We’re already well into summer, and the sunny weather means that you have the opportunity to have fun outside… Or not. Even if you’re glued to your game systems, you still have the opportunity to play one of the best sports of the summer: “Lucioball,” Overwatch‘s fast-paced soccer-style mode, which was introduced during last year’s Summer Games event, has returned! While it seems simple at first glance, you may find yourself on the losing side unless you can master the game’s most important elements. Here’s what you need to know to become a Lucioball MVP.
Lucioball is effectively an adaptation of arcade-style soccer game, Rocket League, made inside Overwatch. Like Rocket League, Lucioball is a 3-on-3 soccer match where players — all playing as Lucio — pass, shoot, and maneuver around a giant ball using quick acrobatics, sound-themed abilities and melee attacks. The small size of the arena means that you’ll never have more than a second or two to make a decision, so being able to think on your feet is essential.
At the start of the match, one player will be placed in the net to act as the goaltender, but they’re technically free to play a different position at any point. The other two start on either side of center-field — one positioned on the right while the other is on the left. Each match lasts four minutes, and the clock does not stop, except to reset the ball in a neutral position after each goal. That might not sound like a ton of time, a skilled player can easily run up the score.
Players use Lucio’s melee attack and Soundwave ability to knock the oversized soccer ball toward the opposing team’s goal. Lucio also has access to his “Amp It Up” ability, which temporarily makes him skate faster, and he can wall-run on the edges of an arena to get better angles on the goal. None of these abilities give players the same level of control that they’d get in a standard soccer video game — you won’t be “dribbling” the ball. Instead, both teams will take dozens of shots from nearly any area of the field.
There’s been one major change to Lucioball in 2017. This year, Lucio’s ultimate ability gives him an enormous speed boost and decreases the recharging time on his Soundwave. The ultimate ability only lasts for a short period of time and can be charged up by making saves or taking shots on the goal, and you’ll likely get to use it a few times over the course of a match. In the 2016 version of the game, Lucio’s ultimate momentarily turned him into a ball magnet.
Know your role
If you’re teaming up with your friends and use voice chat, you’re free to each pick your preferred position. In a quickplay match with players you’ve never met, though, it’s crucial that you stick to the position you’ve been assigned. If you’re chosen as goaltender but decide to switch to offense, you will be leaving your goal undefended. The risk far outweighs the reward. You might not like playing goaltender, but you’re a crucial part of your team, and you’ll likely get to play a different position when the ball is reset after a goal.
On offense, there’s no reason for you to wait around your own net and help your goaltender out. You want the action to take place in your opponents’ territory as much as possible, as redirected short-range goals are the easiest way to score. Sure, there will be times when your goaltender needs a little bit of extra help, but even when the ball is in your zone, try to position yourself near the middle of the field. This will allow you to make a break for the net after your team gains possession.
Lucio’s speed can tempt players into charging after a ball when they should stay put, which can lead to short-handed situations where the other team can race by you and take an easy, open shot on the net. Instead, take a deep breath and watch the ball is it makes its way around the field. Only go for a shot when you have a clear opening or the enemy team is out of position.
This is especially important when you’re playing goaltender, as the shape of the arena can be deceptive. If an opposing player takes a shot and it runs around the curve of the arena — like a puck going along the boards in hockey — there is almost no chance that it will actually make its way to the goal. As such, stay in position and wait to take a shot after the ball bounces.
The only time that the goaltender should ever get more than a few feet in front of the net is when they use Lucio’s ultimate ability. Using his increased speed, you can rush forward and take a shot if the ball gets close to your own net. Just make sure to get your butt back into the goal afterward.
Use the punch
The Sonic Amplifier lets Lucio shoot the ball with tremendous power and range, but it takes a few seconds to recharge. During this time, you might feel like you’re useless, but don’t forget about Lucio’s melee attack. It won’t do any damage or interrupt enemy players, but you can chip away at the ball before the other team can take a shot.
If your goaltender is struggling and you have to help defend the net — again, this shouldn’t be happening frequently — Lucio’s punch can be used to deflect shots. Once your Sonic Amplifier has finished charging, you can use it to knock the ball back into the other team’s zone.
Soccer balls are bouncy, even in Lucioball. Once the ball hits the side of the arena or bumps into a player, it’ll fly up into the air. If the enemy team is lucky, they’ll be able to wait for it to drop before sending it barreling toward your goal. This makes for a difficult save if you’re standing on the ground, even if you try to shoot it out of the air with your weapon.
Instead, make use of Lucio’s tremendous jump. He leaps as if he were on the surface of the moon, giving you plenty of time to reach the ball and send it back at the opposing goal. This can create something of a tennis match between the two goaltenders, so just be prepared to jump again. Make sure you stay on the ground until you absolutely have to jump, however, as mistiming the ball can lead to a goal going right under your feet.