Our next Overwatch guide explains how to play Pharah like a pro, with strategic insight into her abilities and plenty of essential gameplay tips.
Two things define Pharah as a Hero. First of all, her aggressive nature allows her to soften up an impressive number of targets in a short space of time thanks to her deadly rocket launcher. Secondly, her ability to reach extraordinary spatial heights via her boosting abilities gives her an almost unequalled view of the battlefield. By weaving together these two signature skills, she's capable of covering a huge amount of ground, weakening - if not entirely obliterating - enemies in the process, and seriously frustrating the enemy team's progress.
It takes quite a bit of practice to truly master Pharah though, as that exceptional verticality demands a degree of intimacy with every map that very few other Heroes need to reach in order to be at their most effective. From anything other than the closest of ranges, it also takes a fair amount of skill to predict enemy movement and ensure your travelling rockets hit their mark - you're often better off aiming for the ground than specific targets. While it's certainly true that Phara's Ultimate Ability is devastating, she's extremely vulnerable while it unloads, and so smart positioning is vital.
It's not a Hero for the faint-hearted, then, but if you take the time to perfect your spatial and targeting skills, then Pharah will prove to be an exceptional hero in just about any team composition you can think of. In this guide, we'll explain how to get the most out of her key abilities, and then explain some tried and tested tips that should help you get comfortable with this character nice and quickly.
Editor's note - Update #2: We're in the process of updating all of our Hero guides now that Overwatch is finally out. In Pharah's case, that means expanding a little on our tips section, adding some hard stats data to compliment the abilities section, and also making sure that all the customisation options are all completely up to date. We'll have advice for playing Pharah on specific maps ready for this guide soon as well!
A new event has just hit Overwatch! Check out our essential Retribution guide for all the tips, tricks and strategy advice you need to master this new PVE mode.
Pharah's abilities and strategy tips
It's all about spatial awareness, fast reactions, and a keen eye for anticipating enemy movement when it comes to playing Pharah to a high standard. Here's a quick look at how all of her special abilities work, and how you can use them to make a real difference to your team's fortunes.
Falcon Rocket Launcher [LMB] - You'll get far more damage out of Pharah's rocket launcher if you land a direct hit, but that's much easier said than done. Instead, we recommend aiming at the ground where you expect the moving enemy to be by the time the rocket lands. If you don't score your mark, you'll still hit them with splash damage. There's a small knockback effect involved too, which can be great for picking off enemies standing precariously close to ledges. Keep in mind that your own rockets can also hurt Pharah if they detonate in close proximity to her.
Jump Jet [SHIFT] - Jump Jet propels Pharah high up into the air, providing her with a fantastic bird's-eye view from which to launch an aerial assault. Typically, this will involve you emptying your rocket launcher into enemy targets, although this is almost certainly how you'll also unleash your incredible Ultimate Ability, Barrage as well. See the section on Hover below for advice on how to maintain this aerial advantage.
Concussive Blast [E] - This utility skill allows Pharah to knock enemies back, chip away at HP shields, and even knock other players off the map altogether - you should always be switched on and ready to react to these kinds of opportunities. Note that you can even use Concussive Blast to push yourself into a new direction if you need some help zipping around the map.
Hover [SPACE / RMB] - Hover allows Pharah to gain a little bit of height temporarily, or simply maintain her current height if you've just used Jump Jet or stepped off a ledge from way on up. It's not explicitly explained in-game, but you can actually use the right-mouse button as well as the space bar to gain this effect - we found it considerably easier to maintain height by using the secondary mouse button.
Barrage [Q] - Barrage is Pharah's Ultimate Ability and it's fair to say it packs one hell of a punch. Once activated, Pharah will let rip with a massive volley of rockets that continuously fire in whichever direction her targeting reticule is currently pointing at. Switch targets as soon as one victim has fallen to get the most out of Barrage, and don't forget that you are both immobile and exceptionally vulnerable while firing it off.
|Ability||Ammo||Fire Rate||Cast Time||Duration||Cooldown / Reload||Damage||Range|
|Rocket Launcher||6||1 RPS||-||-||1s||120||3m radius|
|Concussive Blast||-||-||-||-||12s||-||8m radius|
|Barrage||-||30 rockets p/s||-||3s||-||40-60 p/rocket||-|
- Because of her amazing height advantage, it's crucial that you get to grips with every single nook and cranny of every map. Doing so will ensure you know how to reach every choke point quickly, as well as every escape route!
- Pharah hangs in the air for all to see, and is completely immobile and vulnerable when using her Ultimate Ability. Get as high up in the air as you can before you trigger this devastating Ability, and also try to use it when you have a few buddies around - the enemy team should be a little more distracted if so.
- Your Jump Jet skill can be used for all kinds of scenarios. It'll help you escape quickly from deadly close-quarter combat enemies, let you get into a sneaky offensive position, or just assist your team in the final frantic moments of a match, where your opponents are heavily distracted by events on the ground.
- There's a small knockback effect to Pharah's rocket launcher, so keep one eye peeled for enemies standing dangerously close to a ledge. Even if your shots don't land perfectly, there's a chance the blast force will push them over the edge - a kill's a kill after all! You can also use Concussive Blast if it's off cooldown - a more reliable way of pushing your opponent back.
- Pharah can take damage from her own rockets, so try to get even a small amount of distance between you and your target when firing. Even your Hover ability can be enough to keep you clear of the danger you represent to yourself!
- Good luck pulling this move off, but you can actually use your own rockets to eliminate another Pharah's incoming rockets. Like we say, it's technically possible at least...
- We find it much easier to use RMB to control Phara's Hover Ability. Try using this skill after you've used Jump Jet to maintain a pretty epic height advantage over the competition. Just be aware that you move slowly through the air, and so a well-trained defensive team will pick you to pieces in pretty short order.
- Prioritise targets with HP shields (not projected barriers) when it comes to firing off Concussive Blast. It does a great jolt of damage against this particular element of an enemy's health pool.
- If you're going down in a blaze of ground-based glory, get spamming that Shift key. If you can take off and gain an opportunity to gather yourself, you might yet live to fight another day if the enemy's a bit of a slow-poke. Don't stop firing beneath you as you leap!
Map-specific tactics for Pharah
Pharah counters and match-ups
There are certain Heroes who make great targets for Pharah, and others who she'd do well to avoid if at all possible. Here's a look at all of the most critical match-ups you'll encounter in combat.
|Pharah is strong against||Pharah is weak against|
For help with handling other Heroes in the game, make sure you check out our huge Overwatch Counters guide.
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Pharah's Skins, Victory Poses, Emotes and Voice Lines
Just like every other Hero in the game, Pharah's got some pretty cool cosmetic stuff to unlock. Here's everything - minus the many Sprays - which you can either win from Loot Boxes or purchase with currency.
|Aerial Superiority Achieved||25||Common|
|Fly Like An Egyptian||25||Common|
|Flying The Friendly Skies||25||Common|
|Got You On My Radar||25||Common|
|Leave This To A Professional||25||Common|
|Not A Chance||25||Common|
|Play Nice, Play Pharah||25||Common|
|Security In My Hands||0||Common|
|Sorry, But I Need To Jet||25||Common|