Hey guys. My name is AThomson924, and I’m a support main who specializes in Lucio. I’m currently in high Masters (3948) and am the #24 Lucio on PSN (peak #9).
I’m working on a more in depth guide to playing Lucio, but in the meantime, I’d like to address one particular aspect of Lucio’s kit that I think many players are using suboptimally–his ultimate ability, sound barrier.
I like to think of Lucio’s ultimate first and foremost as a defensive, reactionary ultimate, meant to be used in response to offensive ultimates like Genji’s dragon blade or Soldier’s tac visor. Alternatively, it can be used in the mid fight to keep critical members of your team alive and ensure the fight. Lastly, in rarer cases, it can be used as an initiation tool to bring your team to the point where they can fight at an equal level.
The reason I listed initiation as the third option is because I believe using sound barrier in this way is a mistake most of the time. Especially if your team doesn’t have a Zen but is running Mercy-Lucio or Ana-Lucio, sound barrier is your team’s only answer to offensive ultimates. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Lucio players pop their ultimates while speed-boosting to point, only to have a Genji pop his ultimate moments later after the effects wear off. I think the main reason Lucio players do this is because they don’t trust their team to engage, and see sound barrier as a reliable way to get their team to finally make a commitment to “go in!” However, recognize this use of Lucio’s ultimate as, at best, a necessary evil which could have repercussions later.
Initiating with sound barrier isn’t only a bad idea if the enemy has offensive ults; it’s a bad idea because it fails to maximize value. When I used to use sound barrier to engage, I was often disappointed in how superfluous it seemed–nobody on my team had even taken damage yet. And more often than not, I would find myself regretting not having sound barrier in the mid fight later when my team could actually benefit from having the additional shields. I would also notice that using sound barrier in this way seldom led to actually winning fights. Sound barrier merely allowed my team to get to a place where they could fight at an equal level, but it’s duration was not long enough to lead to an advantage once the fight broke out.
Lucio already has an initiation ability–his speed-boost. It’s usually much better to initiate with amped speed and then gauge your team’s health before using sound barrier. Sometimes, you’ll find you won’t need it, and other times you will. And if you do use it, you’ll find that it gives your team a much larger advantage, and gives you more flexibility to make high impact plays, such as saving your Reinhardt from a charge, or keeping your low-health Zarya alive so she can finish off that Mcree.
Like all rules, however, there are exceptions. Sometimes, using sound barrier to open a fight is permissible. If your team is struggling to make it past a choke because the enemy has a very spam-heavy comp, the best option may be to use your ultimate. Like I said, though, using sound barrier to engage will only give your team the ability to take an equal fight. Therefore, in situations where using speed is not enough to get you to an equal fight, using sound barrier is not a bad play.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! And if you have any other questions or comments about uses for Lucio’s ultimate (there are a few others) or Lucio in general, feel free to leave them in the comments below.