This is meant to be a beginner / intermediate guide, no advanced stuff here, but I just wanted to get some basic tactics out there for both sides (healers and healees) to have a better experience with the game.
I see a lot of salty healers and healees here, and really in Overwatch in general. Let’s discuss how we have to work together to “get dem healz”. I’ve gathered some of my thoughts on the struggle and wanted to share to get a conversation going. I don’t consider myself a main anything; I like to switch it up for whatever the circumstance calls for. Or whatever I feel as though will be fun for the day.
Protect your healers. They need your protection as much as (or maybe even more than) you need their healing. They’re not only squishy as hell, but an extremely high value target and are usually the first to be targeted in a heated battle. Treat them as a high value asset that you need to protect. This goes especially for tanks. Reins — healers hide behind your shield. When you charge into the fray you can kill your whole team. Most healers can’t heal themselves. Some have a regen but it’s not on par with being healed by a healer. Every healer needs to be part of a group and does not operate well on its own.
If you want healing go to your healer. You are not the only player on the team. You can usually find the healers on the payload, attack target, or on the main push to it. If you’re a flanking hero, don’t think you can rely on a healer for all your heals. Healers will try their best to get to you, but the payload and main push are higher priority than Leeroy Jenkins. Play a few games on custom and explore the map so you know where the health packs are.
Use health packs. A healer will not be able to heal everyone all the time. Augment your healer with health packs.
Use cover. Having a healer means you’ll get heals. It doesn’t mean you’re immortal. Yes, even tanks.
Augment your healer with your own healing abilities. Soldier, place your healing beacon behind cover where the whole team can use it. Sombra, hack those health packs. Roadhog, use that healing potion. Mei, use your popsicle.
Understand how your healer heals. We’ll go into more detail about this in the following section. I strongly recommend sucking it up and playing a few games as each healer. Not only will you find it more challenging than you think, you’ll better understand how to work with each one of them, and why you might not have gotten healed.
Communicate. This is just good practice for all of the game. A team that doesn’t communicate is a losing team.
Stay as a loose group. I don’t mean stand on top of each other, have some distance between you, but in general if you want heals, you should be in a group. More on this in the next section.
The healers and their healing styles
An active targeted healer. She heals for massive amounts but only on one target. Her alt is a damage boost, and a sidearm that does a surprising amount of damage. She needs to constantly fly and target her teammates to heal; she’s very much an active healer and needs to strike a balance of ensuring tanks and DPS stay alive.
Staying as a loose group is very important for Mercy. Stay in line of sight. This enables her to fly among targets to avoid damage and get to everyone to heal efficiently. If you run off, she’s not going to follow you, because she’s super squishy and moves extremely slow if she’s not flying to an ally.
Staying somewhere near where she has cover is also extremely important. She has very little health and will get taken out very quickly. Her healing beam is a dead giveaway to where she is and makes her even more of a target. If she can heal you from behind a wall, it’s usually better, if possible. Be aware of area denial heros like Junkrat and Pharah, as they can attack a hiding Mercy.
If you have an ultimate that you want to use call it out! She will damage boost you and you’ll take out way more folks. Especially Soldiers and Reins. She can heal McCree while he’s nooning so he has more time to get more enemies in focus.
Why didn’t she rez me? The rez is a powerful ultimate and it’s usually saved for really sticky situations. It can turn the tide of the entire match. It’s usually reserved for 2+ teammates down, unless it’s a tank and there’s no one else there to cover til the tank gets back. It’s a strategic move to pop this one. It’s usually not because she is waiting to get POTG, its because she’s waiting to pop at the right time and not waste it.
A passive trickle AOE healer, who can also take out enemies while he’s healing. He will alternate between speedboost and healing, and will use his “amp it up” ability which increases the effectiveness of these. Amp it up should almost always be on (The cooldown is pretty short). He can boop enemies away, or redirect them off an edge, or push them back from a chokepoint with his sonic gun. His sonic gun is also pretty potent with stationary targets or groups of enemies. It travels slowly and has a slight delay, so it’s not very good for 1-1 fights. He can wallride to make him extremely difficult to hit because of the erraticity of movement this allows. This also allows him to get to weird spots on the map. His ultimate is a shield boost which can really help in clutch situations or when an enemy ultimate is around.
Stay near your Lucio to get healing, it’s AOE and he’s going to stay on the main push, with the tank, or the payload. Use cover with Lucio, take breathers when you need to. You’re not going to get the level of healing with Lucio that you do with Mercy, so you need to use his healing differently. Use tactical retreats to stay alive, heal up, and jump back into the fight in a couple seconds. He’s not going to be able to bail you out in really sticky situations, so you need to fight more tactically with him as your healer.
A Lucio will typically heal up until everyone is at full health and then switch to speed boost for a movement bonus. He’ll also switch to this when an enemy ultimate is in the area so the team can escape. Try to escape with him so his speed boost helps you get away. He should also be acting as an escort if a bunch of the team dies to get back to the point with the speed boost.
An active, targeted, long distance, line of sight healer. Her heals are somewhat erratic though they heal a fair amount at a time. She won’t keep you alive as much as a Mercy but her targeted heals will do more than Lucio. She’s heavily dependant on the player’s aim. She has a grenade that will heal, increase healing of allies and damage and disable healing of enemies. While she’s a sniper, she can’t get headshots. She has a sleep dart that’s extremely useful for escaping 1-1s, high dps, tanks, or shutting down ultimates. You can usually find her on your side, either up high or hanging back from the team. You usually won’t find her in enemy territory. Her ultimate nanoboost amps you up to do more damage and take less.
Staying as a loose group within grenade distance is very beneficial with an Ana, especially proximity heros like Reins, Reapers, Winstons, Meis, etc. This allows her to use her grenade and affect both the enemies and her allies as well as have a very short aim distance go to between healing and damaging. Ana favors aggressive players.
Staying within Line of Sight with Ana is extremely important. She is the longest distance healer, so she has the potential to heal flankers if she sees them, though most of her time is going to be focused on the fray.
An Ana will split time between healing her allies and damaging enemies. She adds support damage but usually will not focus fire on one enemy long enough to take them out, as she needs to spread her time healing and damaging.
Call your ultimate! Ana’s Nanoboost will amp you up and allow you to do even more damage while taking less. Plan it out with her so you can hit your ultimate and she can boost you up. It works especially well with Soldier, Pharah, Bastion, and Winston.
A passive, targeted, line of sight, trickle healer. Zen can do tons of damage and help the team do tons of damage while passively healing a teammate in need. He’s an extremely active character and takes a ton of focus and battle awareness to use effectively. His main attack is extremely directed, has little margin for error but does a good amount of damage, especially with headshots. When discorded he can take squishies down in two shots. He can absolutely melt tanks. He will be constantly juggling discord and harmony orbs. He truly is a Yin-Yang, and must balance his abilities of healing and damage as such to be effective.
Don’t expect a ton of healing from a Zen. Healing is a priority, but it’s not always the top one. In most games if I’m playing a DPS or tank, I wouldn’t even consider a Zen a healer. He will be focused downrange, so, like Ana, he favors aggressive players. He will usually be on the attack and will see you if you’re with the group and attacking the enemy lines, so expect to see a harmony orb when you start losing health. His harmony orb will not mitigate the amount of damage a tank will take, but works really well for lower health allies who have the ability to duck out for a moment to recover.
Zen has no movement ability, and moves very slowly. He’s vulnerable if there are no teammates around him as he has no retreat recourse. Make sure you protect him like other healers and watch out for flankers like Sombra or Tracer, as they can completely ruin a Zen in no time flat. A good Zen can take out a flanking Gengi.
Zen’s ultimate can negate some enemy ultimates that do DOT, such as Pharah’s rain, Soldier’s visor, or any of the “hulking” abilities like Torb and Winston. It can also help aid in a push through a choke to get the team to break the line, or when trying to seal the last few seconds on a point. When a Zen hits his ultimate, be fearless, stay near him and be aggressive as you can.
Again, I strongly recommend trying out a support, even if it’s just so you know how they operate. It will help you even if your main a DPS or tank, as you will understand their weaknesses and how to overcome and synergize with them as a team. And how to overtake them on the enemy team.
If you have anything to add, please comment it in.