Hello and welcome to my first guide on the Heroes of the Storm Alpha, my name is Lordunderpants and today I will be covering Sgt. Hammer the Seige Tank Operator.
–Combat Trait –
Artillery: Increased vision. Deal more damage to enemies that are far away.
Artillery is your passive trait that just increases how far you see and allows Sgt. Hammer to deal more damage the further the enemies are from you. You focus point with this passive should be to stay behind your team and to siege the enemy base.
Spider Mines (Q): Create mines that slow and damage enemies on contact.
Spider mines make for a good defensive line, they don’t do a huge amount of damage, but it can give you a vision warning you when enemies are coming and give an extra bit of damage when they close in on you.
Concusive Blast (W): Knockback and damage enemies.
A very short blast in a cone shape in front of you, very useful to push enemy champs and minions away from you. Deals decent damage but if misused can push a champion out of your shot range and lose you your kill.
Siege Mode (E): Increase damage, range, and deal splash damage. Cannot move in Siege Mode.
This is your primary attack – the ability that makes you not a tank, but a siege tank. This ability is both a gift and a curse, giving you the ability to rain down destruction upon your enemies champions and base from a safe distance, but once they close the gap you have to wait the time to get out of siege mode and hope you can still get away. Knowing when to use this skill is what will make you or break you when playing Sgt. Hammer.
Blunt Force Gun (R): Fires a rocket with unlimited range that damages all enemies it passes through.
This version of Sgt. Hammers ultimate is a long range rocket that deals quite a big chunk of damage to every champion, minion, and building along its path, going from your location to the rest of the map. Using this heroic ability properly can help turn the tide of any battle, even if you’re not in that fight.
Napalm Strike (R): Long range volley that deals damage to enemies in an area.
This ability has a massively shorter cool down compared to Blunt Force Gun, but doesn’t have quite as much damage in the initial punch and doesn’t have the range of the entire map. It is by no means bad however, it can deal more damage just for the fact that it has a shorter cool down and deals AOE damage for a short time. Napalm Strike can add a lot to your burst damage in your skirmishes.
There are no wrong talents to choose, there are some talents that seem more appealing than others and help fill in your exact style of game play. In this section I will go over what I generally go for and why.
Level 1 Talents:
Regeneration Master: Gather 3 Regeneration Globes to permanently grant you 3 Health per second. Stacks.
Advanced Artillery (Trait): Increase the damage bonus to enemies over 4.5 distance away by 10%
Lethal Blast (W): Increases the damage Concussive Blast does by 25%
Resistant: While in Siege Mode, the duration of silences, stuns, slows, and roots against your Hero is reduced by 50%.
Ambush: While in Siege Mode, Sgt. Hammer is cloaked. While cloaked, your next basic attack will deal 50% increased damage.
In this first tier you get to decide a few things, Regeneration Master can be a decent choice if you plan on staying in lane to grab the regeneration globes boosting up your health. Lethal Blast can super charge your W to add a bit of damage but seeing as this is usually to push people off of you I’m not certain just how effective this can be as usually you’re running for your life when you use Lethal Blast. Ambush has a cool premise, staying cloaked and surprising your enemies with a big blast, however part of the way I play Sgt. Hammer is to bring the BOOM, if i’m sitting around cloaked and not sieging a base or reigning fire from far in a team fight, I don’t feel i’m bringing the full potential of the champion to the game. This leaves Advanced Artillery and Resistant as my top 2 choices. Advanced Artillery is right up your alley for dealing a little bit of extra damage for all the long range attacks you’ll be doing all game, while Resistant will help you survive more when enemy champions get too close. The best way to choose is to look at the enemy team, if you notice they have a lot of stuns, snares, slows, or silences, might be best to get Resistant, otherwise if you feel you can do a ton of damage uninterrupted go for Advanced Artillery.
Level 4 Talents:
Focused Attack: Every 10 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage. Basic Attacks reduce the cooldown of Focused Attack by 1 second.
Vampiric Assault: Basic Attacks heal you for 15% of the damage done.
Maelstrom Shells: Increase Basic Attack range by 1.
Excessive Force (W): Doubles the distances that enemies are knocked back.
It’s really hard to go wrong in this tier. Focused Attack increases your damage making it more desirable to keep attacking. Vampiric Assault heals you for each attack you do, generally I go for this talent but it really is hard to go wrong in this tier, I prefer this talent over the others due to the sustain you gain to stay in the fight longer. Maelstrom adds range to your attack, I generally don’t go for this talent as you already have quite a bit of range and there is a more desirable version later on. Excessive Force pushes enemies further away increasing your chances to live, this to me is more worth it that doing more damage as you use Excessive Force more for its knock back and not so much for its damage.
Level 7 Talents:
Fortify Position (E): Siege Mode prevents displacement effects. Entering Siege Mode grants 2 stacks of Block, each absorbing 50% of the damage of an incoming basic attack.
Hover Siege Mode (E): Siege Mode allows slow movement.
Hyper-Cooling Engines: Reduces the cooldowns of Thrusters by 10 seconds. Thrusters are now always active while at the Altar.
First Aid: Activate to heal 20% of your max Health over 4 seconds.
There are some cool talents in the tier, Fortify Position can be a pretty big boost to not dying, blocking both displacements and absorbing basic attacks. Hyper-Cooling Engines can add a huge boost of mobility and First Aid is a nice little sustain boost. But Hover Siege Mode takes the cake here, being able to move while in your long ranged siege mode can add so much to your devastation while in fights and destroying an enemy base. For fighting in the early levels it can be very frustrating to siege, have everyone move outside your range and keep fighting while you un-siege to move closer, or when you’re trying to siege a base and you siege just outside the range of the turret you wanted to hit, you get to wait to un-siege, move into place again, and then finally re-siege. This talent solves all those problems allowing you to readjust while still sieged for maximum efficiency.
Level 10 Talents:
This is where you choose your Heroic Ability, Blunt Force Gun or Napalm Strike.
Level 13 Talents:
Giant Killer: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal an additional 1.5% of the target’s max Health in damage.
Crucio X-2 Cannon: Increase Basic Attack range by 2.
First Strike: Basic Attacks deal 25% increased damage if Sgt. Hammer hasn’t been attacked within the last 5 seconds.
Barricade (W): Also creates a wall of debris that blocks pathing for 4 seconds.
Bullhead Mines: Spider Mines also knock the target back a short distance.
This tier has some fun additions to your arsenal. Barricade and Bullhead Mines both can add quite a bit to your survivability. Giant Killer is usually the one I go for as it adds quite a bit of damage, even for only being 1.5% max health. First Strike is good in theory, but chances of not getting hit when attacking, whether sieging or in fights, is pretty slim. If you think you can get away with not being hit in multiple team fights or attacking an enemy base it can definitely add an extra boost in damage though. Then last up, Crucio X-2 Cannon is the only one I don”t recommend because of a talent in the next tier, otherwise it never hurts to add a bit more range.
Level 16 Talents:
Executioner: Basic Attacks deal 40% more damage against slowed, rooted, or stunned targets.
Mine Field (Q): Increases the number of mines spawned by 2.
Slowing Mines (Q): The slow caused by Spider Mines is increased to 50% and duration increased to 2.5 seconds.
Graduating Range: While in Siege Mode, Sgt. Hammer’s attack range increases by +1 every 3 seconds, up to a maximum of +5.
Stoneskin: Activate to gain 30% of your max Health in Shields for 5 seconds. 60 second cooldown.
This tier has a lot of potential. If you chose the knock back mines from the previous tier, Mine Field or Slowing Mines can be an awesome combo. While Executioner can be a big power boost if your team has a lot of slows, roots, or stuns and Stoneskin can add a huge boost to survivability. With my preferred choices however Graduating Range is the way to go, it provides a huge range boost for you, ramps up quickly, and since you’re going to mostly be in siege mode moving across the battlefield it just adds in a huge range while letting you choose other talents along the way.
Level 20 Talents:
You have the option to power up your Heroic Ability here, I will mostly go over the other 2 options as it really is a personally preference for your Heroic Ability.
Fury of the Storm: Basic Attacks bounce twice to nearby enemies for 50% damage.
Resurgence of the Storm: Upon dying, revive back at your Altar after 5 seconds. This can occur once every 120 seconds.
Orbital BFG (R): Blunt Force Gun’s missle orbits the planet every 5 seconds, continually travelling at its current angle. Recasting Blunt Force Gun again prevents existing missles from starting new orbits. (Basically when you cast Blunt Force Gun it just keeps going around the map in a straight line until you recast it)
Advance Lava Strike (R): Napalm Strike’s range is increased by 75% and its impact damage does 50% additional damage. (Gives it more range and more burst potential)
Fury of the Storm is generally the choice I go for, playing Sgt. Hammer I find myself auto attacking a lot and the lightning bounce damage this provides just adds so much area of effect damage it’s tough for me not to choose it. My main problem with Resurgence of the Storm is that it banks on you dying, If you don’t die, you’re wasting the potential of the talent and respawning. This can help a bit for comeback potential if you’re losing, but chances are if your team is that far down you might not be able to make it back in.
My Preferred Talent List:
- Advanced Artillery Trait – Adds so much damage to your sieging potential, it really is hard to pass this talent up.
- Vampiric Assault – This is a tough tier between this for sustain, Focused Attack for extra damage, and Excessive Force for extra survivability. Ultimately I feel I need the extra sustain for longer battles.
- Hover Siege Mode – Being able to move while sieged far outweighs the strengths of the other talents in this tier.
- Heroic Ability, this is situational but I choose Blunt Force Gun more often than Napalm Strike. Main reason for this is I can push another lane and destroy a base, throw my Blunt Force Gun at a fight happening at the other side of the map, and if it hits give my team a better chance for survival or win a fight that i’m not even apart of.
- Giant Killer – More times than any I find myself just needing more damage, over time you learn more about your positioning and don’t have so many situations where you’re surrounded and really need those extra tools to escape.
- Graduating Range – Because of choosing other talents earlier on, this talent just makes sense. The longer you’re in Siege Mode the more range you have, adding on more damage and making sure you stay out of the close combat fray.
- Fury of the Storm – I choose this because of staying so far back that usually you’re not going to die, just spamming your auto attacks and cause a ton of area of effect damage turning the tide of any battle.
Sgt. Hammer is a very immobile high range destruction machine, with her slow movement speed, no mount, and being locked down in siege mode, you rely heavily on taking down your opponents at long range and your allies when they come in close. Your talents heavily dictate the way you play, however Sgt. Hammer relies heavily on positioning and having a team goal in mind: Split push or team fight mode. Sgt. Hammer has amazing team fight capability if your team can keep the enemy off you. If you feel this would be a hard case, split pushing and having your team be a distraction can easily knock down a few walls and help your team gain a significant level gain early on to ease some pressure. The main things to focus on while playing Sgt. Hammer are your positioning, map awareness, and objective control. If you find yourself out of place far from where your team needs you or just plain in front of the enemy you’re going to struggle, focus on making sure you’re over extended and to pay attention to where enemies are moving. If you look at your map and notice the 2 people one lane over are no longer there, it may no longer be safe to be up close sieging on the enemies base.
Sgt. Hammer is an amazing asset to any team, offering some of the best long range support damage and sieging capabilities. When playing as this hero try to mind your positioning and focus on where you think your team needs you the most, providing back up in a team fight or pushing hard in a lane. When playing with a Sgt. Hammer, the best thing to do is to try and keep the enemy off her while she provides you with as much damage as possible, keep the fight toward the edge of her range and don’t chase enemies out of it thinking you’ll be backed up immediately, even if you’re at the level for them to get Hover Siege Mode, the movement speed is slower than yours and you’ll quickly find yourself in a bad situation with no cover fire.
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