“Playing Mercy takes no skill!”
This is a tune all too familiar for Overwatch Mercy players in Quick Play and Competitive alike.
Many Mercys were accused of letting teammates die and hiding in the back, waiting for the glorious team rez instead of actively keeping the team alive and fighting. To me, Mercy was a passive character who hardly engaged in battles and whose sole purpose was to heal; unlike other healers, she had little means to fight off enemies and survive engagements. But oh, how the tables have turned.
Overwatch’s latest update not only gives Mercy combat potential, but also a new and improved ultimate in lieu of the beloved (and hated) Resurrect.
Mercy is my most-played hero, and I used to become upset quite often in competitive when I felt defenseless in 1v1s against the enemy team. After trying out the new Mercy for the first time, I only had one thought:
Where have you been all my life?
The two fixes to Mercy involve her Ultimate ability, old and new.
Her old ultimate, Resurrect, is now an ability with a 30-second cool down. It only affects a single player within a 5-meter radius, as opposed to every player. Mercy also no longer has invulnerability during Resurrect.
Valkyrie, Mercy’s new Ultimate, enhances weapons and abilities for 20 seconds. Mercy’s staff has increased range for healing and damage boosts, and affects all allies near the targeted teammate. She has infinite ammo and increased mobility—with an instantly reset Resurrect that only has a 10-second cool down—and doesn’t stop regenerating health when taking damage. Mercy’s hover ability also allows her to float freely at an increased range.
Basically? You’ll be begging for Mercy.
I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the new Ultimate. I had climbed the ranks with the original Mercy, from mid-gold to six points shy of diamond, and I’d never played the role of a Battle Mercy. I was scared the Overwatch trolls were right: that I was one of the Mercys carried to high-platinum by teammates.
But so far, in every match I’ve played as the new Mercy, I’ve been on fire for at least half of the match.
No longer do I have to cower in fear while getting slashed to death by a Genji or flanked by a Winston. With the improved vitality and flexibility, I’ve been able to hold my own and even get gold medals in objective kills—something I’d deemed impossible—while still resurrecting an average of 9 teammates per match. Valkyrie leaves her nearly unstoppable in the right hands.
As always, though, there are some cons to the new update.
Let’s talk about Resurrect’s range. “5-meter radius” essentially translates to standing directly on top of your teammate’s corpse, and without invulnerability, this is essentially a death wish. It’s difficult to rez a teammate without others around, as of course Mercy will be easily targeted and picked off. If your team sticks together, this isn’t too much of an issue; if not, well, godspeed.
Aiming and flying in Valkyrie is also difficult, and feels a bit awkward. On Xbox One, you press A to fly upward and B to fly downward, but trying to shoot/heal and fly to a specific area feels like a lot to balance. Hopefully this will become more natural as I play more.
Mercy’s popularity has soared since the update, so I’ve only gotten to play her a few times in Quick Play; I’ll wait until I’m more comfortable with the new mechanics to try her out in Competitive, where I’m sure the stakes are much higher. However, I’m already seeing a nerf to Valkyrie in the future, since the 20-second timer feels like it goes on for much longer, and the unlimited ammo just seems a tad unfair.
For now, I’ll continue learning the new Mercy and praying for the coveted Nano Boost.