Bowler Ratings

PatternStTwCr
Oily:99.59.5
Medium:8.587.5
Dry:654
Sport:777

Bowler ratings are from 1 to 10 in order of Stroker (ST), Tweener (TW), Cranker (CR)

General Info

Coverstock Specs
Name:Level 2 Reactive
Type:Reactive Hybrid
Box Finish:500 / 1000 / 2000 Abralon
Color:Purple / Red / Gold
Empty
Core Specs
Name:NA
Type:Asymmetrical
RG:2.50
Diff:0.055
Int. Diff:0.000

The Plague is the latest upper mid-price introduction from Hammer. This new piece features both a new core and cover. The new core features RG and differential numbers that are similar to the original Black Widow. The Biohazard core gives the Plague a similar ball motion to the Black Widow. What gives the Plague a leg up on the Black Widow is the new Level 2 Reactive cover. This new cover provides more continuation after the breakpoint than the Black Widow (which was the most continuous ball on the market at the time).

Due to the 2000 Abralon factory finish, all three of our testers found the Plague to match up best with our oily and long patterns. The key to success on this pattern is getting the ball to dig in between the midlane and the breakpoint without losing too much energy. The Plague gave all three testers the ability to create such ball motion.

Our medium test pattern provided the best look for Stroker. He was able to make a small move deeper in the oil and find similar success to the oily test pattern. Tweener and Cranker had to make larger moves in order to create the proper angle through the front of the lane. Both found the Plague to have plenty of energy left for the back end, despite the large number of boards they were required to cover on this pattern.

We would suggest those with higher rev rates experiment with a 4000 Abralon finish for medium volume patterns so that they will not have to start so deep. Lighter volume patterns will require a surface adjustment for all except those with extremely high ball speeds. We polished the factory finish for Stroker and polished the 4000 Abralon finish that we had already applied to Tweener’s and Cranker’s test balls. These surface adjustments allowed each to find the pocket much easier. Although these surface adjustments gave the Plague the ability to perform on our drier test pattern, we suggest those facing drier conditions look into the Backlash Red/Purple which is better suited for such a condition.

The Plague showed plenty of potential when we tried it on our sport pattern. Although it was a touch too aggressive for our medium volume test pattern, we feel with the proper layout, the Plague would shine.

Performance Ratings

NameValueComments
Torque7.5
Most balls are either incredibly strong in the midlane or at the breakpoint. The Plague is strongest from just after the midlane all the way to the pins, giving it tremendous strength down lane.
Length11.5
With the final sanding stage stopping at 2000 Abralon, the Plague has the ability to work extremely well on oilier patterns for all styles. Those with medium to low rev rates will get equally great reactions on both medium and oily patterns.
Back End16.5
The Plague provides tremendous recovery at the back of the lane. This is one of those balls that will provide the same strong move shot after shot.
Total Hook53
The overall hook potential is best suited for medium-oily to oily lane conditions. Minor surface adjustments will allow the Plague to handle medium to medium-light oil patterns as well.

Strengths

What stood out most in our testing was how strong this new Hammer release is from just after the midlane to the pins. This makes for a strong consistent entry angle into the pins shot after shot.

Weaknesses

Lighter volume patterns will cause the most trouble for the Plague, especially for players with high rev rates. Surface adjustments will help those with lower rev rates, but those with higher rev rates would be doing this ball an injustice by using it on an undesirable lane condition.

Overall Summary

The Plague was designed as an improvement on the original Black Widow. The overall ball motion reminded us of the Black Widow but was slightly stronger in the midlane, giving it the ability to handle more oil.

Hammer Plague Comparisons

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The BTM Ball Testing Team

About The BTM Ball Testing Team

The BTM Ball Testing Team is led by Eric Martinez. Our team of three testers has thrown and reviewed hundreds of bowling balls for Bowling This Month. When not testing balls for BTM, Eric owns and operates University Pro Shop in San Antonio, TX and he is an avid competitive bowler. Click here to learn more about how we test and review bowling balls.