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Game Guide: How to Play Tracer
Tracer is iconic. She is the face of Overwatch. She’s fast, highly mobile and just plain cool. Who wouldn’t want to play as Tracer? That being said, she is not one of the easiest heroes to pick up; but she can be very rewarding if you can get the hang of her. A good Tracer will harass the enemy team, sow confusion on the battlefield and keep enemies guessing where she’ll pop up next.
Overview and Abilities
Hero Type: Offense damage hero
Difficulty: 2 Stars (medium difficulty)
Pulse Pistols (Left Click Ability): Tracer rapid-fires both of her pistols.
Blink (Shift or Right Click Ability): Tracer zips horizontally through space in the direction she’s moving and reappears several yards away. She stores up to three charges of the blink ability and generates more every few seconds.
Recall (E Ability): Tracer bounds backwards in time, returning her health, ammo and position on the map to precisely where they were a few seconds before.
Pulse Bomb (Ultimate Ability): Tracer lobs a large bomb that adheres to any surface or unfortunate opponent it lands on. After a brief delay, the bomb explodes, dealing high damage to all enemies within its blast radius.
Tracer’s primary weapon is her Pulse Pistols. These fire very quickly and deal high damage at close range. Pulse Pistols are best used when you can get in close and unload the entire clip on the enemy. Reload time is also very short–a single second–so you can often fire a second clip at the enemy and get out before they’ve had a chance to react. While the Pulse Pistols do drop damage the farther you are from the enemy, they are also useful for taking out turrets or creating a distraction.
Tracer’s second ability is Blink, which allows her to move around very quickly. Blink has a maximum of 3 charges, and each charge takes 3-seconds to regenerate. Blink is used to get in close and harass opponents or to move quickly through enemy territory. You should always leave a charge free when moving into melee as a way to escape. Often a single charge is enough to get in the action, leaving two charges to escape when things go south. Tracer is a little squishy, only having 150 health due to her mobility, so you should always try to evade as soon as you start taking damage.
Recall is another escape option, allowing you to quickly get out of a situation that is no longer safe for Tracer. Recall will move Tracer back to where she was 3-seconds previously, restoring her health and ammo to what it was at that time. It can also act as a heal when caught up in a one-on-one battle with an enemy. If you time it correctly, it basically acts as a heal for the damage taken during that time, allowing you to keep the fight going and continue the assault.
Tracer’s Ultimate Ability is Pulse Bomb, a powerful explosive that does more damage the closer your opponents are to the center of the blast radius. It will stick to both objects and players, dealing the full damage to any player it gets stuck on. One clever use of Pulse Bomb is darting behind enemy lines with Blink, dropping the bomb, and then using Recall to swiftly escape. If enemies notice Pulse Bomb, they can run away from it, so it’s best used when stuck to an enemy player or in an area where enemies cannot easily escape. Beware though, Tracer can take damage from her own bomb if she’s still close when it goes off. Fortunately, teammates are immune to its damage. But the fuse is short (only 1-second) so make sure you get out of range pronto. A Blink will usually do the trick.
Tracer’s main advantages are burst damage, mobility, and the aspect of surprise. Blink and Recall give her amazing mobility, allowing her to cross distances monitored by the enemy and sneak up on unsuspecting players. Her burst damage is highest when she gets in close range and, as mentioned earlier, she can often escape before enemies can react. She can also handle herself in one-on-one encounters, especially by using Recall.
Tracer is most effective when she’s flanking. She can get behind enemy lines to harass players and interrupt their defenses. If she’s annoying enough, the team will be distracted and start to focus on her while the rest of your team strategically moves in.
Tracer has low base health so she is heavily dependent on her mobility to get in and out of situations. If she’s caught off-guard or her escape is stymied, she will quickly go down. Tracer needs to be in close-range to be the most effective, and this comes with great risk. She offers very little utility or group support and can suffer against an organized team and multiple enemies.
Tracer matches up well against:
Tracer is potent against any hero she can outflank. These slower moving heroes can’t get out of her line of fire fast enough as she zips around the map. Her main strength lies in moving faster than the enemy and working behind them to catch them off guard. She’s particularly effective against Reinhardt since she can Blink past his shield, throw a Pulse Bomb and then Recall or Blink to safety.
Tracer needs to watch out for:
Tracer is very vulnerable to crowd control abilities since Blink doesn’t cross obstacles or remove snares. Tracer has the lowest health of all the Heroes, so getting trapped is her worst nightmare. A single head-shot can be devastating. Tracer is also vulnerable to enemies in the air. Her Blink only moves her horizontally, so it can be extremely difficult to avoid a flying enemy. Traps and turrets can also be deadly. They can be easily overlooked in the heat of battle and any misstep will be punishing to her already low health.
Tracer does particularly well on control maps due to her mobility and burst. When players are spread out to take points, Tracer can easily blink around the map to distract and annoy enemies. Because of these strengths, she can be useful in breaking up the clutter of enemies guarding the point. She can dole damage to the entire enemy team with quick hit-and-run attacks or draw a single enemy out in the open to eliminate them. This makes it easier for her team to take over the point. Tracer can also use her extreme mobility to capture points early.
Strategy and Tips
Tracer is great at wearing down the enemy team and picking off opponents one-by-one. Blink is useful for getting around the map. Recall can get you out of a bad situation, restore your health and get rid of some enemy debuffs.
The key to Tracer is to constantly be moving so that the enemy remains confused about your exact whereabouts. If they know where you are, they can kill you. Blink can be used in any horizontal direction so use it to disorient the enemy. Don’t waste your movement, but don’t be afraid to use it either. Always keep an escape route so you’re never pinned down.
Tracer can be a difficult Hero to play and master, but she’s very enjoyable once you do. Being creative and using her abilities correctly can make you a virtual nightmare for the enemy team.