Recently, i’ve been playing less and less spy and medic, but more and more soldier and pyro. The combos you can pull off with pyro are almost as satisfying as any trickstab, and it’s always good to get to know what can shut down your main class. Here’s a comment I wrote regarding the role and qualities of pyro. I like this idea of writing the current metagame of tf2, so expect more in the future! :D
Pyros fufill two parts on the battlefield; in a defensive role, they provide a perfect engie buddy in the form of the Pybro, spychecking and removing sappers. Airblast is excessively useful in defusing dead ringer or spycicle. In an offensive role, the puff and sting will straight up murder most classes. In a sense, an offensive pyro performs like a roamer, but faster – whereas a roamer will deal out damage or go for picks, pyro can both finish classes and take light/med classes from full to zero health in seconds.
I main spy, and in honesty I think pyro is -underpowered-. Removing airblast is not the solution, and will just exacerbate the situation; in the sweetest possible way, from what you’ve said and knowing you’re a roamer, it sounds like you’re frustrated by reflects. Thing is, timing is everything – if you spam m2, fine you might get the reflect, but there’s every chance that you’ll miss the timing and receive a rocket to the face. Not to mention aiming at the feet of pyros practically defuses that anyway – either they reflect it into the floor, or they get juggled into the air to be finished with either airshot or shotgun.
In 6v6, if the opponent has uber advantage we will regularly run a pyro offclass to stop the opponent from rolling all over us. The disorientation from the pyro can both defuse an uber and pull a push entirely out of position.
I don’t even know what you’re suggesting with 3. Spycicle is very easily detectable (that hiss on extinguish is very audible), and if i’m not sure if it’s a spycicle spy or not, i will airblast to make sure; disguised enemies are still affected by airblast. If they get pushed, they get pushed for another few puffs into a corner for the immunity to fade, then axtinguish/flare to the face. DR can also be totally defused by igniting and airblasting into a corner. Long range projectiles can be defused offensively with reflects. Hitscan weapons counter the pyro, yes, but this is entirely fair if projectiles are defuseable (which they are!). In a hypothetical 1v1 situation, the only serious problem the perfect pyro has is demoman; the firing speed on the grenade launcher is shorter than the speed of airblasts.
And to your point about putting a pyro at a choke and letting him defend… What exactly is the difference between putting a combo there instead? Your rockets don’t hit? So what? If there was a combo there, the soldier’d just get the health back. Fire more rockets from more soldiers? Pyro airblast has a delay; you can’t reflect everything. Pyro is fragile for an offensive class, and will take a lot of damage. Not to mention there’s only enough ammo for 10 reflects.
As for fun to play against… I love pyros, even while playing spy! Pyros mean that I need to watch my back like a heavy needs to watch for spies. If there’s a pyro coming, get out of range and switch to hitscan, or stagger rockets, or utilise blindspots… They are, and were initially created to be, the ambush class – Fine, their flankings can be shut down by competant players, but that means you need someone to watch for flanks. At long range, the flare gun has made harassment possible to a close range class. It’s a fun class to play (the combos really make for smug feelings), it’s fun to devise tactics against them, it’s fun that it adds a little danger in the game, it’s fun to improve yourself to beat something which is suppose to be your hardcounter (Stair/cornerstabbed a pyro? Get a change of trousers).
So no, in my opinion pyro isn’t broken. Pyro needs a buff, if anything; after the detonator ‘buff’, destroying level 2/3 sentries has become an impossibility; don’t even get me started on trying to get close to a mini sentry, those things practically shut down pyro just like that (You know how many flares it takes to kill those fucking things?). Not to mention a single aware, undistracted heavy will gun you down in seconds. The only problem I have with pyro is groundstalling to utilise the reserve shooter bug; while stalled, the reserve shooter will still deal out minicrits. That’s an obvious bug which needs fixing.