Hello everyone I hope you’re doing fine, my name is Skyline, there are 4 healers in Overwatch right now and 1, arguably 2 other heroes that fill a support role. You don’t usually see more than 1 or 2 in a game, so it can be hard to pick out what support is best. A lot of players still default to Ana Lucio, but that isn’t always, or even usually, the right pair for the job.
So today we’re talking about when to pick which support heroes. So here’s our list. But Torbjorn’s on that list? We’ll get to that in a bit, but let’s start by dividing these guys into some easy categories. So the most basic one is how much they heal for. Ana and Mercy have big heals, Lucio and Zenyatta have small heals, Torb and Symmetra don’t have any healing at all. Instead they have flat HP buffs and utility. Almost all teams need at least one big healer, so Ana or Mercy. The exception to this is some teams that have a lot of sustain by themselves, for example Soldier Roadhog Mei and heroes with shields. Also on offense there are blitz dive compositions that go for fast, all-in fights. Those compositions don’t need a big healer because the fights happen so fast it’s mostly about the DPS.
But in most cases, you need one of these two heroes. Ana is better with compositions that try to get in close where she can hit both allies and enemies with her grenade. She also has the highest healing output in the game to offset the high amount of damage these close-range heroes take. Tanks like Reinhardt and Winston obviously fit the bill here, but even heroes like Tracer or Genji who get in close can benefit from the double-function of the grenade. Mercy is good with ranged heroes like Soldier, Pharah, and Bastion.
These heroes aren’t always taking damage, so the fact that Mercy can help them with damage boost is great. Plus these heroes tend to spread out, giving Mercy a lot of mobility. Team’s that have very key heroes (like one main tank or one main DPS) are good with Mercy because the fight isn’t over once that key hero dies, Mercy can just rez them and keep the fight going. Mercy and Ana also have a huge difference in the types of maps they like.
Ana likes simple, flat maps with long sight lines like Route 66. On these maps she can stand far back and not worry about losing line of sight or getting outmaneuvred by heroes with high verticle mobility. Mercy on the other hand is great on tight, meandering maps with different levels like most of Oasis and Dorado. She can heal through walls with the way her beam targets and fly around, so it’s easy for her to juke and escape enemies and get easy rezes off.
One last big difference between these two heroes is that Mercy can heal through enemy shield where Ana cannot. Especially with Orisa coming out, you won’t want to pick Ana into teams with too many shields, particularly Winston who tends to drop it right in the middle of the fight where your team mates are. Now the most normal way to go about a team composition is to pair one of these big healers with a small healer, these two guys. They like certain maps as well. Zenyatta again likes long flat maps where he can shoot orbs from far away safely whereas Lucio like tight multi-level maps where he can outmaneuvre everyone. Plus, the very large range on his harmony and discord orbs makes Zenyatta stronger at range whereas the Lucio’s much smaller aura radius is better when everyone is grouped up. Because of this close range vs far range thing, Lucio tends to be a lot better at offense because you are trying to rush onto a position, plus the attacking team has more control over their own positioning so they can be grouped up if they want to.
On defense, it’s very possible for the enemy team to split you up and staying in a ball is harder. Also, Lucio’s ultimate can be used at any time, even preemptively, to bust through a point. On the contrary, Zenyatta is better on defense where he can just spam orbs at chokepoints. His healing ultimate is much more reactive than Lucio’s shield ultimate, so that is a more defensive ability as well. Again also because on defense your team can be forced to fight on multiple fronts, the fact that Zenyatta can heal one person here while discording someone to help over there and also adding damage with his orbs gives him a lot more control over the fight on a wider scale. Naturally here we are presented with two pairs right off the bat. Zenyatta and Ana both like similar maps and playstyles, so pairing them up seems natural, and it’s a great pair, especially on defense.
If the two supports work together, they are nigh unkillable by flankers because of their strong damage, so they can just stand far back and support the team very safely. The other pair is Lucio and Mercy. Both like similar maps and Mercy is much more likely to be within range of Lucio’s aura than either of the other two supports, so again here the supports can work together a bit in that way healing each other. This composition would favor offense because of Lucio. Those aren’t the be-all end-all of pairings though, oh no. Ana Lucio combo is going to be strong with a heavy tank setup on offense like triple or quad tank. Lucio can bring everone in fast and Ana can bust with a grenade. It’s a very strong combo. Lucio and Zenyatta are both small healers but like I said before on super dive compositions, Lucio can speed everyone in and Zenyatta can mark a target for death as everyone converges on it.
In this case, the lesser healing won’t matter because of how fast the fight is executed. One more example is Ana + Mercy. They obviously have a lot of healing, but generally it isn’t the best because of the lack of utility the small healers bring, BUT if you have a team with a good amount of HP but no self-sustain at all, the additional healing can be beneficial, plus if you have a triple tank setup with an important DPS hero like Pharah who you’re relying on to do damage, you’ve satisfied the prefered team compositions for both Ana and Mercy.
Finally we will talk about these “off” supports, the supports that don’t heal. Both of these heroes buff team mates’ health pools and both of them have strong area denial, but are easily outplayed in a direct fight, so they are put to best use when your team is taking the direct fight and these heroes are helping. We will be talking about pretty similar attributed with these heroes that we were talking about before, too. Symmetra like meandering maps with lots of tight spaces where she can hide sentry nests and have enough cover to get in close for her main weapon. These types of maps also give her good places to hide her buildings close to the point but also out of sight.
Her general playstle synergizes with tanks because she likes to get up close with them and use their big bodies as cover to do damage in melee range. Torbjorn on the other hand likes straight maps with open spaces where his turret can deny a good area of the map and where he can spam from long range with his rivet gun. His armor synergizes with shields, which is why a lot of players play him and symmetra together. His armor goes underneath the shields so it won’t be removed by random chip damage and it lasts a lot longer.
He does better with longer range heroes who are vulnerable to flankers, because his turret shuts flankers down removing one of the big weaknesses from the team composition. To use one of these heroes, first you need an area to deny. That’s why they are usually not very good on attack, because usually there isn’t really any area that’s worth denying that isn’t already defended. On defense though, particularly maps with only one obvious flanking route, these heroes can potentially shut down a lot of options for the defenders. For example on Volskaya Industries point A Torbjorn can put a turret up that shuts down flankers using the back side, forcing the attackers to bust completely through the front.
Oftentimes it’s best to pair these heroes with just one big healer. You can run 2 healers, but you have to ask if you don’t have enough front-line fighting power at that point. Generally if you run 3 supports like that you have to pair it with 3 tanks just so you have enough front-line power behind the composition. Instead, it’s usually best to run some self-sustaining heroes like Soldier with just one healer if you’re running Torb or Symmetra. As for the Torb-Symmetra combo, this is incredibly map-specific. It’s great on Hanamura point A because on one side you have an environment perfect for Torbjorn and the other side is an environment perfect for Symmetra, plus there are so few entrances that you can just shut everything down. On any map with more than 2 good paths, however, the other team will flank around and make your area denial strategy innefective. Okay that was a lot of information we just went over so I’ll leave it at that, but you should now have a pretty good road map to know which support heroes to pick and when.
Leave any question and comments below, and have a great guys. Never forget to stay positive, peace out..
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