If you love Quake or Team Fortress 2, Overwatch‘s Pharah is going to bring back some fond memories of firing slow-ass rockets and learning to lead shots. She’s an incredibly capable hero who can use her aerial abilities to get devastating angles on enemies, but you’ll also have to fight temptation and not over expose yourself. She’s a great pick for players that aren’t frustrated by slow projectiles and like surprise attacks.
Rocket Launcher [LMB] – Pharah’s Rocket Launcher fires slow projectile explosives that do both direct and splash damage. In order to use it effectively, you’re going to need to learn to lead shots and hit characters directly rather than rely on the underwhelming splash damage to finish them off.
Concussive Blast [E] – Concussive Blast fires a missile that is really tricky to use well because it’s does no damage and is purely for knocking opponents around or blasting Pharah out of tough situations. While it isn’t as reliable as other abilities that push players, it can be used to keep heroes off an objective or, if you’re lucky, push them off the map for an easy kill. If enemies are moving erratically and you’re having a hard time hitting them, a Concussive Blast can also knock them against walls for some easy shots.
Jump Jet [LSHIFT] – Jump Jet is Pharah’s most distinctive ability because it launches her high in the air and, used with Hover Jets, can give her fantastic angles for raining death down on her enemies. The only problem is Pharah becomes highly exposed while in the air, so enemies using instant hit weapons like most types of guns can cut her down quickly. A skilled Widowmaker will ruin your day repeatedly if you use Jump Jets foolishly.
Hover Jets [Space] – This will mostly be used in conjunction with Jump Jet to keep Pharah high in the sky, but it has some uses on its own. Unlike Jump Jet, Hover Jets won’t let you cover much distance vertically and are best used to strafe left to write or scale small gaps. Fuel for the Hover Jets burns quickly, so tapping space instead of holding it down can give you a few precious seconds longer of sweet, sweet air time.
Barrage [Q] – Fires a continuous volley of 36 missiles over a short time span. Pharah’s Barrage is an ultimate that should be truly feared. The amount of damage it delivers can be devastating and, against a series of direct hits, not even Reinhardt’s shield can withstand its might. The obvious synergy is to use Jump and Hover Jets to put Pharah up high to deliver her rain of death, but it can also cut her ultimate short if she’s exposed to an unseen sniper like Widowmaker or pulled down by a Roadhog.
Pharah Strategy Tips
Pharah is unparalleled in her ability to gain some height on the battlefield and bring hell from on high to unprepared enemies, but doing so requires a lot of practice with her slow-moving rockets and a good knowledge of how different maps are laid out. While the temptation to float high above might be strong, Pharah is far better served using her Jump Jets to reach high perches where she can quickly pull back from view once someone takes notice of her.
The splash damage from her Rocket Launcher shouldn’t be a crutch that you lean on, but instead an added bonus for firing into groups of enemy players. When selecting targets, go for slow moving tanks like Reinhardt or Roadhog to make the most of your shots. Against Reinhardt, Pharah can also get behind his shields with relative ease, forcing him to always be exposed on one front.
Barrage is, without a doubt, one of the most deadly abilities in the whole game, and using it on a team caught in the open can quickly turn the tide of battle. Fortunately, unlike other ultimates, Barrage is also incredibly easy to use—just point and click and watch everyone die. However, Barrage’s missiles are rather inaccurate, so spending time discovering that sweet spot where you can land the most hits is crucial.
It’s been said already, but Pharah’s biggest weakness is going toe to toe with enemies using hitscan weapons (where the damage is applied instantly) because she plays so aggressively. When the enemy team has a Soldier 76, McCree, Bastion, or Widowmaker on the field, be careful where you use your Jump Jets or just don’t use them at all. Smart Pharah players will also learn the nooks and crannies of every map to find great perches rather than hovering totally exposed in mid-air.