The latest hero for Overwatch has been officially revealed and he’s perfectly ridiculous. Named Wrecking Ball – aka Hammond the hamster – is a powerful, rolling mechanized war machine. Perhaps the most mobile tank in the game, Wrecking Ball thrives at disrupting and forcing enemies into a fight. Despite his easy to use kit, Wrecking Ball has a pretty steep learning curve – especially given how tricky it can be to master his movement skills.
Author’s Note: Remember, Hammond is still in the PTR (Public Test Realm), which means any of his skills or cooldowns can be adjusted. We will update this piece if any alterations are made during his transition to the live servers.
Here are five beginner tips to get you started with Overwatch’s newest hero, Wrecking Ball.
1. Know Your Role
- Wrecking Ball thrives in initiating fights and diving an enemy team’s backline. His extreme mobility allows a skilled player to quickly isolate and target key heroes. Hammond is not a main tank and should only be used alongside a Reinhardt, Winston, or Orisa. Unless your team is going with the full dive team composition, you’ll always want an anchor tank to ensure your own team’s protection.
Use this character as a way to start fights, as his Adaptive Shield increases depending on the number of targets around him. This makes him extremely hard to kill if he jumps in the center of an enemy team and can open up a window for your group to push in. However, you will need to have good communication with your teammates for this to effectively work. Make sure they know when you are launching in and what target you are focusing. Their job should be to pick off the tanks and any targets now focused on Wrecking Ball.
Additionally, Wrecking Ball is surprisingly good at chasing down targets and securing kills – especially against low mobility heroes like Zenyatta or McCree. This is great for staggering the deaths of your opponents, which will help whittle their timer down for securing objectives. After a team fight is won, consider chasing after them in your ball form. We recommend using the grappling hook to retreat if things get too out of hand.
2. Don’t Waste Your Grappling Hook
While it can be tempting to use your grappling hook whenever it’s off cooldown, this is a great way to get yourself killed. Hammond isn’t invincible and just swinging recklessly into battle will rarely end in victory. Instead, consider using your grappling hook as a way to disengage from a fight that’s not going your way. The hook has around a 12-15 meter range, which means you can typically grab onto something in the environment and escape. Remember to aim for something high so you can use Hammond’s momentum to literally swing out of combat.
Speaking of swinging, it will benefit you to go into a private room and practice moving around the map. There are multiple points on various maps that Hammond can launch himself from. One example is the arch outside the first point in Hollywood which lets Hammond grapple directly onto the point. This lets you completely avoid the frontline and disrupt foes with your Piledriver skill. Your hooks on a 5-second cooldown so use it to reposition yourself during or after fights.
3. Who Counters Wrecking Ball?
It’s always critical to know who counters your hero – especially when they are new and everyone is playing them. Thankfully, Hammond has some pretty noticeable counters that can easily shut him down in a fight. The best one is Sombra whose hack absolutely devastates Hammond and makes him a sitting duck. Wrecking Ball is very reliant on his abilities, so disabling them can greatly hinder his effectiveness in battle. Additionally, her EMP can remove his Adaptive Shield, which is used to give him an advantage in a dive.
Other counters include Reaper, Roadhog, and Bastion thanks to their extreme effectiveness at close range. Roadhog is an especially potent hero since his hook can easily secure Hammond, even when he is swinging. around. While mobility heroes like Genji can avoid Hammond’s crowd control, he won’t be able to effectively damage him. Remember, Wrecking Ball’s critical hitbox is only available when he’s out of ball form and it’s still pretty small when compared to the other tanks.
One unlikely counter is actually Hanzo since the large frame makes Wrecking Ball a very easy target to kill. Just make sure your dash is on cooldown so you can escape Hammond if he decides to jump on you.
4. Don’t. Waste. Mindfield.
Unlike other Ultimates in Overwatch, Wrecking Ball requires enemies to walk into the mines to actually deal damage. This means they are avoidable and are easily wasted if used improperly. Minefield excels at locking down objectives or key chokepoints, which can help your team secure a win. When on defense always try to use your ultimate as a way to slow an enemy team’s advance. Minefield is wonderful for helping your team recover if you lose a key player in a fight like a Reinhardt.
Inversely, when on the offensive you can use Minefield to displace the enemy and force your way through a chokepoint. Hammond doesn’t need to be in his combat form to use this ultimate, so you can actually grapple over the enemy team and deploy the Minefield. This should give them a bigger spread and allow users to blanket an entire location with explosives. The higher you go the bigger dispersal radius for the mines.
Minefield is a potent counter to the “pirate ship” team composition since it forces everyone off the point, This will make them very easy to kill and give your team an opening to stop their momentum. Remember, the mines can be destroyed and heroes like Zarya can gain charge off detonating them. Keep this in mind before releasing a swarm of these explosives.
5. Be a Bully
Don’t let this cute hamster fool you, Hammond is pure evil. What makes him such a strong tank is his ability to bully enemy heroes and then escape. If you’re playing Wrecking Ball your priority should be diving on key targets and forcing them out of position. Use the grapple hook to launch yourself above your target and then the piledriver to send them sky high. It may take some time but get into the habit of transforming as soon as you use your piledriver. You should have a little over a second of easy damage with your chainguns.
When you get into a team fight focus on taking out the support heroes and getting int he face of backline fighters. Hammond is especially good at forcing a Widow out of position since he won’t have a critical hitbox in his ball form. Try to make your foe’s lives completely miserable and never give them a chance to focus on anyone but you.
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