As a Pyro, I'm confident ambushing weak classes, like Scouts, Engineers, and Snipers, but with tough classes like Soldiers, Heavies, and fellow Pyros, I know, upon ambushing them, that I'm no more likely to kill them than they are to kill me.

So, I'm looking for some intimidation tactics, which will hopefully throw the enemy off, so that I have chance to kill them.

A couple of examples that I already have are:

  • Airblast then flame (whilst the opponent is in mid-air, they are vulnerable, especially mentally,as they don't know what is coming).

  • Circling (good for attacking fellow Pyros)- flame the enemy, then run in circles (or erratically), making you unpredictable, and therefore more intimidating.

Does anyone have any more "intimidation tactics" (particularly, but not restricted to, dealing with a Heavy, who I almost guarantee will gun me down before I've had chance to kill him)?

  • 3
    I'm not sure I'd call either of those things 'intimidation' tactics. More like maneuvering and disorienting tactics, which are highly effective, but not 'intimidation'.
    – Zibbobz
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:55
  • If you find yourself in a fight you can't win, airblast and retreat to safety. You don't have to kill everyone you see the moment you see them. Dec 2, 2014 at 22:42

2 Answers 2


This started as a general weapons list, but I decided to instead focus on the classes giving you problems.

Having said that, one brief note before we get into class specifics:

  • Airblast and Reserve Shooter is the "cheap" option because of how OP the Reserve Shooter is for the Pyro.

Dealing with Heavies

Heavy is fat and really slow. Because of this, the standard Flare Gun is your best weapon for dealing with Heavy. Be aware that it only does 30 damage to enemies that aren't on fire, but hitting them a second time does an instant 90 damage.

Flame + Airblast + Axtinguisher is another option, but the Axtinguisher got nerfed a while back, so now it only does mini-crit damage unless you hit them from behind.

Other solutions are... situational, such as the Manmelter's stored crits and the Phlogistinator's activatable crits. Do NOT activate the Phlog's right-click ability in front of a Heavy as he will kill you before the taunt ends even with a 75% damage reduction.

Dealing with Pyros

Due to the physics of Flamethrowers, if both of you are using flamethrowers, backing away from them as they move towards you causes them to take more damage.

The shotgun is really good against enemy Pyros, as are melee weapons (although that's less useful on nocrit servers). Airblast is also your friend as its good for keeping enemy Pyros away from you if you're using a secondary weapon to damage them.

Do. Not. Airblast. a Pyro who is doing the Phlogistinator taunt. It frees them immediately to start firing and gives them a longer Phlog crit thing.

Your flamethrower can make a difference too... the Degreaser is the worst flamethrower for a Pyro v Pyro fight unless you're pairing it with a secondary. The stock Flamethrower does more damage in a direct fight.

Dealing with Soldier

Learn to anticipate when they're going to fire rockets and airblast those rockets back in their face. Reflected rockets do mini-crit damage (to both them and you, so don't get too close).

Do note that rockets from the Direct Hit and Liberty Launcher are harder to reflect as they move faster than standard rockets.

Phlogistinator and Backburner are a serious liability when dealing with Soldiers head on as you have 0 and 4 reflects at most respectively. The other flamethrowers are all pretty good, though.

Smart soldiers will either try to shoot rockets at your feet (which are harder to reflect back at them) or simply pull out their secondary weapon. Unfortunately, the latter make it harder to deal with as you need to resort to your secondary or close the range between you.


As a pyro, your job is to light people on fire. Sounds simple enough. Here's a few ways you can be even more effective in doing that.


You seem to be under the impression that just because a class has more health than you that you can't spread fear into their hearts by lighting them on fire. This is incorrect - every class hates being lit, and will seek out health as quickly as possible ot put out your flames. And if they don't, they'll be soaking up a lot of damage due to your flames (more reason to always target the Medic first - flames mean nothing if he's there to lend quick heals to everyone).

Damage Boost

Flames are good, but they'll hardly eat through a Heavy's tremendous tank of health. Which is where your guaranteed-crit weapons can come in handy. The Backburner, the Flare Gun, and the Axtingiusher all offer a damage boost of some kind - but you'll need good maneuvering to get the most benefit out of it. The Backburner is good if you can already launch good ambushes and get behind enemy lines, the flare gun is good for picking off retreating foes and doing additional damage to tougher classes, and the axtinguisher is good if you're very good at ambushes and need to take down a very tough target on your own.

For the Love of God Airblast

Pyro is one of the best zoning classes in the game. Their airblast ability can force enemies back or into corners where they're easy to tear apart. They can push high-health classes right into hazards or off cliffs where they'll no longer be a problem. They can reflect or push back nearly every projectile in the game. The airblast is an indispensible tool that you should never forget to use. And lest we forget, it can completely negate the effectiveness of an ubercharge when applied correctly.

You won't need any fancy tricks if you can master these things - a powerful Pyro is intimidation enough for a team. Make them respect your ability to appear out of nowhere, deal damage, and completely destroy their team cohesion, and you've done your job.

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