Joule Highlights VGs Largest Gameplay Flaw

Joule is crazy op, easily best hero this patch. (yes I changes my mind on this point).

What I wan’t to talk about is this: Joule is literally the only front-line sustain warrior to work well since the defense changes. Warriors are supposed to work by having high sustained damage output, often AOE, and using defensive tools (defense stats, fortified health, healing, damage reduction, etc) to extend their time in the fight enough to deal significant damage. Essentially, buying defense should at a certain point in your build, actually increase your real life damage output by significantly extending your time alive in fights. This was true back in 3v3 and the old defense system, where it was considered cheesy to build 4-5 damage on warriors.

There is a common misconception that warriors stopped being good because of tanks replacing them, crowd control, or some other factor. This is not true, warriors don’t work because the feedback loop of more defense allowing you to survive longer, which lets you deal more damage, which means more sustain (meaning larger total HP), making that defense more valuable, was broken when SEMC gave pierce items crazy pierce value.

I don’t have the math on this at all, but a good way to look at it is like this:

Lets say your damage per second is 100 with two damage items (40 base damage, + 30 each item), and you survive 8 seconds in a fight. Total of 800 damage.

Now you have to choose between a third damage item, or defense. The damage item may increase your dps by 30, while the defense would extend your survival time by 5 seconds. You will deal 1300 damage with the defense, compared to only 1040 with the damage item. While these are made up numbers, it does a pretty good job of illustrating the incentives that used to push a decent balance of damage and defense. If you buy defense earlier on you don’t have enough damage for that extra survival time to be worthwhile, neglecting defense just means diminishing returns on damage increase. This also is impacted by heroes with built in defensive stats. Having fortified health, or healing makes defense more valuable since it actually is effecting more hit points over your life. Rona does not feel super squishy because her fortified health is less than before (it is actually way more), it is because buying defense does nothing to scale that value.

The issue is right now, this balance is way out of wack. It’s like if the defense only increased survival time by 1.5 seconds, leading to a total of only 950 damage in this scenario. Yes a point still exists where defense will be a better choice than buying more damage, but now that is pretty much always your 5th, or 6th item. And more often than not you are picking them up not for the stats, but for the unique abilities on husk, shroud, or aegis.

Leading back to joule, why does she work as a sustain (one of the few non burst damage dealers in the game) frontline? Her tankyness comes from damage reduction, so pierce has no effect on it. This means that she can take advantage of the healing feedback loop we talked about before, which is why serpents mask is so potent on her. When she heals 100 HP, it’s effectively more like 150 damage you actually have to deal to counteract it when you factor in her perk and base defense. Since her defense is baked into her kit, she can build entirely damage and abuse this sustain synergy and great damage scaling to become both crazy tanky, and super high damage output.

Anyway this is a poorly written long winded analysis of stuff people probably already understand, so I’ll end it here. Please make defense worthwhile again SEMC, it is the single largest factor pushing me away from the game right now. Just to offer a solution:

  • Reduce the non pierce stats of pierce stats of boensaw and broken myth somewhat so they are less effective against non armor/shielded targets.
  • Increase the armor value of metal jacket, or give it 300 HP like shroud just to maintain symmetry.
  • Make shiversteel build out of dragonblood contract, warmail, and blazing salvo. Increase its price, and reduce the slow strength slightly. Give it 40 armor/shield.
  • Reduce the base armor/shield values of all heroes late game. It should not be worthwhile to buy piercing items against heroes with no defense. WHY IS TENSION BOW SO GOOD AGAINST TANKS, AND SQUISHES
  • Getting to that, reduce tension bow’s pierce to 20%. WHAT IS THIS ITEM.

I have actually not been this mad at the game since sugar venom left. The fact that this has not been addressed for so long is shameful, and is really the main thing holding 5v5 back from being amazing, in stead of just good.


Though I agree with pretty much everything, I don’t agree with this:

Basically since the 5v5 release utility heroes have simply outperform damage warriors, having more sustain, higher base stats, better cc and better survivability, to the point where an utility tank could even outdamage just from the base stats a damage based one like Glaive, while also offering higher cc, tankiness and all that. Lol, utility heroes could even beat easily pure damage dealers, which no damage base warrior could.

Also yes, it’s op, but you know? One more into the list won’t change anything at this point. We have leo, Catherine, Joule, Miho, Warhawk, kestrel, Cain and skaarf. I don’t recall a time where so many heroes were op/broken. One more wont change anything.

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The funniest part about Joule is when she’s destroying the enemy bot laner then the jungler comes in to help and she ends up killing both of them.


Easy and short answer: she deals massive damage, has good range with her B (is the B the thunder strike?..) AND SEMC buffed her to the point where she doesn’t have the stats of a warrior in terms of defense (as Glaive, Rona and Alpha…) where she should have 85 armor and 60 shield but instead she has the tanks ones (100 armor and 75 shield), which paired with her passive makes her unkillable.

In other words: she works because she is busted, not because her kit fits well into 5v5.

Edit: Glaive doesn’t work because gets kited really easy, whereas Joule doesn’t just because she doesn’t have to engage (and yes, Glaive gets blown up in 0.00001 second after getting into the fight), Rona gets also kited… Leo is just a normal warrior, with a kit from first generation heroes: an empowered attack, a dash and a heavy stun; he gets kited easily, but what makes him so strong? His insane damage, he doesn’t need to sustain on the fight, is like giving Glaive 300% WP on his A, you would see how fast he becomes meta (and we wouldn’t be talking about him now because he wouldn’t be a sustain hero).

Edit 2: :vgitem_tensionbow: is good against squishes because… gives burst? Burst is usually effective against them.


So, I kind of feel like you stopped reading when you got to that point or something. The question was rather rhetorical as I answered in the context of my argument already.

:vgitem_tensionbow: is good against squishes because… gives burst? Burst is usually effective against them.

It’s fine that tension bow gives burst. The issue is that it also provides insane amounts of pierce. It works well against tanks, and against squishiest, which is just bad item design imo.

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Yeah, I know, u was putting some answers and highlighting that she doesn’t work due to her kit but rather because she is OP. Anywhere, the fact that her kit allows her to poke instead of engaging may be an other reason of her succes.

That’s another think, I was answering why it was good against low health heroes (because I don’t understand why did you wrote that as if it were a problem). The amount of pierce it provides paired with the fact that stacking health is better than building defense even against no piercing build is just bad designed.
As you said, defense needs changes: building defense should be a viable option and, in fact, be the meta since not many heroes should be allowed to go full damage or just stack health.

Edit: you said that warriors are not replaced by roams, could you tell me when would you pick ideally a warrior, or what are they supposed to do, and not a roam?

I did some math relatively long ago and i came to conclusion(as i remember) that tension bow is decently countered by metal jacket ( the damage reduction is overall useful).
I think bonesaw is main culprit. For example Ringo has 170 armor level 12 with metal jacket. Bonesaw at full stack reduces that armor to 51. Not only does it counter metal jacket it literally eats into characters stats which should not happen.

If they would hardcap bonesaw effect to max character level armor i think it would be better. Its a little stupid that you are a level12 character with level 8 armor because of it. I feel base stats should be untoachable by items except maybe roam items like atlas pauldron.

Why is this 100% relatable?
Tag yourself, I’m the jungler

Thanks for taking the time out to write your analysis. I mostly believe that the issue isn’t defense items or pierce, but a lack of defense abilities. I also think defensive items should boost attack stats on certain heroes by a ratio.

This game excels at defense abilities, in fact that’s why dive comps doesn’t work well, and why the meta is so focused on poke and kite.


I wouldn’t necessarily say that, or maybe it was obscure wording, but I meant passive defensive abilities on more wp and bruiser heroes should be a thing, or at least the idea of defense items supplementing attack stats in some manner. The reason joule excels is her passive defense, same as grumpjaw, grace, lance, sang fengs fort. health, etc.

Dealing 800 damage in AoE with ranged and 2.5s as base cooldown can be another reason why Joule works.

There is no reason to pick a WP bruiser (other than Leo and Joule) when utility ones have better damage, are more tanky and their build requires less gold. They also offer more utility to their team. It has nothing to do with defensive abilities, well, It does, but giving them defensive abilities isnt enough, specially considering they already have them. The fact that defence is useless as soon as the enemy picks pierce doesnt help either.

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Well yes but I don’t think aoe is inherent for wp to be effective.

As I’ve stated many times here on this forum, I think wp heroes should be diving or picking more in general as a playstyle. Heroes like joule or leo with their massive aoe should be outliers and not the standard. aoe on wp lessens the challenge, and combined with defense or dmg reduction, kinda loads them in the midst of teamfights against single target melee heroes. Hence why all the aoe melee heroes are pretty strong against 2+ heroes with relative ease.

Side note: I put pierce in almost every build I can for a reason. You have a point. Problem too is pierce is inherently stronger than raw dmg almost always as long as you build proper raw dmg items to complement your hero, which I don’t think should be the case in almost every situation. I think pierce should be lessened a bit. A BIT.

This is a common misconception people have. If you nerfed the base damage of all tanks making them only good as captains like before, warriors would not come back. They would continue to be outclassed by full damage heroes because going for a mix of defense and damage does not work with the current power of defense and pierce.

Also, Leo is not really the kind of hero I’m talking about. He does great in the current meta of full damage burst, and does not need to sustain in fights to do well. It’s the likes of Glaive, Rona, WP BF, WP Alpha (She is rather good right now, but still is a potato late game just like every other sustain frontline). The issue is every hero that is meant to fight on the frontline for extended periods is very bad atm except joule, because she uses damage reduction.

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Ofc that would not make them instantly meta, they need more things than just that, but you at least make It so utility heroes arent simply better versions.

The problem with pierce right now is that It completely negates any kind of defence, but without It you dont do anything to a target with defence. Its a hard balance that right now is Broken.

I completely agree.

I still don’t know how to blur :(:sob:

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It’s not just Joule, but hey.

A few people have already pointed out that pierce is absolutely broken right now. I just want to elaborate on this since it basically brings up a point I’ve been harping on since the defence reworks.

The characters who want to build defence are Captains and Bruisers. That should be pretty self explanatory, but the problem comes when you look at the piece items and the defence items in the game. Pierce is completely busted right now (40% tee hee) and everybody KNOWS that it’s busted, but SEMC isn’t doing anything about it. Crit on WP and SF on CP is also overtuned currently, both which are exceptionally good at punching through tanks and sustain damage before they can get anything done. On the other hand, once you look at the personal defence items you see MJ, Shroud and Husk, one of which is completely worthless and the other two being items that function better on ranged characters where they can’t accidentally get popped.

Tankiness doesn’t scale is the point I’m getting at here, with the exception being damage reduction, as pointed out in the original post. Now, in most MOBAs, tankiness usually scales worse for pure combat compared to damage, but offers utility to make up for it. Think of LOL, where you build a few items early like Sunfire to help you duel and be tanky, then purchase items like Randuins to slow enemies around you and inhibit the damage of the enemy team slightly. If you’re going for a bruiser build, you go for around three damage items then build the tank items that work with your character, whatever they might be. In VG, almost every actually worthwhile defence item is utility and is overwhelmingly dominated by it. In Vainglory, you start fountain or crucible and never stop buying utility or you run three damage items and then pick up a reflex block because it’ll hopefully save you from being CCed and blown up.

Because of how squishy bruisers are despite being called bruisers, they’re essentially locked out of teamfighting. If you get CCed once, you can get locked and die. What makes this even worse is that most melee captains have special passives to increase their tankiness that bruisers don’t have, which act as their ‘selfish defence item’ a lot of the time. It also helps that SEMC forcefully buffed each captains numbers until they were viable, out doing a lot of the bruisers at their own job. The lack of good defence items / incredible pierce forces bruisers to be splitpushers and ‘teamfighters’ in the sense that ‘I’m 15/2 I think I’m fed enough to survive, but I might just get blown up anyway’. Right now we’re seeing the impact of the balance team going one by one and ‘fixing’ bruisers in the only way they know how.

Forcefully buffing the numbers instead of actually dealing with the problem. Once the character is guaranteed their snowball into splitpush and can 1v2, then they can actually be viable (but incredibly unfun to play against, how about that!)

It was Leo last patch (or was it the one before? I don’t remember), who gained the ability to become an assassin instead of a bruiser to avoid a large number of the weaknesses that came with being a sustained melee damage dealer. There was also Alpha, who was actually already really good, but nobody was drafting her because of how shitty top lane drafting is and now is running down your jungle every game and winning games for free. Now it’s Joule. Until they halve the pierce on all the piercing items, give BP a buff and rework the whole defence tree, the only place you’re ever going to see bruisers is either running into your jungle at level 2, shoving sidelanes and soloing dragons.

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It won’t bring them to the meta, but it would help. Any work a bruiser should do, it can be done by a roam better. Being outclassed by roams is just one of their problems, and they have a lot.