Can’t Stop The Healing – A Quick Guide To Picking A Healer In Overwatch
With the addition of Moira to the Overwatch line up the total amount of healers in this game is now up to five. Still less than any other role has but it is enough to confuse people it seems. So here is a little rundown because those 5 have specific strengths and weaknesses and are not mutually interchangeable. And this is all assuming you want to go for a decent team comp and have teammates who want the same. If you are in quickplay or in a comp match where no one seems to give a shit: do whatever you want and whatever works for you personally and ignore those idiots!
Mercy has a high single target healing output and high mobility – that is entirely team dependant though. Have a good team? Bounce between them like an overactive pinball machine. Have a scattered team? Good luck & have fun playing ‘running back from spawn’ simulator. Her ult is one of the most powerful things in the game right now and does group healing and group dmg boost + you can finally fly on your own. Mercy has trouble healing Flankers due to the significant danger she gets herself into when she tries. If someone steps out of reach and her she has no one to guardian angel to for a moment it can be a death sentence since she has no other defensive cooldowns.
When to pick: Almost everywhere, especially when you have a Pharah on your team. And even better if there are next to no heroes with self heals around. (Roadhog, Soldier, Mei) Their abilities can actively loose you ult charge.
Don’t: It’s tempting to keep your whole team alive but: a dead Mercy heals no one so cut your losses & don’t fly after the Genji.
Pairs well with: Any other healer really. Large tanks to hide behind, characters with high vertical mobility to get to places. (Pharah, Junkrat, D.Va, Widow)
Ana’s healing is much more aim dependant than Mercy, Lucio or Moira. But it comes with an advantage: the scope and the long reach. Ana can easily heal Genji & Tracer if they are far out of reach from the other healers – provided she has line of sight. Heal healing has a very large hitbox, much larger than her damage. She has great utility with her sleep dart that interrupts a lot of important ults and permanently shuts them down. Additionally her biotic grenade can turn fights around on it’s own. A well timed grenade into a graviton surge can make your own team survive or completely decimate the enemy team. It’s also the easiest way to completely shut down Roadhog’s and Soldier’s self heal, shut down a good part of Mercy’s ult or negate Zenyatta’s transcendence.
When to pick: On maps with lots of open space. Line of sight is crucial. With Death Ball/Triple Tank combos. Her ult combos really well with Soldier, Winston, Reaper, Genji.
Don’t: Don’t pick when up against several shields. A Winston bubble can effectively totally shut down an Ana since she can’t heal through it. Don’t get tunnel vision by standing around and scoping constantly. Learn to do most of your healing unscoped if you want to live. Avoid nano bosting Lucio… 😉
Pairs well with: Lucio & his speed for extra mobility. But in general she goes well with every other healer.
Lucio heals his entire group, but less and slower than Mercy does. He is more of an off-healer but still, a good Lucio knows how to optimise his healing output and usually has no trouble keeping his team up – if they stay together. Ideal for Death Ball comps. People in lower ranks under-utilise his speed boost. A must have for Dive comps and a tool to keep himself alive. Wall riding give you an extra speed buff. Can not really heal flankers well, can’t heal Pharah at all without her landing. Is very good at speeding the slower characters to a certain point. His health regen is good, combined with his boop and speed he can usually stay alive quite a bit. Due to recent changes his ult is sometimes hard to pull off at the moment though. If done & timed right it’s a great way of preventing a team wipe.
When to pick: If you run Death Ball or Dive and on maps where you can easily get environmental kills. (Ilios Lighthouse & Well, beginning of Gibraltar etc)
Don’t: avoid running after a single player. Lucio is most optimised by being around many of his teammates.
Pairs well with: Any main healer like Ana, Mercy or Moira.
Moira is the newest addition. She has a very high healing output that can hit several targets in a cone in front of her. Lack of visual feedback on who is being healed makes estimating some things quite hard at the moment. Her healing is resource based – so she has to get semi close to deal some damage almost all the time to keep her resources up. Has good defence with her fade ability and the health leech. Probably the hardest to kill healer with Mercy if played smart. People overestimate the damage her ult does. It goes through shields and is good for scaring people but should mainly be used for healing to get the most value out of it. She can send a healing orb in the general direction of her flankers but can’t reliably heal them. Can’t reach a Pharah either in most regular gameplay.
When to pick: Good against Death Ball/Triple Tank. Her orbs go through shields. Has a much easier time with a Rein on her own team. Works well on maps with lots of corridors or side rooms.
Don’t: Seriously, don’t forget to heal. Moira does good damage, but it is nowhere near the damage of a real dps and should never be prioritised above healing. Also don’t use your fade ability to engage in a fight. Always have it available to save yourself. Don’t pair her with Lucio or Flankers + Pharah will probably die.
Pairs well with: Any healer that has more range than her.
Zen, much like Lucio, is more of an off-healer. But as with Ana it’s his utility that makes him so useful. His orb can only heal one person at a time but it stays on the target until they break line of sight for more than a few seconds. A harmony orb on a Flanker does wonders and has helped many a Genji or Reaper to survive their ult. Additionally his discord orb makes his target take quite a bit more damage from all attacks, especially from his own. Zenyatta makes focusing down large or hard to kill enemies much easier. Additionally his damage has no drop off at long distance. If you hit his right klick charged ability he can one-shot almost everyone in game. He is the slowest character in game, but on the plus side: he is also the most quiet. Since he doesn’t technically walk there are no footsteps to hear. His ult does an insane amount of burst heal and can counter almost every other ult.
When to pick: At the current meta: basically all the time. As long as you have another main healer on your team.
Don’t: Don’t ever run ahead. Zen is basically made of glass.
Pairs well with: Any main healer. Good for keeping flankers up.
But which one to learn?
If we are being honest here: Mercy is incredibly strong at the moment (but it will most likely not last) – so she is at the moment always almost a must pick. But my advice would be not to focus on her exclusively. Mercy mains are a dime a dozen in competitive and at some point you will run into groups with several on one team. And it will suck if you don’t have a good alternative choice then. She is easy to pick up and get value out of, just as Moira is though. For Moira it’s too early to say something about higher levels and comp for me at the moment but I’ve heard good things – though she is obviously a very map dependant hero. She is great at lower levels, I’d say exceptional even since lack of mechanical skills all around make it hard of the enemy team to decently counter her. Lucio is also easy to pick up but gets kind of hard to master if you don’t like playing at high speed. To get the maximum out of Lucio you need to be fast, understand the mechanics of wall riding and how to utilise his speed boost to get to places you usually can’t.
If you are just starting out any of them should help you make an impact quite quickly.
If I’d have to recommend someone for long term though I’d say learn Ana or Zenyatta. They are both a bit harder to play, but you will automatically develop a skill set that you can transfer to some dps heroes to a certain degree if you have to. With both of them (Zen even more) you are forced to learn one of the most important things in the game: positioning. Together with a general game sense that is a bit easier to develop in my opinion if you spend some time at the back line and have a better overview of what is happening. Plus both are seeing an increasing pick rate the higher you go in ranks.
Any last advice?
Learn to prioritise. The first person a support should keep up is the other support. A good support duo is almost unbeatable. Keep each other alive at all costs. Then tanks & dps.
Don’t res immediately when someone falls. Standing in front of your own spawn it’s not worth wasting res. Have to decide whom to res? Res the ones that can stall or that have ult. Learn to quickly asses who is most important in that particular fight & situation.
She has a low pick rate but if she is on the enemy team: be aware of Sombra at all times! She counters every single support and can efficiently wipe your team if she gets a hack or an emp off to prevent a Valkyrie/Res, Transcendence etc… Especially as Lucio you always wanna ult AFTER the EMP. (As it immediately removes all the shields Lucio’s ult builds.) Damage interrupts her hack, the only way to stop her from hacking you is shooting at her.