Interesting read on the combo you use....unmod and then mortar mix and then a good 'ole fashion hammer I suppose. Back when I did not know all the TCNA rules.....I leveled a room with Lati. 254 as thick as 2" .....just using thinset and a rubber mallet. It has had cordless batteries drop 7 feet high at least 4 times, etc - and the floor and tile are still intact !
I like to punch the tiles with my fist, hit them with the palm of my hand or use the rubber mallet what ever beats them into the mortar mix and yields me solid coverage.