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‘Just Beginning’ to ‘Vainglorious’: Explaining ‘Red’ Items

‘Just Beginning’ to ‘Vainglorious’: Explaining ‘Red’ Items

  • Vainglory
  • |
  • Oct 11, 2016

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.


Red items enhance your basic attacks. A “basic attack” is the standard attack that all heroes have. To initiate a basic attack, you simply need to tap on a minion or enemy hero.

Red items are not just about making your basic attacks do more damage. There are three different types of weapon items. First, there’s the traditional “weapon damage” item. An item that enhances weapon damage impacts how hard you hit. Let’s look at new hero Gwen, for example. Gwen starts with her basic attacks doing 65 damage. If she were to purchase a Weapon Blade (+15 weapon damage), her basic attacks would now do 80 damage every time she hit something.

Some items impact your weapon attack speed. Attack speed determines how often you hit. If Gwen bought a Swift Shooter instead of a Weapon Blade, her attacks would still do the base 65 damage with a basic attack. But her attack speed would be +20%. In practical terms, she would do six attacks in the same amount of time she would normally do five.

There’s a third type of weapon item designed to inflict “critical strikes,” which are depicted in-game with a red (!) mark. These strikes deal 50% more damage than a usual basic attack. Items of this type come with two stats: critical chance and critical damage. One increases the likelihood you’ll get a critical strike and the other further increases the amount of damage such a critical strike will do.

Let’s look at Gwen again. Normally, she doesn’t have much of a chance to cause critical strikes. But with a Lucky Strike, she now has a 20% chance for her basic attack to become a critical strike. Lucky Strike also includes +12% critical damage, which means a critical strike will now do 62% more damage than a usual basic attack!

Generally, if you’re playing a hero buying weapon items, you’ll want to focus on at least two of the three types. High weapon damage items such as Sorrowblade pair very well with high attack speed items such as Breaking Point or high critical strike items such as Tyrant’s Monocle. But the balance of the three categories is highly dependent on the character. Experiment to find out what works best for your playstyle, and explore the item stats on guide/resource websites such as VaingloryFire.


As discussed in the Blue Item guide, 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 Sorrowblade — a powerful item for increasing your damage — you’ll first need to purchase a bunch of lesser items including Weapon Blade and a Heavy Steel. 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 Weapon Blade. A Weapon Blade 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 weapon 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 Weapon Blade while you save up for that Tier II Heavy Steel. Again, it’s always good idea to spend your gold.

So let’s say you’ve bought that Heavy Steel. You’re doing a lot more damage now! Let’s look at Gwen’s basic attacks again. As mentioned before, Gwen’s basic attack would normally do 65 weapon damage at Level 1. With a Heavy Steel, it would do 55 points more of damage. So now she’s doing 65 + 55 damage.

Next, you’ll want to purchase your first Tier III item. While any weapon-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.


Typically, the heroes that benefit the most from weapon damage items are snipers, warriors and sometimes assassins. More specifically, red items benefit:

  • Snipers: Gwen, Vox, Skye, Baron, Kestrel, SAW and Ringo
  • Warriors: Glaive, Alpha, Joule, Krul, Ozo and Rona
  • Assassins: Taka and Blackfeather.

You can buy weapon items for other heroes — such as roamers Fortress and Lance — but for now it’s best to focus on heroes that most clearly benefit from weapon items.


sorrowbladeSorrowblade: Gives you the highest amount of weapon damage in one item. You hit people, they hurt. Commonly the first item you buy. Everyone benefits from this.


bonesawBonesaw: Will shred the enemy’s armor, so it’s great against tank heroes or heroes who buy armor like Atlas Pauldron or Metal Jacket. If you’re facing a really tough enemy that you just can’t seem to hurt enough, this will help bring them down. Great on any hero benefiting from attack speed, like Krul.

tornado-triggerTornado Trigger: Grants a hero the highest amount of attack speed and increases critical chance. If you want to hit someone a lot with your basic attacks, such as Joule and Glaive, this is a great option. Hit more often!

breaking-pointBreaking Point: The longer the fight goes on, the more powerful Breaking Point becomes. So it’s great for sustained fights and heroes who can stay in the fight for a while. If you can stay alive, you can do a huge amount of damage, but assassins generally don’t live long enough to properly use this. Kestrel and Rona benefit greatly from this.

tyrants-monocleTyrant’s Monocle: Highest amount of critical chance and weapon damage. Good for anyone who wants to increase their likelihood for a big hit. Usually purchased after other items. Instead of hitting someone more often, your single strikes are more likely to do a lot of damage — great for heroes like Ringo.

tension-bowTension Bow: Good early-game item that gives you a big spike of damage every 6 seconds. Perfect for anyone who wants to do the bulk of their damage in quick bursts, like the assassin Taka. Note: It is not recommended to purchase this item in the late game; it’s impact is severely lessened. 

serpent-maskSerpent’s Mask: Grants lifesteal, so it’s great for sustaining yourself in a teamfight. Great for warriors like Rona or Blackfeather who can survive long enough to take advantage of its benefits. Differs from Breaking Point in that it focuses on making you live longer rather than making them die faster.


When players talk about “builds,” they’re usually talking about the final Tier III items that a hero will purchase during a match. These builds vary in strategy: Some emphasize damage or attack speed and even crystal damage instead of weapon damage. For more proposed builds, check out If you’re eager to try out the new hero Gwen, start by following the “Recommended” weapon build in-game, presented below:

Early-game: Heavy Steel, Swift Shooter, Sprint Boots

Buying Heavy Steel and Swift Shooter (both mid-tier items) instead of Sorrowblade, for example, is a better idea early game because it gives you weapon damage and attack speed whereas Sorrowblade only gives you the former. Sprint boots grants you a speed boost to get out of tough situations.  

Mid-game: Sorrowblade, Heavy Steel, Reflex Block, Breaking Point, Travel Boots

Now you’re buying your first Tier III items: Sorrowblade and Breaking Point. You’ll notice that it’s also recommended you purchase another “Heavy Steel,” and that’s because, again, weapon damage builds on itself. The Travel Boots are a strong Tier II item to give Gwen speed while Reflex Block helps give her defense.

Late Game: Tyrants Monocle, Halcyon Chargers, Aegis, Metal Jacket

Tyrant’s Monocle gives Gwen some major critical damage while the rest of the build helps keep her alive: Halcyon Chargers for speed, Aegis to counter crystal damage and Metal Jacket to counter weapon damage.


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: Bronze (armor) items protect against red (weapon) items. So, if you see the enemy building a ton of red, you can build bronze 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 bronze items like Atlas Pauldron or Metal Jacket to protect themselves from you.

We’ll go into defense items in Part III of our guide.


  • Weapon items improve your hero’s basic attacks.
  • Snipers, warriors and some assassins benefit the most from weapon items.
  • To buy red 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 may be, there is nothing better than hands-on experience. Play a game with bots to try out the different weapon items in real-time. Maybe you’ll find success playing Gwen and focusing on maximum damage with Sorrowblades, or maybe you prefer the frenetic pace and high damage upside of a Tornado Trigger and Tyrant’s Monocle. The combinations are endless, and learning what works best for you is part of the fun!

Check back next week for our guide to defense items — the ways to counter red and blue items.