Compression blast

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Compression blast
A Pyro using compression blast against a Scout.


The Pyro

The compression blast, also known as air blast or airblast, is the alternate fire for all of the Pyro's primary weapons except the Phlogistinator. It is a blast of cone-shaped gas emitting from the end of the weapon. When the alternate fire button is used (default key: MOUSE2), the Pyro uses a portion of their ammo (20 by default) to push enemies away a considerable distance. Players who are pushed by a compression blast have reduced air control and footing until they land. The compression blast 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.


Projectiles within the area of effect are redirected so that they are launched towards the Pyro's crosshair. Deflected projectiles are essentially stopped and fired again from the Pyro's current position. This can give strange results if the crosshair is centered on very near objects and players, sometimes causing the deflected projectile 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 roll in the direction pointed to by the crosshair.

The following projectiles can be compression blasted:

Projectiles for any of the Medic's primary weapons (except for the Crusader's Crossbow) and energy blasts from the Righteous Bison and Pomson 6000 cannot be deflected.

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 turns BLU when deflected and hurts any RED team players in the approximated area when it explodes. Furthermore, deflected explosive projectiles can also 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 unless they are detonated right after being pushed, in which the Pyro is credited for the kill. Additionally, deflected Detonator flares can still be remotely detonated by the Pyro that launched them. Deflected Jarate and Mad Milk soak enemy players and extinguish allies, and have all the attributes of normal Mad Milk and Jarate; for example, the Pyro is 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 heal teammates if deflected and the Pyro is credited with the healing caused. Though rockets and stickybombs fired from the Rocket Jumper and Sticky Jumper respectively can be deflected, they are still unable to do any damage.

Non-critical deflected projectiles always turn into mini-crits, while critical projectiles retain their critical status. Additionally, a deflected baseball only slows the player 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 turn into critical projectiles. Again, neither of these effects apply to stickybombs.



See also: Compression blast strategy

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


  • Deflecting projectiles (with the exception of the Demoman's stickybombs) prevents them from harming teammates, 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 for 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 knockback 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 teammates can get there for reinforcement.
  • Airblasting an enemy carrying the Intelligence into a pit causes the Intelligence to immediately reset.
  • 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 also affects cloaked Spies, which can be marginally useful as a Spy checking method if one is using the compression blast.


  • In combat situations, it is possible to take advantage of the environment and blast enemies off ledges and towards other hazards on the map.
  • The Medi Gun, Kritzkrieg, and Vaccinator's ÜberCharges do not prevent the knockback 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 means 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 players under a Quick-Fix ÜberCharge, including the Medic.
  • 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 of 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 the Pyro or teammates to attack, or to simply advance past them.
    • 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 off with 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."
    • The Pyro 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, which is particularly useful when outnumbered or overpowered and the point or checkpoint 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.

Examples of Uses

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
Dragon's Fury fireball.png Deflected Dragon's Fury fireball Killicon deflect rocket.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
Flare proj red.png Deflected Manmelter projectile Killicon deflect flare.png
Deflected Manmelter projectile (afterburn) Killicon manmelter.png
Flare proj red.png 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
Short circuit.png Deflected Energy Orb Killicon skull.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 proj.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

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.

October 20, 2017 Patch #1 (Jungle Inferno Update)

  • Hit detection for both players and projectiles is now a consistent cone.
    • Aiming at a player's feet no longer misses!
  • Airblasting players now factors in the momentum of the Pyro and target, giving both more control over the interaction.
    • The target's existing velocity is no longer cancelled.
    • Players moving at the Pyro at great speed will be reflected away at great speed.
    • Players moving towards/away from the Pyro will experience less/more push force.
  • Airblast now causes target player to have reduced footing and air control for a short period.
    • No longer a flat stun.
  • Now factors in the upward angle of the airblast, rather than having a fixed upward force.
  • Total push force slightly increased.
  • Changed attributes:
    • Reserve Shooter attacks on targets knocked into the air by Pyro airblast no longer mini-crit.

Unused content

  • As of the 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, but has no effect on projectiles.


  • Projectiles that can inflict afterburn get affected by the Degreaser's afterburn damage penalty. As a result, that projectile deals Degreaser's afterburn damage instead of the projectile's actual damage.
  • Reflected grenades, Sentry Gun rockets, and Detonator flares all incorrectly inflict 85-170 self-damage (45-90 self-damage if reflected with the Dragon's Fury).[1]
  • Reflected flares from the Scorch Shot do not inflict radius damage upon hitting a non-player surface.
  • Reflected balls from the Sandman can only damage the Scout who shot them. A deflected baseball slows down a Scout's teammate, but deals no damage.
  • Reflected baubles from the Wrap Assassin deal damage to a Scout's teammate, but do not cause bleeding. A bleed icon appears on the HUD, but no additional bleed damage is taken.
  • 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 resets the counter.
  • Headshots with deflected arrows use the kill icon of normal headshots (as opposed to that of an arrow headshot).
  • Enemies killed with reflected Rocket Launcher rockets do not increase Killstreak and Strange counters.
    • However, if the Rocket Launcher has a Killstreak counter as well, it counts towards the Pyro's killstreak, but the kill feed shows the number of the Soldier's killstreak (For example, killing a Soldier with a 5 killstreak shows as a 6 killstreak on the kill feed, but counts as a single kill on the Pyro's killstreak).
  • When using the airblast, enemies directly behind the Pyro may be pushed away at certain angles.
  • Reflected rockets and grenades ignore the original weapon's splash radius attribute (e.g. rockets from the Direct Hit).


  • If a deflected baseball slows the Scout who launched it, the kill feed shows that the Scout assisted in his own death 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 do not gain a kill count if an enemy is airblasted into a hazard.