Roadhog ‘Whole Hog’ In-Depth Guide
Overwatch’s Roadhog is always a reliable and fun pick, and he bridges the gap between a damage carry and a huge frontline tank. While he hasn’t been too dominant in the meta lately, he certainly has some strong points, and can really help to counter some heroes that are popular right now. We’re going to be walking through his abilities, and how best to use him to his full potential.
So we’re starting off with the most iconic part of Roadhog’s kit: the Hook. It’s the skillshot we know and love (or hate!) that drags enemy heroes to Roadhog’s position, and crowd-controls them for just long enough for our favorite pig-man to start shooting. Hitting your hook is relatively simple, but enormously important; you’ll want to make sure that you’re following up with the appropriate combo. Hooking, shooting with your primary fire, and then cancelling the animation with a quick melee jab is the way to go for most targets. This way, you can sneak a guaranteed shot in while the enemy is stunned, and then finish them off with a much easier-to-land melee as they regain control.
Some mistakes you can make here: melee’ing too early (before your shot) will often fail to kill a target unless they are injured, and it will also delay your next shot; use the melee to cancel the animation just after your first shot for maximum efficiency. Firing with your secondary at this range is a waste of damage and ammo (more on that later); always remember that you’ll need ammo to fire after you hook, so don’t throw the hook out on an empty magazine. Finally, against tankier enemies, you’ll want to shoot them with your primary fire a few times instead, though sneaking in a melee after two or three shots to finish is perfectly fine.
The hook is your pick tool, ultimate stopper, and slippery-target catcher. It also allows you to redirect enemies going for your back line, and take vital time away from enemies channeling powerful abilities. Primary targets are squishies, especially healers and mobile heroes. These should be hooked and combo’d to instantly send them back to the respawn screen. Note that enemies who jump a lot are quite easy to hit at the apex of their jump, because their movement is predictable. A good Roadhog will use the hook to make timely picks, and eliminate key targets before they can cause your team a headache – and a great Roadhog will be a nightmare for the enemy team by controlling a zone of space with his threat range. Nobody wants to get near a Roadhog who always lands his hook, so make sure you practice landing it at all times.
The Scrap Gun:
Now, the Scrap Gun has two firing modes. The primary shot deals significant damage to closer targets, but the damage starts falling off from the moment the pellets leave the gun. So make sure you are as close as possible by stepping forward before firing, and try to keep the enemy in the very center of your crosshair as you fire, in order to land as many pellets as possible. It’s great at damaging all types of enemies, but a bit weaker against armored heroes as it shoots multiple smaller pellets.
The secondary fire mode is actually the same thing, but shoots a ball of scrap out that explodes forward just like the primary fire. Imagine you’re effectively shooting your primary fire from around 10 meters further ahead. However, enemies too close will only be hit by the ball, which does a measly 50 damage, so get used to simply using primary fire up to 10 meters, and secondary fire beyond that range. The secondary mode is great for a few things in particular: shooting enemy shields down from a safe distance, hitting flying targets, and netting you some cheeky assists on kills. It’s great for extending your threat range and should be used while your hook is down, just avoid using it up close.
Roadhog’s Scrap Gun is actually a really strong weapon for a tank, but the player needs to be aware of its threat range versus that of your enemies in order to use it most effectively. It’s great in tight spaces and corridors, where enemies will have a harder time backing away from you (and dodging your hook.)
Take a Breather:
Roadhog’s heal is another relatively straightforward skill that provides a huge amount of utility. When cast, it restores up to 300 HP, which is half of Roadhog’s health bar, and reduces all incoming damage by 50% for the two-second duration. This is great for clutch heals, but even more useful for tanking enemy damage for your team. Blocking fire for your back line, and then simply topping up your health every 8 seconds, is crazy.
Make sure to dip out of fights to literally ‘Take a Breather’ while you recover some health. This can make you extremely annoying to take down for the enemy team, whose poke will be continuously wasted on you.
Healing in combat is also a useful strategy as it gives you a brief window where you are extremely resistant to all kinds of damage. The best use of this is to turn away from enemies while you heal up; you can’t do anything else while you channel anyway, and turning your head away from enemies will make it almost impossible to headshot you, increasing your already-horrifying resilience.
A good Roadhog player will be able to stay alive on the map almost indefinitely with this skill, and with a healer to top you up or playing around the health packs, Roadhog is a great anchor around which your team can dictate the tempo of a match. By simply staying alive, you create priority and pressure which the enemy must respond to; if they choose to ignore you, make them pay for it with your hook combo.
Roadhog’s ultimate is a multifunction tool that seems simple just like the rest of his kit, but shouldn’t be underestimated. It also charges very quickly, especially if you are landing hooks. It sees Roadhog add a huge ammo drum to the top of the Scrap Gun and begin firing at full-auto, knocking enemies backwards and dealing significant damage to nearby enemies in a cone-AOE.
Whole Hog has two main uses: damaging multiple enemies at once, and knocking enemies backwards off objectives or away from teammates. This completes the Roadhog crowd-control package, and a clever player can even use it to get some spicy environmental kills or split the enemy team up. With its fast charge rate, you should be using it whenever you feel the moment presents itself. And why not? It’s especially good to use to push onto objectives, and clear some space for yourself and your team to move into.
A couple things to note about how Roadhog’s ultimate interacts with his kit: the duration is almost exactly the cooldown of his Hook and Heal, so use it in downtime between casts to maximize your effectiveness. Also, when the ability finishes, your Scrap Gun is left with a full magazine of ammo, so don’t worry about reloading before you use it. This means it’s great to use after a hook combo to continue the brawl. Just bear in mind that you’re stuck channeling the ability for around six seconds, so try to make sure to be at full health when you use it. You won’t be able to save yourself, if you get focused down!
Whole Hog emphasizes how his whole kit should be used: with brute force. Confident play will see Roadhog take control of a game all by himself, and a great Roadhog can ensure that the enemy team is always playing at a disadvantage, either with tempo or by making sure they have one less team-member in the fight. Make sure to keep practicing those hooks, get your finisher combo smooth, and you’ll be set to go Whole Hog.
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