Why write a guide for Pharah? Of any hero in Overwatch 2, she might the simplest one to pick up. She can fly, she can shoot rockets, and she can bump other heroes around every so often. However, it takes a lot more than understanding Pharah to be a good one. What exactly is your role in the team? How can you help your fellow heroes advance, and reach their goals? Where should you position yourself? And in the likely case you’ve played Pharah before in Overwatch, what changes befell the Queen of the Sky in Blizzard’s Sequel?
In this Overwatch 2 Pharah guide, I’ll be going over her weapons and abilities, the right strategy and tactics, which heroes to look out for and which ones are easy pickings, and who the best heroes to cooperate with are. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to be a Pharah ace – causing disarray in the enemy lines and picking off targets one by one.
Of course, don’t forget to check out our review of Overwatch 2!
Weapon: The Rocket Launcher
Pharah has only a single weapon, but what a weapon it is! Her rocket launcher is a powerful weapon, that lets you wreak havoc on foes both from close and afar. Combined with her incredible mobility, Pharah can be deadly from almost everywhere. However, that doesn’t mean you should just be anywhere. Pharah’s kit heavily rewards positioning and movement. Almost like an airborne assassin.
- Default Keybind: Left Mouse Button
- Damage: 120 per direct hit (24.6 to 80 splash damage)
- Magazine Capacity: 6 shots
- Reload Time: 1.5 seconds per shot
- No crit on a headshot
Good old rocket launcher. With its projectiles, you’re able to take out low-health characters in two shots, most of the time. Be aware that projectiles take travel speed to get to where they need to be. So try to estimate your target’s moves or aim in the general vicinity to at least deal a healthy dose of splash damage. The rocket launcher has a capacity of six rockets, so make sure you’re fully reloaded before you enter the frenzy of combat. Although Pharah’s reloading speed has been buffed in Overwatch 2, being out of ammo can still be a death sentence, especially for a Pharah.
The nice thing about the rocket launcher is that it deals serious damage without the need to get in a very precise hit. Although closer targets are easier to hit (duh) there’s no real need for Pharah to be too close to her target. There’s no increased damage for headshots, and splash damage can already do serious damage to elusive targets like Tracer and Lucio. On top of that, if you’re too close to where your rocket explodes, you’ll take damage too. Keep your distance!
Abilities: Incredible Mobility Without Speed
I already mentioned that Pharah has what’s probably the highest mobility in the entire game. With her generous access to flights, she can get almost anywhere on the map without major difficulty. Multiple-story buildings, balconies, or rooftops are no problem whatsoever! However, that doesn’t mean that Pharah is fast. On the contrary. Especially in mid-air, Pharah is painstakingly slow. Master your abilities, and you can master almost any situation – but before you know it, your most powerful tools may be exactly what causes your untimely demise.
Hero & Role Passive: Hover Jet
- Hovering: 2 seconds
Alright, technically Pharah can’t fly, she can only hover. The hover jet lets Pharah move around in mid-air. However, she is never perfectly at the same altitude. Since gravity exists, Pharah’s default momentum when she’s in the air is down. However, by pressing the spacebar and hovering, she can regain some of that flying momentum. The longer she hovers, the more altitude she regains, but the more fuel she consumes. When you’re not hovering, Pharah regains fuel over time. In total, she can hover for about 2 full seconds.
When she’s hovering, Pharah is quite slow. She’s 20% faster than on the ground, but she’s immensely exposed when hovering. This means you have to be careful when, and where you decide to hover. In large open areas, like in the center of the Toronto map, Pharah becomes a very easy target for medium to long-range hitscan damage heroes, especially Soldier:76.
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
- Jump range: 11.5 meters vertically
Fortunately, there’s also a way for Pharah to achieve great heights! With the hover jet, she can only get to 8 meters into the air – not bad, since plenty of heroes can do little more than jump slightly, but not great. The shift button lets you jump a whopping 11 meters right off the bet – with that, you’ll be far above all the other heroes (maybe except Echo, Mercy, and the occasional Ashe). You can combine this move with the hover jet to remain airborne.
Although it may seem tempting to use this move whenever it’s no longer on cooldown, it’s important to always look ahead before jumping. Pharah generally lacks the means of getting out of disadvantageous situations, and a jump jet is one of the few ways Pharah can get out – fast. Altitude for Pharah is usually a means, and rarely an end.
- Cooldown: 9 seconds
- Damage: 30, on a direct hit
- Area of effect: 8-meter radius
The Concussive Blast is Pharah’s best way of causing general mayhem. Although its damage is negligible, on the impact the blast knocks nearby enemies away from it, similar to Lucio’s Soundwave ability. This makes Pharah one of the best heroes in Overwatch to get nature kills, and works great on maps with prominent edges or pits.
Secondly, the Concussive Blast is another quick getaway method Pharah has at her disposal. It doesn’t only knock enemies back, it also knocks Pharah herself back. Without taking any damage, you can quickly launch yourself out of any unfavorable situation. Given Pharah’s lackluster means of getting away from bad situations, the Concussive Blast is useful to keep at hand when things get rough.
Ultimate Ability: Barrage
- Damage: 40 per direct hit (9 to 30 splash damage)
- Duration: 2.5 seconds
- Rate of fire: 30 rockets per second
For her ultimate ability, Pharah unleashes a barrage of rockets on anyone unfortunate enough to cross her path. This ultimate can be devastating when it hits an unsuspecting group of enemies, especially ones that don’t have the means to do quick damage to Pharah. However, powerful this ult is, it comes with some major flaws. First and foremost is the fact that it keeps Pharah from moving. When she does her Barrage, Pharah remains completely stagnant in mid-air. With her small health pool of 200 HP, anyone with a weapon and some reach can easily take her down. Or stun her out of her ult.
The second flaw is one that Blizzard, in a rarely useful tip addresses: it doesn’t invite itself for use. That may sound weird, but due to Barrage’s very high potential, it’s easy to pass up opportunities while hoping that a bigger one presents itself later on. It’s likely the perfect Barrage won’t come, so don’t be shy to use it when you’re under threat, or you’re able to finish up a powerful threat to your team, like a Roadhog or an Orisa. Barrages are thus best used either defensively or in an ambush.
With her high damage output and incredible mobility, yet slow speed and relative squishiness, Pharah is ideally suited to play the role of an aerial assassin. That’s not to say that Pharah is a behind-the-lines disruptor like Sombra, but she can choose her battles. She’s perfect to take out a Mercy who’s doing a little too much healing or to disrupt a highly defensive theme by forcing them to break ranks with a Concussive Blast. She’s not one to stay in the middle of the fray, especially not without a healer. But she’s perfect for precisely taking out characters without needing to get too close.
It’s always okay to lop in a few missiles when there are many enemies close to one another. With Pharah’s splash damage, you’re sure to make an impact. However, doing so easily exposes you to powerful threats. Identify who’s holding their team together, and take them out from above when they least suspect it. Next up in this guide, I’ll share a few situations and how Pharah can get the most out of them.
Tips and Tricks
Take Out Healers and Hitscanners
Pharah is the perfect aerial assassin, and as an assassin, you’re in the perfect position to focus on high-level targets. Healers are usually the backbone of a team. Unless there are loads of self-healers, usually any organized effort just falls apart when there’s no healer present. Most healers have fairly little HP and don’t have the greatest defense against you. Mercy and Brigitte are particularly easy pickings, and Moira, Kiriko, Zenyatta, and Ana are also easily outmatched by you. Baptiste and Lucio are a little trickier, but your ability to easily bypass tank defenses will make taking them out way easier.
The largest threat to you, by far, is hitscanners. They can take you out with only a few shots and with fairly little effort, so it’s key to dispose of them fast. There’s nothing wrong with going out of your way to take out Soldier:76 or Widowmaker, especially if they’re major threats to your team. After all, they are dangerous to you, but you are also dangerous to them. You can strike from almost anywhere, and do massive damage while doing so. Fly under the radar and strike first – the key to dealing with hitscanners is to minimize the chances they have to shoot you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Do a Tactical Retreat
As Pharah, there are plenty of situations that are simply disadvantageous to you. In large open areas covered by hitscan damage dealers, you’re easy pickings. And you’re of little use to your team when you’re dead. Moreover, due to Pharah’s altitude, you’re often a tricky player to heal. Zenyatta and Mercy have the range to heal you effectively, but healers like Moira and Lucio are barely useful to you. It’s important to recognize the 200 HP you have is often exactly that – there’s no one out there to bail you out when you’re in a losing battle. So simply put, choose your battles.
Pharah punishes mispositioned players hard. Healers who stray a bit too far from their party, low-health damage dealers who venture off on their home, and tanks who after pursuing a retreating team gave up their defenses. In those moments, it’s Pharah’s time to strike, and your team needs you to be alive then. With her power to deal massive damage from basically anywhere, you can pick off a team without defensive cohesiveness one by one.
Harbinger of Chaos
So what do you do when the team is highly fortified? Pharah punishes teams that fail to organize, but she alone doesn’t have the airpower to force a breakthrough. Or does she? Her Concussive Blast is an incredible weapon to bring the enemy lines in disarray. Some healers like to stay closely behind shielding tanks like Sigma and Reinhard. A Mercy-Bastion-Reinhardt combination can be a formidable defense, but Pharah’s Concussive Blast can break up that combo, giving your team an opening to advance.
There’s a second powerful offensive use of the Concussive Blast. Fights with hitscanners can be difficult since they can easily kill you, but you retain the damage potential to kill them, as well. This weapon can knock them back, forcing them to recenter their aim. The few moments this costs them can be enough for you to finish them off. And of course, if you happen to be close to a pit or a cliff, you can always go for that satisfying nature kill.
Sometimes the Fray Is Okay
So, we’ve established that Pharah is a powerful hero when the enemy team is in disarray, and fights are happening everywhere. Although it’s rarely Pharah’s task to initiate combat, she is an immense asset in any team fight that ensues. With her splash damage, rockets that explode in crowded areas can devastate an enemy team in just a single magazine.
Tanks can’t shield everywhere at once, and healers cannot protect everyone simultaneously. Of course, it’s important to be smart when you start aiming at the area of general mayhem. For example, Baptiste’s Immortality Field and Torbjörn’s and Symmetra’s turrets can be decisive in a close-combat situation. While you’re shooting from a distance, you have the strategic overview to target exactly those structures first. Take out the enemies’ utilities, and your close combat allies who are in the fray have a huge edge over the enemy – especially in King of the Hill maps.
When Others Are Busy…
Being the airborne assassin she is, Pharah strikes best when others aren’t paying attention. With her fantastic mobility and substantial range, she can position herself to shoot enemies from areas they simply can’t cover. When the fight is occurring in front of the enemy team, a Pharah shooting them from the side or behind can be a major nuisance, to say the very least.
So naturally, when you can strike against an unsuspecting group of enemies, identify who the main backbone of the team is, the one holding the fort together. It’s often the healer, but it can also be the most powerful threat against you, like a Soldier:76, a Widowmaker, or even a Torbjörn. There’s nothing like taking out a turret that’s too occupied with a Reinhard that’s slowly walking into it, or an Ana who completely didn’t see you coming. Suprise is Pharah’s greatest weapon, by far.
When Should I Swap?
No guide will say that Pharah suits every single round of Overwatch 2. Pharah is a potent damage hero, but she’s quite situational too. Because of her low speed and limited access to health, she doesn’t fit every team composition. If you have enemy hitscanners like Ashe, Cassidy, Soldier:76, Sojourn, or Widowmaker that consistently kill you before you kill them, you may want to consider a switch. Lacking proper backup healing can also be a reason for switching. Moira and Lucio offer little support, which Pharah certainly needs. What’s more, Pharah has a serious problem with bulky foes. She relies on making quick work of their enemies, but most tanks can quite easily withstand her. If you find yourself constantly drawing the short end of the stick, consider switching to a damage dealer that can do more damage faster against tanks, like Symmetra.
With her very specific set of skills and her ability to soar through the skies, Pharah naturally has advantages and disadvantages over the other heroes of Overwatch 2. For the next part of this guide, here’s a quick shortlist of who Pharah should be excited about facing, who you should look out for, and who you may want to ask your friends to pick to support your Pharah game.
Positive Matchups for Pharah
- Brigitte cannot fight Pharah effectively. Her shield is easy to bypass from above, and she lacks the speed to dodge her rockets well. Her Whip Shot can hit you when you’re not far enough away, but in almost every circumstance, you can easily out-damage her.
- Doomfist has nothing he can throw at you. His move set is completely geared towards dealing with ground-based enemies, so simply keeping your distance while remaining airborne makes short work of any Doomfist foolish enough to face you alone.
- Junkrat can try to hit you with his Concussion Mines, but that’s about the only damage he can do to you. Junkrat is highly inefficient if he has to aim up, so Pharah won’t have any trouble against him whatsoever.
- Mercy can’t outrun you, she can’t outfly you, and she certainly can’t out-damage you. Although she can hide behind barriers, like those of Reinhardt and Sigma, your mobility allows you to bypass the barrier and take her out in a few clean shots. For any Mercy, Pharah is a formidable threat.
- Reaper does huge damage in close-range, but fortunately for you, Pharah doesn’t have to come close. While you’re airborne and taking aim at Reaper from medium to long distance, there’s nothing they can do but run.
- Reinhardt‘s shield may be good to guard against attacks from a single direction, but Pharah can easily strike from another angle in the air. This forces Reinhardt to move his shield up, which makes him vulnerable to enemies on the ground. What’s more, except for the easy-to-dodge Fire Strike, Reinhardt has nothing that can threaten you.
- Torbjörn is a big nuisance to you, but you are a bigger threat to him. With your long-range missile attacks, you’re in a prime position to take out a Torbjörn turret that’s well behind the enemies’ defensive lines.
Negative Matchups for Pharah
- Ana has access to long-range darts that can easily hit Pharah. If her Biotic Rifle is fully scoped, it’s easy for Ana to take a slow-moving Pharah down in just three shots. Furthermore, a well-aimed Sleep Dart can cause Pharah to crash down to earth, making her a very simple target for any hero.
- Ashe can easily gun you out of the sky with her rifle. Since you’re very exposed when you fly, it’s a few simple clicks to finish you off. Furthermore, it’s easy for Ashe to hit you with her dynamite, letting her claim loads of your precious HP.
- D.Va‘s Defense Matrix makes your rockets completely useless against her. Since your rockets take time to travel, she can simply pull the Matrix up and reduce their damage to zero. What’s more, she can fly directly up to you. If you shoot at her while she’s right in front of you, you’ll damage yourself from the exploding rockets. D.Va can take that damage, but you can’t. She can also not just block or absorb your entire Barrage.
- Genji is especially a threat due to his ability to deflect bullets and missiles. Moreover, the reach of his Shurikens and his Swift Strike can easily claim a serious portion of your health. Ulting in front of a Genji is always risky since he can simply stand in front of your missiles and deflect them all back to you.
- Hanzo can rapidly fire accurate arrows at you while you’re flying, making him a hero that can easily take you out from the ground. Make sure you’re able to take out a Hanzo quickly when you see one.
- Roadhog is a formidable foe to many damage heroes, and Pharah is no exception. With the incredible range of his hook, he can easily grab you out of the sky and kill you in a single combo. What’s more, due to his massive health pool he’s nearly impossible to take out quickly, giving him an edge over you in combat.
- Sojourn can do very rapid damage with her railgun, making you a sitting duck in most situations. Her secondary fire is a powerful blast that should it connect, can easily take you out if accompanied by a few more regular shots.
- Soldier:76 is by far the greatest threat to Pharah. His hitscan Heavy Pulse Rifle mows you down in a matter of seconds, with fairly little difficulty. His speed and ability to evade your rockets, as well as the ability to heal himself, makes him an immense threat. If you find yourself facing a Soldier:76, it’s best to either disengage and strike when he’s not looking, or to take him out immediately.
- Widowmaker is a logical threat as well. Her ability to snipe you out of the sky, as well as her ultimate ability that shows the location of her enemies, make her perfectly suited to kill you before you even have a chance to get within killing range.
Heroes to Pair with Pharah
- D.Va is one of the few enemies who can follow up on Pharah’s attacks. After all, she can fly, and quickly do damage that Pharah didn’t manage to get in. What’s more, her high HP makes her a perfect mobile shield that’s able to shield Pharah from powerful threats, particularly Soldier:76.
- Genji also has high mobility and speed which works well with Pharah. Although Pharah does lots of damage, she doesn’t do it very quickly. Genji, on the other hand, can be deadly to low-health targets. With a Genji harassing the enemy team, Pharah has the distraction she needs to be at her deadliest.
- Mercy is by far the best hero to combine with Pharah. Heck, the Pharmercy combination is so iconic that it spawned plenty of online content. With her ability to fly and heal airborne targets easily, Mercy is the logical healer to play with Pharah. Giving Pharah a constant source of health and the occasional damage boost lets Pharah play much more assertively since she doesn’t need to worry excessively about the ease to kill her.
- Zarya‘s shielding ability works miracles for Pharah’s durability. The few seconds of invincibility Zarya’s shields give her is all she needs to take out low-health threats. What’s more, since Pharah’s ultimate ability leaves her very vulnerable to being shot down or stunned, a shield gives Pharah all the time she needs to reign deadly justice.
Onward on Your Journey
Congratulations on reaching the end of this Pharah guide! Now it’s time to go out there and be the best Queen of the Skies you can possibly be. When you’re able to unravel a team by bringing chaos to their defenses, taking out the glue that holds their team together, and getting the most out of your splash damage, your team will appreciate that you picked Pharah. She’s easy to pick up (she was the first hero I played back in Overwatch 1) but much harder to master. Doing that takes some time, so don’t beat yourself up if you fall to a Soldier:76 every so often. Once you’re doing well, the enemy team always grabs one from their ranks to make your life much harder. But if you play your part right, even that little trick won’t stop you.
Check out Pharah’s origin story, Mission Statement, which tells the tale of the Rocket Queen. I hope you enjoyed this Overwatch 2 Pharah guide. I hope even more that it helps you on your journey to mastering the sky! Don’t forget to check the other guides we’ve got for the game! If you haven’t played the free-to-play game, go ahead and try it out now, available on all major platforms including PC, Xbox, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
Deadly from all angles – check out this great video on Pharah by Valkia.