Overwatch support hero Lúcio is one of the most versatile healers in Blizzard’s wildly popular FPS. With his crossfade abilities providing a mix (geddit?) of speed and AOE heals, each meta the game has seen so far has almost always included our favourite Brazilian DJ.
His initial reveal as the newest playable character in Heroes of the Storm during the PTR phase was met some initial scepticism for being too outside the box for the team-based brawler/MOBA hybrid, almost in the same way Tracer was. Both Lúcio and Tracer share the ability to move while firing while other characters must usually be grounded to perform them.
Having played around with him in public games when he was released into the wild on the 15th of February, I have had nothing but good times while wall riding, skating about and mostly causing speed-based escapes and grief for my opponents. The biggest draw for him is the ability to provide AOE heals to himself and surrounding teammates. While only a small portion of health is added over time, the ability to provide it on such a large scale is a game changer when engaging in team fights.
When coupled with a mix of his W ability Crossfade that switches between these AOE heals and providing surrounding allies with a 15% speed boost in movement, I found a huge increase in survivability during big fights. His E ability Amp It Up Raises Lúcio’s Crossfade track volume for 3 seconds, amping Speed Boost to 45% increased Movement Speed, and significantly increasing the Healing rate of Healing Boost. Playing with an Illidan and Tracer we managed to storm into our enemies with the force of a speeding train; enemies simply could not outrun us with the mix of speed and constant heals. I also found him most effective alongside tanks, with backup from flanking assassins like Valeera and Tracer who could dish out that final DMG without worrying too much about dying as I zipped around them.
While this may sound like an easy thing to play, he is actually a lot more intricate than you might think. Just like in the main Overwatch game, the timing of heals and speed can be crucial in moments when allies are trying to aim (a sudden speed boost can throw them off). Obviously this is not as apparent in Heroes of The Storm, but I did find myself keeping my W cross-faded on the heal boost the majority of the time unless we were engaging in a team fight or a 2v2 or 3v3.
These AOE heals, while not overpowered, certainly made our three-man team feel near unstoppable in a way I haven’t experienced, even with Lt. Morales. In the five games we played, we won every match playing as a Varian, Ragnaros and Lúcio. Actually, simply trailing along with Varian who would use the Glory To The Alliance build (basically a crazy tank build) we simply couldn’t die. Coupled with his ability Banner of Ironforge (which provides 25 armour to surrounding allies and reduces 25% damage), the health bars just kept staying up as I whizzed around blasting sound waves from a distance and keeping my AOE heals up. The fact that Lúcio can move while he shoots was incredibly satisfying and apart from some ridiculously skilled Chromie players I was left pretty much untouched to let my team cause mayhem.
His Q ability Soundwave also provided some great chances for kills as well, using the speed boost to flank a low health escaping hero and knock them back into my team for insta-death. Switching back and forth with W while I was solo was as much of a deterrent as it was an escape route to get in and get out.
And then we have his ultimate R abilities Sound Barrier and Reverse Amp. With the barrier almost identical to how it works in Overwatch, giving allies a huge shield boost that decays over 6 seconds, this was another game changer during team fights, especially around forts and the enemy Nexus when coupled with the constant heals and boosts from his E. The Reverse Amp is a more offensive ability providing either a slowdown to opponents or the heals of his W to inflict damage as well.
With such a strong impact and near endless heals as long as he grouped up, I found myself in the score screen MVP list all five games we played with a focus on my team’s healing.
The AOE healing is a game changer, and as he evolves in the wild and players find new strategies and synchronistic heroes for him it will be interesting to see just how viable he will be on the pro scene. But for now, as we still experiment and break it down, Lúcio may be my favourite current hero in the game.
Can’t stop won’t stop!