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When the newest season of Overwatch 2 hits servers on Aug. 10, another healer will be adding some heat to the game’s hero roster. Peruvian sun master Illari has been quietly teased over the last few months, touted as a skill-based healer that will shake up the game’s meta. After testing the newest healer ahead of her launch, we wholeheartedly agree.

In April, Overwatch 2 added Lifeweaver to the game’s roster, but the floral support’s debut was less successful than developers expected. Underpowered and with niche abilities, Lifeweaver struggled to find a foothold in the game’s meta and seems to be rarely played at any level, especially in higher ranks. Thankfully, developers seem to have learned from this experience and are sending Illari in at full speed.

As a support with a lot of spice, Illari feels aligned with the likes of Ana and Zenyatta, dealing damage while keeping her team alive. Many of her abilities are skill-based and less intuitive than a Mercy beam; support players have long been asking for another hero with a high skill ceiling and Illari absolutely delivers.

It’s also extremely evident how much the development team put into her backstory, appearance, and overall vibe. The design team interviewed Peruvian women to learn about important parts of their culture and applied that knowledge to this hero. Illari’s double braids and flowing hair are common in Peruvian culture, where haircare is a pillar of wellbeing.

“We really wanted to get specific about the Peruvian experience,” said Joshi Zhang, a narrative designer for Overwatch 2 who had a heavy hand in Illari’s personality and story. The healer’s ultimate line is in Quechua, a language used by the indigenous people of the Peruvian Andes, and that history is peppered throughout her interactions and lore.

Even without her impressively detailed backstory, Illari is a stunning addition to the support roster, offering another option for players who want to dive into the action instead of sitting on the payload. Here’s a breakdown of her abilities and how they factor into her playstyle.

Illari gets ready to fire

Primary Fire: Solar Rifle, damage

Illari’s primary fire comes from a very intimidating laser rifle that’s powered by the sun’s energy. It automatically charges, putting out higher damage with a fully charged shot. While you can fire multiple shots in sequence, it’s better to hold off and fire more impactful charged shots. The damage isn’t as impactful as a firstful of Zenyatta orbs, but it packs a punch.

Developers are clearly pushing players to make better, more well-aimed shots with this weapon. Support players begged for a skill-based hero and this is the result, but the weapon feels clean, smooth, and amazing to shoot. Illari’s melee attack also feels swift and endlessly fun.

Secondary Fire: Solar Rifle, healing

She’s dangerous, but Illari is still a healer at heart. Her main source of healing is a static laser beam from the Solar Rifle, triggered as her secondary fire. It plays like a smoother, more consistent Symmetra or Zarya beam and feels satisfying to use. Though it’s an automatic beam, it still takes tracking ability to stay on a moving target and gives you that skill-based dopamine hit.

Healing Pylon

The most revolutionary part of Illari’s kit is her Healing Pylon. A single pylon can be thrown onto the field of battle and will deliver consistent, decently impactful healing bursts to players in its range. The pylon operates like a Torbjӧrn turret, lasting indefinitely if not destroyed by the enemy team–it can be demolished with the interact key if you need a new one. That said, you’ll ideally be throwing out a Healing Pylon in multiple different places during a long fight to sustain your allies.


Though she isn’t as speedy as Lúcio, Illari’s movement still feels like an important part of her playstyle. Outburst is a sunburst that allows Illari to jump in the direction she’s facing; players can hold down jump to go higher. The resulting burst knocks back players around Illari, giving her and her allies more room to breathe. Outburst feels a lot like Hanzo’s lunge with much more pizzazz and bonus potential to throw people into the abyss.

Illari ready pose

Ultimate: Captive Sun

Illari’s ultimate is as beautiful as it is deadly. During Captive Sun, she leaps into the air while gleaming in golden light. Players can then fire a single explosive shot, which causes damage and an extremely annoying but effective debuff that slows enemies for a short amount of time. It’s visually pleasing and feels impactful, but the slowing ability of Captive Sun brings back bad memories of crowd control abilities in base Overwatch.

This ultimate is going to be extremely powerful and over-tuned for at least a few weeks, which may be irritating, but it’s at least better than Lifeweaver’s underwhelming introduction. Considering how cool and reasonably balanced Illari is otherwise, the ultimate will likely be tolerable with a few tweaks down the line.

Overall impressions

Where Lifeweaver often felt clunky and awkward to use, Illari glides through fights like butter. She definitely takes some getting used to, but once players get the hang of her abilities, she can turn fights around. The harsh truth is that Illari may not be for everyone: if your aim isn’t up to par, she won’t feel impactful. That’s the double-edged sword of a skill-based hero.

Illari will likely pair well with long-range healers as she has the most healing impact at close and mid-range; a duo with Ana is likely in the stars. Combining Ana’s Anti-Grenade with Illari’s ultimate currently feels like an instant wipe for the opposing team. Opposing Kirikos can do numbers on Illari, though, by negating the slow effect of her ultimate or teleporting out of her range.

No matter who you decide to queue with once this season drops, Illari will likely be a bright spot at all tiers of play as the year goes on.