Aside from being Overwatch‘s main mascot, Tracer is a speedy dual pistol-wielding damage hero who sacrifices poor defenses in favor of high mobility.
In this Overwatch Tracer guide, we’ll highlight the best tips, tricks, and strategies for playing as the time-jumping pilot turned speedster.
If you would like more tips and tricks, check out our Overwatch Beginner’s Guide, where we dive into hero roles, team composition, and best practices for winning.
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Tracer Abilities and Role Explained
Tracer’s playstyle revolves around maintaining speed while dealing close-range damage on key single targets that have a hard time dealing with her mobility.
This is achieved by combining Tracer’s movement-based abilities, namely Blink, which allows her to outflank and outmaneuver her opponents by retreating between attacks.
With low base health and no regenerating shields, it doesn’t take much to eliminate Tracer; below, we’ll take a closer look at her abilities and see how you can use them to make up for her flaws.
How to Use Pulse Pistols
Tracer’s primary weapons are her rapid-firing Pulse Pistols which combine to deal high damage at close-range but become relatively ineffective at mid to long-range engagements.
Even when close, they require considerably good aim in order to ensure your target is within range of the pistols’ large spread damage cone.
Due to the high amount of recoil and Tracer’s overall poor defenses, it’s best to use her Pulse Pistols to deliver bursts of damage at single targets before momentarily disengaging.
Additionally, you should always be on the lookout for Genji Deflects and Zarya Barriers that seek to take advantage of Tracer’s burst damage and use it against her.
How to Use Blink
One of the most important abilities to master as a Tracer player is her Blink, which teleports her a short distance in whatever direction she’s currently moving.
Tracer can store a total of three Blink charges, meaning she can chain them together to create unpredictable movement patterns and dodge enemy attacks.
Chaining together multiple Blinks also allows Tracer to traverse large gaps throughout the map that normally wouldn’t be possible with a single jump.
That said, there are still limits to using Blink, and since each charge takes about 3 seconds to recharge, it’s best to combine it with Tracer’s next ability, Recall.
How to Use Recall
Once triggered, Recall lets Tracer go back three seconds in the past, resetting her physical position and health to their previous state, or in the case of health, its highest value.
It also reloads her pistols and removes any debuffs currently applied to her prior to activation.
Recall is especially useful for restoring Tracer’s health in a pinch but can also be used to escape falls and trick enemies.
We should note that a short animation plays each time Tracer activates Recall, during which she becomes invulnerable and invisible to the enemy team.
How to Use Pulse Bomb (Ultimate)
Tracer’s Ultimate ability sees her tossing a bomb forward a short distance which will stick to enemies upon impact, and self-damage Tracer if she’s still within range during the explosion.
If the bomb doesn’t make contact with an enemy, it will instead stick to the first surface it lands on before detonating after a short delay.
Pulse Bomb will deal a heavy amount of damage within a small radius around the bomb’s location, making it especially devastating on grouped-up enemies and stationary targets like turrets.
To avoid getting yourself eliminated with Pulse Bomb, a good strategy is to use Blink to get close to your target, place the bomb on them, and then Recall to get out of dodge.
Tracer’s mobility is unmatched by any other hero in the game, so if no one on the enemy team knows how to counter her, she can go practically unchecked for the entire round.
Additionally, her speedy disposition coupled with Recall makes her less reliant on heals from allies, allowing her to operate relatively independently.
Of course, a character with such a distinct playstyle is bound to mix better with certain heroes, so below we’ll highlight the best team synergies for Tracer.
Which Heroes Combo Best With Tracer?
- Zarya – Can raise Tracer’s survivability by giving her a Barrier.
- D.Va – Playstyle revolves around drawing attention to herself, in turn creating opportunities for Tracer to flank the enemy team.
- Winston – Another tank that’s also good at getting the enemy to shift their focus away from Tracer and onto him.
- Sombra – Together with Tracer, Sombra can help lockdown health pack locations and punish enemy players who seek them out.
- Genji – Another high mobility damage hero, Genji can work with Tracer to single out weaker heroes on the enemy team.
- Lucio – Can raise Tracer’s mobility even higher and provide some healing while in range of her.
As mentioned earlier, Tracer’s biggest weaknesses stem from her low base health and lack of regenerative shields.
Additionally, she becomes even more vulnerable while Blink and Recall are on cooldown since they’re her primary tools for evading attacks.
Lastly, her pistol damage falls off heavily once she’s beyond close range, making her pretty ineffective against certain heroes.
Which Heroes Does Tracer Struggle Against?
- McCree – If he can land a flashbang on Tracer, it’s almost guaranteed she’ll be eliminated by his follow-up attack.
- Sombra – A hacked Tracer loses access to both Blink and Recall, rendering her completely exposed to incoming attacks.
- Torbjorn – Torb’s turrets’ auto-targeting can be hard to get around as Tracer, especially since she has to get up close to destroy them.
- Roadhog – Can soak up any damage from Tracer until he lands a hook combo and finishes her off.
- D.Va – Decent mobility lets D.Va escape Tracer’s tactics and absorb any damage using Defense Matrix.
- Moira – Can escape Tracer’s attacks, including her Ult, by using Fade; can also scare Tracer away with her Biotic Orb.
- Mei – Once Mei manages to freeze Tracer, it’s game over; she can also block off escape routes using her Ice Wall and shut Tracer down completely with her Ult.
- Winston – Good mobility means Winston can follow Tracer pretty much anywhere on the map and make it hard for her to single out weaker enemies.
- Pharah – Operates beyond Tracer’s effective range; only needs a few rockets to eliminate Tracer.
General Tips for Playing Tracer
Playing as Tracer can be a lot of fun due to her unique playstyle, and it’s clear to see why Blizzard decided to make her the mascot for the franchise.
However, things get a lot harder the higher you go in competitive rankings since players are more likely to know how to deal with Tracer.
To give you a leg up on your opponents, we’ll quickly go over some final tips to keep in mind as you make your way up the competitive ladder.
- Use Tracer’s speed to zip through alternative routes and get behind your opponent before attacking.
- Make support heroes your top priority since they are generally easier to eliminate and play a pivotal role in battle.
- Avoid engaging with groups of enemies; when in doubt, don’t be afraid to retreat using Blink.
- Tracer’s speed can come in hand when dueling a single enemy; use Blink to get to health packs before your opponent can.
- Tracer is most effective on King of the Hill maps where she can fully utilize her horizontal mobility.