Overwatch's Mercy: The Hero Roster Breakdown - Tanks
Tue 14th Mar 2017 - 10:58am
Salutations everyone, Konduit here. Today we're going over all 23 heroes on the Overwatch hero roster and analyzing how each character interacts with (and against) Mercy. In this case, that's you! We'll be contemplating the interactions and notable principles to keep in mind when playing with or against each hero. Buckle up, this is gonna be a fun one. Before we get into the thick of things, if you're interested in learning more about Mercy and Mercy Strategy, check out the previous articles in my "Overwatch's Mercy" series below:
The following analysis is organized by hero, moving from left to right on the in-game hero select screen. Furthermore, each hero's section is split into two subsections, denoted "Allied" and "Enemy", each discussing some of the interactions, synergies, dangers, gameplay principles, etc. when that particular character is on your team or on the enemy team. Without further ado, let's dive right into it:
Allied: D.Va is a powerful ally and one Mercy actively enjoys working with - she has a robust suite of damage and protective skills that can be applied in numerous situations.
D.Va has solid damage numbers and brings a unique prowess the rest of the roster doesn't have - she never has to reload her Fusion Cannons. The Fusion Cannons fire rounds of 11 pellets at 2 damage each, at a rate of 6.67 rounds per second. That's about 146.74 DPS, boosted to 190 DPS. With decent accuracy, a damage amp'ed D.Va can reliably kill 200hp heroes in 2 seconds (380~ potential damage gives you a good margin for error as well, as D.Va's weapon spread isn't the most accurate. However, this calculation does not count potential headshots!). The margin for error is especially important, and allows for kills to be picked up where normal fire (without damage amp) would miss the kill. This is less pronounced as soon as targets step out of D.Va's effective range, as her damage suffers from falloff and is somewhat inaccurate because of the spread - but it's still quite powerful to boost a D.Va making an aggressive play. As a side note, D.Va deals damage both when she boosts into an enemy and when 'Call Mech' drops the mech on an enemy - I believe you can damage amp both of these, but they often happen so suddenly and don't provide too much additional damage (base damage is 25 and 50, for the boost and Call Mech respectively), so I wouldn't place a big priority on it.
The key, again, is the fact that D.Va continuously puts out damage without interuption. She is a great boost target if she's at all in a position to deal damage at close range, regardless of whether her target is a support, DPS, or another tank. Fusion Cannon's DPS is no joke, and a DVA/Mercy pair can decimate enemies that are caught out.
D.Va provides Mercy with invaluable mobility options; flying into cover allows for quick disengages with Guardian Angel, and flying straight up as a jump beacon is a boon for Mercy as she's trying to avoid flankers like Genji, Tracer, and Reaper. If you're ever out of position, D.Va can use Defense Matrix to block for you and disrupt enemy focus until you can get to cover. D.Va also has a large health pool to heal, so if she's taking heat you'll get Resurrect extremely quickly. "Large health pool" is a benefit that's shared between all the tanks, but D.Va at 600 health is particularly nice.
It's also important to understand how to work with pilot D.Va (thanks to reddit user Cronoc for notifying and helping me with this!). Without her Mech, D.Va has 150 HP and carries a new weapon: her Light Gun deals 14 damage per shot at 7 shots a second, adding up to 98 DPS. With damage amp, this rises to 18.2 per shot and 127.4 DPS, which is pretty respectable. For the most part, D.Va's primary objective in pilot form is to build ultimate charge to rebuy her Mech - for this reason, damage boosting her if she's got clear shots on the enemy team is great and will help her re-mech more quickly. However, it's important to note that D.Va already builds Call Mech very fast in Pilot form, and that she's tied for the most vulnerable hero in the game in terms of durability (alongside Tracer). Unlike Tracer though, D.Va has no mobility options and cannot self-heal - she'll fold to almost any kind of pressure unaided. You don't have to babysit her 24/7, but when D.Va gets pulled out of mech, try and keep a more watchful eye on her and support her so that she survives long enough to get her mech back.
Finally, you can indeed damage amp D.Va as her self-destruct goes off, and it can certainly be useful - you can boost the damage from 1000 to 1300. That extra bit of damage can finish off targets that otherwise may have gotten away on the edge of the splash damage radius, so look to boost D.Va the moment before the ult goes off (remember that the damage amplifcation is applied only at the moment that damage is dealt - this can often be a benefit, as you'll have plenty of time to get to D.Va herself before the mech blows up). Another benefit to damage boosting Self-Destruct is that you'll get a huge chunk of ultimate charge if it lands - 1.3k potential damage translates to a lot of ultimate % (this is a similar play to boosting McCree's Deadeye).
Enemy: Enemy D.Vas can be tricky to deal with. D.Va is a tank who's also a formidable diver - she's got the mobility to close the gap, the damage to threaten you, and the ability to chase should you get too low. Furthermore, her damage is fairly reliable and if you don't immediately have an ally to dash to, she's difficult to run away from (I've even been blocked from walking through a doorway because the mech is too big!). Complicating matters is her stickiness; your allies will have some difficulty in peeling D.Va away if she's going ham to take you down.
The best defense against D.Va is to consciously keep your mobility options in mind and position yourself such that they're available when you need them. When D.Va uses her jump to close the gap on you, then you can dash away. Don't dash to your getaway spot before she's closed in on you - you'll have limited options to escape. Let her fly to you first, then jump away - in this manner, you can exhaust her mobility and ensure a few seconds of respite before she can continue to chase you, if that's still her aim.
Fighting her 1v1 is extremely difficult because of her reliable damage and large health pool - you should look to disengage if you get stuck in a 1v1 confrontation/duel. In general, keep your distance - don't provide clear opportunties for D.Va to switch from being a general frontlier to diving on you and becoming a DPS.
Allied: Overwatch's newest hero has some great interactions with Mercy, providing Mercy with much-needed protection as well as serving as a solid damage boost target. I haven't played extensively with Orisa (just a handful of games on the PTR), so a lot of the suggestions below are mostly theorycrafting, but it does feel like Orisa has good synergy with Mercy at first blush.
Orisa's Fusion Driver fires 12 rounds a second, with each round dealing 12 damage; that adds up to 144 DPS, amp'ed to 187.2 DPS. As with other characters that have consistent damage output with large clips, the numbers give some good information but don't tell the whole story - Orisa likely won't hit all of her shots and achieve maximum DPS. Instead, a perhaps more interesting number to consider is if she's hitting 50% of her shots: in this case, Orisa puts out 72 DPS normally, and 93.6 DPS while boosted. In terms of taking down 200 HP characters, Orisa requires 2.77~ seconds pre-boost and 2.13~ seconds post-boost. That's about a half second shaved off the time-to-kill, which is solid value. And remember that if Orisa is fighting other tanks (or in general, characters that have larger hitboxes or are immobilized so that all of her shots can land), her maximum DPS becomes formidable. Orisa, similar to D.Va, is a great damage boost target when she's free to dish out DPS.
"Halt!" is a powerful ability that can really mess up the enemy team's positioning. As Mercy, you won't often be contributing a great a deal of damage towards the cluster of enemies (though if you do see some headshot opportunities, certainly help finish off whoever gets pulled in); instead, look to boost an ally with AoE/Burst damage when 'Halt!' is detonating/pulling enemies towards the center. Quickly switch to an allied Junkrat, Pharah, Winston, etc. and you can amplify the AoE damage and potentially take out multiple targets quickly.
Protective Barrier is a strong defensive tool that Orisa can deploy basically wherever she wants. Similar to Reinhardt, you'll find yourself positioning behind or around Orisa to take advantage of the Protective Barrier as a mobile cover point. It's less flexible than Reinhardt's barrier in the general use case (once it's placed, you can't move it around to make adjustments based on the enemy team's positioning), so don't be afraid to abandon it if the enemy gets a positioning advantage and the barrier becomes a weak source of cover. Orisa can do some cool tricks with the Barrier however, like deploying it a distance away to help separated allies. I can definitely imagine situations where Orisa might fire a barrier towards an ally in a 1v1 duel, providing cover and putting her ally in an advantageous position in the 1v1. Don't be afraid to call out for help to your allied Orisa, she may be able to fire off a shield to aid you. In a similar vein, Orisa can even peel for allies with 'Halt!'. Fired in the right way, the projectile can pull away enemies and give you a second or so of respite to reposition and escape your pursuers.
Mercy, like all healers, has great synergy with Orisa's innate defensive mechanisms. Orisa has 200 health and 200 armor; armor gets reduced healing effectiveness, but that's because healing armored allies is so powerful - rapidly healing armor gives so much effective health. Additionally, Fortify makes Orisa extremely tanky during its 4 second duration. If Mercy is healing Orisa during Fortify, Orisa is basically unkillable (again, while Orisa takes 50% reduced damage you're going to be pumping out tons of effective health). Now, this certainly goes for any healer (particularly Ana, as she also has high HPS output), but I'll use this section to note why Mercy is remarkable in this regard. Unlike Ana, Mercy's healing output is 100% reliable. If you've got your beam tether attached, you WILL be performing at 100% effectivenss, no questions asked. There are no shots to miss - every ounce of your healing potential is being used. Ana, in contrast, has to reload, can miss shots, and thus isn't always performing at 100% effectiveness. Overwatch's other two healers, Zen and Lucio, also have 100% reliability provided that they're in range/LoS, but their healing output on a single target is dwarfed by Mercy's. This is why a pocket Mercy (and Ana, when she's hitting her shots) is so annoying to deal with from the enemy's perspective: it's often pretty hard to kill the ally that she's healing by overpowering the healing, and there are NO gaps in the healing stream (no reloading or player errors/missed shots to take advantage of).
Lastly, Orisa's ultimate is a powerful boon to her team. Mercy unfortunately isn't well equipped to take advantage of the damage amp, as her pistol is a little unreliable from range and you're likely going to be healing during a teamfight, rather than putting out damage (but don't be afraid to add in some shots if you're free to do so - with the 50% damage boost, you're quite strong and can hold your own in a duel). Orisa and Mercy's damage amp should be able to stack, though I heard that the interaction was bugged and it's not currently stacking on the PTR - hopefully this will be/has been resolved. And as usual, look to boost (now double-boost) allies that are in a good position to deal damage/have consistent, reliable DPS.
Enemy: On the enemy team, Orisa poses as a medium-level threat. She puts outs solid damage from range, which is not something most tanks can do; it's important to be aware of her position and maneuver around her line of sight, as you can't just walk past her sightline without harm as you would against a Reinhardt. Her gun's clip is 150 rounds, with a reload of 2.5 seconds. She won't take you down incredibly quickly, but Orisa leaves you little respite in an extended engagement.
As with the other tanks, dueling Orisa is somewhat difficult. While you might be able to avoid a good amount of Orisa's fire, you can't dodge them all, and Orisa's massive health pool, armor, and defensive abilities (both Protective Barrier and Fortify are pretty great in 1v1s) will outlast your own 200 HP. Forutnately, Orisa is devoid of mobility options - you can easily dash away to a nearby ally without much fear of being pursued. If Orisa is out of position, isolated, or focused on someone else, by all means contribute damage: her hitbox is massive and you can fairly reliably hit your shots. Again, Orisa outputs sustained damage over time rather than in a quick burst, so you can afford to take a little bit of damage and then back away, you don't have to worry about going down in a moment as you would vs. some other characters.
Taking out Orisa's Supercharger isn't something you're usually going to be in a position to do (leave this to your long-range DPS or allied flankers), but be sure to call out its position and keep an eye out for opportunities to aim pistol fire at it/damage boost allies who are in position to take it out.
Allied: Reinhardt has awesome synergy with Mercy as a well-rounded tank. Unfortunately, his damage doesn't reach any critical thresholds when boosted, but his natural functions and play patterns are both accentuated by Mercy and help Mercy succeed as well.
Reinhardt's barrier provides mobile cover for you to move up along with your team. You can think of the barrier as a wall which you can position around depending on where the enemies are - it really can't be understated how many options the Reinhardt shield gives you.
Reinhardt's base melee damage is 75 per hammer swing, amp'ed to 97.5; this means that regardless of your damage buff, Reinhardt will still require 3 swings to kill 200 hp heroes (though a stiff breeze should be enough to finish off someone who's taken 2 boosted hammer swings). Even still, it's quite useful when your friendly Rein is fighting tanks - instead of taking 6 strikes to kill Zarya, it'll only take 5. Instead of 8 swings on Roadhog, it'll only take 7 (all this is all without any other incidental chip damage). Firestrike jumps up to 130 from 100 which is quite nice; in fact, you should actively look to boost Reinhardt when he Firestrikes. The best way to set this up is to have your Reinhardt call out when he wants to Firestrike so you can quickly Right-Click him - it's free ult charge for the both of you.
Earthshatter can also be damage amp'ed, going from 50 -> 65, which doesn't come up all that often but is worth keeping in mind when you know your friendly Reinhardt is going for his ult combo (during which you should also try and boost him).
Now, Reinhardt's Charge is a really powerful ability in it's own right. It deals 50 damage on a 'bump' and a whopping 300 on a wall collision. Boosting Reinhardt during his charge brings the damage up to an incredible 390! This allows Rein to kill Zarya with a charge + 1 Hammer swing, which is huge (Zarya has 200 Shields + 200 health = 400 total). In general, as long it doesn't compromise your positioning too much, look to boost Rein whenever he gets a charge on an enemy tank. 90 extra damage is absolutely huge and really enables Rein to clean up the kill with a couple melee's if the target's still alive.
Enemy: Rein's a really interesting opponent to face as Mercy. He is of course extremely strong in his area of influence, but there's a great deal of counterplay options to maneuver around him. When Reinhardt's on the aggressive, you want to keep as much distance as you can, or perhaps even better, switch to a high or lower plane of elevation - Rein has basically no way to touch you if you're on a different floor (don't get dropped down on though!).
However, when's Rein is on the defensive and is being pressured, you can kinda walk all over him. He'll usually back up with his shield, covering his front from damage - you can just walk up and start pistoling him. I find this usually happens when you have a partner or two along with you and he's forced to back off. Don't be afraid to contribute damage on Rein if his shield is down or you are seeing his back - he's a huge target to hit and you'll basically get optimal DPS output (no missed shots) when targeting him.
Finally, a quick note - you'll often get into situations where the enemy Reinhardt is pressuring an ally with repeated hammer swings. Rein looses one swing (of 75 damage) per second, while you heal 60 health per second. This means that your ally will only be taking 15 damage a second (the initial burst from the first swing you won't be able to heal, but every one afterwards this pattern will hold). I sometimes see teammates run away from an aggressing Rein while I'm heal-beaming them. Knowing the math, it's more than doable to face-tank the effectively 15 DPS from Rein and mow him down with your own DPS! Be sure to convey this to your teammates when they're dueling Rein with Mercy support - there's no need to dodge or run. While it might be scary to see your health drop in big chunks, you're not in danger of dying for several seconds, which is more than enough time to take Rein out.
Allied: Roadhog works quite well alongside Mercy, and vice-versa. Roadhog's presence makes flankers wary of diving too hard for you, and your damage boost all but secures a kill when Roadhog gets a hook.
Roadhog's damage numbers are as follows: Each Left-Click Shotgun burst releases 25 pellets at 9 damage each, adding up to 225 damage. With damage amp, this number rises to 292.5. Whenever Roadhog gets a hook (which you'll usually be able to hear the audio cues/lines when it happens), you should almost always look to boost him. The additional damage passes the critical threshold necessary to kill 250 heroes without headshots, and basically makes the kill on 200 hp heroes absolutely certain (sometimes, after a quick hook, Roadhog may misalign the shot/a sufficient number of pellets may not hit). He's also a good boost target in general skirmishes, particularly when wearing down enemy Reinhardt Shields. About 300 damage every right click (which has the same damage numbers as his primary fire, but a different release pattern) is nothing to scoff at.
Roadhogs ultimate does 5000 damage over 6 seconds, which means 833.33 DPS. This number sounds absurd (which, technically it is), but remember that Roadhog's pellets are not all going to hit your target. With damage amp, Roadhog's ultimate puts out 1083.33 DPS. When Roadhog pops his ultimate, strongly consider boosting him so that he can clean up everyone near him. Staying near Hog while his ultimate is active is also helpful as he'll be able to push away any flankers that are diving you.
Be sure to communicate with your friendly Hog regarding his ultimate status. Roadhog does gain ultimate charge when he uses his healing ability, Take a Breather; if you've already got Resurrect ready, then provided it's safe, you should let Roadhog use Take a Breather to heal up any damage and gain ultimate charge. The reverse is also true - let your Roadhog know if you need ultimate charge if his is already ready. When both of your ultimates are charging, I usually don't worry too much about allocating ultimate charge/who gets the healing, but do keep in mind this consideration when one of your ults is already at full.
Finally, simply hanging out near Roadhog will often be enough to dissuade flankers from going too hard for you. Be aware of who and where your divers are, and position yourself such that Roadhog is nearby. He's got immense kill pressure on any Genji/Winston/Reaper diving you (Tracer is a little more difficult to manage, but your vertical mobility should allow you to outmaneuver her on your own a lot of the time), and sometimes even just the threat of getting hooked will make a diver consider other options to attack, rather than you. This is ideal, as you can heal whomever they jump on.
Enemy: If I could sum up dealing with Roadhog in a single sentence, I'd say to avoid getting hooked - that's all there is to it. Roadhog's kit's power is heavily concentrated in a couple areas, namely his Chain Hook, close-range combat (particularly against larger foes), and his ultimate (though that's available only periodically). If you play around these domains, Roadhog will be of little trouble to you.
That's easier said than done of course, as Roadhog's hook is quite reliable even from a decent range. The best deterrent is to stay out of line of sight, behind solid cover (and thanks to the hook 2.0 changes, the hook will break off if LoS is lost as you're getting hooked), and let your teammates lead the charge. If you're out in the open, one tactic that sometimes works is to strafe in one direction for a second or two, then move in the other direction. With any luck, Roadhog will throw out his hook in the direction you WERE moving and you'll have pulled off a juke. Skilled Roadhog players might+ see this coming and wait for a more reliable hook, but it's definitely a tactic I would try if you're in a rough situation.
However, if you avoid his hook (it has a cooldown of 8 seconds, as of the latest patch), and stay out of super-close range (though this is not even necessarily the worst - I'll discuss this in a bit), you can really just walk all over Roadhog. As soon as his Chain Hook is on cooldown, strongly consider going on the offensive. You can absolutely contribute damage with your pistol (thanks to his large hitbox, basically all of your shots are guaranteed to hit), and even press forward for a kill. The hook represents immense kill presure (it's basically a guaranteed kill on any non-tank hero); with the ability down, Roadhog's almost a sitting duck. As a corollary, skilled Roadhogs will save the hook (and thereby continue representing the potential to insta-kill you) and only use it when it's a sure kill - they'll take the initial disadvantage in combat, utilizing their large health pool as a resource, and set up a clean hook into one-shot.
I will note that, up close, it's sometimes still possible to duel Roadhog (assuming his hook is down, of course). Do some bobbing and weaving, strafe around, and you can present a difficult target to hit while all of your shots will land. Don't panic if you're caught up close with Roadhog, scrap it out and with any luck (and/or help from your team) you might be able to turn the situation around, or at the very least buy time to dash away to an ally.
Allied: Winston is a great teammate for Mercy and the two have some powerful synergies together. Winston's damage is inherently exactly what Mercy wants - extremely reliable and consistent damage output. His Tesla Cannon puts out 60 DPS, amped to 78 DPS with Mercy's beam. On 60 DPS, it takes Winston 3.33 seconds to kill a 200 HP hero, and with damage amp, 200 HP characters are taken down in 2.56 seconds. That's almost a full second shaved off the kill time, and it makes Winston a real mosnter vs anyone with 200 HP (even more so than before). There's no dodging or avoiding his damage (it is 100% consistent, Mercy's favorite kind of damage to boost), so it's all about how quickly his target can get away, get in range of being healed by his or her supports, or kill Winston first. With your presence, Winston won't usually be in danger of dying (as you can always switch to the heal beam); paired with a Mercy, Winston can now cut off two of the 3 methods his target can use to escape from the fight. Every second matters in this game, and making your backline shredder even more effective and reliable is something than can change the course of the game. Strongly consider coordinating with and amp'ing your allied Winston when he dives the backline!
Primal Rage also benefits greatly from damage amp - Winston's punches rise from 40 per hit to 52, crossing the 200hp critical threshold again, as he can now get kills in 4 hits instead of 5. I will note that boosting Winston during his ultimate is a bit tougher (and more risky, as he'll be jumping all over the place), but if you see that he's got someone 'corner locked' and is walloping 'em, go ahead and give him a damage boost and help secure the kill more quickly. The last point with regards to Winston's damage is that on landing, his jump pack deals 50 damage, amp'ed to 65. It's rare that you'll get to damage amp Winston as he hops on someone, but remember that each small upscale in damage is relevant when your boost target's base damage application in consistent Damage over Time, rather than number of shots hit (as Winston's damage is guaranteed).
Finally, Winston is excellent at protecting Mercy. The bubble shield provides excellent, 'mobile' cover (it can be placed anywhere) and is a great fallback point if you extend too far; moreover, Winston can even bring the shield to you. But perhaps the best part about having a Winston on your team is that he's incredibly good at dealing with flankers. Genji's the primary offender here of course, but any cheeky Mcrees or Soldiers will also have a difficult time dealing wtih Winston who's protecting you. Tracer can be a little problematic (as she can disengage pretty reliably), but in general Winston is a strong deterrant against enemy flank attempts. He can even place his bubble shield down on top of you, basically guaranteeing your safety.
Enemy: Enemy Winstons are important to understand how to manage. Winston is touted as a tank that is effective at taking down supports (and this is still certainly the case for you); however, you've got a number of counterplay options avaiable to you that can make his job much harder and sometimes impossible - the impetus is really on you, the Mercy to play around Winston. If you're positioning well, he basically won't ever be able to take you down under normal circumstances.
When you recognize that the enemy team has a Winston, your primary counterplay is to 1. Position yourself to always have a teammate to dash to if he is in range to jump on you, and 2. Exhaust his mobility by letting him jump FIRST. Both parts are key - if you dash to your ally before Winston actually jumps, you've basically 'used up' your escape route. Let Winston make the first move (and he'll often have to, as he needs to actually close the gap in order to pressure you, then dash away (otherwise, he'll simply follow your dash with his jump pack). The tricky scenarios are ones where he somehow sneaks up on you and he's already next to you without having had to use his mobility. In these situations, you'll again need to exhaust his mobility, but you've got to be quick and precise as you'll be taking damage throughout your escape attempt. You first have to jump away to an ally; this will encourage him to use his own mobilty to keep up with you. Guardian angel has a cooldown of 1.5 seconds though (compared to Jump Pack's 6 seconds), so after baiting out his jump, try and survive for a second or two and you can dash away to another ally (try to have your escape route planned out when you make your first GA), and his Jump Pack will still be on cooldown.
Fighting Winston 1v1 is basically impossible unless he's at very low health - his damage is extremely reliable (this is the key principle to remember - there's no dodging his shots and outplaying him) and his health pool is substantially larger than your own. Avoid direct confrontation in most cases; however, if Winston is preoccupied/distracted fighting someone else, then you can absolutely chip in with your pistol to help finish him off. I will note that healing whichever target he's focusing is extremely effective...
Winston puts out 60 DPS, and Mercy heals 60 Health per second. If you're tethered to someone, Winston is quite literally unable to kill his target (the only exception is if the target is below 50 hp, as the 50 damage burst from the jump pack can be enough to score a kill, if Winston goes for it). If Winston is fighting a target, in most cases it's best to just heal your teammate and let him/her kill Winston, as he's now kinda just standing there while putting out a whopping net 0 DPS, and can easily be taken down. Make sure to communicate this to your teammate that are not in the know ("I'm healing you, you can take the Winston!"), as this is a key piece of information whenever a Winston's on the enemy team and Mercy's on your team.
Allied: Zarya, much like Winston, has a great deal of synergy with Mercy on the offensive as well as when you're playing defensively.
Zarya's Particle cannon puts out nice DPS on its own, at a base of 95 DPS (Many thanks to reddit user MisirterE for helping me get the right damage value here, there were a few different numbers across different sources and I had used an incorrect one). With damage amp, this rises to 123.5 DPS. The wrinkle in this math is that Zarya more often than not will have charged up from her passive, increasing her damage output. Each point of charge increases her damage by 1%, which means her maximum damage at 100 charge is 190 DPS, amp'ed to 247 DPS. These numbers are the best-case scenario of course, but they give you some concrete things to consider when I say that Zarya's a pretty good boost target. She puts out consistent DPS - in many ways similar to a traditional hitscan character - and overall her damage is pretty reliable with solid aim, similar to those hitscan characters. Against heroes with large health pools (i.e., other tanks), Zarya can really get to work with damage amp and shred their health even when at relatively low charge. The last note with regards to Zarya's damage is her Right-click, which does 45 damage with 0 charge (there's a splash damage element if it's doesn't direct hit as well). 58.8 damage per lob with damage amp is nothing to scoff at, and again, this gets all the more potent as Zarya gets more charge. Her ultimate does indeed do some damage, but it's rather small at 5.5 DPS (for 4 seconds). Boosting the damage to 7.15 DPS is a free bonus, but if you're boosting Zarya during her ultimate during her ultimate duration, do it because she's in position to tear into the enemy team with her primary or secondary fire, not because of the Graviton Surge damage boost. As a corollary, if Zarya is not in position to follow up on her ult or is at very low charge, it might be better to boost other members of your team who can better bombard a clumped group of enemies (e.g. Junkrat, Pharah, etc.). Don't get tunneled into boosting Zarya because Graviton is her ultimate (though often it's the right move) - keep your options open and look to maximize your team's damage output.
Zarya Projected Barrier is an incredible boon for Mercy, able to save you from almost any sticky situation. Arguably the best part about the shield is that it gives you time to look for an escape route (most likely Zarya herself). Oftentimes you may be able to survive some damage, but you won't have time to turn around and dash away while the follow-up damage piles on. Zarya shields can actively help you in both areas, preventing burst or giving you a moment of respite to reposition yourself without fear. Communicate with your Zarya so that she can look out for you if you're making a risky play - barriers can be applied from range and can make-or-break whether you make it out of a skirmish (or even into one, in order to pull off a Rez for example).
Zarya's a great target to pocket and stick with if she's doing well, has found an aggressive position, has high charge, etc. A Zarya that doesn't have to worry too much about how much damage she's taking is better able to walk up and use her massive DPS to its fullest potential.
Enemy: Enemy Zaryas can pose quite the threat, even at medium range. Whereas Roadhog has moments of extremely high and low threat potential (depending on whether or not his hook is available), Zarya puts out a consistently threatening presence, both in close and in medium range. Furthermore, she's a bit difficult to outmaneuver because of her effective range in dealing damage. Basically all the other tanks cannot really pressure you if you're a good distance away (with the exception of Roadhog hook), but Zarya's particle cannon is something you must take cover against, similar to fighting an offensive DPS character. Look to play around her just as you would a more traditional DPS.
If Zarya is at low charge, you can take a bit of a risk and stay up close (even pressuring her with her pistol), but in most other cases 1v1'ing her isn't possible. If you try the super-up-close-and-personal strategy, she can simply switch to using her Right-click grenades at point blank, which you can't avoid!
Keep in mind that you can GA out of Graviton Surge as long as there's in ally in range, but at a sufficient distance away from the ulti. One common occurance is that the ally himself/herself is far enough away to not get pulled in, so you GA out, but quickly get pulled back in because your stopping point (a little bit in front of your ally) is still too close to Zarya's ult and you're affected by the pull. Scan around quickly to find allies that are sufficiently spaced out/communicate with your allies to give you an escape point if you need one. The ideal case, of course, is to not get caught in the Graviton in the first place! Rezzing your team from within the Graviton sometimes works, but it's much better to avoid it from the outset and swoop in to Rez.
That's it for the tanks. Mercy works well with basically all the tanks, synergizing with their damage capabilities and benefiting from their protective skills. One thing to note is that Resurrect 'synergizes' more strongly with characters that have large health pools, as you're essentially full-healing them (an action that would take a significant amount of time normally). Sometimes it's better to tell your tank ally to throw himself/herself on the objective and go down so you can 'heal' them with Resurrect! Remember that the damage numbers and Hero information are just one piece of the puzzle in informing your decision on who to boost/support; ally positioning and other circumstantial factors can make any character on the roster into a priority target for you to back up.
Here are the links to the rest of the articles in the Hero Roster Breakdown series:
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.