Mercy and Lucio are currently the two staple supports of Overwatch, each sporting their own unique mechanics and playstyles that can help almost any team composition. Despite having both healers is ideal in nearly every competitive team composition, most quickmatch teams tend to only have one support player who must choose between either playing Mercy and Lucio. While it is important that you choose the character you both enjoy and play well with, there are certain situations in which one character is the better choice. I have put many hours into both characters, and this guide will outline the certain situations where one character serves a team better than the other.
Simply put, Mercy is better at single-target healing, while Lucio is superior at healing multiple members of your team at the same time. Mercy is able to heal 50 hitpoints per second on a single target at any given time. Lucio normally heals 12.5 hitpoints per second with his healing aura, but can increase this to 40 hitpoints per second for 3 seconds when he uses Amp It Up, which is on a 12 second cooldown. Mercy has no limitations on her healing output, and can keep teammates from dying during fights a lot better than Lucio. Lucio can almost match Mercy’s healing by using Amp It Up, but its long cooldown means that there is a lot of downtime for when he can best help his teammates survive incoming damage. While a good Mercy could keep all of her teammates relatively healthy by constantly swapping between healing targets, Lucio is naturally better at keeping his entire team topped off on health and providing instant support once the teammate comes into range.
Lucio makes up for his lower heal rate by being able to attack enemies while still healing his teammates. Mercy must switch to her pistol to attack an enemy, and cannot heal until she switches back to her staff. If your teammates are having a hard time helping you kill enemy flankers and overall keep you alive, then you should pick Lucio over Mercy. Lucio’s damage isn’t particularly game changing unless you’re amazing at aiming the soundwaves, but he is great at taking out stationary targets like Torbjorn or Bastion.
Lucio is exclusively the better pick on every KOTH map(Ilios, Nepal and Lijiang Tower). KOTH maps provide many more opportunities for Lucio to get kills by knocking people into pits, and their wide-open design allows Lucio to always stay in line of sight of his entire team to maximize his healing output. Mercy is a lot more vulnerable to being flanked and killed in KOTH maps as well, so Lucio is superior in that he can defend himself a lot better than Mercy.
On Payload and/or Attack/Defend maps, Lucio is SLIGHTLY better than Mercy on the offensive team. Due to the offensive team needing to bunch up on a payload or control point, Lucio is once again capable of maximizing healing output since most of his team will remain in his field of vision during objective pushes. Lucio’s Sound Barrier also enables your team to push against Bastions and Torbjorns as long as your team can coordinate a push while they are shielded. Mercy has a slight advantage over Lucio on defense teams of Attack/Defend maps. Due to the way these maps are designed, it is a lot more difficult for the enemy to flank and kill her, meaning she can safely heal and damage boost her teammates. However, some maps place the defender’s spawn very far from the first few objectives, meaning you should swap to Lucio if you need to quickly get you and your teammates back to the faraway objective.
Sound Barrier VS Resurrect
Both Lucio’s Sound Barrier and Mercy’s Resurrect are both trying to achieve the same goal: to save their team from the enemy’s attacks, specifically when the enemy uses their ultimate abilities. Lucio can negate the enemy’s ability to kill your teammates, while Mercy can reverse your teammates deaths after the enemy has already killed them. Both of these ultimates have the same goal in saving your teammates, but work better under certain conditions. These comparisons are the most important in deciding which healer is best for the situation at hand. You should identify the best players on the enemy team and pick the healer that can best deal with their ultimates.
Sound Barrier takes much longer to charge than Resurrect, and has a noticeable delay in between casting the ability and shielding your teammates. Sound Barrier is best used to counter enemy ultimates that also have a delay before they become effective. The characters that have ultimates that Lucio counters best are Bastion, Genji, Junkrat, Mei, Soldier 76, and Zarya. (Note: Lucio is particularly good against Mei’s Blizzard since you can speed boost yourself and others out of the slowing zone.) Sound Barrier can also enable your team to push an enemy defense, namely Torbjorn turrets and Bastions, provided your team can actually utilize the 500 health shield effectively. It is especially good at enabling a friendly Genji’s capability to charge into the enemy team with his Dragonblade.
Resurrect can be charged a lot faster than Sound Barrier, but is limited by the fact that your teammates must die close together to maximize its effectiveness. Mercy is best at countering ultimates that do not have a delay and can very quickly wipe your team. The characters that have ultimates that Mercy counters are Hanzo, McCree, Pharah, Reaper, and Tracer. If Zarya’s ultimate is followed up with an ultimate from the above characters, then Mercy is better at dealing with it than Lucio. Keep in mind that positioning yourself for a mass revive will put you at risk of dying, and you won’t be able to use Revive at all if you die during or before a team wipe.
Overtime(and the last few meters of Payload maps)
When Overtime sends everyone and their grandmother flying onto the objective, Mercy’s revive can single-handedly become the difference between winning and losing. This is the easiest time for Mercy to pull off a giant revive since most of your teammates will be clumped around the objective. If you use your Revive or don’t have it for when overtime hits, Lucio becomes the better healer to swap to during this situation. You can speedboost yourself and your teammates to the objective to stop overtime from ending, and you are incredibly better at stalling the objective than Mercy due to your defensive capabilities. This also applies for when you are defending during the last few meters of the Payload maps, as the chaos that ensues is very similar to what happens during Overtime. (Note: If someone dies on the cart/objective and you Revive them, they will instantly block the cart/objective while they are invulnerable during the Revive!)
On top of being healers, both Mercy and Lucio provide extra utility to assist their teammates with. Simply put, Mercy provides offensive utility by damage boosting teammates, while Lucio provides defensive utility by speed boosting teammates out of danger or knocking close-range enemies away from your team. Mercy’s Damage Boost synergizes extremely well with characters whose ultimates do not outright kill their targets, namely Soldier 76, Torbjorn himself(he gains a LOT of attackspeed and armor when using his Molten Core), Mei, Roadhog, Zarya and Winston. Lucio’s speedboost can help teammates run out of enemy ultimates(Mei’s Blizzard!) or help teammates playing McCree and/or Reaper maneuver during their ultimates. Lucio can also knock close-range enemies away from his teammates and weaken their ability to do damage, such as D.Va, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Reaper, Winston, Symmetra or a Genji using his Dragonblade.
No matter the situation, you should always pick the hero your are more comfortable with. If you are vastly better at playing one character over the other, then that character will almost always be the better healer for you to pick. However, with competitive matchmaking around the corner, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to play both characters and know when one is better than the other. Again, having BOTH healers on your team is ideal in most team compositions, but if you find yourself having to heal alone, you should try to analyze the situation and figure out which character offers the best support for your team.
Thanks for reading my post! I hope my comparisons have helped you identify the differences between Lucio and Mercy and when it is best to choose one or the other.
(Note: I left Zenyatta out of these comparisons because I am TERRIBLE at playing him. All I can say is that if you have a Zenyatta on your team, Mercy is very good at enabling him to survive and deal damage, making her an ideal pick for your team. Zenyatta’s ultimate can provide the same style of protection as Lucio’s sound barrier while being an instant cast, but isn’t as effective against large amounts of instant damage like McCree’s ultimate.)