Vainglory 2.0 brought a lot of exciting changes to almost every part of the game with improved Guild function, revamped Season Chests (that are now called Mystery Chests), snowclad Halcyon Fold, and of course, new skins.
More importantly though, the patch brought a lot of changes to the gameplay aspect of the game, with several new items, balance changes, a new hero, and huge changes to the jungle.
Let’s take a look at how the meta game changed over the first few days following the big patch.
Basic Rundown of 2.0 Gameplay Changes
Before we start to see how higher tier players reacted to the changes, let’s take a look at some important gameplay alterations that happened in Halcyon Fold.
The first change that you’ll discover is that starting gold has increased from 350 to 625, allowing players to buy two Tier 1 items before they venture outside the base.
When you move into the jungle, you’ll find that the jungle shop will only appear after 4 minutes have passed in-game, and it will no longer carry Halcyon Potions.
At the same time as the jungle shop, the Minion Miner (now called the Crystal Miner) will appear as well, but it will always be affiliated with the side that it is on and will be very aggressive towards the enemy side.
Finally, 4 new items were introduced into game, and several heroes have gone through some re-balancing.
For more details, the full patch notes can be found here, but we will now move on to see how the changes have affected the early days of this brand new meta.
Same Old Draft Meta
In 2.0, Kestrel, Flicker, Ozo and Lyra have all taken a hit, but it seems that it wasn’t enough to shake up the meta. While Ozo and Flicker’s nerfs weren’t that serious, Kestrel and Lyra suffered heavy-handed nerfs, yet are surprisingly still at the top of bans/picks.
Kestrel’s attack speed has taken a hit for both her passive ability and her natural attack speed, but she still can easily be found in lane with two Weapon Blades. In fact, with her burst capability untouched for both WP and CP builds, she will definitely stay as the draft favorite since she is capable of going both laner and jungler as WP, CP, or sometimes both.
What was more surprising was Lyra. Despite being nerfed several times, having both Fountain of Renewal and War Treads packed in Imperial Sigil seems to be good enough for her to see play. Of course, with her attack range now shorter, she is likely to stay as a roamer, or rather, captain.
Meanwhile, several heroes have been buffed and a new hero is being introduced. However, many of the heroes that received a buff are melee heroes. As the game is starting to revolve around putting pressure on the lane and picking off stragglers with some help from captains, it is not easy being a melee hero in this early meta.
Idris, the new hero, also suffers from this problem, as his ultimate and WP build forces him to get close while his ranged CP build is not very exciting. Idris might fare better once players find a niche for him to thrive in, but it will take some time before that can happen.
Familiar Faces return with New Tricks
Instead of heroes that were buffed directly, the ones that are becoming more popular are heroes who can fully utilize the new items.
Catherine, specifically, has returned to the limelight yet again. She is able to use Echo and Nullwave Gauntlet to their fullest potential by dishing out 7 seconds of AoE silence and by locking down an enemy’s item activation for up to 12 seconds.
While Fountain is the first core item for most captains, Poisoned Shiv is a good choice for many heroes that have a strong mid-game and would like to leverage that advantage. With Stormguard Banner and Poisoned Shiv, WP Taka seems to be a fine choice, as he can quickly clear the jungle and put a serious dent in the enemy team’s sustainability.
Finally, although Slumbering Husk did not draw as much attention as other items, it is being picked up by squishy heroes who’d like to have something more than Aegis. Although it does seem to be too easy to proc, it is still a solid choice against burst damage.
"Battle Royale 2.0"
As 2.0 went live, players were careful not to go too deep into the other side of the jungle at the early phase of the game. After all, zoning the enemy junglers out of the jungle might not be very beneficial if you have to recall back to base due to low health and no means to heal up. Also, with the jungle shop only appearing after 4 minutes have passed, the fights around the jungle shop after the first rotation have lost their impact.
Initially, junglers would just recall back to base. Even when players chose a jungle composition that could easily push out the enemy jungle duo, they learned it was only viable until the 4-minute mark when the new Crystal Miner starts to guard the opposing side’s jungle.
All of these changes led to the jungling duos flocking towards the lane. Junglers and captains headed for the lane as soon as their first rotation was done, Minion Candies were being purchased again, and captains were glued to their carries in order to fend off ganks. Thus, junglers had to be pretty quick in clearing the jungle so they could show up around the lane to pick off any enemy stragglers.
With a lot more pressure on the lane and skirmishes having higher stakes than before, it almost feels like a game of Battle Royale. Unfortunately, as ambient gold is reduced and players can return to base and shop at will, the games often go on longer than before. These changes caused the standoffs in the lane to last much longer, especially in public games where players are not well-coordinated.
It's Only the Beginning of a Brave New World
On the other hand, changes outside of the game itself have the players pretty happy. While the gameplay changes are unfortunately polarizing, most players think the out-of-game features have changed for the better.
However, while the drafting meta did not shift dramatically, the changes in the jungle changed the game so it now revolves around the lane. A few too many hits from enemy skillshots can quickly turn into a losing teamfight, and cost a few lives and a turret or two. At the same time, a misjudged turret dive can result in a disaster with huge losses. With the new tide-turning items and the increased risk when venturing into the enemy jungle, teamfights have become even more vital, as losing one can have consequences more dire than before.
Some players may find this lane-centered meta a lot more unstable and boring. However, this is only the initial player adaptations that resulted from the biggest patch in the history of Vainglory. People were already experimenting with Alpha and Petal even before the patch, and it only took few hours after the patch for junglers to realize that they are better off going to the lane rather than going back to base after the first rotation. It's only a matter of time before a dramatic shift in the meta will happen in Halcyon Fold, but for now, let’s try our best to avoid that Glimmer Shot.