Last Update: Feb. 14th Patch (Maiev)
Rozai here, your resident musician at Trolls.GG, and today we're going to spend some time getting to know my favorite Support Hero in the Nexus: Lúcio. He was largely absent from the competitive meta for most of 2017, but in recent months has developed into a top-tier contender for professional play.
In this guide, I’m going to give you a talent and game-play rundown for our upbeat friend. Rather than shove a predefined build down your throat, I want to discuss the options available and I will suggest talents that work for varying levels of play and different game-play scenarios.
Lúcio has a low skill floor and a high skill cap in my opinion. It is easy to pick up Lúcio, but as you gain more and more experience, you are rewarded more for your micro decisions than most heroes in the game. Your positioning, aggression, patience, cooldown awareness, and empathy for your team mates can and will be rewarded by Lúcio's toolkit. He is as good or bad of a hero as you allow him to be, and I guarantee you'll have a blast as you are rewarded for your good decision making on Lúcio.
When it comes to Lúcio, I think its best to hold yourself accountable to 3 big rules. These rules can help you succeed with all heroes, but I find them to be especially helpful on Lúcio.
Rule #1: Moving = Living
Don’t stop moving. Just don’t! Especially focus on maintaining the bonus from Wall Ride. Plain and simple, the more (and faster) you move, the harder you make it for your opponents to kill you. It hinders enemy skill shots, helps enable your kill potential, and ensures you will be in the most advantageous position to heal your team.
Rule #2: Simple is Often Better
When it comes to building Lúcio, there is a moderate level of complexity you can build into with quests and conditional talents. Talents like Up the Frequency and Maximum Tempo certainly offer superior numerical advantages, but I find simpler talents will net similar value on average, and allow you to focus on better positioning and cool down usage. This is true at all levels of play but especially true in lower and beginner levels. Just focus on clean, solid game-play over complex talent builds and the rest will fall into place.
Rule #3: Know Your Limits (But know you’ll eventually break them)
Lúcio scales very well into the late game. His biggest power spikes come from the increased range from Party Mix, the AoE protection of Sound Barrier, and from his level 16 talents especially. In most cases, Lúcio comps will need to make sure they have a good early game through good rotations, picks, and soaking experience in order to usher you into a healthy late game. Don't get suckered into full out team fights too early in the game, as Lúcio will typically be unable to keep up with the damage of strong early game heroes. Once Sound Barrier and Rejuvenscencia or Bring it Together are online, you can start to turn fights around with a ludicrous amount of AoE healing and protection.
Level 1 Talents
We Move Together is a nice, simple talent that consistently gives you value with no downside. This is definitely the talent for beginner Lúcios, but I really like it when I need to give extra movement to my assassins that need a little extra help escaping. Kerrigan is a prime example, as she goes all in on the engage, but may need a little more mobility to chase or retreat.
Accelerando should be taken when you’ve spent some time on Lúcio and want to get better at maintaining the Wall Ride buff time. Most maps have enough walls and corridors for this talent to enable you to rotate lanes very easily and move around a team fight with confidence. This talent enables you to achieve an advantageous healing position without having to turn off Healing Boost, which can make a huge difference in a team fight. After spending a lot of time with this talent, you’ll feel like you're moving through quicksand without it, so if you don’t need the bonus movement speed for your allies, I suggest defaulting to Accelerando.
Maximum Tempo is certainly a strong talent with a simple enough quest goal. The issue I find with this talent is that sometimes I don’t want to sacrifice healing at certain moments to focus on completing the quest. The reality is that speed track with or without Amp it Up already gives a movement speed advantage over your enemy. Anything over that is kind of overkill. If you find yourself up against lots of slows, however, like Arthas, Jaina, or Thrall with Earthquake, then this talent could have a lot more value as you Amp It Up with Speed Boost to move your team to safety.
Slip is the only talent of this tier that I strongly advocate against taking. The trigger for the reward is very conditional and doesn’t offer a lot of consistency. The reward itself pales in comparison to the benefits of the other talents.
Level 1 Summary
In general, consider We Move Together or Accelerando. We Move Together is a good starter talent and is a good pick for low mobility allies. As you gain experience with maintaining Wall Ride, you'll feel like you can't live without Accelerando.
Level 4 Talents
Subwoofer follows the “Simpler is Better” mantra, and requires little interaction to make it work. It is nice when the enemy team has a lot of dive and you need to keep them at bay.
Off the Wall is nice for consistent interruption on maps where you can easily maintain the Wall Ride buff. This one is my favorite.
Chase the Bass can sometimes take a while to complete, but is a worthwhile pick against teams where you are afraid of their proximity and AoE effects. This is my go-to talent against ETC, for example, as it allows me to safely interrupt Mosh Pit.
Level 4 Summary
Be flexible. Adjust as necessary depending on the enemy comp.
Level 7 Talents
Party Mix is simple, easy to use, and arguably better than the other two options. It is super easy to complete and gives consistent value. The range increase also allows you to better manage clump issues against Kael’thas and others, effectively patching up one of Lúcio’s biggest weaknesses.
Sonic Amplifier is another conditional talent that I tend to avoid. If you don’t think you can easily complete Party Mix, maybe consider using this talent, but it really doesn’t take much to complete Party Mix.
Boombox has its uses on maps like Braxis holdout where fighting can occur simultaneously between two close locations like the beacon point and the nearby lane. Against heavy dive comps, it can also provide a nice safe zone and escape path if you place it in your backline while you assist the frontline. Boombox can also serve as a ward, granting vision if you place it in a vent or bush, which can be nice for anticipating a flank. It does offer counter play to your opponents, however, who can bully your team out of the Boombox range. Furthermore, it may be necessary to continue a team fight outside of the Boombox area, whether retreating or chasing, so Party Mix will give you more consistent value anywhere on the map.
Level 7 Summary
Party Mix unless you REALLY feel like you need Boombox.
Level 10 Talents
Sound Barrier is just so good. Even in double support situations, giving shields to your whole team gets way too much value.
Reverse Amp has some niche scenarios where it can do cool things with Up the Frequency (16) and Bonus Track (20) as it extends the duration of Amp It Up. This talent can help with more effective sustain healing, but the burst and pseudo CC protection from Sound Barrier helps patch up the missing parts of Lucio's base kit. I’m not going to dissuade you from trying out the various Reverse Amp talent paths, as I do believe they have a place, but if we’re going to be serious about protecting our team in the way team fights generally occur, Sound Barrier is the way to go.
Level 10 Summary
Sound Barrier unless you're feeling particularly adventurous.
Level 13 Talents
Beat Mixing can add a little more survivability against burst damage. If you find yourself unable to maintain Wall Ride for Hard Style for whatever reason (map or battle conditions), then consider this talent. One drawback to this talent is the shield is removed rather than refreshed when switching tracks (until 1.5 seconds have passed again). This means the freedoom of using the right Crossfade track at the right moment limits Lúcio's survivability. With other talents in this tier, that freedom is preserved.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a more situational than the rest, largely depending on your opponents' skill and comp. If you find yourself against Malfurion, Arthas, or Jaina players who are really good at rooting you during Wall Ride, then definitely pick this up. It can also help avoid the root of Ring of Frost, and the rest of Jaina’s combo.
Hard Style is the other competitive option, as it rewards Lúcio players who are skilled at maintaining their Wall Ride buff with a practically permanent 25% damage reduction. There is a lot of value in this talent if CC on the enemy team isn’t a concern.
Back in the Mix is absolutely necessary against CC-heavy comps. The longer Lúcio can stay alive, the longer the rest of his team can stay alive, and that burst self heal is critically important when he is focused by the enemy team.
Level 13 Summary
Adjust as necessary, but lean more towards Hard Style and Back in the Mix as much as possible.
Level 16 Talents
One moment of discussion for the level 16 tier. There are lots of great charts done by some really intelligent members of the community that detail the mathematical "break-evens" for each talent. Rejuvenescensia is the typical go-to for this tier, but it is important to understand when to take the other two talents, as I've had a lot of success with Bring It Together when the comps were appropriate. I've included some links here for you to check out if you're interested:
Rejuvenescensia is consistent, simple, and provides a lot of value when you have 2 or more melee on your team. If it is more important to keep your frontline in tact, which it usually is, then definitely take Rejuvenescensia.
Nov. 29th Patch Edit: This talent saw its percentage based heal reduced from 3% to 2.5%, along side the Amp it Up nerf from 15.5 to 15. This reduces Rejuvenescensia's power significantly, but still has good value with high health targets and Bonus Track. If the support nerfs do in fact limit the double-healer meta and usher the return of mages, then there will be an even greater need to take Bring it Together and Bossa Nova for back-line protection.
Bring It Together does have several situations where it performs better than Rejuvenescensia. If you have multiple ranged assassins or the enemy team has lots of backline harassment and poke, then Bring It Together will help keep your backline at full health.
Up the Frequency, in a vacuum, gives the most healing, especially when combined with Reverse Amp, but requires maintaining auto-attacks on an enemy to get the most value. This talent can be good against sustained AoE damage, but often times the other two talents will do (more than) just fine.
Level 16 Summary
Two or more melee or high priority frontline: Rejuvenescensia.
Two or more squishy backline or against heavy backline poke/harassment: Bring It Together.
Level 20 Talents
Boss Nova is generally pretty good, as the 30 second CD for Sound Barrier can help win a late game team fight and push for the core. It is great for consistent protection of your back-line. This is my usual talent of choice.
Nonstop Remix is pretty cool, but you likely won’t be taking Reverse Amp so…yeah.
Bonus Track offers a lot of utility and sustained healing. After a normal full duration of Amp It Up, you can switch tracks to activate this talent to get another full duration of Amp It Up on the opposite track, or swap tracks one more time to get another near full duration of the same track. This can mean roughly 6 seconds (8 with Reverse Amp) of Amp it Up healing, which can have insane value with your level 16 talents.
When comparing this talent to Bossa Nova, consider the type of damage your opponents have and the frequency of their major cooldowns. If you find a greater need for massive sustained healing, choose Bonus Track. If you believe more frequent shields for burst protection is necessary, choose Bossa Nova.
Synaesthesia Auditiva is a really nice tech choice against AoE CC, like Kel’Thuzad or Jaina, and can help patch up Lucio’s biggest weakness in not having a Cleanse.
Level 20 Summary
Bossa Nova/Bonus Track > Synesthesia Auditiva >Nonstop Remix
A general concern that I often run into on the draft screen is taking Lúcio against Kael'thas, where the assumption is that Lúcio's proximity healing makes his team more susceptible to Living Bomb and Flamestrike. I am of the opinion that, unlike Li Li and Brightwing who have similar baseline healing ranges, Lúcio gains the tools (Level 7 talents) to extend his range and avoid this issue. More importantly, Lúcio's maneuverability far out classes Brightwing's and Li Li's, allowing him (and his team) to minimize Kael'thas's pressure. With good positioning, Lúcio will be able to keep pace with Kael'thas's damage (using Sound Barrier and Amp it Up when it gets overwhelming) and will use his Speed Boost to gain positional advantage for his team to put back line pressure on Kael'thas.
Rather, Lúcio's biggest concerns are single target burst and heavy CC. Anything that can prevent him from activating Sound Barrier greatly reduces his team contribution. The responsibility is on the Lúcio player to remain in constant motion and invest into talents like Accelerando, Back in the Mix, and Can't Stop Won't Stop to protect himself through skilled use of Wall Ride. As far as countering heavy CC put on his team, he can use Sound Barrier and Soundwave as band-aids for lacking a Cleanse. More so than most healers, the tools are there for Lúcio players to overcome his greatest flaws with skilled positioning and awareness.
So, I hope this guide was helpful to you. The biggest take away should be that you need to remain flexible in your talent picks and stick to my three rules: Moving = Living; Simple is Often Better; and most importantly, Know Your Limits. Let me know what else you'd like to know about Lúcio or if I can help you in anyway. See you in the Nexus!