In a game like Overwatch, everyone on the team has a role to fulfill. Whether it’s offense, defense, tank, or support, the moment you lock in a hero, you’re already bound to a list of responsibilities. While this is a known fact in higher level competitive matches, however, it often goes missed in lower ranks and non-competitive modes, leading to frustrating gameplay experiences and oftentimes misplaced rage.
In reality, each hero in Overwatch has a unique design that gives them a distinctive play style; one that is not necessarily linked to their status as a “Support” or “Offense” hero. As a beginner player, these facts may go over your head, which is why we’ve decided to round up The Magic Rain’s own Overwatch team to lend a helping hand.
Through this mini series, we’ll be contributing our biggest lessons to playing each hero effectively, beginning with the Support class.
As a Support main myself, I have to say there is something incredibly satisfying about the art of healing. Especially in lower ranks, a single healer can easily make or break a game, and believe me, there is nothing more ego boosting than knowing your team wouldn’t have performed half as well if not for the fact that you kept them alive. But in order to experience that feeling for yourself, here are some ground rules:
- Staying alive is your number #1 priority. A dead healer is a useless healer. You should be the dying the least compared to the rest of your team.
- Don’t leave your teammates alone. In any given scenario, the side with a healer attached to them will more often than not emerge victorious.
- Don’t head into a fight alone. You may be able to self-heal, but you will face a disadvantage against the opponent’s sheer offensive ability. Pick your battles wisely.
- Get accustomed to the speed of your self-healing. Once you do, you’ll be able to figure out how much damage (and subsequently, risk) you can take.
Mercy is one of the easiest heroes to master, and has also consistently been one of the most powerful healers in the game. However, her own health pool is low and she can be rendered useless if you allow yourself to be killed too often.
- Stay out of sight, but not out of mind. Playing Mercy is a hiding game. You want to stay out of your opponent’s direct line of sight, but you still want to be within range to heal your teammates. This requires some map knowledge, but eventually this ability to hide in plain sight will become a great asset.
- (Ab)use Guardian Angel, but also know when to stop. Guardian Angel is Mercy’s greatest movement ability and it can easily get you out of a ton of sticky situations. However, if you are GA-ing to certain death, then make sure you press the ability key again (the default is binded to Left Shift) to stop yourself mid-flight.
- Play more cautiously when you have your ultimate. Again, Mercy has a low health pool and you don’t want to be dying alongside your team when you could be resurrecting everyone instead. Get into the habit of running away the moment you hear those tasty ult voice lines.
- Resurrecting only one or two teammates is not always a bad idea. Playing for a “big rez” can be satisfying, but it is not always the best decision. Instead, open yourself to the idea of resurrecting a teammate when you know they have their ult, or resurrecting your team’s main tank to sustain longer on the point.
Lucio is another great beginner hero and possibly one of the most fun heroes to play in the entire game thanks to his wall-riding ability. Besides that, he’s an effortless healer to play, only needing to stay within range for your team to receive the benefits of his healing tunes.
- Stick with your team! Unlike Mercy, Lucio is a hero that should be getting into the thick of the fight. Not just because his healing/speed boost range is smaller, but also because he is more mobile and able to dip in and out of fights with ease.
- Boop opponents away with your Secondary Fire. Lucio’s Secondary Fire is one of my favourite parts of his kit, second only to wall riding. If played well, you can save teammates from near death by knocking opponents out of position, or directly knock opponents off the map and get some sweet environmental kills.
- When none of your teammates need healing, switch your mode to speed. At a beginner’s level, this is a good principle to keep. Especially when your team is trying to move together quickly, speed boost can make a world of a difference to the larger and heavier heroes on your team.
- Use Amp It Up sparingly. If there is no immediate need for healing, leave the healing to your passive mode or the other healers on your team. Trust me, you’ll be thanking the stars when you have your Amp It Up ready in a moment of desperation.
Ana is probably the Support hero with the highest skill requirement. Not only does she require a certain level of aim, she is also the only Support hero that cannot self-heal. If you put in the effort to get used to her abilities, however, she can become a powerful asset to your team.
- Negative healing is your best friend. The most overpowered component of Ana’s kit is her Biotic Grenade. Not only does it allow you to heal multiple teammates at once, it also prevents your opponents from being healed for a short period of time. Abuse this as much as possible.
- Try not to waste Biotic Grenades on yourself. Since Ana cannot self-heal, this seems like the second best option. In actuality, you should never waste your Biotic Grenade on a single target. If you want to heal yourself, crack one at your feet with other teammates beside you so you can maximise its usefulness.
- Save your sleep darts. Sleep darts are the hardest to hit but the most useful in a pinch. This one is worth holding off from using if it means you manage to hit an ult-ing opponent or save yours or your teammates’ lives.
- Coordinate your ultimate with your team. Generally, Ana’s ultimate sees the most benefit when paired with another teammates’ offensive ultimate, e.g. Genji, Soldier: 76, Roadhog, Reinhardt, etc. But if no chance presents itself, laying it on any reliable damage hero on your team should also do the trick.
Beyond the endless stream of ball jokes (for *cough* obvious reasons), Zenyatta is one of the most unique heroes in Overwatch with a kit that has proven to last the test of time. With a well-coordinated team, there is nothing more annoying than being singled down by a discord orb, and nothing more comforting than having a harmony orb to watch your back.
- Distribute your orbs wisely. You should always have an orb on somebody, but it also matters who you give it to. For the harmony orb, either give it to someone who will be away from the rest of the team (e.g. a flanker like Tracer or Genji) or someone who needs the most healing (e.g. a heavyweight tank like Reinhardt). For the discord orb, it’s always good to target healers first, then follow up in order of ascending health pool (i.e. “squishies” first, tanks last).
- Don’t change your orb targets too often. Discord orb only sees proper usefulness when it stays on an opponent throughout their life. This makes them easier to kill, and hence, will likely cause them to play a little more safely. Use this to psyche the opponents who are giving your team the most trouble.
- Don’t be afraid to use your ult. Unless you are saving it to counter a specific ult from your opponents, there’s pretty much no harm in using it whenever. Two triggers you can look out for are – when most or all your teammates are at low health, or when a teammate is ulting in a vulnerable position.
As the only non-healer in the Support class, there is a lot of controversy surrounding her presence there in the first place. Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that she can be an absolute demon with her self-healing abilities, no aim required, and game changing ultimate. If played well, of course.
- Hide your turrets well. Symmetra’s turrets can be a pain in the ass to deal with, but also easy to shoot down if the placement is obvious enough. By placing your turrets behind line of sight in quirky positions (e.g. high placements, on the underside of objects), you could be buying a bit more time for your team.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. As tempting as it may be to set up a car wash (i.e. putting all six turrets in one location), you also run the risk of losing it all in one fell swoop. Instead, loose clusters of turrets is the best approach so you can cover more angles. By doing this, your turrets also act as “alarms”, alerting you when they are destroyed by an opponent coming from a specific direction.
- Know where to place your ultimates. For the Shield Generator, it’s generally better to keep it hidden but close to the spawn point. As for the Teleporter, depending on personal preference, some like placing it at the last moment, while others place it the moment it is fully charged. Either way, keep it close to the point and someplace you can easily keep an eye on. Hot tip? If you’re playing on attack, you can even set up a teleporter behind the enemy front lines, just to be extra sneaky.
Well, there you have it – Overwatch’s Support class! Remember: it’s one thing to play the heroes, it’s another thing to bring out their full potential, and the latter can only be done with practice. Which class would you like to see us cover next?