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.
Written by Steven Messner and James Busby
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 heroes directly rather than rely on the underwhelming splash damage to finish them off. When not engaged, use Pharah’s Rocket Launcher to lay down a deadly barrage to stop enemies from taking an objective or lockdown a zone.
Concussive Blast [E] – Concussive Blast fires a non-damaging rocket that knocks her opponents and herself around. The ability can be used as an additional mobility tool, and is a great way of disengaging from 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 make it easier for you to land that all-important direct hit.
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 [Space] – Unlike Jump Jet, Hover Jets won’t let you cover much distance vertically and are best used to strafe left to right or traverse small gaps. Hover refuels automatically when not in use, taking two seconds to refill from empty to full. It’s best to tap space instead of holding it down, as this will allow you to get the most out of your air time.
Barrage [Q] – Fires a volley of 30 rockets per second for a maximum of three seconds. The barrage covers a large area in the direction of the crosshair and is one of the most devastating ultimates in the game. However, Pharah must remain stationary while the ability is active and can leave her extremely vulnerable to enemy fire. Try and combine Barrage with Zarya's Graviton Surge, Reinhardt's Earthshatter, or Mei's Blizzard to create an extremely deadly combo.
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.