Art By: Annet Peas
Hi guys, put together this guide based on all the excitement to that first post, so here you have it!
First, a little about me- I’ve been playing overwatch since beta and played TF2 competitively before that. I’ve always considered myself decent at the game, occasionally hitting masters but mostly hovering around high diamond. This summer I took a break from the game and decayed all the way down to 3k and finished season 11 at 2986.
This season I placed at 3050 and have since spent 40 hours playing Wrecking ball. My rank as of writing this is 4251 which is #300 on NA. While a lot of my GM teammates flame me for my low rank last season, I think it will really help in writing this guide, as I got to experience a broad spectrum of gameplay while I was climbing, and I understand what it’s like playing in diamond.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into what your job is when you’re playing Hammond. I think his specific mechanics and intricacies are a little too complicated to go into in a text post, but if you want to see how to execute the plays I describe below, feel free to tune into my stream or check out the upcoming content on my YouTube channel.
There are two basic roles you play: initiator and disruptor. Which one you favor will depend on who you’re playing against. Generally, disruptor is good against teams that can counter your value or when your teammates are carrying while initiator is better when you feel like you need to carry.
For the initiator playstyle, which I think worked best for me from diamond to high masters, you want to look to get off good grapple and piledriver damage on as many enemies as possible while staying alive. This playstyle can also look for picks but that will be a section on its own.
The main objective when you’re taking this more aggressive route is to farm minefield as fast as possible without feeding your ass off. So, a general game plan would be a rollout -> scout the enemy team and see their positioning and where damage will be coming from, then figure out an exit plan. For your exit plan you want to try to break sight lines with the main dps as fast as possible to minimize the chance of death and how much ult charge you give up.
Remember that your shield doesn’t give ult, so plan on being out at about the point they burn through your shield. Once you’ve done the planning, you just swing in and try to piledrive as many people as possible. Make sure you don’t land on a Zarya bubble – this will absorb the damage, not knock her up, and will most likely result in your death to a high charge Zarya. A good target to shoot for is ~20% ult charge per piledriver. Once you’ve farmed minefield, proceed to the “How to use minefield” section below.
For the disruptor playstyle, you play much more passively, or at least evasively, as you shift your primary goal from farming minefield as fast as possible to making as much space for your team as you can. There are two main ways of doing this – peeling and spreading. Peeling is generally good against dive while spreading is better against deathball/ brawl comps.
When you’re peeling, your focus is to use your knockback to take enemy divers as far off your backline as possible, giving them time to escape or follow up. So, an example of this would be Winston jumping on your ana on numbani first. When he jumps, you want to use your speed to knock him back and up, potentially even off the high ground. This keeps your backline alive and at the very least lets you get ult charge off monkey. Spreading is a little more freeform – you want to get their tanks away from the healers and distract/ disrupt as much as possible. A good example of this is dorado first, when they’re holding high ground. You can swing behind them and knock the tanks off, leaving the dps exposed and the tanks out of position.
Which playstyle you choose is, again, based heavily around both comps. If you’re running a monkey/genji, you have a lot more leeway when diving, so initiator is preferred. If you have a backline comp with a rein, you may want to focus more on disrupting. A brig or sombra can shut down the initiator playstyle pretty heavily, so make sure you’re thinking about which is best and dynamically changing your play throughout the match.
How to use minefield: Hammond is all about flexibility, so once again there are two general ways to use minefield. The first, and what I find myself using most of the time, is a teamwipe/ pick ult. This would be where you do an aggressive swing to reach their back line, release when you can get a good spread, and piledriver the supports to keep them in the minefield until the mines activate. This works best against supports with low mobility like Ana, Zen and Brig.
The other type of ultimate is a zoning ultimate (note that these two are not mutually exclusive). A zoning ultimate is generally used when you’re worried the enemy team can clear your mines before they get value, so you place them in a more conservative place to guarantee they get a chance to activate.
This can even be on your side of the fight – Ana in a minefield is a much harder dive target. Knowing which to use is going to be based heavily on what other ults your teams has (do you need a minefield wipe, or do you have nano-blade?) and the matchups on the enemy team. The last kind of ult you can use is a spawn ult, where you ult one of the doors to their spawn while you’re trying to finish a fight. This one is self-explanatory but also very effective – don’t be afraid to pull the roll away from the fight to pull the trigger.
Picks: Getting picks on Hammond is all about positioning, both yours and your enemy. As Hammond you have third person peek, which gives you a big advantage when it comes to planning angles and how you’re going to attack, as well as spotting out of position enemies.
His high speed allows him to be anywhere in the fight almost instantly, meaning you can quickly punish out of position enemies.
My basic combo for killing an out of place squishy is to grapple knock them away from their team and deal 50 damage, piledriver as close as I can onto them (up to 100 damage) then dink them while they fall out of the air. More specific matchup tips will be included below.
The nice part about this combo is that the part where you push them away from their team also sets you up to escape and do it again. You can also transition from a pick where you pushed away someone behind their team and killed them to a big engage, as you’re already behind them and up 1 so you only need to wait for cooldowns and engage for an ez clap.
Hammonds Guns: Hammond’s guns are far more powerful than you’d expect, able to one clip 200 hp targets and put good damage on tanks. If you aren’t seeing any good opportunities to engage or get picks, try shooting tanks or breaking shields until you do. I know this is one of the areas I can personally improve – it’s often correct to just sit back and wait, something can’t stand. Also, don’t be hesitant to start blasting at a pharah in the sky or a widow on the high ground. Lots of times you can pressure them off and if you get too low from trading fire you can escape easily.
Hammond mentality: If you’ve noticed, I’ve talked a lot in this post about there being two modes to everything Hammond does. I find this mentality really helps me narrow down what my goal is and how I’m going to win. By essentially using a decision flowchart, you don’t have to reason out as much while you’re playing which is helpful for a mechanics intensive hero like Hammond.
Especially for me my aim isn’t the best so there’s no way I could fully manage macro decisions while still hitting shots. The other big tip I can give in terms of mentality is that Hammond is really good at pushing the advantage. If you’re a player up, Hammond can essentially roll a fight on his own.
The counter play around Hammond requires cooperation from all members of the team, so if one person isn’t there to fulfil their role, you can use your massive health pool and high damage to roll the rest of the fight. This makes picks from your team and any you can pull off yourself extremely valuable (this also applies if the enemy is playing split or someone is doing poorly). Playing hyper aggressive on Hammond when they’re a player down is almost always the right play, so look to push those engagements.
Mercy: Mercy is really bad right now, and that includes against Hammond. Unless she is pocketing pharah she is essentially a free kill. Just use your normal combo and try to track her as she flies away.
Moira: Harder than mercy but still a good focus target. Often moira will use fade when you first pildriver so make sure to call out fade on cd so your team can follow up. Knocking her back also disables her ability to spray the pee on her team.
Zenyatta: Zen is a weird matchup. On the one hand, you can pretty much instakill an out of position zen. Ironically this is easiest on the high tier dps zens who take an off angle and isolate themselves. However, despite being the easiest to get a pick on, zen can also clear your minefield in transcendence which is no fun. Try to get him to pop it by pressuring him and look to use mines about halfway through the channel. Also make sure you factor in discord in deciding to engage as discord can make you very vulnerable.
Brigette: Not as hard as you’d think. If she uses bash on you, you can just roll back to your team and engage on 5 seconds when hook is off cd before stun is up. Also, eating stun is especially good in dive as it gives your genji a lot more freedom to play aggressive. She’s also a prime minefield target.
Ana: A really tricky matchup but also a meta-defining one. When diving ana I like to do a high speed hook into piledriver, then actually roll away without leaving ball form. Most anas will see their health drop and nade themselves, so try to be out of the aoe if you can. Rolling around also makes it harder to hit a sleep on you (though it will still happen a lot). I then aim to get back to the main fight with my team using hook and will try to knock ana out of sightlines when I do. It’s quite hard to kill ana so I usually settle for taking nade cd as it’s one of the more impactful abilities in the game.
Lucio: Not too much you can do about lucio, just try to shoot him as he zips around and be aware of his boop. You can sometimes get sneaky mines to stick to walls he is wallriding which is always a fun kill.
Reinhardt: Displacement is key with Reinhardt. He is probably the best tank against Hammond as he can easily clear minefield, but don’t let that deter you. Most teams running rein are relying on his shield so knocking him around is a very good strategy. You can also look to hook over him and onto his backline to deploy mines.
Zarya: Normally paired with a Reinhardt, so I would mostly focus on knocking rein around in those matches. Be careful not to land on her with piledriver since the bubble will eat most of the ability. She also does crazy damage so don’t try to fight her 1v1 if she’s high charge.
Roadhog: A very good matchup, roadhog is in a bad spot right now. You bait out hook by rolling towards him and backing out since you’re so fast. Also make sure you’re pumping ult off him since he has no protection against medium range fire.
Winston: Try to knock Winston out of his bubble and piledrive him as fast as possible. You’re strongly favored here so don’t he afraid to pursue him if he runs in a direction that’s not his team.
Dva: Pretty much the same as Winston. Your abilities don’t get dm’d so you can just focus on ccing her. I’ve found that a lot of dvas like to try to duel Hammond, so take that as an opportunity to charge yor ult. Your guns and ult are much better so trading fire benefits you much more. Plus, you can escape her pretty freely and pursue her through her boosters.
Hammond: Not much to say here, he’s doing the same thing you are. If he piledrives into your team it knocks you up high enough to piledrive him back, giving your team longer to kill him. Don’t put you mines on top of his, try to place them first as they’ll clear his. Also, don’t piledrive a minefield, it doesn’t kill them, just you (found this out the hard way).
Orisa: Not a super good matchup, she doesn’t take cc and deals a lot of damage. Try to focus on displacing her team and using your high speed to get behind her barrier to kill supercharger.
Genji: Good matchup, he pretty much can’t kill you. Try to displace or cc him when he blades.
Hanzo: Hard matchup, storm arrows can melt you. Make sure you know the cd and how much damage the rest of his team can do or you’re toast.
McCree: Medium matchup. His flashbang is annoying and limits how hard you can dive but your lack of headshot hitbox prevents him from bursting you too hard.
Pharah: A pretty bad matchup if she’s pocketed. I would suggest going rein if she is to keep you hit scans from getting town apart. If she’s alone, you can pressure her out very easily with your guns.
Reaper: He does a lot of damage, so try to stay at range. Not as bad a matchup as you’d think but pretty rough. Generally, try to play more disruption if he’s on the enemy team.
Soldier 76: A good matchup. His damage is decent, but you can burn him out hard and he has no cc or real escapes from the ball. If he pops his biotic field either knock him out or if you can’t kill him fast enough just roll away and try again in a few seconds.
Sombra: Your worst matchup, but not unwinnable. Play peel for your team and try to avoid emp. If the sombra is playing aggressive with an emp up, minefield their backline as you know she’s not there. Emp will also disable your mines so a bad matchup overall. DO NOT GO FULL DIVE, YOU WILL GET HACKED.
Mei: People say mei is a hard counter, but I haven’t found her to be that bad. You can grapple away before she freezes you and her icicles have no way to kill you on their own. Tips – keep track of wall cooldown and make sure that if you do get frozen you go to ball form just before to hide your headshot hitbox.
Junkrat: Haven’t played against many junkrats. Watch out for trap but other than that he doesn’t really interact with you much since your so fast.
Tracer: How much you struggle to deal with an enemy tracer will depend mostly on the skill of the tracer and whether you have a Brig. You can try to force recall with your guns but be careful as tracer can follow you far with just the three blinks. If you need to escape, try to do so through open ground as you’ll easily out speed her. A good tactic I’ve found for aggressive enemy tracers is baiting them into a camping brig.
Torbjorn: Haven’t faced many but generally the backline sets up near the turret so it’s an easy minefield.
Symmetra: Again, haven’t aced many but have never had problems. She can ramp up her damage against you, sure, but you can kill her almost instantly with your combo and she really has no recourse.
Bastion: Actually, not as bad a matchup as expected- just farm minefield as hard as you can and drop it on him for a free kill.
Doomfist: Doomfist is crazy powerful right now with the ability to essentially 1v6 if they’re good enough. My biggest suggestion is to hard focus him using your guns when he jumps in. If he doesn’t get enough shields your guns can make the difference. You can also knock him out of the way when he’s charging a punch, but this is really hard to pull off.
If you guys want to see some video examples of any of the stuff mentioned in this guide, come check out my stream at my Twitch Channel
I’ll be doing educational streams a lot in the coming few weeks starting with a mechanics focused stream tomorrow and a VOD review stream on Friday.
I’ll also be doing some more in-depth tutorials on YouTube explaining some advanced Hammond mechanics/ strategies for different maps, so if that’s something you’d be interested in you can subscribe here (The channel is empty for now but I’ll start posting on it soon)
Thank you guys for reading and have fun ballin on ladder!