Welcome to the apocalypse. And welcome to Whole Hog, the overlooked game saver and butt of too many sex jokes.
Part 1: Save it!
Whole Hog has two main properties: Damage and knockback. If you use Whole Hog on an open field, the knockback will overpower the damage and you will likely not kill anyone – which can be fine. More on that in a second.
Whole Hog also slows you down and makes you a very easy target for anyone not actively being juggled. In that sense it’s similar to Rocket Barrage and Deadeye – use it wrong and it becomes a ticket back to spawn. Because of this, there are not that many predictable situations where you can use it effectively without killing yourself in the process. I’ve boiled it down to three predictable uses worth saving your ult for:
- Combo with Graviton
- Repel/Lead pushes
Whole Hog does 5,000 damage over its six second duration – not accounting for headshots. Because of this, it’s one of the best ultimates for Graviton Surge. Its insane damage output dwarves even Bastion and allows Roadhog to even brute force his way through a Transcendence. He can also counter one of the main threats to a successful Graviton, Reinhardt, because he can just tear through the barrier in seconds.
Secondly, Whole Hog is like a wall of damage – if uncountered, this means that the enemy team simply can’t physically reach you, even if they tried. You are essentially clearing a lane for your team. This can be useful on both offense and defence.
On defence (or when trying to stop stalling defenders on the last point when you are on offense), Whole Hog’s knockback can be used to repel pushes. When doing that, you have to be careful to not die because you will be one of the main targets to be focused down as soon as possible. Staying behind a Rein shield or asking for protection from Zarya and D.Va will help immensely. Also make sure you know where the enemy team is coming from. If they are splitting up instead of all pushing through a single entrance, Whole Hog’s effectiveness will be greatly reduced.
On offense, you can use Whole Hog’s damage and knockback to clear the path for your team and force your way through a choke point. Whole Hog’s 5000 damage is enough to theoretically break both a Reinhardt barrier and an ice wall with one use, allowing your team to freely flood in. Good maps for this are the first control points of Numbani, Hanamura and Temple of Anubis, where teams tend to bunch up right in front of the choke point. Lastly, Whole Hog can be used to counter-ult other ultimates. It works especially well against a nanoboosted Winston and Reinhardt. Others can be forced to use their escape or defensive abilities, nullifying nanoboost’s offensive potential. Whatever the case, Whole Hog is a great counter-ult. Best case, you kill the target, worst case, you force them to waste the boost.
Notice I did not list synergy with an allied Nanoboost. The reason for this is that it doesn’t allow you to be more offensive. Even when nanoboosted, the knockback will still overpower the damage, causing you do get nothing when dropping into a full team of enemies. Nanoboost is useful in all three situations I described, but is not too useful other than that and better used on heroes with better ultimates.
Also keep in mind that these are only the predictable situations. These are the situations I think Whole Hog is worth saving for. Using Whole Hog in these circumstances is likely to give you good and reliable results. Beyond that, it gets a lot more complex on a case-to-case basis. More on that in the next part.
Part 2: Use it!
You have to keep track of the game and know when such a situation will come up. If you know you will likely not encounter any of the three situations before you can build another Whole Hog, it is okay to just use it impulsively. Keep an eye on the friendly Zarya’s ultimate charge and also her performance. If she never gets a good graviton for you to use, for example because the enemy D.Va always stays alive, you should not be saving Whole Hog for her. If the enemy Nanobost has just been used, you know you won’t need to worry about it for a while. And if the map doesn’t allow you to knock back and damage most of the team in a push, you don’t need to be worrying about repelling or leading pushes either.
In this case, Whole Hog becomes a lot more disposable – and a lot more fun to use! Similar to Deadeye, using Whole Hog for just a single kill is often not a waste at all. And similar to Deadeye, you shouldn’t get too greedy with it, either. Here are some examples for situational uses for Whole Hog:
- Confirming a hook kill
- Killing targets in an enclosed space
- Eliminating a single player for a numbers advantage
Depending on the importance of the hooked player, using Whole Hog to finish an enemy who did not die to the shotgun blast is often not a waste, especially if you can further use your ultimate to affect other enemies. This is especially useful on tanks. A single pick can help you win a teamfight. Don’t be afraid to hit the Q button if you need just that little bit of extra damage.
Be unpredictable, be impulsive. Your finger’s twitching? Hit that button. Don’t wait. Did you ever have one of these situations where Roadhog solo-ulted you and you just stared at the screen in annoyed disbelief? That’s the point.
Another reason Solo- or Duo- Ulting enemies as Roadhog is because you can avoid your counters you would likely encounter in a teamfight. These are mainly:
Not much to say here. Be careful, prioritize these targets and ask for help from your Zarya or D.Va if needed.