This article is part of our Overwatch series.
The Overwatch dev team have announced their newest tank hero, Hammond, aka Wrecking Ball, a genetically altered and artificially enhanced hamster in a mech equipped with a grapple hook, Gatling guns and proximity mines that can turn into a giant ball. Yes, you read all that right; Hammond is easily the craziest hero Overwatch has introduce so far. And while some people are still getting over the initial shock of the reveal, others have been dutifully playing Hammond on PTR. This begs the question: how will Hammond shake up the meta?
Let’s start with Hammond’s kit. He’s an incredibly mobile tank hero with 600 HP, 100 of which is Armor. His primary fire comes from his Quad Cannons -- two gatling guns that fire a deluge of bullets that do 5 damage each -- and his secondary weapon is a Grappling Claw that allows him to swing around like an actual wrecking ball (cue the Miley Cyrus memes). His first ability is Roll which, obviously, allows him to turn into a ball and roll around. His second ability is Adaptive Shield which gives Hammond 100 Barrier per enemy within seven meters of him with a duration of seven seconds. His ultimate is Minefield which drops 15 mines around Hammond upon casting, with each mine dealing 130 damage upon enemy contact. Finally, Hammond’s passive is Piledriver, which changes the hero’s crouch ability into a slam that knocks back enemies.
While it may seem like a lot to take in, Hammond’s basic playstyle comes down to crowd control and disruption. His “ball” form can knock around enemies at max speed, while Grappling Claw allows him to reposition or fly around corners. Combined with his Adaptive Shield, Hammond can easily slide into the middle of teamfights, pick up 600 Barrier and knock around the enemy. He may not be lay down massive amounts of damage, but it’s his ability to zone and engage that makes him valuable. This alone will push him into the meta.
The Overwatch meta is currently focused largely on close-range or long-range combat due to characters like Brigitte and Reinhardt. Their ability to shield their teammates helps the team get in close before causing mayhem with maces and hammers. Heroes like Widowmaker and Hanzo can find kills from long-range, but only during hectic teamfights. This is where Hammond comes in.
Hammond can use his Roll to bounce around enemy Reinhardts or Brigittes to set them up for a Hanzo or Widowmaker snipe. His Adaptive Shield and armor also allow him to withstand early stuns from Brigitte just before knocking them away with a Piledriver. Basically, he can consistently and safely zone a Brigitte or a Reinhardt from a teamfight, unlike Doomfist, thanks to his massive health pool.
Hammond will be used mostly in Control maps thanks to his self-sustain and his Minefield ultimate. This is because he can easily litter the point with mines that can nearly one-shot Tracer and Zenyatta, making the objective an incredibly dangerous place to fight around. His biggest weakness, however, will be long-range fights. Nothing in Hammond’s kit can take care of Widowmaker or Hanzo, outside of simply surviving their initial damage. His Grappling Claw makes him mobile on land but, unlike Widowmaker’s Grappling Hook, provides no vertical mobility. This means Hammond is only useful while a close-range fight is going on.
His biggest counter, however, may be Mei and Orisa. Both characters have the ability to ignore Hammond’s CC thanks to their kit. Mei, in particular, may be Hammond’s core counter as the current PTR patch sees her receiving no fall-off damage on her Icicle, essentially making her a mid-range sniper like McCree. Then, of course, the slow from her Endothermic Blaster will harm Hammond, since he can only thrive by being mobile and causing chaos.
Time will exactly how the little guy will fit into the meta once he’s fully released on the live client. But you can bet that he will be yet another wrinkle that surely will shake things up once he comes crashing in.