Edit: Because people are reading this as me saying “Hog is viable in comp!” I am not saying that. I do not think he is currently viable as he’s not great against dive. I had 1 hour of a losing streak as Hog in this meta before ceasing to play him this season. What I can tell you though is what I think will make Hog useful once we move back to 2-2-2 and tank metas, of which I have 60 hours of GM Hog experience. I do not believe “not meta” means “weak hero”. Hog does not have to be useful in every meta to be a useful hero. This is absolutely not a guide to play Hog right now in dive meta competitive games, because I suck at that. Maybe my title was ambiguous, my bad.
For reference I have ~60 hours of GM hog at a 51% win rate. I know overbuff says it’s far lower atm, I played him for like five games this season during a losing streak. Again, dive is not good for my Hog. I am only talking in terms of what I expect him to do at high ranks in 2-2-2 and tank metas, which is where all of my experience lies.
Contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling, Roadhog is not a useless hero right now. His usage rates and winrate are certainly very hampered right now, but I think that comes down to two main reasons.
1) It’s dive meta, Hog is very weak to heroes like Tracer and D.Va at high ranks. Playing him now is like playing Reinhardt. He’s not good in this meta, but that does not necessarily make him a weak hero. Metas outside of dive do exist and will return in the future.
2) There are a lot of misunderstandings about how Roadhog works now. I’m still learning to perfect post-nerf Roadhog, his skill floor has been raised HUGELY and there is a lot for even the best of us to learn when playing this new Roadhog.
What I can help with is the second part. Roadhog can still very reliably instakill every single 200hp hero in the game right now. It’s not as easy to do, but it is reliable.
To understand this, let me first tell you about the timings of Roadhog’s hook pull. There are four essential stages:
1) Hook connects
2) Target is pulled to Roadhog
3) Roadhog gets the chance to fire
4) The target stops being stunned and can use abilities
Now, what’s important to learn is that there is a time gap between parts 3 and 4. If you previously executed Roadhog’s combo by merely holding your forwards key and primary fire button you will not tend to kill your target. What you now need to do is make the entire use of the time between stages 3 and 4 by continuing to hold your forwards key until the very last moment, then pressing primary fire and melee.
For some heroes this timing is very tight. For example, you do not get much time with Genji, if his deflect is up your combo does nothing. You cannot give heroes like Genji time to regain control. For others, like Ana, her abilities all have a time period before they activate, giving you a much more lenient time window. It doesn’t matter if Ana starts to fire her sleepdart provided you kill her before she actually fires it. This extra time window lets you get just a bitcloser, making it easier.
The locations you fire are now more important too. Some 200hp heroes (eg Sombra) only die if you fire in the perfect spot.
Here’s a list of where I think each 200hp hero stands in relation to Roadhog:
Loose timing and loose aim: McCree Pharah S76 Hanzo Junkrat Torbjorn Zenyatta
Loose timing and precise aim: Widowmaker Ana Mercy Symmetra Lucio
Precise timing and loose aim: Tracer
Precise timing and precise aim: Genji Sombra
So, some heroes (like McCree and Zenyatta) are honestly going to die no matter how bad your timing is as long as you don’t hold m1 whilst you pull them in. Others, like Genji and Sombra, now require a pretty huge level of skill. Additionally some, like Sombra, will be nigh impossible if they have their hook damage healed off. This is fairly rare though, basically everyone is instakillable regardless of how much they are healed provided your melee is in very quick succession to your primary fire.
Overall though, I think the takeaway here is that Blizzard did not remove Roadhog’s combo, they simply made it take longer and they made it require more skill to execute.
I’ve gotten a lot of doubt in the past from people saying it’s just not reliable, and I have to say it really is. I’ve been practicing this a lot in game and essentially nobody I hook lives that would not have lived pre-nerf. If you want some practice though, just boot up a custom game at fight bots. The survival rate of bots is essentially identical to the survival rate of players in my experience.
Get it to the point where you combo kill 100% of Ana bots and the Anas you hook in game will not survive you.
Here’s a couple gifs of this sort of practice (note, I did not change the level of damage or healing that the enemies receive here, only the amount they do to me as well as my cooldowns)
Once you master this you can continue playing Roadhog how you did prenerf. It’s essentially the same against everyone but 250hp heroes and Sombra.