Roadhog Guide: Hook combo, playstyle, tips, and meta

Roadhog Guide: Hook combo, playstyle, tips, and meta

An advanced Roadhog guide by Rex, a Grandmaster player. He explains all Chain Hook combos, playstyles, mechanics, and best pairings. Learn when and how to play Roadhog, and when you should prefer another pick.

The history of Roadhog

Throughout the game’s lifetime, Roadhog shifted in and out of meta as well as phased in and out of viability. Having one of the most controversial ability in the game in the form of his one-shot hook combo landed him in hot waters. Over time, constant patches changed how the hero worked in the ladder.

A summary of his viability through various meta:

  • Zenyatta/Genji Meta. The 50% Orb of Discord damage amplification - later on nerfed to 30% - made Hog largely irrelevant.

  • Beyblade. He wasn’t a bad pick in ladder games, but Zarya’s dominance took that off-tank role away from him during organized plays.

  • Triple Tank. Roadhog was a massive part of the meta: being able to bust tanks with his high damage was essential to overthrow the huge health pool that every team employed.

Often, he wasn't played as a true tank but as a DPS: many top Hogs made their name during this time, and several DPS players had to flex to Hog to adapt to the meta (Taimou for example).

  • Dive Meta. Hog was a respectable but not optimal pick until hook 3.0 was introduced, which made him inadequate versus high mobility tactics.

While before elite Roadhog players could shut down a dive in its tracks with a pick, afterwards he turned into a large ulti battery. His only redeeming quality (the hook) was far too unreliable to justify running him. AKA the ThrowHog meta for many Hog mains.

  • Mercy Meta. The 50% damage reduction as well as being able to move while healing, propelled Roadhog back into viability. A hook means the target will die within your team, making it difficult for the enemy Mercy to resurrect. The fact Hog can get un resurrectable environmental kills also helps his footing.

While dive still rules supreme on many maps, we are witnessing a rise in Orisa-Hog comps, where Halt! + Chain Hook is a guarantee kill if done correctly.

Throughout many of those metas, Hog remained a reliable solo queue pick due to his kit. He was able to make game changing moves with his high impact hooks, and remained the weapon of choice for tank mains who wished to make an impact without depending on their support.

 Junkrat and Roadhog Going Legit web comic

Lore

Like all other heroes in this game, Blizzard created a rich lore and back-story for Roadhog. Originating from Australia, Roadhog’s story is directly tied in with his partner in crime, Junkrat. The two are criminals who robbed banks across the world, from their hometown Junkertown in Australia to the Dorado vaults.

You can learn Roadhog’s lore in further detail through Blizzard’s web comic, and exploring the map Junkertown, which has an abundance of information about the game’s most beloved duo.

Data on all Roadhog’s abilities

Roadhog

  • 600 HP

Scrap Gun (primary fire/left click)

  • 5 round clip

  • 25 pellets

  • 1.6-6 damage per pellet

  • Max 150 damage without headshots

Scrap Gun (secondary fire/right click)

  • 5 round clip

  • 9 meter range

  • Projectile chunk 50 damage expands into 25 pellets

  • 1.6-6 damage per pellet

  • Max 150 damage without headshots

Note: The projectile chunk itself does not do damage if it explodes

Chain Hook (ability one/shift)

  • 8 second cooldown

  • 25 Meter range

  • 30 damage

Note: The hook hitbox is taller vertically than horizontally

Take a Breather (ability two/E)

  • 8 second cooldown

  • 0.5 second cast time

  • 1 second animation

  • 300 HP healed + 50% damage reduction while healing

Whole Hog (ultimate ability/Q)

  • 12 pellets per shot, 7.5 shots per second

  • 0.5 second cast time, 6 second total animation

  • 5000 damage over 6 second

  • Can headshot, has knockback

When and how to use Roadhog's abilities

Like all heroes, there are combos and tricks you can exploit when playing Roadhog. In the next section we will go over them.

Terminology

  • Squishes: 200 HP heroes.

  • Tanks: Heroes with larger health pool such as Rein, Zarya, Winston, Orisa, D.Va, another Roadhog.

Roadhog Chain Hook.jpg

Chain Hook

  • The hitbox of the hook is akin to that of a tall rectangle, meaning you can throw the hook above someone’s head and still hit them. Use it to pull opponents off high ground.
     

  • Chain Hook has an 8 second cooldown, so while you shouldn’t be afraid to miss, don’t waste it either!
     

  • The hook works as a stun so it cancels abilities such as Deadeye, Rocket Barrage, Death Blossom.
     

  • You can also turn up to 90 degrees once you land a hook: do it to throw people off cliffs for environmental kills.
     

  • Use melee attacks to feign the hook animation and bait abilities from the enemy team.

One-shot hook combo on squishes

  • Chain Hook + Primary Fire + Melee

Roadhog’s most signature, and perhaps infamous, ability is his hook combo. Hook someone in, hit him with your primary fire, and promptly follow up with a melee attack - this combo can one-shot most 200 HP and sometimes 250 HP heroes. This is his bread and butter, and absolutely all Hog players must master it.

Hook combo on harder to kill squishes

  • Hook + Primary Fire + Primary Fire

Some targets, like Ana, have unusual hitboxes that make them less susceptible to the first combo. In this case, instead of using a melee attack, follow up with another shot to secure the kill. The melee attack causes a moment during which you cannot immediately shoot.

Hook combo on tanks

  • Secondary Fire + Hook + Primary Fire + Primary Fire

Tanks, with their bigger health pool, cannot die with one combo. Landing a right click before hooking them (the hook cancels the right click animation) and blasting them with the primary fire afterwards, is usually enough to kill them - or at least the combo leaves them low enough for your teammates to end the work.

Taking a Breather

Hog’s heal ability gives you 300 healing over 1 second and 50% damage reduction.

  • You want to use this not to heal, but to tank damage and keep yourself alive. This allows your supports to get ultimate charge off of you as well as serving as a panic button to get yourself out of many sticky situations.
     

  • The damage reduction allows you to tank every single ultimate in the game (even D.Va’s Self-Destruct if you have over 900 HP at the moment of the explosion) so use it to your advantage!
     

  • Don’t be afraid to use it to body block for your teammates
     

  • You can use it also to make plays. For example, when engaging a Hanzo, turn your back toward him while healing to tank his Scatter Arrow and avoiding headshot damage.

Moving allows you to close space between you and your target. You should either turn away from the enemy to minimize headshot damage or just spin around wildly so they can’t hit you.

Roadhog Whole Hog.jpg

Whole Hog

Hog’s ultimate ability, while it does a ton of damage, is best served as a crowd controltool. The knockback and widespread on the weapon makes it hard to confirm kills unless the target is caught inside Zarya’s Graviton Surge or stuck in a small room.

It works well against Genji’s Dragonblade forcing him to either deflect or be pushed away, and it also excellent when a Reinhardt shatters your team and is looking for follow up.

Finally, don’t be afraid to solo someone with it! Taking a Breather allows the ultimate to charge very quickly, so if you can secure key kills, just do it.

Tips: You can cancel your hook animation and your healing with Whole Hog.

  • Chain Hook and immediately Whole Hog before the chain animation draws in causes either an instant kill on squishy heroes or launches the tanks very far due to the knockback.
     

  • Healing and canceling it with Whole Hog often works when enemies are chasing you as they expect the full duration of the heal to end before you can do something.
     

  • Whole Hog usually allows you to get close to the Reinhardt if he has his shield up, and upon the shield breaking the collective force of all the pellet’s knockback will throw away the Reinhardt.

Roadhog in today’s meta

Roadhog is a very interesting character due to his self-sustain and explosive pick abilities, granting him a tool kit optimized for individual playmaking. As a result, he offers much less supportive utility to his team than other off-tanks.

In this section, we will go through various ways of maximizing Roadhog’s efficiency, and explain when those playstyles are most optimal. We will also explore how Roadhog can fit into different team compositions, and how different settings create a need for the player to adapt his gameplay.

Playstyles

As with all heroes, there isn’t an ultimate way of playing Roadhog: it depends on the player, the meta, and the immediate situations.

However, there are more generalized playstyles that have proven effective. While a good Hog player should always be able to adapt and be flexible to all styles, there’s no harm to have a baseline to follow.

Junkertown Overwatch.jpg
There is no definitive way of playing Hog, and a good player must be able to react to the other team and play the way your team needs you to play.

Here I am just outlining the pros and cons of each playstyle, not dictating the absolute way to play him. You shouldn’t be 100% focused on either style, but ideally use a healthy mix.

These are just a guideline and not the only way to play.
— Rex

Flank Hog

Made famous (or infamous) by former Complexity/NRG/Code7 off-tank player Harbleu, Flank Hog is a more aggressive approach to playing the pig.

Utilizing his pick potential and his survivability (even more so with the recent changes to the healing ability) the user will roam around and look to secure critical picks with Roadhog’s offensive capabilities.

Obviously, this approach includes a certain degree of risk - including but not limited to:

  • Getting murdered by the enemy team once they react to your flank.

  • Leaving your team open without the support of your off-tank.

  • Feeding their team tremendous ultimate charges from your huge health pool.

You will see most solo-queue Hog players employing this technique, trying to make aggressive and impactful plays.

The success highly depends on the player’s individual mechanical skill on landing hooks. Having good awareness of what is happening is also crucial: knowing the enemy cooldowns and the health pack locations are all game changers in Hog’s ability to stay alive.

Requirements to play the Flank Hog

  • Good mechanical aim.

  • Good awareness of what is happening.

  • Survivability through map knowledge.

HoGuardian

The stark contrast to the aggressive Flank Hog style. This method of Hog entails using the piggy’s large hitbox and CC abilities to be a guardian to your back line squishes.

By playing back with your team, your mere presence is enough to deter a Tracer from blinking in and one-clipping your supports. If done properly, you can also stop a full-on dive all by yourself. This method sacrifices some of Hog’s individual impact in exchange for ensuring your team's safety.

This method was used more often during the earlier phase of Dive Meta before the Hook 3.0 employment, when the tank busting potential was enough to destroy a Winston or D.Va, thus shutting down a dive.

You can still see this playstyle today, but it is much more dependent on physically moving the tanks away from their targets or landing a hook on a diving flanker.

Requirements to play the HoGuardian

  • Good awareness of where your supports are and where you are needed.

  • Patience to ensure your hooks are used at the right time.

  • Awareness to know who to hook.

Halloween Terror Overwatch.jpg

The Frontline Pig

The middle ground between the previous ones. With this method you are essentially playing at the frontline and seeking to use your kit to create space for the team.

Whether it is breaking down the other Reinhardt's Barrier Field with a barrage of right clicks or hooking someone into your team, playing Roadhog on the frontline offers support to your other tank while allows you to make an impact with your explosive kit.

This playstyle was popularized during the Triple Tank Meta, where the large influx of Hogs on both sides made Flank Hog unviable and the lack of divers and flankers made HoGuardian unnecessary.

You can see this in action through games such as EnVyUs’ Taimou against C9 on Gibraltar, where he stayed at the front line and looked for opportune hooks that shut down the attackers before their engagement even started

Requirements to play The Frontline Pig

  • Good engage and disengage timing.

  • Ideally another main-tank.

  • Ability to land hooks.

Personally, I drift between playing Flank Hog and Frontline Pig. I like to make more aggressive plays as I believe is the best way to make room for my team as a Hog.

However, it is also paramount to know when you need to peel back for supports since you don’t offer as much natural peeling as other off-tanks due to a lack of mobility (D.Va) or a shield (Zarya).
— Rex

When and when not to play Roadhog

While some characters like Tracer or Soldier: 76 are complementary to pretty much every team composition, a crucial part of being a good off-tank is knowing which one to play at what times.

The three off-tanks - Zarya, D.Va, and Hog - are all viable under the right circumstances, however the hard part comes from knowing when to play which one. Often, you can make a huge impact despite doing little just by choosing the right picks.

  • Roadhog shines in situations where the enemy team has little damage negation and low escape abilities. A good Zarya or D.Va can easily shut down a Roadhog with a well-timed Barrier or Defense Matrix. Even Reinhardt’s barrier can render a Hog useless.

However, a good Hog player can work around those by paying attention to enemy cooldowns, and throwing his hooks from locations that are harder to save. For example, long distance hooks outside Matrix's range or off a cliff for an environmental kill.

  • Another attribute Roadhog is great at is shutting down flankers. While a D.Va can do that job easily with Defense Matrix, a skilled Hog can definitely shut down a flanker with the lethal hook combo.

He is viable against a solo flanker especially if it is one with low mobility (a flanking McCree or a Junkrat for example). However, against multiple flankers it is easy for a Hog to be overwhelmed and killed as he has just one hook. In those cases, playing D.Va is usually the optimal choice.

  • Due to his large hitbox, Hog is a very easy target to shoot at. If your team lacks a way to negate that (a Reinhardt, plenty of healing, a D.Va) or if the enemy team has a heavy damage output (Zenyatta, McCree, Reaper, a Hog of their own) Roadhog becomes a detriment to his team due to the large amount of ultimate charge he feeds.

It is paramount for a Hog player to cancel out that flaw by consistently landing hooks and winning fights - while an ultimate can swing a fight, a great hook can swing one just as much.

  • Roadhog also has a very poor mobility. He has no mobility abilities, so he must bring the enemy to him via a hook or good positioning.

That generally means he is rather weak on attacking maps with lots of high ground (Numbani for example) but thrive on maps with a flat space and corridors (King’s Row and Junkertown) choke heavy maps you can spam through (Eichenwalde point A) and maps with environmental kill aspects (Ilios Well).

While a good Hog player can make the hero work on any map, knowing when to switch off Hog for a better pick is still very important.

Orisa Overwatch.jpg

Hero pairings

Hog pairs well with Reinhardt and Orisa, but not as much with Winston or another off-tank unless he is played as a DPS.

  • While Hog and Reinhardt is good for Hog, it is not an optimal combo since the Reinhardt often needs more support from his off-tank, which makes Zarya the stronger choice: Reinhardt and Zarya can keep each other alive, while a Reinhardt can keep a Hog alive, but not vice versa.
     

  • With the Winston and Roadhog pairing, the former doesn’t get the support he needs, and Hog isn’t able to catch up to the Winston due to his lack of mobility.
     

  • Orisa and Hog are the best combo. With her higher shield up-time and damage reduction, Orisa requires less support from the other tank of the team, and allows the Hog to make plays. Orisa’s Halt! ability also makes landing a hook much easier.

Good against: Static comp with no shields, low damage output, people with poor awareness.

Works well with: Shield tanks, team with the survivability that allows you to roam more.

Bad against: High damage negation, high damage, Hog that has more support than you do, high mobility.

Weak with: Highly mobile comps, teams that need more damage negation than damage output.

As stated before, a big part of being a good off-tank player is to understand when to switch off one hero for a better one. Take all these facets into consideration to realize when you need to switch and when you should keep your pick.

Great Hog players to check out

A mix of top tier players at the pro level and players who play Hog a lot on stream. In no specific order.

Harbleu - Former player for Complexity/NRG/Code7.

Taimou - DPS player for Dallas Fuel.

Birdring - DPS player for London Spitfire.

DrRiku - Streamer.

Saebyeolbe - DPS player for NYXL.

Manneten - Off-tank for Florida Mayhem.

Gods - Former player for Cloud 9/NRG.

Mendokusaii - DPS player for Houston Outlaws.

Je3us - Former player for Renegades.

Agilities - DPS player for Los Angeles Valiant.

Personal tips for playing Roadhog

  • Take your time. Don’t be afraid to use your hook but don’t waste it either.

  • The threat of getting hooked is stronger than the hook itself! If you have Chain Hook up, it forces the enemy team to play using a more passive approach. Use that to your advantage!

  • Work on landing your right clicks. Don’t be afraid to walk further away to land the perfect right click.

  • Body block for your teammates with your heal!

  • Use your hook to win fights, not to get kills.

  • Environmental kills are always good.

  • Tilting the other team by landing insane hooks is a skill of its own and is precious.

  • A good player know how to make Roadhog always work, but a great player knows when to switch hero.

 
 

How to practice Roadhog

Roadhog doesn’t require very specific situation to practice. You can get the work done just by playing quick play or using the practice range.

Try hooking the bots off high ground in training range to get a grip on how his hook hitbox works, or throw hooks at Tracers in quick play to practice against flankers. The best way to get better is to play and get used to his Chain Hook.

Game sense is also very important on Hog. Whether you prefer playing more or reviewing videos of your own play or high-level play, enhancing your game sense will improve your overall gameplay.

Thank you to whoever took their time to read this guide, and I hope it will help you in your future endeavours in the game!

Hopefully this article will make you just as excited about playing Roadhog as I am. He is a very dynamic character that I find chaotically awesome to play and hopefully this will make you feel that way too.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or drop in on my Twitch channel. Good luck climbing everyone!
— Rex

About Rex

Hi and welcome to my Roadhog guide! My name is Rex and I am a Grandmaster off-tank player (peak 4353 SR). This is part one of my three-part guide on off-tanks in Overwatch!

I picked up Roadhog around season 3 and I have been in love with the character ever since. I am writing this guide hoping this will allow whoever is reading it to not only be able to expand their hero pool and flex onto the Piggie when necessary, but also to be more excited about playing Hog in general!

Why should you listen to me? Well I have 5 golden Hog guns, so you obviously should…Jokes jokes. In all seriousness, aside from my SR, I have played on several high-ranking teams in the past across various roles but primarily as a tank and a support.

I was also a top 75 Roadhog on Overbuff statistically (take that with a grain of salt since personally I think stats are more misleading than helpful). I think it’s important to be able to trust your sources, so hopefully this will make you more inclined to follow the guide.

Disclaimer

As with all guides, this one is written off my personal experience and opinions, which makes it very much anecdotal. However, these are strategies and tips that have worked for me in my journey, so hopefully it will help you too!

Miscellaneous information about me

  • twitch.tv/rexchw

  • rexoverwatch[at]gmail.com

  • 4.6 in game sensitivity - 400 DPI - Logitech g900

  • Unsurprisingly, I main Blitzcrank in League

  • Favorite Hog skin = WalrusHog aka Ice fisherman

 

Header and all images in the article are a property of Blizzard

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.