The Summer Games are here, and with them Blizzard has brought back the best seasonal game mode Overwatch has ever had: Lucioball! A hybrid of Rocket League and Jet Set Radio, Lucioball takes my favorite character in Overwatch and builds an entire sport around him, and I cannot possibly be having more fun. I managed to place into high Diamond in the new competitive Copa Lucioball, and here are some tips for bringing your game to the next level:
1. Set yourself up for the cross. This is the single most important tip in this guide. When the ball is on one side of the field and a teammate is running for the ball, trust that he’s going to do his job and Boop the ball. Once he does that, 9 times out of ten it hits the wall and rebounds onto the other side of the field, which means you should be there ready to hit it into the goal. At lower ranks, where nobody has realized this, it’s really easy to get a free shot on goal because nobody is defending on the far side of the field.
2. If you spawn in goal, play goalie. Or communicate with your team and get someone to switch with you. A team without a goalie is at a severe disadvantage, and somebody should be in goal at any given time. While some players prefer to always stay in goal, communicating teams should cycle their goalies out because you get extra ultimate charge for a Save! By putting whoever’s at the lowest ultimate charge in goal, you can farm ultimates faster and keep the pressure on your opponents.
3. Practice your starting hit. After a goal, the ball will begin play in several pre-determined locations on the field, and it’s often the responsibility of the closest-spawning player to try and get the first hit. In lower levels, I’ve found the best opening play is a diagonal hit that bypasses an enemy trying to Boop it straight forward (aka the most popular opening play). There are a number of hits that will Boop the ball directly into the goal from the starting position, but any half-decent goalie will be prepared to stop them.
4. Keep one player downfield. In general, the best team comp is one goalkeeper, one forward, and a flex player who switches between defense and midfield, assisting either the goalie or the forward as needed. If all three players cram themselves onto either side of the field, they’ll quickly lose control of the ball or, even worse, cause own goals as they get in each other’s way. (Thanks to reddit user u/Lehk for submitting this tip!)
5. If you’re winning, consider stalling with the ball. In most sports, there are penalties for running out the clock because it’s boring and unsportsmanlike. Lucioball has no such limitations, so if your team is in the lead, it’s sometimes a good play to hold the ball on your side and just sit there until the other team forces a kick. It can be difficult to control a stationary ball in Lucioball, much more difficult than in most real-world sports, so this tactic won’t work for long, but it can burn some valuable seconds from your opponent’s comeback time.
6. Use ult to set yourself up for a goal. There are two times I prefer to use my ultimate. The first is a situation where a very easy goal presents itself, but you need to be moving faster to earn that opportunity, like so:
The other situation is when the defense is extremely spaced out, and you have the room to chain hits with yourself and setup a perfect shot on goal.
(Other note, ultimates can be used by a goalie to counter a double-ultimate from the other team. Two ulting players can form an unstoppable offensive push unless at least one defender counter-ults to keep up with them.)
7. Be careful using the jump pads. Those jump pads catapult you really high in the air, often far higher than you needed. The goalie will use the jump pad often to block those high shots, but the rest of the team should really only use the jump pad for a speedboost, as it’s the quickest way to reach the other side of the field. Of course, if the ball is up in the air, a downward shot from the jump pad is incredibly difficult to block. But if you’re not sure whether to use the jump pad in a given situation, err on the side of caution and stay on the ground.
For some gameplay examples of me playing Lucioball in a competitive setting, where I learned these tricks under fire, I’ve got a timestamped Youtube video of myself playing through my first five placement matches, all wins. You can see me use all of the tricks I’m describing in this article, as well as the Golden Rule of online gaming: Be cheerful and positive over voice chat!