Hello everyone Dibz here and today I have a Tracer guide for you. I will be going over mechanics that are crucial to playing an at least decent Tracer and some things that I feel are essential to improving your play. I will go over some of her counters, and what you should do if you were to encounter them 1 on 1. Please note that this video was made during Overwatch Beta, some of her numbers may have changed since then for balance – but I believe that her overall playstyle, strategy, and techniques will still be the same.
So let’s quickly go over her moves before we dive in. Her left mouse button are her dual pistols, these are most effective at close-range and their widespread make long-range damage very minimal. Her E ability is called Recall, and when she teleports back to the location she was at 3 seconds ago – this is used to escape and also heal. Her shift ability is called Blink. It teleports her in the direction she is moving, and has 3 charges. I actually created an alternate binding for this and made it my right-click, because my right-hand reacts more quickly and the distance to push the button is shorter. Give it a shot – it may help you. Lastly, her ultimate is a sticky bomb that deals 400 damage in a small radius that you can stick on a target. The damage decreases away from the center of the blast waves – so that means if you stick it on anyone other than a tank it will kill them in 1 shot.
So now that we know all the basic moves of Tracer, let’s talk about mechanics. The most important part of her is aiming – you want to be able to get headshots whenever you can, so you want to aim either for the neck or the head. They deal twice as much damage and with good aim you can pretty much unload a clip into a non-tank and kill them. You can also do a lot of damage to tanks as well, it will take a little longer and it is a little bit more difficult but it is possible. You also want to get used to aiming with your melee – melee hits do only 25 damage but if they’re low you can pretty much finish them off.
Know the map – you want to know all the secret routes to maps in order to get behind the enemy without being seen. The element of surprise is what makes Tracer so powerful, so knowing all the quarters and map layouts are super important for not only engaging an opponent, but also escaping. You want to use these routes as much as possible to your advantage. Knowledge of the map also means knowing the locations of health-packs – because of Tracers low-health pool it is even more important to be able to quickly get to the nearest health-pack incase your health gets low. Not only that, but stealing health-packs before an opponent gets to them is also a plus, and very annoying to them. Know the distance of your blink – and how many it takes to get to a certain spot. This is important because it allows you to estimate how far you can go without being seen by your opponent. The last thing you want to do is blink and not go far enough through an open area and be an easy target – that is if you plan to be sneaky. It’s also very important to help you maneuver. When using blink do not limit yourself to blinking in the direction she is facing – Tracer blinks in the direction she is moving, so you can actually blink side-to-side and backwards without looking in those directions. This works diagonally as well.
In combination with the above, learn to readjust your aim automatically when you blink. If you blink left, change your aim slightly to the right. If you blink right, change your aim slightly to the left. You want to be able to do this automatically without actually thinking about it. It seems very trivial, but it actually helps a lot if you get the muscle memory down without having to react to what you see on the screen. Remember, if you are closer to your target you will have to turn more aggressively, and less so when you’re further away. This is important because every second you use to readjust counts as bullets and that could have been put into your target. And automatically turning in that general direction makes aiming easier for you to get those headshots. Unless you are blinking straight forwards or backwards – try not to shoot while you’re blinking. You should use this time while blinking instead to reload, it can be tough to readjust your aim while blinking and by the time you readjust you will be out of ammo and reloading. Instead blink while reloading, and adjust your aim in the mean-time – and then unload your next clip.
Keep track of your cooldowns before going into a situation – make sure you have enough blinks to do what you want to do. For example if recall is on cooldown, you can either use two blinks to get in close, use your ultimate, and use another blink to get out. Or, if it isn’t on cooldown you can use 3 blinks to get in closer, use your ultimate, and then recall out instead. This is important because you do not want to get into a situation in which you cannot escape from. You always want to be sure that you have an escape route. While keeping track of your blinks, try to always blink towards an area with an escape route nearby, unless you are sure that you are going to recall out. You don’t want to blink 3 times into a room without another entrance and be stuck.
Listen actively – you want to be able to hear what is going on around you, for people using certain abilities to know if they’re on cooldown or not. For example – you don’t see a Roadhog but you hear him use his hook nearby, which has a 6 second cooldown. You can use this opportunity to go in on him and get some free damage. This also means that you should know the general cooldown timers for each hero. This allows you to know when to jump in on opponents when ultimates are being used, and when you should find cover.
Take enemy movement and attacks/shots – this includes hooks, flashes, rockets, and more. Most of the time when a McCree and Roadhog first see you, they will instantly flash and hook you. Listening to see if they use their cooldowns can help as well. Also, when predicting shots be wary of your surroundings when doing so. Of course this requires you to again know the maps. You don’t want to be blinking into walls – if you can’t blink into the sides because you’re in a small corridor its safer to blink forward or backwards twice to avoid hooks or flashes. You would want to blink sideways though if you can – I will go into further detail later on this. However, if you get stunned or hooked and wish to recall out of it, just hold down the E button instead of spamming and timing it. It will get you out as fast as possible. Use recall effectively – you want to use recall to heal and escape, especially if you’re at low health. If you had more health 3 seconds ago using recall with refund that life lost along with adding to any additional health you gain. Use recall with your ultimate to escape tight spots – especially when your blink is on cooldown. But, you want to be sure to remember where you were 3 seconds ago, and whether or not recalling back would be safe and efficient.
Pay attention to traps and turret locations – this one is hard and requires a lot of attention because you’re moving so fast. But it helps a lot if you can avoid the traps because traps by Junkrat = death. You can blink over them but note that if you get stuck on one you cannot recall while in trap. Also avoiding turrets which have 100% accuracy can save you a death, or two, or three. Build up your ultimate as soon as possible – this can be done easily on tanks. If no one else is around aiming for the tank allows you to build up your ultimate the fastest as you are able to put up more damage on higher-hp targets. Note that attacking Zaryas bubble does not give you ultimate charge – but it boosts her damage in return. Go for weak targets and healers – you’re considered a harassing hero, you want to finish off any weak targets if they try to escape and your mobility allows you to mistake. Your teammates sometimes can’t chase, so make use of your mobility.
When using your ultimate aim for groups, Reinhardt, or Healers. I say Reinhardt because people tend to group up behind his shield, making him a good ultimate sticky target. It requires one ultimate plus some headshots to kill tanks. Also, when dealing with Reinhardt if hes weak run up to him past his shield if he’s not crowded, and shoot him. He will either drop his shield to hit you, or he will spin in circles allowing you to find his weak spot. Just be annoying to him, and blink away when he drops his shield.
Kill turrets when possible – this allows your team to push through a location if you’re on offensive more easily without having to deal with them. If a turret is level one, you can kill it quickly with your dual pistols as long as you have cover to run back too. If Tor is there, use your ultimate on the sentry and you will most likely kill him. It takes one ultimate to kill a level 1 turret, and for a level 2 or higher it takes an ultimate and some shots. If your team has a Pharah or a Junkrat let them take care of it instead, especially if its level two or higher.
Do not reveal yourself unless you actually have too – blinking and shooting from far distance reveals that you’re around, and which direction you are coming from. You don’t want your opponents to know where you are until you are already shooting at them from close range. In face-to-face combats when they know where you are, try to stay away from: Junkrat, Mei, McCree, Pharah, Winston, and Symmetra. However, if you need to fight any of these, some require strategy and here is how to do it.
Versus Mei –
Use recall when you’re about to be frozen by her ice gun. It allows you to reset the freezer timer and you can either try to finish her off or run away after doing so. If she iceblocks after you recall, blink behind her right as she comes out of the block to make her turn around or possibly waste an ice wall. You can also try to stay out of range of her snow-gun so you can avoid being frozen, but still be able to DPS her down.
Versus Roadhog –
Around 80% of the time when Roadhog sees you he will try to hook you right away. Try to make it a habit to try and blink once sideways or behind him, around half a second after seeing him or after he sees you. It has a 6 second cooldown, so keep that in mind that if you dodge the hook initially you will have 6 seconds to dps him.
Versus McCree –
Same as Roadhog, McCree often flashes you on sight. If you manage to dodge his flash, keep an eye for when he rolls. He will typically flash, fan the hammer, roll, and then fan the hammer again after his roll. If you get hit by his flash, hold E for recall or spam blink to get away. If you survive, wait for him to roll, and blink away as he rolls because he will fan the hammer again very likely. Reengage after he fans the hammer after his roll, and you can probably take him out.
Versus Junkrat –
Avoid his traps by keeping an eye out. Note that you can also destroy them by unloading your pistols on them if you see one. Also, make him spin around a lot as it cuts the amount of grenades that could explode in your face in half. Also, whenever you get hit by Junkrats degination bomb, always use your recall as a reaction if its not on cooldown. This is because you’re an easy target in the air, and also it does a lot of damage to you and you want to regain your health as long as possible. Lastly, don’t forget he drops grenades after he dies.
Versus Pharah –
If she’s on the ground just try to DPS her down as soon as possible. If she gets into the air, try to blink right beneath her – it’s harder for her to hit you and aim at her when you’re right below her. She has to spin around and her aim can only go so far below her.
Versus other Tracers –
This one is all about aim, and keeping track of their blinks versus your blinks. Whoever blinks and recalls first has the technical disadvantage – they have a less chance to escape and thus overall a less pool of life. If you manage to make your opponent blink and recall first, you’re ahead. But if their aim is better than yours, they can kill you instantly. Try and make yourself hard to hit by blinking diagnally in different directions – and not using them all at once. Recall when you are low, and stall to gain back your blink charges. If you can get around a wall, wait and prefire the wall when they show to chase you.
Versus Winston –
When he pops his bubble try to stay away from him, try and lure him out of his bubble and then pick at him if he comes out of the bubble. If he stays in his bubble, don’t go near him – wait for him to die out and then start shooting him. Do not go near him at all costs unless he is very low and you know you can kill him before he kills you once his shield is up. You cannot out-dps him in post-combat.
Versus Symmetra –
The only tip I really have against her is to catch her away from her Sentries. Once you have discovered her location, or the location of her Sentries, try and get her when shes not near them. They are most of the DPS she can put out – however her channeling basic attack can still kill you and follows you if she aims in your general location. So make sure to take her out quickly.
Versus Zenyatta –
He isn’t a direct counter to you but he can track you with an orb of Discord and easily line up an attack when you come around a corner. Make sure that if you get it on you to wait until it wears off. Currently it is 3 seconds away from his sight before you can jump in again, or else he will be able to predict your movements and be able to hit you once you come in with an increased damage buff as well.
Versus Zarya –
Try not to attack her when she has her bubble up on herself, or her bubble on a team-mate. This increases her damage by a percentage and if she is fully charged she can kill you very fast. Just avoid that and DPS her down when her bubble is down and you will be fine.
Going against everyone else is pretty self-explanatory. The general thing you need to realize is to aim for the neck/head and stay mobile. Try to blink unpredictably and change it up in the middle of a fight to make your enemy spin around and lose accuracy. This is the core and most important part to playing Tracer well – be annoying to your opponent and you will do just fine.