NFIRAOS, the first light AO system for the Thirty Meter Telescope, will include a natural guide star (NGS) pyramidwave-front sensor (PWFS). This WFS will have two functions: (i) when there is a bright enough NGS within the sciencefield and the lasers are turned off, the PWFS will act as the fast high order WFS driving the SCAO loop (e.g. for highcontrastimaging); and (ii) when the lasers are in use and the system operates in MCAO mode, the PWFS will act as aslow truth WFS (e.g. to measure drifts in the structure of the sodium layer). The decision to select a PWFS instead of amore conventional Shack-Hartmann WFS (SHWFS) is the outcome of a detailed trade study. In this paper, wesummarize the results of this trade study. These include extensive simulation work, which shows that, in the expectedoperating conditions of NFIRAOS, the PWFS will bring significant performance improvements, including higher Strehlratio, higher limiting magnitude and lower residual speckle levels for high contrast imaging, even when the system hasto correct for significant levels of non-common path aberrations. Our simulation results also provides new insights onthe properties of the PWFSs. We also report on opto-mechanical design work, which shows that, with the PWFS, the twofunctions (i) and (ii) can actually be combined into a single optical path, thus reducing the complexity in terms ofnumber of mechanisms and optical elements. Finally, we discuss the impacts of switching to a PWFS on the otheralready designed NFIRAOS sub-systems (e.g. the real-time computer), which we have found to be very modest.