God help me, I’ve been playing and enjoying Torbjörn.

It’s not entirely my fault, the game loves raining Torbjörn loot box rewards on me. He’s the only character for who I’ve dropped an emote, highlight intro, victory pose and epic-level skin (the Steampunk gold one). It just felt a shame to waste them, so I’ve taken to testing him out on defense when the team consistency calls for it, and I’m actually very impressed with how Blizzard fixed most of the flaws with TF2 Engineer. For one, the resource management minigame is gone; Torbjörn has only one building to place and it doesn’t require metal to upgrade. This lets Torbjörn play a much more active role on the battlefield because he doesn’t need to micromanage a baseful of buildings, instead he can lay down suppressing fire with his rivetgun and blitz the frontlines to collect scrap to turn into armor for his teammates. The scrap mechanic discourages turtling both in practice (everyone wants an extra +75 hp) and in visual design (by showing the player tantalizing glowing gibs just out of their reach).

Torbjörn is also more fun to play against than Engineer. Since his sentry normally only upgrades to 2, he can only become the ultimate area denial class for a short time and it costs his ult to do so. His lack of a dispenser means focus-firing is a more effective counter strategy than against Engineer, not to mention Overwatch comes with a number of heroes with powerful anti-turret options such as Genji’s reflect, half of the DPS ultimates and the medley of shields that give allies a chance to gun the turret down. But beware of the insane range on that sentry; on certain maps it feels downright impossible to position yourself without the turret seeing you and opening fire.

When I first played Overwatch I didn’t understand why Blizzard broke their “no weapon switch” rule for Torbjörn and Mercy. Mercy lacks an E-attack and Torbjörn has his standard melee, why not work their secondaries into the pre-existing control scheme? It was only after talking to Dapper Apple who explained the weapon switch was a penalty, forcing the two to temporarily sacrifice their primary abilities for self-defense. Because Torbjörn is VERY proficient with that rivet gun. The primary fire is a decently-damaging projectile that feels like the Crusader’s Crossbow in arc, and the alt-fire is a respectable shotgun blast, meaning he ca support his team’s DPS in long, mid, or short range. Coupled with his armor-generating mechanic, he is insanely self-sufficient s a character and I understand why somebody reached level 80 in comp without spending a second on another character. In fact, he’s actually quite good on offense if the player actually knows what he’s doing. His sentry builds so quickly that he can constantly place it in new places to cover flanks while doing work as a support fighter with a combat-capable ultimate. It’s not a traditional play, but as the level 80 Torbjörn above me demonstrates, it can work.

Junkrat will always be my favorite defense character, but I think Torbjörn might be more useful and powerful as a choice. The best thing I’ve learned by playing him is how to kill other Torbjörns when I play against him on offense.

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