It’s been a month since Wrecking Ball landed on the public server, gleefully grappling across maps, wreaking havoc on enemy backlines, and dropping minefields wherever he pleases. Despite his decidedly cuddly character design, Wrecking Ball is widely considered a high-skill hero, requiring considerable team coordination and impeccable timing.
At the professional level, Wrecking Ball has seen limited play. However, a handful of tank players have grabbed the spotlight by demonstrating how to harness Hammond’s abilities. Runaway’s Hyeon-Woo “Jjanu” Choi showed off his ability to stall and sidetrack in the Contenders Korea Final, while the LA Legion’s Byung-Ho “Panker” Lee did the same in the Contenders NA playoffs. Then, at the Overwatch World Cup Incheon Group Stage, South Korea main tank Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo used Wrecking Ball to great effect, and he’ll likely see even more playing time as the tournament progresses.
We asked some of the best players in the world to weigh in with their thoughts on the meched-up hamster—his strengths, key points, and place in the meta.
Chan-Hyung “Fissure” Baek—Seoul Dynasty
Wrecking Ball is not an easy hero to play as a pro. His big characteristic is the fact that he requires a lot of teamwork. If the team cannot support him then it’s hard to play. I’ve been practicing Wrecking Ball a lot, and I’ve realized that there are counters to him. You’re not going to see him as often as you’d think. You’re going to see a lot of Reinhardt and Winston, but there’s a window of opportunity for Wrecking Ball to come out.
Austin “Muma” Wilmot—Houston Outlaws
He’s a very dive-oriented hero, so his backline pressure on the enemy team is actually pretty extreme. It makes playing a lot of static, low-mobility heroes a lot harder, because he’s just so fast. He also has a pretty surprising amount of ability to peel for his backline. I think if people get really, really good at him, he could be one of the better heroes. Definitely, probably the best hero they’ve introduced.
Scott “Custa” Kennedy—Los Angeles Valiant
Wrecking Ball is an interesting substitute for Winston in dive. He’s very self-sustainable, and he has a ton of mobility. His biggest weakness is just that he doesn’t protect the team. If you’re looking for an offensive tank, he’s probably the best option out there. Throughout the World Cup you’ll probably see a lot of Winston and Wrecking Ball from tanks, if they’re not playing [three tanks and three supports].
Aaron “Bischu” Kim—Los Angeles Gladiators
Wrecking Ball is very niche. I am glad he was introduced, but after playing enough of him, I was just like, ‘Wow, D.Va is just so good,’ and there’s nothing that can substitute for her. Everyone thought he was gonna be the next flex tank, but nah. He is incredibly fun to play. When he was on PTR I was practicing him during playoffs, and my coach had to tell me to stop—I was just having so much fun, though!
Young-Jin “Gamsu” Noh—Boston Uprising
At first, I thought Wrecking Ball was going to allow for more dive. But now that I’ve watched more pro play, because Wrecking Ball allows you to get your ultimate faster, he’s going to be used more as a counter to [other heroes]. I don’t think he’s going to be picked straight out of spawn, but rather used later.
Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo—Los Angeles Valiant
The most important thing for Wrecking Ball is knowing when to go in. He’s the type of hero that you can’t use in every composition; it really depends on what the opponent’s composition is. Really, the most important thing is timing.
Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod—Dallas Fuel
Wrecking Ball can go in very fast and escape very fast, but there are so many heroes to easily counter. Either stun or wall, or whatever. So many things can stop him, but still, he can go super fast! He’s the fastest hero in the game, high HP, but just no damage, and the crowd control is hard to use.
Yeon-Jun “Ark” Hong—New York Excelsior
I think Wrecking Ball is good at getting all the attention [from opponents], just running away and being alive. I think that’s his good ability compared to Winston. I think he really shines in team plays.
Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa—Los Angeles Gladiators
Wrecking Ball is a tank that is able to dive in on his own and create a lot of space for his DPS by stunning characters in the air and being able to survive after the engage. My impression from professional play is that Hammond was being used a lot to counter [triple-triple compositions] because he's able to create a lot of space and survive longer than other tanks. My advice for playing Wrecking Ball—coordinate when you are going in, study the grapple spots for different maps, and after you engage, focus on always surviving.