General Ball Info
Level 2 Reactive
500 / 1000 / 2000 Abralon
Purple / Red / Gold
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.
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.