On The Rise – Choose Your Hero

On The Rise follows my journey up through the ranks in SEMCs mobile MOBA, Vainglory.

Join me after the jump for the third installment; the Summer Season is coming to an end (despite it having been winter here in Zimbabwe) and the push to Tier 6 is becoming a struggle. Today we’re going to look at characters and roles

When I started Vainglory, I drew on my experience in the FGC. I felt like the best way to get going was to learn a single character well, and learn how they can handle the enemy. Needless to say, this didn’t end well. In the FGC, hard counters are not a thing – sure, certain fighters will struggle against certain opponents, but it’s ultimately a test of skill.

Imagine my horror when I had landed on Flicker as a hero I enjoyed, played a whole tonne of Blitz and Casual to get to the point where I felt comfortable, then entered Ranked for the first time and watched as Flicker was banned immediately.

I felt cheated. “Why is banning a thing?” I lamented, not understanding the nuance of a careful draft yet. As far as I was concerned, I wanted to play this character and yet I wasn’t allowed to. I picked Fortress and we all know how that ended up for me.

For those who don’t know, read on and I’m sure it’ll shine through.

The thing is, I learned quickly that certain characters were just not good picks against other characters, but conversely, my first experience as Skaarf in 3v3 versus a SAW was a beautiful eye opener that some characters get a major advantage over certain opponents. I say “I learned quickly” because I’ve found a lot of other players still have the mentality of instantly locking their favourite hero, crossing their fingers, then getting slaughtered by the inevitable hard counter.

Even then, I decided that I was going to be a Captain/Support main, as I much preferred this kind of role (I enjoy healers and control classes in MMOs). Needless to say, I felt pretty crap every time that I got into a group and someone else was already Captain.

Then the realisation that dedicating myself solely to any role or hero was just not going to work; I learned to sidestep into a different role. There is no point having two Captains, just as I wish people would learn that there’s little point to having to junglers; but let’s not get my diatribe all salty!

Bottom line I’m gradually getting to is that you, as a Vainglory player cannot focus exclusively on one role or character. You need a balance.

I could call myself a Fortress Main, and learn multiple roles as Fortress. I’ve actually tried this and had good success as Captain, Jungler, Bottom Laner and Top Laner – but there are better options for Laners that I could have gone with, and I’d be screwed if someone else picks Fortress before me.

I could call myself a Captain Main and learn multiple characters like Phinn, Lance, Ardan and Catherine, but this doesn’t really help either if someone else wants to go Captain.

Neither of these are bad, per se, but a mixture is required. So now I consider myself to be a Captain Main who prefers Fortress, but I’ve learned a couple of Laners and Junglers too. I am definitely not as comfortable in these roles and characters as I am with Captain Fortress, but I make do.

Not only has this flexibility made me a better team player, it’s also helped me understand different rules and characters. I know what a top laner does, and this helps me as a Captain. I know how different characters play, and this helps me know how to support them if they’re on my team, and how to handle them when they’re on the enemy team.

This is why I previously said that Battle Royale is an amazing tool.

I see a lot of social media posts of players lamenting that they have announced their role early in draft, only for someone earlier in line to claim it, and I see this as part of the same problem. It’s a lack of flexibility. Believe me, I know how it feels to have someone else select the role/hero that you want, but this is a team game. Whatever their reason for locking your role/hero early – it’s irrelevant – it’s now up to you to take a different role for the team.

Especially in solo queue, every player needs to have a modicum of flexibility. There is every possibility that every player that matchmaker grabs is going to want to be a Jungler, and it’s even more likely that nobody wants to be top lane. So rather than locking a second Jungler, try that lane. Follow the tips from my previous On The Rise and survive, use the buffs, and win the game for your team.

That’s my rant for this installment. In other news, I successfully managed to get all 10 Summer Keys to unlock the Rainbow Tabby Skaarf skin! I’m now sitting on all characters unlocked (including Silvernail) and Legendary skins for all the heroes I use (that have them), including the Surf’s Up Catherine (which is right up there with Summer Party Fortress as my favourite “silly” skin).

I’ve had fun playing Fortress in some unusual roles (more on that soon), and I’ve struggled to push to Tier 6 3v3 for the end of the season, sliding back to T5 Silver, but I’ll keep at it. Even if I don’t make it, I’m having a great time with some awesome new friends, and isn’t that ultimately what matters?

3 thoughts on “On The Rise – Choose Your Hero

Add yours

  1. Lance is very hard to master. You better main Ardan now and Catherine. Remember allways this: your job as a roamer is to protect your teammates , not to attack . With time you will fully understand that. For aggressive moves you just need to show your teammates where to go and protect them. Thet will do the damage for you. If you attack as a roamer the enemys and your teammates fall back you will die for nothing. A good captain allways chooses the fight as a last option and after he knows how to counter every strategy of the enemy. //eXe


  2. Fortress is a weak hero. You better main heroes like Ardan or Catherine. In low tiers you as a captain need to play more aggressive. Lance or Grace with Tension Bow , Fortress with Stormcrown and Aftershock are perfect. You better main Ardan. He is THE BEST roamer in the game. Like vox as a carry. He will be allways in meta. As about Flicker he is easy to play , aggressive and really hard to counter. Most of the roamer main players don’t purchase contraption and flairs. It’s hard to play against him. That’s why he in low tiers is allways banned. A pro player can counter him really easy. Im expecting to write about your new experience in your new guild. I would be glad to read that. // from your best officer eXe 😉


    1. Thanks for the comment! I’ve been having a lot of fun with Catherine and Grace, and Ardan is always a part of my repertoire for exactly the reasons you give.

      I had some good successes with Flicker in 3v3, and ImPERium has referred to my Phinn play as absolutely toxic (Fatal can back this up – I pride myself on my Forced Accords, and am looking forward to learning Yates). My trouble sometimes is that I occasionally misjudge and go TOO aggressive. That’s my real learning focus at the moment.

      Lance is a mixed bag for me. On some games, I can get his impales down to an art form, rolling into a Gythian wall, on others I go the whole match without landing a single damned impale and look like a scrub who got lucky with a legendary skin and is playing only to show that off.

      Thanks for the tips though, always good to get advice on the lower tiers and hopefully it’ll all help me progress further.

      I’m looking forward to writing about my experiences and the things I learn with the new guild so advice is always gratefully received!


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