How to counter Tracer in Overwatch
Out of the 32 playable heroes on the Overwatch roster, Tracer is one of the most annoying heroes to deal with.
The flanking DPS hero is capable of dealing devastating short-range damage with her pulse pistols, while at the same time having access to powerful movement abilities that let her zip around the battlefield and dodge enemy attacks. She also has one of the smallest hitboxes in the game, making her difficult to kill even though she has a relatively low 150 health pool. Finally, she has a powerful Rewind ability which acts as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Here are some strategies and heroes that can help you send that annoying Tracer back to her spawn.
Stuns, stuns, and more stuns
Image via Blizzard Entertainment
Tracer’s biggest weakness is heroes who have access to stuns. Since Tracer has a very small healthpool, if you can manage to arrest her momentum and keep her still for a few moments, she is quite easy to dispatch. The challenge is landing the stun, since a skilled Tracer will be tracking stun cooldowns and playing around your stun-based character.
There are a few different heroes who have stuns that act as hard counters to Tracer. Brigitte’s Shield Bash is one of the biggest threats to Tracer, especially if Brigitte can land her full damage combo. Brig isn’t quite as strong against Tracer as she used to be in 2019, when Brig had a guaranteed kill combo for Tracer, but her stun is still a huge threat to the flanking British pilot.
Another good hero to select when trying to answer a frustratingly effective Tracer is McCree. The cowboy-inspired hero has access to a Flashbang ability which stuns targets for nearly a second and deals 25 damage. If you subsequently land the headshot on Tracer, you will deal 140 damage, which means you can stun and instakill a Tracer if your aim is good enough.
Sombra’s hack ability can also be a strong answer to Tracer, if the Sombra player devotes her hack to containing the Tracer. A hacked Tracer is pretty much a sitting duck for your team. If you hack Tracer from the flank, it shouldn’t be too hard to pull off, since you will force the Tracer to choose between attacking your team or preventing the hack, leaving her vulnerable.
Finally, Roadhog is a great answer to an annoying Tracer. If he lands his Hook on Tracer, she is most likely going to die, or at least be forced to burn her rewind ability, leaving her open to attack. Plus, Roadhog can pretty much heal through Tracer’s damage, since he has so much health and his Take a Breather heals him for so much on top of that. Tracer can’t realistically kill you without also putting her own well-being in peril.
Stun abilities let you punish an overly aggressive Tracer. When you have stun threat in your composition, Tracer players are forced to play less aggressively and avoid your backline. If they are forced to play back, you are already doing good work in countering Tracer’s effectiveness. You don’t always have to kill an enemy to counter them; you just have to interrupt their ability to accomplish their in game role.
Map control and pressure
Image via Blizzard Entertainment
Although stuns can help finish off a Tracer quickly, they’re not necessary to answer her aggression. A map control composition can also be a strong way to cut the teeth out of an enemy Tracer. Heroes like D.Va, Torbjörn, and Zenyatta have abilities that make it difficult for a Tracer to find value in her flanking attacks.
D.Va is a huge problem for Tracer players. She is very tanky, which makes it difficult for Tracer to effectively duel her. D.Va’s Defense Matrix is one of the best tools in the game for protecting the support line from Tracer’s Pulse Pistol damage. The matrix can also absorb Tracer’s Pulse Bomb ultimate, which is a huge part of her kit. A good D.Va will also be able to use her mobility to isolate Tracer on the flanks and kill her.
Zenyatta is not the biggest damage threat to Tracer, but when he applies his Discord Orb, he can shut down her aggression. Tracer has a small health pool, so when the extra damage from his Discord Orb is applied, Tracer dies quickly. At the very least, Zenyatta can force a Tracer to back off for a few moments by using the orb, which is helpful even if your team doesn’t secure the kill.
Torbjörn and Symetra are also great options for map control compositions meant to counter Tracer. Both heroes have their own version of an auto-fire turret. Torbjörn’s turret is long range and autotargets enemies. If you place your turret in a good spot, it should be able to target flankers like Tracer. Even if the turret can’t pick up the kill, it will at least alert you to her presence. Similarly, Symetra’s shorter range turrets can be placed on flanks to deal damage to unsuspecting tracers. Even if she destroys your turrets, you’ll know she’s coming.
Become what you swore to destroy
Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment
If you’re having issues with answering Tracer, one of the best counters is a Tracer of your own. As the old saying goes, If you can’t beat them, join them. Your friendly Tracer can provide consistent pressure on an enemy Tracer, since they can mirror all of the enemy Tracer abilities which neutralizes many of the enemy Tracer’s advantages.
Obviously, if you’re a better Tracer, you should be able to outplay the enemy Tracer. Even if you aren’t the better Tracer, however, mirroring the enemy Tracer still might be your best bet. When an enemy Tracer is attacking you from the flank, they don’t have the level of team support that a more defensive Tracer has. So if you play defensively and stick by your vulnerable supports who can support you with healing and buffs, you should be able to hold off the enemy Tracer who doesn’t have access to all of that support.
Alternatively, you could pressure their backline, countering their flanker with some flanking kills of your own. This strategy can even the score or force their players to deal with you, which relieves the pressure on your backline. Regardless of your preferred playstyle, the Tracer mirror matchup is a good option for any team who is dealing with a frustratingly effective enemy Tracer.