Afterburn, the original core mechanic available to the Pyro, was widely regarded as being rather weak as anything beyond a way to enable some guaranteed crit mechanics, and even these days people wonder if a Pyro is worth as much as a Soldier or Demoman when it comes to pure damage output. And I must admit that it indeed appears at first glance to have minimal effectiveness with its 4 damage per tick. Fire can be put out by pretty much everyone with pretty relative ease, so in the hands of the non-experienced, why would you want that?
As it turns out, afterburn is quite useful indeed.
Lets start with the drop dead obvious that everyone and their mother knows: It enables the vast majority of those controversial crit mechanics. Those axtinguishers and flares aren’t going to do any burst damage without fire. Sure, the puff and sting and puff and flare have been nerfed over the years, but it’s still easy damage that you can pull off nice and quick, surprising enemies.
Oh, and let’s not forget that afterburn deals damage over time, making it good for finishing off targets after they’ve either killed you or gotten away from your fiery grasp.
But hey, like I said, everyone and their mother knows that, so I’ll forgive you if you don’t burst into thunderous applause at these startling revelations. So, what less obvious strengths does it have?
It is an eater of resources.
I have heard it said that the main thing afterburn has going against it is the sheer amount of ways to extinguish it. In addition to the medkits found in every map, almost every class has something:
Other Pyros have airblast, and every now and then the Manmelter makes an appearance.
Scout has mad milk, and can potentially supply medkits via the Candy Cane.
Heavy has the Sandvich.
Engineer has dispensers.
Sniper has Jarate.
Medic has his medigun, and regenerates by default, with the potential for even more regeneration with the Amputator.
Spy has the Spycicle and the Dead Ringer
Wow, that’s a lot of ways to stop afterburn. That’s not even the whole list. We missed out things like Payload carts healing you, the Conniver’s Kunai getting backstabs, Demomen charging with their shields and the most obvious trick of jumping into deep water.
But that’s also a lot of resources wasted just to put out some silly little fire damage. That’s 20 ammo per air blast, or alternatively the 100 metal cost used to make a Dispenser and it utterly destroy’s a Spy’s Spycicle and can waste a Spy’s Dead Ringer if flames are reapplied. Oh yeah, it’s also consumables all used up. That Heavy needs that sandvich to recharge. Scouts may get faster cooldowns on Mad Milk, but you still need 16 seconds for it to recharge.
Then there’s the whole actually putting out the fire and healing yourself up. You have to spend time doing that rather than chasing down and brutally murdering that mute bastard, or putting the fire out and then killing them. That’s precious time spent extinguishing yourself that could have been spent on destroying the enemy or capturing a control point or something like that. Something actually important.
All because a Pyro flicked a flame thrower in your direction. They don’t even need to concentrate at you. A lick of fire and off they go.
In a fast paced shooter like Team Fortress 2, seconds can last a lifetime and minutes can fly by without warning. Life and death hang in the balance and that Pyro who stuck his fire in your general direction is draining your life away. Second by second.
A flicker of Pyro’s flame thrower is all it takes. Afterburn wastes your time. It consumes your time like a vicious, 10 second monster from hell. Sure, it consumes your health as well, but who cares about that? Time is EVERYTHING. And afterburn eats that shit up. It thrives off your pain and suffering. It dances on your defeated soul.
Afterburn is the menacing and all-powerful destroyer of time itself.
At least in Team Fortress 2.
Article started by ICBMoose and finished by Medic. This article has been sitting around since 2016, I think it’s pretty much abandoned now.