Operating at Maximum Efficiency: What Makes the Pharmercy Work



Tue 9th May 2017 - 12:23pm

Pharmercy has climbed its way back into the meta with Mercy’s improved rez survivability and faster health regen. Pharah was also made more viable in the past with her buff to her Jump Jets. This power couple revolves around the fact that both heroes enable each other to do their jobs better. It can be effective for duo queues to understand how to combo these two heroes because of how they work together. Mercy helps Pharah deal massive amounts of damage, Pharah helps Mercy keep an eye on all teammates from above, and they both help each other survive. If you take into account that sometimes not everyone is in teamchat (or no one is in teamchat), Pharmercy can be a safe way of having your partner’s back.

Support Has Arrived: Benefits for Mercy

Pharah flies. Mercy flies. This helps Mercy in a few ways. While Mercy is up in the air with Pharah, she has a bird’s eye view on her entire team. Verticality can help Mercy get to her team quickly for healing and damage boost, and it can also help Mercy make some valuable callouts to her team. Pharah’s jump jet is the perfect escape route for Mercy when she is getting ulted by a Genji, Mei, or even Zarya, assuming Pharah isn’t caught in the Graviton, as well. It can also get Mercy out of the way of Junkrat’s tire, Hanzo’s dragons, and maybe even Reaper’s ult if you’re fast enough. The point is, Pharah offers a really valuable escape route for Mercy.

Verticality is a big advantage in this game. That’s why a lot of the time, whoever gets the high ground is going to have the advantage in the team fight. (Unless it’s Numbani because a lot of players have figured that route out. Watch far right and below on defense.) For support players, your focus should be on your team just as much as you focus on the enemy team. She can get to anyone in her sightline quickly, heal, damage boost, and maybe even pop a few shots off in defense. Another way Mercy can help her team is through callouts. Mercy is a single-target healer, and while she can be very useful, she can only really help one teammate out at a time. With call outs, try to be more specific than, “They are behind you!!” Use your teammate’s hero and specific locations when warning them! Let’s see if you can figure out where we are based on these examples: “D.Va, there is a Soldier under the big health pack bridge” or “There is about to be a Soldier flanking right side.” Any guesses? If you guessed second point on Temple of Anubis, you win the satisfaction of knowing stuff.

Mercy does require protection. It’s really easy to get tunnel vision, but if the other team is focusing your healers, you must protect them (that goes for more than just Mercy). When Mercy calls out to her Pharah that someone is focusing her, Pharah needs to focus on shooting rockets at the aggressor's face. Even if Pharah does not finish the enemy off, she can still push them off her Mercy.

Finally, Pharah gives Mercy ult charge. By enabling Mercy to do her job better, she should be getting her ult fairly quickly. Being completely honest, you should try to get Resurrect up for every team fight or at least by the end of the team fight. What Mercy lacks in utility she makes up for with a really strong ult. Pharah helps her get there quickly because of the amount of damage she puts out. Mercy gains 2.3% ult charge per every 30 damage boosted. If Pharah lands a direct rocket hit, that’s 120 damage. Since Pharah can also help Mercy heal more, Mercy can get 2% charge per every 60 healing done. She heals 60 per second, and she also gains 1% every 3 seconds passively.

Back in the Fray: Benefits for Pharah

Mercy can add to Pharah’s survivability when she is getting focused by a Soldier or McCree. Both of these heroes have falloff damage, and with Mercy, Pharah had the opportunity to kill them from a distance before they kill her. McCrees and Soldiers can get “tunnel vision” and only try to shoot Pharah’s in the sky. Mercy can divert their attention from her by shooting them with her pistol.

Mercy enables Pharah to play more aggressively against the other team. She can get behind or get closer to the other team knowing that she has the healing and damage support. The combo does make Pharah more viable against hit scan heroes like Soldier and McCree, but it’s worth knowing Soldier’s damage ranges from 5-20 with a clip size of 25. He fires about 8 and a half shots per second, and if his Helix Rocket it up, that’s 120 damage upon direct hit. McCree’s damage ranges from 20-70 with a clip size of 7 that fires 2 rounds per second. If he is landing his shots at close-range, Mercy cannot out-heal that with her 60 healing per second.

However, Mercy can help Pharah kill those heroes before they get the chance to kill her. Pharah’s direct rocket his is 120 with splash damage ranging from 80-20. Let’s just multiple those by 30%, and Pharah does 156 on direct hit. Her splash damage is upped from 104-26. Even if Soldier and McCree are shooting at Pharah, if this power duo sneaks up on hit scan heroes, they will not out-damage Pharmercy. At this point, Mercy needs to know when she needs to either out-heal the other team or out-DPS the other team.

This goes for Pharah’s ultimate, as well. Her ult does a crazy amount of damage, but it leaves her immobile and exposed. Barrage fires 30 rockets per second for three seconds with each rocket dealing 40 damage. Pharah’s ult does 3600 damage in theory, 4680 with Mercy. Supporting Pharah during her ult, however, means knowing when to heal vs. when to boost.

Fly Like an Egyptian… and a Valkyrie

Pharmercy works really well on King of the Hill maps. The fights are focused on the point, which is good for Mercy’s rez. There are areas of the map where Pharah can knock her targets off the map. Pharah and Mercy have plenty of flank routes to get behind and surprise the other team.  

It is also worth saying that a Mercy who only pockets Pharah is not utilizing the combo to the best of its ability. The point of Pharmercy is that they help each other do their jobs really well. If Mercy is only healing the Pharah, she is really not doing her job. You can’t turn a blind eye to the rest of your team, and a good Pharah will understand that. Just like any other combo in the game, it takes good communication, positioning, and timing to make Pharmercy work.

Pharmercy really needs to be cautious of a Widow landing her shots. There is no fall off damage from Widow’s rifle, and she can one-shot anything under 300 health. If she is focusing your Pharmercy, one of your teammates needs to dive the Widow or the combo is not going to work (most of the time, a good Winston or Genji can take care of her).

It’s really important to remember that if the other team is countering this duo hard, it might be best to switch off. If it is impossible for your team to counter a good Widow, Soldier, or McCree, you should switch off to something that effectively counters the other team. The goal of this powerful duo is to deal massive amounts of damage and healing. If you aren’t accomplishing that, consider changing.

Before making any big plays with Pharmercy, such as boosted barrage, make sure D.Va is out of the way or out of her mech. No matter how much damage Mercy boosts, APM can knock it out of the air for 4 seconds. It may not block all of Pharah's ult in terms of radius, but it does give an enemy protection to kill Pharah.

A good Pharmercy can drive an enemy team insane. Many of the times, a Solider or McCree is not going to be able to 1v2 this couple. The damage on top of the healing is going to make is necessary for hit scan heroes to focus the Mercy first. However, it’s kind of difficult to focus the Mercy when Pharah is firing rockets at you, and all the while Mercy is passively regenerating her health. Combo your enemies with this duo, and keep the skies clear.

See you in the air.

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