Standard Weapons: Flamethrower, Shotgun, Fire Axe
Valve Unlockables: Backburner, Flare Gun, Axtinguisher
Ammo: 200 (16 seconds of use)
Damage: 100-150 damage/sec then 6 damage/sec x 10 afterburn (300-450/sec)
Best range: Short
Since the release of the Pyro update, the flamethrower is a far more versatile weapon. It holds two-hundred ammo (or fuel, or whatever), doesn’t need to be ‘reloaded,’ and fires very fast, each ammo-unit doing a small amount of damage. Once you stop burning your target, they are left to burn for ten seconds for about fifty damage unless they manage to extinguish themselves in the meantime. Range is everything with the flamethrower – the closer you are, the more lethal the fire becomes, so try and get as close to your target as you can for massive damage.
The flamethrower now also sports a secondary fire; the compression blast. when triggered, it releases a blast of compressed air which has the ability to push your opponents away, redirect enemy projectiles, or even extinguish your burning teammates. This is possibly the coolest thing in TF2, and you can read about it exhaustively in the Compression Blast guide. There are any number of applications for this feature, and it greatly increases the survivability of the Pyro while still requiring skilled handling. Rockets, the bane of every Pyro, can now be returned to sender with a significant amount of satisfaction attached. Enemy Medics can be separated from their targets, even in the middle of an übercharge. All that combined with the ability to save the lives of burning comrades makes the Pyro a more versatile, all-round team support class and greatly improves his playability.
Advantages: High and continuous damage at short range, moderate damage from post-burning flames, causes fear and disorientation to enemy, flames can act as a visual shield to reduce danger of fire from unengaged enemies, decent supply of ammo with no reloads, compression blast ability can prevent death and be used as a weapon.
Disadvantages: Requires Pyro to be at short range, Pyro can become an easy target while BBQing, chews through ammo pretty fast.
Damage: 78-90 (180)
Best range: Short
The shotgun is very much a standard issue weapon. Four of the nine classes have one, and the Scout’s scattergun is similar (but better). It holds six shells, and each shot fires ten bullets. As you would expect from a shotgun, it does the most damage at point blank and its effectiveness falls off fast beyond that. The advantage of the shotgun is that although it reloads at a pretty ordinary speed, it fires relatively quickly, and so long as there’s at least one shell loaded it can be fired at will (even while reloading).
Its best use for the Pyro is when the enemy is beyond the reach of your flamethrower. If your opponent has just been doused in flames and is burning, usually a couple shotgun blasts can finish them off for good.
Advantages: Decent damage at short to medium range, effective for pursuing and finishing off ignited and retreating enemies.
Disadvantages: Pretty ineffective beyond medium range, small clip and slow reload.
Damage: 43-87 (195)
Very similar to every other melee weapon (with the exception of the bat and knife), though more amusing than most. See Valve’s TF2 Stats for current data on the rate of random critical hits with the Fire Axe (among other data available).