1 month ago
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Patch 3.3
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Table of Content :

-Author's Note

-About Io

-Talents

-Abilities

-Best Team Compositions / Counters

-Io's effectiveness on every map

-Tips and Tricks

-Cards, Builds and Items

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Author's Note:

A staple guide for any Io playstyle.

This is a throughout guide and let's talk on Io, by a level 150+ diamond Io player. It covers every aspect of her gameplay and kit, and aims to show both new and veteran players some tips. It also covers a multitude of different builds all at once. Sure, you can just play her and figure out what works for you, but you can't read that at work while bored.

Enjoy!

-ColourWolfe

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About Io:

Io has been around for a while, and has already captured hearts of many. With the unique ability to fine-tune her healing to extremely precise amounts, she is a popular pick that really can rock with any team composition.

She is a well-rounded support, bringing a little bit of everything to the table.

Io can command a very strong presence in fights, but her greatest weakness lies in being very team dependent.

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Talents:

Io's talents are : Life Link, Goddess' Blessing and Sacrifice.

Life Link : Luna now heals allies near her for 300 per second. The heal is of medium power, but is persistent and in an area, and helps Io create more space for herself where her team isn't. As Io has a singular line of sight healing ability, this talent allows her to be able to heal at two places at once, or drop Luna to cover your backline while you follow in on an aggressive offlane play. This talent can also greatly boosts Io's own survival if used defensively.

The trick with Life Link is to make Luna fluidly move around you, and not to get stuck where you shouldn't be while you try to move around Luna's cooldown. With Life Link, you want to look for corners, rocks, pillars and other environmental blocks where Luna can safely spread healing aura without being a sitting duck that sponges up damage. Always remember that if Luna dies, you are practically left talent-less for about 15 seconds, and plan both her and your own positioning accordingly.

Goddess' Blessing : Allies you directly heal take 15% less damage. A nice talent if the enemies have a lot of spam or area damage that can decimate your Luna in seconds, and a "can-never-go-wrong-with-it" type of talent. Coupled with few cards it can buff allies to oblivion all the while healing them, making certain impossible duels for your team - very possible. This talent shines through both early and late game, due to the fact that damage reduction can not be countered by items like Cauterize or Bulldozer. This talent also gives plenty of breathing room, as you rely solely on your resource bar to heal your team, while Luna can be used to warn of flanks coming offlane, or if you want to use Protectors in your build to generate Moonlight.

Sacrifice : If you die while Luna is active, she is sacrificed, you take her place and heal. An overlooked talent that isn't all that bad (who doesn't like a second chance) - the reason it's very rarely used is because the first two talents bring more direct value during and after the fights, even if you rock a more aggressive play-style. But if you really wanna rock this, make sure to place Luna in a safe spot, and while playing aggressive keep in mind you take anywhere in between three to five seconds to kill a standard-hp champion - so know who you can duel if you do or don't have the cooldown up. Another thing to keep in mind is that when Sacrifice triggers, you get your Luna off-cooldown, so you can instantly redeploy her to fight that Maeve that's been camping your Luna for a full minute now.

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Abilities:

Moonlight

Io's default healing is stable and reliable. You can almost instantly react to allies needing help around you and quickly swap in between them, effectively being in two or three fights at once. This also means you can quickly top off your entire team without having to wait for your cooldowns to cycle. Since you don't work with a cooldown but with a resource bar ("juice"), be careful about burning through it to pocket a tank taking chip damage - that leaves you without any healing options for the rest of your team. With that being said, Io's default meter sucks some moon balls. It's essential to run a choice of cards that grant more Moonlight, either passively or proactively, tailored to fit your playstyle. Her healing can linger for a little while after target exits your line of sight, making Io great at hugging corners and peeking from them to heal, where she can quickly slip away if flanked.

Luna

Luna is all you have for self-defense. You can place Luna on a suspicious flank as a warning to whoever might be coming. You can place Luna in between you and attackers to sponge up some damage or cooldowns, allowing you to duel or block some abilities. Early game especially, Luna really is another character with persistent auto-attack and a decent hp bar, making a game 6v5 up-front. Remember that you can see your Luna's hit points near your character portrait, and don't ever leave her to die or sit idle forgotten half-way through a push - as soon as it's off cooldown, think about where you can place Luna to get value.
Always keep Luna around you, as you can land a stun on overextended enemies or flanks. The stun will go through many obstacles (It stuns enemies out of shields (Nando, Khan), Luna can pass through deployables ( Inara's Wall), and it ignores cripples and roots ((Tyra's Fire, Imani's Volleyball)).

Leap

The leap is your best ally and your worst nightmare. Learn to never panic-press the jump. It's cooldown is too long to be used as a lucky bail-me-out card, and it doesn't grants any invulnerability.

It really is an alright tool to escape or reposition. It covers a lot of ground, and has a decent upwards momentum so you can reach some high ground or vault over environment, and is relatively fast in movement so that it can try to throw enemies off aim. Do remember that it has a hefty cooldown compared to other supports' repositioning, moreover as Io never gets Chronos, so when you use it as a repositioning movement, make absolutely sure you won't need it in next 10 seconds.

Begone!

With good positioning, having your ultimate almost guarantees you will survive the next flank encounter and maybe get away with a cheeky kill. Begone! is not an ability you use out of desperation to try to push away that Skye who's on your ass for the seventh time this round - think of it more as a very precise Torvald ultimate. It's a defensive ultimate that can be used very aggressively if need be, and the brief immunity during it has a variety of uses. Due to the speed of it and it's wonky hitbox, it's best used at close range, meaning Io has easiest time countering frontline ultimate plays. You can push Ash off her ultimate field, dodge Inara's spear and push her off from your team, or fully immunize yourself against a Terminus explosion and send him off to another realm. Keep in mind that it does a decent chunk of damage and can be used as a finishing move if you REALLY need to survive an encounter. To correctly aim this ultimate for environmental kills, you have to learn to not shoot at enemies, but calculate whether or not the missile will pick them up on their way and shoot for the skies.

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-Best team compositions / Counters:

Io works best in team compositions where she has the advantage of free middle ground. If her team is able to maintain line of sight on her, she can be present in all fights at once due to no heal cooldowns. Therefore, Io's positioning should be as central while as safe as possible.

Io fits in with any team composition, duo-tank or single tank, and she also works wonders with double support comp.

Her best team composition is two off-tanks, herself as support and two free characters, best if both damage to be nearer to her.


Io's worst nightmare is being dived. You counter Io by forcing her to burn her leap cooldown, and then having next 10 seconds of her with no getaway mobility. Smart players will burn these cooldowns in this order: kill Luna -> force leap -> kill Io who now has only her primary fire and healing to work with.

Grohk is a solid counter, as his chain lightnings eat through Luna's hit points and force you in a position where entire team needs healing at once, and that's another of Io's weaknesses. To counterplay your counterplay, make Luna bodyguard unsafe flanks instead of being in his sight (Goddess'), or stand just behind an environmental obstacle so she eats the bounces but isn't causing them (Life Link). That way, she still gives value while not frying your team for just existing.

With that being said, going against Deep Root Grover is a pain train - while it will not bounce off from Luna on initial hit, Luna can spread the chain further to your backline if it chains off from an ally to her.

Io's another counter is Zhin. He can follow you through any distance you cover with leap, and all his abilities grant immunity to Luna's stuns. In most 1v1 scenarios, Zhin wins, even if Io player tries to dance around Luna and pump her bow. The only times Io wins is if she can spot him before he gets too close, and discourages him to dive with chip damage.
To do what you can best against counters, hug your damage characters better and pump them with heals so that they win fights for you. You're a healer, it's no shame to ask for help with problematic characters, because if your ass is dead your team isn't getting any support.

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-Io's effectiveness on every map

Arguably, Stone Keep is Io's best map. You have plenty of terraces to send enemies off from with an ultimate. You got multiple layers of height that don't really benefit Io's healing too much, but make you very hard to reach or flank. Last but not least, there's a lot of obstacles all around the map which you can use to safely peek with heals and shots.

To play a good Io, you are somewhat map reliant. You want three things from every map:

1) Rocks, shrubs, pillars and corners galore

2) Environmental hazards or map edges

3) Multi-layered height differences

3 Points Maps (Excellent) : Serpent Beach, Fish Market, Stone Keep, Splitstone Quarry

2 Points Maps (Okay) : Frog Isle (1+2), Jaguar Falls (1+2), Frozen Guard (1+2), Ice Mines (2+3), Brightmarsh (1+2), Ascension Peak (2+3), Warder's Gate (2+3)

1 Point Maps (Hell no) : Timber Mills (has only one clear off-map shot next to spawn, very little to no hiding spots), Bazaar (no environmental hazards, very awkward height difference with an absurd amount of pillars, ledges and walls to block your heal sightlines), Shattered Desert (incredibly clear and long sightlines, very open space, and, very limited ultimate plays options).

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-Tips and tricks:

-Luna is immune to damage while switching places and briefly during her stun animations, but can still be healed.

-Switching places for Luna immediately creates her collision at cast point, even before she arrives. Be careful not to block your own path by casting it in front of you.

-You can utilize a wall jump (jump by the wall to gain extra height) + leap to reach otherwise unreachable platforms. Serpent Beach's primary middle ledge around point is a prime example.

-Be careful when using ultimate on hyper-mobility champions as they might be able to get back on ground (Evie, Androxus, Maeve). On the other hand, in certain maps like Fish Market, you can absolutely abuse this to get them out of the fights for a real long time, bringing value even without a kill, or better, delaying their death to stagger them.

-You can utilize tapping Goddess' damage reduction on full hp targets to block a decent chunk of damage when they're trying to peek enemy snipers.

-To securely land a stun with Luna, mark an enemy and THEN re-position her near the enemy. Otherwise, you risk stun going on cooldown against targets you didn't really need to stun.

-If you aim your ultimate straight down upon cast (cast from ground level), Luna will glide across the floor very slowly, picking up enemies and disabling them for a brief time before she explodes. Situational use of the ult, but it has it's uses as a prolonged stun.

-Luna can eat up a Drogoz ultimate, much like a Ying illusion. Tho her reposition is somewhat slow, blocking a doorway could force him to hit her instead of your tank.

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Cards, Builds and Items:

But which one shall I pick? - you ask yourself. Simple.

Io builds are very much all similar - you need resource generation and general buffs to it. The only thing that ever really changes is the amount of points distributed, and the way you generate Moonlight.

Suggested Cards:
Build Section
Notes

Here's four different card builds that you can base all your playstyles around, and then fine-tune them to your liking.

Goddess / Sanctum
Moonwalk

Moonwalk

Armor

Increase your maximum Moonlight capacity by 40%.

Level 5

Sanctum of Faith

Sanctum of Faith

Moonlight

Regenerate 3% Moonlight every 1s while not using Moonlight.

Level 3

Restored Faith

Restored Faith

Moonlight

Heal for 30 every time you Heal an ally with Moonlight.

Level 3

Swift Arrows

Swift Arrows

Moonlight

Increase allies' Movement Speed by 18% while they are being Healed by Moonlight.

Level 3

Spirit Arrows

Spirit Arrows

Moonlight

Reduce the Cooldown of Luna's redeploy by 0.1s after healing with Moonlight.

Level 1

Notes

The classic build. We need more up-time on Moonlight and a way to generate it a bit faster once we run out.

Moonwalk grants a huge increase in your resource bar, and scales with your other cards since they're also % based.

Sanctum allows you to generate resource faster when you're repositioning or rotating.

Some self-sustain is a must - having it on 3 grants about 200 HP regeneration per second.

Swift Arrows is always a decent choice, giving (almost) the value of Nimble 3 to targets we heal.

With this build, we also don't need to move Luna around too much, but we have Spirit Arrows on 1 as a decent filler card since it will proc 7 times per second spend healing.

Goddess / Protectors
Moonwalk

Moonwalk

Armor

Increase your maximum Moonlight capacity by 24%.

Level 3

Protectors

Protectors

Guardian Spirit

Regenerate 10% Moonlight every 1s while within 30 units of Luna and not using Moonlight.

Level 5

Restored Faith

Restored Faith

Moonlight

Heal for 30 every time you Heal an ally with Moonlight.

Level 3

Feral Strength

Feral Strength

Guardian Spirit

Increase Luna's Health by 450.

Level 2

Spirit Arrows

Spirit Arrows

Moonlight

Reduce the Cooldown of Luna's redeploy by 0.2s after healing with Moonlight.

Level 2

Notes

Similar to classic build, but with a twist - Protectors does NOT activate if you're currently healing an ally. It will only give juice if you are not momentarily healing, and are within range.

Protectors is the biggest of Moonlight boosts out of the bunch and is popular as "burst heals Io", but it has a drawback of giving 0 generation if you let Luna die.

We swap out speed boost for 500 more hit points on Luna, and 2+ seconds off her reposition per second spent healing.

This build has among maximum Moonlight uptimes, but is a bit harder to pull off as you have to watch Luna's HP as much as you watch your own.

Goddess / Garden
Moonwalk

Moonwalk

Armor

Increase your maximum Moonlight capacity by 32%.

Level 4

Moonlight Garden

Moonlight Garden

Weapon

Generate 8% Moonlight for each enemy hit with Light Bow.

Level 4

Restored Faith

Restored Faith

Moonlight

Heal for 30 every time you Heal an ally with Moonlight.

Level 3

Swift Arrows

Swift Arrows

Moonlight

Increase allies' Movement Speed by 18% while they are being Healed by Moonlight.

Level 3

Spirit Arrows

Spirit Arrows

Moonlight

Reduce the Cooldown of Luna's redeploy by 0.1s after healing with Moonlight.

Level 1

Notes

Very close to classic build, but with a different method of moonlight generation which slightly alters your playstyle. This a build you want to rock if the enemies have limited flanking options and/or have big shieldless targets you can poke.

Learning to weave in shots in between heals is mandatory to never let your Moonlight run out.

This build is for somewhat experienced players, as it can cost your positioning to generate juice.

Life Link / 101
Moonwalk

Moonwalk

Armor

Increase your maximum Moonlight capacity by 32%.

Level 4

Feral Strength

Feral Strength

Guardian Spirit

Increase Luna's Health by 900.

Level 4

Restored Faith

Restored Faith

Moonlight

Heal for 20 every time you Heal an ally with Moonlight.

Level 2

Sanctum of Faith

Sanctum of Faith

Moonlight

Regenerate 3% Moonlight every 1s while not using Moonlight.

Level 3

Spirit Arrows

Spirit Arrows

Moonlight

Reduce the Cooldown of Luna's redeploy by 0.2s after healing with Moonlight.

Level 2

Notes

You really ever need a singular Life Link build. This is one that allows for more breathing room.

Additional hit points to Luna so that she can endure a bit more damage, and Spirit Arrows so that you can reposition her much faster than usual.

...and the standard Io cards to fill the rest up.

Items
Notes

As much as they are personal preferences, these are key items to keep in mind come to Io's play-style.

The Main Purchases
Nimble

Nimble

Armor

Gain 21% Movement Speed.

Level 3

Master Riding

Master Riding

Armor

Increase your Mount Speed by 45%.

Level 3

Haven

Haven

Armor

Reduce the Damage you take from Direct attacks by 21%.

Level 3

Blast Shields

Blast Shields

Armor

Reduce the Damage you take from Area of Effect attacks by 21%.

Level 3

Resilience

Resilience

Armor

Reduce the duration and effectiveness of Crowd Control and Slows by 60%.

Level 3

Kill to Heal

Kill to Heal

Armor

Getting a kill or elimination heals you for 900 Health.

Level 3

Wrecker

Wrecker

Weapon

Your weapon attacks deal 75% increased Damage to Shields.

Level 3

Bulldozer

Bulldozer

Weapon

Your weapon shots deal 60% increased Damage to Deployables, Pets, and Illusions.

Level 3

Notes

Nimble allows you to maneuver around fights, either to catch up to allies you're buffing, or for quick dance-peeking around corners so you maintain heals on allies without being exposed for too long. You can also finish it before round 1 ends.

Master Riding is a choice if your team picks it up.

Kill to heal is a decent choice with recent changes, and being active in multiple duels with Io will reward you with constant heals.

Haven, Blast Shields and Resilience should be picked up if certain enemies give you more trouble than you're comfortable with - I usually like to pick one up right after I finish Nimble.

Wrecker is very often overlooked with Io - but with Io's very fast attack speed, you can quickly eat shields to land a stun with Luna if necessary. This also applies to Bulldozer - if you're decked out on all your items you wanted, you can utilize the ability to two-shot a Ying's illusion for example.

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