How to play Junkrat in Heroes of the Storm
Another Overwatch character enters Heroes of the Storm and this time it’s maniacal nade-slinger Junkrat. We’ve put together some tips for you to master this unique hero.
The mad bomber of Blizzard’s Overwatch becomes the next hero to join the Nexus after Ana back in September. Bringing his unique brand of explosive chaos to the game, Junkrat is a surprisingly versatile hero who can throw out decent damage in team fights, dominate as a solo laner and also hold down objectives for his team. If you feel like giving him a spin we’ve put together some tips to mastering the mayhem he can cause.
1. Hang back and hold lanes solo
In the murky world of Heroes of the Storm’s class system, Junkrat may be labelled as an assassin – but he definitely leans towards the specialist role, too. Junkrat can actually stand up as a very strong solo laner thanks to the splash damage on his auto-attacks and the range of his Frag Launcher. Even at baseline without and talent specialisations, you can exploit both of these moves to clear waves quickly and safely.
If there are weaknesses to worry about, Junkrat is let down by a lack of self-sustain, a small health pool and finicky escapes, although you shouldn’t need to venture too far forward in lane and risk getting caught out to clear minions. Lane rotations are also viable on some of the game’s smaller maps, though watch out for ganks on the way when you’re out in the open. It’s probably worth keeping our second tip in mind whenever you’re on the move.
2. Plan your escape
Junkrat has very limited and fiddly escape options, so having your Concussion Mine and Steel Trap already down in case an opponent tries to dive or gank you is vital.
Look for bushes and choke points where you can catch an enemy in a Steel Trap unawares or block their route to flank you. In some cases you can use this to turn a fight in your favour if you have some backup, as Junkrat isn’t the greatest one-on-one fighter. In most cases it’s better to back off and bounce a few cheeky frag grenades off their head as you retreat to safety.
While Steel Trap is good for fleeing, Concussion Mine is a lot more reliable to get yourself out of a sticky situation. It may be tempting to go for the big play against an opponent with an aggressive mine that launches them into range of your towers, but this risks leaving you open to a gank during the ability’s lengthy cooldown. Instead, try for it when an opponent is retreating and you have allies to back you up. Word of warning: you almost never want to launch yourself forward into a fight with Concussion Mine as Junkrat can be deleted in seconds.
To make your escape more effective, you might also want to consider the level 13 talent ‘Ripper Air’, which gives the Mine a greater knockback and reduced cooldown if it only hits Junkrat. Putting greater distance on your only escape is well worth it for the added security and some inventive players are using the boost to rotate between lanes quicker to keep up with experience soak.
3. Block off objective routes
In a similar way a Probius can lock down an area if he manages to get pylons and turrets set up ahead of time, a well-entrenched Junkrat can also make it an ordeal for the enemy team to break through and reach an objective. Whether it’s a tribute on Cursed Hollow, a shrine on Sky Temple or a control point on Volskaya Foundry, Junkrat lives up to his defensive role in Overwatch while in the Nexus.
On these maps talents such as ‘Gotta Trap ‘Em All’ and ‘Big As’ can be a nightmare for your opponent as they allow you to block off multiple entry routes with difficult-to-avoid hazards. If anyone dares poke their head in too far, your team will have more than enough time to converge on the target and follow up with more lockdown to secure a takedown.
You may also be tempted by the talent ‘Chattering Teeth’ – which makes your Steel Traps chase after their targets – but in practise it’s a bad pick. Not only do the traps move painfully slow, they can also be manipulated by a smart player to latch onto approaching minions instead. You’re better off placing them static in bushes, hard-to-see locations or during the chaos of a team fight to catch out a target.
4. Set booby traps
With those mad eyes, a cheesy grin and a maniacal laugh, you can tell Junkrat thrives on creating chaos. In a team fight, that’s the same atmosphere you want to inspire by pelting grenades, lobbing Concussion Mines and laying Steel Traps in the thick of battle. By having all sorts of hazards scattered around the field, your opponents can very easily be put off trying to avoid stepping on something dangerous.
Consider ‘Put Some English On It’ or ‘Bouncy Bouncy’ and ‘Taste for Explosions’ as talent options if you want to lean more towards a Frag Launcher build. Know, however, that the target for completing the latter quest talent is extremely high. You may never finish it over the course of a game, but the steady increase in damage can add a surprising punch to your frags against weaker foes in the backline.
‘Spread Volley’ can also make fights even more chaotic as you can spew 12 grenades in quick succession (or 21 if you have impeccable timing and expend three shots from your Frag Launcher as the cooldown resets).
5. Choose your Heroic ability by map
As with all heroes, the choice of Heroic ability you take at level 10 can define how you choose to play your character in each game. Junkrat gets two similar options that assist him in blowing up the enemy team but both come with unique modifiers.
The first is the inevitable transfer from Overwatch, Rip Tire. It functions near identically to its FPS counterpart, allowing you to control it across the map, leap over obstacles and detonate it when you reach your intended target. As with the ability in Overwatch it can be displaced and destroyed by the enemy team.
As its uses are fairly straightforward, there’s hardly a bad time to pick it as the damage it can do is catastrophic. Paired with a hero like ETC or a Zarya, who can lock down your opponents for a decent length of time, the combos are fairly obvious. Remember, though, if you decide to take Rip Tire as your heroic, you’re left completely vulnerable while casting, giving a diver or stealth hero a free shot against you if you’re out in the open.
Rocket Ride, on the other hand, is a very interesting choice. It sends Junkrat soaring into the air before he lands on a spot on the map seconds later dealing significant damage and leaving a few grenades behind as an explosive gift. The twist is that shortly after Junkrat will respawn back at the Altar on board a rocket with an additional 150 percent movement speed so he can bomb around the map and get back into the fight quicker.
Where Rocket Ride becomes a worthy choice is on larger maps, rotating between multiple objectives is key to victory. On Warhead Junction, for example, Junkrat could assist with securing one nuke with Rocket Ride, then zoom down to another on the other side of the map to pick it up or further delay the enemy team. It’s the classic sacrifice of damage over utility and definitely worth considering depending on the map.