Strategy Theorycrafting 1

Countering Lyra

Since her release, Lyra has been met with a lot of controversy. While she was definitely overly strong (and received justified and well-placed nerfs already via a hotfix), I don’t feel like she is broken because of how counterable she is. Learning how to deal with her is part of the growing process as Lyra’s introductory period runs its course. To aid in that, this article will touch on handling her through Draft, Itemization, and team fighting.


It’s unfortunate that there was a bug with triggering Draft (using VST over Elo) as Lyra is the most draft-counterable hero in the game. Her core utility ability, Bright Bulwark, shuts down ⅓ of the hero pool hard, moderately affects another ⅓, and does relatively little to the rest. If the enemy team can first pick Lyra, let them. You can absolutely shut her down through counter picking. With her in the game, it’s not about who is the strongest in general, but who operates against her best, which is a really exciting thing to bring to ranked.

If the enemy first-picks Lyra, you don’t want to pick heroes that are dependent on dash-based abilities. These are my suggestions for counter picking:

  • Adagio: Adagio dishes out a lot of long range damage and is unaffected by her B. However, he is much better against a lane Lyra. Adagio is very bursty and Roam Lyra is effective at negating the burst.
  • Catherine: All of her abilities work in the Bulwark, and she can silence Lyra, preventing escape. Lyra’s super squishy, so keeping her in the fight with Catherine’s stun and silence is your best advantage.
  • Celeste: With her high damage, low mobility, and great range you can count on her blowing up a Lyra.
  • Joule: Joule’s jump is shut down by Lyra, but usually you can land on her before a Bulwark goes off. Once close, Joule’s damage in your face is pretty intense. You can also go CP Joule and just remove Lyra from the game; she melts like butter under that laser!
  • Kestrel: Kestrel does amazing long-range damage, and since they moved her Glimmershot pierce to her ratios she hits Lyra unusually hard.
  • Koshka: While Koshka’s abilities are hit hard by the Bulwark, if you land a Yummy Catnip Frenzy on Lyra you can almost definitely burst her down before the end of it. Just remember the reflex block!
  • Lance: Lance is weaker as a counter, but can work. If you overdrive his B you are free to do whatever after casting it in her Bulwark. Stuns and repositioning her actually work quite well. Just remember to OD that B first!
  • Reim: Reim has a bad rap for being only great against multiple melee heroes, but I disagree. Reim’s kit is as overloaded as Lyra’s is, but as a melee, making him a great jungler against her. His autos slow, his B roots, and his C stuns or hard slows. Once you get on Lyra she’ll be stuck and drop fast.
  • Phinn: You can keep her in the fray, and slow/stun her pretty heavily.
  • Ringo: His high sustain weapon damage late game will absolutely wreck Lyra, and you can’t portal away from a Hellfire Brew!
  • Weapon Skye: While Suri Strike isn’t usable within a Bulwark you can chase like no other, and just burn her down. Lyras also tend to want to get that heavy attack off, leaving them very susceptible to a Death From Above.
  • Weapon Taka: Lyra’s Bulwark doesn’t come down fast enough to block an X-Retsu, and once you are in there you can burn her down really fast through auto attacks.

Rank Draft isn’t the only mode in the game, so in the following sections we’ll touch on how to deal with Lyra in a match.


I cannot emphasize this enough: Buy a reflex block! Support? Get a Crucible! The Snare effect of Bright Bulwark is cancellable by activating a reflex block, freeing you from your chains and allowing you to do what you normally would. This is actually a very interesting use for Reflex Block, as in the past it has been used defensively. I think that mentality has made people forget that it should be used offensively within a Bulwark.

If you’re against a Lane Lyra, an Atlas Pauldron is also very helpful. The brunt of her damage comes from her auto attacks, so an atlas is particularly good against her even though she is Crystal.

Also against a Lane Lyra, if you’re a good candidate for a Tension Bow, you should get it. Her low defenses and low health make her very burstable. If you’re against a Roam Lyra and a good candidate for Aftershock you should get that. She builds some of the highest health in the game, making it really painful.

Breaking Point is also particularly good against her. With low base armor and low incentive to build armor (particularly as a roam), you can get BP stacks very fast against her!

Team Fighting

In general, you want to play around her Bright Bulwark. Running into a Bulwark wall doesn’t come with the devastating punishment that a Gauntlet brings. If you go to engage her and smack into it, just back off. Fight away from it. It has a long cooldown so you’re safe to fight after it is used. If a Lyra teleports on top of you, expect an immediate Bulwark, and counter it by an immediate Crucible and running through her portal. This brings two of her abilities out of the fight, and you can re-engage safely.

Fighting a CP Lyra can be frustrating at first. She’s weak, burstable, but also mobile. This makes you want to go all in on her, only to have her blink away near death. She has long cool downs, though, so you want to play around her abilities. Faking out a Bright Bulwark and then flanking her works out very well. She can’t easily get away without combining Arcane Passage and Bright Bulwark. Once on top of her, use an Atlas Pauldron. This will drop her damage significantly as it slows down both attacks. She won’t last long attempting to channel the heavy attack!

Fighting a Roam Lyra is a little harder. Poke doesn’t work great against her as she can just heal up her team between pokes, and going all-in is difficult with the Bulwark. Your best bet when engaging is to fake out the Bulwark and then engage shortly after. If both carries are quite tanky it is sometimes better to burst down Lyra. Heals scale very effectively with more defense so it’s best to get the heal out of the game, and the carries will have less damage to work with. Silences and Stuns work very well against a roam Lyra to prevent her from keeping her team alive, so if you have any of those be sure to land them on the her instead of a carry (unless you need to stop something like Dragonbreath).

It’s still early, and we’re all still learning about Lyra. Roam heroes are far more difficult to introduce to the game because they change the battlefield far more than a carry. Give it some time to settle and learn how to fight against her. I hope this helps you some!

Please comment with your strategies/tips and we can all get through the Age of Lyra together.



1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jul 10, 2016 4:25 pm

    I have an way to counter Lyra on the Draft:
    If you are the first to ban a hero, Ban anything besides Lyra, in that way if the enemy team don’t ban her you can pick her and it’s almost always GG
    If you are second always ban Lyra, so the enemy doesn’t have the chance to pick her. If the enemy already banned Lyra you can ban what you want.
    That only work if you have Lyra (Dhuuu…)

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