Orion is seen by many players as one of the – if not THE – worst of all supports. The reason for that propably is:
  • he has to have line of sight to teammates to be effectiv
  • his ult is mediocre at best (weakening other abilities)
  • his „shield“ (fate transfer) deals damage to him
  • his ability to heal is relatively low
  • he has no natural escape abilities
  • it can be difficult to raise energy

He has also some advantages, which in my opinion are:
  • decent damage (more or less, depends on build)
  • is able to raise energy very fast
  • decent survivability
  • all abilities (may) take advantage of raised energy

In general, it can be said, that Orion is mediocre in nearly all areas. In my opinion his largest weakness is, that he doesn't really excel in any area. That's why i see him as an all-rounder.
As a matter of fact, the damage i do and the healing/shielding i do, are nearly identical. Most times iam slightly better in defense than in offense. Still, i had a few matches where i was able to deal more then 500 damage, but those matches were very fortunate for me.

Additionally it can be said there are 2 main options to mod and play Orion. The first is, raise energy to max and avoid ulting, the other is, try to gain energy very fast and „spam“ your ults. I don't think it isn't possible to play him in between those options, but i think it's stronger to focus his build like that.


Abilities and Mods

Empyreal Ruin
Blast enemies with empyrean energy, dealing 22 direct damage to targets in the center and 16 direct damage to others. Ignores cover.
Shards: Increase outer explosion radius by 10% per shard.

This ability doesn't seem too good at first glance, but … it ignores cover. That means, you will always do the same amount of damage, no matter if the target is in cover or not. A lot of Firepowers deal 34 damage with their basic attacks. Lets say, they hit a target in round „x“ in cover (17 damage), and the next round without cover (34 damage). Thats a total damage of 51. If Orion does the same, it's 22 + 22 = 44. Not bad for a „supporter“.
In addition to that, it's an area attack, which means, sometimes you are able to hit more than one target. It also helps to attack targets in fields that makes them invisible or in areas you have no vision. Sometimes you don't know on which field enemies are, then you can just attack right in the center and you'll hit for sure.

Image: I had a match where an enemy with low life dashed away and i was sure he was on one of the fields from number 1 to number 6. My energy was at 100 %, so my radius was increased to max. All i had to do was aim right in the center (red cross) to make a safe hit, because at max energy, you will hit all adjacent fields aswell (This can be very usefull against Elle or to hit dash predictions too).
Another case would be, if you knew he is on field 1 or 2. Then you could aim right between those two fields to hit with your „center“ damage.
The other great advantage is, Orion is able to hit enemies behind corners, similiar to Zuki's basic attack. That means, if you have good positioning, you can deal damage to targets that aren't able to deal damage to you.
To aim with Orion's basic attack can be a little tricky at the beginning, because sometimes, you move the cursor just a tiny bit, and you aim at a total different area as you intended to. When you already played him for a couple of matches, you for sure know what i mean. I for myself wasted whole rounds as i started to play him, just to hit the right area^^. But don't worry, you'll get used to it.
Devour Energy: Gain 5 energy for each enemy hit.
Sometimes it's really hard with Orion to raise your energy fast, this can help a lot. But in my opinion, it's only worth it when you can hit more than one enemy frequently. Maybe worth a try when you have an enemy team where at least 2 characters will stick to each other, for example when the enemy has a Su-ren or a Quark. But if you have a build where you try to avoid ulting, you don't need it, once you maxed your energy. Then it's a waste of your precious mod points.
Amplified Eruption: Deal 1 additional damage per shard.
I love this mod and i use it in most matches. Especially with an „avoid ult“-build it is a must have. 27 damage instead of 22 direct center damage and 21 other instead of 16 at max energy is amazing. Which other character can raise his basic attack by 5 for only 2 mod points without any other disadvantages (except for the ult-thing)?
Focused Flames: Deal 5 additional damage if only one enemy is hit.
This one can be very nice if you have an enemy team whose members tend to keep distance to their teammates. But remember that allied roots, knockbacks and so on can change that. It really needs some knowledge about team composition and abilities/mods, to know when to prefer Focused Flames.
Empyreal Destruction: The base radius is increased by 20%.
I don't like it. It's 3 mod points for a wider field. Maybe there are situations when it could be useful, but i have a hard time to even imagine one, let alone, experience such a situation in an actual match.

Fate Transfer:
Grant yourself 20 shields, then redirect 75% of the damage the ally takes this turn to you. All of the damage taken from this ability converts directly into energy.
Shards: You gain an addtional 3 shields per shard.

This ability is in my opinion Orion's best ability. With this ability you are able to „shield“ an ally and take most of his damage. One proper Fate Transfer will raise your energy highly and that's what you want with Orion! Especially at the beginning of a match it's very important to use this ability to your advantage. Don't spam it, because if you waste it, you have to wait 4 turns until you can use it again. You also have to make sure that the enemy team will not focus you, when they expect you to use it. Because then, you don't get the energy you are lurking for (and the life when you use Rebuild). The right use of this ability seperates the wheat from the chaff of Orion players.
It is also useful for other occasions. For example when you expect that you will be focused and you will receive too much damage, then you can use that ability on an ally in range which will not receive damage, to get yourself a „free“ shield.
It also can be used, when you and a nearby teammate will receive loads of damage and you both can't do nothing. Then you maybe can save him by sacrificing yourself.
But beware, if you shield an ally who gets focused and you are low on health, it can kill you easily. In rare occasions i even was killed having full health and received just the passive damage. In such cases you have to deceide whats better for the team.
Shared Agony: Only take 50% of damage of your ally. They gain 15 shields.
This mod downgrades your strongest ability, so i recommend to not use it. Maybe there are cases when it's useful, but honestly, all other mods are way better.
Augment Barrier: Gain an additional 2 shield per shard.
Especially when you go for an „avoid-ult“-build this one can be useful. At max energy you will have a total shield of 45. That's really strong and i used this mod a lot. It's comparable to Rebuild, because it's cost is the same amount of mod points and it's effect is similiar. More on that topic under Rebuild.
Rebuild: Next turn heal 20% of damage redirected through Fate Transfer.
This one is really good and, as said before, similiar to Augment Barrier. That's simply because under the line, the effect is nearly the same. Lets do some math:
If you take 45 damge by Fate Transfer's passive with Augment Barrier at full energy, you lose no life. With Rebuild, you lose 10 life, because you only shield 35 damage. But therefore you gain 9 life next turn. That's a difference of 1 life. If you would receive, let's say 20 damage, then with Augment Barrier it's all shielded. With Rebuild too, but you would also get 4 life next turn. In this case, Rebuild would be better. If you would receive, let's say 100 damage, then Augment Barrier would take 45 damage (at full energy) and you would get hit with 55 damage. With Rebuild, you would shield 35 damage and receive 65 damage. Therefore Rebuild would grant you 20 life next turn, what means you had 10 life more than with Augment Barrier.
With having in mind that with 0 energy and therefore 0 shards you had no additional shield (neither Fade Transfers shield per shard nor Augment Barriers shield per shard), both mods start with 20 shield. Therefore, alltogether Rebuild seems better then Augment Barrier. When you play an „ult-spam“-Orion, i would heavily recommend Rebuild over Augment Barrier.
But there are downsides to Rebuild. At one hand, you receive the healing next turn. Sometimes having a little more life in the current turn can prevent you from dying. On the other hand, using Fate Transfer as a shield for yourself is more effective with Augment Barrier. Because when you use Augment Barrier, you propably go for an „avoid-ult“-Orion, which means you have full energy most of the time (hopefully), which grants you a shield of 45. That means, Augment Barrier gives you a little more flexibility in the ways Fate Transfer can be used.
Energy Leech: Gain an additional 25% energy from damage redirected from Fate Transfer.
That's not bad and a possible mod for an „ult-spam“-Orion. But it's 3 mod points and it's not always easy to land a good Fate Transfer. In addition, you lack the sustain you gain by Rebuild or Augment Barrier. In my experience, the energy you gain without that additional 25% is enough, and i would rather neglect some damage by chosing Devour Energy instead, for example. Sustain is important for Orion, because he has no dash and especially with an „ult-spam“-build you are more likely surrounded by enemies (more on this later under „example builds“).
Divine Purpose: Both you and your target become unstoppable for this turn.
When you are new to the game, you may think this ablity is crap, but the truth is, it can be very useful. Unstopable can prevent a lot of nasty abilities that can save a..., pardon, rumps. It can be useful against teams with lots of draw in's, roots, slows and so on. But that's very team dependent and hard to deceide when to chose this mod and also hard to cast the ability in the right moment. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a overall more experienced player.

Quantum Core
Target an ally as focal point of pure energy. When they are hit with a damaging ability, an exposion erupts for 15 indirect damage.
Free abilities are always good. I try to use this ability as often as possible, but sometimes it's worth waiting a round or two. Don't use it if you are not sure you will hit anyone, otherwise it's just a waste. Due to the fact that it's damage is passive, it's also nice to avoid damage dealt by Asana's Retribution.
Punish The Cowardly: If quantum core is not triggered, reduce the cooldown by 1 turn.
There is only one possibility i can think about, why this mod could be useful. If you use it with Astral Fusion and Intervention. It's not that bad, because you have stronger healing and Quantum Core is faster available again if not triggered. But that makes you somehow unflexible when to use your abilities. In addition to that, in most cases you want Quantum Core to be triggered. And by using this mod, you are not able to use one of the other nice mods available.
Maybe you take this mod, because you have only one mod point left for this ability. But i think then you should change your overall build, and not waste that point on this mod.
Benevolent: Target gains 2 shields per shard.
Usefull for an „avoid-ult“-build, but i would rather take Vengeful. Benevolent is better than Vengeful when neither your nor the enemy team has melee fighters. Because even when it's triggered and deals no damage, you still have a small shield.
Pain and gain: Gain 5 energy per enemy hit.
This one could be a decent pick on an „ult-spam“build to raise energy faster.
Vengeful: Deal 2 additional damage per shard.
I love it, and in my opinion the best choice for an „avoid-ult“-build, you may want to chose Benevolent instead, but this one is nearly always the better choice, because your damage output can be really good when used properly. With full energy when triggered 25 damage to each near enemy plus maybe a basic attack for 27 damage on each enemy, thats a total of 52 damage per enemy. Now you know how i managed to deal more than 500 damage in some matches. Even if you plan to use your ult often, this mod could be a viable choice.

Astral Fusion
Heal your target for 10 health a turn for 2 turns. Heals himself for the first turn's amount if used on an ally.
Shards: Target gains an additional 2 health per turn per shard.

This ability has the capability to be the strongest „single-target“ heal of all Freelancers so far. But it depends which path you want to chose, „ult-avoid“- or „ult-spam“-Orion.
However, always try to use it to heal an ally, only use it on yourself to prevent dying or you are the only one with low health nearby. Otherwise your ability loses about 33% of it's effeciency (percentage depends on mod).
Innate Potency: Increase Healing by 7 per turn. No longer gains any bonus from shards.
At first sight it seems like a viable option for an „ult-spam“-build. But even if you spam your ults, you would very often gain a shard bonus anway. I tried it and in my opinion it has no good synergy with other ability mods, but i may have to test that mod a little more to be sure. There is one upsite, you always know how much life you heal, 17+17 life on target, 17 life on yourself.
Intervention: Heal an additional 10 health if the target is under the effect of Quantum Core.
With this mod you gain the strongest heal possible. With full energy, you heal your target for 30 + 20 life and yourself for 30 life. Alltogether 80 life. That's good, but makes you somewhat unflexible in the usage of that both abilities, especially because they have different cooldowns. On the other hand, even with no shards your healing is decent: 20 + 10 life on target with Quantum Core, 20 on yourself.
Enhanced Reconstruction: Increase Healing by 1 per shard.
That's the one you want when you have an „avoid-ult“-build. At max energy it heals your target for 25 + 25 life and yourself for 25 life.
Mend The Broken: If used on an ally below 50% health they gain 15 shields for the turn.
Compared to other mods, you gain an instant shield with limited usability instead of a (in most cases) better long term healing. In my opinion not worth the 3 mod points. Even if Orion would get that shield too, i don't think i would use it.
Omnipotent: No longer requires line of sight to the target.
I think, especially when you have trouble with positioning, this could be a decent choice. But i prefer to have line of sight most time of the match (true, with this mod i wouldn't have to that often anymore), that's because i often don't know if i have to shield or heal or better attack. In comparison to Aurora for example, you will deal more damage but heal less in an average match (i know that Aurora is capable of dealing decent damage too). As Orion, when you are behind a wall and you don't have to heal, you need a target to attack. Aurora can heal another ally in line of sight with her basic attack, Orion can't, and he has no other ability that goes through walls, unlike Aurora. You need your line of sight (including the „around the corner shot“ as described under Empyreal Ruin).

Cosmic Flare
Consume all shards to gain 25 health and deal 30 direct damage in an area. Requires 100 energy.
Passive: Gain a shard for every 20 energy held. Half of the damage taken converts into energy. Lose 75% of energy on death. Energize does not affect energy gained through taking damage.

Orions ult in itself isn't very strong. What makes Orion strong is, that he has the potential to raise energy fast and therefore, is able use his ult relatively often, or keep his energy to strengthen his other abilities.
Closer To The Conduit: Gain 20 energy on use.
This mod can be helpful no matter how you decide to play Orion. But otherwise as you may think, i prefer this mod on my favorite „avoid-ult“-build, because when you had to use your ult, you need the shards that your other abilities will become more effective again.
Refresh The Source: Reduce all active cooldowns by 1.
A good option for Orion, because he has relative long cooldowns on his support abilities. In my opinion, the synergy with this mod and an „ult-spam“- build is much higher than with an „avoid-ult“-build. It's simply because you chose mods for your other abilities, that are effective even when you have no or little shards.
Energy Accumulation: Each turn you are at maximum energy increase the healing by 3 to a maximum of 15.
It's obvious that this mod can be useful on an „avoid-ult“-build and 15 more life on Orion helps your sustain a lot.
Almighty: Gain 3 additional health per enemy hit.
This one helps your sustain too, but it's really weak. Very often you only hit one or two enemies with your ult. Not much life for one mod point and therefore i don't think this mod is worth it.


Example Builds

„Avoid-ult“-Orion
Empyreal Ruin – Amplified Eruption
Increased damage is good on this build, because of Orion's relative high cool downs and „inability“ to use ult, you want to attack more often
Fate Transfer – Augment Barrier
I think Rebuild can be stronger, but i feel more comfortable with a little more flexibility
Quantum Core – Vengeful
This one can really hurt when enemies are crowded. But it also helps to exchange damage when chased by a melee
Astral Fusion – Enhanced Construction
Possibility to heal up to 75 life
Cosmic Flare – Closer To The Conduit
When you are forced to ult, your other abilities become more viable faster



„Ult-spam“-Orion
Empyreal Ruin – Amplified Eruption
Iam not really happy with this mod, maybe Focused Flames would be better, even if i would waste a mod point this way. Haven't tried yet. But with this build you will not use this ability as often as with the former build. In general, the first build will do more damage most of the time
Fate Transfer – Rebuild
With this build it is more likely that you find yourself in the middle of the enemy team (to use your ult more effectively). Therefore you will likely receive more damage in general and want to increase sustain with stronger self-healing
Quantum Core - Pain And Gain
More Energie
Astral Fusion – Intervention
That will help to strengthen your heal when used on Quantum Core. Make sure you try to use those abilities together if possible. You lose some flexibility, but once you get used to it to see those abilities as one ability, which can be splitted, it's ok. This combo also gives you the highest possible self-heal
Cosmic Flare – Refresh The Source
This mod helps you a lot to use your supportive abilities more often. In this way it compensates a little for the Quantum Core / Astral Fusion combo, and helps for sustain. As said under Fate Transfer, you will receive more damage with this build and therefore need more sustain.


Catalysts

Prep
Turtle Tech is a must have for more sustain.
Dash
Shift has highest range to escape nasty damage and melees, i heavily recommend it.
Blast
Brain Juice should be your first choice, but if you have trouble to use it at the right moment, Second Wind can be a viable choice too.


General Gameplay

As support and ranged attacker, you should always try to keep distance to enemies. At the same time you should be close enough to use your basic attack or shield/heal allies. Line of sight is crucial for Orion. Always try to use small walls and corners to stay in cover. When you have a good position and you are in no danger to get trapped by Celeste or Aurora for example, you may just stay there for another turn. When Cosmic Flare will be available, it can be nice to try to position yourself right in the middle of the enemy team, but make sure you move into cover again when you use your ult. Sometimes you can expect that enemies will dash out of your ult range. Then you should rather use Fate Transfer or Astral Fusion when you expect to receive damage (check the description of those for more details) or just deal damage with Empyreal Ruin. That is even more true when you have an "avoid-ult"-Orion.