This allows him to be a hard counter to snipers, supports, and our best friend Bastion.

Important Terms and Techniques
  • Strafing – Strafing has been around for a long time. It is essentially the use of side-to-side movement in order to make it more difficult for opponents to aim at you. It is very easy to pick up, and it will be fundamental in not only understanding Genji, but competitive FPS games in general. There are many different types of strafing which I will go over that are important to Genji, but if you’ve already heard of them I suggest you go ahead and scroll past it.
  • Air Strafing – Air Strafing is using the strafe technique while in midair. You will rarely use it by itself as Genji, but instead use it alongside doublejump strafing.
  • Double-jump Strafing – This is an old scout TF2 trick that carries over into Overwatch, as Genji’s double jump allows him to go very high. Double-jump strafing is where you strafe and jump in one direction, and then change directions with your second jump. Unlike TF2 it doesn’t allow you to change your direction nearly as much, but with air strafing you can certainly maneuver around an opponent and break their aim. Be careful with this, being stuck in midair is never a good position.
  • Circle Strafing – Circle Strafing is generally a close range technique where you circle around your opponent to disallow them to aim at you. Combined with strafing, double jump strafing and swift strike, you could potentially be hitting your opponent point blank while they are spinning around trying to find out where you are. This technique is especially potent during a Dragon Blade.
  • Wall Strafing – You’ll find that many thin walls can be climbed back and forth as Genji. During a fight with one or several opponents, you can go back and forth over the wall while poking at your opponent. This breaks their line of sight, and if you have a nice enough wall you can even attack from a different position when climbing back over to your opponent’s side. However, the usage of this is somewhat different against other high mobility characters, like Pharah, Tracer, or another Genji. If you think you will be followed, climb a different wall, or swift flank (explained below) them before they can respond. You’ll find that certain areas of maps are especially potent for wall strafing, and allow you to dominate a zone. A good example of a wall that is strafeable is Mei’s Ice Wall, which is thin enough to allow you to jump back and forth without being touched.
  • Swift Flank – Switch Strike, allows you to go through enemies right? And shuriken do a butt ton of damage, right? So Swift Flanking is when you Swift Strike through your opponent, turn around, and immediately shuriken them before they can adjust their aim. This generally does enough damage to kill low hp characters, or at least give you enough of a health advantage to defeat many characters in 1v1. This technique proves very useful against tanks, and hero’s like Reinhardt will be forced to turn their attention to you or die a painful, spiky death.
Basic Strategy

It is in your best interest not to be seen when making an approach. Be aware of sight lines at all times, and try to attain a vantage point to shuriken from. Racking up damage and kills from behind/above enemy lines is great, but eventually, you’ll get noticed.

If you’re noticed by the whole team, try to keep their attention while staying away from damage. Your team will likely pincer them and they will be forced into a confused state. Although Genji isn’t great in the spotlight, distracting the enemy team is one of your main objectives.

If you’re noticed by one player, you can either take them out in broad daylight or try to drag him away from his team if he’s naïve enough, preferably into an area that gives you a lot of advantage and nice wall for strafing around. Genji is spectacular in a 1v1 scenario against nearly every hero, but each hero you face will cause different problems.
Take advantage of all your movement options. Genji is about confusing and disrupting your opponents in whatever method you can. Think about where an opponent is going to be looking when you round a corner, and take advantage of the opening. Climb a wall or a set of stairs and jump above their head where they wouldn’t think to look. Dash to another building and hit them from behind when they come to get you. Genji is the ultimate mind **** if you take full control of him.

Be aware of where the medical kits are, they are extremely important. You will be poking a lot at the enemy team, and they will be poking back. You are generally away from your own team and behind enemy lines, so you rely on these pickups to keep going. If you’re low on health and the cart/objective is near, camp the medkit room and snipe from it. This also allows you to mow down any enemies who come seeking some extra health.
When camping an area continuously use your different methods of escaping that particular room. If you have someone tailing you, it’s a good trick to use one exit, re-enter, and then use a different one that requires wall climb to access. Many characters that can’t follow you won’t even think to look up, and even if they do it will take them extra effort to get to you.

Part of this logic is required at all times as Genji. As this character, you generally have access to all exits of any structure you may be in. When you enter a room, you need to already have a plan on how you’ll get out if you encounter a tough enemy. When developing this strategy, it is important to check yourself, much like chess players do before each move. Where is each team right now? Which entrances are enemies most likely to appear? How can I quickly get to a flanking position? Think about each exit and where it leads, and then start to play around by confusing opponents on where you’re going to come from next. To me, this is the most fun aspect of Genji.

Weapon and Abilities
  • Shuriken - Genji’s shuriken makes every other hero into butter. They rack up tons of damage, and you can quickly take down foes big and small with them. Due to some delay, you have to lead in front of your targets with your crosshair, and sometimes make guesses on where they will strafe. But rest assured, once you get the hang of it they are a potent weapon. I find the alt fire to be most useful during close range encounters and on low HP fleeing opponents. Hitting someone with this at point blank and cancelling your animation into a melee attack will maximize your damage potential. If you get an alt fire headshot with all 3 shuriken, which does a whopping 162 damage, this is even more worth it. Also useful to get that last hit on a flying Pharah, assuming Swift Attack is down.
    Damage- 27 per shuriken
  • Swift Attack - Swift Attack is an offensive move used to confuse your opponents, that doubles as a massive escape option. You can use it as both simultaneously. It will allow you to get around defences quickly and behind enemy lines, but be careful when you use it, because you are immediately vulnerable afterwards. Even with deflect, it can be hard to get away, especially against a Mei, Winston, or Symmetra. Unless you can kill your opponents with it. If an opponent dies within a certain timeframe after being hit by your Swift Attack, the cooldown refreshes. This allows you spam Swift Attack, given that you finish off your foes. If you see an enemy near death, go ahead and Swift Attack them to finish, especially if they are about to get away. Since you it is refreshed, you still get an escape option after you use it. Chaining Swift Attacks is an effective way to get killstreaks and stay alive. You can also combo your swift attack into an alt shuriken and cancel into a melee attack, which will outright kill low hp heroes, and of course allow you to dash once again.
    Damage - 50
  • Deflect - Deflect has both a defensive and an aggressive element to it. If you’re trying to get away and need some room to breathe, pop deflect and walk backwards. Alternatively it can be used to reflect back at opponents, or allow you to walk past a sniper’s sight line without getting hit, or even returning a headshot right back at them if you’re skilled enough. If you’re quick, you can use it in response to an enemy’s big attack, dealing massive damage back at them. Deflect is an amazing tool, that can lead to Genji winning many fights.
  • Dragonblade - Dragonblade is an amazing ability, but it is very easy to use improperly. First off, try not to use Dragonblade in vision of the other team. You are going to shout something at the top of your lungs, and the extra visual effect isn’t going to help your situation. It is best to Dragonblade when your team does a large ultimate, especially ones that stun the enemy team. You can deal a lot of damage, but you are easily killed. Chain swift attacks together for maximum effectiveness, and chop down player after player.

Being aware of matchups as Genji is incredibly important due to the fact that you get to choose your fights more than anyone else. You are generally unseen, and you should take advantage of that when choosing who to pick off. You may notice that I put a lot of characters in the neutral category, and that is because they are situational characters to approach. I plan on continuously updating this, and as I learn more about the meta these characters may shift in position.

Good Matchups


Bad Matchups

If you can catch Pharah on the ground, you might have a chance. But a good Pharah is not gonna be hurt by Genji. Her flight and rockets make her a very difficult target to face. Deflect proves almost useless against her as she can aim at the ground in front of you to do damage. If you see her trying to shoot rockets at your feet, you can also try to walk into them and reflect them back, but the aim will be delicate here as you need to predict her flight. But hey, you’d look like a super badass, right? The best opportunity to attack Pharah is when she is using her ultimate, where you can either gun her down with shuriken or deflect her rockets right in her face. Remember, use deflect first and Swift Strike second to get to her. When I find her flight to be troublesome to aim at, I usually find it easier to use my alt fire in order to get whatever minimal damage I can.

Oh man, Winston is such a problem. You can’t poke at him when he puts up his shield, and getting close to him is a huge no no. If he gets close to you and you don’t have Swift Strike, it can be extremely difficult to get away from his beam weapon. The best thing you can do is poke at his shield from far away, but usually taking down other characters will take the priority. If a Winston notices you from afar, let him jump to you and THEN swift attack away so he can’t follow. Winston is a hard counter to Genji. If he is chosen, I suggest you consider switching.

Lucio is really hard to hit. His movement is almost always unpredictable, and to top it off he makes the enemy entire team harder to kill, especially if he knows how to properly swap his music. If you can catch him moving predictably try to burst him down fast. Lucio is usually my #1 Dragon Blade target when I get one, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve been countered by his ultimate as soon as I start up my dragonblade.

Neutral/Undecided Matchups

Soldier 76/McCree
Both of these characters are midrange attackers with a bit of mobility, so you will generally treat them the same in approach. Their somewhat slim HP pools make them good targets, but if you are caught poking at midrange these characters have a lot of potency to kill you. Deflect can work well against both of these fellas at close range, especially against their ultimate's. Deflecting McCree’s stun back at him is also a free stun.

A good Symmetra generally will place her turrets in spots that disrupt you, like nice jump spots or directly behind Bastion/Torborjn. However, Genji is great at taking out her teleporters due to his map access, and if he can outrange her he can mow her down quickly due to her weak HP.

I only put her in neutral matchups due to the shields she puts on other players. In a 1v1 situation, you should be able to play around her attacks and easily mow her down. With the way her attacks work, as long as you're jumping around she shouldn’t be able to hit you. Mostly be careful of her shields because other players can sometimes outlast you in fights because of them.

Remember your basics, and take advantage of all your movement options. Don’t get caught up in the matchups too much, because Genji has the ability to manipulate and mow down any hero given the right circumstance. Most importantly, have fun. You’ve chosen a character with ultimate freedom.

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