Day 159: Overwatch Hero Breakdown – Support

As we continue OVERWEEK™, I’m going to take a break from more video stuff to get a little more in-depth with the various characters (Heros) in the game. Now that I’ve had a significant amount of time with the game, I like to think I’ve gotten a pretty good sense of everyone’s effectiveness and application in matches. I’m going to tackle one category every day until we’ve covered everyone, starting with Support.

Three things to keep in mind before we continue.

1) I’m going to list the Heroes in order of who I feel is the most to least useful.

2) Everyone in the game is viable. “Least” is subjective.  This isn’t a tier list and putting someone at the bottom doesn’t mean that Hero’s useless. I’m just one dude and this is my opinion.

3) Seriously. Not a tier list.  You in the back, put that torch down.

lucio

LUCIO

Breakdown: Ha… you see it’s funny because he says… ahem. Sorry.

Lucio is my boy. I’d go as far to say he’s the most useful Hero in the game. If you’re on Attack, there’s little reason not to have one. If no one else wants to play Support (like most of the Quick Matches I get dropped in), pick Lucio. You’ll serve as the backbone of the team and be able to make up for poor coordination.

While his regular fire is nothing special, his alt-fire (Soundwave) is useful for its pushback, either to get you out of a bad situation or to push a target off of the map. Obviously, his main purpose is to buff the team, and speed boost will get them to the objective quickly. Your first instinct will be to switch to healing as soon as a fight starts, but a fast team is harder to hit, so knowing when to Crossfade back and forth is key to using him.

The heal on its own is underwhelming, but becomes invaluable with Amp It Up, which should always been active whenever you have it available. His Ultimate, Sound Barrier, is almost too good; adding 500 HP of shields, your team will be downright unstoppable for a few seconds. If you have an Amped Up heal going at the same time, that capture point is yours.

Wallride is fun but mostly useless outside of a few escape situations. If you’re up on a wall, you could probably be closer to your team. You can definitely assist with damage, but that’s not your primary function.

The only downside to playing Lucio is that you are a constant target. You have to be in the middle of your team to be the most effective, so if you don’t have anyone protecting you, running away is your only option, which is exactly what the other team wants. Never be alone. You can’t fight anyone by yourself and the team doesn’t benefit. If you do end up dying, it may be smart to stick around at the spawn for a moment until someone else spawns with you, using your speed boost to get both of you back to the action faster.

Heroes to Target: Anyone standing near a ledge. A lot of people seem to forget about Soundwave, so it’s even more satisfying when a dominating Reaper gets killed by Jet Set Radio. Tanks in particular are nice big targets that can’t really do much to you, Winston especially.

Heroes to Avoid: Anyone with range; Widowmaker, Pharrah, Hanzo. You will be the main target for a lot of defensive teams and there’s very little you can do to any of them. McCree and Mei can also stun you. Once that happens, you’re a guaranteed kill.

mercy

MERCY

Breakdown: If Lucio is a must have for an Attack team, Mercy is the same for anyone on Defense. She’s also the one Support character that mixes the best with others, if you’re thinking of adding a Zenyatta on the team for more for debuffs and offense or want to double down on safety with a Symmetra. She should be every newcomer’s first pick, as she’s easy to use and helps you get a feel for the flow of a match.

Obviously she’ll spend a lot of her time healing single targets, but her damage boost is significant, perfect for teaming with a stationary Bastion or Sniper. Like with Lucio, knowing when to switch between the two modes is important. Too often, new Mercy players will forget about the damage boost entirely, wasting the beam on teammates that already have full health.

She can switch to a pistol for some self-defense, but if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use it, you’re probably already dead. Some players like to show off while getting kills with her. Those players are also probably letting their team die. Don’t be that guy.

Guardian Angel is a must for getting around quickly, especially if you have a team that spreads itself thin. Your primary concern should be with your defenders and tanks. Offensive Heroes are going to run ahead. They’re typically flanking and don’t need the damage buff. If you see one at critical from far away, don’t pursue unless you have a clear shot. The only exception would be Pharrah. If you can keep up, it’s a lot of fun to pair up with one, though don’t neglect the rest of the team when you do.

Her Resurrect Ultimate is a game changer, though a common mistake people will make is waiting for a huge group of dead allies before doing it. Resurrecting one valuable Defender at the right time isn’t going to win you Play of the Game, but will likely be way more useful at helping you win the objective.

Once again, you are going to be a target and can’t do much alone. She’s also not the most exciting Hero to play, pretty much just helping others get the glory. As a rule, if I see a Mercy in the post-match vote, I always go for her, since she’s often the unsung hero of the team, even though they would have been much much worse without her contributions.

Heroes to Target: No one, unless there is a very low health enemy nearby. Again, if you’re looking to do damage with Mercy, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Heroes to Avoid: Snipers, again. Widowmakers LOVE to see Mercys in their sights (I say this as a Widowmaker player). Flankers like Tracer and Genji can also be hard to shake off. Guardian Angel away if you can.

Symmetra

SYMMETRA

Breakdown: Depending on who you ask, Symmetra is either one of the most underrated Heroes in the game or someone that’s only good for a teleporter. You don’t see a lot of Symmetras, mostly because of how passive her playstyle is, making her one of the least desired picks. That said, if you know the map, she can be very very annoying to the other team, making it lots of fun for you. That’s the primary word to keep in mind when using her – annoying. You won’t be a great damage dealer, but you will be a great frustration dealer.

Her beam does surprisingly high damage, increasing over time, but the range is pitiful. It’s good to stack with a target that’s already taking damage from your sentries or from another Hero. The alt-fire orb is useful for pestering from a distance and both modes can go through shields.

As soon as the match starts, you’ll want to throw a Photon Shield on everyone. They only offer a small bit of protection, but they recharge and are permanent until the teammate dies. As long as you’re not putting yourself in danger to do so, make it a priority to throw a shield back on to everyone after respawn.

The Sentry Turrets are going to be your primary damage output and all six of them firing at once will kill anyone in the game within seconds. The tricky part is when it comes to placement. Your first instinct is to put a cluster of them close together, but they can be destroyed quickly. The key is to put them in areas they won’t be immediately noticed, around corners or above doorways. It’s incredibly satisfying to have an attacker chase you through a hall and immediately fall into your trap because they weren’t paying attention.

Her teleporter is arguably her entire reason for existing and can swing the momentum of a match by eliminating the respawn travel time. Put it near the objective, but slightly out of the way so the enemy can’t immediately find it. You get six uses, which is often more than enough to gain an advantage for your team. It can also be helpful to place turrets near the teleporter for protection. Even if they get destroyed, you’ll be notified that something’s up and can plan accordingly.

You have to be clever with Symmetra since the opposing team will immediately start looking for turrets and a teleporter once they realize you exist. Without turrets, she won’t be able to defend herself for long. She also has no healing ability, so playing her as the solo Support can be a struggle with a risky team. This is why she’s essentially useless on an Attack squad.

Even more so than with Mercy, if you ever see a Symmetra in the voting, give her props. It’s incredibly hard to put out numbers with the kinds of things she’s designed to do.

Heroes to Target: Reinhardt will absolutely hate you. Your primary beam is one of the only things that can go through his barrier and there’s not a lot he can do about it, since you’re still faster. Genjis also can’t deflect, and make good targets for traps in hallways.

Heroes to Avoid: Have I mentioned Snipers? Junkrat is also the best Hero for blowing up your precious turrets in one burst. There’s just about nothing you can do to a Zarya. Tracer is too fast. Look, avoid pretty much everyone. Again, make yourself invisible for as long as possible.

Zenyatta_

ZENYATTA

Breakdown: Zenyatta is the Dhalsim of Overwatch, not just for his design, but for his place as a very niche support choice. He’s easily the hardest of the four to use effectively, but also has a high skill ceiling, making him very dangerous in the right hands. He’s best used in an Attack team, having lots of big spongy targets to pester as everyone moves forward. Another Support is also ideal, like a Lucio or a Mercy, so some of the pressure to heal is taken off and you can focus on damage. He doesn’t play as well with a Symmetra, though I’m sure there’s a gimmick team composition out there that can do fun stuff.

His main attack is a very precise rapid fire that’s perfect for headshots. The five-charge burst is highly damaging, but very hard to get an open shot with. This is why it’s best to partner him up with someone else, like a Tank, so he has something to hide behind while he’s throwing orbs out.

The gameplan with Zenyatta pretty much centers entirely around his Orb of Discord. The Orb of Harmony is good for a quick heal but loses its effect after the teammate leaves your line of sight. The Discord Orb has the same property, but the goal is to take out the target before that happens. As it greatly increases the damage an enemy takes, you can drop most Heroes quickly with just a few shots after the fact.

His Ultimate will heal anyone in an AOE and should be saved for when you’re in the center of a group. When playing as him, the center and rear should be where you spend most of your time anyway. It’s also important to note that most of Zenyatta’s health is shields, so it will regenerate over time. Since there isn’t a lot of it, this is the key to him having any survivability.

Okay, real talk – I like Zenyatta a lot, but he struggles. There’s very little he does that another Support can’t do better, outside of damage output. Lucio’s Amped Up heal is just as good as his Ultimate and he himself can be hard to keep alive, having very little health and mobility. If you get caught alone, all of the Discord Orbs in the world won’t help you. Good Zenyatta players can be downright savage, but more than perhaps any other Hero in the game, he will suffer the most from Quick Play matchups with random teams. Without some level of coordination, you’re going to have a rough time, and if he dies, it’s often a long, slow travel back to the objective.

Heroes to Target: Big slow Tanks that need to be Discorded. They should always been your primary targets and their big faces are the easiest to headshot from a distance.

Heroes to Avoid: Seriously. Snipers. They’ll ruin your day. It’s just how the rock-paper-scissors breaks out. One bodyshot from a Widowmaker and you’re done.

Hope that was informational. Tomorrow, I’ll cover Tanks.

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