Assumptions

This guide will operate on several assumptions, particularly in how you play and your skill level.

  1. You can reliably hit Chain Hook, especially on unaware targets. If you can’t, you’re going to have a bad time with Roadhog, so go practice against some bots if you have to. This gets really important when you have to clutch hook, as hook is critical to winning several duel matchups or saving your team from big ultimates.
  2. You can reliably hit with your primary and alternate fire, particularly at the appropriate ranges. Your clip is limited and your reload takes forever and a half, so you can’t afford to waste shots.
  3. You engage at max health, full clip, and cooldowns available whenever possible. Roadhog can afford to do this more often than not, so it’s a good habit to get into.
  4. You are not afraid of giving your opponents more ultimate charge than usual. It’s a fact of life that Roadhog’s core gameplay of tanking damage and healing up will give your opponents more ultimate charge. The key is minimizing that effect and countering said ultimates whenever possible.
  5. You do not need to be proficient in animation cancelling. While the ability to do so will certainly save you time and increase your effective burst output, Roadhog does not rely on such cancels to get most of his kills.

Mechanics

Primary Fire

Roadhog’s primary fire fires twenty-five pellets in a traditional shotgun-style scatter. Each pellet will deal up to nine damage per pellet, and no less than four. Each shot can deal up to 225 damage. Pellets can individually headshot, dealing double damage. A full headshot will deal 450 damage. (Unless otherwise stated, max damage will always refer to a non-headshot, no falloff shot. All numbers are as of writing.) You can reliably dink people from about twenty meters away. When I say dink, I mean dink – one pellet’s worth of damage. You really shouldn’t use your primary fire unless your target is within ten meters of you. Even then, the damage is rather variable, but it should be enough to finish a straggler.

Here are some numbers as to how many pellets you’ll need in order dispatch a foe. Hook deals 30 damage, and a follow-up melee will deal 30 more, so you have a bit of leeway, but not a whole lot.

HP Pellets Needed Percent of Max Pellets
120 14 56%
150 17 68%
170 19 76%
200 23 92%
220 25 100%
250 28 112%
300 34 136%
400 45 180%
600 67 268%

Once one starts looking at the hardier characters, things start looking rather bleak for Roadhog. Armor reduces damage per pellet, not per shot. Armor reduces by five or by half, whichever is less… unless that less involves rounding up. Either way you slice it, each pellet’s damage is reduced by five. Your once amazing nine damage per pellet falls to a pitiful four per, more than halving your damage output to only one hundred max damage per shot.

That said, armor reduces after critical strikes/headshot. This means that a full crit shot into armor will still do a respectable 325. Between misses, headshots, and bodyshots, let’s say you can probably reliably get an effective 16% crit. That turns into 136 damage. Not great, but not bad into armor, and most of the armored folk in Overwatch have big heads. If you can secure an effective 36% crit, the damage jumps to 197. Pretty good.

You can shoot once per second, and you have four shots in your clip. I can assure you, that is not enough for a protracted fight, and not going into an engagement on full ammo can often be the difference between your foe going down or you. Reload whenever you have downtime. Sometimes I reload right in the middle of a fight before expending all my ammo before getting into an extended duel with someone. Better to do it when no one’s focusing you than when you’re about to kill someone just to realize you’re one shot short.

Once per second is fast enough, but only just fast enough to clean people up if you don’t finish them with your combo. Most of the time, the better option is to melee rather than take another shot if they’re low enough. If you figure it’ll take more than two punches, though, take the shot.

A common practice is to cancel fire right into melee. Done right, the two damage instances should appear as one, and can effectively increase your shot damage by thirty at close enough ranges. That said, this guide will not assume you can do this reliably, and most mentions of melee will not involve intensive cancelling. (As an aside, if you want to improve at this, practice some Genji. His cancel combo is alt-fire cancelled into melee cancelled into Swift Strike.)

Alternate Fire

Roadhog’s alt-fire shoots a ball of pellets that travel ten meters before exploding. (Some sources say eight.) At the point of exploding, the ball fires identically to Roadhog’s primary fire in the direction it was travelling. Use this when your target is roughly twelve to twenty meters away from you. You don’t want to use it too close to you since you might hit them with the ball of pellets instead. Get comfortable with the ranges to use fire and alt-fire. Alt-fire draws from the same clip as primary fire, so there’s no reason not to use the right shot for the situation. Alt-fire has a slightly lower rate of fire, at one shot every one and a third seconds.

If you hit someone with the ball, it will deal fifty damage. It has no scaling or falloff, not that there’s a whole lot of range on the ball for it to fall off. It can headshot for one hundred damage… not that you should be trying to headshot with it.

If you get really comfortable with alt-fire’s range, you can treat it as a ten meter range shotgun. That sort of burst at that range is unique to Roadhog, so leverage it if you can. If not, you can always uses it as a poke tool before an engagement breaks out. Even at twenty meters, alt-fire will still deal good damage if your aim is true. This is useful for softening the enemy team up before they engage or you try for a hook.

Between his primary and secondary fire, there is a dead zone around Roadhog at about the five to ten meter range, where your spread on your normal fire will significantly reduce your damage but the ball on your alt-fire won’t explode. Avoid fighting in this range if possible. Move closer or further away if you have to.

Chain Hook

Your Chain Hook is the key part of your kit. Without it, you’re just a sad sack of six hundred regenerating health, so get comfortable with it.

(For the more visually attuned, Game Jammin has a nice video on some of the mechanics and workings of hook. I am told there will be at least one more video, which should also be posted here.)

Your hook has a range of twenty meters from the point of launch. The hook travels at roughly 28 meters per second. It will travel in the direction it was casted, regardless of how you move your body or your crosshairs afterward. You cannot “curve” hook, although latency may fool you into thinking so. In reality, you cast hook later than you thought. While hook is traveling, your movement is slowed by 50%, including any aerial momentum you might have. This includes forced movement from abilities like Concussive Blast, although you’ll need fast reactions and enough wiggle room to prevent yourself from falling off a cliff. You can still jump to the same height while casting hook, and rise and fall at the same speed.

The following table is a comparison of various projectiles and their speeds. Most heroes move at around 6 m/s.

Projectile (Character) Speed (m/s)
Chain Hook (Roadhog) 28
Laser Orb (Symmetra Alternate Fire) 10
Rocket (Pharah Primary Fire) 20
Shurken (Genji Primary Fire) 40

After catching a target, hook will deal 30 damage. If the target is not killed, hook will force him/her/it to face in your direction, cancel any abilities, and pull him/her/it towards you. Targets are pulled back at roughly 20 meters per second. Hook will pull your target to where you are, not where you cast it. (Yes, this includes through teleporters.) This means you have a bit of leeway as to where your victim ends up.

Hook will attempt to bring the target to you, not to your face. This has the annoying consequence of leaving your target above when you hook from a lower elevation, and releasing them below you when you hook from up above. This makes landing your shot and/or following up should your shot not kill rather difficult.

The only time this is not strictly followed is when you are moving and turning while hook is travelling. In these cases, hook will attempt to pull towards your front (but not your face), even if you’re facing to the side or away from your target. Sometimes, this will result with the target ending up inside Roadhog. At that point, the game will push them back out. This is why sometimes your hook target can end up behind you seemingly randomly. Chances are, a mix of factors caused the target to end up inside you, and then pushed out behind you.

That said, hook will allow for some leeway to pull target around corners and obstacles. The closer the target is (and thus, the less distance the hook has to travel), the more likely the hook will path around obstacles on the way back. It is also more willing to path around corners and curves than walls and thick edges. However, when pathing around obstacles, particularly corners, the target will tend to continue travelling in a straight line, even if the target ends up to your side or on top rather than in front of you.

Hook also respects the target’s current momentum, especially if they’re moving fast and/or got pathed around an obstacle before being pulled to you.

In order for hook to not get caught on a horizontal edge (e.g. a cliff or window), roughly a three-fourths of the default crosshair needs to clear it. This makes hooking up into a window or up a cliff even more annoying. You only need just over half the crosshair to clear a vertical edge (e.g. wall or doorway). The center dot is a good indicator. This, combined with Overwatch’s generous projectile collision, is one way you can hook “through walls.”

Hook does not damage nor pass through destructible objects like boxes or railings. If you want to hook through these things, you’re going to have to shoot them first. Hook can path around them, given the space and angles.

Get a feeling for how hook works in the training room. Try to hook around obstacles, up and down elevations, on moving targets. Once you do, you’ll find it’s surprisingly easy to predict where hook will place your target.

Hook can cancel your fire, but that’s not usually very useful outside your extended combo, detailed later. The primary reason to do this is when you are dueling and want to get what amounts to an extra shot before hooking. Hook can also cancel your alt-fire. This is much more applicable, as alt-fire still does a nice chunk of damage even at twenty meters away. This does spend an extra shot, so weigh the benefits of more damage and an easier time securing a kill against using the extra ammo.

Hook can also cancel your reload. Do not do this, especially when you have no ammo. Too many times I have thought I could secure a kill with hook combo only to realize I couldn’t shoot them. Death usually follows.

Hook is where a lot of Roadhog’s power comes from. It allows you to pull enemies out of position, cancel several powerful ultimates, and gain a tempo advantage in a duel. The issue is that you can only hook every six seconds. Six seconds doesn’t sound like a long cooldown, and it’s short enough to be able to regularly cast when you’re moving in and out of combat. Where the cooldown will really bite you is when you’ve just cast it and then you need it for something else. Too many times have I thrown a hook only for a Death Blossom or Rocket Barrage to come right after. Learning to hold your hook is just as important as learning to throw it.

Also, if you’re approaching from a position of stealth, don’t throw your hook out so quickly. You have time to assess key targets and to perfectly aim your hook, so take it.

Take a Breather

Take a Breather is your self-heal. It has a wee bit of start up, so don’t expect it to always save you in clutch moments. That said, it is an amazing heal. 300 health per second, for one second, plus another second for startup and recovery. Most of the time you should be ducking into cover to heal (and reload). But 300 extra health is a lot; there aren’t many heroes that can burn through your heal solo. A well-timed Take a Breather can give you effectively 900 health, which is a lot to burn through when you’re standing on an objective, especially when you’re hiding behind a payload.

Self-healing also builds your ultimate. A full 300 HP heal will give you 20% charge, a hefty chunk. A Roadhog that is sustaining himself while tanking his fair share of damage can build ult deceptively fast. Keep in mind that self-healing denies your supports the ability to build their own ultimate charge.

Almost always heal yourself before entering combat, unless you need to get somewhere yesterday. One of Roadhog’s biggest advantages is that he can reliably enter combat at full health, even without a healer. Not doing so will deprive you of a major advantage and make many duels much harder to win. At worst, you have to wait sixteen seconds to heal fully.

Here’s a list of things that can match or out-damage your heal.

  • Bastion Primary (Turret)
  • Genji Secondary
  • Pharah Ultimate
  • Roadhog Ultimate
  • Symettra Turret (two or more, max power)
  • Torbjorn Turret (Molten Core)

Here’s the things that can match or out-DPS your heal if they headshot.

  • Bastion Primary (Sentry)
  • D.Va Primary (Meka)
  • Genji Primary
  • Lucio Primary
  • Mei Secondary
  • Reaper Primary
  • Roadhog Primary
  • Roadhog Secondary (cannot with ball)
  • Soldier:76 Primary
  • Torbjorn Primary (Gun)
  • Torbjorn Seconary (Gun)
  • Tracer Primary
  • Widowmaker Primary (Sniper)
  • Zenyatta Primary (Discord Applied)

All other things either can’t out-DPS your heal even with headshot, or just plain can’t headshot. Keep in mind this is only relevant in duels – even two opponents can chew through your heal if they focus on you. On the flipside, if you have even a little heal support, you are basically immortal. For example, Roadhog will just barely die to the complete length of Hanzo’s ultimate with only a payload as extra heal support if you Take a Breather through it.

You can cancel your reload with Take a Breather. Cancelling the recovery will reduce the time it takes for you to reset yourself, which is especially important when you need to reset in the middle of an ongoing fight. Cancelling the reload itself is counterproductive, so wait until the ammo ticks back up before healing.

Take a Breather is also where Roadhog gets his reputation for letting his enemies build ultimate charge on him. The best way to minimize this is to achieve something whenever you leave cover, especially when attacking. Poking out and then retreating behind the same piece of cover changes basically nothing except now your opponents have built more ultimate charge. You can always find a forward position to run to, but playing prolonged footsies with your opponent is merely wasteful.

Whole Hog

Whole Hog is trash, never use.

Okay, it’s a little bit more nuanced than that. Whole Hog is capable of theoretically outputting 5000 damage. Over Whole Hog’s duration of six seconds, that’s over 800 damage per second. One might think that you would be slaughtering entire teams with it. The reality is that you will never deal that much damage outside from exceedingly impractical circumstances. Whole Hog suffers from immense spread, which means almost all of the DPS is wasted. Much of the Overwatch cast is also very skinny, meaning that even up close or pinned to a wall, only a fraction of the damage is being dealt. Furthermore, Whole Hog has a ton of knockback. That’s useful for several tactical purposes, but it both increases the falloff on the damage dealt and exacerbates the problem of spread. To make matters worse, Whole Hog knocks enemies outward, making it harder and harder to all of them at once. Unlike Primal Rage’s knockback, which comes in bursts and can really throw off one’s aim, Whole Hog’s knockback is consistent, which means the enemy still has a clean shot on you. You must also continuously adjust for the enormous kick on the ability. As of writing, there also appears to be a bug where, mid-Whole Hog, you will forcibly look at the sky and waste precious time.

Whole Hog also slows your movement, cannot be cancelled once initiated, and prevents you from casting your other abilities. This is what really makes Whole Hog a hard tool to use. If you want to get the most out of your ultimate, you have to go out and go hard into the enemy. Most teams will focus fire on you, the big scary tank with the big scary auto-shot-machine-scrap-crank-gun thing. Understandable, really. You’re tanky, but you’re not tanky enough to shoulder the brunt of an entire team or even a dedicated tank shredder. Much of your survivability comes from your ability to heal up, which you can’t do during Whole Hog. Nor can you use hook to gain a slight tempo advantage of your opponents. Whole Hog both does relatively little damage and requires Roadhog to play exceedingly risky for not much gain.

In order to best use Whole Hog, there are few key opportunities to look for.

  • When the enemy is already low on health: Here, Whole Hog’s relatively low damage for an ultimate doesn’t work against you as much, as you can just quickly put the offending heroes away quickly. This also works against a group of relatively squishy heroes. You can still put down a Mercy or a Tracer with relative ease if you keep on them. As a corollary, it’s not a bad way to soften the enemy team up before your team engages hard.
  • To secure key solo kills: If you’re only going to get one kill, might as well make it a good one like a backline Mercy.
  • When the enemy is near a cliff: Simple enough really. You have push, push them off the edge.
  • When the enemy is trying to push/move into you: Trying to hold a point by yourself won’t work, so running up to the enemy and popping ult should only be reserved for desperate situations. But if you’re in a teamfight on an objective and you want to buy a few seconds, go ahead and shove the other team off. You can also pre-emptively use it to stop an approaching team from even reaching the point.
  • When you have a flank: If you can wrap around the enemy team, you can push them into your team and force them to fight. This is most easily done on Payload maps, particularly on defense, as there are multiple parallel paths alongside the payload route. You can also attempt to split the enemy team apart.
  • When you have healing/armor support: If you want to use Whole Hog while pushing forward, you often have to walk into an entrenched location, which is not what Roadhog wants to do while he’s slowed and can’t heal. If you have healing support, though, waddling into the enemy team for six seconds becomes easier.

Combos

Simple Combo

Let’s start with Roadhog’s basic combo – Chain Hook into primary fire. This will be your bread and butter for removing people. Hook itself deals 30 damage. A full primary fire deals 225 damage. At 255 total damage before reductions, it’ll kill fourteen out of the twenty-one characters as of writing. In order to minimize escape attempts, hold down fire while your hook is traveling. You will shoot as soon as hook finishing pulling. This combo is truly inescapable outside latency issues, so even heroes with escapes won’t have a chance to use them.

Again, here’s the table of pellets needed to kill various health levels.

HP Pellets Needed Percent of Max Pellets
120 14 56%
150 17 68%
170 19 76%
200 23 92%
220 25 100%
250 28 112%
300 34 136%
400 45 180%
600 67 268%

If you don’t generally trust your aim, aim for a simple center-of-mass bodyshot when following up hook on a relative squishy. A missed pellet and a headshot pellet effectively cancel each other out. Even with the generous headshot boxes, it’s probably safer to go for the body shot. This is especially important on targets that have an escape, such as a Tracer dash or Lucio bump. You won’t get a follow up melee, so that first shot needs to kill. Even on less mobile enemies, a lot of heroes are rather skinny, and unless they’re really in your face, there’s a good chance you won’t get a hundred percent on your shot.

On hardier targets, it may be wiser to go for headshots instead, especially if you’re not on a full clip. Most of the tougher enemies will take three or four shots to kill without headshots, and solid headshots can save you from having to reload, which can lose you an otherwise easy matchup.

Extended Combo

Roadhog’s extended combo is alt-fire, cancel into hook, fire, (cancel into) melee. Unlike your standard combo, this one is only super effective at about ten to fifteen meters since you lead with alt-fire. That said, alt-fire still does a hefty chunk at twenty meters. It’s also a bit dangerous to use against a mobile hero, since the opening shot can give them enough heads up to dodge the hook. Plus, most mobile heroes will go down to your standard combo anyway, so better to just secure it by opening with hook.

That said, a full extended combo deals 510 damage, which will put the hurt on even the tankier heroes in the game. Unfortunately, most of the time you will not hit the full damage die to the variability of your opening alt-fire. Furthermore, most of those tanky heroes have armor, which will reduce your combo to 250 if the whole thing is blocked by armor. Thankfully, only MEKA D.Va, Tank Bastion, and Molten Core Torbjorn have enough armor to shoulder the whole thing.

The extended combo can be used in place of the standard combo in standard combat. The extra damage from alt-fire can help secure kills, but this does spend more ammo. While you can get four standard combos off a clip, you can only get two extended combos. Whether you prefer to use the standard or extended combo as your bread and butter will depend on your cancelling proficiency and your reloading habits. However, it is good to be comfortable with both.

Whole Hog Combo

The Whole Hog combo is exactly what it sounds like – hook, cancel into Whole Hog. [FLESH THIS OUT LATER]

Advanced Hooks

Angle Hook
(Also known as the turn hook, 90 degree hook, or “Blizzard please don’t patch this out” hook)

Remember when I said that hook pulls towards the direction you’re facing while you’re moving? You can use this to your advantage. You walk slower while hook is traveling, but you still turn at the same speed. This lets you pull the target along further without actually moving farther. This allows you to pull someone much closer than normally allowed. In most cases, the target will be partially inside you for a moment. This helps secure all those pellets hitting, which is key for securing those tougher combo kills.

Be forewarned: messing up this pull will often have you wildly miss your target, rather than simply not securing a kill but still chunking them down. It’s also considerably harder to predict where your target will end up if they are being pulled through obstacles, as you’re simply not looking at them.

  1. Hook the target as normal. Make notice of the distance.
  2. Right after casting hook, turn ninety degrees in your direction of choice and strafe away. The strafing isn’t strictly necessary, but I find it helps a lot with timing. You can wait until you see the hook animation start if you find your aim is thrown off by the rapid turn/latency.
  3. Right before your target reaches you, turn back quickly while holding down fire a la standard combo. Don’t do it too early, or else your target will end up the standard distance away. Turning faster tends to work better. Also, you may or may not turn the full ninety degrees back. This is the hard step, so practice a lot to get your feel for it.
  4. You will notice two things:
    1. The target is closer to you than usual.
    2. The target is usually slightly to the side you turned to.

If your aim is true, you should shoot your target from unusually close, almost guaranteeing all the pellets hit. You can compare your hooks against this image. The first image is an okay hook.

The second is an average hook.

The third is a really good hook, and what you’re aiming for.

Against heroes (not the dummies on the training range), a good angle hook might seem like it’s about to pull the target behind you. However, as long as you’re holding down the fire button, they’ll still be “in front” enough that you’ll hit them.

There are a few ways this can go wrong. If the target is pulled in too close, they may actually be so far inside you that the pellets will spawn past them, and they’ll take minimal damage. If the target isn’t killed with the shot, they may end up getting pushed out at a weird angle, such as behind you. Also, you usually won’t get any headshot pellets with this, so if you’re comfortable with headshots after hooks, you won’t get much benefit out of this. This technique does not work on bigger bodies like Winston and D.Va MEKA.

The timing for the turn back will change depending on how far away the target was when you hooked them. The closer they were, the sooner you need to turn back. The difference in timing is not inconsequential, so make sure you get comfortable at multiple distances. In practical settings, you’ll need to judge the distance of your hook quickly, lest you wildly miss your shot against someone that can shoot back.

If you’re having trouble with the timing, here are some examples for you.

You can also use this trick to pull people further up a cliff, so that they don’t fall off the edge after hook ends. This works best on edges without railings.

Jump Hook

Sometimes, you want to hook someone that’s perched on a cliff or a window while you’re down below. The issue is that it’s often hard to get line of sight on them, especially if they’re not standing on the very edge. Even if you can see them, hook requires a bit more clearance than simple line of sight. Backing away from the face of the cliff makes you an easier target and reduces the range of your hook.

The best way to get around this is to jump hook. Aim right for the lip of the cliff, then jump and throw hook. Hook will still travel along the path it was thrown, allowing you to clear the lip and reach a little further into the cliff. Combined with Overwatch’s generous projectile collision, particularly so in the vertical aspect, the target will be pulled down to you. This does not make landing the shot on the target any easier, but at least now they’re dislodged from their perch. You can usually figure the target will be pulled somewhere above you, if not right on top of you. The steeper the angle, the more likely the target will end up on top of or behind you.

Playing Roadhog

When to Pick Roadhog

The nice thing about Roadhog is he’s a self-sufficient character. He’s durable, outputs good damage at medium range, and can heal himself. You can pick him into almost any team composition and do work. That said, there are a few cases where Roadhog really shines.

  • On Defense: Roadhog much prefers waiting for his opponents to enter his/his team’s kill zone rather than having to fight into an entrenched position to be able to land hook. This works for both classic Attack/Defense maps and King of the Hill if you get set up on the point. If you set yourself up on the payload on attack, you are effectively defending it from the other team.
  • On maps with few long stretches: The more open stretches there are on a map, the more places a sniper or turret can set up to stall Roadhog’s advance. Maps where Roadhog can easily move from cover to cover to advance work more to his favor. Roadhog can’t quite hide behind a payload, but it’ll save him some health regardless.
  • On maps with pits: While Roadhog can knock people off cliffs and map edges with Whole Hog, Roadhog really shines where he can stand at the edge of a pit and hook people right in. It saves ammo and can secure kills on any who lacks aerial mobility. Bear in mind, if you’re standing next to the pit, you’re a prime target for being knocked in yourself!
  • With extra heal support: If Roadhog doesn’t need to huff his gas every time he takes a dinking, he can save Take a Breather for moments when he’s really hurting. Proper heal supports are preferred, but even a 76 field or payload can make his life a lot easier. Roadhog is also very capable of protecting dedicated healers, as he can hook away anyone giving them grief and force them to fight him instead.
  • With agile flankers: Tracer and Genji make fantastic flanking partners for Roadhog. They can go in and cause a ruckus, while Roadhog has an easier time lining up hooks on opponents that aren’t looking at him. Roadhog can assert himself if his buddy starts taking too much heat, and Tracer or Genji benefit from everyone shooting at Hog rather than them. McCree and Reaper are less effective, since they fill the relatively same role of up-close, high burst damage that Roadhog does.
  • With portable cover: If Roadhog must enter a long range character’s line of sight, the option to hide behind a Mei wall or Reinhardt barrier while moving forward is very welcome.
  • With another tank: Roadhog helps tank damage for his team by moving forward and drawing fire, then falling back to reset while his team covers him. Then Roadhog can move forward again while his team resets. If Roadhog can count on another durable character to survive while he resets, his life gets much easier. This is especially important when Roadhog has to push forward.
  • With Zarya: Special note must be given to Zarya as a Roadhog buddy. Barrier gives you a moment to push forward or to heal up in a fight without fear it being negated. Barrier is temporary, health isn’t. Zarya can bombard at the long ranges Roadhog can’t reach, and Roadhog has the extra beef that Zarya lacks outside of barrier. Graviton Surge is by far the best enabler for Whole Hog to do serious damage.

Tanking With Roadhog

Unlike all the other tanks in game, Roadhog has no form of damage mitigation. One might think this makes him the worst tank at preventing damage for his team… and it is true, for the most part. That said, if you were to never put Roadhog’s enormous bulk and self-restoration to use, you’d be truly wasting Roadhog’s potential to shoulder damage for his team.

The traditional way to tank with Roadhog is to move forward with your team alongside or behind you. When you get too low, move back and let your team draw enemy fire. You don’t necessarily need to move to cover unless the enemy team is really out for you. At that point, your team can kill them without hindrance. Reset yourself, and then move back forward to allow your team to reset. Repeat as necessary.

On Attack

Whether you’re pushing a payload or capturing a point, there are three broad ways to play Roadhog on attack: as a frontliner, a flanker, or a backliner. You’ll usually end up playing all three in some capacity as the game progresses, but they each require a different mindset.

Frontline

Roadhog doesn’t like playing the traditional frontliner. Despite his overall hardiness, his lack of any form of damage mitigation or blocking means he cannot soak all of the damage for his team while they move forward. The longer the open stretch before the objective, the worse the approach is for Roadhog. When Roadhog moves in front of his team, he is primarily looking to occupy one key target while his team does work. Unless a particularly juicy grab presents itself, Roadhog will usually deal with the opposing tanks, preventing them from mitigating damage for their team.

Once a fight gets tangled up, Roadhog can turn his attention to eliminating enemies one at a time. Roadhog struggles with dealing with multiple opponents at once; he much prefers creating mini-duels in a teamfight and defeating opponents one by one, resetting himself in between. You can afford to heal and reload even in the middle of a fight, as long as no one is actively shooting at you. Better to do it before you start a fight with someone else, rather than realize you can’t finish the job halfway through.

Remember that your hook is more than just a tool for singling people out. Your ability to cancel ultimates can be critical to preventing your team from being wiped by a Death Blossom. Hook the Reinhardt away after he drops Earthshatter. Pull the exploding MEKA to the side so your team doesn’t have to scatter off the point. Doing so often requires you to have some distance from your team, so be present but not clumped up. It can be the difference from having a clean shot and having to panic hook behind you.

Flanking

If your team is running a two-prong attack strategy or already has another tank on frontline duty, Roadhog can play a forward disruptive flanker. Roadhog can solo flank well enough if he’s only looking for backline kills, like on a support or sniper. If you’re looking to pop into the enemy team, it’s better to go with an ally or two. If Roadhog mistimes his entrance, he’ll get focused down before his team can capitalize on his disruption. Roadhog lacks the mobility of other flankers, so get comfortable with the long way around on maps. Knowing multiple flank routes can prevent you from being spotted on the way. This is especially true when the enemy team has turrets.

Be patient when going for backline kills. If the enemy is inattentive, you have ample time to pick out the best target and aim. Consider lining up a headshot rather than opening with hook if your target is isolated and close enough. It will save your hook cooldown on squishies, and make taking down something tougher like a Bastion much easier. From there, you can enter the fight from behind or fall back and reset for another pickoff.

Do not get into the habit of diving for kills, even if they are priority targets. You might be durable, but you’re not durable enough to bear the fire of the entire enemy team.

When playing the second prong of an attack, you’ll want to bully your way into the middle of the enemy team and start causing havoc. Because you will usually bypass the enemy frontline, you should look to hook and kill priority targets like supports. This is where having allies on your flank route are helpful, as they’ll split enemy fire, giving you a chance to fully enter the fray without getting focused down. With the enemy distracted, the rest of your team can come in to assist.

Backline

Playing Roadhog in the backline wastes many of his strengths, and should not usually be a primary reason to pick him. That said, Roadhog is the only character with a non-ultimate twenty meter hard disable, and quite frankly, if you need Earthshatter or Blizzard to protect your backline, you’re going to have a bad time.

When I say backline, I really mean backline. You should be, at most, as far forward as your supports, and playing behind them is not unwise if your team is clumped up. Only your snipers should be behind you. When playing from the backline, you will spend a lot of time plinking at people from downtown with your alt-fire, racking up eliminations you don’t deserve. Your focus will be keeping on your team safe from flankers and large-scale ultimates as they move forward. No one can stop an enemy player from what they’re doing and force them to fight them like Roadhog can. Death Blossom on your team? Hooked. Genji going for your Mercy? Hooked. Winston jumped into your team? Reinhardt dropped Earthshatter? You get the idea. The distance from your team is important, as it removes Roadhog as a potential target, freeing him to deal with the offender. Roadhog can’t hook Mei away from her Blizzard if he’s caught in the Blizzard, after all. Keep in mind that, while you are in a position of relative safety, your team is not. It doesn’t mean much that Death Blossom is an easy hook if you take too long and your team dies anyway.

Unless you’re playing with an unusually high number of tanks, you usually can’t afford to have Roadhog solely on backline protection. That said, Roadhog can play a more midfielder position to leverage both his frontline and backline benefits.

On Defense

On defense, Roadhog’s duties tend to be a lot less clear cut, and you’ll often fulfill many different roles in one game. His roles will tend to include holding chokes, holding points, flanking, and backline support.

Holding Chokes

Unlike frontline duty on offense, Roadhog doesn’t have to walk into the enemy. Instead, he can wait for the other team to walk into his kill zone and hook anyone who gets too close. There’s not a whole lot of nuance to it. You hide in cover and routinely pop out. If a hook target presents itself, go for it. You usually won’t have the option to be too picky, but any kill can stall an advance, so as long as you hit hook, you’ve done work. Because of your extended initiation range, you can force enemies to not gather right next to the choke, lest you pull one away into your team’s line of fire. Afterwards, retreat back to safety and reset. Repeat as necessary.

Eventually, the other team will rally and make a full team push. At this point, you can either brawl in the choke or apply retreating fire as you make your way back to the point. Most times you will end up falling back, especially if someone is trying to run past you while your team is occupied with theirs.

While on choke duty, be mindful of the potential flank options. Most flankers tend to be solo acts, and Roadhog can go to toe with most heroes solo, especially the ones that tend to do the flanking. Leave your post every now and again to make sure no one is sneaking past you. If you do see someone, it tends to work better to attempt to intercept them rather than chase them. Most of the flanking heroes tend to be highly mobile, and you won’t be able to catch them. Predict their path and line up a hook opportunity. If they haven’t noticed that you’ve noticed them, you’ve got them.

Holding Objectives

Holding an objective has a few key differences to holding a choke. At chokes, the enemy will be right around the corner. At objectives, there will usually be a length of open sight leading up to the objective along the main route. Depending on how much open road leading up to the objective, Roadhog’s plans will have to shift slightly. If the stretch is very long, Roadhog won’t be able to do much other than plink approaching attackers. At that point, actively hunting tends serve Roadhog better unless the point is under serious pressure. If the distance isn’t that far, Roadhog can wait on the point and treat it like a multi-directional choke.

Regardless, some attention must be paid to the flank paths. One key difference is that, once you are on an objective, flank paths cease to be a way behind you. They are simply alternate ways to you, the tradeoff usually being more distance travelled for less distance in the defenders’ line of sight. Because of this, there’s little opportunity cost in checking all the paths with regularity. They also tend to be very choke-like, and Roadhog is very good at defending chokes.

Fighting on the point is much the same, on offense or defense. The real struggle is when your focus is not fighting, but staying alive so your team can continue to contest the point. If there’s cover on or near the point, use it as much as possible to reset. Even if Roadhog is too big to hide behind a payload, it’s better than nothing.

Flanking

One common mistake people make while attacking is thinking the only lines of combat that matter are the ones they set. As they push forward, so too does the line of combat. Remember when I said, once you are on an objective, flank paths cease to be a way behind you and serve only as a way to you? Turn that idea around. Once the attacking team pushing the line of combat forward enough, flank paths stop being a way to them and become a way behind them. Too many attacking teams leave their backlines exposed while attacking, giving you leeway to either hunt for pickoffs or sandwich the enemy team as they push into your entrenchment. This is most easily done on payload maps, as the attacking team is almost always centered around the payload rather than split up on multi-prong attacks.

Going hunting also means you will be able to intercept would-be flankers to your team. Depending on the size and composition of the flank, you can either engage or fall back to a more defensible position. You should also look to take out defensive postings that are trying to force your team to hide so that the attacking team can move unopposed.

Backline

Since defending doesn’t require you to advance into an enemy position, playing Roadhog from the backline becomes a much better proposition. Like on offense, hang behind your team and hook people as they meet your defense. Bear in mind on the maps where this tends to work best, like King of the Hill, backline can become frontline very quickly.

Character-Specific Strategies

Primary Targets

These are the heroes that you should always consider first when hooking. They’re usually relatively easy to access and have a hard time throwing your hook off if your aim is true.

Soldier 76

Soldier 76 is the classic target for Roadhog. No easy way to dodge outside of maybe a really clutch sprint, and most 76’s will want to play in the twenty to fifteen meter range, which is where you’re strongest. Even if he does catch you flanked, he’s not exceedingly scary at close range the way a Reaper can be to you, provided you land the clutch counterhook. It’ll take just over 2.8 seconds for a 76 to burn you down, assuming he also lands a direct rocket hit and magically ignores reload time. (He’ll need to reload once to finish you, which will put his kill time at 3.8 seconds, or 3.3 if he has Tactical Visor active.)

If he’s walking towards you, hook, line, and sinker him. 76 is the biggest pain when he’s playing outside your hook range, and you have to walk towards him. Unlike Reaper, who isn’t that scary out of close range, 76’s damage will still hurt if you can’t move from cover to cover and heal in the interim. In those cases, do your best to find a flanking route, or fight in a safer zone of combat.

The bad news is that you’re a pretty easy target to hit with Soldier 76’s assault rifle. The good news is that you were already an easy target to hit, so you don’t need to cower in fear when the Soldier’s got you in his sights if he’s playing within your hook range. Just remember, similar to Reaper’s Death Blossom, that you’re on a timer to land that hook, otherwise you’re done. Also, you have to play a little safer in ducking behind corners. There’s been more than a few time where I thought I was out of line of sight, but the ol’ aimbot still found me.

Tracer

Overwatch’s self-proclaimed cavalry will be a big pain in your big butt whenever you face her… or at least, that’s what they all think. In reality, Tracer’s damage output is too low for her to be a serious threat to you, and all you have to do is land one hook.

Tracer is probably the one hero I will stop and pay attention to, especially if she’s running a solo flanking act. Get a feel for her Blink rhythm, how she likes to move. Don’t start wildly hooking. That’s what Tracer wants to you to do, to panic and waste your cooldowns while she whittles you down. It will take her two and a half seconds to kill you – and that’s assuming she never has to reload. With the two reloads required, the time to kill goes up to four and a half seconds. Relax. Heal up if you have to. Once you can read her movements, Tracer ceases to be a threat.

Like McCree’s roll, Tracer’s Blink moves her in the direction she’s moving, not necessarily the direction she’s facing. It has a range of seven meters, so if you think she’s about to blink, adjust accordingly. Even though the skill is called Blink, it’s really a dash, so you can hit her while she’s travelling.

Make sure you do finish her off when you hook her, though. Between Blink and Recall, Tracer can easily escape a botched combo, and Recall adds insult to injury by undoing your damage.

Pulse Bomb by itself is not that threatening to you. (Operative word being “you” – it can still put the hurt on your team, so do your best to waddle as far away as possible if you get stuck with it.) Pulse Bomb deals up to 400 damage, plus 5 more on contact if she sticks you with it. While 200 health left is still a hefty amount, it’s also less than a second of DPS from her blasters, so you’re not out of the woods just because you survived the bomb. One particularly cheeky trick I’ve done is killing Tracer on her own bomb. If she places the bomb near you or on you and doesn’t exit your line of sight on her way out, go ahead and hook her right back. This is most common when she dashes away rather than recalling.  The bomb will go boom, and she’ll be hung on her own figurative petard. Killing Tracer with her own bomb significantly reduces the chance of her finishing you off afterwards, giving you the chance to heal up and/or taunt.

Mercy

Mercy is a little harder to out-and-out hook, since she tends to be behind her allies, and in a game of footsies, she probably won’t be in practical range. But when the fighting gets messy, Mercy will often be in hook range, and all it takes is a little sidestepping to get any interposers out of the way of your aim. She’s a small target, but her escape options tend to be somewhat limited unless there’s an enemy behind you to quickly fly to, so you definitely have leeway to clean her up with a melee or extra shot if your combo doesn’t finish the job. She’s an especially juicy target if you’ve managed a flank or wrap-around on her team.

That said, don’t always go for the Mercy. If there’s someone in front of Mercy, that usually means there’s someone who’s an easier hook target. Missing hook is a great way to lose a fight, so sometimes you should take the easy hook. Heal range is only fifteen meters, so it’s not that hard to pull them away from their healing. Once Mercy is alone, she almost always has to retreat or accept a battle to the death, usually hers.

Resurrect does put you in a conundrum. (All the more reason to consider taking her out first.) Roadhog has a long reset time, so to speak, between healing and reloading. If Mercy resurrects right after you secure a kill, you’re in a significant point of weakness between your hook cooldown, lower health, and less ammo left in your clip. On the other hand, if you’re all set when Mercy resurrects, you have a second to line up an easy hook and kill. I like to use Whole Hog right as Resurrect ends to immediately put the other team on the back foot.

Symmetra

The most annoying part of Symmetra is her shields, and that’s not even that major an annoyance. It only makes securing kills on 250 health targets, now 275, impossible with one combo, and you can usually clean them up anyway. Other than that, Symmetra herself is a simple enough hook target, and 225 HP still dies to one combo. The only risk she really poses to you is if you really cannot hit her while she jumps around you with her primary fire and she gets the chance to charge up her laser.

Her turrets aren’t that much scarier either. Even at max damage they only do 150 DPS, and they go down really easily. They only have one health, after all. Even a full laser car wash can be dealt with relative ease.

Her teleporter is the only real threat she poses to your team. At 600 HP, it’s as tanky as you are, but you can still put it down with a few blasts or, if you’re lazy, an ult. (Some sources say it has 300 HP.)

Winston

Out of all his fellow tanks, Winston is the easiest match up for Roadhog. He’s only got 100 armor to his 400 health, so he goes down like a sack of potatoes to sustained bodyshots. His little zappy gun only does 60 DPS, plenty of time for you to reload and/or heal if you must. When Winston jumps into you, that’s usually your best chance to hook him, as he can’t jump away if things get dicey. It also disrupts his usual goal of eliminating your backline while bypassing you. Don’t let the monkey start hitting your supports and squishies. Force him to fight you with your massive presence and hook.

The only troublesome parts of Winston are his barrier and his ult. His barrier can be a pain to bring down if he sets it up at range, but it’ll go down soon enough. You should leave the barrier to your teammates anyway. If he plops one down at close range, just walk through it. At worst, you have to walk into it and then back out of it to chase him down.

His ult doesn’t actually put you at much risk of dying, either. 900 health and 100 armor is a lot to chew through, especially if you already spent time getting him low, but he’s not really any more threatening than before. He’s only become a lot more annoying, with his reduced bounce cooldown and knocking you about. Just shoot him some more until he dies. Now is a great opportunity to pop Whole Hog, as it completely negates his goal of jumping into your backline and throwing them about. Either pin him to a wall or push him away from your team. In either case, you’ve at least traded ults, and more often you’ll secure a kill on the ape scientist. That said, Harambe Unchained does last ten seconds compared to Whole Hog’s six, so if you don’t kill him within that time, you’ll still have to engage in monkey-to-hog combat.

D.Va

D.Va is the other tank that Roadhog does well against. A bit counterintuitive, since her MEKA is mostly armor and armor makes Roadhog very sad. However, her headshot area – the whole of her cockpit visor – is very easy to hit. If you hook her, she has no choice but to face you. You can easily pump crit blast after crit blast into her, melting her mech. It should usually take you only two shots to take down her mech, sometimes three. Don’t waste shots and/or hooks into the exploding mech. It’s still got a hurtbox. Blowing ammo into it will only make securing a kill on D.Va herself harder, and wasting shots is a great way to get killed in a firefight.

Defense Matrix doesn’t block hook. Hook also cancels Defense Matrix as well, making it the only damage mitigation tool that Chain Hook beats. Back in the old days, you could bait Matrix out then cancel it with hook. The new fuel-based system means you can’t really do that anymore. However, D.Vas will now simply throw out Matrix as a standard defense tool, and you can still hook right through it. You will always get one shot in after hook, but be ready for some mindgames after that, as she can Matrix any shots after that. If D.Va does put up Matrix, reposition and prepare to shoot her when she puts it down.

Be careful about shooting your precious shots into said Matrix. D.Va can absolutely shred you up close, and wasting time reloading is one way to get killed. Speaking of Defense Matrix, it completely counters your Whole Hog, eating up half of its precious time. Wait for D.Va to expend her Matrix before letting loose, or you’ll find yourself almost completely wasting your ult.

The little pilot isn’t much threat to you, although her small stature does mean you’ll often need to put in more shots than you might think. Nevertheless, she ejects in a similar way after her mech goes boom, so you should be able to reliably hook and/or shoot her with practice and time. She can influence her exit, however. Since pilot form doesn’t have Defense Array, you can feel much more comfortable dropping your ult. In fact, it’s not an awful way to get around her small stature and relatively annoying mobility.

That said, there are three times you should be wary of D.Va. The first is when she’s very far away. She massively outranges you, and even if the damage isn’t that much, it’s no fun walking towards a D.Va. Attempt to close the gap by moving from cover to cover and healing.

The second case is when she’s up close. While you usually want to hook her in, she can still melt through your HP pool, especially if she’s flanking you and you’re not returning fire. A well-placed bump can knock you off the map, and taking her with you with hook isn’t that easy.

The third case is when mech goes big boom. Get behind cover. You cannot push the mech away with Whole Hog, but you can still hook the mech. Please do not hook the mech into your team. If you’re in a position to, hook it away from your team, and then find your own cover.

Scary Primary Targets

Similar to the above, these heroes relatively easy to hook and kill. Unlike the above, however, when they get close, you’ve got a much worse shot at fighting back.

Reaper

If Reaper is walking towards you, he’s an easy target. He’s got no dash or other micro mobility, so just predict, aim, and fire. His two skills remove his chance to fight back and telegraph where to aim your hook to boot. 250 health does mean you need to be on point with your shot if he hasn’t taken some damage already. If Reaper hasn’t already expended Wraith Form, most will do so as soon as possible after getting hooked. From there, either leave him be and find a new target or chase him down. Reload while you’re chasing if you can – he can’t fight back and you might as well put those free seconds to use.

The issue at hand is that Reaper tends to jump on you while you’re distracted with some other business. It takes Reaper five shots – roughly two and a half seconds – to put you down from full sans headshots. That’s just enough time for a clutch counterhook, but you’ll often be too occupied with someone else to notice until it’s too late. If you miss your hook, Reaper has more leeway to get in close and take you down. Reaper is also very comfortable fighting in your dead zone, which you want to avoid whenever possible.

The other joy of facing a Reaper is cancelling Death Blossom. No, Mr. Reaper, it is you who will die, die, die. Death Blossom only has a radius of eight meters. You’re plenty safe with your twenty-meter range hook. If Reaper doesn’t catch you in his ult, simply line it up and put him down. If he does catch you, it’ll still take him a whole three seconds – the whole duration of his ult – to kill you. His ult only does 600 damage max, so if hook is on cooldown and he catches you in ult, just heal and hope you can fight back afterwards. Do keep in mind while you might not be particular scared of Reaper’s ult, your teammates are at much greater risk, so do your best to cancel it as soon as possible. Reaper will also heal as he kills your team, further incentivizing you to hook quickly.

There is one particularly unfortunate edge case. You hook the Reaper, fail to finish him, and he turns onto you and your team with Death Blossom. It shouldn’t happen too often, but keep it tucked away in the event you cancel his ultimate’s start-up and he still has it.

McCree

Ahh, McCree. How people dislike your disable-into-burst combo. But now the tables have turned, for Roadhog too has a disable-into-burst combo, and his is from twenty meters away, not seven. (That’s a five meter range flashbang with a two meter effect radius.) Even throwing in his five meter roll for a twelve meter initiation, Roadhog still outranges McCree, and without his roll, McCree can’t quickly take down the Hog. McCree isn’t the best hyper-long range sniper, so he’ll usually be playing in the twenty-five to fifteen meter range when you’re playing footsies with him – prime range to eye a hook.  McCrees do love to flank, so regularly check the flanking routes so you can catch him, not the other way around.

As of writing, McCree’s falloff now begins at 20 meters, putting him soundly at the tip of your hook range. McCree’s burst, while capable of one- and two-shotting squishies, still needs four headshots and another shot to kill you. Even with the aid of a Nanoboost or Discord Orb, he still needs three headshots to put you down.

Back in my day, the payload would have been delivered already, and fan, roll, fan would have killed Roadhog. Nowadays, though, flash, fan, roll, fan will only deal 565 damage. A lot, but it won’t kill you. Roadhog is actually the only tank that can survive McCree’s full combo (without abilities – Zarya can also survive with her barrier). Granted, you’re still in a pickle, but you can try to save your hook for while he’s reloading for the second time. If you are going to try to hook the roll, remember McCree rolls in the direction he’s moving, which is not always the direction he’s facing. You can also heal in his face, since you can heal through both Fan the Hammer and even consistent headshots with his primary fire. Fan the Hammer will edge out your heal by 13 DPS, but it’s hardly something to fear.

There is one particular time when the cowboy has his proverbial pants down, and ironically it’s the time he’s proudest – when it’s high noon. McCree is a sitting duck during his ult. If your hook is off cooldown when you hear the call, it’s time to go hunting. It’ll take McCree a whopping 3.5 seconds to fully charge Deadeye on you when you’re at full health. I find that gives you about a second to look around for where he is, as a matter of practicality. If he’s in range, go ahead and walk up to him and hook him. Or just shoot him, if he’s close enough. If he’s not or your hook is on cooldown, still got time to run for cover. The smart McCree will realize he’s in a position of weakness and cancel his ult. (Some McCrees cancel ult anyway and just use the call to scare you. Watch out for these buggers.) Again, as with most teamfighting ults, you’re in a position of relative safety, but your team might not be. Be quick with your hook.

Mei

Mei. Even before any of her shenanigans, she has 250 health, which necessitates a perfect hook into fire combo to kill. But with her shenanigans, she becomes a pain to clean up if your initial execution isn’t on point. Her self-heal will mean you can’t simply follow up with a melee or another shot to seal the deal. But she’s not going anywhere, so you have some time to reload and set up your shot. But there’s a good chance that shot won’t kill, especially if she was able to heal before you finished your combo. Add in an interposing ice wall, and not only have you not secured a kill, Mei has wasted a lot of your time.

Still, more often than not, you will finish Mei in the end, especially if she’s not at full health. While she can try to plink you with icicles from downtown, the real terror of her primary fire is far outranged by your hook, and you can still piddle away at her with your secondary fire from relative safety. If you see the hook, go for it.

But woe be unto those caught unaware by Mei. Counterhooking a Mei that’s freezing you is extremely difficult, and even your massive health pool and heal won’t save you. Even if you do counterhook, there’s a good chance you’ll still get frozen by the last particles of Mei’s primary, rendering your hook moot.

Furthermore, unlike other ultimates, Roadhog has no counter to getting caught in a Blizzard other than… not getting caught in the blizzard.

All in all, while Mei isn’t too hard a kill to secure, she’s not easy either. And if you fail to secure that kill, you’ll be in a world of hurt. The inability to turn fast while frozen really hurts Roadhog, so play at a safe range until you can land your combo.

Zenyatta

You’d think Zenyatta would be easy prey for Roadhog. Only 200 health, no easy way to run. And if you land your hook, Zenyatta will melt before you. Like Mercy, he tends to be in the back, so flanking maneuvers tend to be needed, but he’s still a clean kill if you land the hook.

The issue is that Zenyatta absolutely shreds you. Discord Orb’s 50% damage amplification means your 600 health pool loses value fast, even if it’s only Zenyatta hitting you. Zenyatta’s already respectable 135 DPS goes up to 202, and that’s before any of his allies are shooting at you to. Compare that to 76’s 170 DPS with no falloff. Oh, and Zenyatta has no falloff, mean he’s free to burn you down from as far away as he likes as long as he has line of sight. This makes approaching a team backed by Zenyatta pretty scary, as you simply cannot rely on your bulk to keep you alive long enough to be able to heal up again. Discord Orb has an application range of 40 meters. Even keeping your distance won’t keep you safe from the disquiet in your heart.

In theory, you can hook someone out of the radius of Transcendence and kill them. In practice, Zenyattas tend to pop ult when the fight is already tangled up, and everyone is in the thick of things, you included. Accept that you will likely not secure a kill, reset yourself, and prepare to re-engage when Transcendence is down. Transcendence does not save heroes from one-shot burst, so if your aim is on point, you can still burst enemies down. Just bear in mind that any softening-up attempts, including your hook damage, will effectively be negated. Zenyatta himself is not immune to forced movement, so you can try to hook him away from his team or scatter the whole lot with Whole Hog. His speed is doubled during his ultimate, however, so such attempts will be mediocre at best.

Secondary Targets

These heroes are harder to kill for a variety of reasons, and are sometimes better left to your team to deal with.

Genji

Mr. Green Cyborg Ninja Dude would already be a pain to deal with. He has a fifteen meter dash in the direction he’s facing (not always the direction he’s moving), which can easily throw off your hook. He can double jump, further compounding your prediction issues. He can also wallclimb, which means he can approach from anywhere – usually not where you’re looking. While he can’t put you down that quickly, if you can’t hook him, he’ll put you down quickly enough. Dragonblade just encourages him to run circles around you more, making your life harder while killing you faster.

But Genji has one final tool that makes Roadhog truly cry – Deflect. While it won’t turn your hook back on you, it will block your hook. It has an eight second cooldown, compared to Chain Hook’s six.  In theory, that gives you a two second window to hook Genji. In practice? You can reasonably assume that any decent Genji that’s paying attention to you will block your hook every time, assuming he hasn’t used it for something else. Reflect also puts Roadhog’s significant hurt back at him, and while Genji probably won’t kill you with your own Whole Hog, he’ll put you far away enough that you’ve probably wasted it.

The best way to hook a Genji is to give him something else to worry about – usually the rest of your team. Sometimes, you might catch one trying to flank you, unaware he’s been spotted. If you’re in a position to, don’t impulse hook. Predict his path and set yourself up accordingly for a much easier hook. Other times, Genji may be running amok in your backlines. This is a good time to try for a hook, especially if he’s not looking at you and/or has blown deflect. Do it fast, though. Genji is killing your backline, after all.

Be very wary of trying to hook a backpedalling Genji. More often than not, he’ll merely deflect the obvious hook.

That said, once you have the hook, he’s a relatively easily secured kill with combo. Just be wary of a Swift Strike right through you if the initial shot doesn’t kill.

Pharah

Pharah’s aerial mobility gives many heroes a hard time, and Roadhog is no exception. She can fly up to thirty-five meters in the air, way out of your hook range. Granted, many times she won’t be playing that far away from you, but she’ll still often be out of hook range, especially where there are open skies. Even when she is in range, she’s not the easiest bird to bring down. It’s going to take time and experience to be able to reliably judge when Pharah is in hook range and to predict her movements. The splash of the rockets isn’t too threatening, but each direct hit will deal 120 damage, a fifth of your health.

The long range of her rockets combined with her usual absence from your screen also means that she can be putting the hurt on you while you’re occupied with someone else. Keep an eye on the skies and the ground for her at all times.

That said, a Pharah that’s flying not-so-high isn’t all that threatening. The addition of an extra dimension of movement can make hooking her annoying, but far from impossible. Furthermore, your alt-fire is great at trading with Pharah if she’s close enough to reliably hit you with her rockets. 200 health means she can be brought down from full health with some reliability with one clip. And of course, if you hit hook, she’s usually good as dead.

Rocket Barrage is probably the hardest channeled ult to cancel out of the trio, the other two being Death Blossom and High Noon. Even though she’s standing (or flying) still, she’s almost always out of your initial line of sight when she casts it, and unlike High Noon, the rockets start flying right away. Furthermore, Pharahs usually have to sense to wait for you to use your hook before ulting, ulting out of your hook range, and/or aiming for you first. As a practical estimate, you have about half a second to hook a Pharah before you die to the stream of rockets. Still, you probably won’t get to cover in time, so start looking and hooking fast when you hear justice call.

Junkrat

Junkrat is an interesting case, mostly not to your advantage. Roadhog’s canonical partner in crime massively outranges him, and while Dodge the Grenade Rain isn’t necessarily the hardest game to play, it’s at no risk to the Nature’s Prophet ‘rat. Each direct hit is 120 damage, and it only takes two or three before you want to heal up. Approaching Junkrat requires you to watch your feet, lest you both take damage from his laid trap, a mine on top of that, and whatever grenades he decides to lob at you while you’re standing still. Even if Junkrat doesn’t kill you, your attempt at stealth has failed.

Even if Junkrat enters the hook danger zone, he can still put up a nasty fight. If your combo doesn’t kill him, a close-range Concussion Mine will both put the hurt on you and knock him safely out of your effective range. Even if you do kill him, his parting bombs are still a threat. 300 potential damage is nothing to trifle with, even with your big health pool. Even worse, if failed your standard combo and went for a melee finisher, walking forward to secure the kill might secure his kill on you.

As a cheeky little trick, when you get sent sky-high from a Concussion Mine, take the opportunity to heal up. You’ll finish by the time you land, and negate most of Junkrat’s damage to boot. If ammo is a more pressing concern than health at the moment, you can reload instead.

There is one aspect that Roadhog can completely dominate a Junkrat in – negating RIP-tire. RIP-tire deals 600 damage, and has a ten meter radius. However, RIP-tire does not deal the full damage within its splash, which means it has to be right next to you to kill you from full health, environmental kills aside. As it turns out, you also have a tool with a ten meter effective range – your alt-fire, which deals more than enough to kill RIP-tire’s palty 100 health. You should be able to comfortably stop a RIP-tire at about twelve to ten meters, just at the tip of its effective range. (Now would be a good time to tell your teammates to get behind you while you deal with the tire – and hope behind you isn’t where the tire is coming from.)  Worst comes to worst, shoot at it with your primary fire when it gets too close.

If you’re not in range to deal with the tire, you might be in a position to deal with the rat. Don’t expend hook if you don’t have to for the kill – as stated before, that cooldown is precious. Again, remember that Junkrat always gets the last laugh – and blast – and stay mindful of those death bombs.
Lucio
Lucio presents a unique challenge to you. He’s highly mobile, between his speed aura and wallriding. He can make his allies faster if he so chooses. His auras have a radius of thirty meters, so even if you hook someone, they’ll still probably be within his support range. He and his allies will even heal while they’re travelling when hooked, so you can effectively negate hook’s damage in your combo. This puts 250 health characters out of your kill range. Out of all the as-classified supports, Lucio probably makes killing his allies the hardest, though thankfully not by too much.

Lucio himself is also probably the hardest support to kill outright. Again, his mobility makes hooking him a pain. That said, he tends to play the farthest forward out of all the supports, and assuredly out of all the healing supports, so he tends to be a viable hook target alongside his allies. 200 health requires a clean bodyshot, and your hook’s damage may be reduced or even negated. If your combo doesn’t finish him, he can bump you away with his alt-fire and make an escape. It’s not as clean as a Tracer Recall or Junkrat Concussive Mine, but it might save his life.

Sound Barrier’s most immediate consequence is that it puts everyone outside of your hook combo kill. This is a great reason to hold hook and save it for an ultimate cancellation or to pull someone away from a teammate until Sound Barrier wears off. If it’s not being used to negate one of your team’s ults, it’s usually a herald of an oncoming push. In that case, it’s not a bad time to Whole Hog the enemy team back and keep them off the objective. You won’t kill them, but Whole Hog kills are rare anyway.

Soft Counters

These heroes make your life harder, but can often be outplayed.

Reinhardt

Reinhardt, for the most part, is actually a very easy matchup for Roadhog. From full health, you should almost always win a duel with Reinhardt. You out-DPS him and out-range him. You can heal in his face with impunity if you have to. Should he charge at you from an obvious angle, you can cancel it with hook and then pump lead into him. Even if he catches you off guard, you still survive charge with 250 to spare. That’s four hammer swings worth of leeway. After getting pinned, throw point-blank hook to cancel the startup of his first swing. While doing so, backpedal and pump lead into him. (The backpedaling is more about not having your entire vision be obscured by Reinhardt. Reinhardt’s hammer has too much range for you to escape. You can stand your ground if you want.) If your hook is on cooldown, go for a heal in his face to buy time for your hook and/or pump lead into him. If you don’t have either cooldown, you still have a fighting chance if he’s not at full health if you… pump lead into him. Really, the only way a Reinhardt will reliably kill you from full health is if he surprise pins you and then drops Earthshatter on you, or if you need to reload while Reinhardt is whacking away at you.

Keep in mind that Earthshatter has a twenty meter range. If Reinhardt is in hook range, you’re in Earthshatter range.

But Reinhardt has this barrier. It’s the sole reason he’s a soft counter to Roadhog. It’s big, and it has 2000 health. And it blocks hook. That right there will put a big damper on your ability to kill him and his team. Sometimes, when Reinhardt realizes he can’t win a duel with you, he’ll opt to put his shield up instead and try to back away back to the relatively safety of his team. A particularly clutch Reinhardt can time his barrier to block your hook and shots in a duel, neutering your damage output while he gets whacks in.

There’s three ways to deal with Reinhardt’s shield. You can go through it, you can go around it, or you can go through it.

Sometimes, all you need to do is just help your team shoot down the barrier. You can do respectable damage from range with your alt-fire, and you shouldn’t miss any pellets with how big the barrier is. As the barrier weakens, the Reinhardt will either have to find cover to recharge his shield, exposing his allies and/or forcing them back, or will charge in, which gives you an easy hook chance to take out the German giant.

Alternatively, you can attempt to flank the enemy team and pull Reinhardt out of position. Stunning Reinhardt will bring his shield down temporarily, but you probably won’t kill him before he puts his shield back up. The risk in hooking Reinhardt as opposed to less hardy character is that you won’t kill the Reinhardt, and now you’re all alone against the enemy team. Your team must capitalize on the Rein being pulled out of position and the shield going down for it to be worth it.

Sometimes, all you need to do to deal with Reinhardt’s shield is to walk right through it. In a matter of dueling, you’ll almost assuredly win if you force him to put his shield, as you can just try to walk around him and bring him down. With one more ally with you, he stands no chance.

Walking into a Reinhardt barrier backed by his team is a bit trickier. If you have the full backing of your own team, you can attempt to put Reinhardt in a position where he can’t defend himself from both you and your team. If he continues protecting his team, you can both tear through his health and point-blank hook him, bringing his shield down anyway. If he starts to block your shots, he’s easy pickings for your team. Even if you trade your life for his, your team should usually benefit more from the barrier going down. You can also try to walk past Reinhardt and then drop Whole Hog, separating him from his team.

Speaking of Whole Hog, it’s not a bad way to try to take down Reinhardt’s shield. The massive shield means it’ll take all the damage from Whole Hog. It’ll take about three seconds, but there aren’t that many other amazing uses for Whole Hog anyway.

Zarya

Zarya, at first glance, seems like a decent matchup for Roadhog. She doesn’t have any armor to mitigate his damage, and at 400 total health and shields, she’s the least tanky of the tanks by raw guts. But what will frustrate you most about Zarya are her barriers. Zarya’s self and projected barriers both totally block hook. They’re on a ten and eight second cooldown, respectively, and last for two seconds. While Zaryas usually won’t try to clutch block your hook, they still have an annoying way of shielding the person you’re about to hook, be it themselves or someone else. This tends to happen especially when you try to hook someone out in front, as they’re both the most obvious hook target and barrier recipient. Heroes who are ulting, other prime targets, also tend to be barrier recipients. Even if you do land hook, good Zaryas will barrier right before you shoot, negating your shot and picking up fifty more energy.

Zarya is also capable of sieging with her grenades, similar to Junkrat. Again, while you can play dodge the explodey energy, it’s at almost no risk to Zarya.

Once you hook Zarya, you find yourself in an interesting position. If Zarya has a high charge level, you really need to land those full shots to take her down. You can outheal the damage and should out-DPS her, but if you need to reload, you’re as good as dead. Also, if you waste shots into her barrier, you’re also in for a bad time. If her charge level is low, however, you have more leeway. Most Zaryas will turn on self-barrier as soon as possible after being hooked. Although you should be able to get your initial combo shot off, be careful not to feed more energy into Zarya. One good shot will take down her barrier, but it’ll also be fully blocked and give her fifty energy straight away. You can oneshot a Zarya if most of your pellets headshot, and the headshot boxes are generous.

You cannot cancel Graviton Surge. Should you get caught in it, the most you can do is either counterkill your attackers, push them away with Whole Hog, or heal through it. If a bunch of people drop ults into it, you probably won’t survive, but if there’s only one or two people shooting at you, you have a fighting chance. Be mindful that Graviton Surge can also combo into other disabling ults like Blizzard or Earthshatter. If you’re on point, you might be able to cancel one of those.

Roadhog

Yes, Roadhog is his own soft counter, although as all mirror matchups are, skill and small differences are what let you come out on top. Roadhog handily survives his own simple combo, and extended combo cannot kill without some headshots. Both Take a Breather and Whole Hog make Roadhog an easy hook target. If Roadhog survives your initial attempt to kill him, he can easily turn, except now he has his cooldowns and you don’t. If you have to reload mid-fight, Roadhog will absolutely kill you in that time.

The first step in beating an opposing Roadhog is to always try to fight from a position of strength. Be at max health and with hook off cooldown whenever possible before engaging Roadhog. If the other Roadhog is at lower health and/or has just expended hook, now is probably your best chance.

One principle to keep in mind is that you want to hook second. There are a couple reasons for this. First, if two Roadhogs throw hook at about the same time, it is the one that lands second that sticks and grants tempo advantage. If both are low enough to be killed by combo, he who hooks second wins. The first hook, however, does not go on cooldown, and so if the hooked Hog survives, he who hooks first gets to hook last anyway.

The second reason is that, given the choice between alt-fire and hook (presuming you are at alt-fire’s effective range), you want to alt-fire. Suppose that we have two Roadhogs at full health and with all available cooldowns. One hooks, the other alt-fires. We’ll call them A and B, respectively. Both land, and A executes the simple combo. Then B point-blank hooks and executes his own combo. Now B has managed to get two shots in, while A has only managed one. If they trade shots once more, B will win. This is why you want to hold hook until you’re sure that you can kill your opponent in two shots, and that they can’t do the same.

Hard Counters

These heroes make you cry. Strongly consider switching if you’re not making progress against them.

Bastion

It appears that the community has figured out countless counters to Bastion. Unless the Bastion is playing rather poorly, Roadhog is not one of them.

The matter at hand is Sentry Configuration’s extreme DPS. Even at maximum falloff, that’s still 140 DPS, and it goes as high as 525. Poking your head out against a Bastion is criminally dangerous, and it really bites Roadhog when he can’t even move from cover to cover to advance. Get very comfortable with the maps so you can spend as little time as possible in Bastion’s line of sight before you’re ready to fight.

Now, hook does pull Bastion out of Sentry mode. But with 100 armor and 200 health, Bastion cannot be killed by a simple combo. An extended combo requires you to get much closer, and if Bastion let you get within ten meters of him, he’s probably not your biggest concern. Unlike the other tanky characters in the game, however, you simply cannot advance even a meter or two in Bastion’s vision to get into hook range. Even if you do land the hook and combo, Bastion will regularly kill you first after softening you up on your approach.

The other big issue is Tank Config. Try as you might, you cannot cancel Tank mode. Tank mode confers extra armor, near guaranteeing you will not be able to kill him before he kills you. Also, that cannon deals 205 damage per shot with a four meter splash. If Bastion already stood a chance after you hooked him, Tank merely seals the deal.

Your best shot at countering Bastion is to find the way-out flank paths, even if it means going the real long way around. Even then, your attempt will only really work if your team capitalizes on Bastion’s displacement. If you’re taking the long flank path around, it might be better to prey on some lower-hanging fruit anyway. If you have someone who can cover you while you advance or move to cover like a Reinhardt or Mei, this is your best chance to get a hook.

Torbjorn

Remember when I said Roadhog can kill fourteen out of the twenty-one characters in Overwatch with one combo? When Torbjorn is on the other team, that number drops to zero. Even squishy little Tracer and Zenyatta jump to 225 health, which is a hard kill even before reductions. After? Forget about it. Thankfully, armor does not have 100% uptime, and you can still two-shot most of the lighter cast members.

Similar to Bastion, Torbjorn’s turret makes moving from cover to cover very annoying. It has a forty meter acquisition range, twice the range of your hook. It’s also tiny, which means it’ll often take multiple shots to bring down even at point blank range. About the only saving grace of facing a turret is that the damage isn’t too bad for Roadhog to shoulder. A Level 1 Turret only does 28 DPS and has only 150 health. You can walk up to one easily enough and put it down. A Level 2 Turret deals a more impressive 56 DPS backed by 300 health. Not impossible to walk up to, but not if you have to cross the entire forty meters.

It’s the Level 3/Molten Core Turret that will really give you grief. The DPS goes all the way up to 180, the turret fully heals, and then goes up to 800 health. You’ve got little choice but to wait out the twelve seconds before pushing unless cover is really close by. You might be able to walk up to it and take it down with Whole Hog if you only have to walk a few meters in its line of fire. Killing Torbjorn will end Molten Core for his turret too, so if the opportunity presents itself, take the dwarven Swede out first.

Torbjorn himself is no slouch either. His alt-fire is a shotgun style ten-pellet, fifteen-per shot. 150 per shot isn’t too shabby, and with a DPS of 200, Torb alongside his turret can put you down real quick. He’s also tiny, but his head is big compared to his body, so you should still be able to put him down with a combo, assuming he hasn’t armored himself up. If Torb triggers Molten Core, his own DPS goes up to 300, so steer clear of the dwarf unless your team is with you to burn through his 300 bonus armor.

Widowmaker

As a sniper, Widowmaker tends to be far away. This makes her hard to kill with your limited range. [citation needed] She also tends to be in elevated positions, which are a pain to hook into. While she won’t melt you with crazy DPS, she will make it unsafe to move forward in a way no one else can. Once she’s got sight of you, the second you pop out from cover, that’s at least 120 damage, not to speak of the 300 damage headshot. That wouldn’t necessarily be so bad except you’re also probably trying to move forward into the enemy team. Losing a fifth of your health before you’re even past the corner is bad enough; losing half is a death sentence if you try to fight on. And with that, Widow has you cowed behind a wall, unable to move forward while you just give her ult charge as you heal up then show yourself only to hide again. If you’re actively fighting the enemy team, it can be easy to forget about the sniper just waiting for you to drop low enough to finish off.

The only real way to get around this is to play the map. Find flanking paths out of her line of sight. If you absolutely must cross into Widow’s crosshairs, do it with your team so her attention is split so at least one of you will get through. If you’d rather not sacrifice yourself and/or your teammates, Reinhardt and Mei can provide portable cover.

Now, what puts Widowmaker down here is that she is not your standard backline member. Most of these, such as Mercy, can be put down with a combo reliably if you can get a flank off. Not Widowmaker. Even if you go through all the trouble to flank a Widow (and Roadhog doesn’t have any fancy wall climbing or dashing to get him there any faster), there’s too high a chance Widowmaker will get away. Much of this is because she’s so damn skinny. Sexy as it might be, it also has the practical application of making it near impossible to land a full pellet count on her. Too often I have landed sub-120 damage shots on her, meaning you have to commit hard with multiple melees or another shot to kill her. At that point, she can often move into the relatively safety of her team, and now you’re behind enemy lines without any support. Widowmaker is probably the only low health character I would suggest using an extended combo on.

She also has great anti-flank tools in Venom Mine and Infra-Sight. Venom Mine will alert her, regardless if you shoot it or trigger it, although the trigger message is more prominent. The seventy-five damage is rather inconsequential to you, so you consider saving the ammo and time and just run past it. Infra-Sight ruins any chance of you getting a nice surprise flank on her team. Nothing to do about it but to wait it out. Listen for the audio cue so you don’t make a fool of yourself.

Hanzo

As a sniper, Hanzo tends to be far away. This makes him hard to kill with your limited range. [citation needed] He also tends to be in elevated positions, which are a pain to hook into. (Ever get that feeling of déjà vu? I won’t bore you to death about the dangers of being sniped again.)

So what are differences between Hanzo and Widow? The most pressing concern is Scatter Arrow. Even though Hanzo’s arrows are about the same damage as Widowmaker’s shots (125/250 compared to 120/300), a full Scatter Arrow will do up to 450 damage do you. No other non-ultimate ability can put that much hurt on you. Even if you duck behind cover to heal up, you’re still not safe. A good bounce or two can finish you off if you’re low enough.

That said, I find Hanzos play on the ground and in midrange more often than Widowmakers tend to, so they are easier hook targets. They’re also not unrealistically skinny, so they should die to a combo normally.

Hanzo’s ultimate is a curious thing for you to deal with. It only deals 200 DPS, so you can outheal it with Take a Breather. The issue is that Dragonstrike is so long that it will kill you anyway if you tank the whole thing. You can survive a partial Dragonstrike handily, though, so if Hanzo’s trying to scare you off an objective in overtime, you can still stand your ground long enough for your team to get back on the point.

Ana

The short of the matter is that Ana combines the range of Widowmaker, the disable prowess of Roadhog, the healing capacity of Mercy, and the damage mitigation of Torbjorn. Not a fun combination for Roadhog to face.

Let’s unpack that idea. Ana, as a sniper, is capable of doing her job from very far away, be that healing or harming. This makes it really hard for Roadhog to kill her without going the real long way around or diving through the enemy team. Neither option is very appealing. Ana’s damage output isn’t that great, at only 96 effective DPS, but it’s her heals at 90 HPS from downtown that will give you grief if your combos aren’t on point. That said, Ana tends to play more in the Hanzo/midrange… range, so she can use her abilities more effectively. And those abilities have pretty generous range. Sleep Dart is only limited by map geometry. Biotic Grenade has a 15 meter range on level ground, only five meters less than your hook.

Ana also has her Sleep Dart, analogous to Roadhog’s Chain Hook. It travels [fast], has no dropoff, and no range limitation aside from map geometry. It does have quite a start up on it, and it’s hitbox isn’t as generous as Chain Hook’s. Remember how I said Roadhog counters Roadhog because it’s easy to cancel his abilities like Take a Breather and Whole Hog? Well, Ana can do that too, from further away, and your massive hitbox more than compensates for any difficulties in landing Sleep Dart. Sleep Dart is also the longest non-ultimate disable in the game, at six seconds at full duration. Sure, it’s cancelled upon taking damage, but the best teams will pick apart your team around you, then deal with you.

The other status Ana has is her Biotic Grenade, and this one really bites Roadhog. Enemy players affected by it cannot heal (or regenerate shields) for five seconds. Roadhog relies heavily on his self-heal to sustain his way in footsies and in fights. Being hit with the heal block will immediately put you on the back foot, forcing you to fall back, except you have to wait even longer to heal up and get back in the fight. It also really messes with Roadhog’s gameplay rotation. After securing a kill, Roadhog wants to reload and heal… but now he can’t heal. You have to either wait out the debuff or perfectly counterkill your next hook target, lest you get counterkilled from your position of weakness. At a range of 15 meters and splash radius of 2.5, it’s very reasonable she can hit you with it in a scramble.

Ana, as mentioned before, is capable of healing at 90 HPS if she lands all her shots. Now, that is somewhat contingent on her allies lining up properly so she can heal the right target, but a hero being sustained by Ana must be bursted down. Thankfully, Roadhog is pretty good at that. If you fail your kill combo, however, it might not be a simple matter to finish them off.

Ana, as of writing, also posses the only burst heal in the game with Biotic Grenade. It heals 100 HP on each ally hero in the radius, Ana included. It’s a great way to spit in the face of anyone who almost killed someone, and Roadhog can struggle with this unless he is really consistent with his combos. The grenade also applies a buff to allies that doubles received healing (except from payload, apparently). One grenade plus one shot heals for 250, totally negating your standard combo.

Roadhog is a duelist. Roadhog wins duelist by landing hook and hitting his fire. Nano Boost renders this impotent. Any hero buffed with Nano Boost gains +50% damage, 50% damage reduction, and +50% movespeed. (Some sources suggest +30% movespeed.) The extra movespeed will make it harder to land hooks, and the 50% reduction guarantees that any hero will survive your standard combo, reducing your standard combo damage from 255 to 127. Even a Tracer will survive that. Tanks that lack the sheer burst of DPS cores more than make up for it with their near-invincibility under Nano Boost. Even though Roadhog duels most tanks very well, he cannot duel one under Nano Boost.

Now, how does Roadhog deal with pesky Dragonblades or Tactical Visors? By bursting down the offending enemy hero, totally negating the ult. A hero under Nano Boost, however, is more likely to get more work done before getting hooked. The damage reduction means you cannot kill them in one combo. Even if you cancel a one-and-done ult like Rocket Barrage or Death Blossom, the ult will probably have shredded the rest of your team – and that assumes you didn’t die too.

All in all, Ana offers a lot of utility, and a lot of that utility ruins Roadhog’s day. The only saving grace is that almost all of Ana’s skillset requires aiming. Better hope you outskill Ana.




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