Are you new to Vainglory? Or, are you perhaps struggling to keep up with your allies and enemies? This series will bring new players up to speed and help those 0-10 players break the slump and start consistently succeeding. Here, we’re going to explain crystal items, commonly referred to as “blue” items. Check back next week for our guide to red items.
You don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight. So, you don’t want to bring the wrong item to the Halcyon Fold. Knowing what items to buy is pivotal to success in Vainglory. In simple terms: Items make you better. They make you run faster, strike harder, regenerate energy quicker and, in the words of Professor Snape: “put a stopper on death.” Not surprisingly, buying items is often the most confusing aspect of the game for new players. There are several different types of items — weapon, ability, defense and utility — that all have various advantages and counters.
If you find your hero can’t make a dent in another hero’s health, that might be because they’ve bought an item that counters yours. Similarly, if you’re befuddled by how an enemy hero keeps annihilating you with only a couple hits, you may not have the right defensive items or they may have vastly superior offensive items. We’ll start with the basics: weapon and crystal items.
WHERE TO SHOP
When a match starts, you’re already in your home base item shop. Here, you’ll have the chance to select your first items. The store has six tabs and starts in the “Recommended” tab. You’ll see your gold total in the bottom and this will increase throughout the game as you kill lane minions, jungle monsters and enemy heroes.
As a beginner, it’s always a good idea to just buy the recommended items as soon as you have the gold. As you move around the map, you’ll have many chances to kill stuff. Every time you kill something, you get gold — and gold is the key to your success. That’s because gold gets you items, and items make you more powerful. One of the biggest mistakes new players make is not spending their gold, so remember to shop often and use all of the gold you can!
Item recommendations are based on the hero that you’ve selected. So if you’ve selected Glaive, a warrior, the first recommended item is the Weapon Blade. But if you want to progress as a Vainglory player, you’ll have to move beyond recommended items. Vainglory’s recommendations for purchases don’t change based on enemy tactics, for example. It’s important you understand how items work so you can make intelligent purchase decisions based on your own character’s strengths and the strengths of your opposition.
So what are crystal items? Crystal items make your unique hero’s three abilities more powerful. As an example, let’s look at Celeste, a mage hero. She has three abilities: Heliogenesis, Core Collapse and Solar Storm. These abilities all do a set amount of damage that items augment.
When examining an item, you’ll see that each comes with stats: “+20 CP”, “+50 CP”, etc. The best way to explain how crystal power (CP) works is to use an example. Let’s say you have a Crystal Bit. It’s an inexpensive item that you can immediately buy and is often a good purchase if you’re playing a mage. A Crystal Bit gives your hero +20 Crystal Power. If we look at Celeste, her Heliogenesis ability normally does does 120 Crystal damage. With the Crystal Bit, you’d do 140 damage. There are other calculations involved: what crystal ratios you have, what level you’re at, etc. But at its most basic, more crystal power means more damage with your abilities.
WHAT HEROES BENEFIT FROM BLUE ITEMS
Typically, the heroes that benefit most from blue items are spellcasting mages such as Celeste, Skaarf, Samuel and Reim. Heroes who focus on protection such as Lyra, Adagio, Ardan and Catherine also benefit from blue items. In Vainglory, most heroes are incredibly flexible and building blue items — even when not typical — can reveal surprisingly powerful playstyles. But for now, it’s best to focus on those heroes who most naturally and obviously benefit from lots of blue.
UNDERSTANDING THE TIER SYSTEM
Vainglory has some truly powerful items. Each of these items has ingredients that need to be purchased first in order to complete their recipe. So, if you want to purchase that Shatterglass — a powerful item for increasing your damage — you’ll first need to purchase a bunch of lesser items including Crystal Bit and a Heavy Prism. Think of purchasing items as purchasing ingredients; you want to have a powerful Tier III item in mind and then see what you have to buy first in order to get it. Occasionally, you’ll have so much gold that you can buy both the ingredients and the final powerful item at once, but that’s probably an indication that you should have spent your gold a while ago! Better to increase your power in small steps than be weak for a long time and then have a massive power spike.
When you first start a game of Vainglory, you’ll start out with just enough gold to buy a Crystal Bit. A Crystal Bit is a Tier I item, meaning you can get it immediately without purchasing anything else. You’ll also notice that it’s an ingredient for virtually every Tier III crystal item in the game. After purchasing it, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade it to a Tier II item if you have sufficient gold. In order to get more gold, you’ll need to kill minions, monsters and enemy heroes. The great thing about buying any lower-tiered item is that you’ll get the next tiered item in that progression at a discount — so there’s no downside in buying that Crystal Bit while you save up for that Tier II Heavy Prism. Again, it’s always good idea to spend your gold.
So let’s say you’ve bought that Heavy Prism. You’re doing a lot more damage now! Let’s look at Celeste’s Heliogenesis ability again. As mentioned before, Celeste’s Heliogenesis ability would normally do 120 crystal damage at Level 1. With a Heavy Prism, it would do 50 points more of damage. So that 120 would suddenly become 170.
Next, you’ll want to purchase your first Tier III item. While any crystal-focused hero will usually buy the same Tier I and Tier II items, purchasing Tier III items depends a great deal on your hero. Since each Tier III items does something slightly different, all of these options can be especially daunting to new players.
WHICH TIER THREE ITEMS TO BUY
So you’ve selected your hero and decided that you want to focus your purchases on blue items. Now what? Deciding which Tier III items to purchase (and when) is also crucial to success.
Shatterglass: The highest CP value item, used to do maximum ability damage. Want to make a lot of stuff go boom? Then this is on your wishlist.
Eve of Harvest: Steals life from your enemy. If you keep dying, having some lifesteal helps because every time you do ability damage to the enemy, it will heal you back a portion of the damage done! In other words, Eve of Harvest hurts them and heals you!
Broken Myth: Does more damage the more you hit an enemy with an ability. Great for abilities with high base damage like Joule’s Big Red Button. Broken Myth is a must-buy for any mage class because they constantly hit people with their abilities.
Clockwork: Not getting to use your abilities enough? Look no further than Clockwork. If you find you don’t have enough energy to use your abilities, then Clockwork can help you recharge quickly.
Frostburn: Frostburn adds slowing effects to your attacks. This is great for keeping enemies right where you want them
Alternating Current: If you want your basic attacks to do damage while your abilities cooldown, this is a great option.
Aftershock: After activating an ability, your next attack does a percentage of the enemy’s maximum HP. Great to take on high health targets like Phinn, Ardan or any tank.
Remember: Yellow Counters Blue
All the items in Vainglory fall into categories based on their color. There’s a huge amount of strategy that goes into “counterbuilding,” which means buying items based on the enemy’s purchases. We’re not going to go into all that now, but there is one thing you can keep in mind: Yellow (shield) items protect against blue (crystal) items. So, if you see the enemy building a ton of blue, you can build yellow items. If you’re suddenly doing a lot less damage with your abilities than earlier in the match, chances are that enemy bought a lot of yellow items to protect themselves from you.
We’ll go into defense items in part 3 of our guide.
- Crystal items improve your hero’s abilities.
- Mages generally benefit most from crystal items, but other heroes will benefit as well.
- To buy crystal items, kill enemies and collect gold so you can afford stuff.
- The more gold you have, the more powerful the items you can buy.
- Tier III items are powerful but varied. Try them out to see what works for your hero and playstyle!
As informative as any guide can be, there is nothing better than hands-on experience. Play a game with bots to try out the different crystal items in real-time. Maybe you find success playing Celeste and focusing on maximum damage with Shatterglasses, or maybe you feel better buying Eve of Harvest and restoring health with the stars you rain down on the enemy. The combinations are endless, and learning what works best for you is part of the fun!
Check back next week for our guide to weapon items — the red counterpart to crystal items.