Basic Pyro strategy
The Pyro is a moderately tough class that specializes in close range combat and excels at ambushing enemies with his various flamethrowers. The afterburn he inflicts will steadily damage fleeing foes, making him decent at hit-and-run tactics. His compression blast is extremely disruptive and can be used to reflect projectiles, extinguish burning team mates, or forcibly shove enemies around. His flames nullify Cloak and disguises, making him a hard counter to the Spy. While easy to learn, mastering how to properly use his various weapons takes time. A good Pyro will often switch between weapons to maximize damage. At longer ranges, the Pyro is vulnerable to hitscan weaponry, such as the Minigun or Sniper Rifle.
Flame Thrower + reskins
To easily get into range to use your Flame Thrower, take alternate paths to ambush your opponents. Once in combat, circle-strafe around your foes to make yourself more difficult to hit; the wide spread of your Flame Thrower makes your aiming easier. If opponents flee, don't rely on afterburn to finish them off, as there are many ways to extinguish fire. Switch to your secondary weapon for any enemies at medium range or beyond. Spy-check suspicious teammates by firing short bursts of flame.
- The Rainblower functions identically to the Flame Thrower but also has a taunt attack.
The Backburner deals guaranteed critical hits when attacking from behind, but has a significantly increased airblast cost. To position yourself behind the enemy, favor ambushing tactics and liberally circle-strafe when in combat. Overall, you sacrifice defense for offense; the increased compression blast cost will make it more difficult to disrupt ÜberCharges as well as defend yourself at long range from rockets and grenades.
The Degreaser's faster weapon switch time is highly versatile. It pairs particularly well with your compression blast; after igniting and airblasting an enemy, quickly switch to another weapon, such as the Shotgun, Reserve Shooter, or Axtinguisher, to deal severe burst damage. Make use of these weapon combinations to compensate for the decreased base damage; combat with solely the Degreaser as well as hit-and-run tactics will be less effective.
When using the Phlogistinator, dealing any sort of fire damage will cause your "Mmmph" meter to fill. When the meter is full, secondary fire will cause you to perform a taunt that refills your health and grants guaranteed critical hits for a short time. The Phlogistinator cannot use the compression blast; not being able to deflect projectiles or shove enemies away leaves you weaker in a direct fight. Thus, it's best to have your "Mmmph" charged before enemies realize you're there. To safely charge up "Mmmph", ambush weak opponents or use long range weapons like the Flare Gun or Detonator. You receive heavily reduced damage during the Phlogistinator's taunt, so you can activate your "Mmmph" right before an ambush, giving you a supreme firepower advantage, or immediately after killing an enemy, allowing you to heal and continue rampaging.
The compression blast is a powerful source of utility that can be used both offensively and defensively. Offensively, use it to force ignited enemies into map hazards, out of cover, or into corners, where you can then easily finish them off with powerful weapons like the Axtinguisher. Defensively, use it to reflect projectiles, shove dangerous enemies away, and extinguish teammates who are on fire. The compression blast can even move invulnerable players, such as those under the effects of the standard ÜberCharge.
The Shotgun is your most reliable ranged weapon and helps cover the Flamethrower's weaknesses. Use it to engage enemies at medium range, especially when they retreat out of the short range of your Flamethrower. Other uses for the Shotgun include fighting enemy Pyros, who can't be ignited, and fighting underwater, where most of your flame weaponry will fizzle.
The Flare Gun fires slow, arcing projectiles that can deal reliable damage to enemies outside the range of your Shotgun. The Flare Gun also deals critical hits to burning enemies, allowing you to finish off retreating foes from a distance. If you cannot safely approach an area, you can duck in and out of cover while using the Flare Gun to harass at long range; if you consistently land your shots, you'll deal large amounts of damage, particularly against immobile targets like a Heavy. Mechanically, the Flare Gun can be reloaded even if it's not the active weapon; if using it in an active firefight, briefly switch to the Flamethrower between shots to maximize your damage.
Much like the Flare Gun, the Detonator is useful for harassing enemies that are far away or behind cover. The ability to manually detonate your flares gives you a bit of leeway when aiming and allows you to ignite multiple enemies at once. However, the Detonator only deals mini-crits to burning enemies, making it less effective as a finishing weapon. You can use the explosion to flare jump upwards at the cost of a small portion of health, which helps in accessing alternate routes to ambush your opponents.
The Reserve Shooter reduces weapon switch time and synergizes very well with your compression blast; use the airblast to force an enemy into the air, then switch to the Reserve Shooter to deal devastating Mini-Crits. Its reduced magazine size makes it less reliable as a standard sidearm, especially when dealing with enemies at medium range or beyond.
The Manmelter functions similarly to the Flare Gun. It has infinite ammunition and a faster projectile speed, but does not deal guaranteed critical hits to burning players and fires at a slower rate. Alternate fire can be used to extinguish teammates in place of the compression blast, particularly useful if you want to conserve Flamethrower ammunition or are using the Phlogistinator. Each successful extinguishing will cause the Manmelter to store one guaranteed critical hit, allowing it to be used as a strong finishing weapon.
The Scorch Shot functions similarly to the Flare Gun but deals less damage and cannot deal guaranteed critical hits to burning players. However, it has the ability to knock back enemies struck by its flares. The farther the flare travels, the further the victim is launched; this makes it useful for shoving enemies that are outside the range of your compression blast, particularly if they're standing near an environmental hazard. Because the Scorch Shot has more utility than damage, pick a stronger primary weapon to use alongside it. Like with the Detonator, the flare's explosion can be used to flare jump, although its weaker explosion results in a smaller jump.
Fire Axe + reskins
As the Pyro, you're already fighting at close range with your Flamethrower. Thus, the Fire Axe works best as a last resort, when you're out of ammunition or don't have time to reload your secondary weapon. The majority of Pyro players use a different melee weapon to gain some extra utility.
Axtinguisher + reskins
The Axtinguisher deals guaranteed critical hits to burning enemies and is arguably your most powerful weapon. After igniting an enemy, airblast him into a wall and use a melee attack to instantly kill all but the most resilient classes. It pairs particularly well with the Degreaser and its faster weapon switch time.
Homewrecker + reskins
The Homewrecker can remove Sappers in one hit, allowing you to effectively defend Engineer buildings from enemy Spies. When the Homewrecker is used offensively, it can destroy any unshielded building in two hits. Because it has limited melee range, approach enemy buildings with your Flamethrower before switching weapons.
The Powerjack grants health upon killing an enemy but leaves you more vulnerable to melee weapons while it's active. After damaging an enemy at close range, execute him with the Powerjack, using an airblast to keep him in place if necessary. Compared to similar melee combat methods using the Axtinguisher, you sacrifice a hefty amount of burst damage in exchange for survivability. You don't need to worry too much about the melee vulnerability; as the Pyro, you hold a clear advantage when it comes to close range combat.
The Back Scratcher deals more damage than the Fire Axe and increases the amount gained from health pickups. However, it heavily reduces the healing received from allies such as Medics. It's best used when fighting behind enemy lines, where you'll regain health from finding pickups more often. When concerning interactions with a friendly Medic, the reduced healing rate makes you a poor Medic buddy but allows you to help a Medic build his ÜberCharge at an increased rate for a longer period of time.
At melee range, your primary weapons already deal significant damage and set enemies on fire. Thus, you are best off using the Sharpened Volcano Fragment only in Medieval mode, where it is the only weapon that can reliably ignite enemies.
The Third Degree has no downsides and is a straight upgrade from the Fire Axe. It can deal damage not only to struck enemies, but also to any player healing or being healed by the victim via Medic beams. When targeting a Medic's buddy, you can use this weapon to damage both of them at once, particularly useful if the Medic is low on health or difficult to reach. The Third Degree still only deals damage identical to that of the standard Fire Axe; if the connected targets are within close proximity, it may be more efficient to attack all of them at once with your Flamethrower.
The Neon Annihilator deals guaranteed critical hits on wet targets, including those covered in Jarate or Mad Milk. It primarily gives you an effective method for dealing with enemies in water. While it does less damage than your standard Fire Axe, your Flamethrower should suffice for close range battles above the surface. Like the Homewrecker, the Neon Annihilator can be used to defend Engineer buildings from enemy Spies, destroying Sappers in two hits.
Item set effects
|The Gas Jockey's Gear|
+10% faster move speed on wearer
The increased move speed granted by the item set allows you to outrun any class but the Scout, allowing you to position yourself for an ambush or retreat more easily. The slight increase in bullet vulnerability is negligible and does not significantly decrease your survival time against classes that utilize hitscan weaponry, such as the Heavy.