Strategy Theorycrafting 1

Guide to Support Lyra

I’ve been anticipating a back line support hero like Lyra since I started playing Vainglory back during the NA launch on iOS. Hell, I first bought Adagio because I believed he would be a back line support; boy, was I wrong! This guide is an in depth look at Lyra, how to play as and with her, and provide a specific support build that provides maximum healing potential for your team.


Lyra is a truly unique support because she is a backline hero. She’s not a tank, and cannot handle a barrage of attacks like Ardan or Lance. When playing her, act like a ranged carry. Live on the edge of the fight as much as possible, and protect your allies with her healing and active items. Try to keep a slight distance from your carries to avoid being hit with area of effect abilities. Unlike other support heroes, it will be more beneficial for the enemy to take you down first as your abilities are quite strong. Lyra is designed this way intentionally and so it’s extremely important that your positioning doesn’t allow you be focused and burst down easily. 

My favorite comp with Lyra is a ranged hero and a tanky melee hero. With this setup, try to be close to your ranged carry, and not behind them, so you can provide your abilities and active items to both your allies. If you have two ranged allies you’ll want to stay close to them, but slightly behind. If you have two melee allies stay decently behind them to avoid common crowd control (CC) abilities like Blast Tremor and Wait For It. Both stuns and silences are equally dangerous to Lyra as they completely negate her effectiveness for the duration. In short, don’t be a target. 


1.19 brings significant changes to roam items. There are now three contracts, and each provides a different early game benefit. While Ironguard Contract continues to exist and provides healing when killing Minions, I feel it’s better to pick up one of the other contracts with Lyra since she already has a powerful heal.

Throughout the match it’s best for your jungler to first hit the jungle monsters. There’s no benefit to the roamer striking them first anymore, and the healing camps combined with your heal will keep your jungler full on health.

One thing I would be careful of is accidentally taking the farm from the jungle with your Imperial Sigil; the damage over time component won’t hurt minions, but the detonation can. Try to place your sigils in the path your jungler will walk toward the next minion and detonate it prior to them leaving it. If you have good communication with your jungler, you can ask them to stay in the same spot, and place the sigil in a place where it will heal them but the detonation won’t hit the minion. And, if you do mess this up, your jungler will at least get 75% of the gold thanks to the new Ambient Gold system!


There are a few different kinds of health mechanics in Vainglory so we should touch on what’s different between them to understand how Lyra’s heal compares to others.

  • A heal restores health to an ally. It never goes above their maximum health pool, and thus can be wasteful if used too early. A heal never has a timer; once health is replenished it remains until more damage is dealt.
  • A barrier adds temporary health to an ally. This can go above an ally’s maximum health pool, but always has a time limit. If a barrier is applied an enemy could wait to use abilities to ensure they get the full amount of damage possible. Apart from that, Barrier health acts like regular health where every 1 point of damage reduces the barrier value by 1.
  • Fortified Health adds health that is half a barrier to your existing health. For every 1 point of damage dealt to you, 1/2 a point of damage is applied to your health pool and the other 1/2 to your fortified health pool. Fortified health always has a timer on it.

In my opinion heals are the most difficult to use due to the health pool cap, but the most beneficial as the health sticks around.


Each of her abilities are very unique, and they combo well together. I’m going to skip over the obvious and the numbers, but I do want to talk about the unique traits that each ability and her perk have.

Principal Arcanum

Her heroic perk is primarily geared to making her more of a Mage. It makes her auto attacks into magic missiles based on crystal power, similar to Celeste’s. It also fires two in one cycle, but the second must be channeled, requiring her to remain in place while the second is fired. This creates a choice between damage and positioning. Additionally, her second missile will slow the target, which is the best part of her perk for her support path. The channel time is decreased with attack speed, making Alternating Current particularly good on her Mage path. One downside of her perk is that it uses her energy. She can continue to fire missiles if she runs out of energy, but it leads to a choice of damage vs being able to continue to use her abilities. This is a particularly difficult choice for her support path. You cannot heal your allies if you’ve wasted all of your energy dealing damage.

Imperial Sigil

Imperial Sigil is her core ability, and is where her healing power lies. Similar to Adagio, this ability is both a Heal over Time (HoT) and burst heal combined, but in the reverse order. Unlike Adagio, this can provide healing to everyone on your team.

The sigil itself contains a health pool. This pool cannot be damaged by enemies, but can be reduced by them absorbing damage. A sigil has 3 seconds worth of active time. This time is divided by the number of users. If you have one ally and two enemies with the sigils field it will last 1 second total before detonating. This leads to an important area of counter play as you can reduce enemy healing by eating the damage. If you’re playing against her, the damage is best absorbed by a tank as even support Lyra’s sigil can pack a wallop.

This ability does have a short travel time (and the further it has to go, the longer it takes to get there), and a short activation time when it lands. You can manually detonate the sigil when you want. This is an important skill to master as allies often don’t sit around in the field to get the full effect, and if they are chasing down an enemy you’ll want them to get that burst heal. The burst is also a pretty significant chunk, which requires good timing and judgement when your ally cannot survive on just the HoT but rather needs that burst to fight. Allies also get a burst of movement speed on detonation that is helpful for chasing or escape.

The cooldown timer for this ability does not start until the sigil is detonated. As a support Lyra, I strongly discourage using this ability as a flare. It’ll leave your team much more vulnerable if the enemy team capitalizes on using this ability for vision.

Bright Bulwalk

Bright Bulwalk emits a circular field around Lyra that is similar to a Gauntlet. This ability provides a significant amount of utility. Enemies attempting to use dash-based abilities into it are stopped at the wall, take some damage and are slowed. It also introduces a new effect called Snaring that is applied while you are within the Bulwalk. This effect prevents dash-based abilities, such as Afterburn and Into the Fray.

You can use this ability offensively or defensively. When to use it really depends on how the enemies are behaving and what heroes they have. If they are jumping on your backline at the start of a fight it is best to place it around your carry at the start of the fight. If you’d like to jump on the enemy carry you can combine this with your Arcane Passage. The Bulwalk sets a 4.5 second cooldown for portals on enemies hit by the initial effect, so you can teleport next to them and prevent them from using the portal until you can also use it again, preventing escape.

Bright Bulwalk makes Lyra’s draft presence very strong. Being able to silence dash abilities for up to 6 seconds is game changing against some heroes, and irrelevant against others, giving a clear choice if she is a last pick.

On that note, Snaring will silence:

  • Alpha’s A and B
  • Ardan’s A, B, and C. Also, if you attempt to vanguard someone within a Bulwalk it will be blocked.
  • Blackfeather’s A and C
  • Fortress’s A
  • Glaive’s A
  • Joule’s A
  • Koshka’s A and C
  • Krul’s A
  • Lance’s A and C
  • Lyra’s C
  • Ozo’s B and 2nd A
  • Petal’s B
  • Rona’s A and B
  • SAW can cast his A, but cannot roll out of the bulwark
  • Skye’s B
  • Taka’s A and C
  • Vox’s A

This ability has a long cooldown, so use it effectively. I’d recommend taking the overdrive if you are using it primarily defensively as it lasts an extra 2 seconds.

Arcane Passage

This is probably the most interesting ability added to the game in quite some time. It allows you to blink to another position on the map, opening a portal for others to pass through. Both teams can use the portal to keep it from being OP, but there are some interesting restrictions around these portals. Upon creation the enemy team has a 1 second cooldown before they can use the portal. Allies can immediately pass through it. After passage you cannot use the portal again for 4.5 seconds. As mentioned earlier, you also cannot pass through a portal for 4.5 seconds if you are hit with the initial effect of Bright Bulwalk. Because these portals only last for 8 seconds you can pass through them a maximum of two times.

At first you might think “portals, everywhere!” I can tell you from experience, do not just blink into the enemy team! Lyra is the squishiest roamer in the game, and will drop VERY fast in the middle of the enemy team, even with all utility/defensive items. I’ve tried portaling an ally out of a gauntlet, and while if I had team communication they would of lived, it was a suicide mission. This is because you cannot go back through your portal for 4.5 seconds so they might be free but you’re stuck. You have to be very strategic with where you place portals. Here are some good usages based on my experience:

  • Placing a portal at a choke point and a turret. A great spot is the brush near the 5th turret. If your ally is running south and you blink to/from the turret, enemies can almost never chase them. This is particularly useful if your ally doesn’t use the portal. Your ally keeps running south, ignoring the portal, and if the enemy uses it they end up no where near them. I call this back portaling, and it’s been the most valued use of this ability to in the early/mid game thus far.
  • Jumping behind the enemy back line and bulwarking them. Immediately run away from the enemy team to avoid being too close to the fight. This one requires some coordination with your team.
  • Activating your Bulwalk and portaling away. This prevents the enemy from chasing you through the portal. They’ll probably even waste time attempting to go through the portal. This is a good way to reposition your team without the immediate risk of being jumped on again. This is particularly useful if you can portal away, then move into a position where you can attack your enemies at an equal distance from each portal. This triangular positioning reduces the chances of  an enemy reaching you.
  • Backdooring the enemy base. A lot of people are going to complain that this is OP, but I feel it adds an extra layer of strategy to the match if you need to be more attentive to this. One of the benefits of this patch is every roamer can and should have a contraption, so knowing when a backdoor is about to happen shouldn’t be any surprise if your roamer is doing their job.


Lyra has the capability to have fewer peaks and valleys compared to other roamers with her roam path. That is, she has fewer power spikes based on acquiring T3 items and a more overall flat power curve due to her heal scaling with bonus health. Because of this I recommend not rushing towards one item at a time, but gradually while maintaining full slots of health providing items.

Dragonheart is Lyra’s best friend in the item tree. For every hundred health she gains up to 22.5 HP Heal over Time (HoT) and 15 HP burst healing. Remember that the burst can be applied to your whole team, so the maximum burst is 45 HP. The below build order can be shifted around based on your needs, but I do recommend filling extra slots with Dragonhearts as you go along. 

I recommend starting the game out with a Protector Contract, potion, and a Flare. The Protector Contract will provide far more durability to your jungler than an Oakheart will so I strongly recommend it. Place your mines early in the match because the items I’m going to suggest don’t leave much room for mines except between upgrades.

Early Items

Dragonheart, Lifespring, Kinetic Shield, Chronograph, Protector Contract, Flare Gun
Bonus HP: 850; 191.25 HP bonus HoT and 127.5 bonus burst healing per ally from this. These are on top of your sigils base healing.

This setup doesn’t leave room for mines, so immediately after upgrading to your Fountain you should plant some fresh mines around. You can also sell your contract to open a slot for mines.

You’ll want the Flare Gun over a stack of flares due to the bonus health. It may seem early, but it adds a good amount of healing; especially if you hit all three allies with the Sigil detonation.

The Chronograph is important as Lyra does struggle with energy due to her basic attacks consuming some. This also shaves off close to 2 seconds from her heal cooldown, which really helps in the early game to keep both your carries topped off.

Mid Game Items

Sprint Boots, Fountain, Crucible, Contraption, Dragonheart, Dragonheart
Bonus HP: 1950; 438.75 HP bonus HoT and 292.5 bonus burst healing per ally from this. Remember, these are on top of your sigils base healing.

By mid game you should have a fountain. While this item provides the least amount of health in the build, its healing active is very powerful. A Crucible provides a lot of health while also providing some added utility for your team. At the very least, you can block a good amount of damage while the HoT is ticking on your ally.

You may wonder, why contraption? There are a few reasons for this:

  • Lyra lacks the tankiness to walk into a bush to do a facecheck. This is one of the things that make her unique to roaming. You’ll want this early for that reason.
  • You don’t want to waste her A as a flare. This is a clear signal to enemy teams that your heal is down and for them to rush you. Save your sigil for team fights!
  • It provides a good amount of bonus HP for her healing.
  • It provides a good amount of cooldown to use her abilities more.
  • You should always get a contraption in 1.19. You don’t need to pick it between a Warhorn anymore, and thus you should prefer the bonus stats over just a stack of Flares.

Late Game Items

Fountain of Renewel, Crucible, Contraption, War Treads, Stormcrown, Shiversteel
Bonus HP: 2300; 517.5 HP bonus HoT and 345 bonus burst healing from this. Again, these are all on top of the base healing values. With a maxed Imperil Sigil, we’re ending up with a 847.5 HoT and 495 burst healing. This is pretty solid considering a Fountain provides up to 599 HP under the absolute best and extremely unlikely circumstances.

I’d upgrade to War Treads first for the utility, then obtain the Stormcrown. You can build it from a Chronograph or a Stormguard banner; it’s up to you if you think that cooldown will allow you to get another heal off or if you need more damage. Stormcrown is good because it gives you more energy, cooldown, damage, and some more bonus HP.

The Shiversteel is an odd item to throw in here, but there really isn’t anything else you can build from the final Dragonheart. With the changes to Shiversteel in 1.19, this item actually applies a solid slow to the enemy team as a ranged hero, so there is some decent utility gained from this item. Upgrade this last.

Stormcrown is good pickup due to the cooldown, siege potential and slight bonus health. Combine the contraption CDS with this and a crystal infusion, you’ll get your heal every 4 seconds! Each magic missile from her perk uses a Stormcrown charge allowing you to have pretty decent burst, and if you detonate your heal after the cooldown from Stormguard you get another set of uses.

You may be wondering, where is Atlas Pauldron? As I mentioned previously, Lyra is a back line support, and must be played differently. Atlas is a close range item. This is why it is absolutely essential you have a melee jungler that can pick up that Atlas and apply it for you if it is needed.


I’ve seen a lot of people experiment with different builds in the PBE. I feel this is a solid build on paper, and I’ve had good success with it in practice. I strongly suggest you avoid Clockwork; it may seem great to cast your heal more often, but I think you lose too much per heal. Each of my suggested items provide bonus healing power and you can really notice it in a teamfight. You’ll also get more than a Clockwork’s worth of cooldown speed from the Contraption and Stormcrown, and with a Crystal Infusion active you’ll have close to two of them.

The one downside here is your carries better be able to carry. You won’t deal much damage, and you won’t last very long if they drop, so keep your allies alive and cross your fingers in solo Q! =)

See you in the Fold!

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jun 20, 2016 1:24 pm

    I’m pretty sure fortified health works in a different way.
    It ‘fortifies’ your existing health, and you have 50% damage reduction until the fortified health is depleted. Unlike barriers, though, it’s useless if you don’t have any HP left to fortify 🙂
    Nice guide, though. Will surely play a lot of Lyra in the Summer Season!

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