Home Editorial Balance Polycount Madness Week – Day 2: The Pyro

While it might be surprising to anyone who knows me as a borderline failspy, my second highest played class has always been Pyro.

PSA: If this image is causing you to become aroused, you may have a problem. If arousal persists for more than 4 hours, stop playing Pyro.

While it’s certainly not as nuanced or insidious as the Art of Espionage, Pyros have their advantages.

  1. Burning things
  2. Reflecting projectiles
  3. Assisting teammates
  4. Ruining Ubercharges
  5. Hilarious melee kills
  6. Burning things

Unlike with the Spy, the Pyro’s newest loadout isn’t a total game-changer.

You won’t be spending all night planning new strategies, or ranting on a forum about how they have ruined your favorite class.

It’s much more likely you will try these new toys, fall in love, and immediately resume burning things to the ground.

Let’s take a look at what Valve has to offer…

The Powerjack

Let’s begin with the obvious: the Powerjack is badass. It’s a fucking car battery. I don’t even know if cars used batteries in the 1960s, but if they did, we can only guess getting hit in the gut with one hurt as much then as it does today.

It was my understanding that everything in the 1960s ran on racism, LSD, advertising, and "flower power" (whining).

It’s not just aesthetic; the Powerjack is actually the most powerful melee weapon in Team Fortress 2, doing 25% more damage than all other “default” melee weapons. It can easily kill most classes in 2-3 hits, assuming they’re not already burning to death.*

But the real icing on the cake isn’t the beefy, bone-breaking damage. It’s the 75 HP healed on kills. Combine this with increased damage, and you have a recipe for keeping the Pyro alive for more and more encounters (i.e. opportunities to burn people).

This 75 HP heal can top off the Pyro after most fights. It can even overheal him. Hell, you will apparently be awarded the health bonus just for having the Powerjack out, even if your enemy died from afterburn or a flare.

Does the Powerjack have any downside? Well, consider it a bit of a reversal from typical unlock design. While most unlocks are more situational than existing weapons, the Powerjack is actually an excellent default weapon. It always does great damage and has the potential to heal you.

You could call it the Powerjack of All Trades.**

But, keep in mind: it can’t do what the Axtinguisher or Homewrecker do.

  • It can’t take down Soldiers and Heavies nearly-instantly
  • It can’t destroy enemy Sappers
  • It can’t 1-shot enemy buildings

My advice? Make the Powerjack your new default melee weapon, but don’t trick yourself into believing it’s ideal in all situations.

But when enemy teams composed entirely of Heavies or Engineers start rolling around, it’s time to bust out the original pain-bringers.***

The Degreaser

I’m just going to call this right now: The Degreaser is going to get nerfed.

It’s not that it’s overpowered; far from it. But the reality is that it offers a huge advantage over the normal Flamethrower, while its disadvantage is a complete joke.

But WiNG,” you scream, “It does 25% less damage! That’s no joke!

Hahahaha! (I’m laughing because that’s what one does at jokes). That’s what I thought, too. But it turns out the Degreaser only does 25% less afterburn damage. Yes, you read correctly: the Degreaser actually does the exact same primary damage as the Flamethrower.

Build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a night. Light a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life. Also, Denzel is dreamy.

Hell, I’d advise you to waste a name tag re-branding your Flamethrower as “Old and Busted” if it wasn’t for my belief the New Hotness would be nerfed.

There is no reason not to use the Degreaser. The ability to switch between weapons (all weapons) in what seems like negative 0.5 seconds is a huge boon.

The standard “Puff and Sting” flame/Axtinguisher combo no longer requires an airblast at all. You could easily tap the Degreaser, switch weapons, and have the Axtinguisher out the milisecond the enemy fire animation starts.

You can basically Axtinguish people before they even realize they’re on fire.

And while the quick-switch tactics are pretty much limited to these quick-hit scenarios, you have to admit that giving the Pyro a legitimate, nearly 1-hit KO move is the most satisfying thing unsanctioned by Artemis.

On the battlefield, your new toy offers you flexibility. Scouts can’t weapon heckle you as effectively when you can change weapons faster than they can say “AAAAAAAARRRAAAAAGGHGHHHAAAA.” Running out of Shotgun ammo is no longer such a big deal. The Degreaser just makes burning things that much easier.

Use this weapon now.

The Attendant

Again, I’m far too poor and Irish to own this set’s hat, but there’s a lot to be said for making the Pyro the second fastest class in the game. If you have footage or anecdotes about owning people with the full set, please post them in the comments!

*Do not make this assumption.
*But you actually can’t, as I’ve copyrighted that nomenclature. Sucker.
***The Fire Axe is still a joke. Do not use it. Ever.

12 replies to this post
  1. I have seen the Attendant in action, and I have observed that it makes the pyro faster than the medic but still noticeably slower than the scout. The 10% bullet vulnerability is a good con for the set but I think if you switch the afterburn damage nerf on the degreaser and the bullet vulnerability on the hat then you have balanced the degreaser without changing the set at all.

    • That’s actually a fairly ingenious idea. Though I do wonder if -25% afterburn is really that big of a deal. What is the downside was “You can be set on fire?” hahaha

  2. I dear hope they don’t nerf the Degreaser. It’s been the one good thing to happen to the Pyro since his update(That gave us the Holy Flare Gun, the Kingly Airblast, the Godly Axtinger, and the Fail Back Bunner).

  3. I found out that the new set actually makes the pyro more fast paced… and I don’t mean the regular fast paced. If you thought the pyro was fast paced, then the full set pyro is a hyperactive kid on sugar rush with an afinity to set things ablaze, while laughing like a maniac and/or a caffinated monekey.

    I do have the degreaser, and like you say wing it’ll probabyl get nerfed soon even though I wish it wouldn’t. I play with damage indicators on so basicly it still does the normal flame thrower damage, while reducing the afterburn damage from 3 to 2. Also… i just love to use it with my axetinguisher it’s like.

    Enemy team – “Ok guys ready to push?”

    *flaming sound*

    Enemy Medic – “Everyone… I am on FI.. ARGGHHHGGHGHHHH!!”

    Enemy Heavy – “Not G… ARGGGHHHHHH!”

    *enemy team gets sent to the wonderous michivieous place of respawn lists*

    It’s rhat absurd… not to mention… IT’S QUIETER ON THE “STARTUP” THAN THE REGULAR FLAMETHROWER!!

    So yeah, degreaser… love it, adore it… but valve will probably put R.I.P status on it’s original effects on the next patch ;_;


    • lol OD, that’s hilarious.

      I’m definitely not completely used to the weapon switch difference yet. My instinct is always puff, airblast, wait, strike… now it’s time to turn up the TURBO

  4. Pyro is my less played class, but since I got the degreaser I’ve started to like it more and more. I love the weapon’s sound, and how fast you can switch weapons. The only reason I’m not using the Powerjack is because dominating people with the Axetinguisher and some fast action is really easy now.

    Thanks for the review! Good as always.

  5. Just for the record, do you not think there is some use in the fireaxe-flare-flamethrower combination while fighting other pyros? Ive tried this out more often recently and its a great way to make up for the loss of the shotgun.

      • I get you, I dont have the powerjack yet and when I do I’ll probably use it over the fireaxe for the above combo. Still, before the polycount pack the fireaxe did have more uses than people think, and the loss of critical hits is still a big nerf for a melee weapon.

  6. Allot of people underestimate the normal Axe
    It got a really big crit rate and a crit can kill: 8/9 classes at normal health and 5/9 classes when overheald
    And it is the best looking weapon in the game
    reply to make me wrong

    • The normal Axe is good, it just doesn’t do anything special so most of the time it seems advantageous to use the Flamethrower at point blank instead (more range, similar damage, less aim, afterburn). Meanwhile the other melee weapons all have situational advantages the Fire Axe doesn’t, so they seems more useful overall.

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