Genji is one of Overwatch’s most iconic Heroes, not just because he wields a cool-looking katana, but also because of his cyber ninja design and unique playstyle!
Because he’s primarily a melee-based Hero, he’s got the fastest and most versatile mobility kit in the entire game. This nimbleness allows him to close gaps fast to deal some heavy damage, making Genji also one of the game’s most powerful 1v1 duelists. The trade-off is that Genji is extremely vulnerable because of his low HP. As such, players looking to master him must be able to stay several steps ahead of their opponents.
Even after all of the changes that Overwatch has received over the years, Genji is still a force to be reckoned with in 2021. He’s lightning fast, making him a dangerous flanker who can appear at a moment’s notice when you least expect him. Let Gamepleton’s guide give you all of the tools you need to get on the path to shinobi mastery!
Genji’s speed and movement options give him a lot of ways to cover ground. With some good map knowledge, a solid Genji player can make their way to the enemy backline in unpredictable patterns, keeping their defenders guessing at all times. It’s vital, therefore, for a Genji player to learn the various nooks, crannies, and pathways of each map before attempting to use the cyber ninja in Competitive.
- He’s incredibly fast, making him the most effective flanker in the game
- He can down pretty much any Hero in a 1v1 situation
- He can easily get in and out of a situation while doing massive damage
- His Ultimate has excellent burst damage and is quite difficult to counter due to the rest of Genji’s ability kit
- His low health makes him extremely easy to kill when he makes mistakes
- He has a skill ceiling and requires a lot of practice and patience to master
- In the hands of a less skilled player, he can be shut down fairly easily, making the road to mastery a frustrating one at times
In this section of our Overwatch Genji Guide for 2021, we’re going to take a deep dive into his abilities.
Cyber-Agility is a passive ability that gives Genji his ninja-like movement potential. It has two effects, one that allows him to climb walls and another that allows him to jump twice in the air.
The wall climbing portion of Cyber-Agility works similarly to Hanzo’s Wall Climb. By holding down the jump button while running towards a wall, Genji will climb up until he reaches a level surface. This effect gives Genji the ability to skirt across maps faster by going over obstacles, effectively giving himself shortcuts that almost no other character has access to. It’s vital to note that Genji’s wall climbing needs to be reset before it can be used again. In order to reset the climb, Genji must first set foot onto a flat surface. This effectively disallows him from jumping off one wall and continuing to climb onto another.
The double jump portion of Cyber-Agility also comes with its own set of rules. It allows Genji to perform a second jump after leaving the ground once. This skill gives him the ability to jump higher than any other Hero in Overwatch. In advanced play, Genji can use the double jump to evade enemy fire and make himself a much harder target to hit.
What’s important to note is how the two effects of Cyber-Agility work together. When Genji begins a wall climb, it counts as his first jump. This means he can only jump once more before landing on the ground. Genji is still allowed to jump towards a wall, climb, then jump once more, a vital skill to learn on your path to mastering him.
Shuriken is Genji’s only source of ranged DPS. Its primary fire has Genji swiftly throw 3 ninja stars in a row, each with its own travel path. What this means is that if you’re running sideways, the shurikens will fan out slightly. Genji’s ninja stars have no damage drop-off, dealing a solid 28 damage per star regardless of range. They have travel time, though, so Genji has to lead targets slightly in order to land hits with Shuriken.
For all intents and purposes, Shuriken shouldn’t be considered a main source of damage. It takes about 8 body shots to take down a 200 HP Hero which is incredibly weak. Instead, Shuriken’s primary fire should be used as purely ranged harassment and nothing more.
On the other hand, Shuriken’s secondary fire is a great source of damage. It fires off all 3 ninja stars at the same time in an arc in front of Genji. This alternate attack also has a slightly faster rate of fire, allowing Genji to toss out more ninja stars in quick succession. Shuriken’s secondary fire favors our cyber ninja’s preferred range, which is up-close-and-personal! You can use them while the gap is almost closed or when your opponent is trying to gain some distance.
Despite its more defense-oriented name, Deflect actually serves as both an offensive and defensive tool. Upon activation, Genji enters a stance that lasts for 2 seconds. During this time, any projectiles that land on him are immediately sent back towards the direction of your reticle — a.k.a. where you are aiming at that moment. All projectiles retain whatever properties they had. For instance, deflecting one of McCree’s Flashbangs will still stun enemies. On top of that, Genji can also deflect projectile-based Ultimates, such as his brother’s Dragonstrike!
What’s important to note is that Genji can’t deflect AoE attacks or splash damage. He also can’t deflect any abilities or attacks that are beams or channeled weapons. An example would be Zarya’s Particle Cannon primary fire. Finally, Genji can only use Deflect on attacks coming to him from the front. Enemies can still strike him from the side or the rear without him being able to deflect their projectiles.
To be a master Genji player, it’s crucial to understand is that Deflect isn’t meant to just be a survival tool but a core offensive move as well. Because of its 8 second cooldown, you’d effectively gimp yourself by only using it to defend. Instead, you must focus on targeting enemies while deflecting attacks so that you can turn the tables in your favor.
Genji’s main source of damage, Swift Strike is an ability you’ll want to use in various situations. Upon activation, Genji dashes forward into the direction of his crosshair. This dash takes him a generous 15 meters forward, dealing 50 damage to any enemies that come into contact with Genji. The cooldown is a bit long at 8 seconds but it does reset whenever Genji lands a killing blow or assist on an enemy, regardless if he used Swift Strike or not. On top of that, Dragonblade activation also instantly resets the cooldown of Swift Strike.
One less obvious note about Swift Strike is that it can be used to reach higher ground. As Genji moves forward towards where his reticle is pointing, that means you can aim upwards and he’ll leave the ground and dash in that direction. This gives him an added form of mobility that allows him to quickly move up levels in a building and other higher places.
Besides closing the gap on enemies, Genji can also use Swift Strike to dash away from harm. This versatility makes Swift Strike an incredibly flexible tool for Genji to use in a multitude of situations outside of offense.
The terror of the battlefield, Dragonblade is one of Overwatch’s deadliest Ultimates. Upon activation, Genji unsheathes his sword, replacing his Shuriken attack for the next 8 seconds. During this time, Genji can do up to 9 slashes, each of which deals an impressive 120 damage to all enemies in an arc in front of him. Assuming a single target is the recipient of all 9 slashes, that’s a devastating amount of over 1000 damage. As long as Genji can get close, Dragonblade can make quick work of any Hero in Overwatch!
There are a few downsides that make Dragonblade hard to use. For one, the Ultimate’s activation is accompanied by a loud audio cue, effectively warning enemies that Dragonblade is in play. This will clue them into fleeing far away from you if they know where you are. As this Ultimate requires you to be close to your enemies to damage them, you’ll want to take the sneaky route before activating it.
Furthermore, Genji is vulnerable for the first second of activation. While he’s unsheathing his sword, Genji can’t attack or use abilities. For the duration of the Ultimate, Genji also can’t use Shuriken. He can, however, use his other abilities. Since Swift Strike is automatically reset when Dragonblade is activated, it’s a good idea to use it to close the gap.
Now that we have a handle on Genji’s ability kit, it’s time to explore how to play him effectively.
Genji’s Gameplan & Role
Genji is at his absolute best when he’s in the opponent’s face. To achieve this, you’ll want to use his full suite of mobility skills to close the gap and get the jump on your enemies. This is why Genji is best used as a flanker. Knowing the various routes that can lead you to your enemy’s backline is what will make you a strong Genji player. Once you’re in, it’s vital that you also get out as soon as your work is done. Once the more dangerous members of your enemy team realize you’re hacking down their supports, they’ll come right after you. When this happens, don’t get greedy and run so you can live to flank again.
As for Shuriken, it’s easy to stand back and toss ninja stars all day. However, you won’t be doing much damage nor using your full potential this way. You can harass from afar a bit to help your team push enemies back, but Shuriken is best used when closing the gap and using its alternate fire. It does good damage and when in tandem with Swift Strike, makes for a strong damaging combo that places you where you want to be.
Ally Hero Synergies
Zarya is hands down one of Genji’s best synergies. Her Projected Barrier allows her to shield Genji to help make him less squishy and an even bigger threat. Graviton Surge also helps group enemies up for Genji to take down with Dragonblade.
Zenyatta is a close second thanks to his Orb of Discord and Transcendence. They both can offer similar benefits to Genji’s skills, just not as potent and effective.
Finally, Winston works great with Genji because of his mobility and the way he can pounce on enemies at a moment’s notice. When a Genji and Winston player are in sync and doing damage together, they’re a tough team to handle!
Genji Counter Picks
Winston is both a blessing and a curse for Genji. Because of his lock-on mechanics with Tesla Cannon, Winston can easily pin down Genji, even if Swift Strike is used to escape. Winston can also chase Genji better than any other Hero with Jump Pack.
Brigitte is also a tough cookie for Genji to cut. Her self-sustain and superb survival abilities make her a formidable foe that Genji will struggle to take out, even when she’s on her own. Shield Bash absolutely wrecks his day as well when he manages to get in close.
Finally, Pharah, in the right hands, can keep her distance from Genji all day with her flight and rockets. The latter is particularly bothersome because of their splash damage.
Genji Ability Combos
Dash Shuriken into Melee
This is an absolutely devastating combo that can potentially one-shot 200 HP Heroes! Simply use Swift Strike followed immediately by Shuriken’s secondary fire. The combination of the ninja stars and slash from the strike will deal devastating damage to any foe!
Less of a combo and more of something to practice is being aware of how Genji’s Swift Strike resets with every kill. When you can get your rhythm down, you can chain dashes after every kill, especially when you combine them with the above combo.
Genji Tips & Tricks
To close off our Overwatch Genji 2021 guide, we’ve got a few tips and tricks you can add to your sleeve:
- You can cancel your Deflect stance by wall climbing or using Swift Strike. It’s important to do this when your opponents are aware you’re deflecting.
- Outside of mobility and defensive situations, Swift Strike shouldn’t be used unless you can secure a kill. The reset is too good to pass up and the potential to chain dashes makes ensuring you get kills much more valuable!
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