Drafting 101: Hero Relevance, Power Spikes and Synergies (5v5): Captains16 min read
Hello, lovely VainGlorians! This is a continuation of my series in Drafting 101. Check out the first one here, on how to ban efficiently (and not waste your bans and first picks!). In the coming weeks, we will learn how to come up with a winning draft. To do that, we have to know the relevance of each hero, what causes their power spikes and their synergy with other heroes (who they work well with). I’ve listed them all down below for your reference and to prepare you for drafting a winning team. I would have included counters, but individual counters don’t really matter that much when it comes to team fights so let’s learn the synergies first, and talk about countering entire comps in the following weeks. This post is gonna cover Captain heroes, Carries and Junglers to follow. (Click on hero to jump to their section)
To start with, we’ll identify the relevance of each hero (early, mid or late game), then we’ll include power spikes. Lastly, we’ll look at the hero synergies from 5v5 perspective (or how they fit in a 5-man comp).
Before you ask, power spikes are when a hero gets sudden increase of power. Knowing exactly when a hero spikes will help you decide in situations like whether to engage or not. It’s quite a complicated and subjective topic, but thanks to the ever helpful Vyzeox, who does nerdy stuff for Tribe Gaming and VGPRO, for the following nugget.
[Vyzeox] In a nutshell, power spikes for heroes happen:
- When they get a new item (this can be an infusion too)
- When they unlock a heroic or ability perk (i.e. Idris, Kestrel)
- At level 6 (for heroes that rely a lot on their ultimate, like Fortress)
- At level 8 (for heroes that rely a lot on an over-driven ability, like Celeste)
- At level 9 (for heroes that rely a lot on a strong ultimate, like Grace)
- At level 12 (for heroes that rely a lot on maxed out ultimate, like CP Lyra)
Take note that captain heroes and secondary support (utility-based) heroes, in most cases, rely more on power spikes from getting utility items (i.e. heroes that heal and give barrier get power spike after buying a capacitor plate) rather than ability levels (with a few exceptions like Phinn’s over-driven A that becomes a stun).
Now that that’s over with, let’s look at each hero for more details. Also, remember that this is coming from a 5v5 perspective, so 5v5 map and rotations were used as the basis for this list. Without further ado, here are your captains:
Relevance: Early to Mid
Considered strong early largely due to his ability to harass enemy laner as a Roam because of his basic-attack range which is the longest among all heroes. In the late game, he can suffer, being immobile and easily focused especially by utility-heavy comps. He works well with high burst and mobile
legend heroes that can kill carries faster than he can tank all damage as he can’t run to save his life, quite literally.
|Captain, Top||– Whenever he gets a health item, he power spikes as his burst heals scale up with his bonus health.
– At level 8, he gets another spike as he gets to overdrive his A for increased burst heal.
|Carry (CP)||– Power spikes when he gets AC & DE, he can stack really easily with his A (Gift of Fire).|
|Laner Synergy||Idris, Blackfeather, Anka, Reza, Vox, Kinetic, WP Skye||Adagio has single-target burst heals and single-target basic attack buff which makes him work well with mobile heroes as they’re not required to stand in one place to get heals (like how it works with Lyra).|
|Captain Synergy||Lance, Phinn, Catherine||Adagio needs a high utility captain that does not necessarily provide heal as he already does, but one that can peel for days.|
|Jungler Synergy||CP Grumpjaw, WP Tony, Glaive||High utility junglers, to help his immobility, with some damage output.|
Considered stable in all phases of a match because of his kit and good synergy with all heroes. He can fall off in the late game, if going against high utility heroes (i.e. Lorelai, Phinn, Catherine).
|Captain, Top||– Same as Adagio, health items give him power spikes as his barrier (A) scales up with his bonus health.
– Power spikes at level 6 when he unlocks his ULT (Gauntlet).
|Carry, Jungler (WP)||– At level 8, Ardan can overdrive his B (as a weapon carry) for huge power spike (in terms of damage output).
– He also gets power-spike when he buys an AfterShock as his B scales with CP.
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Vox, Varya, Samuel, Ringo, Skaarf, Baron, Silvernail, Gwen||Ardan is in-sync with all heroes and especially good with immobile and squishy carries, because of the barrier and speed boost he provides with his A.|
|Captain Synergy||Phinn, Churnwalker, Catherine||Because Ardan can fall off in the late game against high utility comps, he needs his own utility captain (if he’s playing carry).|
|Jungler Synergy||Rona, Reim, Krul||Works well with high damage junglers that need some mobility.|
Relevance: Mid to Late
Catherine’s perk makes her tankier the longer the match goes on, which makes her a strong late game hero. She can suffer early game and starve against poke-type roams such as Lyra, Lorelai, Adagio.
|Captain, Top||– At level 6 when she unlocks her ULT (Silence).
– When she gets an AS.
– At level 8 when she overdrives her B (Bubble) and start to dish out 25% bonus reflect damage back to enemies.
– At level 12 with her ULT maxed to 2.5 seconds of silence.
|Carry Synergy||Malene, Vox, CP Skye, Samuel, Celeste, Skaarf, Silvernail, Kinetic||Works well with a carry that can harass enemy laner and captain in the early game because she, herself, will have a hard time until mid game.|
|Captain Synergy||Adagio, Ardan, Phinn||Captains that can heal, provide barrier or fortified health, because she can’t do these things.|
|Jungler Synergy||CP Joule, Alpha, Koshka, Taka||High burst damage junglers can work well with her CC.|
Considered strong and stable through all phases of a match because of the way his kit works. Since he doesn’t heal or provide barrier to allies, utility items fit him more, in addition to core support items (i.e.: Pulseweave, Nullweave Gauntlet, Atlas Pauldron in addition to Fountain, Crucible and War Treads).
|Captain||– As a self healing damage multiplier, Churnwalker power spikes when his teammates do. His damage output and self-healing is relative to his team’s damage.
– At level 6, when he unlocks his ULT (plus escape or gap closer).
– At level 8, when he overdrives either his A (increased range of hook) or his B (pulls enemies much closer to him).
|Carry Synergy||Varya, CP Vox, Baron, Skaarf, Celeste, CP Baptiste||High AOE damage or high burst carries to maximise Churnwalker’s perk.|
|Captain Synergy||Phinn, Ardan, Adagio, Lyra||Churnwalker needs a captain that can heal, provide barrier or fortified health if he is played for a non-captain role.|
|Jungler Synergy||Rona, Krul, Reim||He can work well with high damage junglers that need help in chasing.|
Relevance: Early to Mid
Flicker’s perk is what makes him a beast in the early game. Squishy carries have no defence against his combo perk (stealth) + B right next to squishy long enough to get a kill. He does fall off in the late game, when enemy has enough gold to buy vision.
|Captain||– Flicker’s perk is his major power spike as soon as the game starts.
– At level 6, he power spikes again when he unlocks his ULT (team wide stealth).
|Top, Jungle (CP)||– Power spikes as soon as he gets a Pulsweave or an Aftershock.
– Level 8, when he can over drive his B for increased DoT (damage over time) and burst.
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Baron, CP Lyra, CP Vox, Kinetic, Silvernail, Gwen, Ringo, Malene||He is best with late game heroes that need help in the early game. He can also work with early game burst heroes for snowballing.|
|Captain Synergy||Phinn, Ardan, Grace||He needs captains that can heal and stun as these are the utilities he can’t provide.|
|Jungler Synergy||Krul, Reim, Rona||He is great with high damage and tanky junglers that need help chasing.|
Relevance: Mid game
Fortress’ perk is dependent on teammates, much like Churnwalker, and works best with an aggressive comp. None of his abilities provide peel, though, so unless he has strong synergy with his team, he will struggle in the early game. Mid game, as a CP jungler, is his best moment in game. Take advantage of this to try and snowball because he falls off in the late game, overwhelmed by the amount of utility the other heroes have.
|Captain||– At level 6 when he unlocks his ULT for global presence (against stealth enemies) and mortal wounds (less healing for enemies).|
|Jungler (CP)||– When he gets an AfterShock.|
|Carry Synergy||Malene, Kinetic, Silvernail, Gwen, Skye, Idris, Reza, Vox, Blackfeather||He has no peel for squishies, so he needs strong early game carries, or evasive ones that can save themselves.|
|Captain Synergy||Ardan, Adagio, Phinn, Lance||If he plays jungle, he needs high utility captains that can heal and peel for the rest of the team, because he can’t.|
|Jungler Synergy||Petal, Reim, Krul, Rona||He works well with high damage, high attack speed junglers that need some mobility and can use some lifesteal.|
With a mix of heal, shield and CC, Grace’s kit makes her a stable hero in all phases. She is an aggressive support but can also prevent enemy charges for defensive plays. She can easily be CC chained, however, as her perk and abilities have startup delay and her heal requires channeling. She is always useful but can have a hard time with a comp that provides more utility than she does (i.e. Catherine, Phinn). With her A being the only form of mobility she has, she can also be easily kited and used for stacking by mobile heroes like Skye, Vox, even worse, by Kinetic who can interrupt her casting.
|Captain||– At level 1, unlocking her A reduces her damage intake.
– At level 6, unlocking her ULT (massive heal).
– At level 8, overdriving her B for invulnerability when casting or overdriving her A for a dash range as far as Celeste’s overdriven A.
– Buying CP items also gives her power spikes (she gets tankier and dishes out more damage) as all her abilities scale with crystal power (damage reduction, damage output and ULT heal).
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Skaarf, Baron, Kinetic, Silvernail, Vox, Varya||She can sync with all carries given her kit, but works best with late game carries that need peel.|
|Captain Synergy||Lance, Phinn, Catherine||If she’s playing top, she needs a captain that provides more peel and mobility than her, or one that can heal or provides barrier / fortified health.|
|Jungler Synergy||Krul, Reim, Reza, Ozo||Her perk and abilities make her work with both sustain and burst type heroes. High damage junglers that need help chasing and assassins both benefit from her kit.|
Lance has high damage output, is very tanky and mobile and provides low-cooldown utilities. This makes him a stable hero in all phases of a match. The only possible way he can fall off in the late game is if his abilities don’t have effect (i.e. against Phinn) or if he can’t use his abilities at all (i.e. against Silvernail). He can also suffer in the early game, before he power spikes, against heroes that can kite for days, like Vox and Skye.
|Captain||– At level 6, unlocking his ULT makes it easier for him to reposition himself or his enemy and he becomes rather hard to chase.
– At level 8, overdriving his B makes him invulnerable while the ability is active, making him even harder to lock down.
|Carry, Jungler (WP)||– WP items also make him power spike in terms of damage output. All his abilities have WP ratio and he has the highest base WP power among all heroes.
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Skaarf, Samuel, Baron, Silvernail, Varya, Vox, Kinetic, Gwen, Skye||Insane peel makes him efficient with all carries but best with those that need the extra help.|
|Captain Synergy||Lyra, Adagio, Ardan, Phinn||He provides the peel so he only needs a captain that can provide the heal.|
|Jungler Synergy||Alpha, Rona, Taka||He works with high damage junglers with no or low utility.|
Relevance: Mid to Late
Lorelai has amazing zone control. Her B counters almost everyone and she can easily bully enemy carries with her A, without having to get up close and endanger herself. Although she is immobile, she can escape most situations with her kit. She is strongest as a Captain or a secondary utility role (jungler or top). She struggles in the early game, though, as she needs to build bonus health to maximise her utility as well as energy to keep spamming abilities. She also struggles against heroes that are invulnerable to zone control, such as assassins (Idris, Reza, Anka).
|Captain, Utility Jungler / Top||– Buying health items cause Lorelai to power spike as all her utilities scale up with bonus health.
– At level 6, when she unlocks her ULT for a massive barrier.
– At level 8, overdriving her A gives her range that’ll make Celeste cry.
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Skaarf, Varya, Baron, Vox, Kinetic, Silvernail, Samuel||Works well with most carries but especially with low mobility, late game hyper carries.|
|Captain Synergy||Ardan, Lance, Phinn||She needs a captain that can heal and peel for her cause she herself is squishy and immobile.|
|Jungler Synergy||Glaive, Krul, Joule, Inara, Reza, Alpha, Reim, Rona||High damage jungler with some utility, in case she needs help, or massive burst damage jungler. She can also work with slow poke junglers.|
Relevance: (Captain) Early to Mid (Carry) Mid to Late
Lyra has great poke ability with her A and her perk making her a good early game harasser in the mid lane as a captain. She can fall off in the late game as she lacks the most important utility that most other Captains have, stun. With the right comp to cover her weaknesses though, her late game isn’t that bad as she can build more HP and be more useful and slippery to chase.
CP Lyra, however, suffers in the early game as her perk consumes energy which limits her use of A to bully (she needs to last hit!). She is also very squishy and needs to stack up on CP items to be able to dish out damage long enough before she uses up all her escape tools and die.
|Captain, Top||– Health items give her power spike as her perk (perma slow from basic attack) scales up with her bonus health.
– At level 6, when she unlocks her ULT making her very slippery and annoying.
|Carry (CP)||– At level 8: maxing her A gives her 12 range for this ability, making her even more annoying.
– At level 12: maxing her ULT gives her the second longest basic attack range (7.1, compared to Baron’s 7.4 with maxed ULT)
|Carry Synergy||SAW, Baron, Silvernail, Skaarf, Celeste, Samuel, Varya||Works best with immobile, massive damage carries.|
|Captain Synergy||Lance, Phinn, Catherine, Adagio, Ardan||If playing carry, she needs a captain that can peel for her and heal her too because her A is for damaging from a far.|
|Jungler Synergy||Reim, Rona, Krul||Works well with high damage, low mobility heroes that need help running and chasing.|
Phinn is very tanky, has low cooldown utilities and provides team-wide fortified health, making him a stable hero. He shines in the late game, though, when he becomes even tankier with items (+ perk) and when he has his AOE stun and can pull an entire team to himself tanking all damage. He can be countered by mobile heroes with high attack speed (Blackfeather, Kinetic) and massive AOE (Vox, Varya, Baron).
|Captain, Top||– At level 6, when he unlocks his infamous hook.
– At level 8, overdriving his A makes it a stun (every 5 seconds).
– Buying health and defensive items (perk) also make him power spike as his B fortified health scales with bonus HP
|Carry Synergy||Celeste, Varya, Skaarf, CP Vox, Samuel, Vox, Kinetic, Silvernail||Works well with most carries but best with late game hyper carries that require lots of peel.|
|Captain Synergy||NA||He is only viable as Captain right now. Don’t @ me.|
|Jungler Synergy||Alpha, Krul, Fortress||Works well with most junglers too but is more effective with high damage, low utility heroes.|
Yates’ hook, speed boost (from perk and B) and stun make him a stable Captain hero in all phases. He can peel if playing defensively or pull if offensively (pun not intended) and this makes him good in singling out enemy carries in team fights. He can only fall off against other Captain heroes that provide what he doesn’t: heal, barrier or fortified health.
|Captain, Top||– At level 6, unlocking his innate teleport boots (ULT) makes him a global annoyance.
– At level 8, over driving his B gives him even more speed boost in addition to his perk and can chase immobile carries to be hooked back to his team.
|Carry Synergy||Malene, Vox, Kinetic, Silvernail, Gwen, Blackfeather, Idris, Reza||He works well with most but best with single-target high damage carries.|
|Captain Synergy||Phinn, Churnwalker
||If he is playing top or jungle, he needs a high utility captain that can heal him and his team.|
|Jungler Synergy||Krul, Reim, Rona||He is useful with high damage junglers that need help chasing.|
Thanks for getting this far! Next up is the same list of hero relevance, power spikes and 5v5 hero synergies for carries and junglers. I’ll take this time to thank everyone who helped: Nirheim of Vainglory Reddit, Chingy from team Impunity and xKrayonz. Also, thanks to my sister for another awesome banner.
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