To be fair, that ult is almost all he has. His damage outside of his ult is underwhelming compared to other mages. Other than his ult there is no reason to play him, which is a problem as that single ability has to compensated the overall weak kit he has, making it broken… as you can see. At this point he is basically like the old CP joule: it’s all about that ult.
I don’t think it’s the only thing he has though. He has 12 range and if he hits marked target the AoE damage is practically undodgeable. It guarantees mortal wounds from spellfire and is really safe. You’re right that ult plays a really big role though. In that clip I didn’t really mean he’s broken, just joking. As you can see I was playing on PC so I could see half of the map on my screen and I saw all 5 of them together. Didn’t think I’d kill anyone, just wanted to damage them a bit as the ult has pretty short CD. But apparently the one kill I got got the bounces going and they all died lol. Was 100% random not gonna lie.
I know the bounces can’t be dodged, but it’s damage is underwhelming. All mages have more damage than him and more consistent damage, his ult is the only thing keeping him relevant, which is the problem.
But my point was the safe part of his kit. His range helps him a lot. You can’t dive a hero that’s staying 12 meters away. Of course he can’t kill you solely using poke but it damages your entire team.
Samuel has 12 range too and can be dived, skaarf has more range and can be dived. The only thing that makes him safer is the extremely long range of the ult. it can hit you miles away from him.
Exactly, bad design.
Another problem with the game - this is not fair and the different versions/platforms are not balanced.
Samuel has to constantly move and you know where he’s going. Also AoE has less radius than Magnus’ bounces. Skaarf doesn’t deal AoE and not enough damage without his B.
Interesting list from Oldskool.
Here’s what I think of it for Captains only. [I’m Captain main, so my interest tends to lay with Captain heroes most of the time.]
Disclaimer - This post will be mainly considered 5v5 with a sprinkle of consideration for other modes.
Note - I was considering giving more details such as discussing the heroes in tandem with all stats (including health regen and energy regen), but I can’t find the exact numbers and properly updated ones. Maybe when ‘glory guide’ app for iOS is updated, then I’ll do a proper overview of some heroes with all the numbers.
Note 2 - I did this across three days, some there might be inconsistencies because I got bored at some parts.
He lists Adagio, Catherine, Grace, Lance and Lyra as balanced. I agree with this with the exception of Lance (to a certain degree).
To me, these ‘balanced’ Captains feel and is balanced by one or two inherent weaknesses that are built into their kit. Their numbers as of now are decent but not entirely overbearing or low to cause them to be underpowered.
In my opinion, Adagio is balanced by his numbers and how well players understand the importance of his Arcane Fire effect from his A for his overall performance. A skilled Adagio would understand that the Arcane Fire from his A is essential to the continuous use of the A itself, the use of his other abilities and getting their additional effects off as the fire keeps his energy topped up almost all the time.
This combination of requiring the efficient use of his A to spread Arcane Fire and the usually high energy cost of his abilities keeps him balanced. One could say it is an inherent weakness that can be remedied through a better understanding of how Adagio’s mechanics work.
To me, another weakness that Adagio has is the inefficient design of his B. The damage boosting aspect (that is also tied to his Arcane Fire and who he targets) of it that gives himself or his targeted ally a pseudo-Alternating Current is ok. The inefficient part is the duration of the boost and how many stacks are given during that time. This is negligible on high attack speed heroes but other than that, it is generally not an uncommon thing for the stacks to not entirely be used. Coupled with the part that gives more damage when attacking targets with Arcane Fire, it is usually hard to get most out of it unless one really plays with a high attack speed set up (or get a very good stutter stepping ally).
Overall, this makes Adagio balanced through a decent complexity in his kit and a bit of inefficiency that is designed into it that can be partially remedied through a good understanding of how the kit overall works.
In my opinion, Catherine is balanced by her energy stats and the flaw in her B’s functionality.
Catherine to me requires Clockwork to constantly function at an optimum level while gradually stacking up stacks of her passive. Even with the item, she at times runs the risk of having low energy to keep up the pressure on the enemy with her abilities.
Her B is great in situations where there are predictable high burst damage and few enemies around to reduce the impact and damage of her B’s reflect.
Unlike Fortress ult which was adjusted to have viability in 5v5 (by having it spawn five wolves instead of three), Catherine’s B never got such an adjustment to either make the reflect damage more consistent and/or target lower health targets rather than the closest targets with regards to priority targeting.
The fact that the reflect damage does not have base damage and is entirely reliant on the damage that impacts her while the B is active makes the damage inconsistent too and usually negligible for the enemy.
Other than these two key weaknesses, she’s pretty fine. I think most players know how to play around her and those that are good with her are doing ok but maybe are still adjusting to the tweak they did to her A’s speed boost in relation to its stun’s availability.
Grace is an interesting case. She is balanced in my opinion by her perk’s ‘reduce all ability cooldowns slam’ requirements, well-managed numbers and her energy sustain during prolonged team fights. An additional balancing factor that one could consider is the movement speed afforded to heroes via boots, Pulseweave and Tornado Trigger.
The one thing to note that in cases where she does not have a Clockwork, Grace will run out of energy when using her abilities combos in tandem with almost constantly making her abilities available more often through the use of her perk. At least about 3 constant uses of her A and B together I feel.
Her perk is strong but requires the player to stutter step efficiently or get an attack speed increasing item to make most of it (such as Shiversteel). The cooldown reduction is great for her towards the late game, as her abilities energy cost does not increase from the base level (and her ult cost no energy). So her early game is generally conservative, as she has less attack speed to make full use of her slam effectively and she has to conserve energy a little bit. In team fights, this perk is great if the enemy is within range to trigger it. Otherwise, it’s usually not worth stopping a bit to get the slam off as enemies would have re-positioned themselves within that small window of time.
Numbers wise, I think it is great that her overall crystal bonuses require a bit of investment into the crystal tree but is capped at a certain point for some stats. This cap coupled with the conservative but decent ratios meant she gets good but not overboard value out of her crystal items. Mainly for the damage reduction and slow duration.
In conclusion, Grace is balanced because her overall playstyle requires a bit of finesse in stutter stepping and standing still for a brief moment to use her abilities (her slam, B and ult), and has conservative numbers as of now that give her ok value out of her kit and its scaling.
In my experience, Lyra is decent, if not a little bit underpowered when going Captain. I think her current state is balanced by her energy economy, overall dependency on having lots of health items, needing Capacitator Plate and her orientation towards being a very late game hero.
Lyra’s energy economy is usually easy to manage but is also easy to overuse her energy at times. A good Lyra will know when to use her secondary heavy attack as a Captain and when to use her abilities to conserve energy (and not to waste them such as healing an ally only to have them go back and lose all that healing given). Clockwork, of course, remedies a lot of heroes energy issues, and Lyra is no different. An essential item if she can make room and have gold for it in her build.
Item wise, I always thought that Lyra can’t really use defense items that require her to be close to the enemy such as Pulseweave and Atlas Pauldron. This is mainly due to her being fragile. Although Pulseweave isn’t a bad pick up for her as it can aid her getting out of sticky situations without the use of her ult if she is engaged upon. Items that offer mainly health and some armor and shield to me is the best for her, as it boosts her overall heal and slows on her empowered auto attack. Capacitator I feel is a necessity for her ever since she got her own heal and the item’s heal boost got nerfed, particularly when facing enemies that love to use Poisoned Shiv and/or Spellfire.
The last balancing factor that makes her a good late game hero but holds her back otherwise I feel is the range boost for her auto attacks given by her ult. Before the ult gave her range, she used to have one of the longest auto attack range on the base level and could bully most heroes from afar early to mid game. Then the change came around and she fell towards being more mid to late game orientated. The range I feel is best for her but takes a while to get to level 12, especially in the 5v5 environment.
Well, that’s for ‘balanced’ Captains. Now unto ‘underpowered’ Captains.
For now, I think only Fortress occupies this section, as listed by Oldskool.
What I don’t like about SEMC’s balance is that they tend to either double down on the buffs and/or nerfs, or change one thing slowly that either has good to no impact at all.
Fortress, unfortunately, got the double whammy for nerfs.
I think as of now, Fortress is underpowered because his greatest aspect is nerfed to the ground, which is his chase power. He still has good damage from his B and great utility and team fighting capacity with his ult, but these have to be paired with a good initial engagement afforded previously by his A.
I feel at times that Fortress has to compensate for the nerfs to his A by buying items that are bit expensive - such as Pulseweave and Shiversteel so that he has good speed for engagement and means to keep enemies from running away once he uses the Pulseweave effect and his A (and maybe Warthreads too).
Personally, I think his A got even worse when SEMC buffed the movement speed that boots grant passively and greatly buffed the active component of boots. Fortress engagements means even lesser in this case as they can just out run him by purchasing at least Tier 2 boots early game where Fortress is usually most relevant.
Due to his kit’s fickle nature, I feel that Fortress should get a bit of an overhaul overall or at least a few modifications so that he isn’t oppressive when strong and not too pathetic when weak.
Strong & OP Captains
Next is for ‘strong’ and ‘overpowered’ heroes.
I agree that Flicker and Phinn fall under the ‘strong’ catergory, but I feel Ardan fits elsewhere.
The term ‘overpowered’ and ‘broken’ to me tends to be the same thing, so Lorelai is here.
For the rest, you’ll have to read to the next section.
I think Flicker is in a good state. He has good damage (though it is highly dependant on how good the player is when using his abilities) and is viable pick across most if not all tiers of play.
I don’t think he’s too overbearing like other stronger Captains, but I understand why his position on the hero ladder on vgpro is high. For higher tiers, his stealth is great for clearing vision, his A and B abilities combo really well on ganks, and his ult is a team wide stealth engage. In lower tiers, he’s powerful not only because of his gank potential (I usually expect lower tiers to lack coordination to go in with Flicker’s engagement) but also because of his extremely reliable stealth (of which most players in the lower tiers are bad at dealing with cause they don’t fully understand the importance of ‘wision’ yet.).
It is admittedly thanks to Pulseweave that Flicker rose to viability. Though, one could say that the change the item received in 3.9 might be slightly troublesome for Flicker. The change gave all Pulseweave users to clear minion waves a little bit quicker, but for Flicker specifically, the damage does count as him dealing damage and thus knocks him out stealth.
Other than that, I think the Pulseweave change is good for its users overall. What I think this change will do to Flicker is it will make a distinction between a great and normal/less skilled Flicker player.
Not entirely sure what can be done to tone him down a bit. Maybe slight damage nerf to his B so his enemies can at least have a bit of a chance to fight back?
From what I’ve observed across the last few months, Phinn’s rise to being one of the top Captains is simple - boots got better, defense items got better, damage items got a slight nerf and his Heroic Perk never got adjusted when defenses got buffed.
I think if they really want him to fall out of favor, just adjusting his Heroic Perk and the damage from his B would be sufficient.
Phinn is one of those Captains that I consider a simple but effective kit, rarely deficient in most cases. In my experience, his weakness lies with his low movement speed (which is mitigated somewhat by how strong boots are now) and his energy economy when he uses his abilities too often (and as with any energy deficient hero, Clockwork is the remedy).
She has been strong for a good amount of time but is not for everyone cause the significance of the pools she can place down is at times not well understood by players. Her recent buffs has pushed her too overpowered status cause it amplified aspects of her kit that are already strong.
The problem I feel that Lorelai has is that her ratios and numbers that scale off of her items are not well managed and should have a cap to them like how parts of Grace’s kit has.
Aside from that, she also has strong base stats that allow her to perform well even in the early stages where others are weaker.
Her weakness outside of being energy hungry without Clockwork is relatively easy for her to manage. For example, if she gets jumped and becomes low in health, she can usually safely ult herself, place her B down nearby to slow the enemy, dance around and then slap them with a stun.
To me, her kit isn’t broken, but it has unfair numbers at the base level and isn’t capped properly so that her scaling doesn’t go too high. If they adjust things a bit, I’m sure she’ll be decent without feeling too overbearing.
Captains with Design Related Issues
For this section, I will be mainly talking about what parts of certain Captain’s kit that makes them overpowered and.or hard to balanced.
The Captains that I consider to be under this section are Ardan, Churnwalker, Lance and Yates.
Ardan to me has always been one thing - “very efficient.” Though he has periods where he’s not in the meta, that is mainly due to the other Captains being more powerful at that time.
In my opinion, Ardan’s only weaknesses lie with his single target protection through his A and easy to work around ult.
An aggressive Ardan that know how to min-max his survivability will almost always dominate a fight. Even when he goes a Captain built with one damage item too!
For example, in most cases, energy items stats tend to be excessive and is wasted for most heroes. But for Ardan, his Heroic Perk essentially ensures that energy and energy regen are always most beneficial to him compared to other non-energy/special resource heroes as those stats are converted directly into crystal power.
Other parts of his kit that I feel needs some touching is the health regen he has from his Heroic Perk (the one that regens health when he takes damage), the overdrive of his B and components of his A (such as considering the removal of the slow in this day and age where boots are strong and there are other means to slow/halt other heroes movement).
Aside from that, a more radical change is to rework his special resource and how it is generated.
As an Ardan player, I really like when he is good but I admit that he is too good.
Ever since his first introduction, I’ve always felt that this hero will be an issue when the numbers I see don’t adjust with accordance to how many targets and what type of targets he has chained.
On paper, his design is decent. In practice, that is obviously not the case.
To me, if they take time to adjust his sustain and damage share by having them scale in a fashion that isn’t too strong with each chain he cast out in relation to what he is chained to would make him balance. His chains are the part of his kit that makes and breaks him.
His B and ult to me are perfectly fine, as their design is akin to Skye’s and can be easily adjusted.
Lance is ‘ok’ to me design wise. He does what he does well enough to not be underpowered.
But! I am seeing a rather precarious approach being taken with Lance when they buff him time after time to try and make him ‘viable in 5v5.’ If they are not careful, he might end up broken again.
I think that Lance’s design issue in conjuction with the goal the devs have for him is just not going to work. His design is perfect to strong for 3v3 because the terrain is much smaller, giving him more than enough places to pin enemies down with his A and B. Plus, enemies have less room to navigate around Lance’s assault most of the time and his C makes him near impossible to chase on the 3v3 map due to how well it crosses most of the terrain there. In contrast, the 5v5 map and how it is played currently is a big weakness for Lance because the lanes are wider, giving him much less places to slam people into; the jungle where he excels is barely occupied most of the time, and the terrain is much thicker which means the amount of time he could whiff his C is much much higher.
Another problem I feel he has is that he suffers just a bit of ‘old Joule perk directional syndrome’ (or in other words, he is damage reduction isn’t enough for 5v5 fights where damage is much higher). Unlike Grace who passively has damage reduction and active damage reduction, Lance only has omni directional damage reduction activated by attacking an enemy. It’s ok, but it is just not suitable in the 5v5 team fight environment.
Aside from these two issues, I think the only otehr reason he isn’t used as much in 5v5 is because he ult doesn’t give much aside from a damage boost and slight mobility.
Personally, I think tehy should stop trying to make Lance a viable Captain in 5v5. He’s not viable not because he is weak or anything like that. It’s just that 5v5 just isn’t a good environment for him to perform in optimally.
Yates to me is inherently problematic because of his ultimate and overall high base damage.
The damage part isn’t hard to balance out, but the mobility afforded by his ult is what makes him very viable in 5v5 because he can support pressured lanes out of nowhere in near instantenous fashion. As with any teleportation, it is very hard to balance it the bigger the range it has… and Yates has the maximum possible range for his ult :v
His other abilities to me is not too broken but their design and base numbers is inherently unfair if you consider other similar abilities that do somewhat the same thing but in a fairer fashion. I think adjusting the numbers would make them feel less opressive and put more emphasis on using them in tandem rather than dealing good to crazy damage with them alone.
What do you all think? Let’s discuss in more detail!
Just can’t agree with half these ratings. Most of the bad heroes come down to playstyle and most of the op heroes are combo wambo heroes and aren’t really op to me.
One of the most thought-out forum posts I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing! As a newer player, but experienced MOBA player I thoroughly enjoyed reading what you had to say there. I felt not only did you make good points, but I learned more about the caps along the way!
Most of the bad heroes aren’t for play style, they are bad because whenever you use them in high elo you get destroyed. The wombo combo ones work because at the highest elo they can abuse them very easily, and no hero is as team dependant.
I don’t disagree with any of your breakdown on the captains, but I have suggestion for a minor change to make Lorelai a bit easier to deal with.
When she’s casting an empowered A, she should say something. Given that SEMC increased the cast time, they obviously mean that to be the balancing factor, but players still miss the telegraph and fail to react. Sometimes it’s because they are all in a pile and don’t see it, but they often seem to miss the red ring at their feet, or don’t seem to know they can/should dodge or reflex block it.
Giving her some voice line (like when Celeste says “catch”) might be a better warning. Just for the empowered A, since she’d be saying it all the time for the regular one. I’m not sure that’s the only tweak she needs, but it would be a start. Reverting reflex block to its old cooldown might help as well.
Not everything can be balanced at every tier. I mean ideally, sure, everything should be viable everywhere, but the meta at high tiers changes constantly so it’s really not possible to make everything work. There need to be a few noob-stompers though, and that’s enough to justify a heroes existence.
The real problem are heroes like Rona, who don’t excel anywhere.
You have to agree with most of these ratings they’re coming from one of the most competent players in the world
I don’t base opinions on generally accepted ideas, I base them on observation, and I cannot agree because I’ve seen good and bad players playing all types of heroes and some of the bad heroes come down to aim or positioning while the good heroes usually have a way of compensating for either. It’s not that I don’t respect the breakdown on heroes, I just disagree. For example, I don’t find Reza or Anka to be that hard to deal with but I absolutely wreck as them. This comes down to just understanding the hero and knowing that whenever a Reza or Anka is in play, ideally you should have range or cc and just back up whenever they approach and you can dodge most of their push. Another example is I find a good Baron absolutely horrid because all he has to do is get some cp or max his ult and he can sit back pushing lanes to all hell like saw, not to mention he makes teamfighting a no go, but OldSkool feels he’s bad, as do many other people, but I can’t understate how much of an impact a good baron makes when it counts. He’s the main counter to heavy capt teams imo. It’s just difference in opinion.
Partially I feel like they are purposely pushing lorelai to top tier is to compensate the lack of attention when she was first released till few patch ago.
She slowly rose to top tier with capacitor and the reduced cooldown and stun delay. But people don’t really pick lorelai because they don’t know how to play her to her full potential. Thus last patch and this patch, i felt they purposely pushed and buffed lorelai up there to encourage people to play her and get use to her playstyle and kit. Even with the buff, I don’t see many people banning lorelai in 5v5 or 3v3 or picking her either. She is always my pick when I see her availabe. I know how to use Lorelai to her full potential and use her barrier wisely in captain or cp path.
And also I feel that Lorelai skin is coming out soon. Maybe another way to push people to get use to lorelai and sell her skin so they can use her skin for sunlight etc…
Just my thoughts.
Even though lorelai is op and strong but my experience. They don’t use her well… pool empowerment is her perk. And they not abusing that.
Yet he has a 42% win rate in a heavy captain meta.
well most people can’t aim or position with him. It is what it is. I get tired of seeing people not pre aiming with him or using jump jets every second like, it’s a finisher not an initiator, and his cp path has some of the highest range once you get an sg, just aim on and next to the opponent and you’re almost guaranteed something out of it. And most people’s ult timing is atrocious. I almost never get killed as baron because his jump jets have so much range but i watch people die with him all the time. It’s not the hero. Except for wp saw. He needs his aa range back lol.
I am not gonna get into this again… All i have to say is that you’re hard stuck tier 6 and therefore have no idea whats viable and whats not nothing you say can change my mind.