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?