Unveiled through a new animated short known as ‘Reunion,’ Elizabeth Caledonia “Calamity” Ashe is a member of the Deadlock Gang and appears to have some history with McCree, as depicted in the short8217;s fearsome encounter.
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After a few matches with Ashe, I’m already sold. She’s fast, responsive and incredibly malleable in the situations you can thrust her into and emerge victorious. She feels like an unusual mixture of McCree and Widowmaker, wielding the latter’s talent for long-ranged combat while adopting Soldier’s willingness to get up close and cause some trouble.
Wielding a rifle known as The Viper, Ashe’s primary form of attack is a powerhouse, and perhaps too powerful in the right hands. Being able to aim down sights with the press of a button allows you to target enemies from a distance, lining up headshots with little to no difficulty. She can also unload in close quarters due to how quickly a magazine can be spent.
The balance is incredibly satisfying. I found myself picking off Widowmaker from a distance before diving onto the point and going toe-to-toe with D.Va, tearing away her mech with a few rapid, well-timed shots. With a relatively small health limit, Ashe is still squishy and will die quickly if you’re careless. So, it’s often wise to play from a distance and pick your moments to dive in.
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When things do get hairy, I found Ashe’s Coach Gun ability to be the perfect avenue of escape. Not only does it hurl a bundle of lead towards enemies and deal damage, but it also pushes Ashe back in the process for a boost of extra mobility. Even if you’re alone, it’s still a convenient mode of fluently moving across the map.
Dynamite is another devastating tool, acting as a grenade that is ideal for clearing characters from a point or payload. It detonates after a brief duration, damaging those nearby and setting those in direct line of fire alight. It’s easy to hurl and can go quite a distance if you aim it right. But once again, it can feel a bit too effective at times.
Finally, you have her ultimate ability 8211; B.O.B. Essentially a robotic butler who grew up with and cared for Ashe, he’s now a force to be reckoned with on the field of battle. The Omnic sidekick will spawn into battle upon activation and will knock foes into the air before unloading on them with his arm cannons.
After enemies are airborne they’re in a perfect position for a shot of your rifle, and they’re entirely powerless to stop any attacks that happen to connect. It’s a really neat finishing move, although can take a while to charge, especially for an offensive character encouraged to get into the thick of things.
As with all the heroes, there’s still some tuning to be done regarding the power of certain abilities and her viability once thrust into public play. That aside, Ashe is yet another excellent addition to Blizzard’s hero shooter.
Available to play at BlizzCon 2018, we expect Ashe to be playable on the PC public test realm servers in the near future, although Blizzard is yet to confirm an official release date.
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- B.O.B. 8211; Ashe summons her trusted omnic sidekick, B.O.B., who charges forward and knocks enemies into the air, then lays down suppressing fire with his arm cannons.
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