Overwatch’s fleet-footed mascot, Tracer, is a zippy DPS attacker designed to flank and harass enemies at close-range. Tracer’s time traveling abilities enable her to blink and shift through a fight, and her evasive mobility makes targeting and tracking her movements a challenge.
In Overwatch lore, Lena Oxton is a young British pilot that joined Overwatch’s experimental flight program. She was chosen to test the Slipstream, a teleporting fighter jet, but it malfunctioned on its inaugural flight, leaving Tracer to be presumed dead.
She reappeared months later, but as a spectral figure that flashed in and out of time. Not one to pass up a challenge, Winston used the power of science to create a chronol accelerator, the device that is now permanently strapped to Tracer in order to ground her in the present time. It also gave her the ability to bend time—a power she uses to protect her fellow Overwatch agents.
Tracer is an extremely viable DPS hero for almost any encounter. Although she can be quickly overwhelmed by multiple enemies in a team fight, her kit gives her plenty of opportunities to escape, heal up, and blink back into battle.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 2.1 Base Stats
- 2.2 Main Attack: Pulse Pistols
- 2.3 Ability 1: Blink
- 2.4 Tips for Blink
- 2.5 Attacks that Tracer can blink through
- 2.6 Ability 2: Recall
- 2.7 Tips for Recall:
- 2.8 When to use Recall
- 2.9 Ultimate: Pulse Bomb
- 2.10 Tips for Pulse Bomb
- 2.11 Heroes that can counter Pulse Bomb
- 2.12 Heroes to prioritize for Pulse Bomb
- 2.13 Remapping Pulse Bomb
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Unique mobile mechanics allow her to quickly flank and confuse enemies
- A full clip from her Pulse Pistols can eliminate most heroes at close range
- Strong self-healing mechanic allows her to contest points and survive 1-on-1 fights
- Hardest character to hit in the game, based on her hitbox
- Fastest overall character in the game, next to Soldier and Lucio
- High skill rating makes her difficult to master
- Relies heavily on her abilities to survive
- Ultimate ability is less impactful to a match compared to similar heroes
- Has the lowest HP of any DPS character
- Health: 150
- Armor: None
Main Attack: Pulse Pistols
- Description: Two fast firing pistols that Tracer shoots simultaneously.
- Damage: 1.5-6
- Ammo: 40
Tracer’s automatic hitscan Pulse Pistols do relatively light damage across a large spread. From a distance, Tracer can tickle enemies and harass individual heroes. From close range, she can unload a burst of fire that quickly chips through health and shield.
And from behind, Tracer can take out most heroes with a full clip of headshot damage.
Note that Tracer can unload a full clip in 1-second. Her reload is about a second as well. Each Blink takes 3 seconds to recharge, so Tracer can blink into a fight, unload a clip or two and reload, then blink to another location.
- Description: Tracer teleports a short distance towards the direction she is moving
- Range: 7.8m
- Ammo: 3 charges
- Cooldown: 3 seconds per charge
Blink is a unique teleportation ability that not only makes Tracer extremely fun to play as, but will absolutely annoy any enemy team that can’t quickly coordinate to counter her.
Tracer’s bread-and-butter is so important to her play style that Blink’s charges appear smack dab in the middle of her HUD, just below her crosshairs. She teleports in a straight line based on where she’s moving (as opposed to where she’s looking). This means you can blink-strafe around an enemy while rapidly firing at them.
Tracer can reload and fire while blinking, enabling skillful players to shave time off of Tracer’s DPS so she can inflict maximum harm.
- Blink only moves horizontally. Blink does not move Tracer up or down.
- Keep an eye on your Blink charges and always try to have 1 charge in reserve in case you need to escape.
- When each Blink recharges it makes a distinct sound. If you’re in the heat of battle, listen for each charge so you can immediately use Blink when it’s ready.
- String multiple blinks together to traverse gaps and floating platforms.
- Try space blinks out rather than expending all of them at once. Blink, fire and evade for 1-2 seconds, then blink again. This way you’re always more on the verge of recharging a blink rather than continuously relying on your last charge.
- Recall does not recharge any blinks that were used by Tracer.
- Blink functions as a teleportation ability, unlike, say, Genji’s Swift Strike. This means Tracer can blink and phase through enemy attacks without taking damage.
- Blink to bypass Junkrat’s Steel Trap and Concussive Mine.
- Blink to avoid setting off Widowmaker’s Venom Mine.
- Blink to phase through Reinhard’t Charge and Firestrike.
- Blink twice to escape from Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
- Blink through Roadhog’s Whole Hog.
- Blink through Hanzo’s Dragonstrike.
Ability 2: Recall
- Description: Tracer rewinds time to the position she was in 3 seconds ago. She also regains any health that was lost since then and any ammo used.
- Duration: 1.25 seconds
- Cooldown: 12 seconds
Recall is the yin to Blinks yang, a powerful self-healing teleportation ability that returns Tracer to the exact health, ammo and map position she was at 3 seconds ago. She won’t regain any lost armor from a Torbjörn Armor Pack.
Be careful using Recall if you’ve recently crossed a chasm or gap with Blink. If Tracer’s last recorded position just happens to be mid-air over the Well on Ilios, say, and Tracer doesn’t have a Blink to finish the leap, she’s met an embarrassing end.
Tips for Recall:
Recall removes debuff effects like Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord, Ana’s Biotic Grenade and Widowmaker’s Venom Mine.
When to use Recall
- Recall extends a 1-on-1 fight, giving you better odds of coming out victorious. Take (and give out) as much damage as possible—within 3 seconds—then Recall and resume the fight.
- Recall regains any HP that was immediately lost. Recall only refills the health and ammo that were used in the most recent 3-second period.
- Use Recall to recover from being pushed over a ledge.
- Use Recall to escape deadly team fights or sudden bursts of damage.
- Use Recall to avoid enemy ultimate attacks like Mei’s Blizzard, Zarya’s Graviton Surge and D.va’s Self-Destruct (so long as Tracer was in a safe spot 3 seconds ago).
- Recall is useful for scouting ahead. Blink as quickly as you can into enemy territory, scope out their defenses, then Recall back to your team and relay the info.
Ultimate: Pulse Bomb
- Description: Tracer chucks a sticky grenade that causes severe damage to anyone in its radius.
- Damage: 5 if stuck to an opponent (10 for headshot), 400 on contact, splash damage to any nearby enemies (and Tracer herself)
- Radius: 3m
Tracer’s Ultimate ability leaves a lot to be desired. It’s relatively easy to avoid, weak if it doesn’t stick to an opponent, and can actually harm and kill Tracer herself. But any drawbacks need to be considered in context; the rest of Tracer’s kit is so quick, versatile and deadly that a more powerful ultimate would probably make her OP.
That said, with a little bit of coordination Pulse Bomb can quickly cripple an enemy team. It recharges relatively fast, meaning Tracer has multiple opportunities to remove high-profile targets in any match. And it can one-shot almost any hero if Tracer lands the stick.
Tips for Pulse Bomb
- Pulse Bomb can kill Tracer! This means you almost always need to have Blink or Recall on hand in order to escape Pulse Bomb’s proximity.
- Pulse Bomb damages shields, but won’t hurt anyone covered by a shield. Blink through enemies crowded behind a shield, then turn and chuck a Pulse Bomb before they can react.
- Blink into a Winston shield to Pulse Bomb anyone hiding inside.
- Combine Pulse Bomb with Blink and Recall to quickly drop in and out of a fight without taking damage.
- Combine Pulse Bomb with Zarya’s Graviton Surge or Reinhardt’s Earthshatter to kill multiple foes at once.
Heroes that can counter Pulse Bomb
- Reaper can use Wraith Form to avoid and remove Pulse Bomb.
- Genji can Deflect a Pulse Bomb.
- D.va can absorb a Pulse Bomb using her Defense Matrix.
- Zarya can absorb Pulse Bomb using a Particle Barrier, or protect an ally from Pulse Bomb with her Projectile Barrier.
- Zenyatta can use Transcendence to make himself invulnerable.
- Lucio’s Sound Barrier will shield anyone from Pulse Bomb.
- Tracer can Recall to escape an enemy Pulse Bomb.
- Mei can use Cryo-Freeze to save herself.
Heroes to prioritize for Pulse Bomb
- Any enemy support heroes: Mercy, Zenyatta, Ana, Lucio and Symmetra.
- Target Mercy to prevent her from resurrecting fallen squad mates.
- Blink behind a Bastion and plant a Pulse Bomb on his back.
Remapping Pulse Bomb
Due to Tracer’s controls, Pulse Bomb can be tricky to land directly on a moving opponent, especially if Tracer is strafing, blinking and recalling out of danger. This is especially true on consoles, where players have to stop aiming for a split second in order to activate her ultimate.
Try changing her controls so that Pulse Bomb is Tracer’s “alternate fire.” This way when Pulse Bomb is ready you can aim it much more accurately.
General Tips & Strategy
Use health packs. Know the location of every pack on a map and plan your assault accordingly. It’ll help you decide whether you should commit to picking off a Winston when at low-health, or back off and heal up.
Do not depend on your healers. Although they can top you up if you’re nearby, they need to concentrate on keeping the frontline alive. Tracer is designed to rely on health packs and her own abilities.
On Defense, concentrate on keeping your healers alive and picking off anyone that decides to dive into your backline. You don’t want to overextend here, unless you see an opening to get behind them and to take out any supports.
On Attack, overwhelm the enemy team by baiting and surprising them from behind their defenses. The idea is to draw an enemy out to chase you, forcing them into a 1-on-1 fight where you have the upper hand.
If the enemy team has a Symmetra Teleporter or Shield Generator, it usually rests on Tracer to quickly locate it. Use Pulse Bomb to instantly remove the enemy advantage.
Always consider whether a fight is worth engaging or not. Even distracting a Reinhardt for a few seconds is enough time for your team to make a push. Quickly pull out of trouble, reset your position, and begin your next attack.
Contest a point as long as possible. Tracer’s unique mobility makes her difficult to pin down. She can run the clock by zipping in, out and around a point to continuously reset the Overtime counter. Next to Lucio, she’s the best at evading enemy fire.
Check the status of your teammates ults and see if you can combo your Pulse Bomb with anything. Remember that Zarya’s Graviton Surge goes particularly well with Pulse Bomb, as does Mei’s Blizzard and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter.
Specific Map Tips
Tracer shines on most maps and game types—particularly as an attacker on Assault/Escort maps and a DPS pick for Control maps. Her mobility lets her exploit certain maps to her advantage.
Tracer is one of a handful of heroes that can flank around the left side of the map (on Attack). Right outside the spawn room on the left side there is a health pack. From here, Tracer can leap off the edge and blink rapidly to reach the other side of the map. From here, she can either enter the building on her right to take the high ground, or flank all the way behind the enemy team. Most of the time, however, clever Tracers will briefly capture the point in order to disrupt the enemy’s attempt to hold the first choke.
On Attack, run into the theatre on the right and head upstairs. From here, Tracer can either blink across to the platform in front of her, or she can jump down and head through the alley on the right. Either way will allow her to blink across the gap behind the statue. She can either take the point, move through the hotel all the way behind the enemy, or flank the defense at the choke.
Attack Tracers can head left through the first choke before Point A. From here, Tracer can walk up the stairs on the left and then blink across the payload onto the café terrace, or she can head through the alley and harass enemies from behind the payload. There’s also a convenient mega health pack located in the alley that Tracer can utilize while chipping away at the defense.
Bastion: Tracer is an excellent counter to Bastion. She’s able to blink behind him while he’s in Sentry Mode, then quickly whittle down his HP by hitting the weak spot on his back. By the time he turns around, Tracer can keep blinking and shooting until he falls.
Ana: Tracer should make every enemy support a priority, but Ana is particularly easy to pick off. She’s not very mobile, and she’ll be forced to hip fire her sniper rifle in order to hit Tracer. Even if she pegs Tracer with a Biotic Grenade, Tracer can quickly recall to remove the debuff.
Reinhardt: Tracer can ruin Reinhardt’s day by blinking through his shield and attacking him from behind. He’ll either rely on his team to take care of Tracer so that he can keep his shield up, or he’ll turn his back and chase after Tracer. He’s also an ideal target for Tracer’s Blink-Pulse Bomb-Recall combo.
Tracer is countered by
Winston: The monkey that saved Tracer’s life is also her worst nightmare. Requiring little aim, Winston can leap onto Tracer and start electrocuting her. Even if she blinks or recalls to escape, Winston can leap again, drop a shield and zap her HP.
Junkrat: Junkrat and Tracer are a pretty even match, but more often than not a gung-ho Tracer will try to contest a point and inadvertently step into one of his traps. Unable to Blink or Recall to escape, she’s a sitting duck for anyone to take out.
Symmetra: Another hero that requires little aim in order to eliminate Tracer (see a pattern here?), Symmetra’s turrets drain Tracer’s health and movement speed, while her Photon Projector makes short work of Tracer as she blinks around the battlefield.
Tracer’s rare skins are all colored variations of her Classic skin—a yellow-orange jumpsuit and a brown leather pilot’s jacket.
- Electric Purple
- Hot Pink
- Neon Green
- Royal Blue
- Posh: Tracer rocks a snow white jumpsuit with fancy gold wrist holsters for her Pulse Pistols.
- Sporty: Tracer wears an all-black jumpsuit with a bright neon green “Tracer” running down her left leg.
- Rose*: An all-black jumpsuit embroidered with classic Chinese flower motifs. (Lunar New Year Event)
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Punk: Tracer rocks a studded leather jacket and bright pink hair in this very British punk rock tribute.
- Ultraviolet: This goth inspired black and white outfit keeps Tracer edgy in and out of battle.
- Mach T: A bright blue and orange jumpsuit protects Tracer at high speeds.
- T. Racer: Tracer is a crack fighter pilot as well as a daredevil on the racetrack. This racecar jumpsuit is covered with decals and comes with a sleek black helmet.
- Slipstream*: The outfit Tracer wore when she flew the Slipstream for the first (and last) time. (Overwatch: Origins Edition)
- Sprinter*: Tracer’s chronol accelerator gives her an edge in any sports event. She’s geared to run some laps in this outfit. (Summer Games Event)
- Track and Field*: Tracer wears a Union Jack flag as a cape, representing Great Britain in this Summer Games outfit. (Summer Games Event)
- Jingle*: (Winter Event)
- Cadet Oxton*: “Tracer was put into active duty as an Overwatch agent for the first time during the King’s Row Uprising.” (Uprising Event)
- Graffiti*: A hoodied Tracer sports artsy leggings and spray paint canisters on her Pulse Pistols. (2017 Anniversary Event)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*