Probably everyone has felt the impact of an annoying Pharmercy in their Overwatch games. It seems that nearly everyone on the enemy team complains about the Pharah, and expects a lone hitscan to take it down, or a counter Pharmercy of their own. While Pharmercy certainly does work, it will leave the rest of your team with low heals.
Pharah is much more than just running a Pharmercy, and this guide will explain her versatility in detail. Let's dig in shall we?
Pharah is a versatile DPS hero. Her massive damage output (120 per direct rocket hit with no fall-off damage) is effective for shield break. This means that you can run her against a Bunker composition
as she puts out tons of damage to shields.
Pharah can also be a flanker
. Her mobility allows her to get in and out of tough situations quickly. She is also perfect for taking/denying high ground from the enemy team. Let’s go over how her different abilities sync up with these situations.
Passive: Hover Jets
Pharah’s passive ability allows you to hover in the air by pressing your jump button while in air. This ability is metered and quickly replenishes when not being used.
Primary Fire: Rocket Launcher
The Rocket Launcher holds 6 rockets per clip, dealing 120 damage per direct rocket hit with no falloff damage. There is also splash damage provided to enemies, however, it does not nearly do as much damage as the direct hits. You should aim for direct hits whenever possible.
Ability One: Jump Jet
Pharah's ability one allows her to fly directly up into the air. This is usually combined with the Hover Jets in order to sustain flight.
Ability Two: Concussive Blast
Pharah’s Concussive Blast ability allows her to knock enemies several meters away. You can also use this on the ground or a nearby object to propel yourself forward. This ability does no actual damage to enemies or yourself.
Ultimate Ability: Rocket Barrage
Rocket Barrage will send out a series of rockets which will deal massive damage in order to kill enemies very quickly. This ability will damage yourself as well if you are near the explosion point so be careful.
Fire The Perfect Barrage
One common mistake with Pharah players is the lack of value from the Barrage. Many players will simply get a kill and die or be instantly shut down. Barrage is so powerful and if Pharah is protected properly, she can get several kills with ease. I have put together a list of every single hero and how you can use their abilities for your benefit. Never use another Rocket Barrage uncoordinated again.
: Instruct your Ana
to shoot you in the air to keep you healed. If your Ana is skilled enough she can even land a Bio Grenade as you will not be moving. Nano Boost is also a great combo as you will be nearly invincible as she wipes the enemy team.
: Have your Baptiste throw an immortality field on you. You may have to stay close to the ground for this one, but it should allow you to get off a nice Barrage.
: Have your Bastion set up a turret mode in the same vicinity of you Barraging. This will allow attention to be drawn from one of these heroes. Bastion can also melt the shields or D.Va mech in order for you to get off a clean barrage.
: Be sure to call for an armor pack when Barraging. This will allow for more survivability in the air. You can also do the same with Brig’s Rally ultimate ability.
: D.Va can fly up and use Defense Matrix for you. She can also throw out her D.Va bomb which will get enemies to group up under a cover, giving you a great Barrage opportunity.
: Similar to D.Va’s bomb, Doomfist
may be able to get off an effective ultimate when you Barrage. He can also use an ability to knock a shield out of the way for you.
: Instruct your Genji
to deflect damage for you. This will require you to get near an area where the Genji can reach you. Genji can also blade as enemies hide from your Barrage.
: While enemies hide from the dragon, a hefty Barrage can be let off.
: Inform your Junkrat that you are going to Barrage so he can melt the shields. He can also use Rip Tire while you Barrage to get enemies who may be hiding, or quickly delete the D.Va mech or shield tank.
Sound Barrier offers a great opportunity for you to Barrage as you will almost certainly stay alive. Be sure to be in his line of sight to receive it.
: McCree's Deadeye can leave enemies hiding while you get off a nice Barrage. You can also instruct him to stay nearby to stun a D.Va that may try to shut down your ultimate.
: Mei’s blizzard can leave you with a nice combo. She can also freeze a shield tank or D.Va which gives you a nice window for a Barrage.
: Have your Mercy damage boost you. Damage boost is particularly effective as you will likely kill enemies before they can kill you.
Coalescence will provide you with a nice amount of heals to get your Barrage off safely.
: Let your Orisa
know you want to Barrage and she can throw her pull to get enemies together. You can also get a nice ultimate off behind a shield.
: Reaper can use Death Blossom to kill enemies that may be hiding from your Barrage. He can also target a major tank that may try to shut you down.
: Reinhardt’s Earth Shatter is a great combo with Barrage. Reinhardt
can also target a tank that might shut down your ultimate.
: Roadhog can effectively Whole Hog enemies hiding from your Barrage, or even into your Barrage. He can also hook tanks out of the way that may try to shut you down.
can activate Tac Visor which will leave you a nice opportunity to Barrage. He can also set down a healing pad for you to use during your Barrage.
: EMP will make an excellent combo for Rocket Barrage. Sombra can also hack a tank that may be trying to shut you down.
: Symmetra walls can be great cover for a Rocket Barrage. You can also instruct her to put turrets near you which may stop a DVA from flying at you in mech.
: Torb’s Molten Core can serve as a great combo as enemies will run from the Barrage.
: Tracer can target a hitscan which may allow you a safer Rocket Barrage.
: Widow can use her ultimate which will highlight all enemies. This is perfect for planning out the best angle to strike from.
: Winston can set down a bubble which will allow you to safely Barrage. He can also knock enemies into your barrage, or knock a shield out of the way.
: Zarya’s Grav is an obvious combo, however, make sure to instruct Zarya to give you a bubble. This subtle move can easily save your life.
: Zenyatta can use Transcendence to keep you alive. Be sure to tell him to jump to increase the range. He can also send you a Harmony Orb.
With all the possibilities, please do yourself a favor and never Barrage by yourself again
. A perfect Rocket Barrage can easily swing a team fight and can be the difference between winning and losing a game.
Like all heroes in Overwatch, Pharah has her set of counters. Listed below are all of the heroes Pharah is weak against, and tips for playing with them on the battlefield.
D.Va can be very annoying to play against. Her boosters will allow her to get up close and personal with you to deal with a solid burst of damage and eat your own damage. As a Pharah player the best way to combat this is to simply throw a Concussive Blast right at her which will create enough space
for her damage to be useless.
You should also call for healing at that point. The most important thing to remember about D.Va is that when she uses her boosters she cannot use them again for about 6 seconds. Call out to your team that she’s down her boosters and make sure to punish her mech. This will make her think twice about diving on you again.
When facing one or multiple hitscan enemies, you need to do your best to use cover. Shooting from behind a shield, around a building where it is a tough or no Line of Sight, or calling out for a heal pocket if attempting to fight them are all excellent strategies against hitscan players.
Keep that in mind for the next few heroes as well. If you choose to dive hitscans, a good strategy is to Concussive Blast over to them. This will give them less opportunity to shoot you as you make your way over to them. You should always ask for a Zen orb, Mercy Pocket, Brig armor pack, Zarya bubble, etc.
This is in anticipation of the damage you may take. When Barraging, be sure to target them first as they will be the first to shut you down.
Against McCree, you want to keep your distance. His primary fire has fall off damage, which means the further you are from him the less damage he will deal. Your rockets will constantly deal 120 damage from any distance and are a relatively fast-moving projectile. You should also always stay out of his stun range, as his stun will send you straight to the ground and remove your fly ability.
Outside of Soldier 76’s primary fire, he has two devastating abilities for Pharah. The Helix Rocket will deal 150 damage on impact so you want to make sure he has already fired it, or you are in a safe distance to avoid it. Lastly, his Healing Pad can force a 3rd rocket to kill him because of the healing he will get. When Soldier deploys his healing pad, simply throw a concussive blast right behind him. This will knock him off of the heals for an easier kill.
A good Widowmaker can be extremely tough to deal with. The best way to combat her is to just stay out of her line of sight. Should you choose to fight her, unlike the other hitscans, you want to get up close and personal with her. You should be at a distance where you can almost punch her.
The reason for this is that it is extremely hard for her to land a headshot up close as one movement will move your head a considerable amount on the Widow’s screen. She is also very immobile after she uses her Grapple, so plan accordingly.
When playing against an enemy Ashe you want to treat her like Widowmaker, except her headshot will not do enough damage to one-shot you. As an experienced Phrah player I tend to not have a problem with her as my two rockets kill her way before she has the chance to fight back, however, you do want to be aware of her line of sight at all times because of the damage she can put out on you if she is left uncontested.
Dude, Don't Play Pharah!
As a Pharah player, I cannot tell you how annoying it is when I am playing the character and the enemy team has one or more of these characters and I am immediately told not to play her
. While a good player can undoubtedly impact your ability to be successful, it does not have to immediately force you to switch
. As long as you are still positively impacting the game
, Pharah might still be a great choice.
In many games, I draw out several hitscan
picks. As long as they are not constantly killing you, multiple heroes of the enemy team looking up in the sky for you should give your team an advantage on the ground because of the attention you are drawing.
It is also worth noting that when playing against characters that will tend to deal a lot of damage to you, you should have a Mercy, Zenyatta, or a Brigitte. These healers can easily specifically target you to offer you good healing. A high-level Ana player may work as well. If you have a healer comp like Moira
and Lucio, you might want to consider switching faster.
Heroes That Pharah Is Good Against
Though Pharah has her share of counters, she also has characters she is very strong against. Here is a list of these heroes and why below.
Much to the surprise of many low leveled overwatch players, Pharah is a great counter for Bastion. Obviously, Bastion can shoot you out of the sky quickly, but he is immobile in turret form. You can easily fire rockets from a very far distance right at bastion for an easy kill, or get him to reposition. Many times Bastion will not even see you as Pharah, and even if he does the bullet spread will not allow him to get a quick kill. Be sure not to fly right at him though. That will usually lead to trouble.
Ahh, everyone's favorite hero. You can get rid of that pesky Brig with ease as you can shoot over and behind her shield, and Brigitte
can do little to nothing about it.
You are the single best counter for Junkrat. You can easily keep up with him and put on loads of damage. It is very hard for an enemy Junk to hit her and in most cases, he will just avoid you.
Mei’s strengths are at close range to freeze targets and put an Ice Wall up to separate them from their team. As Pharah, you can deal tons of damage to her without being affected much, Mei is very easy to deal with.
Reaper’s strengths are much of the same. The problem is that at 250 health, 2 rockets will not kill them and the reaper has time to wraith away and Mei can easily use her ice block. It may be tough to kill these two, however, you can certainly neutralize them and force switches.
As a good Pharah player, you can make Reinhardt’s go nuts. You offer a ton of shield break, and can easily fly up or over the shield to do damage behind his shield. The biggest counter to Rein is actually your Concussive Blast. You can throw this ability right behind him and knock him forward for a free kill, leaving the rest of his team exposed. This almost certainly leads to a winning team fight every time. Practice makes perfect here.
Symmetra has little to no combat for you. You can also fly over and destroy turrets before your team pushes.
Torb’s turret is very easily taken down as it is immobile, and Torb also has a tough time hitting you. You are generally a nightmare for enemy Torbs.
Tracer at full health. Keep this in mind and go hunt down that pesky Tracer.
When playing against heroes on this list, be sure to look for opportunities to target these specific heroes. Never let any of these cheesy characters hold you again.
Pharah Tips & Tricks
- To stay in the air for long periods of time you should try using this ability while up in the air. This will allow you to start your flight higher, keeping you in the air longer.
- In order to maintain flight in the air with your Hover Jets, you should repeatedly tap the button. This will help you to manage your flight juice and ensure that you do not get stuck on the ground for an extended period of time.
- While in the air be sure to continue to move from side to side in unpredictable patterns while being shot at or scoped at by a sniper. Often times unskilled Pharah's will fail to do this making them very vulnerable in the air.
- Pharah’s damage allows her to be an effective shield breaking hero. While she can fly over a shield and rain down behind it, oftentimes that will only cause chip damage which will likely be completely healed up. Breaking a shield may be more effective as it allows the rest of your team to push in.
- Aiming for the feet of targets is a very effective use of the rocket launcher. This way, if rockets miss it is likely that the splash damage will still affect the enemies.
- Be sure to make sure that you are not being blocked by a ceiling or platform as you will waste your ability.
- Jump Jet can be a great way for you to avoid taking damage from bullets and also to get out of the way from ultimate abilities.
- The Jump Jet ability can allow you angles to shoot specific targets or to begin a flanking route. Keep your eyes peeled for buildings you may be able to fly over to begin a flank!
- When respawning, turn around and concussive blast the ground or a nearby wall. This will give you a slight speed boost to have you back in the action in no time.
- Concussive Blast and Jump Jet can be combined to get yourself very high up in the air. To do so look straight down and concussive blast, and as soon as the blast hits activate your jump jet. This is great for creating distance between yourself and enemies.
- Concussive Blast can be used to knock enemies off the map. Keep your eyes peeled for areas in which you can create environmental kills, and then do your best to bait enemies.
- Concussive Blast can be used to effectively position yourself to kill an enemy or escape from a sticky situation.
- During the Rocket Barrage you are immobile for the duration of the ultimate and you can not cancel it. This will leave you extremely vulnerable. Try to use this with cover, or ask for your team to peel damage for you.
- The use of Concussive blast/Jump Jet can put yourself in a favorable position to quickly kill enemies with Rocket Barrage.
- Be sure to use Rocket Barrage away from shields, and devastating cooldowns like Roadhog hook and DVA’s Defense Matrix.
- Sliding down the edges of rooftops will make for effective flanking routes as you will not make any noise. This is perfect for sneak attacks.
The Wrap Up
After reading this article I promise you that you have the knowledge it takes to become an elite Pharah player. Work on timing your rockets in the Practice Range and keep these tips in mind. If you have any questions about scenarios or matchups not described in this article, feel free to leave a comment. Best of luck! :)