The Pyro is a dedicated anti-infantry and anti-structure Soviet soldier capable of wiping out squads of infantry with ease.
Flamethrowers have been used by the Soviets in the First Great War[sic] to terrorize local villages; torching man and structure to ashes. Now, known as Pyro, the Flamethrower infantry is making a comeback. The Soviet army has dug into its pockets in order to improve the effectiveness of Pyros by issuing standard flame retardant suits and longer ranged, more powerful flamethrowers. The Pyro is now a definite threat to structures and groups of enemy infantry and is not to be underestimated.
Along with the Tesla Trooper, the Pyro is a cornerstone of the Soviet midgame and is perhaps the single best excuse for a player to delay building their Battle Lab. Providing a cheap, flexible, and easily produced infantry killer with quite the durability that the Soviets otherwise lack until the Desolator becomes available, squads of Pyros are also absurdly threatening to enemy buildings and defenses, burning them to the ground in no more than a few grouped shots. A sneaky Borillo filled with Pyros will cripple a base faster than any tank rush could ever hope to do. Even though the Desolator is a superior infantry unit in many regards, Pyros still retain some strong advantages over the former - namely, being over twice as cheap, possessing the ability to inflict massive splash damage against infantry squads, and being able to devastate structures.
Pyros are of particular note versus Epsilon players, due to Epsilon's tendency towards infantry units. Clumps of Pyros are fantastically effective versus Brutes, and their resistance to each others' flamethrowers effectively counters mind control attacks. However, the presence of Viruses in the late game ruins the chance of a Soviet infantry army staying effective forever.
While Pyros form a strong midgame army when paired with Tesla Troopers, one should watch out for aerial attacks and build some anti-air to defend if necessary. On the ground, the big threats are fast units that can outrange and outrun the Soviet infantry doom blob, such as Gatling Tanks, Duneriders, Navy SEAL IFVs, and Jackal Racers. They also don't work well with other infantry units as their weapons' immense splash damage can cause very harmful friendly fires, meaning a Soviet general must be careful to ensure his/her troops don't get caught in the crossfires of the trigger-happy pyromaniacs.
- The first Pyros makes their appearance in Archetype as Allied enemy units, especially three located in an abandoned industrial area in the center of the map.
- Pyros become controllable in Golden Gate, several Borillos will send some Pyros to the commander after the coast was cleared.
- Pyros become trainable in Happy Birthday. In this mission as well as in Road Trippin', Needlehead, Low Rider, Heaven and Hell and Good Old Times, Pyros use the white phosphorus fire that is brighter than normal. Their firepower is increased by 33%, effective against infantry increased by 66-45%.
- In Burned Alive, two commanders can only command an elite squad of Pyros to drove out a Pacific Front occupation force from Dalnegorsk.
Behind the scenes
The Pyro's original SHP sprite (known as Soviet Flametrooper) is a public asset and can be used by other modders. The link can be found here(includes other sprites for Flak Trooper and Conscript) .
- The Pyro bears resemblance to one of the conceptual artworks for the original Conscript, with the designation Heavy Shock Trooper provided to it.