There’s been a somewhat disturbing trend here on the Newbs servers the past couple days. More and more pyros have been taking to the sewers to defend, armed only with that most finicky of weapons. I’m talking about, of course, the flare gun.
I’ve mostly seen this in the sewers on 2fort, but I’m sure it’s happening other places. Since I haven’t seen it in other maps yet, this post focuses solely on 2fort.
Let’s take a moment to digest that. You’re playing defense, launching flammable objects into an area that not only contains easy access to water, but also contains a medkit, and is also a common route for medics (due to the usual lack of snipers in the area).
Let’s think about what this means to you, the pyro. Any of the above can end burning in a matter of seconds. Burning is your bread and butter, your raison d’etre (pardon my French). Burning people is what you do best, and in most cases, you do it very very well.
So why purposefully make your fire weaker? Why settle for an occassional hit, those times when the flare doesn’t mysteriously curve into a wall? Why settle for burning that can be removed in a matter of seconds? Why help those medics build their ubers?
Seriously, there’s a reason that heavy is just standing there letting you pop flare after flare into him. He’s not being intimidated. He’s not worrying about what you’re going to do to him. He’s laughing at your tiny baby gun, and the medic behind him is savouring the delicious scent of sizzling bacon and crackling medigun. Breakfast of champions.
Also, ammo. You get 16 flares. After that, you either have to find a dispenser or run up to the resupply, because there’s very little chance you’ve killed something to pick up its ammo. Your entire purpose can be replaced by many different classes, all of whom either have more ammo, do more damage, or have more reliable aim. In some cases, all of the above.
“But Scott,” you might say, “I get a ton of assists as a flare gun pyro!”
Maybe you do. Fire is fire, after all. But really, how many of those assists come from snipers headshotting the burning guy? I’m willing to bet that if the answer isn’t “all of them”, it’s “most of them”, where the assists not coming from snipers come from spies instead. These people don’t need your help, and your flare didn’t tip the balance. No, that guy was dead as soon as the sniper zoomed in, or the spy uncloaked. All you did was make them uncomfortable.
One final reason playing defensive sewer-spamming flare gun pyro isn’t such a hot idea: you open yourself up to the most humiliating way to die. Worse than the heavy taunt from around the corner. Worse than the bodyshot wallsniper with a medic. Worse even than the non-crit engie pistol.
I’m talking about the reflected flare.
Yes, a pyro with the air blast can reflect your flares back into you. You get rewarded with this little beauty:
The rarest kill icon in the game. The most humiliating way to die.
Do you really want that?
Flare gun defense is not a viable strategy.