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