Pharah, a self-described “Rocket Queen,” is a dynamic assault-based hero with the best vertical mobility in Overwatch. She also has one of the most powerful Ultimate abilities in the game, Barrage. Pharah’s play style involves terrorizing enemies from the air with deadly rockets, knocking players around the map, and generally being a nuisance that’s difficult to counter.
In Overwatch lore, Fareeha Amari is the proud daughter of Ana, who was a crucial member of Overwatch during the Omnic Uprising. Growing up among Overwatch’s biggest heroes, Pharah dreamed of being an Overwatch agent one day, but Ana wouldn’t allow it.
Dismayed, she worked her way through the ranks of the Egyptian Army and then joined a private security firm, eventually becoming captain. Under the call sign “Pharah,” Fareeha makes it her duty to protect those in need.
At lower skill levels, a competent Pharah can absolutely crush an enemy team. If no one is willing to play a hard hit-scan counter that can take her down—such as Soldier 76 or McCree—then it’s easy pickings for Pharah. Even at higher skill levels, if you can outmaneuver the enemy DPS—or better yet, take them out before anyone else—you can likely snag an easy win.
Table of Contents
- 1 Strengths & Weaknesses
- 2 Abilities
- 2.1 Base Stats
- 2.2 Main Attack: Rocket Launcher
- 2.3 Ability 1: Jump Jet
- 2.4 Tips for using Jump Jet
- 2.5 Ability 2: Concussive Blast
- 2.6 Tips for using Concussive Blast
- 2.7 Abilities that cancel Concussive Blast
- 2.8 Self Knockback
- 2.9 Passive Ability: Hover Jets
- 2.10 Ultimate: Barrage
- 2.11 Tips for Barrage
- 2.12 Combine Barrage with the following abilities
- 3 General Tips & Strategy
- 4 Specific Map Tips
- 5 Match-ups
- 6 Skins
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Only a few hard counters can 1-on-1 Pharah efficiently
- Air superiority lets her dominate the skies
- A direct hit with a rocket deals incredible damage and splash damage
- Mighty Ultimate ability can wipe out an entire team
- Low firing rate and visible trajectory means many characters can evade her rockets
- Projectile nature of Rocket Launcher makes direct hits hard to land on moving targets
- Much weaker when caught in ground fights than in the air
- Immobile and vulnerable to damage during her Ultimate ability
- Health: 200
- Armor: None
Main Attack: Rocket Launcher
Description: A powerful rocket launcher that also deals splash damage.
- Damage: 120 (direct hit)
- Splash Damage: 13-80 (up to 40 self-damage if caught in blast)
- Ammo: 6
Pharah’s primary attack shoots rockets in a straight line at her targets.
Due to the projectile nature of her Rocket Launcher and the slow speed at which each rocket travels, you’ll have to compensate for the distance and movement of your enemy in order to land direct hits.
For a better chance at hitting your target, try to predict where enemies will move to (such as a door or passageway) and fire rockets in that direction, rather than their current location. The ensuing splash damage can kill low health foes even if they’re hiding in a room or behind cover.
There’s no fall-off penalty for direct hit damage, so the harm she can inflict is consistent as long as the rocket connects. However, to balance this benefit Pharah’s rockets don’t receive a headshot bonus.
Note that Pharah can suffer up to 40 self-damage per rocket if she’s caught in the blast. Be mindful of obstacles (even in mid-air, like columns and walls) that might interrupt your rocket when you’re nearby.
Ability 1: Jump Jet
Description: Pharah uses her jet pack thrusters to launch herself straight into the air.
- Cooldown: 10 seconds
Pharah dominates the airspace around her using a combination of her Jump Jet ability and Hover Jets passive. Jump Jet allows her to quickly reach high altitude, where she can continue her aerial bombardment without worrying about getting caught in a ground assault.
Jump Jet serves a variety of purposes. It’s a great escape mechanism, a fast way to travel across maps, and a combat ability that immediately positions Pharah high above her opponents.
Tips for using Jump Jet
- Use Jump Jet to quickly traverse a map at the beginning of a match.
- Use Jump Jet to reach positions other heroes can’t.
- Use Jump Jet to help your Mercy escape team fights.
- Switch between using Jump Jet and Pharah’s passive, Hover Jets, to stay airborne for an indefinite amount of time.
Ability 2: Concussive Blast
Description: Pharah’s wrist rocket packs a non-lethal punch that knocks everyone back.
- Cooldown: 12 seconds
- Damage: None
Pharah’s Concussive Blast is a useful area denial ability that can either be used on herself to give her a boost of speed, or on enemies to lightly scatter them around an arena.
Tips for using Concussive Blast
- Concussive Blast, like other knockback effects, takes into account the speed and direction of anyone caught in the blast. A Reinhardt pushing towards the blast radius won’t be knocked back as much as a Lucio skating in the opposite direction.
- Concussive Blast is a great way to boop an enemy character towards your team, so they can be isolated and quickly dealt with. For example, a Reinhardt with his shield up can be booped from behind, which will push him away from the teammates he was protecting.
Abilities that cancel Concussive Blast
- Mei’s Ice Wall.
- D.va’s Defense Matrix.
- All shields: Reinhardt’s Barrier Field, Winston’s Barrier Projector, Orisa’s Protective Barrier, Zarya’s Particle Barrier and Projected Barrier, and Symmetra’s Photon Barrier.
- Torbjorn’s Turret is not affected by Concussive Blast.
- Bastion in Sentry Mode can’t be knocked back by Concussive Blast.
This move is a staple performed by pro Pharah players. Using the knockback effect of Concussive Blast on herself, Pharah gains a ton of speed that sends her flying across a map, enabling her to quickly reach a battle.
This maneuver takes a lot of practice to get the hang of, mainly because you have to make sure you have enough distance from the wall for Concussive Blast’s knockback effect to work on Pharah. But once you’re able to Jump Jet into the air, swivel, launch a Concussive Blast at a wall that boops Pharah through the sky, then hover and maneuver your way to an objective, you’ll never play Pharah the same way again.
Passive Ability: Hover Jets
Description: Pharah’s jet pack let’s her hover in the air for a small duration of time.
- Recharge: 2.5 seconds to recharge a full fuel tank
While in the air, hold down Pharah’s jump button to hover in mid-air. You can hover as long as she has fuel, which fully recharges in about 2.5 seconds when her Hover Jets aren’t being used.
Use Hover Jets to glide to a new elevated position or hover in the air as you lob rockets towards the enemy defense. Just be careful you don’t run out of fuel while flying above a group of enemies. When forced to fight on the ground, Pharah is prone to a variety of attacks which she can usually ignore in the air.
Pharah can “fly” indefinitely if you gradually feather the jump/hover button, rather then keeping it held down. By the time you run out of fuel, Jump Jet should be available to use again. Using Jump Jet will give you a little bit of time to recover lost fuel in mid-air.
Description: Pharah lets loose a volley of rockets in the direction she is aiming.
- Damage: 40 per rocket (2500+)
- Duration: 3 seconds
One of the most powerful Ultimate abilities in Overwatch, Pharah’s Barrage is a devastating ability that can wipe out an entire team.
The downside to such a powerful Ultimate is that Pharah is both immobile and vulnerable while using Barrage. She’s frozen in place as soon as Barrage is activated, and the animation can’t be canceled until it’s finished.
She can be tranquilized by Ana’s Sleep Dart, stunned by McCree’s Flash Bang and killed by Genji’s Deflect. She’s an easy target for snipers, too.
Tips for Barrage
- Use team fights as a distraction to sneak behind the enemy and catch them by surprise.
- Communicate with your team so that you can use Barrage and survive any counterattacks.
- Don’t wait for Barrage to kill someone before moving to another target. Just like Pharah’s regular rockets, each Barrage projectile will travel through the air first, meaning a cluster of rockets can kill someone after you’ve aligned your next target.
- If a Barrage in mid-air looks like it’ll be cancelled/detected, don’t be afraid to use it at ground level.
- Every Pharah dreams of that Graviton Surge + Barrage combo, but don’t hold onto Barrage waiting for the perfect moment. Even if you take out a single support hero, Soldier, or McCree, Barrage can make a huge impact on the rest of the fight.
Combine Barrage with the following abilities
- Use Barrage against enemies that are caught in Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
- Use Barrage against stunned opponents caught by Reinhardt’s Earthshatter.
- Use Barrage against frozen enemies stuck in Mei’s Blizzard.
- Use Barrage behind the safety of an ally’s shield (Reinhardt, Winston, D.va, Orisa).
General Tips & Strategy
Eliminate any hard counters threatening you first. If you think the enemy McCree or Soldier is going to focus you if you ignore them, make sure you prioritize eliminating them first.
Once you’ve removed any hit scans, focus on healers and defenders. Removing them will cripple the enemy team.
Distract and harass enemies to draw their attention and give your team a chance to push ahead. A Junkrat that is busy trying to take down Pharah isn’t doing his job protecting the objective.
Always participate in focus fire with your team. Once you’ve established your own security (see above) you can begin distracting and harassing the remaining enemies.
It can be worth it to prioritize healers first before anyone else. If you see an opportunity to use Barrage on a healer, go for it. Even if you die, the enemy team is one support (or more) short thanks to you.
Remove D.va from her mech before using Barrage. She can absorb most of your rockets using her Defense Matrix. The other tanks don’t pose much of a threat, since Barrage can rip through other shields in the game. Even a full Reinhardt shield will shatter if most of Barrage connects.
Save allies with Concussive Blast. A well timed knock back from Pharah’s Concussive Blast can be enough to disrupt a Mei from headshotting a frozen Mercy. It can even knock back a charging Reinhardt and interrupt his trajectory.
Pair up with Mercy. A Pharah and Mercy combo is known as “Pharmercy” in the Overwatch community. Mercy can fly to Pharah using Guardian Angel, remain airborne using Angelic Descent, then continue using Guardian Angel to keep flying back to Pharah. All the while healing or damage boosting her. The unstoppable duo usually requires a savvy counter that can take out Mercy in mid-air, then focus on Pharah.
Stay in the air to protect your Mercy. Even if you’re not going “Pharmercy” by keeping her around at all times, staying airborne gives Mercy an escape route whenever she needs one. Let her know where you’re at so she can use Guardian Angel to fly to safety.
Focus on breaking Reinhardt’s shield with your primary attack. He needs to lower his shield in order to begin recharging it, and Pharah can chip away at it with a guaranteed 120 damage per hit.
On that note, Pharah isn’t effective on Orisa’s shield. The time it takes to fire 6 rockets and reload is roughly the time it takes for Orisa to deploy a new 800 HP shield. You can either knock her away from her shield or take to the sky and try to bombard her from behind.
Be mindful of your healers. Mercy, Zenyatta, and to some extent, Lucio, are able to patch you up fairly quickly, but Ana will have a hard time healing you in mid-air. Keep your supports safe and disengage for sweet heals whenever you need to.
Pharah’s rockets can take out another Pharah’s rockets in mid-air—if they connect.
Specific Map Tips
Pharah excels in open-air maps and areas where she can remain airborne while also staying out of harm’s reach. This means maps such as Horizon Lunar Colony (and almost every Point B objective on Assault/Escort maps) aren’t as viable, since Pharah will be forced to play in an enclosed space.
Volskaya is mostly open air, even in the final (Point B) section of the map. Pharah has a lot of options here—she can either Jump Jet above the first choke outside the attacker’s spawn room and begin targeting the enemy’s backline, or she can Jump Jet and hover across the map on the left side, flanking all the way around the first objective.
Ilios (all maps)
Pharah is a great distraction to have on Control maps, but there is one problem: she’s not great at actually claiming the objective. However, she can be a huge distraction, especially on Ilios, where she can duck and hide inside towers and elevated homes while dishing out damage to the enemy’s backline. Ilios also offers plenty of opportunities to knock people off the map with a well-timed Concussive Blast—the Well and the Lighthouse, in particular, will fetch you some environmental kills.
King’s Row is an excellent map for both attackers and defenders to have a Pharah. She has aerial control of most of the map all the way from Point A until the final checkpoint at Point B. Inside the foundry, she can get behind the enemy team by either taking the top passageway above the building with the mega health pack, (too obvious, most of the time) or, and this takes a little practice, she can jump through a hole right before that building, hover underneath the map using a full tank of fuel, then use Jump Jet to come up behind the enemy team directly at their spawn room.
Flashy? Yes. A good way to wipe out the enemy unexpectedly? Absolutely.
With few hard counters to worry about, Pharah can rain death from above as long as she keeps an eye on the enemy team’s composition. If your opponent adds a Soldier and a McCree to their line-up, it might be time to switch heroes.
Reaper: Poor Reaper. He can’t do much against Pharah other than avoid her rockets. His short range shotguns can pepper her lightly but they rarely result in a kill. Keep him away from your tanks by bombarding him from afar.
Junkrat: Junkrat is dangerous when he has a high ground advantage, but even then his grenades aren’t likely to hit Pharah. She can evade all of his attacks and abilities, including his Rip-Tire ultimate, leaving him extremely vulnerable to her attacks.
Doomfist: Although Doomfist is hyper-mobile on the ground, his short-range attacks and abilities are easy for Pharah to dodge in the air. Don’t get too close to Doomfist, as his Rising Uppercut can give him enough air to shoot you, but don’t be too worried about him, either.
Pharah is countered by
Soldier 76: The counter to Pharah, Soldier 76 is often regulated to a single important job: protecting his team from Pharah. Not only is his hit-scan rifle effective at long-range, but his Ultimate ability, Tactical Visor, makes it incredibly easy to hit Pharah no matter where she is in the sky.
McCree: One of the strongest hit-scan heroes in the game, it only takes a couple of shots for McCree to drop Pharah from mid-range. While his low mobility would make it seem like he’d be an easy rocket target for Pharah, he can evade her shots by using Combat Roll, which simultaneously reloads his gun and gives him an even better chance to kill her.
Torbjorn: This match up goes both ways: Torb’s turrets are great at preventing Pharah from getting too close to his team—especially if he has a shield protecting the turret. But Pharah can take out Torbjorn’s turrets fairly easily from a safe distance, too.
Pharah’s Rare skins are colored variations of her Classic skin—a blue and gold plated suit of armor that’s equipped with two giant thruster wings.
- Anubis: A sleek black suit of armor with an Egyptian inspired helmet.
- Jackal: A white and gold suit of armor, with glowing hints of red.
- Possessed*: Pharaah radiates a dark purple aura from her armor. Her eyes are completely white, and her skin pale, as if she were possessed. (Halloween Event)
- Frostbite*: Giant shards of glowing blue ice burst out of Pharah’s power suit. (Winter Holiday Event)
Credits: 250 (Basic), 750 (Special Event)*
- Mechaqueen: Neon Genesis or Gundam? Pharah could cosplay as a cybernetic Japanese robot.
- Raptorion: A light blue mecha outfit. Even Pharah’s face is part robotic.
- Thunderbird: A red and white suit of armor inspired by Native American art. Sort of resembles a totem pole.
- Raindancer: An earthy blue and brown suit of armor with Native American patterns and designs. Her rocket launcher looks like it was carved from wood.
- Security Chief*: “Following a sterling career in the Egyptian Armed Forces, Pharah joined Helix Security International as one of their chief officers.” (Overwatch: Origins Edition)
- Bedouin*: Armor befit for a wandering nomad. Traces of white and gold run throughout her blue power suit. (2017 Anniversary Event)
Credits: 1,000 (Basic), 3,000 (Special Event)*