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I created this guide for my clan to help them learn and understand GoHo (Golem + Hog strike, or GoHo for brief) to try and make my clan stronger (and also because I really like GoHo). I figured I'd post my guide within case anyone else would like to learn GoHo or understand some of the more key points of using GoHo, and what's essential to have consistently good attacks. This guide is mainly focused on TH9, but can also be extrapolated out to early TH10, as every one of the major concepts still apply until you're attacking into inferno towers. The 3 major parts are: funneling, getting your destroy squad to the primary, and the hog attack. As you can see, 2/3 of the most important parts of a successful strike don't involve the hogs in any way, and also mostly happen within the first 1-1.5 minutes of the attack.
Let's breakdown the troops of the GoHo. You have: funnel soldiers, get rid of squad (which might also contain some/most of the funnel troops), hogs, clean-up troops, and the CC.
Funnel soldiers: 2 golems, 1-4 wb, and usually 4-7 wizards. 4-7 wizards is quite standard, but this is all about maximizing value for troop space. When you can use a couple minions to snipe some end buildings rather than wizard, that's better. Have to create a wide funnel where your wizard would get wiped out before it got the building down? Consider utilizing a valk or baby dragon instead. You'll probably still just use wizards (I really do 90%+ of that time period), but I want to toss in other soldiers so you at least begin to consider it. Don't use with the mindset you need to use wizards.
Wipe out squad: 2 golems from the funnel, maybe 4 of the wizards from your funnel (expect some to pass away), your king, your queen, your CC, and maybe another few wizards for good measure. THE COMPLETE goal of the kill squad is to eliminate the CC, destroy the queen, and move on to the core. Declining any one of these 3 things could spoil your strike, but luckily most bases are create in such a way that you can simply get a queen and CC pull from some angle. The primary is simply a leap spell from there (or you could trend through it if the wall space are level 8 or lower).
Hogs: 20 hogs. I don't think significantly less than 20 hogs is a good idea, and more hogs could detract from your eliminate squad being effective or leave you with insufficient clean up soldiers. After many many war and raid attacks with hogs, I came across 20 hogs to be the special place at TH9. HOWEVER, the one time I might take more than 20 hogs (few more - something like 16-18 hogs + 6 in the CC) would be on really spread out bases where it's improbable you'll receive your KS considerably into the core. 99% of the time 20 will do the trick.
Clean-up: This varies, but maybe it's anything from a few wizards to 3-5 minions to 4-10 archers. Small troops that can choose off garbage buildings
CC Troops: for GoHo, the only options you should really consider are (1) bowlers, (2) golem, (3) more hogs - in that order. (1) 2 golems with bowlers in the CC is the most powerful version of GoHo, but I believe it works better with higher level heroes. Since you're only taking 2 golems, you must have the DPS to drive out defenses, the CC, the queen, and other things on the way to the center prior to the defenses take out your 2 golems (that are also weakened from funneling) and then the rest of your KS. It could be counter-intuitive to believe that taking less DPS and more tank is worse when you have weaker heroes, but don't underestimate the effectiveness of a brand new golem + 2 weakened golem behind a good level 15 queen + a few wizards. You are not taking a speed run, you're taking a 3 star. (2) I think a golem in the CC is probably the best option for anybody that has around 15/15 heroes (queen is more important than king). Like I explained above, you need the extra container to maintain your KS alive since you'll be going right through everything more gradually with lower level heroes. (3) As I described in the troop section, this will really only be considered as an option on disseminate bases where you do not think that you can get a KS very far into the primary. Usually you will be choosing option (1) or (2).
Your attack starts with funneling. Even though you take 3 golems, I think you truly only need 2 to create a good funnel, and I drop the 3rd one right before I drop the rest of the KS, as a brand new container. For the placement of the 2 2 golems, I drop them just a little wide (right and remaining) of where I want to enter. This will be maybe 5-ish squares from the point I plan on WB into. Any further and the golems won't see the gap and you'll only need a 30 troops space golem beating on the wall, not necessarily providing much value. After I drop the golems, I drop my 4-7 wizards (or whatever you're using for funneling) to clear the initial trash buildings. You should clear trash buildings within 9-11-ish tiles on either side of where you are going to be getting into. The whole point of the is to remove all the garbage buildings that might attract your ruler, queen, or CC. After your funnel troops have gone to work, drop your wb in between your golems where you want to enter. Getting the WB to break through the original wall is an integral part of nearly every effective strategy. If you don't feel comfortable with having the ability to WB effectively, take more wbs. I would rather see someone take 10 wbs and promise they complete the first wall structure effectively than see someone take 4 wb and fail. This is an incredibly important area of the strike - don't underestimate it. AFTER you have successfully wb in (and NEVER before - ever), drop your CC, your ruler, your queen, and a couple wizards for good measure. Unless you wait to drop everything until once you wb in, you risk having your troops wander (despite your funnel) and mess up your assault.
The next area of the attack is the Destroy Squad. At this point, you ought to have made a funnel, broken into the first wall with your wb, and dropped off your kill squad troops. If you're owning a stoned GoHo (3 golems), drop your golem first (which should be in the CC), then your rest of your eliminate squad. With a fresh golem as a container as well as your ruler, queen, and some wizards behind it, you can really do some harm and clear a lot out. Your troops should be going into the base and you should be at the point that you're sketching aggro from the queen and the CC. It's now time for the level 5 poison. On the GoHo, you should always take 2 poisons. First the first is for the CC, second the first is for any surface skeletons that pop up to eliminate your hogs. Remember about poisoning the CC. see more When not in poison, they'll have twice as much DPS, which can put some stopping power onto your kill squad - not at all something you want. When you can also snag the queen in the poison with the CC, that's cool, get it done, but ALWAYS be sure you get every one of the CC. If you're uncertain you can get every one of the CC + the queen, don't even try to get the queen. 95% of that time period you'll finish up with all/mainly air CC, and your king will beeline for the queen and wreck her in the first 10 mere seconds. The only exemption to falling your poison on the CC is if there are a lone golem or lone hound. For a lone golem drop the poison on the queen as well as for a lone hound drop the poison following the hound has popped. I always take a jump spell with GoHo to make sure my KS reaches where I want these to go, but sometimes you can also opt for rage (if you are looking to get past level 8 or lower walls). Whichever you take, immediately after you drop your level 5 poison is the time to drop your jump/rage spell. This will effectively eliminate both the CC and the queen, and carry your KS into the primary of the bottom, right where they need to be.
To recap up up to now, your drop order should be: [Funneling soldiers] 2 golems, then funneling soldiers, then wb, [Kill Squad] CC, then Ruler, then Queen, then a few wizards [Spells during Kill Squad] Level 5 poison, then Trend/Jump It will almost always be in that order. When you have to write it down before you attack to help you keep in mind, do it. Keep in mind: Funneling troops, Wipe out Squad, Spells during Kill Squad. Or Funnel, KS, Spells for brief.
FINALLY, we get to the hog part of the attack. At this time, you have established yourself up for success, and you will have an idea if you are going to absolutely crush the bottom or not. Everything you are actually doing up up to now is making a "U" shape of the base. Bases are typically in a square or circle formation, you're cutting out a line using one aspect to the center, turning the circle/square into a U (this is important to identify, so if you're having trouble viewing this, PM me and I could clarify it further). Your hog strike should start on one end of the U and end on the other end of the U destroying every protection, then clean-up goes in the precise reverse. At this point, what I've seen from many people attempting GoHo is what is known as a Surgical GoHo. What this means is you are surgically deploying 3 or so hogs per point defense so you eventually add more and more hogs to make an unstoppable pressure. How you deploy these also naturally drive the hogs around the U that you created. Surgical GoHo is difficult to accomplish, and I think more folks should first be learning a more simple GoHo. I'll first explain the major downfall of the hog attack, then why medical GoHo is difficult (hint: it's easier to hit the major downfall point), and finally explain what I believe is better.
The BIGGEST downfall of a hog attack is your hogs divorce and going in various directions. Collectively, hogs are perfect and can mow through everything, but on their own they're relatively squishy and can expire pretty easily. The power in GoHo attacks comes from the strength of the pack of hogs moving jointly throughout the bottom. This is why you want to begin your hog strike using one end of the U and end on the other end - because it's an all natural route for the hogs to check out. If you have fifty percent your hogs heading still left and then half heading right, which hogs in the event you heal? Odds are, you choose the bigger pack and leave the others to pass away. In the event that you heal both, you'll likely run out of heals (TH9 only get 3 heals + jump/rage) and also you finish up prolonging the unavoidable choice of departing a pack of hogs to perish. They are the situations you want to avoid and just why you should NEVER voluntarily divide your hogs (i.e. assault from both ends of the U). Your goal is to keep the hogs continuing to route within a direction (either clockwise or counter-clockwise), deploying more as they go around, and healing when necessary.
Now onto why Surgical GoHo is difficult. When you deploy only 3 roughly hogs per point protection, and deploy lots of groups of 3, you open up yourself up to more opportunities where a group of 3 hogs will fail, and you're remaining with some defenses up in the middle of your hogs. This hurts you two-fold: (1) This creates a parting in your hog pack. Operative GoHo depends on all sets of hogs taking right out their point defenses and becoming a member of together into a significant pack. When one part of the surgical deployment of hogs fails, you're remaining with a parting in your pack, that may leave you with 2 specific groups. This is actually the first way you strike the major failing point for hog episodes. Which group do you decide to heal? The larger one, and you leave the smaller one to perish. You just voluntarily wiped out off a few of your hogs, hurting your assault. (2) If you are trying to maintain your hogs going in a single path, when a operative hog deployment does not take out every one of the expected defenses, you now have defenses tugging your primary pack of hogs in two distinct directions. Which way do your hogs go? Hopefully in the direction that you would like them to, but they'll likely partly divide, further hurting your assault. When one surgical deployment of hogs fails, you open yourself to a two-fold major failure in your hog attack. Yes it looks prettier, but no, it isn't worth the much larger potential failing rate. Which explains why I would recommend switching to a standard GoHo.
Next is what I would recommend using: simply a the usual, really standard GoHo. The primary difference between GoHo and Surgical GoHo is the amount of hog deployments one does and the amount of hogs you deploy in each deployment. Operative hog deployment uses 5-6 deployments of 3-4 hogs, and a standard GoHo uses 3 (sometimes 4) deployments for all those 20 hogs. I came across this works best when you do 3 decrementing deployments. The deployments could vary depending on the point defenses you're looking to get through between deployments, but I usually choose something like 9, 6, 5 or 8, 7, 5. The easy cause of my options: a pack of 7, 8, or 9 hogs is much less inclined to fail and not complete defenses in comparison to a pack of 3-4 hogs. The complete notion of the hog strike is creating an overwhelming push of hogs that route across a base together and tear through defenses. It's much easier to create that pack of hogs when you start strong.
Another aspect to understand is where you deploy your 3 packs. You'll want all 20 of your hogs deployed by the time your pack is half way around the U. That means the last deployment of hogs will likely happen right before the bottom part of the U, and the first two deployments will happen before that time. Obviously the original deployment will happen in the beginning of the U, which just leaves the next deployment of hogs. I'd say a good estimation is just before the fifty percent way mark between your first and last deployment. It will vary a bit, but you'll essentially be adding your hogs to attacking defenses on the outside, to keep your initial pack of hogs towards the within of the bottom. The general concept I love to think of for (all) hog episodes is to keep adding increasingly more hogs to the pack until it becomes unstoppable. You don't want to send in the entire pack simultaneously, you want to keep adding reinforcements beyond what the defense can handle so it seems like it's hopeless for the protection. Like in Lord of the Bands when Gandalf showed up to stomp all the orcs. You understand the scene.
The last facet of the hog attack is when to deploy each of your 3 deployments. The first will go after the destroy squad has reach the core, so you really just have to think about the second and third deployments. But honestly there's very little thinking involved, you want to deploy them when the pack has already reached that period. So if you drop at 0%, 25%, and 50% round the U, you will want to drop the second deployment when the initial group reaches 25% across the U, and you will want to drop the last deployment of hogs when the pack has reached the 50% point across the U. Quite simple stuff - just don't deploy hogs way before where your pack of hogs currently is.
After speaking with a few of you in the comments section, I thought yet another section about clean-up was worth adding. Once you have gotten the fundamentals of the GoHo down and can reliably ace TH9s (or TH10 sans infernos), you will most probably notice that the largest cause of failing is operating out of your time. If you finish up in this category, it's likely because you didn't start your clean-up soon enough. Unlike a lot of other attacks (or possibly just what most people are used to), the clean-up part of a GoHo assault shouldn't begin when the hogs have finished taking out the last defenses - it should begin following the hogs took out the first set of defenses.
After you have completed your first or second deployment of hogs, you should drop several wizards (or whatever you're using for clean-up) back again at the start where you deployed your first set of hogs to begin taking down the trash buildings on the outside of the U. If there aren't defenses to prevent your wizards from doing clean-up, there's no reason waiting around to start out, so don't wait around. Doing that one simple thing can shave over 30 secs off your assault. How's that for click-baitiness? But honestly it's not an exaggeration, and can turn those raised percentage one or two 2 superstars that fail promptly into 3 star attacks. You will have to be sure you do this at a great time (don't drop your clean-up soldiers as your hogs are about to head into a dual huge bomb un-healed), but it ought to be quick enough where you can drop a wizard or two and click back to your heal to protect your hogs. Please remember, this isn't about precision, it's nearly starting the clean-up. Even though you miss a building or two, it's easier for your troops (especially hogs) to back-track across the base and take out a couple structures than it is to allow them to beat through twelve buildings looking to do clean-up in a comparatively short timeframe.
When deploying your clean-up soldiers, be sure you don't drop everything at once (keep at least 1-2 wizards + a few archers). That is to protect yourself in case there's a troll big bomb externally of the map or if you have leftover corner huts to clear out. With the remaining clean-up soldiers, I'll usually drop the rest of my wizards following the hogs have mainly cleared the bottom, roughly equally break up between where my 1-2 wizards I fallen early are and where my hogs are starting clean-up on garbage buildings. Also, check for corner structures before you drop your last clean-up soldiers, since those can finish up being truly a huge time-sink of not dealt with.

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