I play main tank for a Master?s team and realised that my Hammond isn?t up to scratch with my other tanks. To remedy this, I created a Hammond one-trick account to see where I would rank and to practice the ball in a competitive environment.
I already had the account which was placed in low Diamond. When I started playing, I lost a good few placement games and dropped the account to Platinum with a pathetic 30% win rate with the hamster. Within a week, things picked up and the account currently sits in Masters, with the intention to grind it to GM, still one-tricking Hammond.
Throughout this adventure, the feedback from my teams varied somewhere amongst the following phrases:
- ?Can we please have a main tank??
- ?Can we please have a shield??
- ?Hammond does not create any space?
- ?Huge slams man!?
- ?Thanks for the carry?
- ?Hammond, you are feeding?
The main points I?d like to address are the first and third. I know it?s been discussed to death on here and everywhere else, but I?d like to further endorse Hammond as a main tank and explain why he not only?does?create space, but he in fact, creates the?most space?of all the tanks, at the cost of a higher risk factor to his own hp.
- He has basically the best space creating ultimate in the game. Up high -> mines -> slam is a devastating combo that not only takes the space that the mines hold, it also forces the enemy to stay in that space longer than they would like with the follow-up stun. The mines take a significant amount of time or resource (e.g. using ultimates) to clear so the enemy team has little option than to either invest that resource so they don?t have it for another purpose or to play around the mines patiently, allowing your team to take better positions and gain map control in that area.
- Disruptor assassin. A well timed hook, slam, shoot combo on a Zen or Ana can kill them outright, basically winning a team fight. However, slamming a whole, coordinated team is very dangerous and is rarely worth doing. This combo works well when coupled with another source of damage, allowing hammond to simultaneously kill a support or squishy, while stunning and bouncing the rest of the team in the air, allowing for easier picks for the DPS. Now; without getting a pick, is this creating space? Well, if you consider that taking space away from the enemy is in effect creating space for your team, then absolutely. By stunning the enemy and knocking them up in the air, you are putting them in a space they would rather not be in, effectively taking away the space they want to be in. If you don?t agree that taking away space from the enemy team creates space for your team, well, then Winston isn?t a main tank either.
- Positioning disruptor. This is perhaps the most underrated Hammond strategy, which sounds silly and involves either swinging around wildly through the enemy team, or repeatedly rolling through them, escaping, then rolling through them again, etc, etc. This can completely disrupt the enemy positioning, frequently putting supports in front of tanks and knocking squishies up in the air for easy picks. It is, in fact, particularly effective against GOATS, especially after Brigitte has her stun on cooldown. The last thing the enemy team want is for their supports to be knocked in front of their Reinhardt shield or through a dangerous choke. This creates space in two ways: Firstly, as before, by putting them in a space they don?t want to be in, it takes away the space they do want to be in, and secondly it, in the most literal sense,?creates space?by knocking people out of a certain area.
- Cooldown sponge. This is a little less about space creation but I feel it is an aspect to Hammond that people don?t talk about very often. A good Hammond demands the enemy to use their cooldowns to try and stop him. Hanzo will pop storm arrow, Ana will use dart and nade, Hog will use hook, Rein will use firestrike etc etc. A good Hammond will use his adaptive shield to suck all of it up and give the enemy minimal ult charge. If the enemy has used their cooldowns on the Hammond, it means they can?t use them immediately in the follow-up fight with the rest of the team. This is a huge advantage to have in a team fight, frequently turning the tide of a fight very quickly.
In my hamster adventures, I found that many struggled to pick a tank to synergise with Hammond. In my experience any of Dva, Zarya, Winston or Rein worked well, as long as the role was played as an off tank. Let me explain from the perspective of Winston or Rein as an off tank (as that might be a strange concept).
In regular dive, your Winston would call the dive and countdown; he would then be defence-matrixed to his target and both Winston and Dva, with the help of the dps would delete that target; wonderful. Now, with Hammond and Winston; Hammond?s dive takes slightly longer to set up and can be more creative, he also has his adaptive shield when he lands and stuns a target or group of targets on landing. Consider this combo:
- Hammond smack ~50 damage
- Hammond slam ~ 100 damage
- Winston jump pack ~ 40 damage
- Winston punch ~ 30 damage
- Winston tesla (on stunned targets) ~ 60 per second
- Hammond guns ~ 120 per second (single target)
Coupled with the knowledge that all that damage except Hammond?s guns can be on multiple targets; that?s a crazy amount of damage if timed correctly and the slam stun allows Winston to optimise his multi-target tesla cannon along with his jump pack multi-target damage. The point here is, Hammond would call this dive and he would land first, allowing Winston to follow up with damage to decimate the enemy.
Rein as an off tank is basically a little more simple and probably isn?t worth running in scrims (maybe some kind of GOATS hybrid with hammond instead of Dva). But basically the Hammond slam allows Rein to be more aggressive, the slam requires follow up damage to be effective, so imagine a speed boosted Rein following up a stun, where multiple squishies are airborn, within easy reach of the hammer. Devastating. Also, as per point 3, Hammond can act as a displacement system, booping the enemy Rein into your team?s Rein, when he really doesn?t want to move forward (e.g. he?s low on health, ani-naded or discorded).
The hamster also makes for a pretty good scout:
? He can look around corners in full safety with the third person camera
? Whilst Winston has to commit his jump to get to the high ground, and thus have the jump on cooldown, unable to retreat if the area is unsafe; Hammond can use the grapple to swing past the high ground and scout the area, before committing to the jump; this allows for later and hence more informed decision making when committing to the dive.
This hamster sounds amazing, so why doesn?t everyone always pick Hammond as their main tank? Well; the main issue is he lacks some aspects of synergy with other heroes. Whilst his dive with Winston or Dva can be incredible; it is often difficult to get the timing right. The cadence of Winston?s jump and Dva?s boosters is sufficiently similar, allowing them to dive together in a reactive manner, whereas Hammond?s dive needs more preparation and can take longer to stage. Orisa and Hammond provide similar types of CC, in that they both put enemies into locations that they don?t really want to be in; thus they don?t synergise well. Hog can synergise with the Hammond slams, but it?s just much easier to hook into a halt orb than into a Hammond slam. Rein swinging his hammer, whilst being bubbled by a Zarya is just too synergistic a combo for both of them to give up.
TL;DR Hammond is a main tank, he creates space in many ways, including the very literal way of booping enemies out of space. He is a fantastic hero but lacks direct synergy with others at this point, but I predict seeing him in 3-tank comps in the not too distant future.