The mystery of Team Fortress 2‘s lore, and the menace of casual servers without class limits. Pyro has more killing power at close range than any class. His fire damage is jarring enough to throw off many players from aiming accurately or firing with patience. However, while he does put out fire damage the fastest with a traditional flamethrower, Pyro is capable of dealing fire damage effectively at close, medium, and long range. If you are trying to learn Sniper and need some time to land your headshots, there is a good chance a Pyro will hit you with a flare while you’re slowly lining up your shot. Pyro is unforgiving and is able to effectively counter or disable a number of classes. An uber-charged Pyro is ultimately the safest option in countering a push, with the ability to send enemies and their projectiles flying backward.
With all of this utility and killing power, choosing the right weapons for your preferred playstyle is very important.
Pyro’s Primary Weapons
Pyro has some of the most powerful close-range weapons in Team Fortress 2. They are the bane of Scouts, who also rely on close-range damage and consequently struggle against Pyros. To explore the loadout options available to Scout that can balance this matchup, check out our Scout Weapon Tier List. After the many nerfs it received from 2015 to 2018, the Degreaser is now on the level of a side-grade to the stock Flamethrower, as opposed to a direct upgrade. The Degreaser deploys 60% faster and holsters 30% faster. These are the upsides, with the downsides being an increase in airblast cost by 25% and 66% less afterburn damage. This results in an airblast costing 25 ammo as opposed to 20 ammo.
While the afterburn damage is considerably weaker, the increased holster and deploy speed allow you to combo effectively with your secondary or melee. While the effectiveness of this weapon depends on what the rest of your loadout is, there are so many powerful combinations that it hardly matters which you choose. It was added as a winner of the 2010 Polycount contest, a modeling competition for community item packs made for Team Fortress 2. The other winning entries were the Powerjack and the Attendant cosmetic. The three winning items combined make the Gas Jockey’s Gear set.
The Stock Flamethrower does a bit more damage than the Degreaser when you consider afterburn damage, although afterburn damage can be negated by many different things. But if your target cannot put out the fire in a timely manner, the damage adds up. The Stock Flamethrower has a total of 80 damage from afterburn over a period of 10 seconds. The Degreaser by comparison, only deals 20 damage over 10 seconds. This difference amounts to 60 damage if you are able to hit all 10 seconds of afterburn. If you are used to the Degreaser, anything else can certainly feel sluggish. The Stock Flamethrower will likely net you more kills if you struggle to combo with your secondary or melee.
The Dragon’s Fury is a newer addition to Pyro and gives him a new effective range, at least in regard to primary weapons. It fires a single shot of fire at short to medium range. It deals 300% damage against burning players. This means base damage is 25, and burning targets take 75 damage. An additional 5 damage can be dealt on top of the base damage if the fire hits the center of the enemy’s hitbox. This is 90 damage against a burning player, pretty strong. On top of this powerful damage against already burning opponents, you are able to do consistent damage at medium range. Airblast is more expensive than stock, as expensive as an airblast on the Degreaser. Additionally, the afterburn length is reduced to only 2.5 seconds, but it deals 20 damage at this time. The next shot is reloaded 33% after hitting your target successfully, allowing you to fire rapidly if you do not miss.
The Backburner guarantees critical hits when attacking from behind. The downside is a 200% increase in airblast cost, which amounts to 50 ammo, more than any other flamethrower that is able to airblast. Despite that, this is still a fairly popular option, especially in chaotic pubs. Being able to airblast for a cheap cost gives you a very high amount of utility, the Backburner makes combat against projectiles very risky. The ability to crit with fire at close range amounts to about 133-266 damage per second, which is why this weapon is very appealing.
But unfortunately, their formula for determining if a target is being attacked from behind is somewhat specific. If you are even slightly angled to the side you risk doing regular flame damage, which will certainly alert the opponent and make them turn. Unless you are able to completely catch your opponent off guard and trail them for at least 1-2 seconds in order to wait for their back to be completely open, you probably will not crit your opponents. That being said, many players in Team Fortress 2 have tunnel vision on objectives or the players dominating them, so this may be easier than it sounds.
The Phlogistinator gives even more guaranteed crits with the downside of no airblast and making everyone very upset on both teams. If you are familiar with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, consider this the Auto-Sniper. But if you must know, you charge a meter by doing 300 points of fire damage to charge this. Given that you can do fire damage with any weapon in your loadout and it will still charge the meter, this is a very easy ask. Once charged up, you can press alt-fire to taunt and become invulnerable and unable to be knocked back for the duration of the taunt. Once you begin taunting, you have 10 seconds of free critical hits with the Phlogistinator. This can be server-clearing, especially if you have a pocket Medic keeping you invincible while you trap the enemy team in spawn.
Pyro’s Secondary Weapons
Speaking of weapons that you should probably not use because people will not like you, here is the Scorch Shot. While the Phlog has the considerable downside of not being able to airblast, the Scorch Shot has no considerable downsides other than the increased toxicity of your opponents. Other flare guns require accuracy or timing to get a hit at a considerable distance. The Scorch Shot is a projectile with a considerable radius, about a little over half the radius of the Jarate. Enemies in the radius are damaged for 20 and dealt 60 afterburn damage over 10 seconds.
This weapon can be spammed with extreme ease and you will have no trouble lighting most of the enemy team on fire before anybody but a Sniper can attack. Although if you are able to jiggle peek and pop a flare, that Sniper will probably struggle to hit you while taking afterburn damage. There is a reduction in damage compared to the Flare Gun and there is less self-damage knockback, weakening this as an option for mobility. However, mini-crits are still dealt against burning players. This flare explosion has knockback as well, and the knockback is increased against burning targets as well. This weapon is truly incredibly forgiving, just spamming at choke points will give you so much fire damage even if you do not hit a single direct flare.
The Panic Attack is a shotgun that is most effective at extremely close range, and Pyro has the power to easily juggle and corner opponents with an airblast. Truly, Pyro may be the best class for the Panic Attack. There is a 50% increase in weapon deploy time, making this a solid combo option regardless of your primary weapon of choice, although the Degreaser will certainly be the fastest. Be wary of using this weapon at medium to long range, as it has a considerable spread and it only gets worse with each successive shot.
The Flare Gun is the most powerful option out of all the flare-firing secondaries, and it takes the most effort to hit shots. But with that difficulty, you receive guaranteed crits! Burning a player, popping them up, and hitting a flare will deal over 100 damage extremely quickly, on top of all of that sweet afterburn damage! Hitting two flares in a row on a target will deal 120 damage, and deals 60 damage of afterburn after that. Mastering the Flare Gun is rewarded with extreme damage, but the further the target the greater your prediction skills must be.
The Shotgun is a reliable option for the Pyro and is capable of doing strong damage as a combo weapon. After airblasting an opponent up, the Shotgun can deal 60 damage, or up to 90 damage if they are close enough. If your opponent has a solid chance of being a Pyro, this is your strongest 1v1 option. Most Pyros will opt to try and burn an enemy Pyro to death with their primary if they are unable to deal crit or mini-crit with their secondary. If you have a Shotgun, you are able to pop them up with an airblast while they are trying to get close and deal 60-90 damage per shot with the old reliable.
The Detonator is a flare gun that can be self-detonated with the alt-fire, provided it has been fired and the flare has not been detonated yet. This creates a small explosion similar to that of the Scorch Shot, except that it has the same knockback on you as your opponents. It deals 25% less damage than the Flare Gun and 50% more self-damage, making it perfect for explosive jumping. This gives Pyro a small boost of mobility without sacrificing your flare gun. Additionally, flares can be detonated right before reaching their opponent to ensure a hit, even if it would miss.
This is less hated by the community than the Scorch Shot because it requires a bit of effort to create the explosion and cannot be spammed carelessly. Explosive jumping with this is a bit risky, but the increased self-damage also increases the amount of knockback, which is why this offers more mobility than any other flare gun at the expense of self-damage. An unusual movement option this also has is a “super jump” upon airblast jumping an enemy’s Detonator flare. YouTuber shounic has an impressive video showing this in action and also breaks down what is most likely happening to cause this.
The Reserve Shooter is an interesting idea on paper but is a bit too weak in practice, and ultimately the downsides outweigh the upsides. It is made to be used in conjunction with other weapons, and for that reason, it deploys 20% faster and holsters 15% faster than normal.
Targets shot while in the air (and were launched due to knockback or explosives) are dealt mini-crit damage as opposed to normal damage. After having the weapon deployed for 5 seconds, it can no longer mini-crit airborne targets. As a downside, it has a reduced clip size of 34%, or 4 instead of 6. Reducing your clip by this amount is pretty damaging for a shotgun, you have little margin for error and must make sure to reload before switching back to your primary. Flares reload automatically even if you switch back to your primary right after firing. Mini-crit damage can be quite powerful, dealing 81 damage on a perfect shot at medium range or up to 122 damage at close range. Still, the general consensus is that this is too much risk for too little reward.
The Thermal Thruster is an unusual option for the Pyro and does create some new gameplay opportunities. It is a jetpack that holds two charges at a time and recharges over 15 seconds. When using a charge, you launch into the air and extinguish nearby burning teammates. Landing on an opponent will deal 3x fall damage, in a similar manner to the Manntreads. Nearby enemies are knocked back when landing as well. As a downside, you take a 30% increased knockback when blasting off with a charge. Additionally, it takes 0.8 seconds to holster this secondary after landing, making you a pretty vulnerable target for that enemy you just rudely landed on. This downside is ultimately why this is seen as a massive risk to use, but it is the only way to achieve this type of movement with Pyro.
The Manmelter is the long-forgotten, significantly less evil brother to the Phlogistinator. It fires a laser similar to a flare that ignites enemies on fire on hit. This projectile moves 50% faster than flares and does not criticize or mini-crit burning opponents. Right-clicking on a burning teammate will extinguish them and give you a guaranteed critical hit, storing up to 35 crits. This is powerful damage, but it takes a bit more time and effort than a combo attack with a normal Flare Gun. Still, 90 damage on crits and 60 afterburn damage is powerful. This weapon is often overlooked as it does not work as a powerful combo kill weapon, and most Pyros have access to airblast.
The Gas Passer is as funny as it is terrible, in every way. It functions similarly to Jarate or Mad Milk, creating a small radius of gas that coats enemies within it. The gas cloud remains for 5 seconds, and if it detonates in the air the gas cloud will slowly descend. The gas remains on opponents for 10 seconds, 5 seconds if they are being healed. If they take damage from any source they will take afterburn damage for 10 seconds. This is charged in an unusual way, taking 60 seconds and/or 600 damage to recharge, but both can be done together to speed up the recharge rate. Upon death, the exact level of charge is retained to the next life. This makes it significantly more difficult to use than something like the Jarate, and it is arguably a less effective debuff as well. With a much better recharge rate, this might have a small chance of being a viable option.
Pyro’s Melee Weapons
The Axtinguisher/Postal Pummeler has long been the strongest melee for Pyro, a truly horrifying melee to see after being lit on fire and airblasted into a corner. While it does function a bit differently than how it used to, it still does an obscene amount of damage. Damage is reduced by 33% and weapon holster speed is reduced by 35%. When hitting a burning enemy, they are mini-crit for 59 + additional damage based on the remaining amount of afterburn. This also extinguishes them. This is about 115 damage with the Degreaser, The Stock Flamethrower can have an afterburn of up to 10 seconds based on the number of fire particles hit. With a full 10-second afterburn, this will deal 167 damage in total. This is powerful, but still considerably weaker than the guaranteed 195 damage it used to give. After killing a burning target, you are rewarded with a 35% speed boost for 4 seconds.
The contender with the Axtinguisher is the Powerjack, which provides a significant speed boost while it is deployed. While deployed, you move 15% faster. This is a considerable boost, especially when you have a 10-20 second walk before you reach the frontline. If you get a kill with it, it rewards you with 25 health. The downside is a 20% damage vulnerability while it is deployed. If this is used carefully the additional damage can be avoided and the movement speed boost is always helpful. If you do not want to kill with your melee, this is likely the most helpful option.
The Homewrecker is a solid alternative to these options, which provides utility for your team as opposed to personal utility or killing power. One swing will remove a Spy’s sapper from a teammate’s building. It also deals double damage against enemy buildings, smashing them for a total of 130 damage per swing. Against enemies, it only deals a measly 49 damage. But if you want to destroy and/or protect buildings, this is the strongest option. This can actually destroy a Mini-Sentry in a single swing. The Maul is a promotional re-skin of the Homewrecker, which resembles the War Maul from Red Faction: Armageddon.
The Back Scratcher deals 25% more damage, with a total of 82 damage per swing. When being healed by a medkit of any size, it heals for 50% more health. When being healed by anything else, like a Medic, dispenser, or payload cart, you receive 75% less healing. While this may seem like a bad tradeoff, Pyros are generally expected to exist on the flank and play away from the core of the team. As more of a supporting class, Pyro is not expected to rely on Medic very often. While this is a situational sidegrade, it does generally make you better at your main role as a supporting player or aggressive flanker. For these reasons, it is a relatively popular option but does not see as much play as the previously mentioned melee weapons.
The Neon Annihilator is a very goofy and situational weapon. If a player is wet from entering water or being covered in Jarate/Mad Milk, they take critical hits from this big neon sign. With the damage reduced by 20%, a regular hit is 52 damage and a critical hit against a wet enemy is 156 damage. Random crits are no longer possible, which is generally the case with options that give guaranteed crits. This is also able to remove enemy Sappers from friendly buildings, but it takes two swings as opposed to the Homewrecker’s single-swing removal. For this utility and situational killing power, it remains a somewhat popular option that still retains value outside of the water.
Sharpened Volcano Fragment
Here come the objectively worse weapons, starting with the Sharpened Volcano Fragment. This weapon deals 52 damage on hit and 60 damage on afterburn over 8 seconds. Pyro’s primaries and secondaries are significantly better at burning enemies, but this does have an application on certain maps. By that, I mean Degroot Keep, that is the only map where this sees use at all. Other than in medieval mode this sees little use, and getting a kill with it takes a decent amount of effort and sometimes even the commitment to chase your target and re-ignite them several times.
Next up is the Third Degree, which has the situational advantage of dealing damage to all players connected together via Medic healing beams. Other than this, it has no advantage over the stock Fire Axe. While this can be somewhat effective at killing a low-health Medic hiding behind a big ally, the damage output is so low that your other ranged options are more reliable.
The Fire Axe is the stock melee weapon for Pyro that offers nothing aside from being the least used melee weapon available to Pyro. Dealing 65 damage per swing and 195 on crit, the stats are identical to that of most stock melee weapons.
The Hot Hand is the newest available stock melee weapon for Pyro in Team Fortress 2, and it functions similarly to the Holy Mackerel. It has damage reduced by approximately 14%, not the 20% listed on the weapon. However, it does come out to about 20% reduced damage due to the fact that it has a 0.2-second longer delay between swings. Hitting twice for 28 very quickly, it deals a total of 56 damage. This comes out to have a weaker DPS than the stock Fire Axe. The upside is a 1-second speed boost, similar to the effects of the Disciplinary Action. This is the funny Pyro melee, but funny does not have to be so bad.