Deadpool can wait as I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of builds I’ll develop. Instead, I’m bumping my plans to talk about Hammer thanks to a rules clarification and a surprisingly large upswing to his kit. Time for some Sixpack action, baby!
Hammer is the A-side of a piece I’ve been talking about quite a bit in Wiz Kid, and is quite the little ranged assassin. At first glance, he seems like a pretty solid investment for his low-cost, however, due to a rules clarification that popped up on the WizKids rules forum, he got a gigantic surge in power. Because of this, I felt it would be a good idea to show what I think this guy is capable of. I don’t typically center team builds around something with a low cost; they typically get added on to forces rather than steal the show. I have a feeling that Hammer is going to become a bigger staple now that it’s common knowledge of what he does.
Clocking in at 50 points, Hammer has just 5 clicks of health, Flight, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability, and 6 range with a single target. That’s very normal for 50 points (10 points per click is roughly average these days). His values are a little worrying with 6 movement for only two clicks, dropping to 5 for his last three with Sidestep and a final click of Earthbound. His attack starts strong with an 11, drops to a 10 for two clicks, and drops to a 9 for his final two clicks with just a Special attack on clicks one through three. Defense is pretty strong at 18 Toughness for two clicks, dropping to a 17 on click three, swapping to ES/D on click four, and dropping to a 16 on click five. Damage-wise, Hammer is quite a let-down; 2 damage on clicks one, four, and five, and just 1 damage on clicks two and three. For powers in that slot, he’s got a Special on one, two, and five, and Outwit on three and four. His dial really isn’t that exciting as he’s pretty slow and plummets pretty hard once he takes a hit. Regarding his Keywords, he’s pretty awful with just Sixpack and Soldier, although Soldier is a pretty strong contender.
Hammer has a single trait that further warrants the question of ‘why am I building around this guy?’
Custom-Built HoverChair…: Hammer can’t carry characters that are his size.
Oh joy, he’s got flight with only 6 movement, but can’t carry standard or larger characters. This is almost as bad as his Prime that just flat-out can’t use the Carry ability. At least Hammer can carry tiny characters around. Let’s take a look at this special abilities which is the reason you’d be playing him. First up, his attack.
… That’s More Like a Personal Tank: When Hammer makes a range attack targeting a single opposing character, he may also target all opposing characters adjacent to that target. When you do, Modify Hammer’s damage value by +1 for each hit target
Okay, now Hammer seems like he’s capable of dealing damage and we get a better idea of what it is he does. This power makes him a very obvious answer to swarm teams and characters that like to bunch up together. We don’t have any of those in modern, do we? *Cough*cough* Bizarro Green Arrow *cough* Renet Tilley *cough* Overdrive *cough*. Yep, it seems Hammer is a great silver bullet against teams that group together, as well as bystander armies. Next up is his damage power.
Advanced Tech Genius: Hammer can use Enhancement and Ranged Combat Expert.
This is a great little duo-power ability that’s easy to understand and just simply does what it does. With Ranged Combat Expert and Sidestep, we can see that Hammer’s numbers now look pretty decent. With top-dial 11 attack, he’s going to be hitting for either 4 damage or 3 with a 12 attack (without factoring in his attack power). Since he has this power on his last click as well, Hammer has only a single click of 9 attack that’s going to stay at that level. His Enhancement will also serve really well since he’s only 50 points meaning you’re probably going to have a bit more force to work with. This power alone makes hammer seem a little bit more valuable.
It’s not until we put these powers together that you can really start to see the damage potential that Hammer has. Because he has Ranged Combat Expert, Hammer can easily raise his values, and most folks would probably choose damage to get a big hit in. However, thanks to his attack power, if you manage to target a single character that has three opposing pieces adjacent to it, Hammer gets a +3 to his damage. With his Ranged Combat Expert, he can pump his attack up to a 13. How does that sound for 50 points? it gets better.
Let’s talk about that clarification that WizKids made about Hammer. Here it is in all it’s glory:
Question: Can Hammer use Ranged Combat Expert to target one character, then his That’s More Like a Personal Tank power work where he also targets all opposing characters adjacent to the target to get the bonus to his damage for each hit target?
Answer: Yes. Note that, when using Ranged Combat Expert, you must choose the modifiers to apply before making the attack. Also note that each hit target will be dealt Hammer’s final calculated damage value (rule of 3 applies).
Notice that last line of the answer from WizKids; Hammer will deal his final calculated damage value to all hit targets. Now, if you target that same character with three of his buddies next to him and get your damage value up to a 5, you’re dealing a total of 20 damage in a single attack (5 to the original target and 5 to each of the three characters adjacent)! If Overdrive carried his 4-passenger total, you’re dealing 25 damage from a single action. That’s just craziness! 50 points to dish out that kind of damage is absurd and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
With Bizarro Green Arrow running around, ruining the ranged game for many pieces and players, Hammer is a breath of fresh air and will gladly let the Bizarro archer take the attack while he reigns down fiery doom to everyone around him. Sure, Bizarrow can reduce his damage or attack value, but it’s still going to somewhat negate his effect of keeping people safe.
Another great factor about Hammer is that he isn’t the highest point figure on your force, so Nick Fury won’t be able to deal massive damage to him, and if Shredder Clone picks him for his trait to give -2 to attack, that just means your main attacker can now go balls to the walls and kill that clone.
So now that we know what Hammer is capable of, what do we need to make him shine? We know that he’s very slow, so mobility is 100% needed, no questions asked. I would opt for TK so that you don’t have to wait a turn to strike. With only 5 clicks of health and Tougness to keep him safe, there’s a very real chance he can just be one-shot by something if you risk him. Ranged attackers also seem to be a good idea to combo off of his Enhancement and S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability. Why run this guy if you’re not going to take full advantage of him, and a +1 to range and damage for ranged attacks just for sitting next to him is very strong. A good lock-down piece would also probably be a good idea so that you can keep people in place rather than hunting down your mini tanks. A theme team would be wonderful so that you can pick a good map with clear lines of fire to keep Hammer a reliable threat so that you aren’t placed on something like the WizKids offices, although Soldier is the only viable option here and they typically don’t use a lot of TK. This is probably the hardest goal to accomplish.
Alright, once again I’ve run my mouth for way too long, so it’s time to jump into the build. Remember, that because the units section is not updated yet on the Realms, I can’t link figures from the Deadpool & X-Force set (sans like 10). There are plenty of folks that are working with HCRealms to get this rectified, but we have to make due until it’s resolved.
300 Point Modern LIMITED Hammer Build – Version 1
- AVAS 067 Rick Jones | 75 Points
- WF 046 Klarion The Witch-Boy | 70 Points
- DXF 059 Hammer | 50 Points
- DXF 059 Hammer | 50 Points
- SFSM 029 Overdrive | 25 Points
- NFAoS A001 Torso (Hulkbuster) | 10 Points
- SFSM S101 Symbiote | 6 Points
- Build Total: 296 Points
There’s a whole heck of a lot going on with this team build, so let’s start breaking it down to see all the teeth this thing has packed.
Telekinesis is the best option for Hammer since he has such low mobility, and I mentioned that ranged attackers and tie-up are probably a good bet with him. Rick Jones accomplishes all of this for only 75 points. Rick has TK on his first three clicks and generates an endless supply of Bystander tokens to lock your opponents into place and stop them from fronting your ranged assault. Rick’s also got a an 11 attack with Pen/Psy and a gigantic 10 range with three bolts. Even better, he picks up Mind Control and Perplex on his second click while keep that 11 attack meaning you can easily push him to TK twice in a row.
Klarion seemed like an absolutely mandatory piece because of how strong he is in the limited format (heck, in any format). With the TK from Rick for Hammer and Klarion’s own phase-up-9-squares-sidestep-drop-Teekl-Charge, that’s a ton of reach you’re getting with this build. Klarion also had Probability Control, which is never a bad thing. Lastly, Klarion is also a source of Pen/Psy with 6 range making him another great target to sit next to Hammer and take shots. Teekl is also a great tie-up piece because he’s really hard to KO as you have to roll a 1 or a 2 on his Super Senses to have him actually go away for good. Since he also has Perplex, that’s two pieces of number boosting on your force.
Wait a minute, two Hammers? Yep, two Hammers. For 50 points the the sheer damage this guy puts out, there’s not really any reason to not run two of him. Since they aren’t Indom, you can move one of them up to a space you’re planning on attacking from, TK the other, and take shots every single turn, or push and go for a total nuclear launch in a single turn. When sitting next to each other, they now have a 7 range thanks to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability, and between the two of them, you’re adding +2 to range and damage for ranged attacks. Rick is now sitting at 12 range and 4 damage (penetrating), and Klarion is sitting at 8 range and 4 damage (penetrating). Let’s not forget that if you need to max out penetrating damage, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability lets Hammer take a token to raise damage by +1. With the Perplex from Rick and Teekl, you can effectively max damage on every single piece on your team.
I ended up going with Overdrive because lets face it; you should have a back-up plan, and Overdrive will do just that. Rather than burning your tokens moving into place, Overdrive can get your team within alpha strike range. Or he can bail your team out when they’re cornered. Or he can shuttle new pogs from Rick out to the middle of the field. Or he can bring Teekl back if he gets in deep water. Overdrive was needed as the taxi because vehicles ignore speed symbols meaning his Charged Up bystander can carry Hammer while Renet Tilly and Overdrive can’t.
For the final 20 points, I opted for the Hulkbuster Torso to give Rick (or whomever) Invulnerability, and the Symbiote for either Rick or Klarion to keep them safe. You can equip whatever you want to whoever you want to better counter the team you’re up against. The Hulkbuster isn’t immobile either, so you could easily TK it to Klarion and have Overdrive take everyone else up 5 squares for whoever needs the Symbiote. These two items bring the rest of the versatility.
This build is a lot stronger than I think it seems. Although most of the pieces are very low in health and could easily be one-shot by something like Jakeem, I think it’s got a decent shot at dealing some good damage. It’s biggest problem will be one man armies, although they’re starting to see a bit of a decline with the new direction Heroclix has taken since Uncanny X-Men.
Let’s take a look at one more team build.
300 Point Modern LIMITED Hammer Build – Version 2
- CWSOP 025 Punisher | 80 Points
- WKMP17-004 Captain America | 65 Points
- DXF 059 Hammer | 50 Points
- DXF 059 Hammer | 50 Points
- NFAoS FF 002e Agent Coulson | 50 Points
- WKMP16-S113 Surveillance Device | 4 Points
- Soldier Theme Team: +5
- Build Total: 299 Points
This time, we’re trading in the TK and mobility for a Soldier theme team. This build has a bit of tricks up its’ sleeves.
Starting out we have the Civil War Punisher, probably the best Frank Castle (in my opinion) we’ve gotten. He’s another piece that has Sidestep over Running Shot which is a little frustrating, but boy people need to watch out if he gets into range to hit. Punisher has a nice 11 attack and the ability to roll additional dice and pick what he wants to use, and can also make more than one ranged attack without activating the DDM. If he manages to hang out with both Hammers, he’s getting 8 range and 5 damage for two separate attacks, which he can use multiple dice for to make sure the hits stick. As long as Punisher is your clean-up crew, he’ll never stop killing.
The Earth X Captain America seemed like a gold mine of a Soldier to play with both Hammers. His incredibly potent Leadership power lets him remove tokens on up to 150 points of friendly characters on the map, meaning he can pull from both Hammers, Punisher, or Coulson. Cap isn’t bad either; he’s got Indom, Running Shot (yes!), and great values. On top of that, he protects against Mind Control, and steals equipment from people, which is really prevalent in the limited format.
Next up we have the Fast Forces Agent Coulson his 50 point line. I picked Coulson for two reasons; first, he’s got Outwit which is a big deal for a team with no penetrating damage and low mobility. Second, Coulson has the ability to place a character that shares a keyword and is equal or less points adjacent to him. That means Phil is our sort-of taxi for Hammer. We can easily just Sidestep with both Hammers and once Phil is in place, he’ll call one of them over to take his shot. Once he’s in position, Phil can just bump up damage via his team ability. Now that we have three S.H.I.E.L.D. characters (four if you count Punisher’s Wild Card), we’re maxing range on every character.
Lastly on this build, I included an object from the Punisher Van. I was unaware that you can run these items with someone named Punisher on your force, not just with the van, and the Surveillance Device turns this build up to 11. This little radar dish gives the equipped character and adjacent friendly characters the ability to ignore elevation and hindering terrain when making a ranged attack against someone within 6 squares. Since it’s a free action for Frank to pick this up, you can easily get this on turn 1 and Sidestep up Punisher and both Hammers to be a little firing squad. With this single piece of equipment, we actually want to choose a map like Friendly Neighborhood that has tons of elevation to keep us safe and make attacks.
While I don’t think this build is quite as good as first one, it’s still a decent theme team. The biggest problem is that each of the pieces are very squishy, but you effectively have 5 people capable of putting out damage, and no one on the team is really crucial to win, so if your opponent manages to come in and immediately KO someone, you’re still in okay shape.
That’s gonna do it for this team build. What do you think of this previously-though decent piece? What would you run with him? Have you thought of a really good combination to make him shine? I’d love to hear it. Special thanks to my buddy Colt for helping me brainstorm on pieces for the build today!
Next week, in addition to the articles here, I’ll have an Apex Insiders article go live discussing what to expect at the Majestix ROC coming up in April. See you on Tuesday!