Stop relying on your DPS and learn how to counter Pharah with D.Va. Flying capability, great damage, and tankiness are excellent to pressure and kill her.
Pharah, especially when supported by Mercy, is one of the most troublesome heroes to deal with at lower ranks, from Bronze to Platinum.
Pharah can be a marvelous hero if no one is paying attention to her.
Many players aren’t able to focus on what’s happening both on the ground and in the sky, so she can flank them, keep shooting rockets, and accomplish wonderful Barrages because no one even saw her approaching.
Often, players in pub games ask their DPS to switch to Soldier: 76, McCree, or Widowmaker to counter her, but all these options require an experienced player with a good aim.
With the latest D.Va reworks, the introduction of Micro Missiles and the capacity to shoot while flying greatly augmented her damage potential. She is a 600 hp flying assassin who can easily put a lot of pressure on Pharah and even kill her.
You do not need to be an expert; even a semi-competent player can properly counter Pharah as a D.Va.
Killing Pharah is rather simple if you know what to do and how she will react:
Wait for Pharah to use Jump Jet, so she will have one escape tool on cooldown. There are only two choices to move away quickly: fall down or Concussive Blast. Using the latter is pretty difficult in mid-air as she will rarely be near something to knock back herself.
Fly at her while shooting with your primary fire and using Micro Missiles.
Do not use a melee attack. Many players try to hit her with a melee attack, but it deals only 30 damage. Just keep firing your Fusion Cannons as they will deal the maximum damage possible at melee range.
Never overextend. If you chase Pharah too much, or in an area with multiple opponents, even if you kill her you will die as soon as you reach the ground.
You can use the same tactic also to kill Mercy if she is healing Pharah, but dealing with the latter first is your best option. If you do not miss your shoots, the damage is enough to burst through the heals.
Utilize Defense Matrix when necessary to block damage, especially if you are very close to her.
Keep shooting while falling down to inflict as much damage as possible.
Pharah can’t knock you back with Concussion Blast while you are under the effect of Boosters.
If Pharah uses her ultimate, just boost directly into her as she will suicide due to the splash damage. It is a dangerous tactic, but worth a try if you are out of Defense Matrix.
Pharah’s best move is to Concuss Blast D.Va to get away. If out of Boosters, be very careful to not be pushed out of the map.
Do not be afraid to communicate with your team
It is almost impossible to get killed by Pharah if you ask the help of a support with long range healing abilities, such as Zenyatta or Ana.
The former can constantly heal you with Orb of Harmony while shooting at Pharah, or use Orb of Discord on her when the heals aren’t necessary. 30% extra damage is a lot against a hero with just 200 hp, and it greatly improves the damage of D.Va’s missiles.
The latter can either heal or inflict damage in sniper mode even from afar. D.Va is a big target, so healing her with Ana is easy even for unexperienced players.
If there is a Soldier: 76, McCree, or Widowmaker in your team, alert them when you are going to engage Pharah. They can help even from a long range, and she will really have no chances to survive the focused fire.
S76 and McCree can’t do all the job alone
If you are a Soldier: 76 or McCree player, I do understand your pain. Many believe that you should be able to survive, deal with Pharah, and simultaneously help the team against other threats.
Honestly, it is extremely hard to kill an experienced Pharah alone if the map has many hiding spots. If she is constantly healed by Mercy, and you are chased by Winston, even just surviving will turn into a difficult task.
Damage falloff distance
The damage falloff distance is a big issue when battling against Pharah, especially if you are McCree as your projectiles become a lot less effective. For those interested, this table shows the approximate damage at different ranges.
|Range||S76 (4-round burst)||McCree (per round)|
Overall, with McCree it is easier to land headshots, and he is certainly more effective at shorter ranges. Soldier is more consistent at all ranges and can adapt to more lineups and maps.
Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on @SkulzDota.