Anti-Pyro strategy

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The Pyro is a hardy class that excels at close range combat, particularly in confined areas where their Flame Thrower is difficult to avoid. Due to the Flame Thrower’s wide damage spread, the Pyro can focus more on outmaneuvering their opponents than aiming and has leeway when fighting at close range. Additionally, the Pyro has access to the compression blast, a powerful source of utility that allows them to forcibly reposition enemies or reflect projectiles. The overall theme of the Pyro’s available weapons is close range power; because their best long range weapon is just the Flare Gun, they are most vulnerable when distant from enemies or when in open areas.


Attributes Anti-Pyro strategy
Pyro emblem RED.png Role
  • The Pyro finds success in ambushing opponents rather than approaching them head-on. Be aware of your surroundings; take note of different ways a Pyro can take to ambush you.
  • The Pyro brings defensive support in the form of the compression blast, which can reposition enemies and deflect projectiles.
Leaderboard class medic.png Health
  • The Pyro has above-average health and can be difficult to repel if they manage to enter close range.
  • The Pyro has natural immunity to afterburn from all sources except the Gas Passer. They can still be ignited but are resistant to most afterburn sources.
Leaderboard class scout.png Speed
  • The Pyro only travels at the standard movement speed, which makes them an easy target for bullet-based weapons if attacking head-on.
  • The Pyro should circumvent this weakness by taking ambushing routes or playing defensively.
Leaderboard class soldier.png Power
  • The Pyro is strong at close range but has no effective long range weaponry. Keep your distance to prevent much of the Pyro's possible damage.
  • The Pyro's compression blast can be used to reflect your own projectiles back at you for mini-crit damage, or to pin you in place for an execution.


Main article: Pyro weapons

Primary weapons

Weapon Anti-Pyro strategy
Flame Thrower
Flame Thrower + reskins
  • It is very difficult to escape the Pyro's Flame Thrower once caught, so take note of routes a Pyro can take so that you can repel them before they reach you.
    • Pyros will generally wait behind turns or hide behind objects for a chance at successfully ambushing you. Going around them at a distance will give you more reaction time to deal with them.
    • If you can't escape the Pyro, try to weaken them for your teammates before they kill you.
  • If the Pyro sets you on fire, extinguish yourself as soon as possible to reduce afterburn damage. Health packs, certain teammates, and bodies of water can all extinguish flames.
    • An allied Pyro can extinguish you with their compression blast or a few choice secondary weapons. An allied Scout's Mad Milk, a Heavy's Sandvich, and a Sniper's Jarate also work.
Backburner + reskins
  • Watch your surroundings at all times to reduce the chances of a successful ambush by a Pyro.
  • The Backburner deals guaranteed critical hits from behind. If the Pyro finds you, keep facing them while you fight back.
  • The Backburner uses much more ammunition for compression blasts; forcing a Pyro to reflect projectiles with it will quickly deplete the weapon's ammo. Knowing this, a Backburner Pyro will use its compression blast less often.
  • The Degreaser allows a Pyro to quickly switch weapons. This makes weapon heckling much less effective.
  • The Degreaser deals minimal afterburn damage and requires slightly more ammo to airblast. Expect the Pyro to use another weapon, such as the Flare Gun or Axtinguisher, to finish you off.
  • The Phlogistinator promotes an opportunistic playstyle. Don't allow the Pyro to freely ambush teammates or ignite you from long range with flares, which will fill their "Mmmph" meter.
  • The Pyro can activate a fully charged Phlogistinator to gain guaranteed critical hits. A full charge is indicated by the weapon's nozzle sparking.
    • If the Pyro taunts in the open for brief invulnerability, have your team prepare for their attempted rampage. Class-specific methods include laying a carpet of Stickybombs, charging the Sniper Rifle, and getting into position for the Knife's backstab.
  • The Phlogistinator cannot airblast, so you can freely use rockets, grenades, and other projectiles against the Pyro without fear of reflection.
  • You are always free to retreat and wait for "Mmmph" to run out.
  • If a Pyro with the Phlogistinator has not shown it for a while, they may be trying to hide their full "Mmmph". Be extra alert for ambushes or any of the primary taunt voice lines and try to notify your team.
Dragon's Fury
Dragon's Fury
  • The Dragon's Fury shoots fireballs instead of a wide spread of flames, actually giving you opportunities to dodge the Pyro's attacks.
  • Be as unpredictable as you can; the weapon reloads quickly if the Pyro can land successive shots, and accurate shots inflict heavy damage to you.
  • While the Dragon's Fury can use the compression blast, using the compression blast takes much longer for the Pyro to attack again compared to other primary weapons. Pressure from projectiles will force a Pyro with this weapon to take cover.
  • The Rainblower functions identically to the Flame Thrower but also comes with the Armageddon taunt attack.
  • There are multiple distinct cues during the 3 seconds Armageddon takes to activate, including rainbows (flames), a neighing unicorn (only in Pyroland), and a menacing song. Don't blindly rush around corners.
  • Without Pyrovision, the Rainblower is not visible, except for in the kill feed. Keep in mind that the Pyro has taunt attacks on other weapons too.
Compression blast
Compression blast
  • The compression blast's most obvious use is to shove enemies into environmental hazards, such as off cliffs, or into corners, where you are easier to target. Stay away from areas where a Pyro can easily pin you down or push you off the map.
  • The compression blast can reflect projectiles; use bullets, if using projectiles fire from outside the Pyro's line of sight, or change the timing of your shots to avoid having them be reflected.
  • The compression blast has a small cooldown time. Two teammates can easily overwhelm a Pyro with more projectiles than they can reflect.
  • The compression blast uses a significant amount of ammunition; if you can trick the Pyro into using their compression blasts, they may run out of ammo, giving you the upper hand.
    • Pay attention to which primary the Pyro has equipped. Some flamethrowers consume more ammo than others when using a compression blast.

Secondary weapons

Weapon Anti-Pyro strategy
Shotgun + reskins
  • The Shotgun is the Pyro's best secondary weapon against foes outside the flamethrower's range as well as against enemy Pyros. Keep your distance to reduce the effectiveness of all the enemy Pyro's weapons, and move erratically to avoid damage.
Flare Gun
Flare Gun + reskins
  • The Flare Gun's projectiles should be easy to avoid in open areas, even at close range, as long as your movement is unpredictable.
  • The Flare Gun's flares deal guaranteed critical hits to burning enemies. If you are ignited from a distance, extinguish yourself before re-engaging the Pyro. If ignited up close, move erratically to avoid being finished off by a critical flare. If the flare misses, attack while the Pyro reloads or switches weapons.
  • The Detonator's flares can be manually triggered by the Pyro to explode, creating a small blast that can ignite multiple targets. Stay away from your teammates to minimize splash damage, and dodge incoming flares to avoid mid-air explosions.
  • Compared to the Flare Gun, Detonator flares only deal mini-crits to burning players, making it less effective for killing enemies. Despite this, the Detonator is easier to hit players with, as the Pyro only needs to aim the flare directly at you or your teammates to follow up with the blast.
  • A Pyro can use the Detonator to perform a flare jump at the cost of their health. Stay aware of all possible routes that the Pyro can take to reach you.
Reserve Shooter
Reserve Shooter
  • The Reserve Shooter is capable of landing mini-crits on targets airborne through every type of knockback excluding airblast and bullets. Try to dodge explosives from enemy Soldiers and Demomen that may launch you into the air, and avoid blast jumping until the Pyro retreats or is killed.
  • The Reserve Shooter's reduced clip size gives the Pyro much less staying power. If the Pyro fires all four shots, they will be forced to reload or switch to their primary, giving you time to attack.
    • Keep in mind on what flamethrower they're using, if they are using the Degreaser this strategy can end up being ineffective due to its switch speed, if they're using any other flamethrower this will be more effective.
  • The Manmelter has unlimited ammunition and faster projectiles, making it more effective at continuous long-range harassment than the Flare Gun. Move unpredictably to avoid being ignited.
  • The Manmelter's projectiles do not deal critical nor mini-crits to burning players, making it less effective at finishing foes off. The Pyro will likely engage you with their Flamethrower instead.
  • If an enemy is set on fire, try to finish them off before a Manmelter Pyro can extinguish them and gain a stored critical hit. If they manage to do so, they might try to finish you off instead.
  • Extinguishing from the Manmelter has virtually no cooldown; the Pyro can capitalize on their burning teammates to quickly regain plenty of health!
Scorch Shot
Scorch Shot
  • Due to the Scorch Shot's unique ability to get a second hit, avoid exposing yourself to vulnerable locations, stay in open environments, and move quickly.
  • Explosions from the Scorch Shot ignite multiple targets with one hit. Even if they miss the flare, the projectile can touch the ground to act as a fiery explosive trap. Don’t cluster near your teammates, and stay clear from your same spot if the Pyro fires the Scorch Shot.
  • The Scorch Shot's flares can knock enemies back; the knockback increases if you already are on fire. If you get hit by the flare, the resulting explosion can stunlock your movement. Don't idle close to environmental hazards.
  • The Scorch Shot excels at keeping enemies on fire but is less effective at finishing them up. Remember where you can find healing or extinguish yourself.
  • Pyros often use this weapon to charge up the Phlogistinator for guaranteed critical hits. Keep an ear out for the Pyro activating their crit boost.
  • Like the Detonator, the Scorch Shot allows the Pyro to perform a Flare Jump at the cost of their health, albeit slightly weaker. Although a Scorch Shot jump may not be as common, be aware of your surroundings.
Panic Attack
Panic Attack
  • The Panic Attack deploys quickly but suffers from massive bullet spread with consecutive shots. Expect it to be deployed for strong burst damage at close range, especially if you get airblasted.
  • Anything past the first shot will typically deal less damage, especially at medium range. If you survive the first shot, maintain distance and press your advantage.
Thermal Thruster
Thermal Thruster
  • The Thermal Thruster grants the Pyro greatly increased mobility. When used, the Pyro will be launched into the air, similarly to a Soldier's rocket jump. Landing knocks nearby enemies back, and deals triple fall damage to enemies landed on.
  • In combat, the Pyro can use the Thermal Thruster allowing them to get into their flamethrower's effective range quickly. It takes one second to launch, so pick the correct direction to move away.
  • The Pyro can switch weapons in mid-flight. They may be ready to attack with their flamethrower upon landing!
  • The Thermal Thruster stores two charges which take 15 seconds to recharge. If the Pyro has recently used both charges, their mobility is as average as usual.
  • The Reserve Shooter deals mini-crits to Pyros launched by the Thermal Thruster making it a soft counter to Thermal Thruster Pyros.
Gas Passer
Gas Passer
  • The Pyro can use the Gas Passer to deploy a Gas Cloud. Anyone who enters the Gas Cloud is doused for 10 seconds. Anyone (including Pyros) who is doused will be ignited for 10 seconds if damaged by any source.
  • The Pyro must wait up to 60 seconds or deal enough damage to use the Gas Passer. Until then, the Pyro lacks a ranged weapon.
  • If you are doused, consider retreating to a source of healing to reduce the debuff's duration.
  • If you are blocked by the Gas Cloud, consider if it is worth braving to quickly reach the area you are trying to access.

Melee weapons

Weapon Anti-Pyro strategy
Fire Axe
Fire Axe + reskins
  • Due to the vast range of utility that unlockable melee weapons provide, it is rare for a Pyro to equip the stock Fire Axe, much less use it; the Pyro's primary weapons have better range and more consistent damage.
  • As with all other Pyro melee weapons, stay away from melee range if the Pyro is holding their melee weapon. Be aware that if you remain outside their melee range too long, the Pyro will likely switch to their primary or secondary weapon.
Axtinguisher + reskins
  • The Axtinguisher deals less damage against non-burning players, but deals mini-crit damage against burning players, and deals all the afterburn damage the player would have taken, all at once. A Pyro will use this weapon to finish you off after igniting you with their other weapons.
  • The bonus damage is equal to the damage you would have taken from afterburn. The Pyro must choose between different options, such the Degreaser's fast weapon switch and low afterburn power. Take note of the Pyro's other weapons - you may gain insight into what tactics they use.
  • The Axtinguisher has less range than the Flame Thrower and holsters 35% slower, giving you time to counterattack should you survive the hit.
Homewrecker + reskins
  • A Pyro with the Homewrecker typically watches over an Engineer's buildings, protecting them from Spies and incoming projectiles. They will tend to play passively and defend an Engineer nest, only going on the offensive to punish an enemy for overextending.
  • The Homewrecker one-shots Sappers, allowing the Pyro to prevent Spies from sapping any nearby buildings. Coordinate with teammates to distract or backstab the Pyro first.
  • The Powerjack grants the Pyro bonus movement speed but causes them to take 20% more damage while active. This speed boost makes them faster than every class besides the Scout. Pyros will typically deploy this weapon to reach the front lines faster, then switch to their other weapons for combat. If you catch a Pyro moving between areas with it, try to hit the Pyro before they can switch weapons.
  • In combat, the Pyro will sometimes switch to the Powerjack to finish you off and regain some health. Take advantage of the Pyro's damage vulnerability, and shoot them before they reach you.
Back Scratcher
Back Scratcher
  • Stay out of melee range - the Back Scratcher hits much harder than the stock Fire Axe.
  • The Back Scratcher grants Pyros increased healing from medkits, encouraging them to roam the map more freely, away from their team. Try to take any nearby health packs before the Pyro can reach them.
Sharpened Volcano Fragment
Sharpened Volcano Fragment
  • A Pyro may use the Sharpened Volcano Fragment to conserve Flame Thrower ammo, or as a last resort for lighting enemies ablaze. As with all melee weapons, keep your distance and continue attacking.
Third Degree
Third Degree
  • The Flame Thrower is often more effective than the Third Degree when it comes to attacking a Medic and his patient. Either way, beware of possible ambushes.
  • In Casual Mode, Pyros with this weapon will often try to take advantage of the high melee critical hit rate. If a Pyro approaches your patient with this weapon, disconnect your Medi Gun, or you may be killed instantly.
Neon Annihilator
Neon Annihilator
  • A Pyro may try to finish you off with the Neon Annihilator if you are wet. Keep your distance, and they will be left vulnerable.
  • Beware fighting Scouts (who throw Mad Milk) and Snipers (who throw Jarate) in enemy territory; they may give opportunities to a Pyro with the Neon Annihilator.
  • Like the Homewrecker, the Neon Annihilator can destroy Sappers, albeit at a slower rate. Treat it as if the Pyro was holding the Homewrecker.
Hot Hand
Hot Hand
  • The Hot Hand attacks faster than all other Pyro melees, deals less damage, and provides the Pyro a brief speed boost upon a successful hit. Unlike other clothing-related weapons, the Pyro can hide this weapon from their loadout until they pull out their distinct right-handed grey glove.
  • This weapon announces each Slap in the kill feed, which can be used to track down Spies using the Dead Ringer, although this is often less of a threat compared to the Pyro's fiery weapons.
  • A Pyro using this weapon generally is not taking the game too seriously. Still, continue to stay out of melee range - this weapon allows Pyro to continuously hit you, even as a Scout.

See also