Our huge Sgt Hammer guide has everything you need to know about playing this Hero, with the latest builds, tips, map advice and counters.
The main challenge of handling Sgt Hammer surrounds maintaining the elements of range that are so crucial to her bombastic performance in battle. Solo, she's capable of pushing lanes and toppling structures incredibly quickly, and left unchecked she can quickly leave the enemy trailing behind in terms of XP. In team fights though, she's somewhat dependant on having a savvy team who can manage the front line and let her do her best work from distance and unharassed.
While her combat strength is undeniable, she does have extremely weak mobility, and her "mount" escape thrusters have a long cooldown. She can also be nuked down pretty fast by a smart enemy team, which means you not only need to very carefully manage your firing range to ensure you're close but not too close to the action, you also need to be ready to get out of dodge in a heartbeat if your allies begin to fall in battle.
Editor's note - February update: Things stay very much the same as last month for Sgt Hammer, although we're seeing a strong preference for a change in Heroic Ability which you'll see reflected in our guide. We're also in the process of adding map-specific advice for this character, and we'll be expanding on this part of our Sgt Hammer guide in future updates.
Sgt Hammer strategy overview - February 2016
It really can't be said often enough: range is your friend when it comes to playing Sgt Hammer and you need the most you can get at all times. You also need a buddy or two, and preferably ones who can handle the bulk of the threat while you try and continue dishing out the pain from a distance. Note that if you're only fighting Heroes, your Siege Mode only provides a range advantage - not extra damage - and so you should retain your mobility instead and stay nimble(ish).
When fighting with your team, stay as far back as you can and throw out your Spider Mines while doing as much Basic Attack damage as you can. Your attacks do a large amount of damage, so you should prioritise targeting anyone close to death or any particularly squishy Heroes. Don't be drawn into closer range by doing this though - if all you can safely hit is a meaty Hero, there's no shame in focusing on that.
The best Sgt Hammer Talent build - February 2016
You'll find very few variations on this classic build out there, which at least simplifies one element of playing this Hard-rated Hero. We update this guide regularly, however, and will ensure that any changes to this established build are reflected in this article as quickly as possible.
Sgt Hammer standard build
Level 1 - Advanced Artillery - Increase the damage bonus to long distance enemies by 10%.
Level 4 - Maelstrom Shells - Increase standard Basic Attack range by 20%.
Level 7 - First Aid - Activate to heal 11.07% of your max Health over 6 seconds.
Level 10 - Napalm Strike - Deals 360 (171 + 4% per level) damage on impact, and leaves a napalm area that deals 110 (52 + 4% per level) damage per second. Lasts for 4 seconds. Cost: 35 Mana, Cooldown: 6 seconds.
Level 13 - Giant Killer - Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of the Hero's maximum Health.
Level 16 - Graduating Range - While in Siege Mode your standard Basic Attack range increases by 20% every 3 seconds, up to 100%.
Level 20 - Nexus Frenzy - Increases Attack Speed by 20% and Attack Range by 20%
Sgt Hammer Abilities, Heroic Abilities and Traits - February 2016
Sgt Hammer has someone interesting ways to pump up her damage output, while both keeping the enemy at bay and making them think very hard before taking her on. Make sure you familiarise yourself with all of the following core skills before diving into battle.
Spider Mines (Q)- Create 3 mines that deal 211 (100 + 4% per level) damage and slow enemies by 25% for 1.5 seconds. Mana: 50, Cooldown: 14 seconds.
Concussive Blast (W)- Deals 309 (147 + 4% per level) damage and pushes enemies away. Mana: 75, Cooldown: 12 seconds.
Siege Mode (E)- Become immobile to increase Basic Attack range by 90%, deal 25% splash damage, and deal 30% bonus damage to Minions and Structures. Mana: 20, Cooldown: 2 seconds.
Napalm Strike (R)- Deals 360 (171 + 4% per level) damage on impact, and leaves a napalm area that deals 110 (52 + 4% per level) damage per second. Lasts for 4 seconds. Cost: 35 Mana, Cooldown: 6 seconds.
Blunt Force Gun (R)- Fire a missile across the battlefield, dealing 800 (380 + 4% per level) damage to enemies in its path. Mana: 100, Cooldown: 70 seconds.
Artillery (D)- Basic Attacks deal 30% more damage to distant enemies. Cooldown: 5 seconds
Sgt Hammer counters and match-ups - February 2016
Which Heroes counter which others, and who they should pair up with, are subjects which are in a constant state of flux as the game evolves. For an up-to-date snapshot of the current community rankings, we like to reference a site like HeroesCounters for the lowdown.
Here are the current top five match-ups, counters and synergies for Sgt. Hammer, which are all correct at the time of publication. We'll update these regularly, or you can use the link above to find the very latest view of how each Hero stacks up with the rest of the pack.
- Strong against- Valla, The Lost Vikings, Murky, Lt. Morales, Lunara
- Weak against- Stitches, Artanis, Li-Ming, Nazeebo, Jaina
- Teams well with- Lt. Morales, ETC, Uther, Li Lil, Johanna
Sgt Hammer tips and battleground guides - February 2016
As mentioned earlier on in this article, Sgt Hammer is rated as a Hard character to play in Heroes of the Storm, so newcomers to this Hero will benefit from any advice they can get. Here are some of the most commonly used tips and strategies for shining with Sgt Hammer.
- Your mobility is severely limited when playing this Hero, so we recommend holding back on your Thrusters (Z) until you need them in order to avoid a sticky end. You should certainly avoid using this skill to race back into battle from a respawn.
- When your team is focused on taking an objective, make sure you scatter some mines around to expose any approaching enemies. Place them in the path of the enemy team's most likely direction of approach to catch them off-guard.
- Stay as far back as you possibly can during an engagement, and let your teammates take all the attention while you dish out your extraordinary damage. If it looks like the fight is about to go against you, be ready to get up and get out of trouble as quickly as possible. This is when you'll be glad you held onto your Thruster cooldown...
- Always try to hit as many targets as you can with Blunt Force Gun. It's particularly powerful in large-scale team fights - see how many enemy Heroes you can tap with one strike while performing the final push on the core!
- If the enemy team are being suitably distracted by your own allies, and nothing terrible is going down that you should really be helping out with, just keep pushing your lane all the way to the enemy's core. It's amazing how often you'll be left to quietly shatter the enemy team's reinforcements, and you'll soak up amazing amounts of XP for your team while doing so.
- Siege Mode does not affect the strength of your damage, only its range. For this reason, you do not need to worry about engaging this mode while fighting enemey Heroes, and you in fact want the greater mobility afforded by not locking yourself down like this!
- In the early stages of a game, we like to park up in a nearby bush or other cover, just in range of a tower, and drop into Siege Mode. From here you can safely whittle down the tower with frightening speed - frightening for the opposition, that is!
Battlefield of Eternity
- Given Sgt Hammer's exceptional damage output, it makes sense to use her to whittle down the Immortal's health as fast as possible. Position yourself so that your team is between you and the enemy team while working on this objective.
- Again, Sgt Hammer can dish out the pain extremely quickly, so use this strength to clear out the Pirate Camps and get those bonus Doubloons whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself.
Fightin' Cowboy's videos helped us out a huge amount while we were learning the game. The builds have changed with balance patches and shifting metagames, but the broad principles remain the same.
More great HotS guides: