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With only a small handful of moves, the hammer is one of the most simple weapons in the game (like the Great Sword) that is simple to use but takes a lifetime to master. Beautifully balanced, they almost never revise the weapon in each installment. Because KO is such a core concept of the hammer, I will explain all about stunning monsters as well.
Like the GS, it’s meant to be used as a hit-and-away weapon. Big differences are:
- You can walk with the hammer draw so not that much sheathing and unsheathing
- You charge as you walk, and look for an opening to move in and do the move (GS you find your spot then charge)
Because of point 2 above, the hammer requires less preemptive thinking than Great Sword, but in return requires you to always track and hit the head of the monster (the GS you can hit the legs, tail, whatever). To a hammer user what you should see is a moving head and that is all!
There are really only 3 types of attack chains to know.
1. X-X-X combo: Do a pound, another pound, then the homerun swing.
2. R Charge attacks: Release right away to do a hit, after 1 lv of charge to do a run-in uppercut, and after 2 lv of charge, release to do a super slam or release while holding forward to do an endless rotating attack that you can end with a golf swing finisher.
3. Jump attacks: Walk off a cliff while charging to do a special charged jumping attack.
The main point of hammer is knowing when and how to use the lv1 charge uppercut and lv2 charge super slam. When a monster is down or KO’d, use the XXX combo, do a quick R charge and release to do the hit, then combo back into XXX again. If you are charged up and there is no opening, evade to cancel the charge and avoid wasting any more stamina.
■ESP and SA
All the attacks for hammer get what is called Super Armor – that is, you won’t get knocked out of your attack if you are bumped during it. The super slam and charge attacks get ESP – that is, you won’t bounce off the monster’s skin no matter how hard it is. Good deal, huh!?
The selling point of the hammer is that every attack does stun and exhaust damage. I’ll go into stun damage below but exhaust damage is pretty awesome. When a monster is out of stamina, they will just sit there panting and that means an easier and quicker hunt. The attacks that do the most exhaust damage is first 2 attacks in the XXX combo.
This is what hammer is all about – KO’ing monsters. Every single attack with a hammer does stun damage. Most attacks do 15 points of stun damage, the LV1 and LV2 charge attacks do about 30, and the final homerun swing of the XXX combo and rotating attack finisher does a whopping 48 points of stun damage.
How does stun damage work?
Each part of the monster has different KO resistance. Online or in books you’ll see it written like this (example here is Shagaru Magara):
1. Initial resistance: 200
2. Decrease rate: 5 (10 sec.)
3. Increment: 150 (800)
4. Duration: 10 sec.
The resistance is how many points of stun damage it takes to KO the sucker. Each monster has a different KO vulnerability for their head, ranging from 50-150%. Shagaru is 100%, so if you hit it with an uppercut, you’ll do 30 points of stun damage. Once you do 200 pts. You will KO the monster.
The decrease rate is how fast the accumulated stun damage starts to go down. For Shagaru, every 10 seconds it goes down by 5.
The increment is how high it’s resistance will rise after you KO it each time. The first KO takes 200 stun damage while the next would take 350. The number in the parenthesis is the max, so after 5 KOs (will never happen), you’ll always need 800 pts. To KO it. Hint: it will be dead by then.
The duration is how long the monster will be down during a KO. Shagaru goes down for a full 10 seconds, giving you ample time to pound its head in.
There is a KO skill you can activate that will raise your stun damage by 10%. This only results in one additional stun at most, and because of this most pro hunters prefer to use attack bolstering skills instead.
■Skills Weak Spot Exploit: Since you are always going after the head (a weak spot) you’ll do more damage with every hit!
Earplugs/Anti Ground Shake: Anything that will let you wail on the monster while they are screaming or stomping is great.
Evade +1: You can evade out of a charge and often you will need to so this can help cut back on how many times you get hit.
In general anything that boosts sharpness or attack is good!
…Often used but not super high priority: Focus: This will let you charge up faster. This is not a needed as it is on GS since you use the uppercut a lot. If you like to play with just the super stomp then this will be a nice skill to have. Normally you can just use the Felyne KO skill to get the same effect.
Runner/Stamina Rec: These will lessen the stamina drain during a charge/help you recover it faster
KO/Stamina Steal: Nice but note necessary. They will help out in exhausting or KO’ing a monster but the gain is not that big.
Reference: When possible I use a set with Sharpness+1, Evade+1, Rock Steady and Weak Spot Exploit. Another dream set of mine is honed blade, Weak Spot Exploit, Rock Steady, and Focus.
■Stun and Pro Hunting
Status ailments are unpredictable (when you attack you get a 1/3 chance of doing status damage) so you never really know how many more hits it will take to paralyze a monster (unless you are a gunner). But KO damage is not like that. You can calculate exactly how many hits more it will take. Once you realize that you can hunt more effectively. It’s not necessary though, so don’t worry about it if you don’t want to, but it is a nice fact worth mentioning.
Hammer is simple but a ton of fun. The fact that you charge while moving and only move in to attack means you’ll miss less often than trying to go in and do a big charge with the Great Sword. KO’ing monsters feels great. The more you learn about a monster’s patterns the more you’ll know where their head is going to be when they turn around after an action, etc. so you can time out a perfect slam.
For beginners you just use the uppercut and super slam and try to get used to it. Once you down the monster, do the XXX combo. Simple yet you’d be shocked to see how effective you can be (see the videos below).