Ideas for Hammer Offhand - need builds :D


Hey guys,

So I have been main-ing a Blood/Ele guy for Dragon, also dabbling in AR/Shotgun for Lumies, and now I’m thinking of a purely melee guy. Now, the thing is, I realize that shotgun as an offhand for just about anything is godly, especially so with hammers, but I don’t really wanna repeat myself… ditto with elementalism. I also dabbled in fist with bladed gauntlets on the blood/ele guy (pretty fun) but I’d be open to some suggestions on the best ways to use fist offhand. So yeah, being that guns and ele/blood are likely out, the choice is really down to chaos/blade/fist probably, so out of that what are the best options? I guess for tanking chaos wins, but what build and what to look for? Similarly, with fist, I guess maybe some supplemental heal or better still slot only the +15% dmg skill and call it a day? Can blade offer anything remotely as good?

Please do be detailed… I think we are missing a really good resource for in-depth character builds in SWL anyway. Cheers :smiley:


I’m not sure there are a lot of indepth builds, there is a thread for basic builds with every weapon and there is the monster of a thread going into mainhand shotgun (dps) I created: Shotgun (dps) Shortguide
Think of it as a long 101 on shotguns with no need to stick to it.


True, though, like I said I’m trying to avoid shotguns on the account of having them on my other char and just, well, it seeming that they are just overly good and a sort of a -meta- option that goes great with anything, esp as an off-hand. :slight_smile: Thanks anyway, will be a useful read, but I’m looking for tips on other weapons, mostly.


Chaos will just not contribute much special offhand. Which is fine, most soloing your offhand is just a way to dump more 5 energy consumers anyway. Its abilities just mirror hammer too much to add anything new.

Blade adds a lot of self-heal and maybe more importantly cleansing (Soothing Spring) that you can’t really get from hammer, that’s nice for getting used to meleeing.

I wouldn’t recommend using Fist heals while solo, you have to split your stats to make them work more than with Blade. I personally didn’t like Wrath much while solo, the main benefit of the bar swap is they’re free energy - which doesn’t come into play solo, 30 energy at the start of the fight kills pretty much everything. So yeah, 15% damage buff and maybe the power move.

I’ve played Hammer primary with Shotgun, Pistol, Rifle, Chaos, Blade secondary for a fair amount of time and Shotgun to me is the most natural pairing. And yeah a lot’s cause Shotgun is a good meta secondary. It just gets you more for your slots than any other weapon.


Thanks for the insights guys. I mean, I know, shotgun is just straight up best, no contest, but I was hoping that there’s some more really good stuff there. I’m also considering tanking, so that’s why I said chaos, it could be a good option still, right? Soloing in this game up to Kaidan is so easy that you don’t really need much thought put into your build, imho. Fist is also great for dungeon dps I imagine, that was my intention rather than healing. And Blade? Is it only really good for off-hand healing/cleansing when soloing? :slight_smile: And if I -did- pick shotgun, is it just for the raging shot or possibly also shell salvage maybe? (purely for dps now).


Shell Salvage is tricky…main hand I see no point in it (due to a long and pretty complex issue that mainhand you can do a lot of damage in the time of the extra reload you force and a few assumptions in efficency) but offhand it can have value depending on how hungry for energy AR/Hammer and I believe fist can be.
I believe the two most favored choices are Raging shot and opening shot. One to vent of energy fast the other to buff a group. Also combat reload becomes more useful as in offhand you have no odds&even.


Roger that. Yeah, seems pretty straightforward with fist and shotgun, you just buff up your main hand dmg and, unless the main hand has no energy problems (blood, I guess, but not really ar or hammer) also vent offhand energy without losing dps.


Shell Salvage (w/ passive) lets Raging Shot build up Dragon’s Breath to stay at 6 stacks offhand, if you use Combat Reload instead you’ll get up to 4 stacks and then drop back to 0 over the rest of the fight. Dragon’s Breath at 6 stacks is heads above the rest for offhand dps, its only downside is you need 2 slots, you can play offhand ele with just crystallized blaze if your mainhand needs a 5th slot (hammer doesn’t). The extra 5 energy for your mainhand is just the cherry on top, making SS on its own more than twice as good as any other cooldown.

OS is really not worth it until you’re in like, the 700-800s IP. At capped glyphs it’s only about 3% dps per group member, with lower quality crit glyphs you get less and less out of it. Although that is in the long run, in burst fights that have less than 10 seconds combat and then >10s pauses, OS is better and gets up to about 10% (again w/ max glyphs).


Thanks for the detailed write-up. Shottie’s just too damned good to pass up, I will have to think about it definitely. Might even just add hammer to my ar/shotgun guy instead… it’s really hard to make 3 different effective dps weapon setups for characters without repeating weapons x) Alternatively, can pistols be any good as a one-slot offhand with unload, just to dump energy, or is that seriously outclassed by an inverter? (since I’m guessing shottie’s not as good with AR cause you might not be able to spare 2 slots?).


Ah, roger, starting to get it now. Just seemed impossible from where I was standing at blue/purple gear, but, by endgame, yeah, I can see it. Well, that does mean hammer/fist is a decent option still, so I might end up going for that.


The other thing to keep in mind with builds is

  • hammer/fist dps doesn’t need a leveled fist weapon
  • hammer/chaos tank doesn’t need a leveled chaos weapon

Ele does need to be leveled, shotgun/rifle are half and half (dragon’s breath and grenades take your mainhand cause they’re DoTs but power moves use your shotgun/rifle) and most other weapons need to be fully leveled for offhand use.

So if you’re starting from nothing, may as well start ele/shotgun/rifle offhand so it levels up with your hammer. You’ll have plenty of AP/SP to dump in fist/chaos anyway.


That’s actually a great point. Also, the fact that you don’t ever need to touch your off-hand goes a long way in saving money, which I probably will need since I am the type of idiot who tries to level 3 characters and gear them at the same time xD


It’s more the Expertise (which you get by leveling with weapon equipped) than having expensive gear, but yeah… you could save money by picking fist cause Bladed Gauntlets are super cheap.


Hm true, good point. Well, either way, the main thing is to not go all out for an expensive weapon until you’re in orange gear anyway I guess, and by that time you have probably developed at least 3-4 weapons anyway so all good. Thanks again for all the help guys :slight_smile:


This isn’t true. There are offhands that can do very similar to shotgun’s output (or higher) (even with 6 stacks). For 2 slot offhands, you have 3 viable options: shotgun dot stacking (Ifritian is the best for hammer here), rifle (MIRV with Burst Fire, Incendiary Grenade + Slow Burn) and ele (Voltaic Shunt with Blaze + Mjolnir). Note that while shotgun’s dot stacking offhand is good on paper, it comes less and less viable because its ramp up starts to be a problem for shorter fights (which will tend to appear more often when one will tend to start overgearing the content), and the dot stacking has the constraint of being strictly single target and weak for target switching.

Hammer CAN have a use of a good 5th passive slot. If one chooses to play with Eruption, you’ll be able to play with Obliterate, Annihilate, Outrage, Fast and Furious and Unbridled Wrath (but even Berserker is a decent passive for pure hammer builds such as hammer/fists, it is actually better than Unbridled for those builds). So you still have an opportunity cost for hammer main in terms of the 5th passive.

More than twice as good? You’re stretching things a bit here :slight_smile: .

I’m not sure about what “best” you’re referring to mate, but shotgun is neither best for offhand nor mainhand for maxed-out gear current meta. It’s a viable option, but don’t stretch it to being “the best”.


That’s how my combat logs showed it anyway, SS + Raging Shot do about 75% more for my dps than IG+Burst Fire, after discounting difference in gear (which isn’t all that large atm, just that my MIRV doesn’t have a leveled glyph. will get bigger soon cause my shotgun’s next in line to turn red) Most of the difference is cause SS is, beyond enabling DB (which makes it as good as IG or other cooldowns) adding ~11 energy per cast which is nearly 3 more power moves per 20 seconds.

It could be due to other things in my gear of course, I don’t have any maxed signets and atm my power move signet’s quite stronger than elite (legendary 14for hammer vs. mythic 20 generic) Also of course that’s on a large humanoid size target so my MIRV is only about 1/3 effective, iirc it would raise IG damage about 30% for the extra.


Onevia, for reference, DB deals 0.147 CP per stack, so this is 0.882 at 6 stacks. The incendiary grenade, in comparison, with Slow Burn, deals 10.0283 CP for each usage. According to my sim for Pneumatic Maul / MIRV build, 8.3% of the globals are used for grenades, so this 0.836 CP/s from IG alone. You can see that IG’s damage can already almost match shotgun’s 6 DB damage just by itself, and it doesn’t need any stacking, isn’t single target only, can purge and literally destroys big bosses.

Keep in mind that extra energy for shotgun doesn’t have the same value at all as the 5 energy for hammer. Every extra Raging Shot when you stacked DB to 6 is replacing a Smash, which means less energy for hammer and less rage. Also, note that the Red Vali boosts MIRV’s damage tremendously, when it is rather close to useless for shotgun beacuse of what i stated earlier. The 75% less damage coming from offhand on your parses doesn’t make sense to me at all, since i remember when my glyphless MIRV at green level 1 was giving me more overall DPS than shotgun offhand on 5 min fights on the dummy (so on average 2 MIRV grenades hitting).

You also can’t just simply compare offhand’s damage, you need to compare the overall DPS between both builds to have the most accurate idea (although, in terms of total offhand damage, MIRV and shotgun were pretty much the same).

Currently, i’ve got a sim of Maul/MIRV build, but didn’t model any Maul/shotgun, i guess it’l a good opportunity to do it.


As promised, i’m posting the results of the damage simulations for both hammer/shotgun and hammer/rifle. I’ll spare the formulas and details and just show the input parameters and the final DPS results.

The following screenshot gives an idea of the DPS of a Pneumatic Maul / SPES-C221 build parsed for 10min (600s), with maxed out gear and lots of other things that you can see in the Input part.

Same configuration with the Ifritian Despoiler instead of the SPES-C221 in the following screenshot.

Now, the following screenshot show the potential DPS of a Pneumatic Maul/MIRV build with 2 MIRV grenades hitting for a 10min parse.

Same as above but with 5 MIRV grenades:

Now, let’s compare 30s parses for shotgun and MIRV offhands, same builds and same settings.

For the Maul/MIRV for the 30s parse, i put only 2 MIRV grenades hitting, below:

As you all can notice, the shotgun offhand falls apart in shorter fights (which, at the very endgame, are all short - long fights basically do not exist at some point, even the lurker can’t be considered a long static fight because of the amount of downtimes potentially screwing up the DB dot stacking, depends on what the hammer user is assigned to do). For reference, for a 30s parse, the average CP/s damage of the Dragon’s Breath is equal to 0.62 CP/s (way lower than the 0.88CP/s of the theoretical full 6 stacks, which is pretty much the average damage you get for DB after a very long time - my CP formula for the DB damage scales based on time).

Note that, besides all the downsides i’ve been explaining about the shotgun offhand (single target only, no purge compared to incendiary grenades equivalent, ramp-up time, bad for target switching and downtimes make the stacks drop), there are also another downside for shotgun: Machine Tyrant. This boss is pretty much THE anti-DB stacking fight. On higher difficulties, any geared shotgun offhand user will kill himself the first time the boss gets the shield back after going to the middle, even if the said player stops stacking DB when the boss starts going to middle.

Here are, again the advantages of using the MIRV offhand:

  • AoE damage on a single target ability - efficient cleave
  • Purging
  • No ramp-up time besides the 1st grenade
  • Able to replace Burst Fire for Unveil Essence at a low DPS cost (roughly 5% overall damage). Useful for sustain-tank group compositions on several fights where group healing might be needed (HR3).
  • Able to replace Eruption for Anima Suffusion (Ankh 2), at a cost of ~10% overall damage loss.
  • Not a problem on Machine Tyrant since it is just possible to not throw any Incendiary Grenade on the boss after he stops in the middle for his aoe attacks. The Incendiary’s dot will just fall off before the boss gets his shield back. The build is usable on every single fight in the game without issues.
  • Huge damage on big hitbox bosses (which are the end dungeons bosses and the Lurker), which could be argued as being the “hardest” bosses, or bosses that “matter” the most.


I completely forgot to answer directly to your concerns. So, in additional to the shotgun and MIRV offhand i specified above, you have 2 more options that have pretty much the same output.

  • Pneumatic Maul / Voltaic Shunt
  • Pneumatic Maul / fists

For the Maul/Shunt, build as follows:
Smash, Demolish, Seethe, Eruption, Mjolnir, Crystallized Flame /// Obliterate, Outrage, Annihilate, Fast and Furious, Crystallized Blaze

The goal of this build is to use Mjolnir for both heating up and releasing the Voltaic Shunt proc when you get it every 10s.

For the Maul/fists, build as follows:
Smash, Demolish, Seethe, Unstoppable Force, Rampage, Savagery /// Obliterate, Outrage, Let Loose, Fast and Furious, Berserker (if you get to 50% crit) (replace Fast and Furious by Unbridled Wrath if you want to pool rage to 91-99 instead of 41-49 before bursting).

The goal of this build is to maximize burst intervals (Savagery + Unstoppable Force + Let Loose) and to pool energy and rage as much as possible between bursts. Cooldown reduction signet not needed. The other goal is to also enrage yourself with Rampage to proc Let Loose (there’s also a bug where, if you get a Pneumatic maul proc alongside Let Loose, you’ll consume the Pneumatic Maul with an enraged Demolish but the Let Loose buff will not disappear, so you’ll get Let Loose in practice twice, which is kind of OP, even if somewhat still random). Pretty fun but technical build - in fact this is one of the burstiest builds to exist to this day.

Both Maul/Shunt and Maul/fists are theoretically the best main hammer builds i’ve came to so far, with Maul/shotgun and Maul/MIRV being close behind in DPS (less than 5% difference).


Hmm. In my actual parse with 1399CP, I get 7.33CP/s hammer, 1.29CP/s rifle. Or 7.52CP/s hammer, 2.03CP/s shotgun. About 0.3 of that can be attributed to the difference in items (mythic 35 spes w/ 20 glyph vs. mythic 7 mirv w/ no glyph) but DB and IG both proc off hammer stats anyway.

Hammer really is not good for parsing in reality though, I did 3 minute parses and got ± 3 crit+rages which is a solid dps change. Above is from 2 parses that both had 9 which should be close to fair (given my crit chances, 8-9 in 3 minutes is average) Of the 4 parses it was 12.3 (rifle 9 crits), 13.9 (shotgun 9 crits), 13.0 (rifle 13 crits) 15.1 (shotgun 14 crits)

Agartha might be messing up my rifle though, I got excessive variance in number of IG procs, as in 49% of the time one run (87 hits in 180 sec) 78% the other (141 hits). I know last time I parsed it, waiting 3 seconds (Burst Fire, 2 casts) didn’t always cook grenades in Agartha so I had to play with 4 second cooks.