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The Skins Update (1.4.0): Three Tiers of Awesome

The Skins Update (1.4.0): Three Tiers of Awesome

  • Vainglory
  • |
  • May 05, 2015

Update 1.4.0 includes the new skins system, skins for six heroes, a brand-new game element (cards), meta-impacting hero and item balance changes and much more. Let’s dig in …


Skins are here … and that’s only the beginning. 

“With 1.4 we’re laying the very first foundations for our skins system featuring collectible cards, multiple skin themes and skin tiers. This is just the beginning of a system that will expand considerably in depth and breadth over time. We want to reward both dedication to the game as well as players supporting us with ICE. So at this first launch you can choose purchase or collect your way to Tier 1 skins for Adagio, Glaive, Koshka, Petal, Ringo and SAW. Expect additional tiers, skins, cards and more in upcoming updates!” —EdTheShred

  • Every hero skin theme contains three tiers. Each tier has different art and a different in-game model!
  • Unlock Tier 1 hero skins using ICE in the Market or by “weaving” cards into skins.
  • Cards of varying rarity will sometimes be awarded in post-match Spoils of War.
  • Collect cards and trade them in for skins when you meet the requirements!
  • Tier 2 & 3 skins and their required cards will be included in a future update.
  • Tier 2 & 3 skins must be earned (cannot be unlocked directly with ICE).
  • For an in-depth look, read the Skins System Survival Guide.

Hero skins in this update:

Skins for the remaining heroes will arrive in future updates.


Introducing some competitive-play essentials. 

“It has always been our intention to synchronize match start and make it fair for all players, and with the announcement of the first officially sanctioned ESL Vainglory Cup Series, this change was a must. Beyond that, adding a true hero loading screen will allow players a first chance to show off their new skins!” —PlayoffBeard

  • A new loading screen displays heroes’ default and skin art.
  • All players will load into the Halcyon Fold simultaneously to prevent an early-start advantage (so long as you load within 45 seconds).
  • Dodging character select will lock you out of public matches for 10 minutes (up from 5). Our stance is clear on this: Dodging ruins the expediency of the public queue and is absolutely not okay. You don’t get to control what other people pick in solo queue; if you want that privilege, form a party.”


Hey, you … what’s your skill tier??!! 

“Making fair and competitive private matches (along with gauging the strength of potential public queue allies) just got a whole lot easier.” —PlayoffBeard

  • See the skill tier of friends when forming parties and in your Friends list.
  • “Notify for Starred Friends Only” setting: Only show in-game chat notifications from friend you’ve starred.


“The shorter cooldowns were not well communicated to players, and the technical implementation was introducing some bugs with hero ultimates. This will be revisited in the future.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Interrupted ultimates no longer go onto shorter-than-normal cooldowns.


“While heroes naturally do not gain any crystal from leveling up, all heroes naturally gain weapon power, causing abilities with weapon ratios to get free scaling without getting items. We’re ironing out this inconsistency, which allows us to give high weapon ratios to abilities designed to scale into late-game powerhouses without buffing their mid-game power too much.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Weapon ratios of abilities no longer take base weapon power into account. (Only bonus weapon power from items and buffs are factored.) Note: This only affects Krul’s Dead Man’s Rush and Joule’s Thunder Strike, which have weapon ratios. Ardan’s Blood For Blood and Glaive’s Twisted Stroke are considered basic attacks, so they will deal full weapon damage like before.


“Now that we have eliminated the spawn-time advantage for faster loaders, all players will start the game at 0:00. This dramatically increases the time available before anything spawns on the map. This shift is to counter-compensate against the time available for level-1 teamfights before they start to cost you farming time.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Lane minions spawn start time moved from 25s to 10s.
  • Jungle monsters spawn start time moved from 45s to 30s.


She’s back.

Joule has received some major upgrades! Her abilities are overall more responsive, and her late game scaling is vastly improved. Try playing her in lane because Joule is now one gold-hungry machine, and she’s very, very capable of holding her own in lane.” —SurpriseBirthday

Heavy Plating (heroic perk) & Base Stats

  • Heavy Plating armor up from 22-90 to 55-150.
  • Base armor down from 22-88 to 0-55.
  • Joule’s armor is now effectively 55-205 from the front & sides; 0-55 in the back.
  • Shield up from 22-104.5 to 22-133.
  • Attack speed at max level down from 117% to 100%.
  • Move speed up from 3.25 to 3.4.

Rocket Leap

  • Leap total delay shortened from 1.4s to 1.2s (15% faster).
  • Damage down from 150-450 to 150-350.
  • Max rank stun duration down from 1.7 to 1.5.
  • Crystal ratio up from 110% to 170%.

Thunder Strike (overhauled)

  •  Sends a bolt of energy directly in front of Joule. If this strikes an enemy, every Thunder Strike that follows will have bonus armor pierce & shield pierce until you miss. Thunder Strike’s cooldown scales with attack speed. Overdrive: Can crit weapon damage.
  • Cooldown: 3.5 seconds
  • Energy cost: 35-43
  • Damage: 80-110-140-170-200
  • Crystal / Weapon ratio: 100% / 175%
  • Crystal / Weapon ratio against minions: 80% / 33%
  • Bonus pierce when charged up: 15-20-25-30-40% (There is only 1 stack!)
  • No longer resets basic-attack cooldowns

Big Red Button

  • Laser charge-up time reduced from 1.0s to 0.6s.
  • Telegraph time increased from 0.5s to 0.6s.
  • Cooldown reduced from 120-115-110 to 120-105-90.


Making this mage more well-rounded.

Celeste was way too reliant on single-shot nuking using her ultimate. Her damage has been shifted away from an intense Solar Storm crystal ratio and toward innate ability levels.” —SurpriseBirthday


  • Shortened post-casting time, allowing you to cast other spells faster.
  • Star damage up from 120-240 to 120-320.
  • Nova damage up from 150-310 to 150-350.
  • Deals reduced damage to minions: 120-240 + 25% crystal ratio.

Core Collapse

  • Damage up from 100-150-200-250-300 to 100-175-250-325-475.

Solar Storm

  • Lead star crystal damage up from 160-240-320 to 300-350-400.
  • Trail star crystal damage up from 80-120-160 to 150-175-200.
  • Trail star crystal ratio down from 50% to 20%.


Rewarding players capable of more than just well-timed ultimates.

Skaarf has a complex and interesting kit, which becomes totally overshadowed by the Dragon Breath ultimate by late game. He is easily hard-countered using Health / Reflex Block but completely uncounterable with shield. His attack speed was uncomfortably slow, and his abilities did not have the power or cooldowns to make him consistently rewarding for good skillshot usage.” —SurpriseBirthday

Fan the Flames (heroic perk) and Base Stats

  • Base burn up from 2% to 4%. (Basic attacks still increase by 2% per step.)
  • Burning enemies deal 50% of the damage as area-of-effect (AoE) damage to other nearby enemies.
  • Burn duration increased from 3s to 3.5s
  • Base attack speed is same as everyone else (~20% improvement).


  • Passes through lane minions, lighting them on fire but does not detonate on them.
  • Cooldown down from 8.0-7.5-7.0-6.5-5.5 to 8-7-6-5-3.
  • Projectile speed down from 14 to 12.


  • Cooldown down from 22-21-20-19-12 to 14-14-14-14-12.
  • Range down from 10 to 7.5 meters.

Dragon Breath

  • Crystal ratio down from 600% to 300%.


Introducing Vox counterplay.

Vox ultimate was nuking entire teams too reliably. We’re making it a bit harder to land and shaving off the direct damage crystal ratio as this ability is really about triggering Resonance.” —SurpriseBirthday

Base Stats

  • Move speed down from 3.4 to 3.3.

Sonic Zoom

  • A bug preventing Sonic Zoom’s double-shot from triggering Resonance was fixed.


  • Resonance projectile speed slowed by half (mostly visual change)

Wait for It …

  • Shockwave delay up from 0.8 to 1.0s.
  • Shockwave crystal ratio removed (was 50%).


Dead Man’s Rush

  • Dead Man’s Rush no longer applies 2 stacks of Weakness from a bug.
  • Because weapon ratios no longer factor base weapon power, Dead Man’s Rush’s damage has been increased from 80-110-140-170-380 to 150-200-250-300-530 to compensate.


“Flare Guns were too good and left some opportunities on the table to make the item more tactically interesting. You now need to choose where on the map you want to reveal, and enemies can see where you have flared.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Flare Guns reveal a 6-meter radius area for 12 seconds.
  • Price down from 50 to 25 gold; stack limit up from 4 to 5.


“Infusions are a tad too good. We want to keep them powerful, and affordable when you are behind, but make the tradeoff more clear: All this power is temporary!” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Duration reduced from 3 to 2.5 minutes.


“Ironguard’s mechanic shifts slightly to be less punishing if your jungle ally has no clue how this item works. If your ally doesn’t know to let you tank the monster, they are only punishing themselves, not you. Cost has been increased to make going Ironguard as your first item a bit riskier, as you are now without combat stats, and one scout-trap short.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Passive: When a nearby ally kills a minion or monster, you earn 30% of the bounty as bonus gold. If it was a jungle monster and it has attacked you, you recover 80 health (160 for jungle bosses) and your ally also gets a 15% bonus.
  • Cost increased to 300
  • Health regen of 5 removed.
  • Icon in lower-left of screen now reflects how much total gold you’ve earned using Ironguard Contract. That’s why the number is so big now!


“Aftershock was too bursty upfront. We are shifting the damage from first-hit to more sustain damage, provided you have the short cooldowns to utilize Aftershock.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Damage down from 15-20% of total health (level 1-12) to 15% at all levels.
  • Cooldown down from 2 to 1.5s.


“Eve of Harvest provides too much lifesteal. We’ve introduced some serious AOE mages since this item was last tuned, so we need to adapt this item with the times!” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Lifesteal down from 25% to 20%.
  • Crystal power up from 50 to 65.


“Frostburn overall is a tad underweight, costing too much crystal vs Shatterglass to pay for that slow, resulting in mages opting for a second Shatterglass almost all of the time.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Crystal power up from 85 to 100.


“Reflex Block was too spammable and too easy of a counter against too many ultimates. Now, you must choose between blocking important initiation abilities at the beginning of fights at the expense of barrier — or save it for the end to mitigate massive amounts of damage (but after major spells have been used). The shortened duration also makes it less effective to blindly spam Reflex Block regardless of intelligent timing against incoming damage.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Barrier changed from 200 health to 20% of missing health.
  • Duration down from 1.5 to 1.0s.


“Health was too good across the board, and we are reducing its slot effectiveness. Health is a great way for the losing team to quickly catch up in tankiness at the expense of total late game potential.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Dragonheart (and Crucible, Shiversteel): -100 health, -100 gold price


“Armor/Shield is now more cost effective, rewarding you for making strategic decisions to only defend against one type of damage.” —SurpriseBirthday

  • Primary defense values up:
    • Tier 1 defense items: +10
    • T ier 2s and above: +15

  • Optimizations for less lag and higher frame rates.
  • Game uses less memory for better overall stability.
  • Now supports iPhone 5c and iPhone 5.
  • Graphics resolution will dynamically adjust for optimal game performance. (This is based on the power of your device’s graphics card.) We hear your feedback on this. Read our response here.


  • Fixed the “Catherine Stun Bug” and related bugs (SAW’s missed shank, Glaive’s missed knock-back, etc.).
  • Krul’s Dead Man’s Rush no longer applies 2 stacks of Weakness instead of the intended 1 stack.
  • Vox’s basic attacks no longer trigger both melee and ranged heals from Book of Eulogies/Barbed Needle or double-trigger Breaking Point.
  • Vox no longer procs Tension Bow and Aftershock twice when hitting enemies with both projectiles from Sonic Zoom at the same time.
  • Skaarf’s Spitfire properly applies Fan the Flames when Spitfire passes through a scout trap or corpse.
  • Skaarf’s Goop puddle no longer ignites if a spitfire collides with a target before reaching the puddle.
  • Skaarf’s Goop puddle slow does not erroneously end before the target has left the puddle.
  • Taka receives his Mortal Strike speed boost consistently.
  • Glaive’s Twisted Stroke properly triggers basic attack on-hit effects such as his Bloodsong as well as item on-hit effects.
  • Adagio’s Gift of Fire crystal ratios have been increased to the values intended in Update 1.3.
  • Travel Boots now lose their +1 additional move speed upon taking and dealing damage. (Travel boots grant additional move speed outside of combat.)


  • Ranked & casual play queues
  • Bots
  • Team affiliation
  • More heroes!
  • Skins for all heroes
  • Tier 2 & 3 skins along with Epic & Legendary cards
  • Ways to get cards faster through the Market

Whew! That’s it. We hope you enjoy exploring all the new stuff in this update, and if you’d like to support this game and Super Evil, please consider purchasing some ICE and unlocking some three-tiered skins! —PlayoffBeard