Hello everybody, in this guide I will attempt to show you how to beat the smiter's hardest matchup, so my fellow smiters may dominate in pubs and gm private duels alike without the fear of hammerdins. This strategy will make pub hammerdins seem like a cakewalk and give us an even chance against even the most skilled desynching hammerdins and liberators.
This guide is for those who is already very adept at smite vs hammerdin, meaning you understand and can play the matchup at a decent level, and is only being defeated due to imbalance.
First of all, this is a build that keep practicalness in mind at all times. We will not have to make a whole new smiter just to beat hammerdins and no one else. Most smiters regular setup can transfer to this build nicely simply from switching out gear. However, Widowmaker is a big part of our build, and smiters who are statted around Berserker Axe Grief will probably have too low dexterity to be able to meet it's 146 dex requirement. We will not be able to put a hel or a -15% requirement jewl in it either, because it will need to be socketed with an Um rune, so to be able to use this build, make sure you either achieve 146 dexterity either through items or proper stats.
In order to see how this strategy works, let's first look over why hammerdin is imbalanced against smiters.
1. Gigantic Damage-We smiters lose against hammerdins simply because the huge gap in damage between each of our hit and each of their hit. Those who have played smite vs hammerdin alot knows that it's actually easier for the smiter to land hits with charge and smite than the hammerdin with hammers. So why are we on the losing end when we can land more hits? Hammerdin's DR ranges between 18 percent minimum(Enigma and Shako) and 50 percent(Liberators). Therefore on an average smiter, with a Herald of Zakarum(which gives the highest average damage over all other shields) we will deal somewhere between 500-800 damage per hit, where a pvp Hammerdin's damage easily goes between 2000 damage to 3000 damage. Therefore, it's as if we are betting against the house, and the house will always take us with it's better odds. So one part of this strategy will be leveling the playing field in terms of damage between us and the hammerdins through excessive amounts of Open Wound.
2. Initiative-The second part of the imbalance comes in the form of initiative. By walking a little bit between every few hammers, hammerdins can easily create a field of impenetrable hammers, where if we were to go in, we will probably get hit by hammers. When this happens, we can't do anything but stare at them outside the hammer fields, and they can then decide when to teleport to us or desynch to us, and we can only play defense. By using Widow Maker we can gain back the initiative by making them come to us instead.
Gear Setup: Because we need to keep practicality in mind, it's unlikely for us to use the optimal setup at all times because the optimal setup requires SIX pieces of gear switch from the average smiter setup. And because when we switch cta and spirit off for Widow Maker, 2 pieces of gear goes into stash for 1 out, so we would actually require 7 items to be able to fit into our stash if we want to keep everything, and that will not allow us to have our other gear that we need on switch to have enough space. So remember, feel free to take any of the following out of the setup beside Dracul's Grasp and Widow Maker, depending on how much you like to kill hammerdins, give more or less anti hammerdin gear in stash. Keep in mind, the more of these 6 pieces of gear on, the more powerful you are against your deadliest opponent.
Helm- Shako, and if you are rich, socket with Jah. After BO this will give about 250 hp, and since we do not need DR or Resist from COA, this is the perfect helm against hammerdins.
Armor- Duress. 33% open wound is all that is needed to wear this instead of Enigma. We have no use for the teleport against hammerdins anyway.
Weapon- Grief Berserker Axe, longer range give us more chance to hit the hammerdin and trigger open wound, if you use this, you also can not remove highlord's amulet from your stash since you need the IAS to hit 6 fpa Smite. A Phaseblade however is perfectly fine.
Amulet- Highlord's wrath. The IAS from highlord's will help us reach better fpa with Widow Maker, but not completely neccesary if you statted around Mara's Kaleidoscope or a rare stat amulet, unless you are using a Berserker Axe.
Shield- Swordback Hold, 50% open wound on this will help us reach 100% open wound on smite. If you are rich, up it twice, if not, you do not have to. You will be missing about 1k damage from shield if it's in it's normal form, but it will usually only come out to 70-100 damage missing from your smite, which is not a big deal since we are dealing damage via Open Wound.
Weapon on Switch- Widow Maker, socket this with Um rune for the 25 percent open wound. This will be our main form of damage and pressuring tool against hammerdins. If you use every piece of gear I list here, you will have 98% open wound. However, this will still be effective with as low as 50% open wound.
Rings- Keep whatever you use currently. Some setup may require dex rings to be able to use Widow Maker.
Gloves- Dracul's Grasp, 25 percent chance open wound and it's small size in stash makes this the best glove for this build, and you shouldn't remove this piece from the setup for any reason.
Belt- Dungos for the HP and perhaps DR against Liberators.
Boots- Gores is the best choice here for the 10 percent chance open wound, but it's very likely many people can not equip this because they statted around waterwalk, sandstorm trek, marrow walk, or rare stat boots. If you can however, this will boost your widow from 88 percent to 98 percent, making each shot a guaranteed open wound.
So why does this strategy work? And how is it better than a normal smiter's setup when pitted against hammerdins? The answer is that with this setup we gain a ranged attack so we can have a way to force the hammerdin to come to us, giving us many more chances to smack them dead, and the damage we are able to gain through open wounds, so we can fight them toe to toe, hit for hit.
How much is open wound helping us? First, let's assume our character is level 90, not too harsh an expectation. Each attack deals 2133.6 open wound damage. After pvp reduction, each of our melee attack deals 533.4 damage open wound, and each bow shot will deal 266.7 damage. This means that our charges and smites easily do 1000-1300 per hit and each of our bow shot do 400-500 damage per hit. This is also an incentive for us to actually level beyond 90, because after level 90 open wound increases on an average of 100 damage per level. If you somehow get 99 your open wound will do over 3000 damage, making your attacks even deadlier.
400-500 bow damage PER hit is absolutely nothing to scoff at. This huge damage that also hits very very easily will drive hammerdins insane, especially since they are not used to dealing with such a powerful ranged attack from smiters. Unless they are the most level headed hammerdins, they will start teleporting near us to try to kill us before we land more arrows, and this basically gives us free chances to smite them. Good hammerdins that desynch charge will be harder to hit and I will go over how to beat good hammerdins in gm duels later.
As you can see, we now have solved the damage problem and the initiative problem through Widow Maker and open wounds, so all we need to do now is learn how to apply these new tools effectively against our enemy.
Before I go on how to duel specific opponents, let's go over some general maneuvers that we will use all the time against any type of hammerdins.
Charge and Run- The purpose of charge is not to deal damage, but to trigger open wounds. If you have at least Swordback Hold, Duress, and Dracul's Grasp on, you will have 100% open wound, and each charge will deal massive damage. Here's how we will use it. Do not ever use charge unless they are north of you, because if you charge them from any other direction when they cast a hammer it will hit you, so only charge north into them when you are below them. Here's the important part. Charge ONCE, and right when you see your weapon swing on them, charge away. Any more charge if you don't hit them with the first one will make you chase them, and you will be asking for hammers. A good way to lure the hammerdin out for a safe charge is charge away south from his hammerfield and make him follow you when he thinks you are going to arrow him more. When you hear his charging sound, namelock charge him, this means he haven't casted any hammers in that area and it's safe to go in for a shot to trigger open wounds. Also, since you namelock charged him, the game will auto target him for you and it won't matter if he's desynched.
Shoot and Run- You should be using arrows only from far away, charging to another area and shooting a couple. A good rule to follow is that if they are within 2 screens from you, do not shoot more than 3 arrows before either charging to another area to shoot more or go in for a smite/charge, because once they are in that range, they will be able to desynch charge below you in less than a second and you will die before you know what happened if you keep shooting more. Also, between each arrow, walk upwards a little, because if they are desynched and is below us, this give us better chance to evade their hammer rather than sitting in one spot. A good way to land some extra arrows is go to an area where there's obstacles like those black swamp things on the ground, once they charge on your screen, namelock with guided arrows for a sure chance to open wound.
Reading Desynch- This is a very important skill to have against hammerdin variants. It is however alot easier than it sounds. We don't have to read anything. If he comes within 2 screens of us, assume he is right below us and about to cast ONE second later. If he's one screen away, assume he will be below us HALF A second later. Completely ignore what you actually see on the screen. His position on the minimap probably stops moving for a little, or if he's already on your screen it may appear he's standing perfectly still, so when you are fighting against desynch hammerdins, don't trust your eyes, trust your instincts. Once you have this down solid, you can easily evade all his desynchs since you charge away before he even has a chance to desynch you.
Avoiding Previous Hammer Fields- My friend used this against me in our practice duels. If you see him 2 screens away and his position on the minimap is staying almost perfectly still, it means he's casting a hammerfield that he will later force you into. Those hammers become invisible and any time you step in that area within the next 10 seconds will probably get you KOed. So a good rule is charge in a big circle and do not go back to areas that you have been in the past 10 seconds. It might get confusing at times to whether he's being desynched on the minimap and is charging toward you or laying a hammerfield, so if you are unfamiliar yet with what your opponent does, charge away from your current place just to be safe even if he is laying hammer fields.
Smite- Smite is by far our most damaging attack on a hammerdin, but it's also the hardest to land and comes with big risks when we execute it. To be safe, there should only be two occasions where you try to smite. One is when they teleport near or on top of you. The other is when they are charging southward toward you and you can reach them with smite with less than half a second of walking involved. This may either require anticipation or luck. But the reward is well deserved, if you land more than 2 smites per duel it's basically game over because you can easily finish the rest off safely with arrows. Make sure to never chase, if you see your character starting to walk because they are out of range, immediately break off and charge away.
Teleporting Hammedin- Teleporting hammerdins are the easiest of hammerdin variants, and usually played very terribly as well, since teleport instantly refreshes your position and kills any desynch you had previously, and no good player would do that. These type of paladin are mostly seen in pubs. Shoot 2-3 arrows until you feel like they will teleport near or on top of you. Switch to Grief, right when they teleport near or on top of you smack them. If they get knocked out of your smite range though, immediately stop chasing as their fhr and fcr will let them start to get hammers out. Remember, do not ever chase them, only attack them as long as they are still getting stunned from our smite or charge, one melee hit is more than enough to take down 20-40% of their hp. Once you can't get any more hits off of them charge to another area of the map and start shooting arrows again until they are close to you, repeat. You will find teleporting hammerdins ridiculously easy since you will always see their actual location in game. Against Hammerdins who use the Auto Aim hack, remember they can teleport on top of you as long as they are on your minimap, so you will need to be alot more careful with shooting arrows and should keep Grief out for most of the time instead.
Desynching Charge Hammerdin- This is the type of hammerdin that you will see in private duels, but in pubs you will meet them also, recognizable by their 90+ level and them charging across the field laying hammers everywhere, wrecking the game. These paladins are very good and alot harder than teleporting ones. You will never, ever see their exact location. Sometimes you will see generally where they are, other times only the direction they are coming from. I've had times where I got hammered to death when it looks on my screen like the hammerdin is a screen away. This however is very easy to avoid once you practice reading desynch and use the 5 general strategies I mentioned above, since charge and guided arrow auto targets for you, it won't matter if you don't see them, as the game will target for you. Try to charge south, make them follow with pressure from arrows if they don't come, and when they charge toward your area, look for a chance to charge or smite, if you can't find a chance, let loose an arrow or two before heading to another area. Keep in mind just because he's charging all the time that he won't sneak a telestomp on you while you have a bow out, so don't get caught offguard by that either. Play cautiously, wear him down, and wait for victory.
Liberators- Liberators are not so much as harder than as different to play. However for gear switch you may consider putting enigma and coa back on to protect you against his charge at a loss of 33% open wound. Play as you would a desynching hammerdin, but do not be as liberal with your bow. You need to immediately switch to shield when you feel he's about to charge you with grief. However, Liberators have crappy ar, and you have ridiculous defense as well as 75% block. If their attack miss you, they just put themselves in range for 2-3 smites, and will have lost massive hitpoints. Remember, once they are out of range for the next smite and you start walking, immediately break off so you dont run into his hammers.
Mages- This is the most rare of hammerdin variants. In fact I have yet to see one in the new ladder, and therefore haven't had a good chance to practice against. However, it's easy to imagine a solution to them, and that is to stack massive resists. Put your resist gear on unless you have loads of 20 life 5 resist small charms. Keep Resist Lightning on at all times(it should be 20, if not, you will need tgods to reach 95 resist), and switch only to fanaticism the moment you smite him. Otherwise play as you would a desynching hammerdin.
Side Benefits From Anti-Hammerdin Gear
It might feel to you that is not worth it to keep so many pieces of gear stashed to counter simply one class, so here is some other classes that certain pieces of these gear are valuable against.
Druid- Widow Maker coupled with Dracul's Grasp here works wonders. Guided Arrow and the 50% open wound from it will scare him into teleporting into or near you, giving you some easy smites. Guided Arrow will also home for the Oak everytime out of everything in the minion stack, so there's a good chance by the time he teleports into you and an arrow reaches him, his oak will be gone, allowing you to KO him in 3 smites. Lifetap from Dracul could also go off on his minion stack, so he will be lifetapped the entire time when you fight him, giving you a big advantage. If you are trying to put lifetap on him on purpose, a good trick is to shoot a couple arrows into his minions, and before they reach him, switch to exile, and now you have a 20% chance to proc lifetap by the time arrows reach him.
Assassins- Trapsins and especially hybrids love to camp their little circle of 5 lightning traps, put on Widow Maker and Dracul's Grasp to force them out of their ring of death and into your shield.
Sorceress- Slap on Duress, Dracul's Grasp, and Swordback Hold. This suddenly became the easiest duel for you. Open Wound will eat them alive as it goes through es, just charge them and wait for them to die.
Necromancer- Similiar to Sorceress, Open Wound goes through their bone armor, but if you use Swordback Hold or Dracul's Grasp you will have to sacrifice the 75 fcr breakpoint and you will tele alot slower. It's simply a switch of a strategy if you can't seem to pin the necromancer down and needs them to lose alot of health after just one hit. I still prefer the 75 fcr tele-smite though.
Some people might ask what if we are not allowed to prebuff in certain duels? Or what if the duel drags on so long my cta wears off? I've dueled against a friend's hammerdin during the testing of this strategy who has over 4.1k hp, 125fcr, and 12k hammers, and I fought him for an hour without ever using cta, and had consistent win rate. This shows you do not need BO to win this matchup, you simply needs to play better if you haven't it since you will survive less hammers. It is recommended though that you get enough hp to survive at least one hammer without BO if you want to duel without BO.
This is the end of my guide, I thank you for reading through it, and I hope it has inspired some ideas in you on how to win Smiter's toughest matchup. This strategy has just been recently finished and I will appreciate criticism and feedback, so we can all work together to make Smiter's hardest opponent into smiter's easiest.
Thanks to TheNightShift for helping and training me in this strategy.