Picking First Skill

Throughout the Vainglory World Invitational we’ve seen games decided by the slightest advantage. Teams skillfully press any advantage they can get. However, in the third-place matches we noticed that one major difference came down to the game’s first decision.

Before any action happens on the Halcyon Fold each player puts a point into one ability. While each ability brings different bonuses, not every decision is going to be difficult. We’re going to cover each hero and discuss the benefits of each of their abilities at level one. Hopefully this helps players have the inside edge right off the bat.

adagio A skill

The burst heal on Adagio’s Gift of Fire is a very significant tool at level one. Combined with the damage burn and potential area-of-effect slow makes this ability almost a guaranteed first pick for Adagio.

adagio B skill

While Gift of Fire is a powerful skill to have at level one, Agent of Wrath is also a contender in certain situations. If the cooldown were a little shorter maybe we’d see B skill get picked with some triple ranged comps.

ardan a skill

Vanguard provides a valuable asset level one–movement speed. Early fights are normally decided by one team being able to focus down a target on the other team and create a 2v3 scenario. Vanguard counters that very well by bailing out the ally getting focused.

ardan b skill

Super mega face punch could potentially be better for helping with clear times, but because Vanguard hits in an area and is a safer skill, Blood for Blood loses in this ability face off!

catherine a skill

Merciless Pursuit is arguably the strongest ability at level one when used correctly as an auto-attack reset. Not only is it a nice burst of damage with two auto-attacks, but it also is a universally accepted ping meaning “delete this guy.”

catherine b skill

Stormguard is another very strong ability, even with a single rank. Dealing 35 damage per second, this ability lasts for six excruciatingly long seconds before expiring, dealing 210 damage to all enemies near her!

celeste a skill

Heliogenesis is a powerhouse. Vision is expensive, and Celeste can have it at level one with this skill. Aside from the vision, it also controls areas by deterring enemies from places where an existing Heliogenesis is ready to supernova for 150 damage at rank one!

celeste b skill

Core Collapse is the equivalent of going all-in on landing one pivotal skill shot. Hit it on three people and your team has the potential to clean up a fight. However, if you miss it, you’ll have a hard time contributing to the team fight for the next 24 seconds.

fortress a skill

Truth of the Tooth is an amazing gap closer at level one, not only for Fortress, but for his whole team. Providing a 1.7 movement speed boost to an entire team is almost the same as a War Horn at level one.

fortress b skill

Law of the Claw has a tall order to be better than Fortress’ A skill, but I think it is. Aside from bursting for a percentage of maximum health on reaching six stacks, this ability also deals 90 damage upfront, as well as 25 damage per second for 6 seconds. 240 seems like a lot for one ability, but that’s not accounting for the percentage damage.

glaive a skill

Afterburn brings with it the ultimate catch potential. Punting someone into your team feels so right when you know for a fact they can’t possibly have a Reflex Block. Great for engages and level one team fights.

glaive b skill

Twisted Stroke may sound like a golf term, but it is deceptively strong for farming the jungle. It passively grants 9% critical strike chance, but can be activated for an auto-attack reset and a guaranteed critical strike that deals cleave damage. This skill provides much faster jungle clears and should probably be taken if there won’t be a fight at level one.

joule a skill

Once again we are faced with the eternal question: one-hundred duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? Joule’s Rocket Leap is not only a great escape, but can trap multiple enemies in a stun-locked dead zone. However, the 22 second cooldown should be quite the deterrent. A great defensive escape, a dangerous offensive gamble!

joule b skill

Thunder Strike feels more like a hundred duck-sized horses, and it should. It gives Joule the ability to fight from a distance, while also letting her contribute to a team fight every 3.5 seconds. While this is a much safer option, I think it’s the better one.

koshka a skill

Pouncy Fun does provide Koshka the ability to close the gap at level one, but only in a single direction. It grants Koshka a stack of Bloodrush, allowing her to move more quickly for five seconds.

koshka b skill

Twirly Death also provides stacks of Bloodrush for each enemy hit, really amplifying Koshka’s jungle clear speed, and her team fight potential. If Koshka lands a B skill on three enemies there’s a good chance that the bonus 30 damage on her next three auto attacks will be enough to finish one person off.

krul a skill

Dead Man’s Rush can be a very strong tool for trading early. Krul is granted an 80 health shield, as well as deals 150 damage. The shield lasts for two seconds, which if timed correctly nullifies two auto attacks from a hero attacking at level one.

krul b skill

Spectral Smite can essentially nullify one character’s damage with the Weakness stacks, but takes too long to get full stacks on a target. Full stacks deals 228 damage and heals Krul for 132, which is great for jungle clearing to mitigate damage from jungle minions and burst for the last hit.

petal a skill

Only being able to plant seeds was always viewed as a weakness in Petal’s kit. However, Bramblethorn seeds do have a healing aura that stacks up to five times. This can be useful if you are in a hard lane matchup.

petal b skill

Casting Yay, Pets! at level one really unleashes some of Petal’s potential. Creating three munions that each hit for 8 damage + 40% of Petal’s Crystal Power. This damage adds up very quickly, especially when combined with Petal’s auto-attack damage and range. B skill all the way!

ringo a skill

Achilles Shot is a very good harassment tool in the lane for poking enemies out, but at level one it offers some core utility, much like Merciless Pursuit where it picks a target for your team. If Ringo slows one target and the rest of the level one team keeps running away, that player gets eaten alive.

ringo b skill

Twirling Silver is a 90% favorite in this battle of first skills due to a few contributing factors. First off, it provides movement speed at level one, which weighs heavily on the chart of early strength. Next, it provides an auto-attack reset, which is also extremely valuable. Last, but not least, it grants a 55% attack speed increase (worth 1000 gold) with a 70% uptime (short cooldown, long duration). Potential contender for best level one ability in the game.

rona a skill

Into the Fray provides some helpful movement, but lacks the powerful stun and damage of other high-mobility skills. The damage reduction is nice, but will need to be your saving grace after diving in.

rona b skill

Foesplitter works as a short-ranged gap closer, as well as increased damage for two auto attack resets. Rona attacks quickly thanks to her perk, which helps balance the power of two attack resets.

saw a skill

Roadie Run brings so much utility to a level one SAW as it’s the best way for him to drop his perk stacks, but also lets him chase down enemies, re-position in a fight, jump over a wall, or execute an enemy hero.

saw b skill

Suppressing Fire deals significant damage at almost every stage of the game, but translates into hysterical amounts of damage and crowd-control when multiple enemy heroes are caught in it during a level one engage. Don’t underestimate the power of Suppressing Fire! It also pushes SAW to his full attack speed potential immediately!

skaarf a skill

Spitfire is a great tool for activating Skaarf’s heroic perk to make things burn over time. It has great range and a good hitbox, making it easy to land on targets. It’s also helpful for keeping Skaarf a safe distance from the battle.

skaarf b skill

Goop has always been overlooked when comparing abilities at level one. I specifically remember FooJee mentioning the power of Goop when it isn’t set on fire. It can almost completely shut down a jungle choke point with a very powerful slow. While that isn’t as powerful at level one, it is something to consider.

taka a skill

Kaiten is so much more than 75 flat damage, as it helps ramp Taka up in House Kamuha stacks, which make Taka a powerhouse. It also helps him avoid damage, which can be very instrumental when heroes only have one damaging ability.

taka b skill

Kaku is surprisingly good at level one. If Taka gets focused he can press B skill and disappear for 3.5 seconds. If executed correctly he won’t lose perk stacks, but can shift the enemy focus from himself onto someone else, allowing him to manipulate the enemy team. If a Taka can sneak away from a level one engage and farm the enemy jungle it can be very lucrative.

vox a skill

Sonic Zoom is a short dash on a very short cooldown making it a tempting first pick. Now that it triggers on enemies affected with Resonance it is less enticing at level one.

vox b skill

Pulse provides so much utility at level one; it can see into a bush, it slows any hero hit by it, and it applies Resonance, allowing Vox to either shove the lane or bounce a generous amount of damage throughout an enemy team. If B skill allows Vox to push the lane in early and roam down to the jungle shop for an early 3v2 fight then it’s definitely worth investing into.

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