On The Rise follows my journey up through the ranks in SEMCs mobile MOBA, Vainglory.
Join me after the jump for the second installment; a look at all the things that I now know that I wish I had known when I first started playing.
First off, this is not a comprehensive list, nor am I in any way an expert at this game. I’m T5 in both 3v3 and 5v5, but I consider myself “competent”. This is just a list of things that I’ve learned in the last few months that I really wish I’d known right back as I stepped out of the tutorial. It’s also in no particular order, I’m literally tapping away on my phone as each thought comes to mind.
This sounds so ludicrously simple, but I was spending so much of my time in matches diving turrets hoping to finish off an enemy running away, or trying to be clever and steal buffs from the enemy team, only to end up facing a respawn timer.
In the early tiers, don’t bother risking it. Just stay alive. Two enemies facing off against you in the lane? Camp under your turret for safety (just make sure they can’t dive you) and work on getting your gold there. Sure, you may miss a few minions here and thetr, but killing you nets them a much bigger gold earn than you’re losing by staying alive. Also, “zero deaths” looks amazing on the scoreboard.
Focus on surviving. Outliving your opponent is kind of the point.
REMEMBER THE OBJECTIVE
It’s all to easy to look at a nearly-dead opponent running away as an easy kill, and to go chasing off after them. Trouble is, you’d be surprised how difficult it can sometimes be to kill a fleeing enemy.
Don’t abandon the turret or Blackclaw or Ghostwing you’re attacking to finish off one single enemy – unless it’ll cause an ace (and even then, check the timers – if it’s three seconds before someone respawns, are you actually going to kill them in time anyway?).
Why? Because if you’re busy pushing an objective, they’re left with the choice of letting you claim it or trying to stop you. If they’re on low health, they’re going to come back and try and stop you or run off and try and take something else which, on low health, is going to be hard for them.
GOLD WINS GAMES
This cannot be overstated. If the enemy team has double your gold, they have double the items and are going to be way stronger than you. Making sure you get the last hits on minions and mobs is vital to securing a gold income to buy your own items. If you die that’s 300 gold to the guy who killed you and valuable time you could be farming gold wasted staring at your corpse waiting to respawn.
Chasing enemies early is not getting you gold. You’re just running around hoping for a kill that may never come instead of getting gold, buying items, and starting to push a turret.
TURRETS HAVE ARMOUR
Turrets are interesting in how they work. They prioritise minions over heroes unless a friendly hero is harmed. In short, if the turret is busy popping minions, you can keep hitting it without being attacked until all the minions are dead. Make sure to be out of turret range before the last minion dies as turrets hurt.
That said, if you attack an enemy hero under a turret, the turret will suddenly take notice and shoot you. If you’re trying to finish off a turret that’s on low health, do not hit enemy heroes. Make sure you survive – if enemy heroes are going to kill you before you can finish the turret, come back later.
Finally, turrets have an extended shield for the first few minutes if a match. It is very difficult to take out an enemy turret early, so don’t try. Stay alive, farm gold, wait for that shield to come down. You can see if it’s still up as there’s like a forcefield around the turret when you hit it. In almost any circumstance, it’s pointless trying to hit a turret when it has this shield up.
AMBIENT GOLD IS A THING
When you kill a minion, anyone nearby will get a bit of that gold too. This means when the big Gold Treant goes down, you really want someone nearby to get the extra gold – nobody around, nobody gets that extra.
The main chunk goes to whoever scores the last hit, so make sure that’s the guy who needs it most. As a Captain, I can make do just on the ambient gold so I can hit a mob to lower it’s health but make sure the laner/Jungler gets that final hit.
TREANTS ARE AMAZING
I really don’t remember this being covered in the tutorial and it took me way too long to realise.
Healing Treants (the ones that do the annoying root) heal the last person to hit them. If you’re running low on healthn and can kill one of these, it gets you back in the fight much faster than porting back to base and doesn’t use a precious healing flask.
That annoying root can also be a life saver. I’ve been chased through the jungle on low health, hit a Treant to trigger that root attack, and let it root the enemy chasing me, allowing me to escape.
The Crystal/Weapon Treants in 5v5 also give a powerful buff to whoever scores the final hit. These are very useful for the Laners and Jungler, so if you’re playing these roles you should really consider rotating to get the buff whenever you can, and try not to steal it from someone in your team who needs it.
Talking about these buffs, if someone has the buff and dies, they drop it – it looks like a blue or red ball. Try to make sure the enemy team doesn’t pick it up.
THE DRAGONS ARE BOTH POWERFUL
Everyone loves Blackclaw. Release him and he runs down the enemy lines wreaking havoc, just like the Kraken in 3v3. Again, I don’t recall the game ever explaining Ghostwing, and the poor beast is often seen as a secondary consideration.
The team that kills Ghostwing gets a massive team wide buff that makes team fights much easier to handle. It was literally only two/three weeks ago that I learned this – I thought it was just gold.
VISION AND MAP CONTROL WINS GAMES AND IS EVERYONE’S DUTY
Vision helps, I knew this, but I didn’t understand how much. Being able to see where the enemy team are tells you so much. I see Laners getting ganked frequently from bushes they assumed were empty. If you’re unsure if there’s an enemy in a bush, poke it and see before pushing on. Better yet, get a scout cam, flare, or mine into it.
Especially in 5v5, don’t leave this to your Captain. You have scout cams too and should learn to use them. When mid laning, I like to put one near my own CP buff and one on the opposite lane bush. This is enough to give me an idea of of I’m likely to be ganked, and I know when my CP buff is back up.
Try to be creative with your cams. A lot of players all put them in the same place, where the enemy drops their own cam and destroys the previous one. Cam wasted. When bottom/top laning I like to get one behind the enemy turret so I can see them approach without their cam revealing mine, my second one goes near the dragon pit to alert me to anyone rotating that way.
It’s also worth holding your cams a little. Whoever drops their cam first tends to get it destroyed when the other teams drop theirs. Try to bait their cams first!
On the subject of vision, vision is useless if you never look at your mini map. Especially in the late game when team fights are breaking out, keep a watchful eye on minion waves coming down the lanes. I have lost so many games because multiple turrets were overwhelmed and destroyed just by minion waves.
If you can see that two enemy heroes are in mid lane and two are moving through the top lane, and one is on respawn timer you know bottom lane and the enemy jungle is safe to push or invade.
SUGGESTED BUILDS ARE ONLY STARTING POINTS
As a Captain, I spent the longest time focusing on building Storncrown first, despite this doing nothing to help my team – just because that’s what was first on the suggested builds. This is easier as a Carry or Jungler as you’re essentially building to make yourself stronger, or to have better defence. And get defence early. Just the 300g item can give major damage reduction (up to 50%) early on. If you see you’re up against a CP laner, make sure to get some shields on your next shop.
SHOP WHEN YOU CAN
It’s very easy to decide that your first tier 3 item is going to cost 2100g so you’re going to keep farming and go back when you have enough. There is a reason that items are built from smaller items. The parts to make Shatterglass give Crystal Power. The parts to make Sorrowblade give Weapon Power.
Gold does not give you any bonuses, it allows you to buy the items that give those bonuses. Having these parts can give you an edge over someone who’s still holding onto their gold and in the early game, this can be a massive advantage like 50% damage reduction from ONE defensive item.
BATTLE ROYALE IS AN INCREDIBLE TOOL
I used to look at Battle Royale with a bit of a “what’s the point” vibe. Oh, how wrong I was.
Battle Royale gives you a random hero. Take a quick look at what their abilities do, and the tips section before the match begins. Pick a suggested build and have fun. Win or lose, just look at what your hero can do, see how their abilities work. As above, focus on staying alive, but when you die, purchase your items quickly and spend the remaining respawn time reading the abilities.
I found some of my favourite heroes through BR, so it helped decide how to spend my winnings and it gives an understanding of what enemy heroes can do.
As an example, I didn’t understand Lorelei until a BR match as her, then I saw how her water pools worked and she’s now a favourite of mine. On playing as Skaarf, I can to learn how massive his fireball range is.
Knowledge is the key to victory, but don’t expect it to come all at once. The more you play and practice, the more you just instinctively know what an enemies move do, how to avoid them, and how they’re likely to play. It takes time, but losing in BR doesn’t cost you anything, so utilise it.
I am absolutely certain that I’ve missed several points, but that’s the entire point of this series – to highlight points as I learn them.
Future posts won’t be quite this long, but I had quite a few to cover from the first few months of playing, and I can only hope that it helps somewhat!