Tracer is one of Overwatch’s more difficult heroes to pick up and instantly learn. She can be very disruptive and one of the most hard-carry heroes in the game, which is ideal for the lower ranks of competitive play where you can only rely on yourself to win games.
At the higher levels, teamwork becomes a bigger issue, but it is possible to hard-carry out of the lower ranks.
While writing this guide, I am going to assume that you have a basic understanding of Tracer’s abilities. This will be discussing strategies, how to pick targets, and, when & how to engage. If you don’t have a basic understanding of Tracer then watch this video and try her out in quick play.
What Tracer is best used for
Tracer isn’t supposed to initiate engages, but she is best used as an opportunist hero. The moment a hero gets slightly low in health, then Tracer should be there to finish them off. That’s her job. She isn’t there to create space or to get solo kills.
There are two ways to play Tracer: aggressive or passive. She is most effective played aggressively, but it depends on how much space she has to work with. If your tanks are able to split the enemy team up a bit then you should go aggressive. But if you don’t have that space, then you need to play much more with your Recall and leave your tank line in three-second intervals so you can recall to safety, poking and looking for a low health target to pick off.
When to engage and when not to engage
Tracer is one of those heroes where positioning isn’t the most important part of being good with her. Her movement is the single most important aspect. But what separates a good Tracer from a great Tracer is knowing when to engage and who to engage.
Looking at this photo, this Tracer should go for the Genji. Normally, in almost every situation, you want to go for the Mercy. But the Genji is dragon striking so right now he is the biggest threat. If he wasn’t ulting, then Tracer would be gunning for the Mercy.
When looking at an enemy team you are going to be looking for mistakes. Specifically, mistakes in positioning. Tracer acts a lot like a teacher, there to punish mistakes and help the other team learn.
Look for anyone who is too far from their team or is low health. Then blink towards them and eliminate them. Ideally, you should be able to one-clip a full health Mercy or Ana. Working on your aim will help you finish off targets before they can respond to you.
When engaging an enemy, you need to keep in mind how long you have been away from safety. Keep it short. Never for more than three seconds, otherwise, your recall will not help you get to safety.
You should blink into the enemy team, do as much damage as possible, then recall out. You want your recall to bring you back amongst your team, or wherever you started your dive. And that’s exactly how you want to play Tracer: Blink in, Recall out.
Tracer doesn’t require the best game sense, nor does she need the best positioning. If you are more mechanically gifted, then Tracer is a great hero. That being said, there are strategies that every Tracer should know and utilize. The most obvious is knowing the paths and maps. You cannot effectively play Tracer without knowing every single map.
There is only one way to get better at this. Play, play and then play some more. The more you play the more you will get to know the maps. Knowing the maps matters so you can do backward blinks and move around without having to look where you are going. You should never go backward and get stuck somewhere.
Pulse bombing effectively is important too. First off, when throwing a Pulse Bomb, always aim at the feet. This makes the pulse bomb reach its target faster because of its trajectory, allowing your aim to be a bit better with the bomb. Another way to land more Pulse Bombs is to target large heroes. And this isn’t artificially padding your accuracy since Pulse Bomb + a 1 clip will kill nearly every single hero in the game.
But ideally, you want to kill the supports. Every Tracer’s focus should be on the supports and then the DPS. Ignore the tanks, unless they have a game changing ultimate.
Sometimes you have a room full of bad guys that need to die and then you don’t really have to aim. In that case, just toss and run.
How to pick targets
Tracers main strength comes from killing the right target at the right time. Like most DPS’, what separates a good Tracer from a great Tracer is target selection.
As a rule of thumb, you kill supports. Sadly, it isn’t as simple as that.
You have to think about other things such as who has ultimates and who is the biggest threat to your team. Deciding who is the biggest threat can be difficult. You have to have a lot of information on them, and some of this comes down to game sense.
If Mercy has Rez, then you should be gunning for her, otherwise, you have to win the fight twice. But if Zen has his ultimate, then you might want to go for him instead to prevent the Transcendence ultimate.
Watching the pros play Overwatch is the best way to get better at this. Pay attention to who they target and why; understanding why is the key part here. If you don’t understand WHY someone is doing something then you won’t know when to not do it. There are certain situations that you shouldn’t be doing something you saw a pro do. Because they had different information at the time (and because everyone makes mistakes).
Tracer is a hard carry hero. Learning to pick targets is the best way to get out of gold (or lower). But you also need to work on your aim. If you don’t find your aim improving then you may want to focus on another hero. Consider Dva or Winston. Someone whose positioning and cooldown management are the most important aspects of their play.
Heroes like Tracer take a small amount of mechanical skill, but mostly movement skill. Understanding and timing your cool downs will make a big difference.
Remember, put your mouse on their head and click.
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