Quake is your favorite gaming franchise and Rocket Launcher is your favorite weapon ever. You are firmly Team Iron Man, finding him the coolest badass ever. If any of this rings true at all, you should consider picking up Pharah the next time your team needs an Offensive character to round out the team in Overwatch.
As you might have guessed from the first paragraph, Pharah is a rocket-wielding, high-flying beast of a killer. One of the few heroes who excel at upwards mobility in Overwatch, she’s naturally great in maps with a lot of open space and heroes who have to stay on the ground or have trouble damaging enemies who are on high-ground, as well as short range.
Let’s talk about Pharah’s weapon, Rocket Launcher, first. Like the weapon of the same name from Quake, it fires slow-ish moving rockets, which deal damage when they hit. If you hit the ground or wall close to your target, the explosion will also deal damage. The Rocket Launcher has 6 rockets, firing 1 per second, and dealing 120 damage per shot on direct hit, with a reload time of 1 second. Some enemies will be able to dodge the hits of your rockets due to their travel speed, just like some non-Bronze opponents can dodge a Thresh hook in League of Legends. Unless you have the Rocket Launcher mastered, it’s okay to shoot at the ground or walls close to the enemy, relying on splash damage to kill them, instead of trying to score direct hits. The Rocket Launcher can also be used to avoid using Jump Jets to get afloat by aiming at the ground directly under you and firing. Any fans of the Rocket Jump channel on YouTube?
Pharah’s Left Shift ability is called Jump Jet. When pressed, Pharah is propelled up into the air by her suit’s thrusters, on a 10 second cooldown. Jump Jet alone is good to get up to high places on the map to get a better angle for firing, however, the true potential of this ability is revealed when you combine it with your passive ability, Hover.
Once you’re up in the air, you can hold down Space to hover in the air at the expense of fuel. Once it runs out in 2 seconds, you start coming down. After 2 seconds, fuel recharges, and you can hover once again. You can also tap Space to switch between Hovering and going down, to save fuel in order to stay in the air longer. Whatever you choose to do, the laws of gravity hold true in the end. What goes up, must come down, so you will inevitably become grounded.
Pharah’s E ability is called Concussive Blast. When you use it, Pharah launches a wrist rocket that knocks back enemies, dealing 0 damage. This ability is very useful when enemies are nipping at your heels, trying to kill you. Puting some range between you and them is always great. This ability can also be used while flying, to propel yourself in another direction. While hovering close to a wall, aim at it and use Concussive Blast, propelling yourself back. Also, you can propel yourself up by aiming at the ground and using E.
Pharah’s ultimate, Barrage, is one of the most devastating in the game, once charged and activated by pressing Q, Pharah launches a stream of 30 rockets in a cone in front of her that can be adjusted with your crosshairs. The Ult lasts 3 seconds. Each rocket that hits deals 40 damage. Most often, this ability is used while in the air, when two or more enemies are clumped up in one place or CC’ed by Reinhardt’s Earthshatter or some other AoE CC ability, because it makes sure that you will hit more rockets. Even though it is a highlight machine, you should not hesitate to use it to get rid of annoying targets who are alone, if that will mean that you can take an objective or get another advantage for your team.
While Pharah is great vs. heroes like Reaper, Mei, Junkrat, Winston, Lucio, Reinhardt, or Symetra, whose attacks are either short-ranged or slow moving, you should be weary of playing her when the enemy team has a McCree or Soldier: 76, because their shots are instantaneous, meaning that you can’t dodge them if they aim accurately. Also, you’re quite immobile while in the air, mostly hovering in place, so you are quite vulnerable to Widowmaker’s sniper rifle or Roadhog’s hook. If Roadhog hooks you out of the air, you are most likely dead, because you’re squishy, like most offensive heroes.
Like many Overwatch heroes, Pharah is easy to pick up and play, as her abilities aren’t overly difficult, however, she’s hard to master. Aiming with her rockets is very hard, unless you’re happy with splash damage from rockets’ explosions against walls and the ground. To be honest, you SHOULD be happy with it. The real difficulty starts when you try to take full advantage of Pharah’s abilities to move around the map effectively. She is a hero with a lot of options. Taking advantage of them all is NOT easy.