The trick with the Pyro is to implement the basics well rather than worry too much about what class your opponent is. The Pyro is one of the most team-oriented classes in the game – while he operates alone most of the time, he is best suited to surprise and disorient an enemy group and leave them to die once friendly reinforcements arrive. Thus high individual scores can be difficult, but at times (if, for example, a Pyro has already come along and you’re mopping up for them) it can give you huge rounds and moments of pure hilarity.
Versus the Scout:
This can either be a tough or easy matchup, depending on how close iyou are to you and who surprises who. The Scout is going to be faster than you and will most likely employ his run-in-circles method to make you too dizzy to attack him if he is outside of your flamethrower range. In this case, try to use his own method against him. As he runs around you, try to do the same to him, and if you can’t, at least try to cover as much ground with your flamethrower as you can. Your flamethrower is going to hit him eventually (and thus light him on fire, causing constant damage) more easily than his scatter gun will be able to hit you
As much as you might be tempted, try to avoiding matching him in melee-to-melee or shotgun-to-scattergun, as he will most likely be able to beat you there. Don’t forget how the Scout has the lowest HP, so simply lighting him on fire will often be enough to kill him, or at least scare him off.
Versus the Soldier:
This is a tough matchup. The Soldier can and often will take down the Pyro in two or three direct rockets (or less, depending on critical hits) so a one-on-one matchup is a rather intense fight. If they know what they’re doing and use splash damage to their advantage, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. The main tip here is to zig, zag, and then zig and zag some more. If you can use Scout-like tactics here (after all, you ARE faster than the Soldier) you might have a chance.
The shotgun method here is also fairly useful; once you light him on fire, take it out and start firing. Remember, the Soldier only has four rockets at a time, and once he’s used them up, he will often not wait to reload. It could rapidly turn into a shotgun battle (if you make him miss four times, mind you, which isn’t easy) and if he’s on fire, you definitely have the advantage.
This matchup is one where tips and strategy aren’t much help since the battle is rapidly over and you have to rely on your instincts. Just try and keep him disoriented and unaware of your exact location.
Versus the Pyro:
Pyro vs. Pyro. No advantages here that your opponent doesn’t have, but on the bright side there are no disadvantages that you have that you can’t exploit against him as well. Since fire quickly extinguishes itself on a Pyro’s suit, the flamethrower may not be the best choice here (unless the enemy is distracted and hasn’t seen you). Go with your shotgun and don’t forget that retreating for health is fine, though keep plugging away as you flee.
One strategy that can be quite effective (should your opponent fall for it) is to backpedal while flaming constantly. If they pursue you they’ll be cooked, as your flame will be reaching further than his (due to your actual movement in regards to the direction of the flamethrowers spray).
Versus the Demoman:
This could be one of the easier fights you face. The Demoman doesn’t have much for close range and the Pyro is the master of close range. You know what that means…
Get right up in his grill and start roastin’! He’ll probably try to run away, so chase after him with your flamethrower, uh, throwin’. Zigging and zagging is a good tactic here since his best bet is to fire grenades at you. As long as you can make those miss, you should be in good shape, depending on the skill of the Demoman.
If he places sticky bombs behind him and runs over them backwards, don’t fall into his trap. Simply retreat or find another way around.
Versus the Heavy:
This is probably the toughest opponent for the Pyro. Since Heavies often have Medics attached to them like leeches (friendly leeches), taking them down on your own is nigh on impossible. Taking down their Medic first is essential, since Medics can’t extinguish themselves and they heal slowly. Unfortunately, it’s rare for the Medic to go down before you do.
On the off chance that the Heavy is alone, use your speed to your advantage (similar to how you did against the Soldier). If they keep using their minigun, they’ll probably always stay a step behind you so run around them, flamethrower out. Change direction occasionally and run the other way to confuse them further.
It could also turn into a shotgun shootout, so be ready to pull out your shottie if necessary. Once again, if the heavy is alight, you should have the advantage (apart from starting 125 less HP than him, of course).
Versus the Engineer:
The difficulty here varies. A lone Engineer is roughly the same as you minus the flamethrower and 50HP, so generally the Pyro comes out on top. It usually tends to come down to how crafty the Engineer is when they build.
A flamethrower takes down a building pretty quickly (at a steady rate) so dispensers and teleports will fall like flies against you. When you have to tackle a sentry, however, it’s not so simple. If the Engineer has a dispenser (and himself) right next to the sentry, the typical Pyro bumrush is fairly useless since the group is entirely self-sufficient.
The trick is to choose your battles. If you can close on a sentry right around a corner such that you can see it and it can’t see you, you can safely flame it from around said corner (the sparks mean it’s working). However, if it’s built on the other side of the room where you can’t get to it, you’re better off calling in reinforcements or waiting for an opportunity to close in (such as a friendly Spy’s sapper or the sentry targeting an übered teammate).
Versus the Medic:
Medics are almost NEVER alone, so it’s usually a matter of whether you can take out the Medic before the other person takes out you (see: Versus the Heavy). If they ARE alone, it shouldn’t be much of a problem since Medics rarely put up much of a fight (except for those who are experts at the class). Almost any class with a Medic is at a strong advantage against you in this situation, so feel free to observe the “run away when necessary” rule.
Versus the Sniper:
Since Snipers are often too engrossed in their scope to pay attention to you sneaking up next to them, they can be an easy kill if you can get within range. However, if a Sniper is targeting you from afar, it’s the same as in any other game. Zig, zag, and repeat. Sniper is king of the long range takedowns, so unless you can get up close and personal, you’re toast (I’m full of puns today, eh?).
Versus the Spy:
Naturally, this can be a very good OR bad experience. Pyros are the best at discovering Spies, since they can simply spam the area in flames (the enemy Spies will catch fire, your teammates will not). As a seemingly bodiless cloud of flame can be a tad unnerving, feel free to blow it to pieces with your shotgun.
However, a good Spy can take down any class, so while the Pyro is probably the most useful in finding these Spies they’re also just as much a target as anyone else. Of course, many Spies will steer clear of Pyros so they don’t accidentally get in the way of the business end of your flamethrower. Stay paranoid!
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