[Guide] (Competetive) Dropping the Hammer <Samuro Patch> by Exrage

[Guide] (Competetive) Dropping the Hammer <Samuro Patch>

By: Exrage
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016
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Build 1 of 3

Sgt. Hammer

Build: Siege Hammer

Level 1
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 20

Sgt. Hammer

Build: Sniper Hammer

Level 1
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 20

Sgt. Hammer

Build: New (Solo) Hammer

Level 1
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 20

Considerations Before Play Top

Sgt. Hammer is a very skill intensive specialist, but where most specialists focus on skill usage Hammer follows Abathur logic in your understanding of other characters, team builds, and your ability to watch the minimap and read the flow of battle to setup in the correct location at the right time.

If your team is built and/or performs poorly, you will find yourself helping the group more as a Sniper Hammer over a Siege Hammer as the former requires more of a proactive style of play for a better setup on putting sudden and massive damage on individual heroes that your narrow-focused teammates can (hopefully) finish off and allow for the momentum of team fights to swing in your favor.

Siege Hammers tend to run the meta as they are capable of massive damage, both hero and siege, and therefore are more attractive for the higher numbers. What newer players fail to realize is that an enemy team who understands what Hammer is capable of will devote a hero (or two) solely to lock her down, which even with Vigorous Assault + First Aid gimps her ability to do enough damage before running or dying resulting in your already collapsing team to dissolve completely.

Talent 1: Siege Vs Sniper Top

Siege Sniper

Hammer's one of the few heroes prior to Kharazim that has a few really good talent trees that split after the first talent selection: Siege goes Advanced Artillery or Sniper goes Ambush.

Siege Hammers are good if you need a heavy lane presence, if you have a solid tank/healer synergy, and if you have a comp that's sufficient in DPS to hold or win most of your encounters without ultimates. Sniper Hammers are more of a solo answer when your team synergy sucks or if you're good at setting up siege traps and need to counter assassin heavy teams that can/will push past your line and into you.

Ultimately Resistant and Regeneration Master fall short of true utility because their benefit overrides most of the intent behind each ability: three quartering CC duration only in siege mode when you were going to run doesn't give you an option to not run nor does moving into range to collect orbs when it takes a substantial amount of orbs to become viable at the later levels and requires heavy laning over team fighting.

Talent 4: Self Healing vs Damage Top

Siege Sniper Solo
Siege and Sniper go Focused Attack, Solo Hammers go Vigorous Assault if they plan on taking First Aid

You'll see Vigorous Assault brought up in almost every guide on Hammer as a quick and easy go-to choice, and for most of the solo artists that pride themselves as Hammer enthusiasts it certainly requires a lot less thought and rewards you with the ability to solo mercs and AFK siege in lanes a bit longer, and if you're new to Hammer then it's a pretty easy talent to consider as "training wheels" until you're ready for a more focus oriented Hammer style of play.

Focused Attack is really only an option for a Sniper build, as the 100% ambush with the added 60% damage on a 10 second reset will be spent manically racing into/around cover to setup your next shot with a decently built sniper, as they're spending most of the game timing shots off this. The removal of Maelstrom Shells has made siege Hammers recently choose this as the only damage option, which is preferable over the minor heal.

The final contestant that never gets a vote for pushing enemies almost OUTSIDE your siege ring is Excessive Force as it's pretty much counter productive to anything Hammer attempts to accomplish in team play outside of trolling a lane/solo player.

Talent 7: Survivability Top

Siege Sniper Siege Solo

Both Sniper/Siege Hammers go Hyper-Cooling Engines, Siege can go Mine Field if enemy team isn't stealth heavy, or solo build will require First Aid

Any starting Hammer will scream about First Aid being a life saver. It'll allow you to duel a few assassins at lower level and even keep you in the team fight another round or two after a quick retreat, but unless you're still rocking Vigorous Assault any hope of dueling after 10 should be far and out of your mind as Hammer, and your opponents have to be completely clueless about Hammer to win anything past 16. Still if you don't have a healer and find yourself soloing a lot it's viable.

Hyper-Cooling Engines is the mark of a confident Hammer. It puts you at the last line of defense in 6 seconds *every* time you teleport, it gives you the ability to run, setup and shoot, run, re-setup and then pray your team isn't stupid. Placement and Timing is king for Hammer, and this increases your ability to do both.

Mine Field offers a higher damage and burst potential for a siege build, enabling you to create a devastating area with 10 mines, but eliminates your "quick escape" option in a collapsing team fight. If the enemy team only has a single assassin or their chase option is weak you can use this to help control real estate behind your team as you advance or as an excellent AOE burst to clear out heavy melee on your tank.

Talent 10: Skillshot Top

Siege Sniper Siege Sniper No Chaser

Siege and Sniper Hammers can go Napalm Strike or Blunt Force Gun now with the reduced CD on the latter.

Before in 90% of your times playing Hammer Napalm Strike was your go-to. Un-upgraded it still nearly doubles your DPS in lanes, upgraded it becomes a terrifying max-range smash attack that makes a Siege seem like a Sniper and makes a Sniper almost unfair as it quickly chews through heroes between setups.

Blunt Force Gun Used to be a Sniper only option, but with the recent CD reduction has become perfectly viable as a burst finisher for both builds, though understand it requires a good degree of forethought as it requires a 2 second "wind up" and has a slow flight speed making hitting players harder the further they are from you. Consider it a "chaser" option if you don't have a fast assassin on your team, but understand you will lose a fair amount of damage during team fights and managing your lanes.

I've also heard orbital being an end-game timer, but I have yet to see the justified lack of damage worth the additional 5 levels worth of waiting past 20 that didn't usually result in your team's loss as they consistently lost equivalent matchups. Snipers can't tap runners as effectively without chasing (and dying)... but hey if you can pull it off post a video.

Talent 13: Damage Modifyer Top

Siege Sniper Left Alone Siege Sniper Harrassed

Both Siege/Sniper builds go First Strike unless you're constantly harassed, then go Giant Killer for a more stable damage addition that scales nicely in late game.

First Strike is the first words out of most Hammers for 13, and for good reason. 25% bonus damage every time 5 seconds passes from the last time you've taken damage is pretty easy considering you're either a sniper that goes invisible before lining up a shot, or a siege at max range almost the entire fight. If the enemy team has proven to be stupid enough to leave you alone, hey by all means go for it. But any legitimate Hammer enthusiast knows that **** doesn't fly past league 15, so if you find yourself constantly hounded then behold:

Giant Killer works fairly well when your team finds itself at a disadvantage, Assassins find their way behind your line and in your face at almost every turn, or find yourself stumbling in from a lane with minions constantly tagging you right before setting up on an objective. Siege can opt for this more reliable damage bump when things aren't quite lining up in your team fights.

The runners-up include Barricade which looks great on paper... until you wall your melee out, your healer in, block a chase, gimp a drag, or knock a pull back and prevent a follow-up, and Bullhead Mines adding a knockback on top of your knockback so you can knockback your knockback. If that much knock is required to kill someone, either your DPS sucks or their ability to kill you does.

Talent 16: Controlling the Fight Top

Siege Sniper Sniper No CC Team

Siege Hammers go Graduating Range, Sniper Hammers go Executioner unless the enemy team is high mobility/your team can't CC or team fight consistently/you have trouble timing your opener in which case Hover Siege Mode is a viable alternative but would recommend Graduating Range if you must hybrid.

Graduating Range is the Siege Hammer's point of domination. If your opponents have been ignoring you most of the fight, then it will catch almost all of them off guard and allow you to freely kill them as they try to break away from their focus in an encounter only to realize your AOE ring is FAR past where they thought it was. If your team is behind, provided there's any hope in them figuring out how to utilize Hammer, the increasing AOE will make it very apparent to them.

Executioner works best when you have heroes that have been CCing fairly consistently during team fights. If they haven't, a disciplined Sniper will toss their spider mines, siege, then smash their target and finish off anything that isn't a tank or has a non-CC'd healer in the 2nd or 3rd shot. Without knowing how to mine-shot going Hover is perfectly fine for a Sniper build that likes to sit on the healer, but true Sniper builds will choose this as their game clincher.

Hover Siege Mode is one of the first things new Hammers throw out there if they went the path of the sniper and like the idea of lining up a shot on a disintegrating team fight, but anyone who's actually used this long enough knows it's clunky and doesn't really add anything that graduating doesn't in terms of controlling real-estate, but if you're finding yourself constantly too slow setting up then this will help you correct mistakes with a Sniper build before re-sieging after 5 seconds for another max DPS salvo.

Stoneskin is the lie Blizzard apparently enjoys feeding kids to make a "duel viable" Hammer dream stay alive.

Talent 20: Final Nail in Their Coffin Top

Siege Sniper Close Fight Siege Sniper

Both Siege/Sniper should go Advanced Lava Strike if the match is close and team fights are close to even. If the matchups go in your favor Siege can Nexus Frenzy to maintain area dominance while Snipers can Fury of the Storm to pull assassin worthy openers from safe distances.

Advanced Lava Strike is what validates Napalm Strike as a true ultimate, turning it into a max range poke before Graduating Range can catch up if your team went chasing immediately out of your AOE (as often they do) for Siege players. It's the chase option for a Sniper build on targets that *almost* got away from your assassin, and helps control situations when players on both sides tend to operate outside your AOE ring.

Nexus Frenzy is the final addition to a Siege that makes them capable of killing almost any character before they can run away provided they have clear LOS to the end of their insanely long range. If your team is behind and hugging keeps, this is what will turn the tide from an outright loss into a come-from-behind victory push, and will allow you to single-handedly destroy keeps in 2 lanes provided the enemy team doesn't catch you early enough.

Fury of the Storm is the final piece of a true Sniper build, it will setup their opener to outright kill any non-tank that isn't at full health or have mitigation available, and will essentially single-handedly turn the tide of a team fight as the healers can't keep up on top of your teammates doing really anything legitimate.

Finally Orbital BFG has been mentioned as an end-game timer when placed right (constantly hitting the enemy core), but again it always takes until 25+ and again that is a LOT of damage one of the other 3 can put on enemy heroes.

Understanding Artillery (Hammer's Trait) Top

Understanding what defines "Long Ranged" or "Distant" when looking at Advanced Artillery causes a lot of Hammer players to confuse the values of certain talents. A target is considered "Long Ranged" when the basic attack makes contact with an enemy outside of Hammer's yellow close-range indicator pictured here:This translates to about 40% of your total range in siege mode, and 75% of your total range in general. Meaning all of your artillery talent selections work for both of Hammer's modes as pictured here:
Talents will increase Hammer's basic attack range, but as of Tracer's patch do NOT increase the "Long Range" effect. This can be short-referenced by how far you can place her Spider Mines or the length of a standard Concussive Blast arc. Heroes who are outside but move inside by the time an attack hits will NOT receive the bonus, however heroes who are inside but run out do.

tl;dr Siege Hammers do just as much single target damage outside of siege mode with a smaller margin for error, so don't sit in siege mode when heroes need chased.


Can I still use Vigorous Assault and First Aid instead of the Siege/Sniper talents and still be considered viable?

For Siege, yes you just sacrifice a bit of the late game comfort and utility the additional 20% range tacks on with Graduating Range and Nexus Frenzy. For Sniper, Vigorous Assault over Focused Attack no longer allows for a decent "opener" with Executioner as it won't drop your average assassin/specialist/support 30%+ that makes the Sniper build comparable to Siege in the late game.

First Aid is viable for both builds as it allows you to solo mercs and is slightly advantageous when you have Tassadar or your build doesn't include a support, it just limits what small freedom Hammer has in her ability to move, as that 10 seconds waiting for thrusters often is the difference between dying when you get jungled or find yourself slowly peeling backward and your teammate finishes hearthing, and getting from your spawn point to your last line takes 16 seconds instead of 6.

How do you know when to use a Sniper build in ranked instead of Siege?

Usually at the character select I'm watching what the enemy team is choosing. A lot of heroes have the ability to put pressure directly on Hammer, so to say one hero over another or a list of specific team compositions would be too hasty. If their composition has a lot of ranged assassins/specialists and look like they're trying to counter Seige then I'll look at my team's composition.

If my team has a solid tank that can CC like Diablo, E.T.C., or Chen without letting a lot through, and my support is capable of enhancing or CCing like Lt. Morales or Brightwing and the DPS is strong enough to body block or AOE a little will be a large portion of making my decision.

Lastly I'm watching the first round of talent selection, and mostly I'm seeing who's potentially watching me. I'll wait almost until minions are meeting in the middle before choosing, and if I do end up going Sniper I'll sit in plain sight soaking minions in hopes of catching that first team fight with them unaware of my build until the last possible second. It's safe to say most don't understand Hammer as of Tracer's patch to really know the difference in a Sniper's playstyle compared to Siege- but I don't take chances.

Siege completely outperforms Sniper, why do you even bother posting that build?

In quick matches and 25+ ranked where teams aren't really organized and not a lot understand anything about Hammer other than "she's squishy" and "she can't move in siege mode" where you're left alone 90% of the match, you're correct.

Sniper Hammers allow you to perform the functions of Hammer (lane decently and provide an AOE ring) while providing a massive smack on your opener that most healers can't get to in time and most teams aren't prepared for. Hammer has never been able to pump out the burst of an Assassin, but this build is like a trump card when your enemy team is expecting an easy CC/gimp target and keep getting spread thin chasing you, only for you to smack another hero 10 seconds later.

Hammer is treated like any glass cannon target, and that's exactly what Sniper Hammers bank on is idiots blindly chasing them. They won't finish top damage, but if your team wins then why do you care?

Going into and out of Siege Mode loses too much damage for Ambush to matter in team fights.

Again, you're right. If your team is winning and posted up in a fight, just sitting in Siege Mode keeping pressure is fine- but understand your window for shots *never* changes. Every 5th shot = another 60% boost, which enhances a standard shot just fine on it's own.

The enemy moving out of your range is to be anticipated, and rewards Snipers with another massive tap if chasing proves to be a trap and your team is prepared for it, where Siege will find that just sitting in normal and waiting for the fight to develop before re-sieging affords just as much damage on closer targets that you can then reposition if the enemy's trap springs on you.

Executioner requires CCs to be effective. Spider Mines make for a good skill shot, but unless you have good slowing heroes then don't bank on it and go Graduating Range or Hover Siege Mode, but "True Snipers" like "Area Control Siege" require a competent team to really pull off as having a slowing/stun/root effect EVERY 5th second on your target isn't something solo-artists can pull off, and why Sniper Hammers are quickly scoffed at and dismissed by kids disheartened because they chose a talent and never see it fully utilized.

It's viable, just bring a friend who can tank/CC properly for you.

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