Hammer's Rain of Death by Havoc12

Hammer's Rain of Death

By: Havoc12
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2015
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Build 1 of 1

Sgt. Hammer

Build: Build #1

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Level 20

Threats to Sgt. Hammer with this build

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Threat Hero Notes
  No Threat
  No Threat
Tyrael his charge and stun are a pain as are his high HP. It is hard to get away from him. Make sure to plan escape carefully and keep a itch trigger finger on thrusters.
Falstad Can be dangerous if you don't respect him. He can take your HP to zero alarmingly fast, but is very vulernable to your damage as well.
Jaina Easily killed but she can stop you from escaping and force you to relocate very frequently
Anub'arak His stun chain coupled with relatively high damage, make him a real danger. If you can't fire it makes it easy for the enemy team to swarm you.
  No Threat
Gazlowe His turrets and bomb placements make life difficult. Not a lethal threat, but can stop you doing your job.
Zagara She is dangerous because she can wilt you down from afar with minions. They key is to be constantly on the move and use ambush effectively
Nazeebo Nazebo is a threat early on, but later during the game you can deal with him effectively. Zombie circle can be dealt easily with lethal blast and his ultis with engines, but when supported properly by his team you have to handle with with lots of care.
Nova Problem is it is hard to see her coming and she can totally spoil your retreat and deny you the first trike bonus. Long range ultis can screw up your placement
Zeratul Similar to nova, hard to see him coming some times. If he has cover or walls near by he can harass you very effectively.
Stitches Hard counter to this build. If he is smart he can rain on your parade the whole day and you can't do much about it.

Hammer mechanics and introduction. Top

A few words about hammer's mechanics.

Siege mode: This mode does not buff hero damage directly it only buffs structure and minion damage. However it gives hammer a great deal of range and it adds splash in relatively decent range. Hammer traits and talents reward him massively for attacking from as far as possible without taking any damage, so siege mode is really important in maximizing his damage output. If the enemy team is bunched up then siege mode buffs hero damage too through the splash, making it even more powerful!.

Autoattack/range bonus buffs: A key thing to realise about hammer is that both autoattack and range buffs stack additively, not multiplicatively. That includes the siege bonuses. So if hammer is attacking a minion far away then his damage bonus on autoattacks is 30%+20% = 50%, so 1.5 rather than 1.3*1.2 = 1.56.

Hammer gets a LOT of modifiers in this build as the game goes on, so you need to avoid excessively stacking a particular bonus. For example at max level right after sieging yhou would have 100%+100%+25%+20% which is a 245% basic attack and 145% basic attacks after the first one. Adding modifiers to the attack power after this is not useful. The only thing that stacks multiplicatively to your damage is attack speed increases.

Same with range. IF you take the range talent and graduating range then your new max range is 100%+90%+100%+20% = 310% in siege mode.

Hammer's range towards the end game exceeds his vision, but his vision can be extended by relying on minions, mines and napalm strike. Napalm and mines reveal an area that is roughly 20% or 10% of hammer's basic range respectively.

Also the blue line on hammer's range is visible to opponents only when hammer himself is visible. When hammer is cloaked his range line is hidden from the enemy.

This build is not for people learning how to play hammer. It is only for hardened hammer veterans. In the right hands it is a monster, but if you play badly then it is a death trap. To play it well you must understand hammer escape mechanisms be able to pick good positions. You must be able to set up effectively, know how to use hammer's talents to relocate regularly and most of all you must be able to read the game and predict what the other team will do. Being 3sec ahead of the other team makes a tremendous difference here.

Maximising this build is also partly down to your team. Your lack of mobility means that you lay down a lot of nonspecific damage that means you are reliant on your team to keep the fight in an advantageous position, finish off opponents you would or get opponents low so you can finish them off. If you don't have a team who understands the benefits you bring with this build then your effectiveness will take a hit.

The key to this build is being able to attack from afar without being attacked. It is at its most powerful when you team sets up and slowly turtles forward attacking their base, starcraft terran style. The extreme range and firepower of this build means that the enemy team will have no choice but to come to you. But to get to you they have to run through your team's deathball and do so under withering fire in your kill zone.

Tier 1 Top

Mandatory talent: Ambush.

Advanced artillery is a popular talent here, but it suffers from the high modifiers that hammer already enjoys. Since is only active from afar it contributes 155/145 = 1.069 or 6.9% more damage to heroes and only 5.7% against minions to your distant autoattacks, which are nearly always benefiting from the first strike bonus with this build. Overall it represents somewhere in the order of 5% of total damage.

The only other viable talent in this tier is ambush. Now ambush has both a damage component and a utility component. If you benefit from this bonus once every 15s then you will be getting 6.66% extra autoattack damage from its bonus. That is the point where its essentially equal damage to advanced artillery. Even if you get 3% more autoattack damage from it the utility of ambush in helping you relocate and survive makes it an absolute must in this build. Although advanced artillery be a valid choice in many builds. In this one it is not. You will be getting in and out of siege mode quite a bit in this build and having ambush mitigates both the loss of DPS time and makes it harder for people to attack while you siege. Overall the difference in damage between ambush and artilery in this build is trivial, but the invisibility from ambush has tremendous utility for this playstyle.

Another important concern for artilery shells is that people tend to get out of hammer's range pretty darn fast if you siege near them or use a gap closer to get close to you. That means two things: Either you will only get 1 attack in which case it ambush will give you 10x more damage than artillery shells or the enemy will close in in which case artillery shells does nothing, but ambush still works and it might actually stop the enemy from attacking you while you siege if they have no skill shot to use to bring out of invisibility

Tier 2 Top

Mandatory talent: Maelstrom shells
This tier has a several useful talents, which bring a lot of benefits for hammer. Unforunately range is central to this build. That means you must take one of the two 20% range talents, either maelstrom cells or the level 20 frenzy. The strength of the ulti buffing level 20 talents for hammer means that maelstrom shels is the only option.

Tier3 Top

Mandatory talent hypercooling engines.

First aid is a great talent for dueling, but in this build it is pointless. On the other hand hypercooling engines allows you to painlessly escape and relocate, which is something you can't live without in this glass cannon build.

Tier 4 - Ultimate Top

Mandatory talent: Napalm.

Napalm just has too many benefits for you to ignore. At level 20 it has the same range as your max range extending your kill zone to your full limit. It can spot for you and it is always available. Killing people as soon possible the moment they enter your kill zone is something you need to be able to do all the time with this guild. The short cooldown and damage potential of napalm, makes it indispensible for this reason. This strategy does not work without it.

Tier 5 Top

Mandatory talent: First strike

This is the butter on the bread that is this strategy. Your range and ambush makes it easier to keep this talent at a ridiculously high uptime. The result is a sick sick damage bonus. No other talent comes close in power. To give you an example giant killer the only other damage talent adds 50-70 per autoattack at best at level 20. You are looking at 100+ bonus with first strike.

Tier 6 Top

Mandatory talent: Graduating range.

Another tier filled with really useful talents, but for this strategy range is paramount and so graduating range is king by necessity. Mine field is great if you are getting close and personal in tank mode, but doing so makes it harder to keep first strike and your trait bonus active. Hover tank partially eliminates the mobility trade for increased range and synergizes nicely with ambush (hello permanent cloak on demand), but unfortunately your range isn't enough to keep you out of skill shot range and it is not enough to allow you to fire on people escaping. Executioner gives you a monstrous damage boost on disabled opponents and it is very powerful in the right team set up, but it is yet another + damage modifier to add to the mix. If you have taken artilery shells and first strike the bonus turns 155% to 195% on disabled opponents. That means your damage output increases by 26%. A lot of damage, but it isn't quite what you might think when you see 40% on the tooltip. On top of that you don't have any means of using siege mode to stay away from the enemy team, so it will be harder to maintain first trike and your trait. So all in all while each of these talents may be powerful in other builds, only graduating range is compatible with this strategy.

Tier 7 Top

Mandatory talent: advanced lava strike

Nexus Frenzy is a great damage talent, because the attack speed buff stacks multiplicatively with your attack buffs and so you get the full 20% bonus. The 20% more range is not particularly useful. 330% instead to 310% is neither here nor there. Both are bloody far. However advanced lava strike not only makes your napalm hit for ****tons it also gives an extended range that exceeds the 300% mark. Napalm can be used to scout for you beyond your side range or behind walls allowing to fire on heroes and buildings there and prevent objective capture. More importantly as long as you don't miss the skill shot the damage output is comparable to nexus frenzy. On top of that it gives you a better abiliity to decloak people

Strategy and tactics Top

Now the important bit. How does everything come together? Well it is simple to grasp but hard to master. The idea behind this build is to basically turtle. You set up somewhere and hit the opponent until they come to you or run, then you relocate and do it again.

Early on before the range talents, you use siege mode effectively like a skill shot. You siege, fire the ambush shot + napalm if you have it then if the opponent has an easy path to you unsiege immediately. If you get into a good position that you can booby trap with mines, then you can siege up and keep hitting staff at max range. When someone comes let them eat the mine then lethal blast put a new set of mines down and when everything is used up high-tail it out of there with thusters.

When you get graduating range the game changes. Now the objective is to be 3s ahead of the enemy team at all times. Siege up on places where you know a team fight will happen in a place that is hard to get, i.e. behind walls next to a tower, within a mass of friendly NPCs. For example in gardens you can siege up behind the bush walls surrounding the large seed terrors Put down a set of mines before you seige. When your team engages the enemy open up with autoattack napalm. The moment you see the enemy team making a bee line for you RELOCATE immediately taking advantage of thrusters if available. Lay down mines again in the new location then siege up so that your range just reaches the enemy front line and open again.

The technique is always the same. Put a wall or some sort of cover between you and the enemy and siege up so that your range is just at the front rank of the enemy, wait for the first tick of graduating range and light them up with autos and napalm. You get a couple of very solid hits and force the enemy to retreat. Relocate again if you see that the enemy team stays out of your range.

For fixed objectives things are similar except you set up near your back rank within range of heals/defensive abilities and so that your range just touches the objective. As soon as you seige open and lay down mines.

Don't be on the front line. Don't siege for long by yourself. Don't be the first to engage. Don't trap yourself or siege up in a position where the enemy can easily sneak up on you behind cover.

Using the build well involves a lot of good judgement calls. Picking the right positions, predicting where team fights will be and which direction the enemy will come from. Deciding whether to stick your ground and take some damage if you are certain you can repel the enemy or relocate early on before they have a chance to hit you.

These things are learned with experience. Personally I think this is a fun and satisfying build relying more on your wits and quick thinking than you refrexes and skill shots. In the context of a decent team, who plays with you not against you, it is also pretty devastating. If you are a person who likes strategy and outwitting the enemy rather than a high APM hero control master, this is definitely a build that you will enjoy. It takes some time to learn but the results are worth it. However if you like to just get in and hit stuff, then you are better off with a different build or even a different hero.

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