Basic Pyro strategy

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The Pyro

The Pyro is a moderately tough class that specializes in close range combat and excels at ambushing enemies with his various flamethrowers. The afterburn he inflicts will steadily damage fleeing foes, making him decent at hit-and-run tactics. His compression blast is extremely disruptive and can be used to reflect projectiles, extinguish burning team mates, or forcibly shove enemies around. His flames nullify Cloak and disguises, making him especially effective against the Spy. While easy to learn, mastering how to properly use his various weapons takes time. A good Pyro will often switch between weapons to maximize damage. At longer ranges, the Pyro is vulnerable to hitscan weaponry, such as the Minigun or Sniper Rifle.

Primary weapons

All of your primary weapons burn through ammunition quickly, so frequently pick up dropped weapons, collect ammo boxes, and visit friendly Dispensers to stay replenished.

Flame Thrower + reskins

Flame Thrower Festive Flame Thrower Rainblower Silver Botkiller Flame Thrower Mk.I Australium Flamethrower Nostromo Napalmer

The Flame Thrower is powerful, hits a wide area in front of you, and causes enemies to suffer from afterburn. However, it has a very short range when compared to the guns used by other classes. To easily approach targets, try to catch them off guard by taking alternate paths or setting up ambushes. Once in combat, take advantage of how easy the Flame Thrower is to aim by circle-strafing around your foes, making yourself more difficult to hit. If opponents flee, don't rely on afterburn to finish them off, as there are many ways to extinguish fire. Instead, switch to your secondary weapon for any enemies at medium range or beyond. Spy-check suspicious teammates by firing short bursts of flame.

  • The Rainblower functions identically to the Flame Thrower, but also has the Armageddon kill taunt.
  • The Nostromo Napalmer is part of the Isolated Merc item set, which increases Napalmer damage dealt to and melee damage received from Scouts wearing the Isolationist Pack set.

Backburner

Backburner

The Backburner deals guaranteed critical hits when attacking from behind, but has a significantly increased airblast cost. To position yourself behind the enemy, favor ambushing tactics and liberally circle-strafe when in combat. Overall, you sacrifice defense for offense; the increased compression blast cost will make it more difficult to disrupt ÜberCharges as well as defend yourself at long range from rockets and grenades.

Degreaser

Degreaser

The Degreaser allows you to switch between weapons very quickly. Combine the Degreaser with your other weapons; after igniting an enemy, airblast them into a corner and follow up with another weapon, such as the Shotgun, Reserve Shooter, or Axtinguisher, to deal severe burst damage. Make use of these weapon combinations to compensate for the decreased base damage; combat with solely the Degreaser as well as hit-and-run tactics will be less effective.

Phlogistinator

Phlogistinator

When using the Phlogistinator, dealing any sort of fire damage will cause your "Mmmph" meter to fill. When the meter is full, secondary fire will cause you to perform a taunt that refills your health and grants guaranteed critical hits for a short time. To safely charge up "Mmmph", ambush weak opponents or use long range weapons like the Flare Gun or Detonator. Because you receive heavily reduced damage during the Phlogistinator's taunt, you can activate it almost anytime. It can be used to get extreme firepower before an ambush, heal after killing an enemy, or even draw attention in the middle of a fight. The Phlogistinator cannot use the compression blast; not being able to deflect projectiles or shove enemies away leaves you weaker in a direct fight and unable to protect teammates.

Compression blast

The compression blast is a powerful source of utility that can be used both offensively and defensively. Offensively, use it to force ignited enemies into map hazards, out of cover, or into corners, where you can then easily finish them off with powerful weapons like the Axtinguisher. Defensively, use it to reflect projectiles, shove dangerous enemies away, and extinguish teammates who are on fire. The compression blast can even move invulnerable players, such as those under the effects of the standard ÜberCharge.

Secondary weapons

Shotgun

Shotgun

The Shotgun is your most reliable ranged weapon and helps cover the Flamethrower's weaknesses. Use it to engage enemies at medium range, especially when they retreat out of the short range of your Flamethrower. Other uses for the Shotgun include fighting enemy Pyros, who can't be ignited, and fighting underwater, where most of your flame weaponry will fizzle.

Flare Gun + reskins

Flare Gun Festive Flare Gun

The Flare Gun fires slow, arcing projectiles that can deal reliable damage to enemies outside the range of your Shotgun. The Flare Gun also deals critical hits to burning enemies, allowing you to finish off retreating foes from a distance. If you cannot safely approach an area, you can duck in and out of cover while using the Flare Gun to harass at long range; if you consistently land your shots, you can deal large amounts of damage. Mechanically, the Flare Gun can be reloaded even if it's not the active weapon; once you're in a fight, briefly switch to your primary weapon between shots just in case you need to reflect projectiles or fight at close range.

Detonator

Detonator

Much like the Flare Gun, the Detonator is useful for harassing enemies that are far away or behind cover. Its flares deal only mini-crits to burning enemies, making it less effective as a finishing weapon, but can be manually detonated. This ability gives you a bit of leeway while aiming, allows you to ignite multiple enemies at once, and can be used to attack enemies behind corners. You can use the explosion to flare jump upwards at the cost of a small portion of health, which helps in accessing alternate routes to ambush your opponents.

Reserve Shooter

Reserve Shooter

The Reserve Shooter reduces weapon switch time and synergizes very well with your compression blast; use the airblast to force an enemy into the air, and then switch to the Reserve Shooter to deal devastating Mini-Crits. Its reduced magazine size makes it less reliable as a standard sidearm, especially when dealing with enemies at medium range or beyond. It can be used in tandem with the Degreaser for even faster weapon switching and easy compression blast combos.

Manmelter

Manmelter

The Manmelter functions similarly to the Flare Gun. It has infinite ammunition and a faster projectile speed, but does not deal guaranteed critical hits to burning players and fires at a slower rate. Alternate fire can be used to extinguish teammates in place of the compression blast, particularly useful if you want to conserve Flamethrower ammunition or are using the Phlogistinator. Each successful extinguishing will cause the Manmelter to store one guaranteed critical hit, allowing it to be used as a strong finishing weapon.

Scorch Shot

Scorch Shot

The Scorch Shot functions similarly to the Flare Gun. It gains the ability to knock back enemies struck by its flares but deals mediocre damage. The farther the flare travels, the further the victim is launched; this makes it useful for shoving enemies that are outside the range of your compression blast, particularly if they're standing near an environmental hazard. Like with the Detonator, the flare's explosion can be used to flare jump, although its weaker explosion results in a smaller jump.

Melee weapons

Fire Axe + reskins

Fire Axe Frying Pan Saxxy Conscientious Objector Lollichop Freedom Staff Bat Outta Hell Memory Maker Ham Shank Golden Frying Pan

As the Pyro, you're already fighting at close range with your Flamethrower. Thus, the Fire Axe works best as a last resort, when you're out of ammunition or don't have time to reload your secondary weapon. The majority of Pyro players use a different melee weapon to gain some extra utility.

Axtinguisher + reskins

Axtinguisher Postal Pummeler Festive Axtinguisher Australium Axtinguisher

The Axtinguisher deals guaranteed Mini-crits to a burning enemy's front and critical hits to an enemy's rear. After igniting an enemy, airblast him into a wall and use a melee attack to deal extreme damage. It pairs particularly well with the Degreaser and its faster weapon switch time. While attacking head-on will deal respectable damage, focus on ambushing opponents from behind, as an Axtinguisher crit can defeat all but the most resilient classes.

Homewrecker + reskins

Homewrecker Maul

The Homewrecker can remove Sappers in one hit, allowing you to effectively defend Engineer buildings from enemy Spies. When the Homewrecker is used offensively, it can destroy any unshielded building in two hits. Because it has limited melee range, approach enemy buildings with your Flamethrower before switching weapons.

Powerjack

Powerjack

When the Powerjack is your active weapon, you gain 15% movement speed and a 20% increased vulnerability to all damage sources. The movement speed increase allows you to outrun all classes but the Scout, but the increased damage taken discourages you from wielding it out in the open. The Powerjack grants health upon killing an enemy and can be used similarly to the Axtinguisher; after damage an enemy at close range, execute him with the Powerjack, using an airblast to keep him in place if necessary. At melee range, you don't need to worry too much about damage taken; as the Pyro, you hold a clear advantage when it comes to close range combat.

Back Scratcher

Back Scratcher

The Back Scratcher deals more damage than the Fire Axe and increases the amount gained from health pickups. However, it heavily reduces the healing received from allies such as Medics. It's best used when fighting behind enemy lines, where you'll regain health from finding pickups more often. When concerning interactions with a friendly Medic, the reduced healing rate makes you a poor Medic buddy but allows you to help a Medic build his ÜberCharge at an increased rate for a longer period of time.

Sharpened Volcano Fragment

Sharpened Volcano Fragment

The Sharpened Volcano Fragment deals less damage than the Fire Axe but ignites its victim. This makes it most practical for hit-and-run tactics, which unfortunately your Flamethrower already is optimal for. Its only niche is in Medieval Mode, where it's the only melee weapon that can ignite enemies.

Third Degree

Third Degree

The Third Degree has no downsides and is a straight upgrade from the Fire Axe. It can deal damage not only to struck enemies, but also to any player healing or being healed by the victim via Medic beams. When targeting a Medic's buddy, you can use this weapon to damage both of them at once, particularly useful if the Medic is low on health or difficult to reach. The Third Degree still only deals damage identical to that of the standard Fire Axe; if the connected targets are within close proximity, it may be more efficient to attack all of them at once with your Flamethrower.

Neon Annihilator

Neon Annihilator

The Neon Annihilator deals guaranteed critical hits on wet targets, including those covered in Jarate or Mad Milk. It primarily gives you an effective method for dealing with enemies in water, where your flame-based weapons are useless and afterburn is extinguished. While it does less damage than your standard Fire Axe, your Flamethrower should suffice for close range battles above the surface. Like the Homewrecker, the Neon Annihilator can be used to defend Engineer buildings from enemy Spies, destroying Sappers in two hits.

See also