Overwatch's Mercy: A Resurrect Primer
Mon 28th Nov 2016 - 9:53am
Greetings, Konduit here. Today we're going deep on Resurrect, discussing the concepts and principles of its usage, macro strategies that will help you get great Rezzes off, common roadblocks to effectively using Rez (along with how to work around them), and more. This is the third installment in the "Overwatch's Mercy" series - check out the previous articles on understanding Mercy's gameplay conceptually and positioning/evasion if you're looking for some more Mercy info! But without further ado, buckle up - it's time to talk Rez.
When discussing Mercy's ultimate, it's important to really understand the power level of Resurrect - this is discussed a bit in the conceptual primer, but long story short: Resurrect is absolutely game-changing, and your opponent's playstyles will often warp noticeably in an effort to play around it. That's more or a less a euphemism for: "your opponents will often relentlessly hunt you down to disrupt your Rez." As Mercy, you're a high-priority focus target, perhaps even more so than other supports... it's critical that you keep yourself safe in order to successfully use your ultimate. With this in mind, let's get into Resurrect's principal applications and uses.
Principles of Usage
Broadly, there are two types of Mercy Rezzes as I've heard of them: the 'Tempo' rez and the 'Huge' rez (or even, 'Monster Rez' as I've read on Reddit). Generally speaking, every usage of Resurrect will fall into one of these two categories (this was one of the first posts I read on the subject - check it out, it's a great read). Tempo rezzes create 'tempo', i.e. temporary advantage - this often involves reviving just one or two members of your team to continue a push or keep up an assault. Huge rezzes are just that - massive revives after multiple members of your team have been wiped. I'd consider any 3+ rez as a huge rez; sometimes 3 members can be on the borderline between 'tempo' and 'huge' depending on the context, but 4+ is a huge rez for sure. Above two members, you're no longer expending your ultimate for a temporary edge, but rather creating an absolute numbers advantage or at the very least, returning the battle to parity.
There are numerous, numerous factors and situations which will influence your decision on whether to go for a Resurrect - too many to really detail in just one article. I'll go over some of these, certainly; but primarily, I want to get you thinking about the reasons to use or hold Rez, understanding why you're making the decision, and act quickly once you've made your final judgement. To begin, here are some of the primary questions/considerations that go through my mind (almost subconsciously) when I'm presented with a teammate or teammates that have gone down:
- Does this Rez have a good chance of winning us the ensuing fight?
- More specifically, will we be able to reliably secure/defend the objective after the Rez?
- Do I have the positioning to get in to the area (to get off the Rez) without getting picked off beforehand or dying? Is getting to the Rez location a big risk in and of itself?
Here are some of the considerations that really incentivize me to Rez:
- A teammate (or teammates) has his/her ultimate ready
- The remaining members of the other team are weak and/or are disadvantaged in combat vs the teammates I'm going to revive
- The ally/allies that I'm considering reviving will arrive back at the objective slowly (they lack movement speed/mobility options)
- In terms of tempo rezzes, reviving a main tank (e.g. Reinhardt) will allow us to continue a push
- We're low on time and need to have everyone we can to make a play
This is a short list, but these points broadly encompass most of the things that you need to think about. Interestingly, the answer to many of these questions might be "yes", especially with regards to first set of bullet points... Resurrect is simply so powerful that reviving fallen allies will often just turn the fight around. There are many situations where this isn't the case though! The key nuances and true skill-testing elements arise when thinking about and evaluating each of these points in opaque teamfight situations where things aren't so clear-cut (these come up all the time). Let's examine the first point: "Does this Rez have a good chance of winning us the ensuing fight?" A general answer to this question would be nebulous at best... There are so many factors that influence the 'flow' of a fight, and it's really something that will come down to your own game sense. Do you 'feel' that your team is in a good spot to turn the tide if you rez a few members?
Again, it really boils down to your game sense and ability to evaluate a situation quickly. Using Rez is so circumstantial that I'm hesitant to provide a list of hard-and-fast rules (and it's difficult for me to create such a list, though I may provide further guidelines in the future); instead, I hope to provide some insight into analyzing and thinking about Resurrect situations so that you can make the key judgement calls independently. My advice is simply to practice. It's a bit cliche and probably not the secret you're hoping for, but you'll get better at determining if, when, and how you should rez in a particular situation by gaining experience. Try the Rez and take note of whether it works or fails - then apply this knowledge moving forward in similar situations. Keep honing and refining your game sense through trial and error - bounce ideas off your friends and teammates. There are very few 'general' situations where I can say with absolute confidence, "Yes you should use Rez here." There have been times where my team members all died together in a neat pile - I got off the massive 5-man Resurrect, but then we promptly proceeded to get re-wiped by the enemy team's remaining ultimates. You should always, always go for 5-man Rezzes, right? Wrong! If you've had a really bad teamfight and the enemy team still has Zarya Graviton left in reserve after getting a team kill, reviving your squad in a nice clump can be ineffective, and maybe even counterproductive (trading your Rez for their Graviton, but letting the enemy team recharge their ultimates). Examining this scenario, the correct line of play would likely be to recognize that they enemy team still has resources left in the bank and then disengage, holding Rez and waiting for a better spot to use it. This is extremely counterintuitive (in most situations, yes, you should go for the 5 man Rez!), but it's an interesting case that illustrates the following principle: Rez usage is highly, highly situational. There aren't 'global rules', insomuch as general guidelines. Think about the current situation, and make the best call you can given the information you have.
Long story short, it's very situational when to use Rez... but! There are several small tips I can give you - you'll find them in the sections below (and in my future articles on Mercy, I'm sure more tips will come to me). Keep in mind the base principles listed above, and let those questions drive your thinking and analysis on a given teamfight.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Resurrect is a complex ultimate, both with regards to the decision-making skill required in choosing when to pull the trigger on it and in the execution of the revive itself (moving to get close to your fallen teammates, etc.). I've listed a few common errors and roadblocks to watch out for in your quest to get that Rez off:
- Be careful not to Rez too early, especially when enemy channeled abilities/ultis are still being popped. If your team gets instantly wiped in a Zarya Graviton, wait a little bit, then go in for a Rez. You have a full 10 seconds on your allies' death timers (12 seconds during overtime) - this sounds short but is actually a generous window to Resurrect a team member. Take your time.
- Make sure you can Resurrect safely. Attempting to go in for the rez while walking through the enemy team is extremely risky. If you die before getting your ultimate off, your team has suffered a crushing defeat. The best way to Rez is to Guardian Angel into the Rez area, rather than walking in. Sometimes, you will have to walk up and then GA (act as quickly as you can in these situations, minimize the amount of time the enemy has to shoot at you), but ideally you want to orchestrate situations and/or control your positioning such that you can cleanly get a Rez off without dying en route. Sometimes this involves waiting, stationary, behind a wall to get your ultimate off!
- Hold your ultimate if it does not have a decent chance of winning you the fight. This is a big one for me, and one that took me a long time to learn. For example, there will be situations where your team has died, but your teammates' death markers are spread out all across the battlefield: from any given Rez position, you'll only be able to revive at max 2-3 of your team members (the enemy team might still have 5 or even 6 members alive). I've even encountered teamfights where I can cleanly rez 3-4 people in a group, but the enemy team had established such a dominant position around my group of fallen teammates that rezzing would just lead to my team getting re-wiped. It is very tempting to Rez in situations like this...the thought process is often "I HAVE to use my ultimate here, otherwise I'll just have not used it this fight - it'll be a waste!" The key, when faced with this thought, is to calmly and objectively evaluate the situation and determine whether or not you'll have a better chance of winning the game if you save your ultimate for the next fight. The Resurrect in the present is might have a high likelihood to go poorly, but future Rezzes have a better chance of succeeding. Naturally, if you're in a make-or-break situation and need to make a play, you can't wait for the 'perfect' ultimate - take what you can get and make the best play you can given the situation. But, remember that in many circumstances you can wait for better spots for a more impactful ultimate - sometimes within the duration of the same fight! It's similar to DPS ultimates in this regard - don't fire it off as soon as you can, wait for a good spot. Be patient - you have more time than you think.
- Don't get caught in the enemy ultimates you plan to Rez your team from! This is important (and a personal sticking point for my own gameplay), so really hammer it in: if you're expecting a Zarya Graviton, Reinhardt Earthshatter, etc. stay out of range of the potential AoE! Find a nice hiding spot, outside of the enemy's line of sight (behind a corner, in an adjacent room, etc.), from which you can quickly swoop in and get a Rez off. Predict the enemy's engage and react before you get ulted: if the ulti's already en route, it's likely already too late. The best example of this is playing around Genji's Dragonblade; if you hear the opposing Genji's voiceline and you're out near your team, healing as usual, you're very likely to be attacked and blown up by an angry cyborg ninja. The best way to play around an Ulting Genji is to avoid being within line of sight before the ultimate even starts! His initial focus target won't be you, and you'll have a lot more freedom and won't be under nearly as much pressure as the fight goes on.
- One of the most feel-bad moments I've experienced while playing Mercy is using Rez, and then seeing one of my teammates go down half a second later. After playing Mercy for a while, I've learned to not only be patient with Resurrect, but also to keep an eye on the individual mini-fights each of my teammates are engaged in. By developing your overall game sense and awareness of what's going on during a hectic teamfight, you'll be more likely to notice if one of your teammates is at low health and is about to go down. Once again, be patient, and assess your surroundings: Rezzing that one additional member can be absolutely game-changing.
The Hiding vs. Healing Dilemma
As we've discussed in this article, sometimes the best play for your team (when you have your ultimate ready) is to straight-up hide just before a large teamfight starts. You won't be contributing any damage, damage boosts, or healing during the fight, but you'll be ready and well-positioned to swoop in and get a Resurrect off. Your ultimate is multifunctional in that it not only 'saves' your teammates, but it brings them back at full health - an instant, full health restore along with a revive. The intrinsic power in the ability often makes hiding and securing the opportunity to use it effectively the correct play over staying in the fight and actively healing, and then using your ultimate when needed (the latter strategy is far more risky, as you're going to be vulnerable to enemy focus if you're healing).
As a consequence of hiding/prepping to use your ultimate, you won't be helping your team during the teamfight. This feels a bit bad (and it's likely one of the most voiced complaints about Mercy - that her ultimate play pattern can be unintuitive and a little odd), as not participating in the teamfight quite literally creates a 5v6 in favor of your opponents. For a long time, I basically never hid as Mercy before a teamfight - I would throw out my heals and damage amps, and dodge flankers as best as I could. Unfortunately, against an enemy team who is consciously aware of the strength of your ultimate, you'll often die to the flankers, divers, and general DPS focus priority that they glue to you while trying to heal your team. Now, this won't always happen, you'll sometimes live and get off a great Rez... but Mercy's ultimate is very unique in that you can't pop it proactively. You need to use it super reactively, after your teammates have already gone down - and perhaps most importantly, you have to have NOT gone down as well! Whatever took out your teammates, you need to have escaped from it - you can only use your ultimate in the aftermath of a big fight.
Because of the intrinsically reactive nature of Mercy's ultimate, there is an increased importance on staying alive over the course of the teamfight. Going out and participating in the battle is actually a big risk - if you go down, you don't have the opportunity to use Resurrect. Thus, strongly consider hiding if you expect a teamfight to break out soon. It's a bit situational of course - if the enemy team doesn't have any divers, you can play further up and heal your team (this is a great time to play Mercy by the way - without direct pressure to worry about, Mercy can freely make her team into unkillable gods). However, for the most part, place an emphasis on keeping yourself out of harm's way - the longer you stay alive, the longer you can utilize your kit and powerful abilities to keep your teammates alive.
Mercy's Resurrect is an ability with relatively low mechanical requirements, but is possibly the most skill-intensive ability in the game with regards to the decision-making/judgement calls required to use it well. Employing Resurrect will test your game sense and push your understanding/insight into the 'flow' of a teamfight to their limits. During the learning process (which, by the way, never ends - you will always find ways to improve your decision-making and overall gameplay!), you might make mistakes, flub ultimates, lose your team the game, etc... believe me, it'll happen - and that's ok! But just keep on pushing through, take note of what you could've improved or done better, and the results will come. Huge Rezzes feel great to pull off; but let me tell you that making the decision to revive one member of your team for some sweet tempo - and having that play be rewarded by winning the game - is a great feeling too. Keep working on your game sense and decision-making and your opponents will be begging for Mercy (sorry, I had to friends). Join me next time, as I go over some of Mercy's mechanical intricacies!
That's all for today, I hope you enjoyed the article. If you'd like to discuss anything Mercy, have comments/feedback on this article, or just want to say hi, feel free to tweet me @k0nduit (with a zero instead of an 'o') and I'll get back to you.
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