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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

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!

 

* * * *

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.

* * * *

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

Capitalizing on Items for Captains

Inspired by “A Guide to Situational Items for Roam Players” by MrTouchnGo, this article is tailored for the recent Update 2.0 — including the new items that have entered the fold. Build paths are key to success in a game, yet are fluid depending on the situation of the game. So what items should a Captain get and when?

 

This article goes through the various items in a Captain build: Core Items, Common Situational Items, Rare Situational Items and Temporary Items. We will assume that you are already familiar with the items in Vainglory. But if that’s not the case, feel free to refer to VaingloryFire’s Item WikiBase.

 

Note that this is a general guide and does not have to be followed strictly. There are cases in the competitive scene where Captains prioritize some items over others, and for good reason.

 

Core Items

Core items take their place in almost every Captain build, sometimes completed as early as 3 minutes into the game, sometimes left until the last item.

 

Fountain of Renewal

This is frequently the first item that Captains build, and should be prioritized in most games. This is because of the sheer amount of healing that the Fountain gives, on top of its passive which allows you to tank some extra poke damage in between fights.

 

The Fountain of Renewal is most effective when activated while your carries are of considerably low health (the lower the better). However, note that sometimes during teamfights, your carries receive more damage than the Fountain can heal, so time the activation correctly!

 

Activate Fountain when:

  • Your ally carries are at ½ health AND
    • Are up against bursty enemies (e.g. Koshka, crystal Kestrel)
    • Your allies are squishy heroes (e.g. Petal, Celeste)
  • Your ally carries are at ¼ health AND
    • Are up against damage over time enemies
    • Your allies are tanky heroes
  • You’re about to die
    • No point letting that Fountain and other items go wasted! (Unless you want to save it for when you next respawn in the mid-game)

 

Build path:

  • Build a Lifespring first if you expect to tank some poke damage in the lane or minion damage in the jungle.
  • Build a Kinetic Shield first if your enemies are bursty crystal heroes in the early game (e.g. Koshka, crystal Kestrel).

More effective when:

  • Against enemy heroes who deal damage over time
    • E.g. Krul, Glaive, Petal
  • Paired with in-your-face, tanky ally heroes
    • E.g. Glaive, Joule, Reim

Not as effective when:

  • Against enemy heroes who deal heavy burst damage
    • E.g. crystal Joule, crystal Kestrel, Koshka
  • Paired with squishy ally heroes (receiving damage faster than the Fountain can heal )
    • E.g. carry Lyra, Petal, Celeste

War Treads

This item is the most natural progression for Captains to build into from Travel Boots, as they give the Captain more utility than the other two options (Journey Boots and Halcyon Chargers). It also provides some extra tankiness (500 health) so you can soak in more damage during a fight.

 

War Tread’s activation gives your entire team a speed boost, aiding them in engaging (starting) fights or pursuing kiting enemies (aka. enemies who keep your carries at a distance while dealing damage). Conversely, its activation can help with disengaging (leaving teamfights) or helping your carries kite away from sticky enemies.

 

Build path:

  • Build Travel Boots first for the passive speed by mid-game

More effective when:

  • Against enemy heroes who have peel (to help your team with engaging)
    • E.g. Skye, Gwen, Idris
  • Against enemy heroes who tend to be sticky (to help your team with disengaging)
    • E.g. Krul, Reim, Blackfeather
  • Paired with ally carries who lack decent peel:
    • E.g. Skaarf, Ringo
  • Playing dive compositions (Skye, Blackfeather, etc.)

Not as effective when:

  • Playing Fortress
    • His A skill, Truth of the Tooth, already helps his team with engaging

 

Common Situational Items

These items are often seen in Captains’ builds, but are built according to the draft as well as the situation.

Crucible

Originally a core item for Captain builds, the Crucible has been sidelined to being a situational item due to the advent of newer items with equally good utility. With the extra health, the Crucible boosts abilities which have a bonus health ratio (Lyra’s Imperial Sigil, Adagio’s Gift of Fire, Ardan’s Vanguard). Its team-wide Reflex Block active is most effective against enemies with good Crowd Control (skills which can stun, slow, etc. such as Phinn’s Forced Accord, Catherine’s Blast Tremour and Adagio’s Verse of Judgement).

 

Build path:

  • If you are playing Lyra, Adagio or Ardan as Captain, build Oakheart first.
  • If the enemy has good early game CC, build a Reflex Block first.

More effective when:

  • Against enemy heroes who have good AoE (Area of Effect) CC
    • E.g. Joule, Phinn, Catherine, Lance
  • Playing Captains with bonus health based abilities (Lyra, Adagio, Phinn, Ardan)
  • Paired with squishy heroes (they need the extra barrier to prevent them from being burst down)
    • E.g. Celeste, Skaarf, Petal

Not as effective:

  • Paired with Gwen, who already has a Skedaddle (pseudo-Reflex Block)

Atlas Pauldron

Most players are unfamiliar with how this item actually works, so let’s go through the description. The Atlas Pauldron lowers the attack speed of affected targets to 35% of its original speed. This means that the items that provide a bonus attack speed will also get affected by Atlas (for more information, see the “Atlas Pauldron and You” section from this article). So the higher a target’s attack speed is, the more effective Atlas Pauldron is.

Note that Atlas Pauldron also affects abilities which cooldowns are based on attack speed such as Gwen’s Boomstick and Joule’s Thunder Strike.

 

More effective when:

  • Against enemy heroes reliant on auto-attacks and high attack speed
    • E.g. Saw, Krul, weapon Blackfeather, Glaive, Gwen, weapon Joule
  • Against enemy heroes with high attack speed
    • E.g. Rona, Vox

Not as effective when:

  • Against mages (who rely on skills more than basic attacks)
    • E.g. Skaarf, Celeste, Samuel
  • Against enemy heroes with slow attack speed
    • E.g. Lance, Baron

Contraption

Free-flow mines and flares! Who wouldn’t want that! The contraption is used to gain an upper hand in the Captain’s vision war. Having a constant source of flares without needing to shop is a boon, especially in the late game, where predicting the enemy’s position becomes more difficult. The extra cooldown also helps your Captain use their skills more often for utility! Build a contraption when you feel like you’re struggling to maintain control of vision over the map.

 

Build path:

  • Build a Flare Gun first because, hey, who doesn’t want free flares?

More effective when:

  • Enemy heroes have invisible abilities
    • Taka, Flicker and Kestrel
  • Enemy players are known for unpredictable rotations (competitive-wise)
  • Allies have invisibility abilities (To maintain vision control)
    • Taka, Flicker and Kestrel

Less effective when:

  • Enemies’ positions are easily predicted/known
  • Allies have abilities that provide vision
    • E.g. Gwen (Buckshot Bonanza), Celeste (Julia’s Light)

Stormcrown

A nice item that was introduced as a replacement upgrade from Stormguard Banner, as well as an alternative to Clockwork, Stormcrown allows Captains to dish out some nice damage against objectives and give a nice bit of additional cooldown. Stormcrown is not to be built against a specific enemy type, but more so to help the Captain secure objectives and have poke against enemy carries.

 

Build path:

  • Build a Stormguard Banner first, because it’s basically a miniature version of Stormcrown

More effective when:

  • Prioritizing objectives (turrets, miners, kraken)
  • Playing as Catherine, Ardan or Flicker
  • Intending to play an aggressive early game

Less effective when:

  • Playing Phinn (Generally unable to get close enough to a target for basic attacks)
  • Your ally carry obtains a Stormcrown or Stormguard Banner as well (the damage output from Stormcrown onto a target is limited to one item)

Echo

Echo’s main gimmick is being able to use two skills in succession, but we need to remember that it takes up an item slot. Also, its recipe to reach tier 3 costs 1800 gold — the most expensive upgrade on the Halcyon fold, even more than the upgrades to Shatterglass and Sorrowblade (1300 gold).

 

Echo’s active works best on Captain’s whose abilities have long cooldowns and bring utility to the team.

 

More effective when:

  • Playing captains with abilities that bring utility and/or have long cooldowns
    • Catherine (Blast Tremor). Especially effective in combination with Nullwave Gauntlet
    • Phinn (Forced Accord)
    • Ardan (Gauntlet)

Less effective when:

  • Playing Lance (Lacks the need for energy) or Flicker (Generally little utility from Echoing Mooncloak)

Nullwave Gauntlet

Item silencing for 5 seconds??? That’s a longer silence duration than Catherine’s Blast Tremour (3.5 seconds) and Vox’s Wait for It (0.7 seconds).

 

Having problems with an Echoed Solar Storm? Just fire the Nullwave when the enemy Celeste is using her first ultimate. This prevents Celeste from copying her ultimate until the silence is over. This would force the mage to make a choice between using her other two abilities during this period and waiting until she can copy her ultimate.

 

Nullwave Gauntlet was originally SEMC’s designated counter to Echo, but is also heavily counters Crucible/Reflex Blocks. It can be cunningly used to bait out/nullify a player’s Reflex Block, followed up by a debuff, stun, slow or some other form of crowd control. For example, use Nullwave on an enemy carry, followed by an ally’s Hellfire Brew. Or use Nullwave on the Captain before using Forced Accord. When used on the enemy Captain, they would either be forced to activate their Crucible, or be unable to activate any items — including War Treads and Fountain — for a significant period of time.

 

Nullwave Gauntlet can also be used to deny enemy carries their boots activation and thus cut off their escape. This can be useful on captains who lack crowd control, or if their abilities happen to be on cooldown during a chase.

 

Build path:

  • If your Captain needs more tankiness, build the Oakheart first
  • If your Captain needs more cooldown for ability utility, build the Chronograph first

More Effective when:

  • Enemy Captain has multiple activatable items
    • E.g. Crucible, Fountain, War Treads, Echo
  • Enemy carries have Echo and bursty ultimates
    • E.g. Crystal Joule, Celeste

Less Effective when:

  • Against enemies with no activatable items
    • Unless you’re securing a kill with the Nullwave damage, Nullwave is useless against heroes who lack activatable items!

 

Rare Situational Items

These items are more rarely seen in Captain builds and are generally overshadowed by utility items. Consider twice before putting them in your build!

 

Clockwork

Originally giving 50% cooldown speed, Clockwork had been nerfed in the recent updates with respect to Captains. This is due to the fact that its passive (30% amplification on crystal power) is generally useless on Captains — since they generally don’t buy crystal items — and is a more favourable option for mages.

 

The exception to this would be Adagio’s whose ability utility scales with crystal power (Gift of Fire and Agent of Wrath) and would typically build Shatterglass. However, this item has long been outclassed by Stormcrown in terms of utility.

 

Build Path:

  • Start with Chronograph for the cooldown.

When to Build:

  • Captain Adagio
    • His abilities (Gift of Fire, Agent of Wrath) have utility that scale with crystal power. Build Clockwork after crystal items such as Shatterglass.
  • Captain Glaive
    • Captain Glaive’s main gimmick is his Afterburn, capable of isolating enemy carries or punting them away from your ally carries. Clockwork not only reduces cooldown, but also gives him the extra energy that Afterburn needs.

Aftershock

With its stats and passive, Aftershock provides Captains with that little more “kick” whenever they initiate a fight. The 50% lifesteal from its passive also gives you some tankiness. Great for Captains whose abilities proc Aftershock (their abilities include basic attack effects).

 

Build Path:

  • Start with Chronograph for the cooldown.

When to Build:

  • “Cooldown” Catherine, with cooldown items such as Nullwave Gauntlet and Stormcrown
    • Extra crystal power can make her Stormguard bubble hurt a bit more, and the Aftershock proc from Merciless Pursuit does a significant amount of damage, especially when you expect to activate it more than once every teamfight
  • Captain Glaive
    • Similar to Clockwork, Aftershock lets Glaive use his Afterburn more. With Aftershock, he deals more damage instead of getting the extra energy.
  • Fortress
    • Two out of three of his abilities (Law of the Claw, Truth of the Tooth) allows him to quickly follow up with an Aftershock proc

Poisoned Shiv

Giving heroes the ability to apply mortal wounds every third basic attack, this item is the way to counter teams running Adagio and Lyra, or relying heavily on Fountain. That -33% healing debuff on enemy carries is going to hurt a lot, as it denies them the support they should receive.

 

Mortal wounds also reduce barrier and fortified health. That means Poisoned Shiv directly counters sustain heroes such as Krul and Reim, who rely on heals and psuedo-heals.

However, your weapon carry will most likely be building this. So it is likely that Captains will prioritize other utility items.

 

Build Path:

  • If playing Ardan, build Blazing Salvo first for the attack speed (Indirectly reduces Blood for Blood cooldown)
  • Otherwise, build Barbed Needle first for the extra sustain

When to Build:

  • All of the below:
    • Playing against enemy heroes with an irritating amount of sustain (Krul, Reim) OR enemy heroes who have heal abilities (Adagio, Lyra)
    • Ally carries aren’t building Poisoned Shiv
    • Ally team does not have Taka or Fortress (who have abilities that activate mortal wound)

Bonesaw

Despite its intimidating name, this poor lil’ item has been pushed far out of the meta these past few updates, even among the carries’ builds. Nevertheless, the armour shred from this item could potentially be game changing, especially when your weapon carry is dealing loads of damage.

 

Build Path:

  • If playing Ardan, build Blazing Salvo first for the attack speed (Indirectly reduces Blood for Blood cooldown)

When to Build:

  • Both ally carries deal weapon damage and neither have a Bonesaw
  • Enemy carries buy Metal Jackets

Shiversteel

Shiversteel is built typically to prevent a sticky enemy from reaching a squishy ally, or to let your carries reach a kiting enemy.

 

However, with abilities that provide slows outstripping Shiversteel’s utility (Gift of Fire, Fairy Dust, Buckshot Bonanza), this item has taken a backseat from the build lineup.

 

When to Build:

  • Enemies play sticky carries (Krul, Reim, Blackfeather, weapon Taka), and your ally carries are squishy (Celeste, Skaarf, Petal)
  • Enemies play slippery, kiting heroes (e.g. Skye, Kestrel, Gwen, Vox, Petal) who are difficult for your carries to reach

 

 

Shatterglass

With the raw crystal power, this situational item is generally limited to Adagio and Lance among the Captains. This is because their abilities have utility that scale with crystal ratio.

 

When to Build:

  • Playing Captain Adagio (provides extra heal, as well as extra damage for Agent of Wrath)
  • Playing as Captain Lance and you prioritize utility (longer crowd control duration from Impale and Gythian Wall)

 

Temporary Items

These items are generally bought in the early game, then sold later on in the mid to late game when its usefulness diminishes.

 

Ironguard Contract

Ironguard is typically one of the first two items that Captains buy at the start of the game. Able to provide extra health, as well as energy that your jungler needs to clear the farm. And the amount of heal is nothing to sneeze at, one entire rotation of the jungle heals you and your jungler for 450 health each. In total, that’s 900 heal, equivalent to 4 Gift of Fires or 2.5 Imperial Sigils.

 

Buy Ironguard Contract when:

  • You and your jungler intend to clear farm together in the jungle
  • You do not intend to rush a Tier 3 item as priority
  • Basically, almost always.

Protector Contract

Giving an extra barrier to your allies, this contract is useful when you expect to engage in fights in the early game, and your ally heroes are squishy in the early game.

 

Buy Protector Contract when:

  • You expect frequent ganks in the lane
  • Your jungler is squishy early game and you expect frequent invades

Dragonblood Contract

In the early game, that extra 100 crystal damage can swing the fight in your favour. The Dragonblood Contract is especially useful when you expect to activate it around multiple enemies — during jungle invades or counter-ganks in the lane.

Buy Dragonblood Contract when:

  • You intend to go aggressive in the early game

Minion Candy

Originally used frequently in the jungle to maintain control of the gold miner, the Minion Candy has recently been used to push the lane and maintain lane pressure. While the finer strategies behind using minion candy are rather complex, minion candies can be used to pressure the lane and secure turrets, or to freeze the lane while the laner rotates down to the jungle.

 

Buy Minion Candy when:

  • Intending to put pressure on the lane, or expecting fights near the ally Crystal Miner

Scout Traps

Vision, vision, vision! As all-powerful as the Marvel hero himself, vision is key to game tactics and can mean the difference between a victory and a loss! Place scout traps in out-of-the-way paths to gain vision without your opponents popping them.

 

Buy Scout Traps when:

  • Buy them! You need vision throughout, especially in the early game!
  • Especially effective against Flicker, Taka and Kestrel to foil their invisibilities

Flares

Flares are the cheaper, one-time use version of scout traps. Taking immediate effect when deployed, Flares are great against enemy heroes who have invisible abilities, as is useful for flushing out an enemy ambush.

 

Buy Flares when:

  • Buy them! You need vision throughout, especially in the late game!
  • Especially effective against Flicker, Taka and Kestrel to foil their invisibilities

Stormguard Banner

With the bonus true damage, the Stormguard Banner is a good way for Captains to get some good early game damage and objective clear.

 

Buy Stormguard Banner when:

  • Your jungler lacks good farm clear
  • You intend to prioritize objectives (e.g. gold miner, turrets)

So now that you have a good idea of what kind of items to add to your build, implement your newfound knowledge in your game! Happy Captain-ing!

 

Here’s to hoping I get better random Captains in ranked :3

 

Thanks for reading!

physiX (@physiX_VG)

Valkyrie Valhalla Guild

 

Special thanks to Tranurz and PwntByUkrainian for editing and Waggey for giving advice.