===Video format of this guide===
===Blog post on my website===
I’ll first be covering my healer Io deck, a build that focuses on Io’s existing kit and tunes it to a main healer that can rival current meta supports like Mal’Damba, Ying, Furia, Grover, and Seris. And then I’ll cover my preferred playstyle with this deck.
Disclaimer: In the process of making this guide, I have dedicated a minimum of 72 hours on just playing Io. While her competitive ban has yet to be lifted from Ranked and various leagues and tournaments, it is still possible to get a good feel on her kit and test out her matchups in casual queue. Her kit and popular playstyle may change after the time of making this guide, especially once her competitive bans are lifted, and after some time passes since release and people starts getting a feel of Io’s strengths and weaknesses.
Deck / Build
To turn Io into a main healer, I’ve decided to build her deck around her base kit, and not so much dependent on her fox, Luna. It might seem otherwise because I’ve chose the talent Life Link instead of Goddess’ Blessing, but it is for a good reason. Luna has no recharge mechanic on its heals, and it also heals Io herself when she's in range.
One of the many things I’ve noticed with Io players is that they tend to spend a lot of points into Luna. But you must remember, once Luna dies, which she inevitably will as the game progresses and people starts buying bulldozer, those points will become useless.
The following cards will alleviate Io's downtime as a support, and tunes her base kit heal so her heal's uptime is on-par with existing meta supports.
- Sanctum of Faith 5
- Moonlight Garden 2
- Spirit Arrows 2
I’ve also included Spirit Arrows in my deck. This will help with Luna’s sustainability. Because not only are you spending a generous amount of time healing your allies, once Luna is low, you’ll have the range to be able to move Luna to safe spots while she either heals out of combat or you use your Moonlight on her. It also works the other way around, if you’d like to use Luna aggressively to go for a stun on a priority target and deal damage or to save yourself, you’d be able to summon Luna to important spots when you need her. It helps a lot that most choke points in this game allows you to deploy Luna from one side to the other without needing to peek enemy line of sight when using this card.
Restored Faith is included in my deck, allotted with 4 points out of the 5 available. Since Io is almost always in combat, she needs have a form of self-sustain. Aside from calling Luna to her side and self-heal with Life Link, the most practical way to go about it while maintaining Luna’s role in this deck is to add this card and give her the sustain she needs as a support to keep up with the healing. I would not lower this card lower than 3 points, and save credits to opt for red items (Wrecker, Cauterize) instead of green items (Kill to Heal, Life Rip)
As you’ve been able to recall as I went through my Io deck, I've mentioned that I’m not very reliant on Luna. The role Luna as been assigned in this deck is to contest point and push the payload while my team and I are playing on the offlane. It is important that Luna is on the point to start the round with and summoned to the side when the area is too hot, especially when my main tank decides to flank or not play point. If I have a main tank that plays the point well, I can put Luna around the point, outside of line of sight of the enemy. When I need help dealing with a flank or have an angle watched, then I can summon Luna to do just that. Because Luna scales horribly into late game due to bulldozer, it’s recommended that you try to take the early game advantage and win the game before 2-2 or 3-3.
When it comes to items, I avoid starting yellow items with the exception of Morale Boost. If your team has a pre-determined strategy that calls for buying that item, then go for it. Otherwise, start with a red item. Cauterize if enemy only has 1 shield champion, or Wrecker if they have 2 shield champions. You can also start bulldozer if you're against a deployable heavy composition (Barik, Ying, Inara, Imani, Io, etc) Finish the red item or start a second red item after getting Tier 2 of the first red item. I always finish one of my red items first before going for other items. Picking up a blue item like Haven is acceptable if the enemy has a sniper like Kinessa or Strix.
Positioning wise, Io will be playing the same angles other main healers would. Occasionally I’ll peek the enemy to recharge Moonlight with my bow. You almost never touch your Q, Guardian Spirit, after the initial cast. Healing can be very awkward with Io since you and the healed target has to stay within each other’s line of sight, but this is crucial because you don’t want to overpeek and expose yourself too far and end up getting yourself killed.
You want to use your Lunar Leap to either get to safe spots or chase for kill confirms, and then use it to get to high grounds after you’ve capped the point to get the payload through chokes.
Once my team gets a pick, or wins a team fight, I can then leave Luna on the point to cap and move forward to zone. If I need to resummon Luna during zones, then it’s a clear sign that I pushed up too far forward or I overstayed for the zone. As long as I’m moving with my teammates or have Luna near me, I can fight off most flanks. Make note of if the enemy has resilience 2 or 3, because you really don’t want to take those 1v1s without your teammates unless your mechanics and your aim are bigger than your ego.
Before I wrap up this guide, I have a couple helpful tips that’ll up your Io game.
Get some practice in on your tracking, because Moonlight only heals if you maintain line of sight of your healing target AND if your crosshair is in the proximity of the target. If you look or flick too far away from the healing target, Moonlight will cancel by itself until you reactivate it.
Get to know your Lunar Leap spots, as many vertical maps has small boxes and wall boosting spots to help you get positional advantage.
Get to know line of sight spots too for Luna, because putting it in a safe position will not only heal your main tank, but also deal damage to overextending tanks on the enemy team.
Keep an internal timer of Luna marks, because as of now when this guide is written, Io does not have a visible timer of when she has her Luna marks for stuns. The cooldown on it is 15 seconds. One easy way to remember when you’ll have it is once every other engagements with the enemy team.
Hopefully you’ve learned something from this main healer Io guide. If you like what you see, feel free to share this guide.