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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Overwatch - Mercy Guide by Turtleye

Preface

Hey there. Due to Mercy being a Hero quite a few people want to get better with I've decided to write up a guide on how I play her. For reference, here are my MasterOverwatch and Overbuff profiles. I've clocked in over 150 hours of play on Mercy in Quickplay and Competitive combined, and I'm currently holding a 65% winrate over 100 games on her in Competitive. I went from rank 47 to rank 70 with her. While she is probably the weakest Healer in the current Meta at the time of writing this, she's far from unplayable.
Sadly enough, I can't stream or record my own gameplay as I'm playing with an average of 45 FPS on the lowest settings. I would love to, however.

That's it, enjoy the guide!

Abilities

Caduceus Staff: This is Mercy's main ''weapon'' and probably what you will be using 95% of the time. It's a staff that either heals people, or increases their damage. The healing is done via holding down the left mouse button (by default) and it heals a single target for 50 HP/s. This puts her at the second highest single target healing, with only Ana being able to outheal her. The damage beam is activated by holding down the right mouse button (by default) and increases the damage output of a single ally by 30%.
The staff has a maximum range of 15m and requires Line of Sight (from now on addressed with LoS). However, there is a 3 second ''grace period'' when your beam is on someone where if your ally either breaks LoS or moves further than 15m away from you, the beam won't break.

Caduceus Blaster: This little thing is Mercy's secondary weapon, and this time it's actually a weapon. It's a pistol-like energy blaster that fires small projectiles dealing 20 damage each. It fires at a rate of 5 rounds per seconds, giving her a potential Damage per Second (DPS) of 100. Though it's best to use this in emergencies, do not underestimate its damage potential. You can switch between the Staff and Blaster by using the scroll wheel or the 1 and 2 keys.

Guardian Angel: Mercy's shift (by default) ability. It is a targeted dash which allows you to fly to an ally up to a range of 30m. If activated, you will fly in a straight line to the ally you chose to fly to. It can be cancelled by reactivating the ability or letting go of the shift button, depending on your option set-up (more on this later). It has a cooldown of 2 seconds.

Angelic Descent: Mercy's Passive. When you're in the air and you hold down space (by default), instead of falling down like my rank when I Solo-Q'd in the rank 55's, you'll graciously glide down.

Ressurect: Mercy's ultimate. This thing is maybe the most iconic ultimate in the entire game, and for good reasons: You revive everyone in an area of 15m around you. If used correctly, it can give your team a huge advantage. Also, it has the best call-out in the game.

Playstyle

Okay so that are her abilities. Now this is all fine and dandy, but how do you actually use them to maximize your Mercy play?
First of all we'll cover the topic of Not Dying. This single skill seperated the good Mercy's from the bad ones. A dead Mercy can't heal, damage boost or revive people. But how does one actually stay alive, when everything on the enemy team that moves will try to kill you before anything else?

Positioning: You stay alive by positioning yourself in ways that the enemy team will have a difficult time knowing where you are, actually reaching you and staying close enough to kill you. Now realistically, to do this perfectly is practially impossible. However you can attempt to do it nearly perfect.
First up, the flankers have to know where you are. At all times, try your best to stay out LoS from the enemy unless it's neccesary to expose yourself. Use corners and obstacles as much as possible. Keep in mind that your beam has a range of 15m. Try to stay at the max range of your beam as often as possible. If you stay too close to your team, chances are you'll get caught in a Zarya ult, Reinhardt ult, Pharah Ult and everything else that is not good for your health and mental stability. Also, use the fact that your beam can go through a corner, as long as you reset the timer before the 3 seconds run out. ''Peek'' around a corner to keep resetting the beam. Also, especially when defending, stay on the high ground as much as possible. This is the biggest positional flaw I see when reviewing VOD's. You're vulnerable on low ground. High ground naturally exposes less of your hitbox and you have more escape routes.
But say a Genji actually manages to get to you. You can't stay close to him and invite him for a cup of tea, since he will likely kill you. If he actually accepts the offer, friend him and start queueing with him. Anyway, this is where your dash comes into place: as soon as a flanker approaches you, dash to an ally. When you're under fire or getting flanked, use your dash as much as possible. It's on a 2 second cooldown, so use this to your fullest advantage. Also, keep in mind you can dash to dead allies. This often throws the enemy team off as they do not expect this. It's risky, however. Keep in mind that allies on high ground or in the air are your best friend, especially when you're getting flanked by Tracer. There are reasons Pharah and Mercy have such a good synergy, and Pharah providing Mercy and instant escape is one of them. But please, never, ever, dash to your snipers when a Genji with ult is chasing you. This will likely end in you both dying unless your sniper is godlike. It's important to be as hard to hit as possible, as you have only 200 HP. Mercy's kit allows for jukes and throwing off enemy flankers, so be sure to use this.

Situational awareness: Another skill that you need to have as Mercy. Being able to identify where enemies are, who they are and when they are going to use ultimates is key to your survival. Remember that you are not relegated to looking at the enemy frontline, unlike your DPS and Tanks are. Look around you more often. Memorize all the flank routes that can lead to your current position and check them every 1-2 seconds. If you can spot a flanker before they've even reached you, you can easily adjust your position and won't be caught off-guard.
Next up is sound. Something which often goes unnoticed, but Blizzard has done a damn good job at the sound in this game. Not only can you hear where enemies are walking, every character has unique footsteps and gunsounds. By now, I can easily identify wether it's a Tracer or Reaper who's behind us, and likewise I can instantly recognize wether we're dealing with a Soldier or McCree.
Learn how certain characters like to position. A Reaper, for example, will likely look for a place where he can either drop down on you and possibly ult, or brawl in close combat. If the enemy team has a Reaper, keep this in mind and adjust your playstyle accordingly. In this case, it would be avoiding close spaces if Reaper's position is unknowing, and check above and/or behind you for potential edgy jumpscares. Assemble the information you have about the enemy team comps and adjust your play to it. Mercy has no ''set'' position she should be in, it entirely depends on the team comps on both her team and the enemy team.
Lastly, you should know your team's positioning at all times. This reduces the time you need to get away from things and allows for faster repositioning.

Game knowledge: Learn how every character plays. Learn their damage, cooldowns and how fast their ult generally charges. This will allow you to better know when enemy ults are coming, how much you can expose yourself to enemy fire to reach a destination or ally, etc. As mentioned above, knowing the playstyle and also cooldowns of other heroes allows you to position yourself according to the situation.

You can become better at the 3 things mentioned above through either just playing the game a lot (which I did - I'm almost level 330 at the time of writing this) and picking up things along the way - mindlessly playing the game sadly won't help you, no matter how much you play the game. Try multiple approaches and if something works out, try to figure out why and apply it to your future games. For example, Yesterday I played a game on Anubis where we were stuck trying to assault point B. We kept trying to rush through main and on one push we got to the second checkpoint. But the other 5 times went horrible. Then I suggested we should take the right-hand flank and see what happens. We hopped over the wall and steamrolled through their defenses. We completely caught the enemy off-guard and that won us the game. What you can pick up form this is to switch up your tactics if something's not working after multiple attempts. It may just catch your enemy by surpsrise and allow you to win.
The other option is to watch high-level gameplay. There are a lot of resources for this, so I'll list a few:
General gameplay: GosuGamer's weeklies, Amazing Overwatch's Channel.
Mercy specific: Most streamers have stopped playing Mercy, but both Purposefull and C9's support player Adam still have high-level Mercy VOD's on their channel.
Try to figure out why the players do what they do and apply this to your play (Do NOT simply copy what they do) and you'll see improvement in very short time.

Decision making

Even though your heal and damage boost are both awesome, they can't be used at the same time. You'll have to make a choice on who you're gonna heal or boost. Likewise, your Ressurect also requires good decision making.

Healing and Boosting: I'm going to give you a few examples. Answer them on your own before looking what I would do.
1) Your McCree is behind you, at 60 HP. You're standing behind cover. Your Soldier is ulting and just killed the enemy Tracer. What do you do?
2) Your Reinhardt is being fired at by the enemy team. His shield is up. He has 100 HP. Next to him is your Reaper who just escaped the enemy team. He is at 150 HP. Who do you heal?
3) You notice your Tracer and McCree are at 40 and 50 HP respectively. Who do you choose to heal first?

The first scenario offers you the option to choose between boosting and healing. While it may be tempting to heal McCree first, he is out of risk as he's behind cover just like you and the enemy Tracer just died. Instead, boosting the Soldier would prove more usefull to winning the teamfight and guaranteeing a push/capture. Also, Soldier will be out in the open and thus open to taking damage.
The second scenario forces you to heal a tank or a DPS. General rule of thumb is to heal DPS Before moving to the tanks. The tanks naturally have higher survivability than your DPS, thanks to having more HP and heals or shields. Of course there are exceptions. If your DPS managed to get behind cover, but your tank not yet, heal the tanks.
The last scenario is a little more tricky. Tracer has less HP than McCree. However you should still heal McCree. Reason being is that Tracer is more mobile than McCree, so she can go and find an HP pack much quicker than McCree. Healing McCree will thus lessen the downtime your team has where they're missing a Hero.
Final note, you should generally heal over damage boost. Unless someone's actively killing the enemy team (Reaper during ult, Roadhog after hooking, etc.) you should heal. Reason is that you can't damage boost a team that's dead.

Ressurect: With the recent increase in Ult charge cost, your Ressurect requires very good decision making. I'm still fucking it up every so often. You need to be able to judge the situation quickly and decide on that. There are 2 kind of Ressurects: The Ressurect to undo a team wipe and the Tempo Ressurect. The first one speaks for itself: If 3+ allies die due to enemy ultimates, bring them back. You're now at an ult advantage. However, sometimes you want to do a Tempo Ressurect. What this is, is basically a Ressurect on 1 or 2 allies who you absolutely need for your next push. Examples would be Reaper or Zarya with ult.
Get a feeling of when enemies will use their ults to teamwipe. If you know you can get your ult to ~80% before the next fight, you can Tempo Ressurect. If going for a Tempo Res, keep in mind to wait a bit before Ressurecting. More allies may die before the death timer runs out, and you want your Ressurects to be as efficient as possible. Honestly, there's not a lot I can tell you to do with your Ressurect, 80% of it comes from experience.

Using the Blaster: Most of the time, it's better to fly away when flanked because most flankers thrive in close quarter fights, so being able to increases the distance leaves you less vulnerable. However, sometimes you just can't get away easily. I always swap to Blaster upon getting flanked unless someone really needs healing, and fire away at the flanker whilst flying to an ally.
Generally, flankers will hestitate for a moment upon taking damage. Get used to the projectile and its travel time and you'll be able to deter flankers from trying to get you - 80 damage to the face is a lot for them.
If you're facing a static defense (Turrets or Bastion) and you get the opportunity, use the fact that your Blaster does 100DPS and is pinpoint accurate. A full clip is generally enough to take out Torbjörn turrets when you're behind a Reinhardt shield or simply out range. However keep in mind that you still should prioritize healing over firing the pistol. It may simply be more efficient to heal and/or boost your Soldier who's taking down the turret.

When should you run Mercy

Although at the time of writing this guide, Mercy's the least favoured support in the current Meta, she can still fit on most of the teams, both Offense and Defense. She does shine better on Defense, however.

Attacking:Generally, if your team has a Lucio, you can run Mercy. If not, go Lucio. I hate to say this, but Lucio's speed boost is pretty much a neccesity in the current Meta. You can't really afford to not run a Lucio on Offense as his speed boost can't be missed. This accounts to 2CP maps, Payload maps and Hybrid maps.

Defending: Mercy can pretty much always find a slot on Defense, as this side naturally offers her more cover, both map-wise and team-wise. Torbjörn turrets, Junkrat spam and Bastion are awesome at deterring flankers from killing you. However do beware that if you are the only Healer, you'll have to expose yourself a lot more, because there's nobody else who can heal allies and you'll have to constantly reposition and possibly give away your positioning to the enemy team.

King of the Hill (KotH): Don't go Solo Healer on this map as Mercy. Once again, you need a Lucio. Lucio is especially good on KotH maps due to the team being clumped up more because the way the maps are designed. Keep in mind that if you are running Mercy on these maps, you'll have to be very careful as these maps are a flankers wet dream. Also Winston sees a lot more play here. Lastly, the maps offer less hiding places.

Also sometimes you'll just run into teamcomps where playing Mercy will be very difficult. Tracer, Genji, Reaper, D.Va and Winston are your worst enemies. Should you run into a team running 2+ of these heroes, you have to consider just swapping off if you're constantly getting dove on by them. Likewise if your team is running 2+ of these heroes, consider swapping off as well. Mercy has by far the shortest range of all healers and therefore isn't able to heal them as effectively as Zenyatta, Lucio or Ana can, as you need to overextend and expose yourself to heal them when they jump in.

Tips and Tricks

The art of hiding: This kind of is advanced positioning. If you feel the enemy team is about to use multiple ults to combo your team, seek for a hiding spot. Stay as close to this as possible while still being able to heal your team. If your team moves up, find a new one. As soon as you hear Reinhardt slamming his hammer, Zarya firing her Graviton, or Genji unleashing his Bullshit Stick Dragon Blade, go into this spot and DROP YOUR HEALING/DAMAGE BOOST BEAM. The reason you do this, is that the enemy can and will find you if you don't. Because, you know, there's this obvious stream of light which perfectly shows your position.
Most maps have hiding spots near the objectives. Memorize them and use them. I might post a visual guide on the good ones in the future.

Reducing the cooldown of your dash: That's right. You can reduce your Guardian Angel's cooldown. It's a little trick that can prove to be tremendously usefull. Basically what you have to do is activate your dash, then at about 3/4ths you cancel the dash and hold space. Due to the mechanics of your glide, the momentum you get from dashing will keep being there, and you'll notice very little difference if you would simply shift the entire dash. This will result in your dash getting on cooldown earlier even though you're still ''dashing'' to your target, and therefore come off cooldown earlier. However, this does not work when you're trying to fly up, be it straight up or diagonally.

Ressurect: Aside from being an awesome ult, it also resets your dash cooldown. Keep this in mind to fly in, res and instantly zip away.

Fake suicide: If you're close to a cliff and an ally is close to the cliff, you can jump off to trick enemy flankers or simply hide yourself. Then you can dash back to your allies. I like to do this on KotH maps specifically, as there are a lot of death pits there. It also works on allies who've recently died, although keep in mind that their soul will disappear when they respawn. Don't die due to this, it's awkward.

Options and set-ups: I play on a high sensitivity whenever I play Mercy (or Lucio for that matter). The reasons are that you are able to more quickly assess the situation by looking around you, being able to react faster by lowering your turn speed and aim being not that important on Mercy. Mercy also has a few character specific options. First up, the toggle on her Shift. Please set it to Toggle. It gives you a lot more control over your flight. But there's a second benefit to this: If you hold shift, as soon as someone enters your range and your ''crosshairs'', you'll instantly fly to them. This helps you escape sticky situations slightly faster which can make the difference between life and death. Also, you won't be spamming the shift button and accidentally cancelling your dash.
Toggle beam is entirely up to preference. I noticed my arm got tired after a day of playing 6 hours of Mercy so I switched it to toggle. If you set it to toggle, however, turn the option to dash to your beamed target off. This prevents you from accidentally messing up your dash by dashing to the wrong person due to not being able to break the beam. You can still break the beam by Melee-ing or switching to Blaster though. Dashing to your beamed target is also up to preference. I like being able to heal people as I'm flying away, giving me the option to be more mobile as you're able to heal ~20 HP whilst flying away. However, being able to dash to people whilst not looking at them is also good. Play around with the options and see what fits best.

Final notes

There we go. I hope you all have found some usefull advice in this guide. I may update this guide in the future, as I still need to find an up-to-date damage chart for boosted allies (may make this myself) and I could probably do a visual guide on the hiding places and positioning in general. Also, new patches will be introduced and Mercy will be changed. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day and keep your team healthy. Cheers!

Edit1: Added Blaster segment & When to run Mercy. Shoutout to /u/HoeMuffin for making me realise I forgot them.

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