Defensive Mastery: Counterbuilding Basics

Defensive Mastery: Counterbuilding Basics
Counterbuilding is one of the most important things to learn in Vainglory. While some counterbuilding is left to the roamer it’s good to know what to buy and when as a carry as well, so this is aimed at anyone who wants to stay alive in team fights longer!


Atlas Pauldron

This is a great item that provides armor and directly counters heroes building lots of attack speed, usually a Ringo or Krul. Atlas will maim the hero, slowing their attack speed and limiting their damage output for a limited time. However, it is important to note that this is a situational item. You won’t need it every match, and the timing of when you need to build it will vary in each game depending on the enemy builds. It’s also better on tanky junglers, roamers, and assassins who can get in, set it off, and get out.


Metal Jacket

If the enemies have a strong weapon carry this is a good purchase to slow down how quickly they can kill you. It is important to keep track of enemy builds however, because if they buy a Bonesaw it will cut your armor in half.



If your enemies have a Metal Jacket or Atlas Pauldron this is definitely a good buy. It shreds their armor over time, allowing you to ignore about half of their defensive stats. While the roamer *can* purchase it this is a last resort, usually only for if both carries are WP and neither build Bonesaw. Also, it is important to note that the armor shredding doesn’t stack, so while both carries having it will shred armor faster it doesn’t shred more than only having one Bonesaw.


Tension Bow

Tension Bow looks good on paper but in practice it can be underwhelming. Most players agree that it falls off hard around mid-late-game, meaning that if you haven’t built it by around the six-minute mark the prime time to have it has passed. It does still provide armor pierce however, and the bonus damage makes it a good buy as a carry if your direct enemy hero is particularly squishy, like┬áCeleste or Skye. If used properly this item can help you snowball a game for the win quickly.



Having a well-timed Crucible can make or break a team fight. Certain heroes have devastating ults or abilities that give their team an edge if they pull them off, usually netting them the win in a fight. These heroes include Catherine, Phinn, Adagio, Joule, Vox, Celeste, and Reim. While other ults are certainly scary, these ones can cripple the entire team. It is important to know when to build this, and while roamers usually should be the ones to buy it sometimes they just don’t, or they prioritize other items depending on the enemy comp. However, you can also buy an Aegis for yourself and use it to protect yourself from the scary group ults as well as the targeted ults like Koshka, Ringo, and Ozo. This can prevent an Ace or your death and give you another chance to take the advantage in a game.


Broken Myth

While this is a staple on most if not all CP builds it is also an important counterbuilding item. Currently it is the only T3 CP item that counters enemy shielding, while also amplifying damage over time like Breaking Point. A Celeste who maxes her BM stacks before unleashing her ult gets her current maximum damage potential, for example. Timing is key with a Broken Myth, but it is practically a must-buy for CP carries.



This item is one of my personal favorites. It is best purchased on heroes that use both their abilites and basic attacks, like Catherine, Fortress, or Koshka, and against heroes with high health, either from natural tankiness or health items like Crucible or Shiversteel. This item will reduce enemy’s health by 15% every time you land an ability then a basic attack, which is why it’s most effective against high health heroes. It also reduces your cooldown slightly, letting you use abilities more often so the effect can proc more often. Like Bonesaw though, buying multiples of this won’t get you more health reduction or let you proc it more often.



This is a handy item against highly mobile heroes, or for slower heroes in general to keep up with their enemies. Krul and Rona especially benefit from this, it gives them the stickiness and peel that they kinda lack in their kits as well as 500 extra health to help them last longer in fights.



Possibly the biggest counter for two heroes, Taka and Kestrel. Both can go invisible and both can do massive amounts of damage if not countered properly. The methods you’ll use vision with will vary on each hero and their build though. With Taka you will want many scout traps and flares, to prevent him from running away and healing up. When he gets down to about half health in a fight you’ll want to use a flare so you can see where he goes when he tries to escape. With Kestrel, if she’s CP you want to maintain pressure on her so she can’t use her mist, and use flares if she does so you don’t step in it. If she’s WP you want a ranged carry to apply pressure to her so you aren’t following too closely, and use a flare if you see her disappear so your team doesn’t walk into her mist. If you or your team does this you leave these two heroes crippled.



This item is in the utility tree, but since those are no longer limited to roams carries can build this as well, sometimes to great effect. It provides cooldown and true damage, similar to Aftershock, but stat-wise Stormcrown does a bit more. It also lets you take objectives faster, making it good on a variety of heroes. While not necessarily a counterbuilding item it is important to note that the true damage will ignore enemy armor and shield, and the damage to objectives will help you take them down faster.



Again, not necessarily a counterbuilding item per se, but it sure counters enemy damage pretty well. It’s best used while allies are getting low on health but not so low that they’ll die before it can help them, usually between 1/2 and 1/4 health. This item can basically provide an extra health bar for your team, making it an excellent first purchase for roamers.

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