Vainglory is a strategy game. From the moment you accept the match, everything you do matters; from hero picks, roles, and builds to every small move you make on the Halcyon Fold. This will be even tougher in 5v5 on the Sovereign’s Rise, challenging how flexible players are and pushing them to their limits. Never fear though, because we are here to help!
Something to consider about Vainglory is that it is not a rigid game. That means there are a lot of ways to play heroes (some more viable than others). Every hero has their owns strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever heard of Sawport (Support Saw)? Or perhaps, lane Phinn? Well, that’s not what we’re talking about. Even if it works “fine”, it’s not viable.
If a hero isn’t viable in an off-meta role, they should not be considered flex picks. As we mentioned before, every hero has their own style and personality, but some of them can perform in other roles, even ones Vainglory didn’t intend for them.
Why flex picks?
It’s a great help to have heroes that can perform multiple roles in a team composition. This frees up the other roles and can allow for a team to pick a composition that can totally counter and annihilate the enemy team, or one that has all of the heroes in the team synergise and supporting each other with their kits. This is known as a flex pick and freedom is the main reason flex picks can be so useful, and also so dangerous to play against. Flex picks are all situational, so a good understanding of draft strategy and team compositions is necessary to make the right choices.
Being a laner is a difficult role, but when we start talking about heroes that can go lane, most of us think of snipers. This is mostly true, but some popular picks at high tiers show us a different story.
Some melee heroes can replace, or even be superior laners depending on the situation. Glaive and Rona are two examples for heroes who can harass other heroes like Ringo, Gwen, and other sniper heroes with low health. Glaive and Rona usually go with a weapon power build, supported with sustain items like Book of Eulogies, Barbed Needle, Serpent’s Mask, and Poisoned Shiv. With the help of these items, they can stay in lane and farm longer than other fragile heroes without having to return to base. Another reason these two can be such good lane picks is their ability to get close with Into the Fray (Rona’s A) or Afterburn (Glaive’s A), the latter of which can push the enemy laner into your turret zone and stun him for a short, but deadly amount of time.
For crystal power lovers, Adagio is a good option, with players like Oldskool proving he can be deadly as a laner. He has a great attack range, his abilities can slow, heal and deal a small amount of damage (A), make his basic attacks stronger (B) and stun with his ultimate if the enemies are burning in his A’s fire. Adagio can also play weapon power, depending on the current meta.
There are a few lane heroes that can become junglers and make a huge impact. We can divide them into Mages, Snipers and Supports/Tanks.
Starting with mages, Skaarf is one of the laners that can do a great job as jungler. This little dragon has great abilities to take objectives quickly, deal constant damage and counter heroes like Krul, Reim and Petal. Another mage hero that becomes a great jungler is Samuel. In fact, Samuel performs even better in the jungle than the lane, since the jungle doesn’t have minions to body block his Malice and Verdict (A) projectiles against enemy heroes. This hero can destroy camps quickly, and hurts groups a lot. He can stay in the jungle with a good bit of health in the early and mid game. Samuel has his own sustain with his perk Corrupted Genius and his A. He can also turn fights into his favor using his crowd control ult to make key enemies go to sleep, and finish the job with his B+A combo.
Celeste can be a good pick for jungler if you’re looking a second or third line of brutal damage. She also has a stun which can be used with other heroes with crowd control to harass their opponents. Baptiste can take the jungle and dominate it in the midgame. His abilities can deal a ridiculous amount of damage when his perk Reap has 4 stacks along with his A. One thing to pay attention to when you use Mages as junglers is that most of them have poor mobility. Some heroes can shut them down easily with their gap-closing abilities like Blackfeather, Koshka, Taka and Idris.
A few snipers can be great as junglers depending on their play style. Due to this reason, only a few snipers can be viable junglers. Skye is a hard-to-play hero, and while she is considered a laner by Vainglory, she definitely excels as a jungler. If you can use Skye’s abilities to their full extent, you will be untouchable by most heroes. Playing Skye in jungle is mostly used to counter other heroes like Reim, Krul, Alpha, Blackfeather or Grumpjaw who need to get in close to deal damage. Most Skyes played in the jungle are crystal power. Be warned, Skye is mechanically very difficult to play, and landing her skills at the right times with the correct positioning is crucial for her to excel as a jungler.
Kestrel is a hero with burst damage who can turn fights into a nightmare every time she lands her Glimmershot (A). She can build crystal power and stay in stealth for the majority of the match, landing smart traps with her Active Camo (B), or go weapon power and devastate enemies with combos like A + Basic attack or B + A + Basic attacks. Kestrel is good against most heroes, as she can both go invisible and stun.
Varya can also go to the jungle, built with either CP or WP. Either way, she has a very high damage output. With her Stormforged Spear (A), she can harass enemy junglers, and even steal last hits. The short bursts of mobility granted by her Arc Recursion (B) is crucial to help her survive in the jungle, and can make her just as deadly as any other jungler.
Some captains can switch roles to make a composition that can take down enemy teams quickly. There are only a few of them that can jungle and succeed. Among them, Fortress is the most viable option, as he can go either weapon or crystal power depending on the laner. He is good against characters with invisibility like Kestrel, Taka and Flicker thanks to his ultimate that calls wolves to chase enemy heroes. Fortress is similar to an assassin when played as a jungler, and can get ridiculous burst damage. His burst damage, along with his unparalleled chasing power makes him a force to fear. Lance, on the other hand, can turn into a killer as soon as he gets weapon power items like Sorrowblade or Tension Bow. His burst damage with his A makes him deadly in the early and mid game, but miss his A and he can be sent to his grave. One thing you need to know about Lance is that his basic attacks are much slower than most junglers, and attack speed will not help him much, limiting his build.
Similarly to Lance, Grace can take the jungle, but at the same price; similar to Lance’s A, if she misses her Holy Nova (B), she’s a sitting duck. Grace has a surprisingly high damage output for a captain, but her attack speed is low, and her follow-up attack is easy to evade. Think twice before you take her to the jungle.
Some heroes can do a great job as a captain, sometimes even better than a meta captain in some situations. Once again, Glaive shines; with his abilities that can reposition enemies in fights, cover damage, and hurt groups of enemies, all of these make him a good choice for this kind of job. Smart use of his Afterburn (A) paired with cooldown reduction such as Clockwork, or even Echo can make the entire enemy team fear his repositioning and stunning potential. Baptiste is one of the few mages who can perform well as a captain. This mage can sustain well on fights with his perk, but apart from that, Baptiste can slow enemies with his Bad Mojo (A), reduce their mobility/stun with his Ordained (B) and can fear enemies into a direction of his choosing with his ultimate. This ultimate, when used right, can completely change the outcome of a teamfight. This kit makes Baptiste very viable for being a captain.
Last, but not least, Grumpjaw can perform well as a captain for two main reasons. First, his Perk makes him almost invincible at the beginning of matches, and durability is very important for a captain. Secondly, the possibility of swallowing an enemy hero and changing the course of fights with his ult. Grumpjaw is an excellent first line of defense. His A can greatly slow down enemies, and his B can help him deal serious early game damage.
Recommendations and tips to dominate & make the right flex picks
It is crucial to know when to pick flex heroes. It is recommended to try heroes on their main role first, before moving to their flex role, as understanding their kit beforehand is a necessity. Another point to remember is that flexible heroes should only be picked when the situation requires it, hence the name “flex” pick. If the enemy has a Carry that counters your Carry, maybe they could move down to the jungle and your jungler can try laning. Or, let heroes that can hard-carry go jungle, because the jungle is (as a whole) safer for farming in and helps you get ahead in levels. Some heroes are just naturally better in the lane/jungle. Take Skaarf, for instance. His A damage gets lowered for each creep/minion hit, so play him in the Jungle where there is plenty of open space for him. Skaarf is also great at objective taking and the jungle has a very important objective: the Gold Mine.
Flexible picks are viable only when they can counter enemy team. We highly recommend knowing how to draft. Never pick flex heroes first. These heroes gain more stability when you pick them on red side as second or third pick. Use flex picks to surprise the enemy team and catch them out of draft.
We focused on switching around hero roles, but not on build paths. That’s because most of the heroes can have hybrid builds, or pure role-specific builds depending on the hero and team composition. We recommend you find your best build path for each hero.
Finally, as you see, Vainglory has different kits and play-styles for every hero which allows them to be played in various roles and with various items. Make sure you play heroes you’re comfortable with to get the most out of them, and have fun while you’re at it.
Written by Painkllr
Edited by Clarryparry and DarkSquall