Overwatch 2 isn’t even out yet and we’re already receiving another new addition to our already expanding arsenal in Junker Queen.
We were first introduced to Junker Queen through the Wastlander cinematic that was released last week. We were provided an insight into what kind of character she is and how she will roughly fit into the lore.
From the cinematic alone, she seems like an easy going person who doesn’t take things to seriously but we couldn’t be more wrong. In stark contrast, we realise that she’s burning with passion to prove herself and to claim the throne of Junkertown.
In-game, she’s classified as a tank, but with her kit and a couple of tweaks here and there, she could be flexed into the DPS role. Junker Queen’s playstyle and kit is very reminiscent of pre-existing Overwatch lore. The devs over at Blizzard wanted to her playstyle and abilities to match her tough and brutal personality that was conveyed in the cinematic.
Adrenaline Rush & Scattergun
Let’s start with her passive ability, Adrenline Rush. This ability heals her from all damage over time dealt by wounds. Many of her abilities apply wounds that cause enemies to slowly drain health. This life-steal passive adds to her survivability and aggression. Pushing the boundaries of brawling, Junker Queen feels more like a berserker tank whose survivability is directly connected to how many enemies she’s wounding.
All of Junker Queen’s abilities encourage her to get up-close and personal with her enemies, so we equipped her with a primary fire that fits her playstyle. Scattergun is a pump-action shotgun with a small spread that makes it extra scary at short range. Adrenaline Rush and Scattergun enable her to play into enemies while giving her the survivability she needs to make space for her team and fulfil her tank role.
With her iconic axe at the centre of Junker Queen’s design process, Carnage consists of a big, sweeping swing that wounds all enemies in front of her, dealing damage to them over time and activating Adrenaline Rush. Junker Queen also refers to her axe as “Carnage”.
The devs initially wanted to make Carnage her primary weapon but historically, making a melee hero in Overwatch has come with its own set of challenges. For example, Genji’s Dragon Blade used to be his primary weapon, but didn’t translate well in-game; in the end, it was transformed into the powerful Ultimate players know today. Hence it just wouldn’t have made sense for the developers to go down that route again.
The original iteration of Carnage let her throw her axe following the initial swing before recalling it back to herself with her magnetic gauntlet; however, when implemented, the practice of throwing her axe felt wrong. It led to a rigid playstyle that didn’t allow for the use of other axe-based abilities while her weapon was out-of-hand, so the throw was swapped to a slash with a wound effect. The concept of throwing and recalling her weapon eventually led to her next ability: Jagged Blade.
Jagged Blade is Junker Queen’s secondary fire and comes with both active and passive abilities. The active ability triggers when you press secondary fire, causing her to throw the knife in her off-hand. Her knife, which the Queen calls “Gracie,” applies a wound that causes damage over time if she lands a direct hit on an enemy. Her magnetic gauntlet can recall the knife by re-activating secondary fire. Recalling Gracie will pull any enemy that’s been directly hit, so be wary of your surroundings—if you’re struck by Gracie, you’re heading straight for the Queen.
This is extremely reminiscent of Roadhog’s hook, and in the gameplay trailer below, you can see it being used on Illios – very well I might add.
What makes her even more intimidating up close is that Jagged Blade’s passive ability wounds enemies when using Quick Melee when the knife is in her hands. These abilities that apply wounds all serve her life-leech passive, Adrenaline Rush.
Commanding Shout heightens the Queen’s own survivability along with buffing her teammates as it increasing the health and movement speed of both herself and any nearby allies.
As the first team movement speed buff since Lúcio, Commanding Shout helps Junker Queen close the gap between her and the enemy team. Her ability to close distance was intentionally designed as a movement speed buff, rather than something sneaky like a short dash or teleport, because this helps reinforce her nature as someone who sprints head first into battle. She brute forces her way through her opposition with a relentless aggression that demands space. It furthers her effectiveness to take charge and lead her team into battle through tight choke points or to cut off flanking enemies.
Like Commanding Shout, Junker Queen’s ultimate ability charges her into the fray.
Rampage is Junker Queen’s Ultimate. It charges her forward, grievously wounds enemies, and prevents them from healing. It’s the first ability since Ana’s Biotic Grenade to apply an anti-heal. Paired with Adrenaline Rush, Rampage is one of Junker Queen’s strongest survivability assets; it applies a deadly wound to anyone in its path, giving her the potential to restore a significant amount of health with Adrenaline Rush depending on the number of wounds she manages to apply.
Initially, her Ultimate was a spinning whirlwind-type ability, but we wanted to incorporate her magnetic gauntlet into her Ultimate ability. We didn’t want it to feel elegant or magic-influenced, either, because it didn’t align well conceptually with character, so we tried to push her magnetic gauntlet to its limits. Rampage charges her gauntlet and creates a cloud with her knife and axe around her while she charges into the enemy team—it’s a display of the raw, visceral power she possesses as Queen.
A new Queen, born to rule
Junker Queen was built for Overwatch 2’s 5v5 playing field. She has an unparalleled ability to claim space, and she is terrifying to deal with up close. She’s brawly, toeing the line of a berserker tank, and we were cognizant of that in this new tank paradigm. Tanks play more aggressively in Overwatch 2, and Junker Queen is certainly no exception—in fact, she’d consider herself the rule.
Honestly, Junker Queen’s kit looks incredibly fun to play but I can imagine that there will be a lot to take away in terms of balancing her kit during the second beta. Taking into consideration the drastic importance of having a shield tank in 5v5, I can only see the Queen being used on a team with extremely good healing. As there won’t be a shield, I just cannot see her being in any defensive compositions especially at the competitive level.
We already know there’s people out there who will want to be Junker Queen one-trick ponies but the highlight clips that can come from them will be phenomenal. But like any character, when an extremely mechanically gifted player gets their hands on her, I know for a fact I do not want to be in that lobby.
And if you’re one of the aforementioned one-trick pony wannabes then you’ll be able to play her in the second Overwatch 2 beta that’s coming up really soon, so look forward to then.