Pharah Counter: The Best Way To Counter Pharah

Pharah Counter
How to best counter Pharah in Overwatch

Who is Pharah?

Fareeha “Pharah” Amari, the self-titled “Rocket Queen,” from Egypt is perhaps one of the most popular characters in all of Overwatch to play as, especially when we're talking about comp. From Bronze to Grandmaster, to PC to Console, Pharah dominates the scene, bringing untold justice unto unsuspecting players as they try desperately to climb the competitive ladder.

When first examining Pharah, she can come off as wholly overpowered and broken; this is understandable when you look at who she is and what she has going for her. I mean, not only can she fly around the map practically forever, but she can also kill you from afar with just a few well-aimed rockets. "How broken is that?!" A new player might yell out in frustration. 

"Not as broken as you might think," I would then retort. Pharah can be a nightmare to deal with, but she has her weaknesses like everyone else, and that's what we're going to cover today in this little guide of ours.  

But before we start talking about the characters that can make a difference against a Pharah main, let's briefly go over her kit, shall we?

Her Kit

  • Rocket Launcher: Pharah’s primary weapon is her signature rocket launcher, a firearm that is capable of doing significant splash damage to her opponents when not hit directly with one of her rockets.
  • Jump Jet: One of her two cool-down abilities; Jump Jet grants the player a swift and sudden boost, sending them flying high into the air for some time.
  • Concussive Blast: Her second cool-down ability is Concussive Blast. This none-damaging ability of her’s causes knock-back to herself and enemy team members.
  • Barrage: Lastly, we have her ult. Upon activation, players will become a stationary for several seconds as they rain down a cavalcade of mini-missiles onto the enemy team.

Okay, but how do I counter her?

3) McCree

Reformed Deadlock Rebel miscreant and former Blackwatch Agent; Jesse McCree travel the world to dispense his brand of justice against the guilty and the wicked.

Before Blizzard introduced characters like Ana and Ashe into the game, McCree was always the go-to counter for that pesky Pharah in the sky, and that hasn’t changed one bit.

  • McCree’s primary weapon might seem unassuming at first glance, but don’t let that fool you, with a steady hand and aim, that revolver of his becomes nothing short of terrifying when it hit’s Pharah.
  • Not only can it be easy to snipe Pharah’s out of the sky with his revolver, but catching them off guard and deleting them with your flash-bang and fan-the-hammer is just as devastating.

  • Lastly, we have Deadeye, McCree’s signature ultimate and the final nail in the coffin for Pharah. McCree’s ultimate has been laughed at by many due to its limited use, but not by Pharah mains, oh no, not by a long-shot. Since Pharah needs to be in the air to get any mileage from her kit, she becomes a sitting duck for the McCree and his instant lock-on ability.

 2) Soldier: 76

Former Strike Commander turned vigilante; Jack Morrison, AKA Soldier: 76 hunts those responsible for the destruction of Overwatch, searching for answers that might not even be out there anymore.

Soldier: 76, like McCree, is another go-to pick that gamers would often choose when it comes to countering the enemy Pharah, and here’s why.

  • The key to being good at Soldier is to measure your shots carefully, especially when fighting against Pharah. Learn to burst-fire your shots, it'll reduce your spread by a tremendous margin, and you'll be able to hit Pharah more often. 

  • Alongside characters like Lucio, Genji,  Doomfist, and D.Va; Soldier’s kit allows him the mobility needed to run away and flank Pharah if required. There have been plenty of times where I was chasing after 76, only to lose track of him because of reasons... just so he could out-flank me and shoot me in the back the moment I turned my attention to someone else.

  • Lastly, Soldier, like McCree, has an ult that can straight-up delate unsuspecting Pharah players.  So use that sanction aimbot of Blizzard’s to bring her terror to an end

1) Widowmaker

Brainwashed and tortured, the woman once known as Amelia Lacroix has become one of the most skilled assassins in the world.

Being one of two characters who can one-shot Pharah out of the skies, Widowmaker is the best way to counter Pharah within the game of Overwatch.

  • Next, to Hanzo, Widowmaker is the only other character in Overwatch that can one-shot Pharah. So, take advantage of that fact and aim for her head; you won’t regret what happens next.

  • Being equipped with a grappling hook, she can get up to spots that Pharah might not think twice about when trying to focus-fire on your team's healers. So while she's busy focusing on some other matter, use those spots to punish your opponent. You'll be surprised on just where Widowmaker can get too with just the right amount of finesse. 

  • Lastly, her ult. While it might not be as flashy as Deadeye and Tactical Visor, being able to see through walls and know where your opponent is going makes you just as lethal as the guys above, especially as you wait in silence for your enemy to run unknowingly into your crosshair.

Now that we've discussed three of her harshest counters, why not take a step back to talk about the three characters that she counters?

Heroes that Pharah Counters

3) Reaper

Formerly known as Gabriel Reyes, the black-robed terrorist now known only as the Reaper hunts down the survivors of Overwatch for his twisted desires and dark agenda.

Despite that ominous threat, this guy won’t be doing much reaping when it comes to Pharah.

  • One of the biggest hurdles for Reaper is his kit. All he has his disposal are his shotguns, while Pharah has a rocket launcher and jetpack.

  • Another reason why Pharah counters Reaper is due to his lack of escape options. Yes, Reaper does have Wraith Form and Shadow Step, but when those two options are used up, all he has left are his shotguns and hopefully a nearby teammate who can come to his aid, both of which are not likely to help.

  • Lastly, the man’s entire character is designed around close-quarters combat. There’s a reason he’s known as the Tank Buster; he's supposed to be on the front lines, making mince-meat out of the enemy’s forward defense.

2) Symmetra

A woman who can bend light into reality, Satya Vaswani is dedicated to bringing order and balance into an uncertain and chaotic world.

Let’s hope she can do that fast, because, against Pharah, Sym’s future of order and balance is looking mighty bleak right about now.

  • Symmetra, like Reaper, struggles harshly against the Rocket Queen due to the sheer differences in their primary weapons. Save for her alternative fire, Sym’s weapon primary weapon is suited for close-quarters combat, just like Reaper. Because of this, Pharah players can take advantage of this weakness and take her down.

  • Because she excels on 2CP and Captures maps like Busan, which means she has to stay on point and look after her turrets and team, Pharah players can easily snipe both her and her sentry turrets on the walls from afar, bypassing her kit entirely.

  • And despite her rework, Pharah still has little to worry about when it comes to countering Sym, especially since her beam no longer auto-tracks for her, making her even more of a target for Pharah.

1) Zenyatta

Once a former member of the Shambali, Tekhartha Zenyatta chose to leave his home in the Himalayas and wander the world, seeking to mend the wounds left by the Omnic Crisis and help those in need.

Let’s hope he can help himself when Pharah comes around.

  • When it comes to Zen, well, what can I say? The Omnic doesn’t have much in terms of survivability against anyone, much less against Pharah who can pelt him with rockets from afar.

  • The problem with Zen is his lack of mobility and survivability. On top of that, he only has a slim chance of surviving a Pharah encounter, much less if he tries to run and escape, which will most likely end in his death, staggering his respawn even further because of that attempted escape.

  • Even if the Zen player stands his ground and throws a Discord Orb on her, the chances of him surviving are still low, This is due to the fact that he has one of the smallest HP gauges in the game, naturally slow mobility, none-existant escape abilities and often, a careless and clueless team who leaves him to die.

How To Outsmart a Pharah Player

Look for those she might be singling out on your team.

  • Because she’s always in the air, this makes it easy to tell who she might be targeting. If this is the case, stick by that player and focus fire on Pharah until she back’s off. Please do not leave your teammate alone until this happens, especially if it's your healers being targeted. 

Flank constantly on selective maps.

  • Maps like Kings Row, Dorado, Rialto and Illios all have paths players can use to get behind the enemy team. When your team is about to make a massive push, use a character with mobility to get behind the enemy team and flank them.  Doing this will leave Pharah with two choices, either she focuses on the enemy team pushing towards the point, leaving her exposed to your hail of bullets, or she focuses her attention on you, leaving her exposed to your whole team. 

If you see Pharah starting to flank, please say something.

  • Pharah by her very nature is a flanking hero. She will often attempt to fly around the map and sneak up your healers.  If you see her trying something sneaky, alert your team and attack. Even if you don’t kill her, engaging her will at least cause her to reconsider her options and potentially back  

Lastly, but most importantly, take a breath and relax.

  • Pharah can be a monster to deal with. As someone who has played against her in hundreds of matches, I understand how easy it is to get frustrated and tilted when the enemy Pharah is dominating. But the best advice I can give to outplay a Pharah is to calm down, take a deep breath, don’t get tilted and switch to someone like McCree or Ashe and work together with your team to bring her down.

As someone who has been playing as Pharah since day-one, I understand how terrifying and annoying she can be, But like everyone else, she has her weaknesses, weaknesses that I hope this guide will serve well the next time you go up against a Pharah main.

Thank you for your time and have a beautiful day.

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I've been a nerd all my life, reading and digesting comic books and fantasy novels alike, and that love for all things geek-related has continuously pushed me to follow my dreams in life.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Overwatch
Top 3 Favorite Games:Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Resident Evil HD Remaster

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