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Immortals on the Warpath

Immortals are now living up to their name. After a defeat at the hands of Los Baboons (now Echo Fox) during last season’s Challenger’s Split, they hit what seems to be their lowest point. Soon after, changes had to be made, and the Captain and Jungler (Vains and Aloh4) were dropped from the roster. Coach SuiJeneris and Laner DNZio were kept to rebuild the team. Surprisingly, Immortals acquired Hammers’ Jungler ttigers (proven aggressive jungler who won the first Vainglory live Championship), the new Captain MaxGreen (a “sleeping giant” of talent). They also acquired a newer face called Xelciar as a sub, and have thus brought new life into the team. Immediately following the news, this team was undoubtedly seen as being capable of easily making it through the Vainglory Invitational Series (VIS) league brackets to jump back into the Vainglory8 (VG8).

Although their previous roster seemed to be brimming with talent, they were unable to perform up to their capabilities. Aloh4 admitted that the team had failed to practice and had grown somewhat lazy with their commitment. However, maybe bringing on new players is what will get the team up and running once again. TSM Captain FlashX even commented on his stream, predicting the team was going to destroy their way through into the VG8. He even went as far as claiming they will be a top 4 team, saying they are at the same caliber as TSM and Cloud9.

When the tournament began, they did not disappoint. Going undefeated in sets, they were quick to make it to the #1 seed at the end of the bracket. Taking sets against strong teams, they defeated Intensity, Tribe, 2-0’d Misfits and 3-0’d Rogue in their finals set.

Finally, this past weekend, the stage was set. However, Vainglory’s new semi-round robin setup would not make it any easier. To clarify how Challenge matches worked in the past, challengers would choose which of the bottom 3 VG8 teams to square off against on a first come first serve basis that took into account their seeding. So, it went about last time that Los Baboons being the second place team chose to take on Immortals, and won the set.

As shown last weekend, the Challengers’ teams would need to play twice on day one. Then, provided there was still a chance they could still make it through based on points, again on day two. In their first match of the day, Immortals found themselves against NRG and were able to 2-0 them with relative ease. Game one saw them take 17 kills and only dying once while also not dropping any turrets. Game 2 saw both teams in a stalemate situation where neither team was able to accumulate a large amount of kills or map control, but NRG ended up losing at the end. Sadly they lost 0-2 against Hammers offstream.

Finally, in their last match Immortals would look to take revenge on Echo Fox to get into the VG8. The first game looked dismally one sided as Immortals was able to take early game kills and by the 18 minute mark, take all of their opponent’s turrets, while only losing one themselves. All that was left was another teamfight, winning it and taking the game. Echo Fox put up a good fight up until the midgame of game two, where Immortals were able to eventually take map control, a small gold lead and push with Kraken.

Immortals is now back in the VG8 and will look to prove themselves against everyone with their aggressive jungle pressure and early game control capabilities. With the schedule in the upcoming weeks pitting them up against TSM, Cloud9 and Hollywood Hammers, we will see if they meet the expectations they have set on themselves. They are now, without a doubt, a team to watch.

Written by: Ryann17, Edited by: DarkSquall

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Embrace your redemption – a guide to Grace in the Captain position

The new hero Grace has now been out on the Halcyon Fold for over a month, with her kit already making a significant impact on the meta. This analysis of the holy paladin will teach you how to stain the Fold red with blood, just like the flowers on the Grace Islands. 

Overview

Grace is an off-tank with immense Crowd Control (CC). Her abilities Benediction and Holy Nova respectively slow and stun her enemies. However, Grace often struggles when attempting to land abilities on Assassins or other elusive enemies. Her Holy Nova has a fairly long cast time, and thus can easily be blocked or dodged with Taka’s Kaiten, Vox’s Sonic Zoom, Idris’s Shroudstep and other similar dashes. Furthermore, her heroic perk, Retribution, locks her in place briefly as she deals a ground slam in a chained basic attack, so Grace should carefully choose where to use this perk or she may find herself caught out of position (i.e. under turret, or left behind on the outskirts of a teamfight). However, Retribution attacks also reduce the cooldowns of her abilities, which is very useful given her cooldowns are already low.

Grace introduces a new mechanic to Vainglory called a Holy Shield, which works similarly to Lance’s and Joule’s damage reduction. On Grace’s A and Ultimate, the shields around herself and her allies actively reduce the damage taken by 40 percent – and the damage reduction scales with crystal power. Holy Shield is one of the most valuable tools in her kit, as it not only protects her allies, but increases her own tankiness. Grace’s base health stats are lower than other melee captains, and thus the passive damage reduction for herself that also occurs upon learning Benediction is key.

Grace’s ability to protect and heal her allies are, in my opinion, on par with heroes such as Ardan, Lyra and Adagio. With a 10 second cooldown when overdriven, Grace will have her Benediction up as often as Ardan’s Vanguard and if upgraded fully, her ultimate Divine Intervention will have a 30 second cooldown. For the largest single target heal in the game combined with a full Holy Shield on both Grace and her targeted ally, the cooldown is extremely short, even without the cooldown reduction that occurs when utilising her heroic perk.

Abilities

Retribution
Heroic Perk
Grace chains her normal basic attack into a ground slam, dealing bonus weapon damage and slowing enemies in a wide area. If enemies are hit by the ground slam, her ability cooldowns are reduced.

Benediction
A
Grace dashes to her target, striking them with an empowered Retribution attack. Nearby allies instantly gain a directional holy shield that continually faces the target, while Grace gains a full holy shield that protects her from all sides.
Holy Shield (status effect):
Reduce incoming damage by 40% (+5% of crystal power).
Passive: Upon learning this ability, Grace permanently reduces all damage she receives by 10% (+5% of crystal power).
Overdrive: This ability is refreshed upon casing Divine Intervention.

Holy Nova
B
After a short delay, Grace knocks enemies into the air and disables them for a short time.
On Overdrive, Grace gains immunity to negative effects when casting this ability.
If this attack hits at least one enemy, Grace will immediately recover from the ability.
Deals 50% damage to minions.

Divine Intervention
Ultimate
Grace instantly surrounds herself and her target with a full holy shield and begins channeling for 1.8s after which Grace’s target receives a massive heal.

Ability Upgrades

On most occasions, I recommend overdriving Grace’s Benediction and fully upgrading Divine Intervention. The extra range when Benediction is overdriven allows for engages from further away, while also allowing Grace to chase down escaping targets. On the other hand, a fully-upgraded Divine Intervention has the strongest heal in the game, which can swing a teamfight in your favour. However, if you keep getting interrupted while casting Holy Nova, consider overdriving the ability, as it works similarly to Lance’s Gythian Wall. Having a spare reflex block can be a powerful tool, but often Grace’s stronger engages and higher healing when upgrading Benediction and Divine Intervention outweigh the benefits of this option.

Synergy

Grace synergises well with most heroes, especially those with engage tools. Her ability to hard-engage while reducing the damage dealt against allies works very well with squishier assassins and snipers. Due to her massive healing potential and inbuilt CC, most compositions will work well with Grace. Below, I’ve focused on a couple of heroes who I feel benefit most from Grace’s kit.

Joule
With Joule’s Heroic Perk, Heavy Plating, Joule has bonus armour and shield on all sides except the back of her model. When Grace’s Benediction is used on an enemy, the increased damage reduction means that Joule’s tankiness is increased to ridiculous levels for a carry – while the slow from Benediction allows Joule a much easier time when landing her Rocket Leap stun. Additionally, as Joule loves to stay in the middle of fight, landing massive crits on all enemies, Grace’s ultimate Divine Intervention can extend her window for outputting damage by another 2 or 3 seconds, which makes all the difference in a crucial teamfight.

Grumpjaw
Grace’s slows and stuns allows Grumpjaw to easily land his abilities, chaining the CC together for a deadly combination. For example, Grace engages on the enemy carry with Benediction, while Grumpjaw follows up with Grumpy. Grace has meanwhile repositioned to use Holy Nova, which allows Grumpjaw to target the enemy carry with Hangry immediately, dealing massive burst damage. Grace can continue to chain Retribution attacks to slow the enemy team, which also enables Grumpjaw to more easily land his Stuffed ability. This synergy and potential for chaining abilities is lethal.

Alpha
Similarly to Grumpjaw, Grace’s kit allows Alpha to easily engage her enemies with her Prime Directive and Core Charge, and also utilise Termination Protocol to decimate the enemy. Both Grace’s Benediction and Holy Nova facilitate Alpha dealing massive damage throughout the teamfight, locking enemies in place and allowing an Alpha to land her Prime Directive much easier.

Taka
Grace’s CC, damage reduction and healing will allow Taka to have more chances to burst down the opposition. Kaiten will be easier to land and X-Retsu will be even deadlier. Given Taka is a squishy assassin, the damage reduction when diving into teamfights allows Taka to be much more aggressive, especially knowing that a massive heal is on hand if his health drops low.

Koshka
Grace’s slows and stuns again allow Koshka to catch fleeing enemies with her abilities. The empowered basic attacks from Twirly Death will be easier to land on stunned and slowed enemies. If timed right Grace can rush in with Benediction and use Holy Nova for a three hero stun, then let Koshka dive in and delete the enemy carry with a Pouncy Fun and Twirly Death, then turning focus to the enemy jungler with a Yummy Catnip Frenzy. This chain of attacks is scary to think about.

Item Build and Playstyle

To abuse the highest move speed in the game, Grace players often buy Sprint Boots at the start. This allows her to outpace all other enemies in the early game, which is deceptively strong. A trend has been to buy a Weapon Blade and solo invade the enemy’s jungle, while allowing your carry and jungler to farm by themselves. Other options when starting are boots and a Tier 1 defense item building towards Fountain of Renewal, or a contract such as an Ironguard or Protector Contract (even Dragonblood, depending on your intended level of aggression).

After the early game, Fountain of Renewal should be the first Tier 3 item. From there, it becomes more situational. The standard captain items can be built on Grace, such as Atlas Pauldron, War Treads and Crucible – depending on priority and necessity. However, other Tier 3 items are also quite viable on Grace and synergise well with her kit. It has become popular in professional play to buy an Echo after reaching level 6, which allows Grace’s ultimate Divine Intervention to be used twice in a teamfight. Additionally, Grace’s kit scales well with crystal power, thus a Shatterglass is also commonly found in Grace builds. Furthermore, Contraption and Stormcrown are two other options which provide cooldown reduction, which is useful in combination with Grace’s Retribution perk – her abilities can be up more frequently than any other captain.

In teamfights, Grace should use Benediction on the enemy that is either the squishiest or is outputting the most damage (often this is the same hero). This allows damage reduction to occur, while also isolating a squishy target for your team to delete. When casting Divine Intervention, the 1.8 second cast time must be taken into account – in this period, damage reduction occurs, but the heal is not cast until after the delay. It is often wise to cast the ability when an ally is at half health instead of waiting until they are near-death, as the heal may otherwise be too late to save them. Additionally, Grace’s Holy Nova should be used to interrupt powerful abilities or stun the weapon carry on the opposition team – or both at once. A well-positioned Holy Nova can win a close teamfight, landing an area-of-effect stun on the entire enemy team.

Grace is an extremely powerful hero with immense potential. With practice, I hope that you can all rule the fold with the paladin, protecting your allies and dominating your enemies all day long. Good luck!


Written by KerryX
Revised and edited by hoIIand

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Reviewing The Gauntlet

In a surprising turn of events, Cloud9 (C9) has beaten ROX Armada (previously Invincible Armada) in the final stage of the 2017 Mobile Masters Invitational at the Prudential Center in New York. Armada nearly completed the “Run the Gauntlet” challenge, defeating four teams in succession – Tempo Storm, Tribe Gaming, GankStars and NRG – before ultimately falling to the last boss of the gauntlet, Cloud9. This was surprising to me, as in my eyes, Invincible Armada had always been just that: invincible. So, what led to this outcome?

Throughout the five matches of the Invitational, Armada did not significantly vary their team composition. In every match bar one, they locked in Baron as first pick, choosing him for their laner druid’s extremely capable hands. If NRG hadn’t banned Baron, it’s likely Armada would have again first-picked Baron for that match. Their jungler, Mango, chose assassins such as Taka, Blackfeather and Koshka. Their new roamer, Engineeus, taking over the role that Willy had performed superbly in the past, was the only one who changed his hero nearly every match (except for picking Glaive twice), as if eager to prove that he can play multiple heroes, and play them well.

Armada won their first four matches under twenty minutes each, with their aggressive and intimidating playstyle. All of the matches were best of one, as opposed to the usual best of three format seen in most other Vainglory tournaments. Armada won $3000 for every match won, winning a total of $12000 for four matches, a nice sum in their pocket.

In the final match, some believe Armada may have been fatigued, having played four matches with intense concentration beforehand. C9, on the other hand, were completely rested and ready, which may have played a role in the final result. In this match, Armada once again chose Baron as their first pick, following the maxim, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Bearing in mind the end result, this may have not been the best choice against Cloud9. Having seen three matches with Armada playing Baron beforehand, they were ready with a strategy to counter him. As it was a best of one format, neither team had the luxury of a rematch. I believe choosing Taka was one of the major reasons Armada ended up losing, as he did not have enough utility during teamfights. Engineeus as Lance also did not perform optimally, dying early on. Cloud9 showed incredible synergy and mechanical skill this match, with every one of their players at the top of their game. With Oldskool as Vox, gabevizzle as Ardan, and iLoveJoseph as Koshka, they were a force to be reckoned with. This match, the tables were turned. It was Cloud9’s turn to gain early advantages leading to their control of the map. For the first time in the gauntlet, it was ROX Armada that ended up fighting an uphill battle, performing well, but ultimately unable to stand up to Cloud9’s top notch synergy and execution.

To analyze exactly how Cloud9 was able to get the edge over ROX Armada, let us first look at another match of theirs. Apart from Cloud9, the team that gave them a run for their money was GankStars. The matches between GankStars and Cloud9 varied slightly in draft with the support roles of the opposition (GankStars had Lance, Cloud9 had Ardan) and Armada’s support (first Lyra, then Lance). While Lance can offer peel against a Koshka, he can’t completely negate an engagement like Lyra with her Bulwark. Where GankStars failed to capitalize on was the early-game potential of Koshka. Koshka is stronger in the early game than Taka and they needed to snowball fast before she fell off.

GankStars made a few rotations into Armada’s jungle but were not able to find many kills, objectives, or a gold lead larger than 3 thousand gold. Following a team fight at the 12 minute mark, GankStars were aced and from then on it went downhill for them. On the other hand, Cloud9 were able to snatch 2 quick kills early on and take the first turret and gold mine before the 10 minute mark. Also at this point, iLoveJoseph’s Koshka had a 20 cs lead over Mango’s Taka.

By the 13 minute mark, a 4 thousand gold lead had been amassed by Cloud9. While druid kept up with his laning efficiently, Mango was starved for gold. Around the 19 minute mark, Cloud9 just barely won a team fight and was then able to take a kraken and all of Armada’s lane turrets.

At this end point, the deciding factor in team fights was the difference between druid’s and Oldskool’s build. “I think a little bit of a mistake from ROX Armada was not playing a scaling composition. As soon as you get to the late game, that’s where it gets dangerous against Oldskool. Oldskool shines in the late game, that is what he wants”, I paraphrase FooJee. Oldskool’s Breaking Point build required him to build stacks off of Mango and Engineeus in order to deal greater amounts of damage, whereas druid’s build was for burst damage and had no scaling potential. In the two major team fights (one before kraken and the final team fight), Oldskool was just barely able to win out, and he ended the fights with 15 and 20 stacks of Breaking Point respectively.

With these builds in mind, the difference in team fighting strategies was another nail in the coffin for Armada. Knowing they were at a disadvantage and not wanting to allow Koshka to jump on their back line, they never fully committed to Oldskool and therefore he was able to build those breaking point stacks and dwindle down his target’s health. On Armada’s side, druid only kept applying a stagnant amount of damage. It’s important to note that while both GankStars and Cloud9 used assassins, Cloud9’s strategy did not prioritize the Baron, but rather his teammates. If Cloud9 could build stacks and force an early fountain of renewal from Armada, the fight would be in their favor. So, by dominating the early game and building for the late game, Cloud9 was able to pull off a winning performance in terms of momentum and map control, but they only narrowly won their team fights against Armada’s composition.

Ultimately, I wholeheartedly believe Cloud9 deserved this win, defeating the reigning World Champions. On the other hand, I also believe ROX Armada didn’t show us all the tools at their disposal, saving the other aces up their sleeves for Vainglory Worlds to come later this year. ROX Armada is still as much of a threat as before, and they’re just getting started, but Cloud9 has also reinforced that they deserve to be seen as a major threat.

Article written by DarkSquall and Ryann17

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Unravelling Update 2.6

Hey everyone! Time for EZL to breakdown Vainglory’s Update 2.6, in which we are introduced to the paladin of Gythia, Grace. She’s able to eradicate her enemies with her mace, while at the same time continually lowering her ability cooldowns with her heroic perk. She also comes packed with massive single target heals and the ability to generate holy shields to protect her team. Be sure to grab her for ICE to get ahead of the rest of the pack, and don’t forget about her Talents!

Skins

Along with the new hero, we’re going to see a few new skins rolling out. The most notable of these is for the ever elusive pilot Skye, who’s now going to be grounded with her ‘Ride or Die’ skin. The Super Evil Megacorp (SEMC) team is really stretching their fingers with this never-before-seen model change, redesigning the mech to transform into a sports motorcycle! Make sure you grab the smoke-trailing, blue and purple laser shooting skin for ICE, or if you’re feeling lucky, take your chances with the special Ride or Die Mystery Chest, which offers a 1/20 chance of grabbing her skin!

Next on the list is ‘Evolution’ Samuel, rocking a binary Vainglory logo… we get it SEMC, you’re showing off. Check out the mage fully immersing himself with technology, with cyborg prosthetics and pixelated abilities. It’s the beginning of the end, don’t miss your chance to join him. Grab his skin for 1499 ICE or his skin and Talent bundle for 1999 ICE!

It seems Krul isn’t the only deathless character out there now… introducing the Slavic ‘Deathless’ Reim rare skin! Make sure you grab this withered skin in game, featuring an ice forged staff and a helmet adorned with golden wolves.

Last, and definitely not least, we’re introduced to ‘School Days Koshka’, the latest installment in the School Days set of skins. Available for purchase either directly or in a Talent bundle, you don’t want to be late grabbing this fuzzy pawed feline, equipped with danger claws and kitty face stockings. This frenzied character is one you definitely want on your side – trust me, her claws don’t get trimmed often.

Market Improvements

Aside from the new skins, we’re going to see a few market improvements. Vainglory welcomes back the old Mystery Chests (Thank you PlayoffBeard!), so when you want Talents you’ll need to buy a Talent Chest, as Mystery Chests now contain heroes, skins, glory and opals only. Also, for those of you who accidentally wasted all your glory by bulk buying that epic Saw Talent, ‘hold to confirm’ is now set up to stop this from happening again!

Live Game Improvement

Vainglory is moving onto their next view for 2017! With Talents already out, it’s time to see our live game improvements. Replacing the question ping is now a verbal cue for our question mark spams: the message button. Now you can tell that feeding Ringo to buy some defense, your drunk Ardan to grab some vision, your jungle baby Reim to push the lane for the win, and much, much more. Tired of roamers buying 12 minute fountains, or not getting an Atlas Pauldron early when there is an enemy Saw? How about having your weapon power teammate build a Poison Shiv because an Ozo isn’t leaving you alone? Well now you can let them know by suggesting ANY item to a specific teammate during the match.

Not only are item suggestions now a thing, but so are cooldown messages. Wanting to tell your team to wait before engaging because your ult isn’t up? How about timing everything for the perfect Impale & Big Red Button combo? Well now, with the push of a button, you can let your teammates know how long it will be until you can Bangarang or Gauntlet to shut the enemy team down. It seems SEMC is really listening to us, especially with them also bringing back our three quest slots again! Hello more rewards!

Briefly touching on Blitz: are you tired of going 0-4 but putting in 12 objective points on your own to win the game? Blitz is now going to show individual scores instead of KDA so you finally can get the recognition you deserve. Additionally, Talents get a nice change, as you’re now able to see them on the hero select screen. It’s great for those of us who forget which legendary talents we own.

But we’re missing the big point, the Summer season is now on! Use those season payouts to grab the hero you’ve been drooling over, or even max out some Talents to dominate brawls or private matches with friends. Bigger payouts are heading our way this season, so make sure you get your guilds leveled up this season! Of course, let’s not forget the soft reset of Visual Skill Tier (VST). When you log-in after the update goes live, you’ll see a drop of about one skill tier (with the change being higher or lower depending on your decay and overall tier), but don’t worry! If you don’t feel like grinding your rank back up to Vainglorious, your highest tier is still immortalized in your trophies. Additionally, for those of you who either plan on jumping into the pool with your phone in your pocket – or do so without meaning to – your skill tier now has a decay floor! This means that VST won’t decay indefinitely, so if it takes a few weeks to get a new phone, Hotness players won’t find themselves back at Credible Threat.

Matchmaking Changes

Here’s something that everyone really cares about: changes to matchmaking. Update 2.6 introduces a new matchmaking algorithm, so be on the lookout for fairer matches and shorter queue times (Enmitous: Thank goodness, no more 30 minute waits in queue… *shudders*). Vainglory is also one step closer to reintroducing the ‘one tier’ rule, meaning players can only create ranked parties with friends either one skill tier higher or lower, which looks to be an important step forward for fairness while ranking.

Hero and Balance Change

Heroes:

  • The monster of solo queue, Baron, is getting his basic attack weapon damage nerfed from 130% to 125%… trust me, that smaller rocket launcher will feel a lot less powerful.
  • Aggressive Flicker mains rejoice! Mooncloak is getting a huge decrease in cooldown.
  • Grumpjaw was hurting a bit too much a bit too quickly, and without repercussion. Now, he’ll eat you less often and won’t retain his Living Armor stacks for as long.
  • Kestrel is next on the list, and we can now look forward to a longer Adrenaline duration  – meaning you get a better chance of reducing your energy costs – with her Glimmershot reload time also being shortened significantly.
  • Krul hasn’t been played much in recent metas, so it’s time to get him back out on the Fold. Higher base weapon damage and a shorter ‘From Hell’s Heart’ cooldown gives him a much stronger early game to keep up with everyone.
  • SEMC finally saw that Lance was boasting a bit too much Crowd Control potential. To correct this, his Gythian Wall cooldown has been extended. Also, Lance apparently wasn’t doing enough damage after his Combat Roll, so be expecting slightly harder hits from that Tension Bow-building Lance.
  • Samuel has always been able to dish out some serious damage, but absolutely needs his Drifting Dark, which KILLS his energy, especially when partnered with spamming Malice and Verdicts. Now, energy cost of his A has been lowered substantially, so expect more damage coming your way before Samuel runs out of energy.
  • Lastly, it seems Vox has remained slightly stronger than intended, so a little drop on his attack speed to bring him in line with other heroes should balance him out nicely.

Items:

  • Poisoned Shiv is the only item being adjusted this update, being nerfed from 35% attack speed to 30% to make it more situational rather than the singular most powerful option in many cases.

Blitz:

  • Blitz is also receiving a balance change with a weakened middle sentry, as it was hitting a bit too hard.

Talents:

  • Numerous talents received buffs and nerfs, including Idris’s crazy Path of the Seeker, Blackfeather’s Hummingbird Heart and Alpha’s Core Overclock, which were all reduced in effectiveness.

Update 2.6 is a huge update pushing Vainglory towards its second big goal in 2017. SEMC have really listened to us when making changes and improvements, which bodes really well. Hopefully, we’ll see many more community ideas rolling out in the future, as we get closer to the much-anticipated release of 5v5.

Article written by Enmitous and KerryX, and edited by hoIIand

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Looking at the Laner

Who is the best laner in the world? Before Worlds, everyone had a different opinion. Laners such as Cloud9’s Oldskool (formerly of GankStars), TSM’s BestChuckNa and GankStar’s IraqiZorro were often mentioned in the debate, due to their high level of play across the board. However, following Phoenix Armada (now Invincible Armada) taking out the championship, it has been almost unanimously established that the true star laner of Vainglory is Druid. Surprisingly, many of us hadn’t even heard of him previously due to his team competing on the East Asian​ server. Sporting a 17.36 KDA ratio and averaging 147 CS per game, while also holding the #2 world rank on VGPRO and winning 98% of his ranked games, Druid is an unrivaled star whom no one would want to verse in ranked queue. Judging by his impressive accomplishments, I believe that everyone can learn more about laning by watching him in action and imitating some of his habits – according to my teammates, I definitely should. In this article I’ll be referencing some of his matches in public ranked queue. Let’s break down what it means to be a laner, and what it takes to be the best laner in the world

The Role: An Overview

In Vainglory, the laner, also known as the carry, is basically responsible for being the highest damage threat on the team. As the name “carry” implies, the laner must often carry their team to victory. In order to do the most damage, they need to obtain as much gold as possible, allowing them to buy tier 3 items as soon as they can. Additionally, they must be knowledgeable of the capabilities of their opposing laner, as well as always thinking about where their team and where the enemies are on the map. To simplify, there are three main areas where you must be proficient:

  1. Accumulating gold through a variety of methods
  2. Being map-aware
  3. Understanding hero matchups

1. Being greedy for gold

As a laner, you must acquire as much gold as you can in order to buy items and dish out as much damage as possible. How do you do this?

  • Last hit consistently: simply put, you need to time your attack to kill the minions in lane by looking at their health-bars (when they turn orange, one basic attack will kill them). If they are killed by other minions or the turret, you don’t receive any gold. High CS (creep-score, the number of minions you kill) is vital as a laner.
  • Control the minion wave: this refers to either pushing the wave forward by farming quicker (or with minion candies) or strictly last hitting and letting the wave come closer. This can make it much easier to last hit minions, and allows you to manipulate lane pressure. For more info, refer to this awesome article on BrokenMyth. (http://brokenmyth.net/vainglory-mastery-wave-control-101/)
  • Share farm with the jungler: probably the hardest of the steps, a good laner will attempt to gain gold not only from his own lane but from one or both jungles. Now let’s look at Druid doing exactly this.

At this point in the match Druid had just returned out onto the map after shopping at base. Seeing that his jungler was going to clear backs and the lane was in a good position, Druid decides to take farm with samuel. Now, this is a relatively difficult strategy to implement, because it requires that the laner keeps up with the junglers rotation, the jungler doesn’t get tilted by his laner “stealing farm” (in solo queue, this can be avoided by just picking up ambient gold), and the support stays in the lane to hold the minion wave. I have implemented this particular strategy into my laning gameplay, and it has helped me stay close to a perfect CS in many games.

2. Thinking about the map

As a laner, it’s imperative you always know what’s happening on the map. Map awareness helps with knowing when to rotate into jungle, and ensuring you aren’t ganked by any pesky junglers (i.e. that annoying Taka who keeps two-shotting you). Always remember to:

  • Check the minimap for enemy movement: this tip works better if your Captain has set down consistent vision, but you may be able to spot your enemies if both junglers are at shop. Keeping tabs on your enemies allows you to do decide if you should act more aggressively or if you must play passive. Further on in the article is an example of how Druid was able to do just this.
  • Keep an eye on the junglers’ rotations: attempt to coordinate your minion wave control with your jungler’s movement. Furthermore, you can gauge where the enemy might be if they have been clearing their jungle faster than your jungler.

In the match shown in the above pictures, Druid had just destroyed the choke point turret and was chasing a kill on Skye. On the map you can see that Ardan and Taka are in the enemy jungle as they had killed the other two members of the enemy team, and were clearing the backs. Therefore, Druid knew that he could have a 1v1 fight against the Skye without worrying about any other enemies.

Furthermore, in this other picture we can see Druid is taking the enemy backs while his team pushes the turret.

Prior to him rotating into the enemy jungle, his team had engaged their opponents and forced them back to spawn. This allowed Druid to obtain more farm because he knew his team was pushing lane and the enemy team wouldn’t be able to reach their jungle. Taking this kind of information and using it to capitalize on advantages is how Druid is able to consistently be aggressive and successfully build leads.

3. Knowing both thy enemy and thyself

As a laner, a big part of your role is outperforming your opposing carry. In order to use the correct amount of aggression in the lane, and to know when to chase a kill and when to play cautiously, the laner must look at whether they have an advantage or disadvantage against the other laner and the enemy team.

  • Take stats such as range and fire rate into account: someone like Adagio can have an advantage over Gwen in terms of range, but Gwen has a higher potential for bursting you down.
  • Look at itemisation of the enemy laner. A crystal-power Vox is a big threat in a team fight, but not in a 1v1. Conversely, a weapon Vox is very strong in a 1v1, but can also be melted down easier as he needs to stay closer to the opposing team. Also, depending on whether your opponent buys pure damage, or buys items with lifesteal will affect your playstyle and own itemisation.
  • Beware of ganks: a great tip is to think about how the enemy might want to kill you. If you know the enemy team has a Glaive or Catherine, then you don’t want to get in range of their stuns, or need to be ready with a Reflex Block. However, if the laner is someone like Gwen (who has the shortest range) with a Reim jungling (slow with a short engage range) the enemy will try to bring the minion wave closer to their turret where they can quickly dive on you for the gank. You need to be thinking about that possibility in such a matchup.
  • Consider the potential of enemy abilities: for example, a Skye cannot harass with her Forward Barrage if there are lane minions between you. Also, a Skaarf will try to use the Spitfire and his Goop together on the minions, so it would be wise to stay away from them and force him to decide between wave clear or attempting to trade damage. In the following scenario, Druid uses his knowledge of the enemies abilities to score some kills.

In these pictures, it’s evident that Druid was not at all afraid of the enemy Skye. He was aware that as long as his mechanics were quick enough, he could dodge around her Forward Barrage and blow her up. In a Skye vs Vox matchup, and indeed almost any matchup between a weapon laner and a crystal Skye, the laner must juke the Forward Barrage, fight in a spacious area to negate her kiting abilities, and try to melt the Skye before she acquires a Target Lock. In the two pictures shown, Druid had just taken damage from both the Skye and Lance. Afterwards, he had retreated back towards his captain, and having received an extra barrier and movement speed from Ardan’s Vanguard, uses it to re-engage onto Skye and Lance. Druid played to his hero’s win condition and was able to turn the tables on the other team.

After considering all the points here, I hope that you can implement some of these tips into your laning – I have definitely tried to do this myself. I know that bad teammates and ranked solo queue often go hand in hand with each other, but if we, as improving laners, attempt to emulate the best laner in the world, we will eventually find success.

Article written by Ryann17 and edited by hoIIand


Screen captures taken by author from the following sources:

https://www.twitch.tv/druidea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGu9eqwkOYo&t=587s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBdE1EqdMuo&t=836s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baeDPU6_zYo&t=935s

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Reflections on the future of Vainglory

With the presence of esports rising, it’s no wonder that all platforms have gained more exposure these past years. Consoles and PCs were always powerhouses, but recently they’ve been shown to an even larger audience thanks to being broadcast on television. With tournaments such as EVO being shown on Sportscenter, and the ESL CS:GO and Street Fighter V leagues appearing regularly on TBS, esports are now in a better spot than ever to grow and expand.

After the success SEMC had with Vainglory’s 2016 season, it seems that this year Vainglory could be on track for that same level of success. As far as we know, this season will retain the Spring, Summer and Autumn Championships – culminating with Worlds. However, is that it for Vainglory? While the current system is not a terrible thing for Vainglory, it may be a massive disappointment for audiences if the amount of top-level tournaments remains the same.

What would it take for Vainglory to reach a bigger audience?

As it stands, Vainglory has been downloaded over five million times from the Google Play Store, and that number is sure to be even greater on the Apple App Store. Comparing that number to the amount of people who were mobile gamers in 2015 – 165 million[1] – we can see that the Vainglory community has the potential to grow exponentially. Furthermore, we may already know the answer to the above question. When the revolutionary 2.0 update was being showcased, it was revealed to us that Super Evil Megacorp (SEMC) was in the process of constructing a 5v5 gamemode for Vainglory.

I initially rejected the idea of this new gamemode, for fear that we’d lose touch with the 3v3 style of MOBA that made Vainglory unique. Furthermore, I was hoping that if a 5v5 game mode was developed, it wouldn’t become the standard mode of gameplay in the competitive scene. However, I’ve changed my mind. Based on the fact that League of Legends, Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm and SMITE all have an enormous following for 5v5 competitive tournaments, it is my opinion that Vainglory’s upcoming 5v5 gamemode will accelerate the expansion of Vainglory – both casually and competitively. 5v5 MOBAs have a pre-existing larger market and audience from the popular PC games already mentioned, and this will increase the appeal and marketing value of Vainglory itself.

What needs to change to encourage this development?

In order to greater support a 5v5 competitive scene, I am of the opinion that Vainglory would need to host more tournaments, with bigger cash prizes to offer. While financing of these tournaments will be difficult, a lot of it can be accomplished with more people and organizations branching out into Vainglory: sponsoring competitive teams, and hosting professional leagues. It’s important to note that the amount of tournaments Vainglory has is suited to the limited amount of professional teams competing at the moment. However, the current financial rewards in the Vainglory esports scene can’t support any more teams, because there are only three live finals to which the top six teams of a region are invited, and only one world invitational – if there’s no money being offered, there’s no reason for more teams to compete. While it might be a stretch, it is possible to fix this. More professional organisations joining Vainglory with the 5v5 boom will increase viewership, which in turn raises revenue and causes prize pools to increase – eventually becoming a self-promoting cycle. For example, Dota 2’s biggest event in 2014 had 20 million views with a peak of 2 million concurrent viewers at one point: the peak audience double that of 2013 viewership[2]. For League of Legends, in the two year gap between 2014 and 2016, League viewership rose dramatically from 27 to 43 million[3][4] – an enormous 59% increase. If a similar increase in viewership occurs with Vainglory, there is huge potential for significant revenue growth.

What can 5v5 bring to Vainglory’s gameplay?

One of the reasons I enjoy Vainglory are the quick matches that can finish within 20 minutes. While 5v5 would almost certainly increase match length, it will additionally allow for more interesting strategy and depth in game.

Check out this clip from the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, which shows part of a match between Team SoloMid (TSM) and Cloud9 (C9):

Source: https://twitter.com/lolesports/status/856294197413859328  

I’m not a League player, but what stands out to me in this video is how well TSM were able to play in the given situation. As they were taking the Elder Dragon (an important objective in League), all five members of C9 came to initiate a teamfight, planning to catch out TSM. In the brawl that ensued, TSM killed three of C9’s players and managed to take the Elder Dragon with no losses. TSM then rotated down to the bottom lane, as the two remaining C9 players moved to take down TSM’s towers. To counteract this rotation, TSM sent back only two players – and this is what got me hyped up while watching the clip. TSM simultaneously pushed down the lane towards C9’s Nexus (League’s equivalent of the Vain crystal) while also winning the 2v2 against C9 at their base – securing the championship in a series of decisive plays. In my opinion, it would be amazing for that level of strategy to be introduced into Vainglory: not just the more complex team-fighting dynamic, but the increased importance of map awareness and rotations, as well as the larger focus on objective-splitting and strategic positioning of players.

How will the professional scene change with the introduction of 5v5?

It’s always been a fairly common opinion that North America is the best region in the world at Vainglory, with the best teams competing in NA. The same reasons are continually thrown around when debating “NA > EU”, such as better drafting strategies, players having higher skill, and increased aggression being the meta. However, during the inaugural Vainglory World Championship, when Phoenix Armada (now Invincible Armada) performed spectacularly, a paradigm shift occurred in the Vainglory community. Armada is now viewed as easily being the strongest and most dominant team in the world. According to several professional players who competed against them, Armada’s success stemmed from their extremely impressive individual mechanics, their rapid decision making in clutch situations, and their utilisation of early game aggression even more effectively than the teams from NA.

One clear example of their dominance can be seen when looking at a match where Armada were up against GankStars Sirius. While Armada were on the back foot and retreating after losing Willy, both druid and Mango quickly bought infusions at the jungle shop, and thus were able to quickly and brutally retaliate against an overconfident Sirius.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNRONWsTVEQ

While plays like this will still be possible in the future of Vainglory, it is my opinion that 5v5 will shake up the current professional scene dramatically. With a larger map, deeper strategy and a greater number of teams, I feel that while individual mechanics will remain relevant, they will no longer be the most important factor when deciding the outcome of a match – and gaps between skill will be able to be bridged with advanced macroplay. Invincible Armada may no longer remain on top of the professional Vainglory scene, with brilliant thinkers like FlashX able to counteract the overwhelming skill of players like druid through strategy, instead of having to match their mechanics.

Lastly, while I haven’t kept in touch with regions other than EU and NA, the recent VGL and VIS matches have showcased how the overall skill level of high-tier players in Vainglory has increased, and the gap between Vainglory8 and Challenger teams has decreased. Recently, all three Challenger teams defeated the Vainglory8 teams in the Challenge battles, taking their spots for the next split of Vainglory8. With the reliance on mechanics likely to reduce in the future, the perceived differences between professional and Challenger teams may disappear forever.

Source: https://twitter.com/visleague/status/861406671175696384

So, how will new players coming into Vainglory perform?

My current opinion is that some of the competitive players who are brought in by professional organisations from PC MOBAs will end up performing better than expected. As the 5v5 map in Vainglory will most likely be similar to the maps of other existing MOBAs (think League or Dota maps), any new competitive players with a background in 5v5 MOBAs will have an advantage over the current crop of competitive players, who are habituated to the 3v3 map. Their preexisting knowledge of 5v5 strategies and rotations could possibly see newcomers in Vainglory dominate the old hands such as the Hollywood Hammers (formerly Hammers Esports) and GankStars.

As for playing skills and mechanics on touchscreen devices, since many current professional players already come from MOBA backgrounds, I am of the opinion that the mechanics of newcomers would eventually catch up to the rest of the competitive scene. This is seen all the time in many other esports, where players transition to other games and find success. In Call Of Duty, players like FormaL and Crimsix first played Halo, before switching over and dominating. In Tekken 7, Poongko switched from playing Street Fighter and was also quite successful. Finally, while he hasn’t played competitively in Vainglory, Zekent – a developer in SEMC – used to play competitively in League of Legends. I find it extremely plausible that players could switch over to Vainglory from games like League, Dota 2 and SMITE, and end up thriving.

Final thoughts

This returns us to the main question: will Vainglory ever make it to the big screen? As of right now, it may still be too small, and lacking in appeal to a larger audience. However, if everything goes right for SEMC in the roll-out of the 5v5 gamemode, and the introduction of more professional organisations into the Vainglory scene is successful, it’s not impossible that one day Vainglory may become bigger and better than anything we could ever imagine.

Article written by Ryann17 and edited by hoIIand


References:

  1. U.S. mobile phone gamers. (2015). Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/234635/number-of-mobile-gamers-forecast/
  2. McWhertor, M. (2014). The International Dota 2 tournament watched by more than 20M viewers, Valve says. Polygon. Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2014/7/29/5949773/dota-2-the-international-tournament-20-million-viewers
  3. Worlds 2014 by the numbers. (2014). Riot Games. Retrieved from https://www.riotgames.com/articles/20141201/1628/worlds-2014-numbers
  4. 2016 League of Legends World Championship By the Numbers. (2016). LoL Esports. Retrieved from http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/2016-league-legends-world-championship-numbers
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Trouble for the pro teams

Obstacles that Pro E-sport players face within Vainglory:

Possibly the greatest thing SEMC have done for the Vainglory community and the future of the game was making it more accessible to compete with the higher skilled teams. Through their VIS and VGL series teams in NA and EU can sign up to play compete against other hopeful teams. Those that make it through then have a chance to face the pros. I myself am currently working on honing my skills enough to compete,  and so are many others. So if a professional team starts showing they aren’t cut out,  there are many others ready to take their place.


With the ever steady growing numbers within the Vainglory player base and how the Vainglory 8 has been laid out,  with more pro organizations joining the Vainglory competitive scene,  there seems to be less opportunity for teams to join the Vainglory 8 league. After Vainglory World’s,  five major e-sports organizations joined the scene and had rosters for teams within Vainglory 8 with the exception of NRG who picked up a team in the VIS league. Now,  due to the Vainglory’s system of allowing other teams to earn a spot in the Vainglory 8,  it may be possible that three pro teams from NA and three from EU will lose their spots. Which,  as a team is never something you want,  especially if you just joined a pro organization.

 

 

What will the challengers matches tell us?


So what can we draw from this so far? Well many of these teams may just need time and practice to perform greater than they currently are,  especially on the new update. However,  it may be too late at this point if a team gets relegated. Furthermore,  It means that challengers teams whether in a pro organization or not,  can still be strong enough to compete.


What I hope to see


As has been evident in the past,  whenever a challenger team makes it into the Vainglory 8 they tend not to perform well enough to stay above the bottom three spots and are soon overshadowed by the other teams. One team that comes to mind as having succeeded is the SNOW team which won a live event. However,  there are more teams in the recent seasons that make it in and don’t fare too well against the rest of the 8 like Fates Zero,  Ardent Aurora,  Necrolyte,  and Nemesis Titan to name a few. So, with strong teams having performed in the challengers and making their way to the split like Late Cobras and Fluffy Chickens I hope they can perform well enough to make a name for themselves if they make it into the Vainglory 8. The same goes for NA challengers, especially with teams that have experienced players like Liberation X (ethree6,  PONtheoriginal,  Statusbaked,  MARTOHHH),  and One Piece 101 (Polifive208, lostboytoph, selenagomez, MonkeyDLufffyy) to name a few.

Now that’s not to say that teams haven’t done well in the Vainglory 8. In NA,  Ardent Aurora and Nemesis Titan did make it to the live Summer finals but lost most of their matches and didn’t perform to the capabilities we have come to know. In the EU Summer finals,  Rising Lotus lost all of their matches. As of late however,  it seems that for EU,  even the bottom three teams seem to fare better than the bottom three from NA. In the current EU standings,  Rising Lotus lead the bottom three with 8 points,  Denial with three,  and Mouse with 0. However,  the gap between one team and the next is not that great and doesn’t exceed five points. In NA,  the bottom standings are as follows: Immortals with five,  Rogue with 4,  Echo Fox with 0 and Misfits with 0. From their it gets worse for the challengers as the gap from Immortals to Gankstars is an 11 point leap. Furthermore,  The top NA team has 27 while the top EU team has 19 points. So it seems that for EU,  it would be easier to climb up the ranks from the bottom three.

In the case that no challenger team manages to break through and (more importantly) maintain their position in the Vainglory8,  it may mean that the gap between pro teams and challengers is larger than we think!

 

Article written by Ryann17

Posted on

2.2 Patch Analysis: Stuffed with Changes

Patch 2.2 is bringing a lot to Vainglory: an improved map, a new hero, and lots of balance changes. This article will aim to provide a quick overview of these changes, while also analysing them to see what their consequences will be.

 

New Hero

 

GRUMPJAW

Role: Tank/Warrior
Position: Captain/Jungle

Living Armor (Heroic Perk): Grumpjaw’s hardened carapace grants him increased defenses. Every 5 seconds and every time he basic attacks, he gains a stack of living armor, up to a maximum of 5 times. Each stack grants 10 armor and shield. Enemies can destroy this armor by dealing damage to Grumpjaw. He loses one stack per second while taking damage from attacks and abilities.

Grumpy (A): Grumpjaw charges forward, stopping just short of the target location. Upon arriving, he slashes the area in front of him with his mandibles, damaging and slowing enemies he hits. This ability deals additional damage for each stack of Living Armor Grumpjaw has.

Stats:
Cooldown: 12-11-10-9-8
Energy Cost: 50-60-70-80-90
Range: 10 (all levels)
Damage: 75-125-175-225-325 + 50% CR
Bonus Damage/LA Stack: 20-35-50-65-95 + 10% CR
Slow: 55% (all levels)

 

Hangry (B): Grumpjaw leaps toward his target and attacks them. Afterward, he gains bonus weapon damage and attack speed for several seconds.

Stats:
Cooldown: 9 (all levels)
Energy Cost: 30-40-50-60-70
Bonus Speed Duration: 4-4-4-4-5
Damage: 5-25-45-65-85 + 80%
Attack Speed: 60-75-90-105-135%

 

Stuffed (ULT): Grumpjaw lunges forward, grabbing the first enemy hero in his path and devouring them whole. While the enemy is inside Grumpjaw’s belly, they are unable to move or act and their vision range is reduced to 0. After 3 seconds, Grumpjaw will spit the enemy out in the direction he is facing. Grumpjaw can reactivate the ability to spit the enemy out early in a direction of his choice. If Grumpjaw is stunned, killed, or otherwise interrupted while eating, he will release his victim early.

Stats:
Cooldown: 60-50-40
Energy Cost: 50-60-70
Damage: 400-550-700 + 200% CR
Stun Duration: 3 (all levels)

 

 

Grumpjaw Hero Spotlight:

 

 

 

Grumpjaw will definitely be a threat on the Halcyon Fold in update 2.2. He can reposition an enemy by eating and throwing them to his team. As a support, he will synergize well with WP laners such as Ringo and Vox, who can burst down the desired enemy after Grumpjaw coughs them up.

Moving on to his jungle carry path, he is a menace with both weapon and crystal builds. The 700 damage + 200% Crystal Ratio on his ult is not something you want to mess with as a squishy laner. Shatterglass, Aftershock, and Broken Myth are all great crystal items to try on Grumpjaw.

On the weapon side of things, Grumpjaw’s B ability allows him to burst enemies down, especially after spitting them out. Because of the attack speed buff on his B ability, attack speed items are not very important. There have been many successful Grumpjaw’s who build Sorrowblade with two Tyrant’s Monocles, maybe you can build a bonesaw, but it is best to just tank up at this point.

Warriors like Krul and Glaive will be great counters to jungle carry Grumpjaw, this is because they can live through Grumpjaw’s burst damage from Grumpy and Stuffed when CP, and Hangry when Grumpjaw is based off of WP.

 

 

NEW SKINS!

‘School Days’ Skin Series

‘School Days’ Lyra (Rare)
‘School Days’ Vox (Epic)
‘School Days’ Taka (Legendary)

This skin series is going to be very exciting! Vox shoots out ninja stars, Lyra has a new and improved book and a flashy outfit. The Taka skin looks insane! The long swords are sure to be a menace on the Fold.

‘Gladiator’ Catherine

Another hero added to the Gladiator Skin Series. New sword design, a very old-fashioned outfit and her bubble has some great design as well. Be sure to get this skin as soon as possible! It won’t be one you don’t want to have.

 

FEATURE IMPROVEMENTS

 

Daily Chests

Daily chests aren’t so daily anymore! You can now get them every 6 hours, and store up to two of them. Be sure to log on every 12 hours or so to get maximum value from your chests. SEMC also gives us a little hint in the description, “Watch for special jackpot rewards that you’ll find in your Daily Chests!” What could this mean? You can interpret it for yourself.

 

Hero Select Sorting

You can now order your heroes in two different ways: Alphabetical or by role. This will only be applied in blind picks. It will make blind picks a bit easier for the newer players who are trying to remember which hero typically fits which role.

 

Dev API Improvements

Check out these websites to see your previous matches, hero stats, game stats and much more!

Vain.gg
Vainrank.com
Vgminer.com

 

GAMEPLAY IMPROVEMENTS/CHANGES:

Blitz Mode

More announcer lines to inform you when time is running out, for when you are too busy killing people to check the time. There are also announcer lines for other moments that happen throughout the map. There is a one minute remaining announcement, an overtime announcement, an announcement for when time is up, and an announcement when gold mine has been taken.

This is great for when you aren’t paying attention to the time left of the game. Hopefully this will help you and your team with knowing when to catch up in points or stay back and protect the win.

 

Ability Tooltips

You can now tap and hold on an ability to quickly see what the ability exactly does. You can also see how much bonus effects you have through health/weapon/crystal ratios on abilities.

This is a very great addition to Vainglory! We can see the exact amount of true damage your abilities deal with crystal damage, and how much health Adagio’s heal gives, and the barrier amount Ardan’s vanguard gives his allies. It happens with just a touch and hold of a button!

 

Crystal Sentry

Renamed to the Crystal Sentry to stop confusion between the Gold Miner and the Crystal Sentry. There are now (team specific) announcements showing how many lives are left on the sentry.

Have you ever forgotten how many lives are left on your crystal sentry? Forget no more! This change will help with keeping track of your 3 Crystal Sentry lives.

 

Even More Announcements!

There are even more new announcements that haven’t been mentioned yet.

Announcement at 4-minutes to show that the jungle has intensified
First blood now has team-specific announcements.

A quick change of voice announcements and team-specific first blood announcements should make it very clear when important early game events happen. This should make it clear to you which team got the first blood without having to check the scoreboard!

 

Items and Quick Buy

Players can now turn off the quick buy feature. In addition to this, the majority of heroes have had their recommended items changed.

Nothing to analyze here, enjoy the new recommended builds!

 

BALANCE CHANGES:

 

Catherine

  • Merciless Pursuit (A)
  • Cooldown changed from 13 (all levels) to 14-13.5-13-12.5-12
  • Stun duration up from 0.7-0.8-0.9-1-1.2 to 1-1-1-1-1.2
  • Energy cost up from 40-50-60-70-80 to 40-50-60-70-90
  • Damage up from 10-50-90-130-170 to 35-70-105-140-175
  • Speed boost duration up from 1.4 to 1.5
  • Stormguard (B)
  • Deflected damage boost changed from 0-0-0-0-25% to 0-5-10-15-25%
  • Blast Tremor (ULT)
  • Cooldown down from 100-80-60 to 80-70-60
  • Damage changed from 375-500-625 to 350-500-650
  • Silence duration changed from 2.5 to 2.2-2.5-2.8

 

 

Wow! Lots of Catherine changes, and it is a pretty big one as well. Merciless Pursuit gets a stun buff, damage buff, cooldown buff, and speed buff, all for a little more energy when overdriven. Stormguard finally has deflected damage at most levels, and Blast Tremor deals more damage and a longer silence stun. Catherine certainly did not need these changes, which means she will jump right to the top of the meta again. Could we see more carry Catherine? Only time will tell.

 

Fortress

  • Truth of the Tooth (A)
  • Energy cost changed from 35-45-55-65-75 to 40-45-50-55-60
  • Cooldown down from 13-12-11-10-8 to 11-10-9-8-7
  • Bonus damage up from 0-45-90-135-180 to 40-80-120-160-240
  • Attack of the Pack (ULT)
  • Cooldown down from 90-75-60 to 80-70-60
  • Attack speed up from 30-50-70% to 50-75-100%
  • Fortified health and summoned wolves duration down from 15 (all levels) to 10-12-14

 

 

With this Fortress buff, we might see more early game compositions in competitive play. Weapon Fortress will certainly be more viable with the ability changes as well as the attack speed buff from the ultimate. Expect a lot more Ringo +Koshka + Fortress comps in this update, it has a lot of potential.

 

Idris

  • Chakram (B)
  • Weapon ratio down from 125% to 100%
  • Crystal ratio up from 125% to 130%
  • Damage up from 70-115-160-205-250 to 75-125-175-225-275
  • Damage to minions up from 70-95-120-145-170 to 75-100-125-150-175

 

 

This Idris change will make CP look more appealing to the player, due to the higher CP ratio and low WP ratio on Chakram. Both sides to Idris will be viable at higher tiers, making Idris a decent flex pick in draft.

 

Krul

  • Shadows Empower Me (Heroic Perk)
  • Basic attacking no longer consumes his perk.
  • Slow duration down from 3 seconds to 2.5 seconds.

 

 

This gives Krul more options for when to engage, now that the perk won’t disappear after one basic attack. You can keep slowing your enemy after the first basic attack, so Shiversteel won’t be a necessity on Krul anymore, even though it can still be helpful.

 

Lance

  • Base damage down from 96-179 to 85-179
  • Impale (A)
  • Root duration changed from 1-1-1-1-1.3 + 0.15% CR to 1-1-1-1-1.2 + 0.2% CR
  • Gythian Wall (B)
  • Stun duration crystal ratio down from 0.3% to 0.2%
  • Maximum stun duration down from 1.6 to 1.4 seconds.

 

 

Lance probably could’ve used these changes, when building support CP Lance, the CC durations were quite long. You could be stuck on a wall for 1.6 seconds after being rooted in place for 1.5 seconds. You are quite helpless and the next thing you know, you are dead. This will help the problem of being crowd controlled for an extended period of time.

 

Ozo

  • Acrobounce (B)
  • Cooldown down from 10-10-10-10-8
  • Bangarang (ULT)
  • Cooldown down from 90-65-40 to 70-55-40

 

 

Ozo is already quite strong on the Fold, but not quite in the meta. According to VainRank.com, Ozo has a pick rate of 5%, and a win rate of only 43% (As of 2/28/2017). Hopefully this cooldown buff can boost Ozo’s pick and win rate stats!

 

Petal

  • Munions (Heroic Perk)
  • Leash range down from 9 to 8
  • Munion attack range down from 1.5 to 0.9
  • Trampoline (B)
  • Weapon power amplification up from 10-15-20-25-30% to 15-20-25-30-40%

 

 

Still not a damage buff, but a range nerf to make her more vulnerable in fights in order to deal damage. Hopefully this will make Petal less of a “must ban” in solo ranked queue and more of a pick used in the correct situations. The win rate of 60%, ahead of Flicker at 53%, will hopefully go down just a bit.

 

Ringo

  • Base energy down from 180-422 to 163-416
  • Achilles Shot (A)
  • Energy cost up from 30-45-60-75-90 to 40-50-60-70-100
  • Slow duration down from 1.5-1.75-2-2.25-2.5 to 1.5-1.5-1.5-1.5-2.5

 

 

Ringo’s weapon path has received 0 buffs this patch, making him a very viable pick in the lane. However, CP Ringo might be a little weaker due to the increased energy cost of Achilles Shot and decreased slow when not overdriven.

 

Skye

  • Forward Barrage (A)
  • Weapon ratio up from 50% to 70%

 

Skye’s weapon path still relies on basic attacks; however, this will allow her poke damage to do a little more and heroes will have enough trouble trying to tank the damage (that didn’t do much before).

 

Taka

  • House Kamuha (Heroic Perk)
  • Ki stacks duration up from 10 to 12
  • X-Retsu (ULT)
  • Energy cost down from 85-115-145 to 80-100-120
  • Damage up from 250-390-530 to 250-400-550
  • Bleed damage per second down from 40-52-64 to 40-50-60

 

 

CP Taka just got stronger. More burst damage on X-Retsu will make CP Taka a bigger threat than it was before, and it was kind of a big deal already. Taka may become a must-ban hero in draft, but it might not be. Experiment with some crystal paths, you never know what might work!

 

Vox

  • Pulse (B)
  • Slow duration down from 1.5 to 1.2 seconds.
  • Wait For It… (ULT)
  • Initial shot crystal ratio up from 0% to 20%
  • Shockwave damage changed from 200-300-400 to 100-150-200 + 40% CR.

 

 

Finally!!! CP Vox is making a comeback! It has been well over a year since we have seen CP Ratios on Vox’s ultimate, and it should be expected to see a little more of his CP side this coming update.

 

ITEM CHANGES

Poisoned Shiv

  • Weapon power up from 25 to 35.

Poisoned Shiv really needed a little buff to make it a bit more viable. It looked rather unappealing since you only gained 25 weapon power from it, now it should look more appealing in those tighter games. Remember, the mortal wounds can reduce the effect from Fountain of Renewal!

 

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That’s it for all the changes! All in all 2.2 will be an exciting patch with a decent shift in the game’s meta. Top heroes might not be at the top anymore, while lower ones will shoot up. And then there’s the strong addition of Grumpjaw too! We hope this article helped you grasp the changes in 2.2, but most of all we hope you’ll have a lot of fun trying it out for yourself.

 

Written by Playlover1 | Edited by Tranurz

Posted on

2.1 Patch Analysis: What are the major changes?

2.1 revolutionized how the jungle works, this made kills worth more than the minions and introduced a new shop treant that gives the players something to contest early. Some strong heroes took a hit, and some don’t feel any different. Confusion arises for some as they try to figure out the meta. This article will help clear up the changes and how it can affect the game.

 

 

Lane And Jungle Minions Spawn 10 Seconds Later

Bringing back the level 1 fights! This change will provide many options for starting out a game. You can draft an early game team and dominate the jungle, or go for a late game team and play more passively. Try out some different options, see what works best for you!

 

 

 

Before 4:00, Elder Treant Spawns At Jungle Shop

This adds to the strategy of early and late game team compositions. This gives teams something to fight over, and rewards the team who gets this treant. Early game teams can use the level advantage to snowball into the mid game, or late game teams can stall out and potentially even steal the treant from the enemy team. There are lots of strategies in the air, so the major question is, what works the best?

 

 

 

 

Hero Kill Bounties

 

First Blood (First kill of the game) = 300 gold

Making the first kill more valuable allows for early game fights, especially for the big shop treant. This is a whole tier 1 item, which can swing a fight directly into your favor. This can allow for snowballing through the mid game, and leading your team for victory.

 

Kill Bounty Changes

Killing a hero is now worth up to 125 + 75*killstreak + 15*assists since last death. If the hero killed has not reached the minimum worth of 200 gold, you will be given 200 gold for the kill. The max kill bounty is 600 gold, preventing teams that are very far behind from coming back within seconds.

This change makes kills worth your while worth so much more . In the past, you would focus on killing the jungle camps without caring if you died. Now, the opposite is true. You want to focus on the kills because they give more gold than a maxed out back-jungle monster. This also gives room for late game team compositions to win by dominating the late-mid game. The gold they get from kills will help them snowball after the kraken spawn.

 

Crystal Miner Changes

Bounty for killing the Crystal Miner is now 125 gold and 15 experience: This gives a little more influence for killing the crystal miner. Now that it also has 3 lives, there is a big late-game incentive for killing this objective.

 

Major hero changes:

 

Taka

Base armor and shield up to match most other heroes: 23-73 to 20-86. Makes him a bit weaker early, but tankier in the later stages.
House Kamuha (Heroic Perk): Weapon ratio up from 25% to 30%, giving him a boost to his weapon path. Hopefully he sees some more play in the competitive meta!

 

 

Catherine

Base shield down from 25-113 to 25-80: Combined with her perk, players were able to achieve 250-290 shield in the late game with another item. Hopefully this tunes down her tankiness enough.
Stormguard (B) – Cooldown up from 6.0-4.0 to 7.0-5.0: With a crystal infusion, this annoying ability was available too often. This makes the player choose when to use it in a fight instead of using it carelessly.
Blast Tremor (Ultimate): Cooldown down from 105-85-65 to 100-80-60: This gets balanced out with the silence duration nerf from 2.5-3.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds at all levels. The energy cost was also lowered slightly. The duration nerf will help keep Catherine more balanced and will not tilt fights as much as it used to.

 

 

Rona

Berserker’s Fury (Heroic Perk): Weapon ratio up from 80% to 85%: This might give Rona a nice boost to get some more play in the meta.
Foesplitter (B): Weapon ratio up from 80% to 85%: To match the heroic perk, this ability will pack a little more punch and again, to give her a boost.
Red Mist (Ultimate): Bloodrage required to activate ability is down to 25 at all levels: Rona will be able to use this ability more often, giving more opportunities earlier in fights to deal damage and let her lane carry deal the majority of the damage.

 

 

Lyra

Base armor and shield changed from 25-41.5 to 25-65: Lyra is getting the base defense she needs to be more reliable in the meta. This could let Lyra be more of a lane/support flex pick as well in higher tiered drafts.

 

 

Fortress

Base armor and shield back up to most other heroes, 30-86: Same as Lyra, this defensive buff can make Fortress more reliable in the meta, especially for early game compositions.

 

 

Krul

Base armor and shield back up to par at 30-86: The same change that Fortress and Lyra has seen, consistency rocks!!
Dead Man’s Rush (A):
Cooldown down from 12-11-10-9-8 to 9-9-9-9-8: This will give Krul a little more early game power and sustain to add to his already strong early game.
Barrier strength up from 100-150-200-250-350 to 100-180-260-340-420: Buffing the health barrier at ability levels 2-5 will give a bigger incentive to upgrading this ability over the ultimate. This will also give Krul a bigger window to be more aggressive and not have to worry too much about dying early.
Barrier duration changed from 2.5 + 0.2% CR to 3.0 seconds: Krul will definitely be a little stronger than he was last patch, the duration will allow him to be tankier, but for longer!
Spectral Smite (B): Lifesteal per stack up to 12.5% at all levels: Lifesteal comes from damage output, so… there was no need for it to be lowered at early levels. Could this make his A ability more useful to upgrade first?

 

 

Kestrel

Adrenaline (Heroic Perk): Attack speed removed from her heroic perk: Due to this change, her base attack speed went back to 100-136% from 100-111%.
Glimmershot (A):
Removed armor piercing completely from this ability: Time to armor up! You can finally counter Kestrel’s Glimmershots with armor, however, this will make CP Kestrel a bit more powerful
Basic attack ratio up from 80-90-100-110-120% to 100-105-110-115-130%: This makes up for some lost ground from the armor pierce nerf.
Crystal damage down from 35-70-105-140-175 + 170% CPR to 30-60-90-120-150 + 160% CPR: Lowering the base crystal damage and also making Kestrel build CP items to deal the splash damage will affect how Kestrel is played greatly. Maybe it’s time to rely on her B ability a little more?

 

 

Skye

Forward Barrage (A):
Weapon ratio down from 210% to 50%: Bringing the WP Skye popularity way down, the damage you gain from this ability while building weapon will decrease dramatically.
Now has a 0% slow (+ 20% for every 100 WP to a max of 40%): This will give WP Skye more utility as a weapon carry, and this will also help her kite heroes better, especially when an Atlas Pauldron has been applied to her in the later stages of the game.

 

 

Ardan

Vanguard (A): Range buff when overdriven: 7-7-7-7-8.5: Giving a benefit to upgrading the vanguard ability to max level, Ardan may see a bit more play in late game team compositions.
Blood for Blood (B): Range buff when overdriven: 5-5-5-5-7: Giving Ardan a benefit to overdriving his B ability early to fit in well with early-mid game team compositions.

These changes to Ardan will give him a place in early or late game team compositions, depending on what you overdrive first, or if you only overdrive one of them. Don’t forget about the stun duration when maxing his Gauntlet (ultimate)!

 

 

Skaarf

Spitfire (A): Damage toned down from 75-125-175-225-325 + 140% CPR to 75-135-195-255-315 + 150% CPR: Less base damage, more crystal power needed to make an impact. This makes shatterglass a more beneficial item for dealing damage, instead of always building Eve and Broken Myth.

 

 

 

 

Item Balances

Nullwave Gauntlet

Item silence duration down from 5 to 4 seconds: Giving supports a little more air to breathe when Nullwaved in the middle of fights.
Delivery system changed: Fast-moving projectile that detonates after a delay: You can either block the item before it hits you, or before it detonates. This will make Nullwave Gauntlet a little more balanced in fights, because it used to be a nearly guaranteed hit when you cannot see it in fights.

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Thank you for reading this article about a few of the new gameplay and hero changes added into Vainglory. We hope that this gives you a better grasp of how 2.1 works, and that it helps with becoming even better at the game!

 

Written by Playlover1 | Edited by Tranurz

Posted on

Jungle Shop and Starting Gold 2.0: What’s Changed?

 

With the extra starting gold mechanic and late jungle shop spawn implemented in patch 2.0, a lot has changed in a short time. For many, this has lead to some confusion on what to do with all these additions.

 

This article will provide a quick overview of the impact of some of these changes. From what the additional starting gold means, to the shop spawn and general rotation changes, it will help you out with any confusion you may have.

 

So what are some of these changes, and what do they mean?

 

1. Starting gold is now at 625 Gold

 

1A. The Lane

 

The lane in the first five minutes of the game is crucial. This is when you farm up and get the gold for your first tier 3 items. Whoever gets the most gold the fastest usually wins the lane battle, but this also depends on power spikes, hero level, and many other factors that can be talked about in a separate article.

 

Focusing on the starting item buys for the lane, we have many options to work with:

  1. Two offensive items and a potion or flare.
  2. One offensive item, boots, and a potion or flare
  3. One offensive item, one defensive item, and a potion or flare
  4. One defensive item, boots, and 75 gold to use at your choice.

 

You have these 4 choices to work with, so… which one is the best to use?

 

At first sight, your eyes automatically go to the most offensive choice, but, is that really the best? Remember long ago when buying a single defensive item and consumables was the best? Well, that might still be the case, but with an additional offensive item to help you farm. Explore some of these options in casual matches, and you just might be surprised.

 

1B. The Jungle

 

The jungle is becoming slightly more frightening than it has been before. The only area of advantage the new starting gold mechanic gives is that the jungle carry receives +275 gold. Nothing more, nothing less. This allows heroes to buy an aftershock or even a breaking point at the first sight of the jungle shop. Heroes who build an Aftershock + Broken Myth in the jungle such as Alpha, Ozo, and Koshka have been getting a pretty big advantage in the jungle meta. 

 

1C. The Captains

 

Just like the jungle carries, the new starting gold mechanic also gave supports a big item advantage. Fountain of Renewal is easily reachable within 3:30. If you build a crucible right after it, you can get that within 6:20-6:45, depending on how good your lane carry is at last hitting. To keep this short and sweet, captains can get their core items very quickly now, and that allows for more viable paths with other items such as Nullwave Gauntlet, Contraption, and Stormcrown.

 

2. The 4:00 Jungle Shop Change

 

The spawn time of the jungle shop has changed the pace of the game, and has also altered the meta a little bit. Early game jungle fights are much less common, and usually only happen when early game junglers initiate the fight. It is a rare occasion to see a jungle invade before a fight has occured. This alone shifts the jungle meta to mid and late game heroes such as Petal, Ozo, and Kestrel. Early game junglers tend to fall off quickly if you cannot invade the enemy jungle or get kills onto the enemy lane carry. Therefore, early game junglers are not very viable.  

 

2A. How is the lane affected by this change?

Lane rotations to the jungle are not what they used to be. In 1.24, the lane carry would often rotate every couple of minutes to shop and maybe push the jungle a little with their team. Now, you probably won’t see this until past 4:00 into the game.

 

2B. What about the jungle?

The main concept that the jungle shop changes is teamfighting. Currently, there is no rush to get through the jungle rotation, because there isn’t an item advantage anymore. The faster rotating jungle doesn’t get any advantage in fights, because both jungle carries are level two are the end of first rotation.

 

2C. Rotations

Rotations in the lane and the jungle is revolved around farm. As mentioned before, the meta is about gaining as much gold as possible within the first 8-10 minutes of the game. Whoever gets the items the quickest usually wins the game, right? This has been a core concept of Vainglory for as long as it has been around. Since the jungle carries cannot shop in the jungle until 4:00, it has been more common to use the time to farm the whole jungle as quick as possible. This typically means not going up to the lane unless you have a pretty much guaranteed chance at killing the enemy laner.

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Thank you for reading this informational article about a few of the new gameplay changes added into Vainglory. Please note that this is a general article concerning the new changes, and more in-depth articles about some of the mentioned topics will be made in the future.

 

Written by Playlover1 | Edited by Tranurz