Strategy Theorycrafting 10

Attack Cooldowns: A Hidden Hero Statistic


conspiracy journal

A few months back, I went on a small “witch hunt” for unwritten release notes for version 1.3.0. During this process, I discovered Taka’s base attack speed had been secretly increased by 20%. However, when I reported this undocumented “Taka buff” on Reddit, SurpriseBirthday responded with the following:

“True, but Taka’s attack cooldown was increased proportionally by the same amount, so his total rate of attack is exactly the same as before.”

I double-checked the in-game hero statistics to see if I overlooked “attack cooldown” anywhere, but to no avail. Additionally, I noticed that in the 1.3.0 release notes the term “attack cooldown” came up again:

“Attack speed reductions such as Atlas Pauldron will never reduce the attack animation below base attack speed. Attack cooldowns are still able to go below base speed.”

I decided this was something that this is probably something the Vainglory community should be aware of, so I began to dig a little deeper. Here’s what I learned.

Base Attack Cooldowns

Every hero – with one exception – has a base attack cooldown of 1.4 seconds. This means that a level 1 hero with no items will attack every 1.4 seconds. The aforementioned exception is Taka, who has an attack cooldown of 1.65 seconds. This deviation from the norm is most likely a way to balance the power of his heroic perk, which otherwise may be overpowered.

As a small piece of interesting history, Skaarf used to have a 1.9 second attack cooldown and that was reduced to 1.4 seconds in version 1.4 of Vainglory. If you can recall, this was also the patch that Skaarf was wildly overpowered. In version 1.5, they balanced Skaarf by reducing the power on his heroic perk, rather than increasing his base attack cooldown again. Today, he still remains at a 1.4 second attack cooldown.

The Effects of Attack Speed on Base Attack Cooldowns

In addition to a base attack cooldown, every hero starts with 100% attack speed at level 1. Much like the cooldowns on your abilities, increasing your attack speed % will reduce the cooldown on your attacks, thus allowing you to attack more frequently. Keep in mind that in addition to gaining attack speed from items, most heroes gain additional attack speed every time they level up and not every hero gains attack speed at the same rate.

Here’s the level 1 and level 12 attack cooldowns of all current heroes as of version 1.6.0:

Comparison of attack cooldowns at level 1 and level 12
Comparison of attack cooldowns at level 1 and level 12

Attack speed functions exactly like cooldown acceleration, but for your attack cooldown rather than ability cooldowns. Here’s what the math looks like:

New Attack CD = Base Attack CD / Total Attack Speed

As an example, if I’m playing a level 12 Taka with a Blazing Salvo, my attack speed would be 176% (136 + 40). My adjusted attack cooldown would be 0.9375 seconds (1.65 / 1.76).

To give you an idea of which heroes have the fastest natural attack speed, here’s a ranked list of level 12 attack cooldowns. Keep in mind that Rona’s heroic perk artificially increases her attack speed by 50%, but I have not included this here. If I did, she would easily be at the top of the list.

Ranked list of level 12 attack cooldowns
Ranked list of level 12 attack cooldowns

Will this new knowledge dramatically change the way you play? Possibly not. However, this should allow us to more accurately understand how the game works and – for us math geeks – enable us to create more accurate theorycrafting models. Enjoy!

— Gadianton

P.S. If you like learning about the numbers behind the game, you can find similar articles via the Theorycrafting tag.


  • Reply
    Jul 11, 2015 2:29 pm


    I went to do a solo match with Rona to see what’s what. There are a couple things that I found which are fairly easy to verify on your own.

    First, you can auto attack the enemy vain crystal an infinite number of times to count autoattacks over time.

    Second, it seems Rona’s base attack cool down is approximately 1.04 seconds (hardly “50% less than most heroes”.. such a disappointment). And that’s all there is to it. Going to 200% attack speed gave me about 20 auto’s per 10 seconds.

    I also found that the minimum auto attack cool down is 0.4 seconds. It was impossible to get above 25 autoattack animations per 10 seconds on either Rona or ringo even at like 600% attack speed. This means at 250% attack speed Rona is totally maxed out for autoattacks.. I don’t know what the impact of stutter stepping is, partly because I don’t have low enough lag to do any sort of reliable test.

    • Reply
      Jul 11, 2015 4:56 pm

      Great research! Thank you for getting your hands dirty and posting about.

  • Reply
    Jul 10, 2015 3:08 pm

    This is a great description of attack cooldowns, but what is the significance of attack speed then – specifically with the Taka example? Did SurpriseBirthday mean that Taka’s attack *animation* got sped up, but his cooldown between attacks got reduced to compensate?

    Does the attack speed/animation effect the highest potential attack cooldown your characters can achieve because the animation basically gets in the way after a certain point?

    Or am I understanding this wrong?

    • Reply
      Jul 10, 2015 4:51 pm

      Taka used to have 80% attack speed and a 1.4 second attack cooldown. However, SEMC felt it was weird that Taka was the only hero that started at less than 100% attack speed, so they bumped up his starting attack speed to 100%, but increased his attack cooldown to 1.65 seconds. In the end, he had the same attack rate as before, but the numbers looked prettier.

      Yes, once you hit a certain attack speed, your character’s animation becomes a bottleneck, preventing you from gaining benefit from additional attack speed. You can increase this theoretical attack speed cap by stutter stepping, thereby cutting off the end of the animation and allowing you to get some additional bang for your buck. I don’t know recall what this attack speed cap is off the of my head, but I believe it’s somewhere above 300%.

  • Reply
    Jul 08, 2015 2:18 pm

    Thanks, Gadianton!

    IMHO the subject is a little deeper. As Tomppa showed on the VG forum (and it can be easily checked by anyone), the actual attack speed differs a little from nominal attack speed. For example, if you gain by levelling or items 200% nominal AS, the actual increase of your attack speed compared to lvl1 will be a little less than twice. I believe, the full Attack cycle = Attack cooldown + Attack time. Attack CD depends on AS, as you stated, Attack CD = Base attack CD / AS. And Attack time is constant (but can be decreased a little thru stuttersteping). By my observations, Base attack CD = 1.35-1.40 sec (differs slightly from character to character), and Attack time = 0.1-0.15 sec.
    As for Glaive, Attack cycle ~ 1.38/AS + 0.14

    • Reply
      Jul 09, 2015 5:42 pm

      Great comment!

      Yeah, there’s definitely deeper topics that could be discussed here. For example, this is where we get a bit into stutter stepping as well. Some attack animations are noticeably easier to “clip” – or cut short – thus providing even further attack speed bonuses. I think I’ve avoided this in part because it’s hard to accurately measure.

      • Reply
        Jul 10, 2015 2:48 pm

        Wow, you are in the in-game news. Congrats!

  • Reply
    Jul 08, 2015 6:40 am

    Maybe that’s why I think it’s EFFECTIVELY harder to stutter step with Vox with more than 55% ASPD (Blazing Salvo+Swift Shooter).
    I mean, theoretically, with two Blazing Salvos (151+70% ASPD) you should have a 0,63 Attack Rate, while with a single one (151+35%) you can reach 0,73.
    So, contesting the lately Vox item build meta (as I’ve watched in ESL), I disagree in spending 700$ on another Blazing Salvo, as it’s very difficult to use that slight advantage in the middle of a teamfight.
    Great info provided Gadianton! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Dec 26, 2016 9:09 pm

    Hi! Hopefully English is ok to respond in. Keep an eye out for the very answer to your concern… soon

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