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- +Abilities and Strategy
- +Synergies and Matchups
On this page, you will find out how to properly play Pharah. From general playstyle advice, to more specific advice like ultimate usage or combos, we tell you everything we think matters to master your hero.
The other pages of our Pharah guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.
Pharah Playstyle Introduction
Pharah (as mentioned before in this guide) is an extremely straightforward hero. Shooting her Rocket Launcher is simple, using her Jump Jet is simple, and flying through the air with Hover Jets is simple. Despite Pharah's straighforward mechanics, dominating the game as Pharah is something entirely different. Determining where heroes are going to be before they get there is anything but easy, and knowing when to use Hover Jets to stay in the air rather than fall to the ground is actually a difficult decision to make. All that to say Pharah's mechanics may be simple, but mastering Pharah is not.
Pharah's position within her team's regiment is typically a "stupid question". As Pharah can fly to any position on the map, Pharah should rarely stay on the ground with her team. However, there are times when Pharah may be grounded for reasons out of her control. When this happens, she should stay with her healers and play in a position similar to McCree and Soldier: 76.
When in flight, Pharah's position is highly relative to the current game situation. If Pharah is joined by her copilot Mercy, then straying from the team and trying to take out enemy backliners can yield positive results. On the other hand, if Pharah has no backup like Mercy with her, Pharah should stay relatively close to her team in order to receive the healing that she needs to stay in the air while getting shot at.
Although staying with the team during a team fight is a good idea, Pharah can attempt to duel enemy heroes who are split from their team. For example, Widowmaker, McCree, and Soldier: 76 typically take high ground in an attempt to lock down Pharah from patrolling the skies. However, Pharah can take them on 1v1 if she has the life to do so. To take enemies by surprise, Pharah should use her Concussive Blast to shoot herself across the map towards her opponent. Once in the air, Pharah should take a shot or two at her target before using Jump Jet as a defensive maneuver. Once above her target, it is kill or be killed. Sometimes it is best to not use Hover Jets when directly above enemies in order to dive bomb them with Rocket Launcher shots. This aggressive position usually works out in your favor.
Pharah can also use ledges to surprise enemies from behind. Waiting in high ground in enemy territory can give you the element surprise, a helpful tool against McCree or Widowmaker. Once in position on high ground in enemy territory, Pharah should wait for the tanks to go past her position before attempting to assassinate enemy healers. This way, enemy tanks will not be able to defend their healer(s) before you take them out. If you choose to play in enemy territory, remember that you are alone. Taking an aggressive approach when behind enemy lines can get you picked off before your allies have a chance to help you out. Therefore, playing in enemy territory requires patience and sound judgment concerning when to reveal yourself and strike.
In other scenarios, taking pot shots at enemies is the safer approach. In order to take shots without exposing yourself for too long, you can use Hover Jets intermittently to pop over a wall or cliff and take a shot before dropping back down behind your natural barrier. This way, you can still get off your shots without exposing your entire body to an enemy or enemy team.
Pharah's Rocket Launcher
Pharah's Rocket Launcher is arguably one of least complex weapons in the game. With only six bullets in a clip and Pharah's ability to fire a round once every second, Pharah's weapon is clearly simplistic; but landing shots is crucial to the tide of battle.
When trying to hit shots with Rocket Launcher, there are a few things to keep in mind
- If an enemy knows you are shooting at them;
- If an enemy is low;
- If an enemy is attempting to accomplish a task.
Each of these scenarios is crucial to predetermining enemy movements. For example, if an enemy is wounded, they are likely to retreat in the direction of a nearby health pack or healer. Therefore, Pharah should focus her shots to block off the enemies movements from reaching nearby health sources.
If an enemy knows you are shooting at them, they may attempt to change their movements to shake you off their tail. Rather than in front of them, try to shoot at diagonal angles in front of their path. An enemy is likely to zig-zag to try and get away if they know you are attacking them, so if you shoot diagonally in front of them, you are more likely to score a hit.
If an enemy needs to get to an objective to stop a game from ending during overtime, Pharah should try to shoot at the obvious pathways that lead to that objective. Determining how an enemy is going to move when they have to get to an objective should be easy, and you should make your shots accordingly.
How to Use Concussive Blast
Concussive Blast has a variety of uses, but its long cooldown time means using it correctly is important.
Common uses of Concussive Blast include:
- Launching enemies off of cliffs/ledges;
- Splitting enemies from one another;
- Preventing an enemy from landing a shot or using an ultimate;
- Launching Pharah into the air for better positioning;
- Escaping from enemy attacks;
- Getting around more efficiently.
How Pharah Should Use Barrage
Barrage is an ultimate that, when used correctly, does not require team coordination. Therefore, waiting for allies to use their ultimates to make easy Barrage targets can be helpful, but is not necessary for success. On defense, Pharah can use Barrage to destroy enemy teams when they attempt to move through choke points or onto objectives. Pharah can wait on high ground for the attacking team to walk through a hallway or tight corridor, and once they travel under her position, Pharah can leap down and unleash Barrage on their unsuspecting heads. When used in this way, Barrage will typically secure 2 or 3 kills before Pharah is either killed, or the enemy team retreats.
In situations where Pharah is on offense, setting up a Barrage can be more difficult. However, Barrage can still effectively kill multiple enemies when use correctly. Pharah should attempt to circumvent the enemy frontline in some way, possibly using a side path or high ground position to get behind the enemy team. Once there, Pharah can either drop down on the enemy backline by simply stepping off of a ledge, or by blasting herself off of a ledge with Concussive Blast if the enemies are somewhat far away from Pharah's position. Once Pharah is within 8 meters of her targets, she can unleash her Barrage on the healers and damage-dealing heroes below.
As you may have guessed, when using Barrage defensively, attacking the enemy as they clump together is the goal. Therefore, killing tanks and breaking the enemy team's ability to cohesively move onto the objective is considered a job well done. However, when using Barrage offensively, attempting to kill the tanks rather than the backline can be (and typically is) a bad idea. When a team is defending a point, the backline is typically in view of (but not next to) the frontline.
Therefore, if Pharah attempts to Barrage the tanks in a defensive position, the backline is often capable of shooting Pharah out of the sky before she can deal enough damage to kill the enemy frontline. To ensure this does not happen, Pharah should attempt to attack the enemy backline with Barrage while on offense, as they are prone to dying more quickly and the tanks are typically too busy defending the frontline to protect the unsuspecting backline.
About our Author
Mournflakes is a flex Grandmaster Overwatch player who boasts a career high SR rating of 4433. His favorite heroes are Roadhog, Soldier: 76, and Ana. He has played Overwatch since its initial release, and has put over 700 hours into competitive play. When not writing guides, you can catch Mournflakes streaming on his Twitch channel.
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