Mercy Mini Guide: You’re Using Her Staff Wrong

Hi Overwatch University

I’m Temporal, a former top contenders coach turned content creator / coach for hire, and today I wanted to release a mini guide. Mini guides are not meant to be full in-depth reviews of how a hero works or how to play them from top to bottom. Instead they’re a short video where I go over 2-3 things for a specific hero that I see messed up very regularly when reviewing players and are fairly easy to fix. In essence while we can’t know exactly what is the most important thing for any individual player to work on to make the most gains without reviewing them, we can pick topics that are most likely to provide the most impact for the least invested effort for the most people. https://youtu.be/D7izar4x1xw

For Mercy specifically that’s going to break down to beam priority and Valkyrie. The most important thing for getting Mercy’s staff usage correct is understanding that Mercy’s heals are kind of meh. She’s not terrible as a healer, but in a game that has Ana, Moira, and Bap, if you’re bringing her to the game in order to do lots of healing, you’re picking wrong. Don’t get me wrong, her healing is pretty good for someone who’s not a heavy healer, but if you are defaulting to healing on her you are not maximizing her value.

With Mercy’s staff you need to mentally default to damage boosting a friendly who is in position to, and able to do damage. Yes she has hero’s that she prefers too boost, Ashe, Echo, Pharah, Zen and heroes that she likes less, Rein, Reaper, Mei, Moira, but a swinging Rein, that has relatively safe positioning available to her is still more valuable to boost than a reloading Ashe, or an Echo that is still 2-3 seconds from joining the fight. Ultimately, it’s the ability to do damage that you’re boosting not a specific hero. (Though if heroes that make good boost targets for you, either because of break points or the positioning they regularly allow you to take, play aggressively enough to warrant the boost that’s the best)

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So if I’m telling you to mentally default to damage boosting, when should you break that default and heal? It’s certainly not whenever someone is missing health, though we’ve all played with Mercys who did that. Instead I’ve detailed 4 ‘conditions’ that will break you out of damage boosting. Those are, triage, out of combat, bailing out your partner support, and weaving. Triage does not mean someone is missing 10% of their health, instead it means your healing someone up to a level where your concern over them getting instantly deleted is lowered. If you’re in a 2v1 or a 2v2 that triage threshold that you need to heal someone up to will be lower than if 6 people are looking at the person you’re staffing. If you’re tracking enemy cd’s properly and know that enemy Genji doesn’t have dash, the threshold that you triage heal Ashe up to will be lower than it would be if Genji still had dash. So obviously you have to read the situation in real time to truly get good at this, but for starters expect to triage dps heroes up to 60-80% before swapping back to blue beam. Tanks you’re usually only going to triage up to 30 or 40%. You might go a little higher if they have 6 sets of eyeballs focused on them at the moment, or if you don’t have a Moira, Bap, or Ana as your partner support, but even if you’re paired with say a Zen you’re not going to heal a Rein up to 100% while combat is fully on as the opportunity cost of not boosting your well positioned and ready about to mine Echo, to win the fight faster is simply too high.

Moving onto out of combat healing, well that’s pretty self explanatory. You can heal people between fights. Especially if there is nothing meaningful to blue beam. Like sure it would be great to beam our junk who is spaming nades down a flank to deter staging, but we’ll prioritize getting our team healed back up to 100% over that, at least until it’s clear to us that a Tracer is actually trying to move their way up that flank. Similarly under this category we do want to heal people that are accessible to us and have removed themselves form combat. If someone isn’t contributing to the fight, yes you do want to get them back into the fight rather than make them find a health pack, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you heal them to full, triage them to a point where they can contribute and then let them get more health back either from your other support when they have time or from weaving.


Next up we of course will break off to heal our partner support. Most supports either can’t actively heal themselves or need to use a CD to do so. Rather than let our Ana spend her nade self healing, it’s cheaper to give up some damage boost in favor of getting her back to a less vulnerable state. The same is true of all of our potential partner supports CDs, as well as Zen who can’t heal himself outside of waiting for shields to recover (or ulting I suppose)

Finally, we have weaving. Some of you are probably wondering how we ever expect our team to get healed to full in combat if we only ever triage or heal the other support. The answer to this is twofold. First, we’re an *offensive support* that is looking to win fights fast so we don’t care. Our ability to help teammates hit damage break points and increase damage in general to get opponents to 0 health where they then can’t be caught back up on healing is our game. We can’t compete in healing with the heavy healers so we have to instead force bursts to 0 (Note that we’re the only support that can bring people back from 0 hp). The second answer to that question though is that people aren’t shooting 100% of the time. People hit reloads, they use cover, weapons have mandatory delays between shots, opponents out range heroes we’re boosting. Now sometimes the answer to these things happening is GA over to another teammate and boost them, but repositioning takes time as well, and frequently what we’ll find ourselves doing instead is min maxing and healing while our teammate literally can’t be doing damage if we don’t have another teammate in immediate beam range.

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Okay Temporal that’s a lot about beam priority, what about Valkyrie? Good question, but I’m afraid explaining one concept in depth (even if it is the more challenging one) is where the teaser ends. Take a look at the video to get more detail on the beam use and to learn about Valk usage. Hope you enjoy: https://youtu.be/D7izar4x1xw

Mini Guide: https://youtu.be/D7izar4x1xw

Discord: https://discord.gg/QRte5vyEyb


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