Across Reddit, Twitter and the official Blizzard forums, the people have spoken: Playing a support character in “Overwatch 2” really sucks.
Generally speaking, support is a harder role to play than damage since it requires more awareness, game sense and the dual responsibility of keeping your teammates alive but also attacking alongside them. And if you’re in the lower ranks, you have far less carry potential than damage players. Your value is directly contingent upon your teammates being able to capitalize upon your plays.
As Ana, you can hit the clutchest sleep dart of your career on a soaring, nano-boosted Genji with Dragonblade — but it won’t mean anything if your teammates keep spamming and wake him up. As a Lucio, you can read the flow of the fight flawlessly and speedboat to finish off retreating foes or pull out of an engagement to reset — but it’s all useless if your team can’t sense what’s going on and follow you.
But if you’re committed to playing support for the battle pass points — of if you’ve been forced into it by role queue — here are some tips to scale the “Overwatch 2” competitive mountain as a support player.
Your title is Support, not heal bot. Killing players is part of the job.
One mistake a lot of novice support players make is treating the role like being a healer in an MMORPG. As a support, you should also be dishing out a good amount of damage. “Overwatch” is a battle of inches, and every bit of damage counts. In a game where heroes on the brink of death can be healed up to full in a matter of seconds, securing kills is extremely important.
So be aggressive and remember that, in some cases, offense is the best defense. If nobody is in need of urgent healing, join your team in harassing enemies out of position or finishing kills — all while maintaining safe positioning. The enemy can’t hurt your team if they’re dead.
A good general principle to start with is to keep your heal and damage ratio at 2:1; for the amount of healing you do, you should also be doing half of that in damage to the enemy team. The only exception to this is Mercy, who provides combat value by boosting a teammate with her damage amplification beam.
Train your aim using custom map codes
This tip is easy: Work on your aim. The most efficient way to do this is through custom maps designed for target practice.
From the “Overwatch” main menu, go into Play, Custom Games, Create, Settings and then Import Code under the Summary tab. Input the workshop code of your choice from any of these maps and then go back out into the Create Game menu. Click Start when you’re ready to train.
This may seem like a steep investment, but trying to improve your aim by marathoning a bunch of games is probably a bad idea. You don’t get good at swinging a baseball bat by playing a bunch of games back to back. You get good by heading to the cages.
I guarantee you that spending just five to 10 minutes on an aim map will hone your skill far faster than playing six games in a row. Try it as a warm-up or in between your queues.
Dying to save a teammate is almost never a good idea
I mentioned this in my previous “Overwatch” tips guide, but in the vast majority of cases, sacrificing your life for a teammate is a bad play. If you chase a teammate on a suicide run, you’ll both end up dead. It’s almost always better to let that teammate die so you’ll still be around to keep up the rest of the team.
There are exceptions to this, like if you’re about to die as an Ana and you decide to chuck your Biotic Grenade to keep your Reinhardt up as he polishes up a team kill. As your game sense develops, you’ll get better at recognizing the moments that warrant martyrdom — but you’ll also see that they are rare.
You are the player who keeps everyone else safe, so staying alive should be your top priority. Take care of yourself before you take care of others.
You have the strongest ultimate abilities in the game. Leverage them wisely.
Despite being the role with the least carry potential, support heroes have some of the most decisive ultimate abilities in the game. With Transcendence, Zenyatta can shut down an enemy team using two or sometimes even three offensive ultimates at once. Ana’s Nano Boost is a huge damage and protection buff. All support ultimates charge quickly, and are thus available for frequent use.
Therein lies the pickle. To be a good support player, you have to keep track of the enemy team’s ultimate charges so you know when to save your ultimate for a counterplay and when to burn your ultimate to help your own push.
The conventional wisdom is to have one support hero with a defensive ultimate such as Lucio and one support hero with an offensive ultimate such as Kiriko to balance out the scales. That’s an ideal team composition in the game’s highest ranks, but it doesn’t apply so neatly for the rest of the ladder, where coordination can be a crapshoot and almost every team you end up with will diverge from the meta.
Pick the hero you feel confident in or pick the hero that’s the best for whatever weird fight you find yourself in. If you’re crushing the enemy team as Zenyatta but your support partner is Brigitte, who cares? All that matters is it’s working and you’re winning.
If your team’s damage heroes are flailing, pick Zenyatta or Baptiste
As a support, you will eventually find yourselves in mismatched games where your damage teammates are struggling to get kills. When that happens, play as Zenyatta or Baptiste.
Out of all the support heroes, those two have the most carry potential thanks to their formidable damage output. With Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord and Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix, they are capable of tearing down enemies with a few well placed shots and are absolute powerhouses in the right hands.
As Baptiste, don’t shy away from using your Amplification Matrix selfishly. Most of the time, you’ll be in the back anyway and the ultimate recharges quickly. You can use it to take out most damage and healing heroes in just two burst fires if one of your bursts hits the head.
If you’re playing Zenyatta and you know an enemy will be coming through a door or corner, use your secondary fire to charge up and send a volley of orbs smashing into your enemy’s face. You can also spam it to hold down a chokepoint. Aiming with Zenyatta’s orbs can feel tricky at first, so be sure to train as him on an aim map. Zenyatta’s kick also deals generous damage and knocks back opponents in “Overwatch 2,” so don’t forget to whip it out on any enemies trying to get too familiar.