Yeah, you read that right, you can carry as a support player. A common misconception at lower ranks…and even higher ranks is that as a support player you’re completely dependent on the DPS and tanks to carry games. I can tell you from experience that good support players can completely change games with their playmaking ability that doesn’t show up on the kill feed. An Ana who sleeps a nano boosted genji or a Lucio who speeds his team to a safe position or a Zenyatta who can stay alive and save trans for the right times. In this post I will talk about each support character, how to manage their cool downs and ultimates, and how doing the little things can make a big difference. Keep in mind this is a BEGINNER’S GUIDE meaning I’m not going to be too specific or else this post would be too long. These are general concepts and ideas to help support players improve so that in game they can apply that knowledge in different situations.
*It is a long post so if you want to skip to a certain support you want to focus on then go ahead. I would recommend however reading the basics, first, no matter what support character you want to learn.
The Essentials for All Support Heroes
1. Value Your Own Life Over Anyone
Often times, I see support players overcommitting in trying to help their feeding team mates. Remember, you are the most valuable person on the team and that you need to keep everyone alive, not that one feeding D.va who overcommitted in going for a kill, don’t compound that mistake by dying yourself. It’s better to let someone else die because if your stay alive then your team has a chance to win that team fight.
2. Protect Your Other Support
Besides trying to stay alive yourself, your other job is to keep your other support alive. If you see your fellow support being focused then do your best to keep them alive. The 2 supports should mostly be able to stay alive together because the enemy team is investing so many resources on you two that either, your team is able to clean up the rest of the enemy team or your team comes back to help and punishes the enemy team.
Please. For the love of God. Stop. Exposing yourself to enemy fire. General rule of thumb is that if you can see the enemy team then they can probably see you. Always try your best to either be right next to a wall, near a health pack, on high ground, or near your team so that they can help you. Don’t blame your team or some broken character on the enemy team when it’s your fault that you died in a bad position in the first place. Constantly change positions, especially if you’re Ana or Zenyatta as they have no mobility so you need to make up for it by being unpredictable with your positioning. Do not stand in the open too long, if you have to move from cover to cover then try your best to do it for a short amount of time.
4. Track Enemy Ultimates
I understand that this can be very difficult at the beginning for most people, but as a support you should be able to at least track the enemy DPS ultimates. Support ultimates have the ability to completely shut down enemy pushes by just pressing a button. Tracking enemy ultis can save your life and your team’s life, so please do not waste them. With that being said, try to communicate with your fellow supports which ultimates should be used in the next team fight, worst thing you can do is stack both support ultimates in the same team fight.
5. Know Your Priorities
There are a lot of healer combinations in ranked and sometimes they’re not always the best. As a support, before anything else, look at your team comp and think about who should you prioritize healing and investing resources in.
6. Be More Than Just a Healer
They are called supports, not healers for a reason. If you want to be a better support don’t just heal but get value out of the entire kit your hero provides. Damage boost, speed boost, landing valuble anti nade, calling discords, valuable orbs and valuable stuns. These things all matter and can make a difference whether your team wins or loses team fights.
Support players should be the most vocal players in the game because they typically have full view of the team and the entire map. At the very least you should call flankers, enemy cool downs, if you’re being focused, telling your team you are rotating, where you are positioned, and if you can support them where they are.
8. Getting Value Out of Cool Downs
Too many times I see support players wasting important cool downs they didn’t need to use. I will get into this in more detail but please just think about using cool downs in the right situations.
- Sleep Dart(12 Seconds): Too many times I see Ana’s using sleep darts aggressively when about 95% of the time sleep darts should be used for an enemy ult, to save your life, or to save your team mates life. If your team has already won the fight and someone on the enemy team is trying to escape then sure, go for the aggressive sleep dart. If you want to set up a your Rein for a shatter with a sleep dart then that is a possibility as well, but more times than not it should be used defensively with its long cool down.
- Biotic Grenade(10 Seconds): Another long cool down, do not use this every time it comes off of cool down, use it in the right situation. If you know that you can heal someone with just Ana’s rifle and none of your team mates aren’t in any immediate danger then try to save the nade. Also, identify the enemy team comp to decide how you want to use your nade. If they’re running a tank comp then you want to mostly land anti nades (accounting for barriers, zarya bubbles and defense matrix) and if you’re against a dive comp then you would want to save the nade for yourself.
- Nano Boost: With the 300+ HP to a nano boosted target, the new nano almost acts as a mini rez as it can completely save one of your allies and makes them a glowing beam of destruction. Typically I like to use nano boost in 4 ways:
- Saving your tank: In my opinion, the most valuable nano use but don’t always try to save it for this purpose. It’s so strong because the enemy team will invest a lot of cool downs in trying to kill that low target but then you hit that Q button and it completely turns the team fight
- Creating space: Good way to use a nano is using it on your Rein or Winston and the enemy team will be forced back because they wouldn’t want to mess with a big ass nanoed tank.
- Combo with other ultimates: The classic way to use nano is combining them with blade, visor, high noon, etc. Not a bad way to use it but if countered by a support ultimate or a stun then your team just invested 2 valuable ultimates.
- Nano the carry: Rare situations where you have a really good DPS player on your team like a Tracer or Doomfist and they can just carry games. Enabling them to do even more damage when the team fight is looking bad might just turn the team fight in your favor. Do this with caution as they sometimes bot out and try to do too much.
- Repair Pack(6 seconds): Your only way to have long range healing. DO NOT SPAM THIS COOL DOWN. You typically want to save it if your supports are being dove or if your tanks/DPS are being focused. Also, don’t look at a team mate too long trying to give them the repair pack, keep your view of the entire team fight then flick towards a team mate that needs the health pack. Putting it on a Winston or Genji when your team initiates a dive is also a good way to use this.
- Whip Shot(4 seconds): Not too important to Brigitte’s kit but still has its uses. Try to use it to trigger your inspire if there’s nothing else to do. Besides the typical combo and environmental kill use, it’s good for saving your squishy friends if they’re being focused.
- Barrier Shield(500 HP): Please don’t just constantly swing as Brigitte, you’re not an indestructible monster despite popular belief. Use it to block important cool downs from the enemy team, staying alive, and using the 3rd person view point around corners to scout the enemy team.
- Shield Bash(7 seconds): The most important cool down in Brigitte’s kit. Do not initiate fights with this ability because you want to use it to interrupt abilities (roadhog’s breather, genji’s deflect, etc.) and ultimates (high noon, death blossom, etc.). Too many times I see Brigitte players spamming stun and then an enemy Reaper comes into the middle of team and gets way more kills then he should have. Of course use it to combo with shatters and the typical combos:
- 150 HP Targets: Bash, Swing, Whip Shot (no longer viable)
- 200 HP Targets: Swing, Swing, Bash, Swing, Whip Shot (no longer viable)
- 10 m Knock Back: Bash, Whip Shot
- Rally: The people you want to prioritize giving rally to are your supports, especially Zenyatta, Zarya, and your DPS. There are 3 main ways to use rally so this varies on the given situation
- In between team fights: your team gets the max 100 armor going into the next team fight but in my opinion doesn’t get full value because your team will lose the armor, especially if the enemy team has a team wiping ultimate.
- During team fights: Gives your team the full value as your team gets armor over 10 seconds and if you win the team fight then there will be some armor carried over the next team fight.
- Confirming kills: I like to use it when Brigitte is in the DPS slot as that speed boost can help rush down 200 HP targets and there’s almost nothing they can do. Just make sure not to overcommit and to give your team some of that armor after confirming the kill.
- Soundwave “The Boop”(4 seconds): Besides the obvious use of getting environmental kills try to use it to save your fellow team mates. Aggressively using it on an enemy so that their movement becomes predictable is also a great way to use it but keep in mind that you don’t want to boop away enemies that your team can kill.
- Crossfade: Biggest mistake I see Lucio’s is that they’re on healing most of the time. Lucio only does 16.5 healing per second so your job isn’t to heal the entire team but more to speed your team mates to safer or more aggressive positions.
- Amp It Up(12 seconds): This is the 1 cool down that separates a good Lucio player from a great Lucio player. Save amp when your support or tank is being hard focused with heals or to speed back your team from a losing fight then reengage when your team is full health. A lot of players don’t realize how valuable this cool down is and just spam it off cool down. Great Lucio players will always save it for the perfect time. My favorite way to use it is when an enemy genji blades and I amp speed + boop so that he gets no value. Other ways to use it is speed boosting your nanoed Rein or your Soldier with his tactical visor. There are so many ways to use amp but there is too much to mention and I can only name a few.
- Sound Barrier: Some players like to use it to initiate fights, which is sometimes viable, but it should mostly be used to counter enemy DPS ultimates and to save your team. Small tip is that if you know the Sombra is about to EMP try to hide and then after the EMP goess off sound barrier to save your team.
- Guardian Angel(2 seconds): Pretty self-explanatory ability, but I just want to point out that a lot of Mercy players overshoot their intended target and end up in the middle of the enemy team. I don’t want to go on the different Guardian Angel techs but just keep in mind that if you do Guardian angel try not to do it into the middle of the enemy team or a feeding team mate.
- Resurrect(30 seconds): Too many times I see Mercy players tunnel visioning on Rezing a dead team mate. My biggest tip with this is that instead of asking yourself, “can I rez?” ask yourself, “should I rez?” What I mean by that is will the rez give value to the team fight in that situation and worth the 30 second cool down. Some examples when not to rez if the team fight is lost and you go for a rez that essentially gives the enemy team ult charge, or during the time you’re rezing your dead team mate across the map while 2 other team mates die because you weren’t helping them.
- Damage Boost: What I tell people with this is that if everyone on your team is full health or there is no immediate threat then try to damage boost. Also, make a mental list on your damage boost targets on your team like Hanzo, Widow, Pharah, Mcree, Junkrat, etc.
- Valkyrie: Valkyrie’s biggest strength is that it helps turn an even team fight into an advantage for your team. It isn’t great for keeping your team alive from big team wiping ultimates like Grav but instead use it to give your team an overall damage buff. Also if you know that the enemy team has visor or high noon do not fly directly into the air.
- Biotic Grasp: Hardest thing for Moira players is finding the balance between damage and healing. General rule of thumb is that you want to prioritize healing your tanks and if there is no immediate threat then go ahead and damage. Just keep in mind that you are a healer first and that you don’t want to tunnel vision on damaging.
- Damage Orb(10 seconds): Use this to get early ult charge before the match starts and in between team fights. It’s also good to use to punish enemy flankers or squishy targets out of position. If you’re clearly winning the team fight and feel like nobody on your team is in danger then go ahead and send it out but again, DO NOT TUNNEL VISION.
- Healing Orb(10 seconds): Your only way of long range healing. Try to save it for team mates at a distance unless you have a long range healer with you and send it out when you know your team is going to take a lot of damage. Also used as your own source of healing when in trouble and should be used when you’re low on resources.
- Fade(6 seconds): The only means of escape for Moira, this is mostly used defensively to escape enemy ultimates and flankers trying to focus you down. Can sometimes be used aggressively to punish enemy flankers combined with the damage orb but don’t overcommit for the kill too much.
- Coalescence: This ultimates build really fast so don’t be afraid to use this relatively liberally. It only does 140 HPS so try not to use it into grav if the enemy is combining it with burst damage. Think of it as Mercy valk, a support ultimate that gives your team a slight advantage for a short time. Try to send out an orb as well right before using coalescence.
- Orb of Destruction: Generally want to use this to clean up team fights, spamming shields, and dueling enemies if forced in duels.
- Orb Volley: Use this during the start of matches to get early ult charge as well as one shotting enemy targets. Very good to use for flanks for a quick one shot then returning to your team. Also can be used when someone on your team has a stun then you can burst them down with the full volley.
- Orb of Harmony: Prioritize on keeping it on your DPS and your other supports because it only does 30 HPS. It can be used on your Winston or D.va when they initiate dives but most times it should be on your squishy team mates and leave it up to your other support to heal the tanks. Also remember that Zen is a DPS first and a healer second, which means you should be prioritizing and hitting shots and flicking towards team mates that need the healing orb.
- Orb of Discord: This one is hard to explain as this can also come down to your personal playstyle with Zenyatta. For the most part, discord should be on the target that is most likely to take the most damage or that you can see your team is focusing down. Now if you trust your aim with Zenyatta then you can use it to focus down your own targets when you’re on a flank but keep in mind there is a balance between both playstyles.
- Transcendence: Of course use this when the enemy has grav or blade but it is still important to ult track and monitoring the kill feed. Too many times I see Zen’s popping trans when they combine grav and D.va bomb or they pop trans when the team is already 3 down and losing the team fight. Do your best to save trans for the big ultimates but if you are being hard focused then it’s better to trans then to die without using it because in those 7 seconds at least there’s a chance for your team to kill that enemy with the ultimate. Another tip is that trans should never be used to initiate team fights, as well as, the last 1 or 2 seconds of trans should be used to reposition to a safer spot.
- My intention with making these kinds of posts is not to start any controversy but more to give general information to people of all ranks. I understand that some people already know this but keep in mind that, you’re not everyone and there will always be someone who can get something out of this. When I post, I always hope that if 1 person understands a concept then that’s a success, for me, because someone learned something valuable and can apply it to their actual games. The general knowledge of the average Overwatch player is relatively low, not because they don’t try, but because they either are misinformed or they don’t know where to look as Overwatch doesn’t give an in depth tutorial of game sense, communication, and team play. This is just a general overview for supports and I’m aware that each support can have an entire post on their own.
I’m happy to answer any questions regarding anything about Overwatch, just message me on discord: Wackygonz#8489