As I promised I would be doing another post on a different troop, here it is. The previous post was on Zuul’Goth. This time we’re looking at the Mythic Divine Dwarf, Stonehammer.
When Stonehammer first came out, I wasn’t playing the game. Apparently his ability stunned and burned all enemies, as it does now, and he created a mix of 15 red and brown gems, then gained 15 life. He also was only immune to stun and death mark, but still had the same 80% skull damage reduction. I don’t know if his life gain was tied to his magic at the time either.
In his current iteration though, Stonehammer creates a mix of 22 red and brown gems and gains Magic+5 Life. He also has the Dwarf trait Fortitude (Immune to Stun, Poison, Disease, Death Mark and Devour) instead of separate traits for death mark (Warded) and stun (Thick Headed). He gains 1 Life for each brown Ally.
First, let’s look at the most unique thing about Stonehammer: his Unbreakable trait, which gives him 80% reduced damage from skulls. There are very few troops who even come close to this number. Gorgotha has 75% reduction with Granite Skin, and four troops have 65% reduction from Ice Armor. Two have 60%, and everything else is 60% or lower:
Now, Fortitude is pretty amazing, but only Dwarves have it. Of those, only two troops (Lord Ironbeard and Thunderforge) have Stoneskin (50% skull damage reduction).
Immunity to stun is very important because if you’re stunned, your skull damage reduction trait does nothing. In fact, not a single troop that has 60, 65, or 75% skull damage reduction has any immunity to stun.
Gorgotha can cleanse himself with his ability, and he’s immune to burning and faerie fire, but not stun. Lady Morana and Frostfire Wraith are immune to Death Mark, Posion, and Disease, but not stun. Borealis and Glaycion are immune to Frozen… but not stun.
There are four traits that give immunity to stun: Invulnerable, Impervious, Fortitude, and Thick Head. Only Doom troops for players have Invulnerable, and Doom troops aren’t known for being great tanks (or great at anything really, but that’s another problem). Only four troops that are Impervious have any skull damage reduction (Carnex, Mecha Gnome, Vash’Dagon, and Trihorn), and their reduction is only 25% (and only 20% for Trihorn).
Then there are the Thick Head troops, and only three of them have skull damage reduction. Bulette and Turtle Cannon at 50%, and Winged Bison at 20%.
But wait, why is stun defense so important anyway – sure it disables our skull damage reduction traits, but the enemy actually has to stun us…
Yeah, that’s true, but there are an awful lot of sources of stun in the game, from Rock Troll’s Knockout (inflict stun when doing skull damage) to several classes with Impact (inflict stun when enemies deal skull damage to me), troops that stun with their abilities such as Emperor Khorvash, and the Warpriest class that has a 50% chance to stun a random enemy every turn.
So if you’re looking for troops with high skull damage reduction (at least 50%) and immunity to stun, there are only five of them. Of those five, only one of them can loop himself, gain life, and stun everyone else. And that’s Stonehammer.
His colors being yellow, blue, and brown, do color block a lot, but he generates brown and red with his ability, so he can refill himself and something red below him. He pairs quite well with Dawnbringer (two yellow allies) or Doomed Crossbow (generating skulls with little fear of losing your troop from enemy skull matches).
Naturally as with all high skull damage reduction troops, he’s still susceptible to Hunter’s Mark (although the damage reduction still works) and Webbed (which affects his life gain, or the damage he takes from Webspinner, which is still reduced by his trait). And of course, Enrage completely bypasses traits altogether, so that’s a moot point, no troops are immune to that (except maybe troops that weren’t going to reduce damage anyway!)
Stonehammer takes so little skull damage in fact that he can often win matches by himself against skull spam teams. His life gain is often higher than the damage he takes: for every 100 skull damage they team, he only takes 20, which would require a player to need only 15 Magic to break even on his cast.
Along with his stun and life gain, his burn ensures a slow death of the enemy as he skull bashes his way to victory, sometimes able to cast multiple times due to his ability creating brown gems!
So when do I use Stonehammer? I use him particularly in Delves and in Tower of Doom due to the many enemy troops that can stun front line troops and deal colossal skull damage. (Rock Troll is a very common enemy troop in these modes). And in Tower of Doom, his immunity to Death Mark is fantastic as well, and immunity to disease, which is very helpful given his high mana cost.
Stonehammer is an incredible Mythic and undoubtedly my favorite frontline troop (although for sheer speed in Explore mode, I use Glaycion).
The only way I would replace him as my favorite Defender is if an Impervious troop came out that had Aegis or Ice Armor (as they would be immune to Hunter’s Mark, Frozen, Silence, and Webbed, all things that Stonehammer is battling for eternity!)