Rubble Rouser Base Upgrades
Rubble Rouser Damage Numbers
Rubble Rouser Drill Pitcher Path
Rubble Rouser Excavator Path
Rubble Rouser Bolder Boulders Path
Rubble Rouser Miner Foreman Path
Alright, so this one is fairly easy for me to offer up suggestions...
I would NEVER recommend Drill Pitcher. The game's upgrade screen and strategy guide for Nailed It! both state "Press Attack 1, Attack 1, and then hold and release Attack 1" to throw a charged hammer attack!" The problem there is that it does not work, at least for me and at least on the Wii U version. Sledgehammer makes the hammer do increased damage, but what good is that if you can never get it thrown?
The only way I got it to throw is by charging ahead of time (holding primary attack), quickly releasing, holding again (if you lose the charged state it won't work), quickly releasing, holding once more (again, if the hammer isn't bigger and glowing you have to start over), and then releasing to throw. Not only is this insanely slow, but it might not work...The damage 36-54 and then 54-81 would be nice...It would be a great path if it actually threw the hammer with any consistency.
My original logic was "Bolder Boulders" looks the best to me because it is the most unique...It would be best complimented by a long range projectile which I had hoped Drill Pitcher would provide. As is, I can not suggest that path. I will try it on Xbox One to see if it works better, but I doubt it. The real slap in the face is that I discovered (while trying to figure out how to throw the hammer) that charged hammer hits do increased damage. I assumed this was probably tied in with Drill Pitcher and the combo aspect...I was wrong! Using my 2nd Rubble Rouser, I discovered that you could charge the hammer with the base attacks. That, to me, makes Drill Pitcher one of the few paths I have ever seen that I can consider broken. By the time I got a hammer to throw I would have either A-Taken serious damage, or B-just used other attacks to defeat the enemies. Thus the 54-81 and ranged nature of a hammer throw means nothing.
I was also disturbed by Happy Hammering claiming "All Hammer Attacks do Increased Damage." At the time you have your Primary and Tertiary attacks, both being hammer attacks. Happy Hammering only addressed the damage output of "Hammer Swing" and left "Tools of the Trade" as is.
The great news though is that Excavator (misspelled in the Strategy Guide's picture box), works quite well. You shoot off 6 rock shards that wind up doing 28-42 Damage and seem to have the range of the hammer throw (when it would work). Plus, the 6 shards kind of fan out and actually cover a much broader range than just a single straight forward hammer throw (did I mention it was hard to aim that?...Again, that discourages use in long range situations).
Up top, I would DEFINITIVELY suggest you take Excavator...no questions asked. I will try Drill Pitcher in XB1 and maybe other can get it to work as intended, but I sure can't and as such I would never use it...Excavator offers a nice, broad attack radius with some nice damage numbers...and it WORKS!
Down low, I initially thought Bolder Boulders would fit my play style the best and that Miner Foreman, despite not "liking" those upgrade paths, would probably be pretty good as well (Sonic Boom and Double Trouble come to mind). I was basically right!
Bolder Boulders is not what I had hoped...but it is still very unique and offers up some distinct advantages for Rubble Rouser. I had pictured a drilling ability that let me go underground and stay there a long time while offering up a way to move from A to B underground AND having a crosshair (kind of like Zook) to aim the boulders. I must say, that would have made Rubble Rouser a true beast. That said, you get basically 7 seconds of dig time and the boulder's wind up doing 14-21 damage, although you can't really control where they go. That said, it ties in perfectly with the Pop Rock Soul Gem.
Miner Foreman offers up exactly what I thought it would...4 Minor Miners that do increased damage. You do have to use Deep Dig 4 times to summon all 4, but they wind up bashing out 7-11 Damage on each hit and they each hit a lot of times.
On the bottom end I would have to suggest Miner Formean for most people as it would likely be the most beneficial for a straight forward play style. Plus, you still have Tunnel Expedition and the Soul Gem to pick up some aspects of Bolder Boulders. For veteran players, or those who are a fan of the 7 second damage free time I would suggest Bolder Boulders.
Pairing Bolder Boulders or Miner Foreman with Excavator up top makes for a pretty solid and unique character. I am still disappointed in "Happy Hammering" doing half of what it advertises and Drill Pitcher being virtually useless due to it's inherently complex launching system, but the fact remains that Excavator and either bottom path will add up to make a very nice Swap Force Skylander!