-Clip Plays- I don’t care what you say but that must have felt better than magic mushrooms, ecstasy, and heroin all at the same time. McCree is so incredibly rewarding and there are absolutely no good guides out there, so I figured I want to share my experience with you. And here it is:
Hey ioStux here and welcome to my advanced McCree guide. This video will be really long and really in-depth, and I put a lot of work into it so I really hope you’ll enjoy it. Starting things off I’d like to give a quick shout out to my supporters. They really helped me out with recording some of the footage here. I would like to thank Derpy, Durpy, Fandor, SirAlot, Ezpir, Matik, Joryn, SonicGB, and Moozy.
A quick disclaimer – I have opened a Discord server now, feel free to join it and ask me or other users questions. I plan on doing something special with it later on but I’ll keep that a secret for now. The link to the server is in the description.
First I’d like to talk about my qualifications. In season 2 I have reached a season high of 3720, and I have almost exclusively played McCree, and I would consider myself a Hitscan main. I have analyzed my own and other McCrees gameplay to find every little detail I think is necessary to perform with him. I have taken into account the gameplay and opinions of pro players like Taimou and IDDQD. So most of the stuff I’m talking about isn’t only my opinion but also that of pro players.
There are a few perquisites to this video. I won’t go over basic abilities or explain how his abilities work because you should be able to look that up. However I do go into number crunching, I will analyze his kit, and I will go into the optimal way to both play him and improve with him.
You should definitely watch these two videos first. The left one is about Aim and Movement and the right one about Positioning. You will need this knowledge in order to understand most of what I’m talking about. This guide will cover the following: McCree skill set, his learning curve, Stages of progression, The importance of headshots, Flashbang over Reinhardt shields, double headshotting after a flash bang, fan-the-hammer, Mercy and Ana Boost, the Tracer combo, ultimate usage, ultimate through Reinhardt shield, ultimate Genji flick, pre-game warm up, accuracy percentage, positioning, a couple positioning examples, methodology application, when to pick him, and how you can learn from the best.
Right here I have a little graph where I outline the needed skill set for playing McCree. As you can see positioning and Game Sense are very important, and you don’t really need much teamwork to excel with him, and movement shouldn’t be that much of an issue either because if you position yourself well and if you play McCree well you shouldn’t even get into get into too many duels where forced battles and stuff like that come into play. A little surprise is that I put aim at 6 out of 10. That is because in my opinion positioning is way more important than aim on McCree, and I will go into that later.
Right here we can see McCree skill curve in my opinion. Now when you start out playing him, you should still be able to perform pretty well. Because using simple combos like flashbang and fan-the-hammer aren’t really that hard to pull off. And positioning should be dealt by the Reinhardt since he can protect you and save you from a lot of positional mistakes.
However if you really want to get the most out of McCree you do need to master positioning and aim. So if you get good with him you can actually get a lot out of him over time. Here we can see the different stages of McCree play. Now a quick little disclaimer because of my last video – these tier icons don’t represent actual in-game tiers, but progress and comprehension of the character.
I could have just used grades from 1 to 6 as well but I like these pictures. I am saying this because people think I am attaching everything to Rank, but as we all know Rank doesn’t matter – improving does. So as you can see, I have five different phases. I call the first one the fan-the-hammer phase where players tend to over use right click as a direct result of lacking mechanical skill.
The second phase is the flash bang headshot phase. This is where players start to headshot Tracers for instance after flash banging them.
Next up the high ground phase – where players know how to take advantage of high ground and good positioning.
The actually kind of good phase where players know when they need to go aggressive and when to use watchability and when to swap.
And the comprehension phase where everything else applies, and a good McCree player doesn’t rely on his aim to win games – but outplays and good positioning.
I will go over a couple of stats because I think they’re pretty important to know. His damage in the body ranges from 35 to 70 – with a .5 falloff multiplicator. I will go into falloff later – and his headshot damage is an exact double so from 70 to 140. He packs 6 shots, reloading takes one and half seconds, and he fires one shot every .5 seconds.
We can see McCree at his max effective range which is around 50 meters. So a body shot this range can do 70 damage and a head shot 140. Here we can see the end of McCree’s fall off. So at this point he hits half the normal damage, so 35 at the body, and 70 in the head.
Flash banging Reinhardt Shield:
As you may already know flash banging a Reinhardt will cause him to drop his shield and make him and his team vulnerable. Now there are four cases – the first one is throwing the flash bang right at his shield which is incorrect. You may try to throw it over the shield but you need to care because if the range is too long it won’t hit.
Next up you can just casually throw on the shield and as you can see it can stun him, however this may not always land. And then we have the most consistent way and the way in which I personally do it – is a small jump before throwing the flashbang, so that hitting the flashbang over the shield becomes easier. One thing that not a lot of players know is that after a flashbang you can actually double head shot to kill 250 HP heros. Now if the enemy is prepared he can still Wraith or use his Ice block – however the window of opportunity is milliseconds long. So in a casual game going for the double headshot after flashbanging a 250 hp character should work. Right here you can see it at the video clip of me showcasing this.
Another popular alternative is for you to use fan-the-hammer, however this puts you into a dangerous close range. It also deals less damage. We tested it and Reaper survived with 90 HP if he used his Wraith correctly. However it is easier to aim though, but that isn’t the point of running McCree. You should always go for the hard shots so that you can practice the hard shots.
Now things get interesting. If McCree is Mercy Damage boosted, because this allows him to use the flashbang headshot combo on every 200 HP character. Here we can see it in action as you can see I was Mercy boosted and I could kill Symmetra who has 200 hp with a flash bang and a headshot. Here you can see me doing the same only this time without the damage boost. As you can see Symmetra survives.
Another thing that could happen and actually happened to me as being boosted by both Mercy and then Ana Nano Boost. Now this is absolutely overkill and not a good strategy, but you could in theory kill an entire enemy team without reloading once – including his combat roll. I am not damaged boosted, however I changed the custom game settings. And as you can see I was able to one-shot Reaper with 250 HP. Here we can see the same situation but without the damage boost by Mercy and as you can see the Reaper doesn’t die. For those of you wondering, adding the flash bang to the mix doesn’t change that.
Here I am Nano Boosted and Mercy boosted and a flash bang -> right click on a Roadhog leaves him with only 25 HP. Here we use both damage boosts, and we apply the combat roll right click combo onto Reinhardts shield, and that leaves him with only 947 shield left.
Next up we have the classic Tracer combo, a head shot after flashbanging her kills her, so you should never use fan-the-hammer because chances are that her hit box is just too small and you won’t connect all shots – and also going for the headshot will improve your aim over time. Another interesting thing to note is that if you are Mercy damage boosted you can actually one-shot Tracer in the head without flashbanging her. Here you can see a chart showcasing the time to kill using only body shots. Here you can see it using only head shots.
The same thing. Would be Mercy boosted. Or a Nano boosted, and having both buffs on you at the same time.
Now I will go over ultimate usage, as you can see his ultimate charges 200 HP per second, for a maximum of 7 seconds. It can charge even when the target is already in kill range. It shoots from right to left, so positioning can be really useful.
Damage boosting McCree during his ultimate does make a difference, on the right you can see a damage boosted McCree ulting and on the left you can see a non-damage boosting McCree ulting. As you can see the damage boosted McCree shoots a lot faster. The characters in both scenes are the same – one important thing to note is that the longer you charge the more damage it will do. So you can actually kill enemies behind a Reinhardt shield as seen here.
Positioning and charge rate actually matters so here you can see we only get two kills. Here we can see the difference between charging the ult for a long time, and charging it for a not so long time. On the right we only did enough damage to get it down to one 1.4k – and on the left enough to bring it down to 491. Now we go with the ultimate flick against Genji’s. Just have a look at the situation. Obviously when we shoot Genji will just deflect it and kill us. Now the better alternative is to make a quick flick so that only your primary target is in your field of vision. However the deflecting Genji is not, you can see it without slow motion. If you manage to perfect this technique it would save you a lot of deaths.
Another very important thing is pre-game warm up. Now if you just casually play the game without warming up or doing practice strokes, then the up time in the game you have caused by deaths and waiting in between rounds is actually pretty high.
Now in order for your aim not to deteriorate inbetween sessions you can do a couple of small drills in the pregame lobby. For instance you can track a point on the wall, or you can practice your micro, medium, and long clicks in the starting hall.
One very misleading statistic in the game is the accuracy percentage that you can see in game and on stat tracking websites. A lot of people ask me what’s a good accuracy on a character X Y or Z. The answer is that especially on McCree accuracy percentage fluctuates way too much from game to game. You could get 60 to 70 percent in a game where the enemies have a Reinhardt and Winston and you get to spam the shields, or you could go as low as 40 to 50 percent in a game without cheats. The real question is do you kill people – if you kill them then your accuracy’s good. If you don’t then you should first check your positioning and then blame your accuracy.
Next up we have positioning, now this heavily builds onto the getting good positioning video. So if you haven’t watched it yet you need to watch it now or else the following stuff may get a little confusing. This section expects you to have knowledge of what makes a good position. Let’s have a look at this picture – Now friendlies are categorized by a green rectangle, and enemies by a red one.
The enemy team has a Reaper, Tracer, Roadhog, and a Soldier. Though I’m not going for a realistic team comp here, this is just for the sake of example. And your team comp is the McCree, You, the Mercy, the Ana, and the Reinhardt. Now what I think that a lot of people do as McCree is go on top of the building right there. However there are quite a lot of mistakes in this situation.
For instance he can get hooked by the Roadhog, and he will lose to a Soldier at that range even though he has high-ground advantage. The Reaper is on his way to take high ground while McCree can properly kill him – but even then, the problem is that the Tracer is flanking to the supports, and he won’t be able to protect them. So if everything goes down it may actually be possible that the supports die. Also the Reinhardt is pretty useless because McCree doesn’t take advantage of the shield.
Let’s have a look at this scenario. Now McCree is on a position called bistro. In this situation the enemy Tracer will probably be caught by McCree, and the enemy Roadhog can’t hook him. However McCree is still very vulnerable to Soldier, because standing on bistro while Reinhardt is in the front actually means that he has higher elevated so Soldier can just shoot past the Reinhardt shield.
Another good thing is that the Reaper can’t really do much with the high-ground he’s taking, except if maybe Soldier follows him. One of the issues is that he is still not protected by the Reinhardt, so he doesn’t really take advantage of the Reinhardt shield. And while he is able to protect the supports he is out of their line of sight. So in this case Mercy would have to fly up to him to heal him. And Ana can’t see him or heal him either. Also the McCree is outside of his effective range. So the damage dropoff would cause him to deal barely any damage.
Now this right here is actually a really good position, as you can see Tracer would still be caught by the McCree and Reaper still can’t do much with the highground.
He can’t get hooked because he’s behind the Reinhardt shield so that means that he is protected by the Rein, and Soldier can’t shoot through the Reinhardt shield as well. Also he is in line of sight of both of the supports, and he is at his effective range so he will be able to do damage. Now this is one of the situations where having high ground is actually not the number one priority, but being in a good position is.
All right let’s have a look at how the situation plays out. Tracer tries to flank from the back, however McCree manages to kill her. Soldier and Reaper are now on the high ground since Soldier decided to follow him, and Roadhog continues to pressure the Reinhardt shield, so you may be asking yourself what should you do now.
You should probably pause the video and try to figure it out yourself before you continue watching.
Now you can see one of the possible solutions. As you can see Ana positions himself behind the Rein, who now lost to shield thanks to the pressure from Roadhog, and McCree goes up to the bistro so that he has high ground and Mercy follows him so that she can heal him. While this positioning is viable, there is actually something different that I would do – if you have watched my game sense video you should be able to tell when you have an advantage, in this case we have a pick advantage. If you remember the Tracer got killed by McCree so now it’s a 4 vs 3.
You should be able to push onto the Roadhog and kill him quickly, which will cause you to have probably two. Now this should be pretty easy because Ana can also healnate him, and incase Reaper drops down he can get stunned. And then chasing down Soldier won’t be that much of an issue.
This way you scored 4-0. Instead of having an optimal position and leaving the rest of the fight down to mechanics. In this case we switched the enemy teamcomp, instead of Tracer flanking and dying we have replaced her with an Ana – so McCree doesn’t have a 4v3 and no pick advantage. In this case standing on the bistro is actually the correct decision because he has a great overview of the map, and he needs to continue fighting a 4v4 and look for openings and positioning mistakes on the enemy team.
Now let’s look at methodology application. You need to apply the positioning rules to your own gameplay. When you do so you need to take into account advantages. For instance high ground pick or ult advantage, we went over that in the gamesense video and in the example just now our position actually changed because of the pick advantage.
You need to consider vision. So who you can see, and who can see you – in this case with the Ana support.
You need to be aware of your cooldowns so that you can go aggressive with your flashbang. However you need to stick defensive without it. You need to take care of reloading. So you shouldn’t push with only two shots left, however this shouldn’t be that big of an issue in Overwatch. And you need to take health packs into consideration since you can take more fights with health packs around you.
When you should pick McCree:
Another question is when you should pick McCree. Now in my opinion he is viable in almost every situation – he synergizes very well with the Reinhardt – so if you have one he’s really good, and Reinhardt is a must pick anyways in the current meta. He completely destroys Tracers and Pharahs, And he does pretty good against other flankers too, and he is super fun to play with a pocket Mercy as we saw earlier with the increased damage. In my opinion he does well in all game modes.
The best way to get better at McCree is not only to play him but also to learn from the best: Artier, Taimou, IDDQD, Surefour, Soon, AKM, Vallutaja are the world’s best McCree players. You need to watch them. You’ll need to learn from them, and you need to play like them. I am really sorry if I missed someone. For instance I could probably add EsKa here or Luna – but isn’t isn’t about finding pro players, I think this list should be good enough.
Now I personally watch IDDQD because his positioning is actually very impressive, and he’s not as aim heavy and as for instance a player like Taimou. So it’s more applicable to my own gameplay and a lot better for improvement.
Now having multiple opinions is always very important. So you shouldn’t just stick to one because even pro players make mistakes. You should always learn from other good McCree players as well. You should read up on the CompetitiveOverwatch subreddit or on the OverwatchUniversity subreddit. There are regularly AMA’s from really good McCree players, even IDDQD once. So you should definitely take advantage of that.
Let’s get to the conclusion. If you want to get good at McCree you need to challenge yourself. Even if you know fan the kill gets you the kill, try to go for the head shot just to practice your aim. Always think about your position. Even if you deem it unnecessary it will become useful one day.
McCree is so incredibly rewarding to play, even when you land headshot after headshot and you will never die any more.
It’s well worth the work.