Compression blast

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A Pyro using compression blast against a Scout.
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The Pyro

The Compression blast, also known as the air blast, is the alternate fire for all of the Pyro's primary weapons except the Phlogistinator. It is a blast of sphere-shaped gas emitting from the end of the weapon. When the alternate fire button is used, (default key: MOUSE2), the Pyro will use twenty ammunition (fifty ammunition with the Backburner equipped, twenty-five with the Degreaser) to push enemies away several feet. It can also deflect most projectiles and instantly extinguish burning teammates; the latter grants 20 health to the Pyro upon doing so. Note that the compression blast cannot be triggered while underwater.

Deflection

Projectiles within the area of effect are redirected so that they are launched towards the Pyro's crosshair. When these projectiles are deflected, they are not simply "reflected" as if from a mirror; rather, the Pyro can redirect them. Deflected projectiles are essentially stopped and fired again from the Pyro's current position, aimed directly at the object the Pyro's crosshair lies on at the time. This can give strange results if the crosshair is centered on very near objects and players, sometimes causing the deflected rocket to move at angles very different to the direction the player is facing. With the right timing and position, a skilled or well-positioned Pyro can deflect projectiles at any desired angle, regardless of their original path. Grenades and stickybombs that are already on a surface will roll in the direction pointed to by the cursor.

The following projectiles can be compression blasted:

Energy blasts from the Righteous Bison and Pomson 6000 cannot be deflected. Projectiles for any Medic primary weapon except for the Crusader's Crossbow cannot be reflected.

Grenades and baseballs are not naturally given any additional vertical velocity when they are deflected. Aiming these deflected projectiles is more difficult, but their trajectory can be controlled by the Pyro's angle and position. They must be deflected upward in order to arc as they do when fired normally.

Deflected projectiles are considered to have been fired by the Pyro deflecting them for the purposes of friendly fire and kill awards. For example, a RED grenade will turn BLU when deflected and hurt any RED team players in the approximated area when it explodes. Keep in mind that a deflected explosive projectile can cause self-damage to the Pyro who deflected it. The only exception to these rules is the stickybomb. Although they can be pushed away, they do not change ownership. The only change to a deflected stickybomb is that if the Demoman who fired the stickybomb detonates it while within its blast radius, the Pyro will be credited for the kill. Additionally, deflected Detonator flares can still be remotely detonated by the Pyro that launched them. Deflected Mad Milk and Jarate will soak enemy players and extinguish allies, and will have all the attributes of normal Jarate and Mad Milk, for example, the Pyro will be given kill assists if a teammate kills an enemy under the effects of deflected Jarate. On-hit effects are applied to the Pyro that deflected it. For example, it is possible to gain the health bonus from the Black Box's rocket if the deflected rocket successfully hits a target. Likewise, the Crusader's Crossbow's bolts will heal teammates if deflected and the Pyro will be credited with the healing caused. Though rockets fired from the Rocket Jumper and Sticky Jumper can be deflected, they will still not be able to do any damage.

Non-critical deflected projectiles will always turn into mini-crits, while critical projectiles retain their critical status. Additionally, a deflected baseball will only stun as it would for the Scout who launched it. If the Pyro is crit-boosted, for example under the effects of the Kritzkrieg's ÜberCharge, deflected projectiles will turn into critical projectiles. Again, neither of these effects apply to stickybombs.

Demonstration

Strategy

See also: Compression Blast strategy

The deflective abilities of an air blast can be used both offensively or defensively:

Defense

  • Deflecting projectiles prevents them from harming your allies even if the projectile is not relocated. This is particularly effective against grenades and rockets.
  • A compression blast can be used to blow away stickybombs, making an enemy Demoman's job more difficult. This is especially useful when defending the Engineer's Sentry Gun as stickybombs can be difficult to destroy by a single Engineer with his Shotgun or Pistol.
  • An effective way to deny an enemy Über push is to use the compression blast to either push Übered players away or to separate the Medic and his patient(s).
  • The compression blast can also be used to repel enemies trying to attack friendly Engineer buildings at close range. This combines well with the strong knock back of the Sentry Gun against airborne targets.
  • In Control Point, King of the Hill, and Payload matches, it can be used to remove attacking players from the point in order to stave them off until your allies can get there for reinforcement.
  • The compression blast can be used to increase the space between the Pyro and the enemy, allowing escape when at low health.
  • Though not as effective as using flame, a compression blast will also affect cloaked Spies, which can be marginally useful as a Spy checking method if one is using the compression blast.

Offense

  • In combat situations, use the surroundings to your advantage and try to blast your enemies off ledges and towards other hazards on the map.
    • This is particularly effective on the map Sawmill. Enemies can be air blasted into one of the two saw blades moving back and forth in the room at the center of the map.
    • This is additionally helpful for maps with large, easily accessible pitfalls such as Double Cross.
  • The Medi Gun, Kritzkrieg, and Vaccinator's ÜberCharges do not prevent the knock back of a compression blast. The Pyro can take advantage of this and separate the Medic from his patient by knocking him or the patient away: This will mean that only the Medic is Übercharged and on his own.
    • Invulnerable enemies can also be killed outright by compression blasting them into environmental hazards.
    • Compression blasts do not affect users under a Quick-Fix ÜberCharge.
  • The knockback from a compression blast can be used to cancel the Scout's double jump.
  • The Demoman's charge can be rendered useless with the compression blast. However, one must still beware the extended melee reach that is shared by many of the Demoman's melee weapons.
  • Using the compression blast, one can juggle an enemy in the air in a predictable route, rendering them nearly helpless in the air for you or your teammates to attack, or to simply advance past them.
    • The Reserve Shooter deals mini-crits against opponents sent into the air by knockback, which pairs effectively with compression blast juggling.
    • The compression blast can be used to force enemies into friendly Sentry Gun range for easy kills.
  • The compression blast can be used to push an enemy into a corner, creating a good chance to finish them with your other weapons.
    • This is particularly effective against a burning opponent when using the Axtinguisher or Postal Pummeler. This action is commonly referred to as "Puff n' Sting."
    • You can also perform a "Puff n' Sting" using the Flare Gun due to its ability to crit burning players.
  • In Control Point, King of the Hill, and Payload matches, the compression blast can be used to remove defending opponents blocking the capture, particularly useful when outnumbered or overpowered and the point or check point has almost been captured.
  • It is possible to deflect Level 3 Sentry Gun rockets back at the gun to destroy it, or utilize them to kill a nearby Engineer who is repairing it.

Kill icons

Deflected projectiles Kill Icon
Flying Guillotine Deflected Flying Guillotine Killicon skull.png
Sandman Baseball.png Deflected Sandman ball Killicon sandman ball.png
Festive ornament red.png Deflected Wrap Assassin ball (direct hit) Killicon sandman ball.png
Deflected Wrap Assassin ball (shatter) Killicon skull.png
Rocket.pngAir Strike Projectile.png Deflected rocket Killicon deflect rocket.png
RED Cow Mangler 5000 Beam.png Deflected Cow Mangler 5000 energy blast Killicon skull.png
Deflected Cow Mangler 5000 energy blast (afterburn) Killicon cow mangler 5000.png
Flare proj red.png Deflected flare Killicon deflect flare.png
Deflected flare afterburn Killicon flare gun.png
Detonator proj red.png Deflected Detonator's flare Killicon deflect flare.png
Manually detonated deflected Detonator's flare Killicon skull.png
Deflected Detonator's flare afterburn Killicon detonator.png
Manmelter Deflected Manmelter projectile Killicon deflect flare.png
Deflected Manmelter projectile (afterburn) Killicon manmelter.png
Scorch Shot Deflected Scorch Shot Killicon deflect flare.png
Deflected Scorch Shot (Afterburn) Killicon flare gun.png
Grenade proj red.pngRED Iron Bomber Projectile.png Deflected grenade Killicon deflect grenade.png
Loose Cannon proj red.png Deflected cannonballs (impact) Killicon loose cannon pushed.png
Deflected cannonballs (explosion) Killicon deflect cannonballs.png
Sticky proj red.pngRED Quickiebomb Launcher Projectile.png Deflected stickybombs Killicon deflect sticky.png
Scores proj red.png Deflected Scottish Resistance stickybombs Killicon scottish resistance.png
Sentry Rocket.png Deflected Level 3 Sentry Gun's rocket Killicon deflect rocket.png
Rescue Ranger Projectile RED.png Deflected repair claws Killicon deflect repair claws.png
RED Syringe Gun Ammo.png Festive Crusader's Crossbow Projectile RED.png Deflected Crusader's Crossbow's syringes Killicon deflect arrow.png
Arrow proj.pngArrow proj xmas.png Deflected arrow Killicon deflect arrow.png
Deflected arrow (Headshot) Killicon sniperriflehs.png
Deflected flaming arrow Killicon flaming huntsman.png
Deflected flaming arrow (afterburn) Killicon flaming huntsman afterburn.png
Monoculus angry.png Deflected MONOCULUS eye-rockets Killicon monoculus.png
Deflected projectiles Unused Kill Icon
Sandman Baseball.png Deflected Sandman ball Killicon deflect ball.png
Arrow proj.pngArrow proj xmas.png Deflected arrow (Headshot) Killicon deflect arrowhs unused.png
Deflected flaming arrow Killicon deflect flaming arrow.png
Deflected flaming arrow (Headshot) Killicon deflect flaming arrowhs.png

These unused kill icons were created and contributed by NeoDement.

Related achievements

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

Backdraft Dodger
Backdraft Dodger
Kill a Pyro who has airblasted one of your rockets in the last 10 seconds.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Hotshot
Hotshot
Kill a Soldier with a reflected critical rocket.
Hot Potato
Hot Potato
Reflect 100 projectiles with your compressed air blast.

Update history

June 19, 2008 Patch (Pyro Update)
  • Added alt-fire compression blast to the basic Flamethrower.

June 20, 2008 Patch

  • Fixed Compression Blast and Flare Gun trail particles on DX8.

May 21, 2009 Patch

  • Compression blast now extinguishes fire on friendly targets.
  • Grenades and rockets deflected by a Pyro under the effects of Kritzkrieg will now be criticals.

June 8, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed not being able to reflect arrows with the Flamethrower.

June 23, 2009 Patch

  • Force-A-Nature & Flamethrower air blast knockback effects no longer work on disguised Spies.
  • A Pyro's air blast will now extinguish burning disguised enemy Spies, since knockback no longer affects disguised enemy Spies.

June 25, 2009 Patch

  • Reverted Force-A-Nature and airblast knockback on disguised Spies, so that they can once again be knocked back.

August 31, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed the Pyro's airblast pushing Spectators in free-look mode.

December 17, 2009 Patch (WAR! Update)

  • Fixed being able to affect friendly pipes with airblast (they would unstick).

December 22, 2009 Patch

  • Fixed Pyros not getting the proper kill icon for kills with deflected Direct Hit rockets.

February 23, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed the Pyro not being able to deflect enemy flares.

April 28, 2010 Patch

  • Airblast re-fire delay reduced by 25%.
  • Airblast ammo usage reduced by 20%.
  • All reflected rockets/grenades/arrows now Mini-Crit.
  • Airblasting enemies into environmental deaths now awards the death credit to the Pyro.

May 5, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed deflected Stickybombs becoming Mini-Crits when detonated.
  • Fixed deflected Stickybombs becoming Crits if the Pyro was Crit-boosted.

September 30, 2010 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Pyro's Airblast pushes grounded stickies approximately twice the distance now.

December 17, 2010 Patch

  • Fixed a Flamethrower bug that allowed players to rapidly fake the Pyro's airblast effect.

April 14, 2011 Patch (Hatless Update)

  • Removed airblast restriction from Backburner (at a 150% cost).

April 18, 2012 Patch

  • The Quick-Fix's ÜberCharge is no longer affected by airblast.

December 20, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed the Pyro’s airblast not working correctly when facing downhill.

May 13, 2013 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Fixed Cow Mangler 5000 shots becoming Critical hits instead of mini-crits when reflected.

June 11, 2014 Patch #1

  • Fixed deflected rocket explosion sounds playing repeatedly.
  • Fixed deflected Black Box rockets not giving health to the Pyro.

December 17, 2015 Patch (Tough Break Update)

  • Pyros like to collect rainbows! Extinguishing a teammate will now return 20 health to the Pyro.
  • Consecutive Airblasts will no longer prevent enemies from air-strafing until they touch the ground.

July 7, 2016 Patch #1 (Meet Your Match Update)

  • Fixed airblasts sometimes sending reflected projectiles toward friendly players, buildings, and projectile shields.

October 12, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed air-blasts sometimes sending deflected projectiles in random directions when the Pyro is close to enemy players.

Unused content

  • As of the September 30, 2010 Mann-Conomy Update, the Pyro (through editing the items_game.txt file) has the ability to charge an airblast. Charging increases the knockback dealt to enemies. It has no effect on projectiles.

Bugs

  • Projectiles that can inflict afterburn get affected by Pyro's afterburn penalty from Degreaser. As result, that projectile will deal Degreaser's afterburn damage instead of the projectile's actual damage.
  • Scorch Shot's flare does not inflict radius damage when reflect to the world.
  • The Pyro can cause self-damage with deflected Rocket Jumper rockets.
  • Reflected balls and baubles can only damage the Scout who shot them. While a deflected Wrap Assassin's bauble has no effect on the Scout's teammates, a deflected Sandman ball will stun them, but still deal no damage.
  • Reflected Loose Cannon cannonballs do not deal mini-crit damage.
  • Even though the Pyro is credited for any kills given by a deflected Stickybomb that the Demoman detonates (including on the Demoman himself), this has no effect on the domination counter if the Demoman is not yet dominating the Pyro. However, if the Demoman is dominating the Pyro, a kill from the deflected Stickybombs will reset the counter.
  • Holding down the secondary fire button to continuously use a compression blast will cause the recoil animation to play only once before remaining static.
  • Scoring a headshot on an enemy with a deflected arrow will have the kill icon of a normal headshot (as opposed to that of an arrow headshot).
  • Reflected projectiles passing through teammates in range of the compression blast will go off in random directions.
  • Killed enemies with reflected rockets do not increase the killstreak counter (Does not affect Sentry Gun rockets).
    • However, if the Rocket Launcher has a killstreak counter as well, it will count towards the Pyro's killstreak, but the kill feed will show the number of the Soldier's killstreak (For example, killing a Soldier with a 5 killstreak, will show as 6 killstreak on the kill feed, but will count as a single kill on the Pyro's killstreak).

Notes

  • If a baseball is deflected back and stuns the Scout that hit it, it will show the enemy Scout assisting himself if he is killed by the Pyro.
  • If a teammate kills an enemy who has recently been hit with a compression blast, the Pyro receives a kill assist.
  • Strange variants of flamethrowers will not gain a kill count if an enemy is airblasted into a hazard.
  • If fast enough, the Pyro can deflect a projectile while standing behind the enemy that fired it.