While it might be surprising to anyone who knows me as a borderline failspy, my second highest played class has always been Pyro.
While it’s certainly not as nuanced or insidious as the Art of Espionage, Pyros have their advantages.
- Burning things
- Reflecting projectiles
- Assisting teammates
- Ruining Ubercharges
- Hilarious melee kills
- 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…
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’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.***
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.
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.
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.