It’s that time again: #KappySpotlight time, where I talk about badges/items/partners/etc… that are generally seen as “bad” and not used very often by challenge runners. I dive deeper into why they’re perceived the way they are with some cool strategies centered around them mixed in! Today, I’ll be covering a badge that’s simply…smashing — HAMMERMAN!
Glitz Pit Rank: D-
This badge suffers from its namesake — hammers. Hammers are generally inferior to Jumping once you start to buff Mario’s ATK. With great move badges like Multibounce and Power Bounce, combined with the support badges Spike Shield and Ice Power, Mario is able to deal damage to all non-ceiling enemies, and with enough ATK-increasing badges, he can wipe out normal battles and boss battles in 1-3 turns. Hammers, on the other hand, are less effective. The biggest drawback is that you can’t hit anywhere but the front without Hammer Throw, and Quake Hammer and Fire Drive can’t hit aerial enemies. Hammer’s biggest positive is that it has higher base damage, so whereas a Jump may not deal damage to a high-DEF enemy, Hammer can. Unfortunately, as said before: increasing ATK only helps Jump more and more, and since you get Power Bounce and badges like PowerRush/Mega Rush so early, it’s tough to compete with Jump when challenge runners are great at manipulating Mario’s HP to get into Danger/Peril quickly.
Hammerman is a little different than move badges like Power Smash or Fire Drive because it gets rid of Jumping entirely, meaning Hammer is your only option. Now, this isn’t really great, but partners are so versatile that if you wanted to run a Hammer-centric build, you could quite easily and still be an effective fighter, and the 2 BP isn’t bad for a flat increase to damage. Let’s look at a couple places where Hammerman can be put to very good use!
The Moon in Chapter 7 houses an enemy that Jump quite literally cannot compete with unless Mario’s in Peril/Danger. Moon Clefts have 5 DEF. An insane amount, to be sure. At this point, you’ve probably got Jumpman and 2 Power Plus badges equipped. Well, that’s 6 ATK for your Jump…and 1 damage to Moon Clefts. You’d need to be in Danger to KO them with a normal Jump, and in Peril to KO them with Multibounce. With Hammerman, you don’t need any of this. In fact, from the get-go you can KO them all with Quake Hammer. Quake Hammer’s base ATK is 2. With 2 Power Plus badges and Hammerman, it’s at 5. Throw on P-Up D-Down and you’ve got an easy way to KO Moon Clefts with no effort. Throw on Flower Finder/Flower Savers and you can literally win every battle on the Moon (besides the ones with Z-Yux…but your partners can deal with those guys) without batting an eye. Bonus points go to Hammer Throw having an ATK of 10 at this point and being able to easily KO Z-Yux as well.
PIT OF 100 TRIALS FLOORS 51-99
You might be thinking, “Wow, the later half of the Pit, Kappy? How is Hammer really good there?” Well, let’s take a look at the enemy list for these floors.
50s —– Badge Bandit | Ice Puff | Dark Boo | Red Chomp | Moon Cleft
60s —– Dark Lakitu (+ Sky-Blue Spiny) | Dry Bones | Dark Wizzerd | Frost Piranha | Dark Craw
70s —– Wizzerd | Dark Koopatrol | Phantom Ember | Swoopula | Chain Chomp
80s —– Spunia | Dark Bristle | Arantula | Piranha Plant
90s —– Elite Wizzerd | Poison Puff | Bob-ulk | Swampire | Amazy Dayzee
Now, let’s get this out of the way: there are quite a few enemies that Hammers can’t deal with easily. However, we have our partners, and they all can easily deal with the enemies Hammer can’t. Let’s assume we’re at end-game with Power Plus x2, Hammerman, All or Nothing, Power Rush, and Mega Rush equipped along with Fire Drive, Quake Hammer, Power Smash, and Hammer Throw. Let’s do some quick math when Mario’s in Peril…
Power Smash Damage: Base (8) + Power Plus badges (2) + Hammerman (1) + All or Nothing (1) + Power Rush (2) + Mega Rush (5) = 19 damage.
That’s actually quite a bit of damage. You can KO a loadout of 4 Badge Bandits (12 HP), Chain Chomps (7 HP), Red Chomps (5 HP), Dry Bones (8 HP), Ice Puffs (provided they’re ground | 9 HP), Frost Piranhas (10 HP)…I think you get it. With the combined might of Fire Drive + Quake Hammer, you can lay waste to quite a few enemy loadouts. You can even KO 5 Spunias (12 HP) with Fire Drive after the last one takes Burn damage or is superguarded. That’s crazy. With this much damage on Fire Drive, you can even KO 5 Elite Wizzerds (12 HP) in one turn and they won’t even attack you!
Quake Hammer’s utility is more for piercing through Chomps, Clefts, and the Dark Bristles, while simultaneously being able to KO lower HP enemies like Badge Bandits or Frost Piranhas for less FP. Fire Drive is used to take out bigger HP enemies like Arantulas, Dark Koopatrols (after you flip them with Quake Hammer), and all Wizzerd variants (since Quake Hammer can’t hit them). You can OHKO Airborne Puff variants and Arantulas with Hammer Throw, and do enough damage to a Swampire that your partner can finish them off easily. You can even use Hammer Throw or Fire Drive to set up for easy Amazy Dayzee KOs. Power Smash…well, it doesn’t have a lot of use for all the normal battles since your normal Hammer also deals 17 damage and can OHKO basically anything you attack besides Swampires and Amazy Dayzees (even Elite Wizzerds are taken out with one Hammer), but you can use it against Bonetail to deal 17 damage for less FP than Fire Drive. And whatever you don’t finish off or can’t, you can with partners, especially at Ultra Rank!
Obviously, this isn’t optimal compared to the Multibounce method for two core reasons: 1) Hazards. A lot of these attacks are slightly more prone to causing hazards to happen. If you don’t have DEF, you could cost yourself Mario’s life if he gets hit by a falling stage light, the fire crackers, etc… especially when utilizing Peril. 2) Enemy layout. Some enemy layouts are cruel to hammers, with some switching off between an aerial enemy and a grounded enemy and others starting with all enemies you want to be grounded airborne, etc… this can be especially bad with Puffs, who randomly decide to be grounded or airborne at the beginning of battle. Sometimes, you won’t be able to KO all enemies with Hammer and your partner in one turn.
These can be mitigated with Life Shrooms and other support items, and that’s where the strategy becomes unoptimal. With Multibounce, you really don’t need to worry about enemy placement; just Multibounce away with easy partner cleanup (or use Rally Wink).
Okay, let’s do at least one boss strategy with Hammers!
MAGNUS VON GRAPPLE 1.0 STRAT
ITEMS: Honey Syrup, Mistake
T3: Power Smash (10), Mistake (Goombella)
T4: Power Smash [KO]This strategy revolves around Power Smash with Hammerman providing just enough ATK to give Mario 6 damage with it, which is reduced to 5 with Magnus Von Grapple’s 1 DEF. Magnus Von Grapple always Stomps Turn 1, then is triggered into summoning his X-Fists at Turn 2. We get him to his trigger Turn 1, then Goombella uses a Honey Syrup so Mario can continue Power Smashing Turn 2. Turn 3, Goombella uses a Mistake to put Mario at 2 FP so he can finish off the fight Turn 4. On Turn 3, Mario takes 3 attacks — two from the X-Fists and a Quake attack. The attacks do 4, 4, and 2 respectively. Luckily for us, Mario can get himself into Peril whether he was attacked Turn 1. Depending on how many attacks Mario guards, he can take 7, 8, or 9 damage. Because Magnus Von Grapple’s Stomp does 2 damage, we have a way to get into Peril if we’re at 8, 9, or 10 HP. Easy. Turn 4, we finish up with a Mega Rush boosted Power Smash to win the fight. It’s a nifty little strat, and I actually really like it. You could upgrade FP once or equip FP Plus so you don’t need to use items, but to be honest, it means your partner is kinda just sitting there since if they keep attacking, you can just end him before Mario goes into Peril. This strat is about Hammerman, so we want to finish with a hammer move!
And that’s it! The thing about Hammerman is that you’re not going to build a strat around it as a move like with Power Smash — it’s just a supplement to Mario’s damage, but forcing you to only use Hammer options can help you see Hammer’s strengths and weaknesses. I recommend trying it out and seeing what you come up with! As usual, feel free to use these strats or modify them for when you next play! I always say this on my streams: there’s something special and extremely satisfying seeing a strat on paper come to life in the game.
I want to do something from Paper Mario 64 next time, so let me know in the comments and on social media what you’d like to see! I’ll put up a poll later this week with the answers I get.