Running the numbers: Pharah changes (math closer to reality)


Let’s take a look at Valkia. Inarguably one of the best Pharahs - last I checked he was at 260 in top 500? At least Grandmaster level. Surely in the top 1% of all Pharahs. His accuracy for hits is 50% and about 25% were direct hits. There are other factors that grant him his ranking such as game sense, awareness, teamwork, and positioning but I think we can safely assume his accuracy is likely far above average to make it that far.

Ok so, let’s assume Valkia was a madman and just held down LMB so he was spam firing (to maximize the full benefit of the rate of fire increase) but still maintained his accuracy while doing this. We’re also going to assume that every time he did splash damage he JUST barely missed and got the full value of splash damage in each scenario. Over 1 minute currently a Pharah of that caliber will be doing 2920 damage while in the new patch Pharah will be doing 3080 damage! That’s great! Going from an average of 48.66DPS to 51.33DPS that’s a 5.19% increase in damage!!! …if you’re one of the best Pharah’s playing the game…

To get that 5.19% increase we are assuming that you are firing every single waking moment of this 1 minute to maximize the benefit of the new fire speed (because that’s a thing top players do right? Never not fire?) and maintaining a top 500 accuracy rating while doing this. Also we assume that when missing you get maximum splash damage every time too (I can’t find stats here so it’s been left out of calculations but old splash damage is better). If we play in reality that +5.19% increase in damage is closer to 2% to top players and dips down into negative nerf numbers for most Pharahs. Finally this is a direct damage decrease when intentionally missing against Genji deflect or Bridgette shields for the splash.

Want to see the spreadsheet data and how I got these numbers? Read this post I don’t know how to post non-blizzard links without getting an error message! Running the numbers: Pharah changes (math closer to reality)

Are Pharah’s changes a nerf or buff?
Will the new Pharah be more dependent on Mercy?
Phara crazy DMG
Pharah + Math = don't break your brain
Pharah Equality
Top 500 ps4 eu is full of pharah mains
What are you thinking with buffing Pharah?
Super Depressed Pharah Main here :/

You forgot yo factor in the fact the speed of the projectile is faster and enemies will get juggled less by the concussive blast. This means landing a direct hit in close quarters should be much easier than before, and hitting follow up shots should also be easier.

Edit: Sorry, I misplaced my last IQ points


The projectile speed is NOT faster. Also the purpose of the knockback change to the rockets and not concussive blast was to make it easier to hit Pharah. Here’s a direct quote from the PTR patch notes:

We reduced the amount of knockback each explosion causes, as they made it very difficult to aim at Pharah while rockets came in at a faster pace.


You know what, I’m wrong. Sorry about that. I knew it was too early in the day to get crunk.


The biggest part of a firerate increase isn’t that you do more damage overall, it’s that your ttk is lower. It means you get more kills.


At least you were able to see admit that. Most people are too stubborn and I can respect that.


Surely there’s still the additional value of more burst and mobility that possibly gives you more time to do more damage before dying and more possible environmental kills but I agree that the numbers are a bit alarming


The ttk is slightly faster IF you land direct shots all the time.
Lets layout 2 scenarios with the new Pharah:

  1. You have 100% accuracy and always land a direct hit vs a 200 HP hero:
    Old Pharah: Direct hit -> Direct Hit -> dead (1.9 seconds)
    New Pharah: Direct hit -> Direct Hit -> dead (1.5 seconds)

  2. You are a top 500 Pharah and 50% of your hits are splash on average:
    Old Pharah: Direct hit -> Max Splash -> dead (1.9 seconds)
    New Pharah: Direct hit -> Max Splash -> Direct hit -> dead (2.25 seconds)

If you ever do not direct hit with her projectile you kill slower

Remember this is a projectile and it can be dodged and juked out unlike hitscan weapons so 100% accuracy is unreasonable even at top 500. You can mitigate the travel time by getting closer but Pharah is penalized by getting too close with splash damage (the only character that can primary fire kill herself).


that’s an interesting direct hit statistic since seagull’s direct hit accuracy is only 14% because he plays passively in the sky and uses rockets a lot for zoning
i never really watched valkia because watching pharah for 90% of games gets pretty stale and i don’t remember how he plays

some pros say it’s a buff and some say it’s a nerf so only time will tell i guess


Valkia plays close and dive bombs his targets. So that could be the discrepancy in accuracy.

Also, i’m not 100% sure how the game calculates the Pharah direct hit statistic. If it’s calculating only based on shots that did damage then 25% of 50% is 12.5% direct hits over all shot fired. However using this value makes the new Pharah even worse so I decided to base it on the best case scenario for new Pharah.


It’s based on total shots fired.

Personally, I think it’s a buff mostly because of the CB buff. With the CB cooldown reduction, the quick and aggressive Pharah playstyle (which has higher direct accuracy) will be much more effective.


Maybe… I hope so. The problem is concussive blast doesn’t translate to damage. I think it’s more of a survivability thing in order to compensate for the falloff buffs to hitscans plus the upcoming buff soldiers accuracy. He shoots 50% longer before being affected by accuracy drop.


Good analysis but let’s wait for the thing come out and see how it feels for the larger masses. For all we know this might be changed before it’s pushed to live.

Shame they didn’t touch her suicide ultimate.


Here’s the link for you!

I tried the new Pharah a bit and so far, it looks like the biggest benefit goes to aggressive, accurate and low flying Pharahs. Which also happens to be very risky. Flying low exposes her to easy shots by pretty much any hero, including Junkrat, and since the Mercy nerfs, she’s unlikely to have a pocket.

However, a very good, evasive and aware Pharah will likely be able to swoop in and assassinate someone from close range much more easily. It’s based on a lot of assumptions though, and my biggest concern is that expecting that type of accuracy from the average player isn’t very good for the hero overall, excluding the highest tier. We really don’t need another Widow problem where the hero is consider a throw pick for 90% of the players but is very oppressive in higher tiers of play.

We have yet to see the results though. I personally like how it feels rewarding to get two direct shots in a row.


Thanks, can’t quote your post so I did a link to it. For some reason I can’t post any non-blizzard links???

After further thought I think this is a nerf to low rank Pharahs who solely rely on splash (this is good). HOWEVER, a nerf to intermediate Pharahs who can’t quite get 2 direct hits in a row. Since direct hit and max splash won’t kill anymore requiring a minimum of half your clip to kill a squishy if you only get 1 direct shot.

Edit: Getting 2 direct hits with the new Pharah will probably feel just as rewarding as it does to do the same feat now.


Yeah, that’s what worried me a bit. Nerfing pure spammers is fine, especially since this will help people on consoles too, but very low skill and very high skill players are two extremes.

The average player will most likely feel this as an overall nerf. Perhaps it will do well to help better Pharah players who are stuck in some lower rank to climb because it should help them if they’re actually very good with this hero. We’ll see. With the hitscan buffs, I’m afraid Pharah being less consistent won’t fare too well overall.


Just played on the PTR. Getting murdered by Soldier and constant Torb turrets. The concussive blast is nice but it’s not helping with survivability enough (to be fair mobility is useless vs Torb turret). I also find that i’m still holding shots - waiting for opportune times to fire and not capitalizing on the new fire rate.


Nerf Pharah buff Hanzo.


130 direct 70 splash would’ve made more sense to reward accurate Pharah’s and still reduce splash. The rate of fire increase promotes spam but a missile speed increase still requires thought and skill to land. After talking with some top level Pharahs the consensus seems to be that it’s pretty situational to hold down fire. Basically when shooting down spawn doors or for large targets such as a tank taking a extra .25 seconds to get a better shot is better than missing your shot and waiting 0.75 second for the next one. Though Pharahs focus was never to focus tank’s anyways as her slow DPS compared to another damage character and high burst was more conducive to fighting squishes.

I’m a bit confused why there is a nerf to Pharah’s as Pharah isn’t in the top 10 on any platform at any rank EXCEPT for PSN at GrandMaster and top 500 where she’s #4


Paper dps has little to no meaning in a real game environment like this game. We aren’t standing around for 5 minutes attacking anything. Every ability exists in a vacuum of opportunity windows and a thousand other variables.

It’s a neat experiment, and kudos to you for doing it. But any conclusions to be drawn from it are heavily “ymmv”.