Tracer can be a surprisingly difficult hero to play, despite being the face of Overwatch. She doesn’t do much damage at a distance and has incredibly low health. As an attack character, she can be tempting to play in an aggressive manner that quickly results in death. When utilized well, however, she can easily be one of the best characters in the game and change the tide of a battle from behind enemy lines.
In the current meta where most teams focus on grouping up with a Bastion behind Reinhardt’s shield, Tracer can quickly dispose of the enemy Mercy, regroup, and then harass the Bastion so he can’t focus on the rest of your team. The tips below focus on a more conservative approach to Tracer. Once you’ve mastered the flow of jumping in and out of danger and focusing on the characters you can actually kill, it’s a lot easier to play in the thick of things while staying alive.
Blink, Blink, Blink!
With only 150 HP, Tracer goes down quick. A well-placed Soldier 76 rocket or a stray glance from the bullet hose that is Bastion can murder you almost instantly. At the same time, you’re an offensive hero, so you need to be in the fight, flitting in and out of battle while doing damage and drawing attention. The trick is to move constantly. Empty your clip and blink away. Empty your next clip and blink away. If the heat gets to be too much, rewind time and wait for your abilities to recharge. One clip from Tracer is generally the same amount of time it will take for an enemy to notice you. If you blink away as soon as it’s spent, the enemy will be looking at a now empty space while you empty the next clip into them.
You’ll also want to move unpredictably. If you’re playing against someone familiar with Tracer’s movement patterns, she can be pretty easy to track. Don’t make it easy on them. If you’re shooting them in the back and you know they’re going to do an 180-degree turn, blink to where they’re back is going to be next. You can also blink in, lay some fire down, blink away and retreat, and then flank them from another angle. The longer you’re able to do this, the longer you’ll be able to stay alive.
Most importantly, never jump into a fight without your abilities full. If you only have one blink and you choose to start a fight with a Reaper, he’s going to catch up and fill you with some hot disposable shotgun. It’s a death wish. The only thing that keeps Tracer alive is her ability to never be in the same place for more than a second.
Tracer has a unique role in the team dynamic: harassing enemies. Soldier 76 can play that role, but not quite as well as Tracer. You want to get behind enemy lines and annoy them as much as possible. Even if you’re not getting kills, you can help your team immensely by distracting opponents and sending them on a wild goose chase after you. It will break their ranks and allow your team to push in while they’re dealing with you. Don’t worry about medals, Overwatch isn’t about that. Worry about your team and how you fit into it. If you don’t have an understanding of team dynamics, you’ll likely die and your team will lose.
Focus On One Enemy At A Time
While distracting the other team, it’s also a good idea not overdo it. If you jump in and wildly spray, hitting numerous baddies, they’re all going to turn and stomp you. If you focus on one character repeatedly though, chances are the other members of their team either won’t notice you or won’t care. Often, they will think it’s in their best interest to take out the Reinhart and Bastion blocking a choke point rather than worry about a Tracer. Focusing on one character also gives you the chance to kill them. If you divide the damage up between multiple people, the healer can quickly undo everything you’ve done while the rest of their team hunts you down, gives you some cement boots, and drops you into the Hanamura River.
Kill The Squishies
While you’re focusing on one enemy at a time, don’t overstep your bounds. Tracer battling Reinhart or Winston solo is a horrible idea, and it’s going to earn you a quick death. If you go after someone who has only 200 health, however, you can dispose of them quickly. If you take out the right character, such as the healer, you can alter the tide of the fight. Fighting the tanks is fine in the company of your team, but you’ll be more effective if you can pick off the squishies one by one as your heartier teammates handle the others.
Always Heal Yourself
Much like the concept behind blinking every time you finish your clip, you also need to be constantly healing. Know where the health packs are, and as soon as you take any damage, rewind time or head for health. With 150 HP there is no room for walking around with any damage on you. Often one hit from the opposing team (if it doesn’t kill you) will drop you to between 70 and 120 HP. At that point, any character can basically blow in your direction and you’ll crumble.
Pump Up Your Sensitivity
Tracer is special because she’s fast. If you’re playing at default sensitivity, you’re immediately doing yourself a disservice. While you may be able to blink quickly, it will take far longer than needed to find your target on the other side. Raising your horizontal to 100 and vertical between 75 to 100 will put you in a much better place and also make a much more fun and dynamic match for you. If you feel that setting is too high, spend some time in practice matches to get a feel for aiming at heightened sensitivity. The payoff will be well worth it and make you that much more annoying. This trick holds true for pretty much all heroes, but especially Tracer.
Stay Away From Anyone Who Can Hinder Your Movement
Speaking of speed, you also need to be wary of anyone that can strip that speed away from you. Characters like McCree and Mei are natural Tracer counters as they can stop you where you stand and quickly deliver the killing blow. Sombra is incredibly dangerous as well. A hacked Tracer is a useless Tracer.
Be Thoughtful With Your Pulse Bomb
Tracer’s ultimate sucks. It’s easily the worst and most short-lived in the game. Not only is the radius tiny, but the damage it deals can’t even take out a Bastion or Reinhart in one hit, whereas a Hanzo or D.Va ult can decimate a whole team in seconds. There doesn’t appear to be any change on the horizon though, so suck it up and use it as well as you can. Pulse Bomb works best when combined with ultimate abilities that group the opposing team into one place. Zarya’s ultimate is a great combo as you can drop the bomb on a group of enemies all at once. D.Va’s ultimate can work similarly as well. When everyone runs behind cover, often grouping together. Blink in, drop your bomb and blink out. This leaves the team between a bomb and a bomb.
Dropping a pulse bomb on a Bastion in the current meta can be a good idea too, but make sure your team knows you’re about to do it so they can deliver some extra damage to drop him (or that you’re ready to shoot him a few times to get him over that death hump). There’s only a brief window of opportunity before he heals himself to undo your damage.
If all else fails, target a squishy or character with low health. That way, you’ll at least get a kill instead of having to watch a Roadhog suck down some yellow juice before hooking your face off.
Tracer can be one of the most effective heroes, both on attack and defense. She can also be one of the most fun characters to play thanks to her speed and time travel mechanics. Let us know in the comments below if this guide was helpful or if you have any tips or Tracer stories of your own.