Strategy 1

A towering Fortress appears! Build speculation and maths


Rejoice! Huzzah! The tank Skaarf is dead! Long live the Koshka? 1.5 has arrived and a new hero has come to the Halcyon Fold.  Meet Pickles Fortress, a new classification of hero: Initiator. Let’s take a quick look at his abilities and how they define his role.


Packmates (Heroic Perk)  – If you are near an ally for one second, Fortress gains a movement speed bonus until he moves too far away from that ally. It seems to be about three hero lengths. Stick with your ally and you’ll be fast (especially in a team fight!).


Truth of the Tooth (A) – Marks an enemy (8m range?). Turns his next basic attack into a lunge (3-4m range) that does damage as crystal. Fortress and his allies gain movement speed (up to 2.5!) towards the marked enemy. When maxed (overdrive) it does significantly more damage, increases the speed boost and lowers the cooldown. This can be used strategically — you don’t have to attack the target to get the increased movement speed! You can also wall jump certain walls if you have vision of your target!


Law of the Claw (B) – Does crystal damage and causes the target to bleed.  Bleeding does 25+15% crystal power damage per second for three seconds. Heroes that attack this target gain 10% lifesteal and increase bleeding stacks. When there are five stacks, the target takes up to 20% of his health as burst damage, and is slowed 30%, and reduced healing by 33%.  This ability is great combined with heroes that have high attack speed that can stack it quickly.

static1.squarespace-3Attack of the Pack (C) – Fortress summons three wolves that seek out enemy heroes. Each wolf takes three hits to die and lasts for 15 seconds. They provide vision and cause the target to bleed. While summoning, Fortress also gains a large amount of health (up to 850) and attack speed (up to 70%) for the duration of the ultimate. This is a great initiator because you can not only locate the enemy, but it causes bleeding and gives you that burst of health to sustain fights.

SEMC’s Recommended Build Path

warhornWarhorn – Start off with an Ironguard Contract.  This helps you clear jungle faster. Rushing Warhorn used to be a bad idea because it did not offer any defensive stats. Now it offers 400 health and 12 health regen, which can be very useful. Fortress is all about mobility, and Warhorn gives your team a burst of movement speed for up to 3s.


Clockwork – Allows you to use your abilities much faster, provides energy recharge. The more often you can use your A and B skills, the more damage your team will do!


journey-bootsJourney Boots – New players take heed – don’t max boots this early. Your money is best spent elsewhere. The new boots do offer much more for upgrading, but it’s still best left as a last upgrade for tier three.



Shiversteel – Health, and an active that slows the enemy. Fortress is all about mobility and enemies will be unable to escape with Warhorn, Truth of the Tooth, and Shiversteel.



Fountain of Renewal – Shield, Health, and an active that provides a burst heal to your entire team. Keeping your team alive means they can do more damage, and you win. It’s so simple!



Crucible – A great team support item that provides a shield for all crowd control for your entire team. Perfect counter to Ardan’s Gauntlet, Adagio’s Verse of Judgment, and other AOE (area of effect) abilities.

SEMC’s recommended items are perfect for a support based Fortress. Every item adds utility or defense to his kit, and this build should work great provided you have good teammates. The downside to this build is that Fortress will be very weak by himself. He will do next to no damage as this build has no offensive items. That shouldn’t matter because this is a team game, right? You’re never fighting by yourself, right? Oh, what’s that? You are playing in solo queue? Godspeed, my friend.

Theorycrafting a DPS (Damage per second) build

I looked at Fortress’s numbers and thought to myself, “he actually does decent crystal damage and has ratios on his bleed and health percentage burst”. That got me thinking, how can we build Fortress to deal more damage? Aftershock with a tanky build seemed obvious. But how much damage could you do?

Enter the maths! Instead of “feeling” how much damage items would add, I decided to calculate it. Here’s the spreadsheet. Feel free to make a copy and check my math. I’m usually omnipotent and infallible, and then I wake up in the morning. I based my values against 2000 Health, 100 Armor, and 100 Shield.

Over 900! DPS

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Shatterglass, Shatterglass, Broken Myth, Aftershock, Alternating Current, Boots. 988 DPS. 14,500 gold. Yeah, not gonna happen in a real game. Next!

Tanky Aftershock

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Fortress’ base DPS is 223 (222.9452381 to be exact). Adding an Aftershock increases his DPS by 103, the best in slot item. Build defensively, Warhorn, defense, and an Aftershock.

Aftershock and Broken Myth

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When you combine Aftershock and Broken Myth, something magical happens. The new Broken Myth amplifies all crystal based damage when stacked. This includes Fortress’ base ability damage, his CP scaling, and Aftershock procs! Adding Broken Myth after Aftershock is the second best in slot item, adding another 116 DPS. This is more than Shatterglass or Alternating Current.

The Holy Trinity

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Finally, adding Alternating Current is the next best in slot item, further increasing DPS by an additional 164. This is because Fortress has an exceptionally high attack speed, plus an additional 50% attack speed from his ultimate (level 2) for 15 seconds. I modeled all of my DPS builds with maxing A and B. ShinKaigan tried this build on his stream, and he said it was really really hard. This may leave Fortress way too squishy to be effective in practice.

Final Thoughts

I am thinking the optimal DPS build “in reality” would be Aftershock, Broken Myth, and situational defensive items.  It has the highest DPS for those two slot items, and gives you slots to build defense so you can survive. A dead Fortress does zero DPS! Or as Nivmett likes to say, “The best CC is death”. That being said, go forth and experiment my friends! Try out new builds! CP, WP, or Support. They are all fun! While we all enjoy Fortress this weekend, I just wanted say a huge thank you to SEMC for all their hard work. 1.5 was a much needed patch, and I am enjoying every minute of it!

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jun 01, 2015 10:27 am

    Thank you so much for breaking fortress down. I have found him a blessing to krul, as fortress provide krul with unparalleled stickiness. Nice read!

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