As with most heroes, Tracer's abilities are self explanatory.
- Blink takes approximately 4 seconds for each charge to regenerate. Recall has a 12 second cooldown.
- Blink can and should be in any direction, as long as you are moving. Blinking backwards and sideways is a must.
- Pulse Bomb will show a "STUCK" alert if you have successfully attached the bomb to an enemy.
- Headshots against armored targets deal more than double the damage of a regular shot. Unarmored targets simply take double damage.
- Melee does 50 damage on all heroes, Tracer included.
Using your Pistols
Tracer is meant to be played up close and personal, and her pistols reflect this design. They should be thought of us a shotgun, effective only at close and medium ranges. Thanks to Archimtiros, we have the damage numbers to support this.
Before breaking down the damage, we first need to establish that some heroes have armor. This is displayed as yellow bars, and will greatly reduce the damage dealt until it is exhausted. The heroes that have innate armor are Bastion, Reinhardt, and Winston. Additionally, Torbjörn can place armor packs for his team. Armor will reduce damage by either 5 or half the damage dealt per bullet, whichever is smaller. This explains why high bullet damage heroes, such as Widowmaker, are so effective against an armored target.
Pulse Pistol Breakdown
- 40 shots total, taking approximately 2 seconds to empty on full auto and 2 additional seconds to reload.
- Unarmored Target: 6 damage per bullet, 240 damage maximum before reloading.
- Armored Target: 3 damage per bullet, 120 damage maximum.
- Medium Range Estimated Damage: 222 damage unarmored, 111 damage armored.
- Long Range Estimated Damage: 66 damage unarmored, 33 armored.
- Headshots: 12 damage unarmored, 7 damage armored.
Medium range is defined as approximately one blink away. Long range is two.
Headshots will deal double the unarmored damage, with armor reduction being applied after the fact. This means that a Tracer headshot will deal 12 damage against an unarmored target and 7 damage against an armored.
Should I melee?
Unless you are out of ammo and need to finish someone off, no. Melee does 50 damage, but the animation takes about 2 seconds to complete. Assuming full ammo, no headshots, and all shots were hit against an unarmored target, a melee attack will do 190 damage less than your pistols. It is much better to blink and reload.
Blinking and Recalling
Blinks and Recalls are the defining features of Tracer, and what makes her so much fun to play. You should always be aware of the cooldowns, and use them to your advantage while attacking.
- Approximately 4 second cooldown per charge.
- A single blink will travel the same distance as 3 seconds of running.
- Blink will not go through walls, but can be used to jump through obstacles such as rocks and lamps. This requires experimentation, as not all objects behave as you might expect.
- It will always attempt to put you on solid ground, so blink is highly effective for jumping gaps.
- Blinking only follows the direction you are traveling, not looking. You do not need to look in the same direction that you blink.
- 12 second cooldown.
- Rewind animation is only for the Tracer. Enemies will see a marker at the beginning and the end of a recall. See this video for an example.
- Tracer is invincible during the animation.
- Animation takes approximately 2 seconds.
- Recall will always reload to full ammo, even if you did not have full ammo in the past.
- Recall always returns approximately 3 seconds in the past.
- Recall does not recharge or reset the cooldown on Blink.
So, when should I use my abilities?
Now that you know the cooldown timers, a few patterns emerge. By combining these cooldowns, you can maximize both damage and mobility to be highly effective. I've broken down a few patterns, but there are still many more to be discovered.
- Reloading and recalling take the same amount of time, and both give you full ammo. This means that recalling is often more effective, assuming that you can stay safe for 12 seconds.
- Assuming you have not blinked before recalling, a single blink will travel the same distance as a recall animation will set you back.
- Always try to recall 2 seconds after a Blink. This ensures you will have a Blink up after arriving.
- A melee attack takes the same amount of time as a recall animation or a reload.
We've left the most boring for last. Even though Tracer's ultimate is a lot of fun in game, there isn't much to it. Stick it to an enemy or throw it on the ground, and watch it wreak havoc. Remember, the bomb deals damage to Tracer, so don't be nearby when it goes off!
- 450 damage to an unarmored target.
- It is assumed that each point of armor reduces Pulse Bomb's damage by about 0.2, until the armor is exhausted.
- 397 damage to Reinhardt. He has the highest armor, with 250 armor and 250 health.
- 430 damage to Winston, with 100 armor and 400 health.
- 440 damage to Bastion or a target with armor from Torbjörn, who each have 50 armor.
- 1 second throw animation.
- 2 seconds after landing until explosion.
Tracer's high mobility and versatility will likely find her heavily played throughout the life of the game. Her abilities synergize well, and a player with the knowledge of the raw numbers can greatly increase her effectiveness. Now blink out there and have fun!