Overwatch is home to Heroes of varying degrees of simplicity and complexity. As the game is an FPS at heart, there definitely are characters that you can pick up that are more traditional shooter types. One of them is McCree, a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy with a penchant for headshots. He’s a straightforward Hero to play who requires solid aim skills in order to fully master him on the battlefield.
Even in 2021, McCree is a powerful Hero who can dominate the mid-ranges thanks to his trusty six-shooter, Peacekeeper. He’s also incredibly scary at close range when you factor in the rest of his kit! Regardless of your seniority in Overwatch, if you’ve been looking to play a more traditional point-and-shoot playstyle, then our guide will give you all of the tools you need to blast heads off with McCree in no time!
As we mentioned above, McCree’s gameplan heavily relies on the player’s own accuracy and aim. If you’re looking to get good with this cowboy, you’ll need to commit some time to perfect your aim or else you’d be gimping the rest of your team, especially in Competitive. To that effect, when you undergo your training, consider relying solely on using Peacekeeper’s primary fire. This will maximize the amount of time you spend developing your point-and-shoot skills. Once you’re confident you can land headshots at a near consistent rate, you’ll be well on your way to taking advantage of the rest of his kit.
- He can dominate almost any Hero in dueling situations
- He has some of the best damage in a wide array of ranges
- He is excellent at protecting the backline and support Heroes
- In the right hands, he can fit almost any team composition
- His superb damage makes him a great flanker deterrent
- His mobility and escape options are the weakest among the offense-oriented Heroes
- He relies heavily on Flashbang to keep him safe
- His Ultimate leaves him vulnerable to attack so you’ll require a good read on the situation
- He relies heavily on a player’s ability to aim and land headshots consistently
- He requires near-constant solid play as he struggles to recover from simple mistakes
In this section of our Overwatch McCree Guide for 2021, we’re going to take a deep dive into his abilities.
As a quintessential cowboy, McCree’s weapon of choice is a classic six-shooter that packs a massive punch. Its primary fire, as one would expect, is more than enough to take out the majority of Overwatch’s Heroes in a few well-placed shots. More specifically, depending on the range, Peacekeeper can deal anywhere between 35 to 70 points of damage. This means that squishier targets will evaporate in 3 body shots, and up to 2 if one shot lands on the head. On top of that, McCree is what is known as a “hitscan DPS”, meaning his bullets have no travel time. Regardless of their distance, the enemies you shoot will instantly get hit if your aim is true. These values place his time-to-kill at one of the lowest in the game, barring snipers. It’s for this reason that McCree requires aim consistency to make him effective.
Peacekeeper also has some of the fastest reload speeds in Overwatch at 1.5 seconds. McCree’s primary fire also makes it incredibly hard for healers to keep up, especially if you’re able to land multiple headshots on several targets in a row. Knowing all of this, it’s vital to become proficient at landing shots consistently so that you can continuously damage enemies no matter if you’re standing, moving, or jumping.
Its secondary fire, Fan the Hammer, is a superb alternative to its primary shots. Its most straightforward use case is to switch to Fan the Hammer when the situation makes it hard to land a headshot. What it does is allow McCree to fire up to 6 rounds in less than 1 second. There are two downsides, however.
The first one is reduced accuracy due to the wider spread of bullets. For all intents and purposes, you have to treat Fan the Hammer like firing a machine gun. Secondly, Peacekeeper’s secondary fire has lower damage potential with bullets striking for anywhere between 13-45 per shot. On top of that, Fan the Hammer can’t land headshots. But don’t let these downsides get you down as the burst you get is a great trade-off at close ranges!
Fan the Hammer doesn’t have a requirement for number of bullets so you can use it regardless of how many are left in Peacekeeper’s cylinder. Fan the Hammer also has the potential to take down enemy barriers and structures. Within a 3-second period, with a full barrel, Fan the Hammer can deal up to 540 damage which will melt away nearly any of these defensive abilities!
The use of McCree’s primary fire and Fan the Hammer greatly depends on the situation. Mastering both is key to becoming effective with this Overwatch Hero.
This is McCree’s most powerful ability and is one of the main reasons he’s so good at dealing with nearly any Hero in 1v1 situations! It’s a crowd control grenade that stuns affected enemies for 0.7 seconds. After tossing Flashbang, it will fly for 0.5 seconds before blowing up. That’s approximately 5 meters’ distance. However, if it lands on an enemy Hero or structure or any other obstacle, it will instantly explode. Its area of effect is approximately 2 meters around its point of impact and on top of its stun, it also deals 25 damage. The drawback of Flashbang is that it has a 10-second cooldown, leaving him defenseless, especially if it misses.
Flashbang offers many advantages for McCree. For one, it opens up opportunities for free headshots, effectively serving as the opener for a deadly combo attack. Its other advantage is that the explosion and stun can interrupt abilities and ultimates. More specifically, you can disrupt some potent skills like Coalescence, Resurrect, and Whole Hog as well as a host of other Hero abilities. Flashbang also gives you a tool to force tanks like Reinhardt and Brigitte to put down their shields. It’s also incredibly useful for stopping enemies from attacking your allies. It’s what makes McCree great at protecting the backline from nasty flankers like Genji and Reaper.
A crucial note is that competent players are going to be mindful of your use of Flashbang as its long cooldown gives them an opening to advance on you. It’s crucial, therefore, to keep Flashbang in your pocket until the right moment presents itself.
Combat Roll is McCree’s only mobility skill and it’s as straightforward as it sounds. Upon activation, McCree will roll towards the direction he’s moving. The roll lasts for about 0.4 seconds and travels about 6 meters. When initiated from a standing position without moving, McCree will roll forward. There are no invincibility frames so unfortunately, you can’t use this to go through enemy fire or attacks.
Combat Roll, though, does make McCree’s hitbox smaller, effectively making him a harder target to hit, especially for melee Heroes like Genji. The other big advantage is that Combat Roll will instantly reload Peacekeeper. This will happen regardless of how many bullets are left in the barrel so it’s a great way to avoid fire, getting in close while preparing to launch a burst attack with Fan the Hammer.
You can also use Combat Roll to close the gap if you need to get in closer to toss in a Flashbang. Keep in mind that by doing this combo you’ll leave yourself quite vulnerable so use it sparingly.
One of the deadliest Ultimate’s in Overwatch, Deadeye is quite scary to deal with once McCree’s super bar is charged. It’s a channeled ability that has the potential to take down multiple enemies in a single go, thanks to its massive damage. The problem, however, is that it’s not as straightforward to use as other Ultimates in the game.
Upon activation, Deadeye puts McCree into a slow-mo state, often referred to as bullet time. This state can last up to 6 seconds, during which the cowboy hero can move incredibly slowly. The reduction in mobility gives you an opportunity to line up your shots before unleashing Deadeye’s attack.
Once unleashed, it will deal its full damage to every enemy that’s within McCree’s field of vision. This simply means every enemy that appears on your screen during the activation. It also means you do not personally need to do any aiming whatsoever. Just keep your targets on your screen, and McCree will fire and hit with 100% accuracy! You’ll even see his pistol point in the general direction of each target when firing!
The amount of damage, however, depends on how long the bullet time state was active. For every second of channeling, Deadeye will deal 250 damage to every enemy. You can tell how far along your charge is by the size of the red circles that appear on your targets. The smaller they are, the more damage they’ll take. All you need to do, when you’re ready, is to hit your primary fire to instantly hit its targets.
Because you’re in this channeled state, you can be left open to attack. This is why it’s important to pick the right moment to activate. Because you’ll want to charge a few seconds to guarantee you deal the maximum possible damage to all of your targets, especially the beefier ones, you’ll need to make sure you at least have some teammates covering you, or are in a position that protects you (like, high up). If you do happen to make a mistake or activate during a bad time, you can cancel the Deadeye channeling by hitting your secondary fire.
Now that we have a handle on McCree’s ability kit, it’s time to explore how to play him effectively.
McCree’s Gameplan & Role
McCree is all about offense and dealing as much damage as possible. Because of the absence of bullet travel time, McCree can easily stand back and fire while his more durable comrades cover the front. For as long as you’re covered and able to attack, you should be doing exactly that. Standing? Shoot. Jumping? Shoot. Moving? Shoot. There are no two ways about it. You need to be unleashing a continuous and reliable barrage of bullets on as many heads as possible.
At the same time, you’re also the bodyguard of your team’s backline. Your supports, healers, and snipers are all counting on you to keep them safe from flankers like Genji. This is where you need to make careful decisions about how you use your Flashbang. If you know you’re not getting flanked, you can use it to support the offense. However, if you don’t have a beat on where the enemy flankers are, then it’s best to hold onto that Flashbang until they rear their ugly heads on your healer.
Ally Hero Synergies
McCree works great with a wide range of the cast. If we had to pick a few synergies though, that would be Genji, D.Va, and Brigitte.
Genji has superb mobility which will allow him to finish off targets McCree has near-fatally damaged. In the same way, D.Va can use her boosters to get in on McCree’s strays and take them out instantly. Genji’s Dragonblade can also support Deadeye as a double threat.
Finally, Brigitte has incredible self-sustain, making her a tough target for enemies to take down. She can buy McCree valuable time to land headshots or even a full damage Deadeye while enemies are fixated on taking her off the field. Aggro-ing via the non-tanker’s way!
McCree Counter Picks
D.Va isn’t just a great synergy for McCree; she’s also one of his worst nightmares. Defense Matrix is just amazing for nullifying damage from Peacekeeper as well as negating Flashbang and Deadeye. Her Boosters also give her a great way to close the gap on him fast.
Lucio’s high mobility and small hitbox make him a tough target to pin down reliably with Peacekeeper. His Wall Ride can be particularly annoying to deal with as well. The upside is that he can’t deal a lot of damage so McCree can just focus away from him.
Finally, Widowmaker is a straight-up hard counter to McCree because she can easily dominate the mid range. At the most advantageous ranges, Peacekeeper can’t keep pace with Widowmaker’s shots either. Generally speaking, a McCree should never duel a Widowmaker if he can help it.
McCree Ability Combos
The most important combo you need to learn as McCree is the following:
Flashbang -> Primary Headshot -> Primary Headshot
This is a guaranteed kill combo on almost any target that is unprotected. Getting the consistency down for the two headshots is a must, so practice as much as possible because this combo will make or break you as a skilled McCree player!
McCree Tips & Tricks
To close off our Overwatch McCree 2021 guide, we’ve got a few tips and tricks you can add to your sleeve:
- You can’t win a 2v1 that’s not in your favor, so don’t even attempt it. Your lack of good mobility and self-sustain can be outpaced by almost any two Hero combination. It’s definitely not in your favor!
- When dueling, expect enemies to try to bait your Flashbang. Hold it in the chamber until you see them make a mistake, then stun them and unleash your kill combo.
- Never use Deadeye without a good chunk of your team around. You’ll be a sitting duck on your own while you feebly attempt to channel good damage.
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