Watching any pro player take on a specific role in any of the best character-based games can be frustrating. It’s clear there’s so much depth to every character, but when you jump into the game try the same it feels like you’re just not up to scratch.
Well, that’s where we’re here to help. Overwatch is the hottest esport at the moment, so we’re kicking off of ‘play like a pro’ series with this title, and the support character that remains a steadfast inclusion in many teams, professional or not.
So here’s how to play Lucio like a pro.
Lucio – A bit about the hero…
On the surface Lucio is a simple character to get to grips with. His abilities are simple enough to understand and use – and in fact don’t require too much thought – but his impact on a game of Overwatch can be incredible.
A large part of playing Lucio like a pro requires a good amount of observation, and that’s something we’ll touch on as we explain how to use his abilities to the best of their abilities.
One thing to know about Lucio is that, despite being a support character, you’re going to need to find yourself in the middle of the fray. He’s surprisingly deft at close-range combat and while you should never find yourself the brunt of the focus, you will need to stay pretty close to the frontline.
Lucio: Defence or Offence?
Some characters are better suited to one side or the other, but Lucio is one of those few that excels at either. Defensively he can help keep players alive in objectives, while his ultimate gives his team a near-invulnerability for a short while – incredibly important for clutch saves.
Offensively, however, he has his speed boost song, which will make it easy for him and his team to make it to the attack point quicker than the opposition. Not only that, but his group healing means that when everyone is bundled into the objective and trying to take it, a good Lucio can keep his team effective for longer than the opposite.
If anything, perhaps Lucio slightly favours offence for this reason, but honestly – he’s a good pick at any time, on any map.
As with most Overwatch characters, there are two firing modes to his weapon: a long range burst fire and a short range burst that knocks back enemies.
- Lucio’s primary fire actually deals quite a bit of damage, with a burst of four slow-moving pulses that will continue forward until they hit a target. An accurate and considerate player can ruin teams if left unchecked with Lucio.
- The trick is to understand the way it fires. Finding a stationary target even at long range can chip away at their health, but things get incredibly trickier with a moving enemy. Try to predict their movement and fire just ahead of where you expect them to be moving (like you might in a fighter jet sim game), so they run into your shots. Like this Lucio can go toe-to-toe with even the heaviest damage dealers, it just takes more practice to do so.
- If possible, try to close the gap between your enemy – this will limit the time needed for each projectile to move towards its target, and therefore make hitting them much easier. Just remember to never but yourself in harm’s danger for this: you’re still only a support character.
- Lucio’s secondary fire is perhaps one of his most underappreciated abilities by amateur players, not understanding its many uses. It’s a short ranged blast that will knock back any enemies hit by it.
- The obvious use of this ability is for Lucio’s self-survival. He’s weaker than many and doesn’t have many opportunities to escape from danger, but with this you can knock any would be aggressors as you back off to safety somewhere.
But it’s really it’s ability to knock players off edges that can be most tricky to use, In parts of maps where it’s possible to fall to your death – or perhaps just to an out-of-reach area below – keeping an eye out for opportunities to push an enemy or two off with the knockback will be what makes the difference between a pro and Joe Gamer. These opportunities would always be available, so it’s important to keep this ability at the front of your mind.
- Remember: using alternate fire on an enemy using their ultimate can be effective, the likes of Reaper, Genji and McCree all getting disrupted while they are ultimating and giving you and your team a couple of seconds extra to take out the threats.
How to heal effectively with Lucio
Since Lucio’s healing is passive it can sometimes feel like you’re not quite as useful when it comes to healing as the likes of Mercy or Zenyatta, But if this were true, you’d not see him played so often in pro games.
The trick is to understand exactly how it works. For one thing, players can only benefit from the healing effect if they are within both the area of effect and your line of sight. This means if they trundle off behind a wall, you won’t be healing them – and yes it’ll be annoying in a public match, but you’ll need to resolve that.
Try to pick places that optimum, where you can see the majority of your team without exposing yourself too much. You’ll likely find that this means being in among the fray, but not always. The key is to never get too distracted with combat – you should ideally have other players devoted to that – and instead focus your attention always on moving to keep that number beneath your crossfade icon as high as possible.
When it comes to using your Amp It Up ability, the skill here is in careful timing. Using it the moment a player takes damage will mean it’s on cooldown when the fight proper kicks off, and that’ll severely limit your healing.
Of course you should focus on ensuring Critical health players are focused first, Overwatch is a numbers game, after all. In this case, make sure there’s no chance of you losing sight of the player you want to heal before activating, you don’t want it to go to waste.
Aside from that, it’s perhaps better to activate Amp It Up once a fight has been happening for a couple of seconds, take note of when your tanks shields have been used up. This will maximise the efficiency of your healing, ensuring that the added boost is applied when damage is being taken but without letting your team get too low.
Melee is an option
Remember, Lucio is better at close range, and so something you can consider is to use melee rather than your primary fire. It’s counter to a lot of what you might expect from an FPS, least of all playing as a support – but it’s definitely viable.
Since Lucio is so commonly in the front lines, it can often be better to get in close and sweep around, disorientating the target before pummelling them. And if you feel the fight isn’t going your way, blast them away with your alt fire and head back out. Just never do this at the expense of your healing abilities and team-play, that’s absolutely what you’re for.
Using Lucio’s wall run and speed
Of course Lucio’s wall running is one of his more defining features (hold down the jump and he’ll automatically glide across a wall), since it gives him access and speed that most other supports don’t get.
Use this to quickly get around the map, of course, but being agile is what will save your life above all else, so make sure you hop around and find secure places as often as possible. Staying in place will not help you.
And on speed of movement, make sure you’re not one of those Lucio’s that use his Amped speed boost to race ahead of the rest of the team. You should be as quick as your slowest member and where possible you should to group up to allow everyone to benefit from that pacy movement that Lucio is capable of.
When best to use Lucio’s ultimate
Perhaps the most common question in Overwatch is when to use that ultimate ability. Too soon and it could be wasted, but too late – for fear of wasting that time building it up – is not effective either.
Luckily for Lucio there are some quite clear opportunities to look out for:
- Objective points: It might seem obvious, but Lucio’s ultimate is going to help take any objective. The shield it creates practically makes any nearby team-mate invincible, and that is helpful for obvious reasons when you’re all crammed into a single square. Be smart about its use though, don’t just use it when you’re at the objective together. Be observant: is the enemy team attacking? Are crucial members of your team about to die? How close is the capture point to being taken?
- Choke points: Some maps feature areas that are tough to overcome as attackers if the defenders have knuckled down. Lucio’s ultimate can give his team a brief respite, giving them the confidence to roll through the choke point and take out some of the enemy team. For it to be effective, however, it needs to be timed well, so make sure you communicate with your team to let them know the idea.
- Clutch saves: If you spot a particularly skilled player on your team, it’s perhaps time to focus on keeping them alive, even in ignorance to the rest of your team if necessary. If you’ve got one last chance to save the game and it’s a choice between waiting for the rest of your team or keeping this one player as strong as possible, then don’t hesitate to activate it once they approach critical health damage, just remember it does take a brief moment to actually activate the ultimate so you’ll need to take that into consideration.