Welcome back to the Support Synergy Series! This series is all about analyzing support heroes and whom they best synergize with, so you can always choose the best support for your team composition. The previous articles analyzed Fortress, Catherine, Ardan and Adagio. In this article, we’ll be looking at Phinn.
Phinn, a Captain whose game-changing abilities have been highlighted at almost every Live Championship, has seen recent nerfs. Not to worry—pairing this dangerous river-troll with synergistic heroes will lead to spectacular results. As the meta shifts towards the Lane and stacking items, such as Breaking Point and Broken Myth, have seen slight tuning, we could see more Phinn in action. So, let’s get to know this huggable hero better!
What Phinn Does Well
Heroic Perk: Unstoppable
Phinn cannot be stopped or stunned. He also gains 15% additional armor, shield and max health from items and effects. A stun on Phinn turns into a slow and silence, while all other movement-impairing effects are turned into moderate slows. Phinn is one of the slowest heroes on the Fold, so his Heroic Perk allows him to keep moving through an Ardan Gauntlet or a successful Adagio Verse of Judgement. Stacking armor, shield and health items on Phinn will turn him into the strongest frontline support in the game.
Phinn slams his anchor, dealing damage and slowing the affected enemies. Before Phinn reaches level eight, this ability only slows enemies; however, upon reaching level eight, overdriving this ability upgrades the slow into a stun and unlocks a wide variety of playmaking opportunities. That said, a pre-level eight Quibble is an extremely potent attack. Phinn is unique in the way his A ability (160 base damage) surpasses the base-damage of any other support’s. Landing this devastating early-game damage on an enemy hero, who is level one or two, can tilt early game Jungle control towards Phinn’s allies.
B: Polite Company
Phinn jumps into the air and stomps the ground, dealing crystal damage and pulling enemies towards him; furthermore, this ability grants allied heroes fortified health scaling with Phinn’s bonus health and armor/shield for a short time. This ability in isolation would only be slightly useful; however, when utilized in tandem with the correct build path and teamwork, Polite Company provides a nice team-wide buff and sticking power for Phinn and company in fights.
C: Forced Accord
Phinn’s ultimate is the most pivotal ability in his kit. He throws his anchor out in a direction, damaging and pulling all enemies caught in its path. Forced Accord requires clear and quick aim, but a successful hook can quickly swing the tide of a fight his way. Forced Accord can be blocked by a successful Reflex Block.
Phinn is a tanky roam meant to soak up damage and control any area around him.
- In summarization, Phinn provides:
- A giant hitbox to protect allies from poke or other targeted abilities
- Peel for enemy heroes with his AoE stun, Quibble
- Resistance to stuns and slows
- The highest early game damage skill in class
- The ability to grant fortified health and pull enemies closer with Polite Company
- An AoE pull able to change a team fight completely with Forced Accord
One of the advantages to Phinn is that he scales at a stable and solid rate over the course of the game; Quibble provides some early game burst damage and crowd control (CC) until he unlocks Forced Accord at level 6 and the stun for Quibble at level 8. Maxing out Forced Accord keeps it at a fairly low cooldown even with recent changes; importantly, Forced Accord can be used, blocked and used again before Reflex Block comes off of cooldown.
What Phinn Lacks
Phinn is BIG and SLOW. In fact, he is one of the slowest heroes on the fold (Baron somehow making an exosuit slower than a River Troll). Combine his inability to dodge skill shots with his huge hitbox and you have the perfect recipe for infinite Broken Myth and Breaking Point stacks. When team fights move away from him, he is reduced to watching as his carries get melted without being able to do much about it. All of his tankiness is wasted when he cannot hold the frontline.
Both his Quibble and Forced Accord have tells, allowing enemy heroes to spot an opportunity to counter with a Reflex Block or Crucible. Polite Company does bring enemies a bit closer, but is usually not enough to keep them close without a follow-up Quibble or ally ability. In this same vein, bringing enemies close to squishy carries can be disastrous; so positioning becomes that much more important when using Forced Accord or Polite Company. Phinn does decent damage on his own, but requires an organized team (and boots!) to really shine; otherwise, he finds himself on a leisurely walk through the Fold.
Synergizing with Phinn
Phinn has strong synergy with:
- Tanky heroes that can benefit from his fortified health
- Heroes that require stickiness in team fights
- Heroes with stuns or other crowd control
- Heroes with lifesteal or health barriers
- Poke heroes that benefit from a strong frontline while dealing damage
Phinn has mild synergy with:
Mobile heroes that can get in and attack inside of Phinn’s sphere of influence
Heroes that rely on an ally being in the fray with them
So who does Phinn best synergize with?
Blackfeather, out of any of the melee “assassins,” has the most natural synergy with Phinn. Tankier than Koshka or Taka, Blackfeather can use Rose Offensive to cut in and out of fights without fear of being bursted out. The base speed boost and anti-slow from overdriving Feint of Heart effectively neutralizes Phinn’s naturally slow movement speed; in turn, Phinn’s entire kit helps keep enemies close for Blackfeather to build up stacks and wear them down.
Celeste is master of poke and kite, preferring to stay well away from fights. Phinn provides the strong frontline and body blocking to allow her to make it rain on the enemy team. A well-timed Forced Accord into a Core Collapse and Quibble along with Celeste’s AoE damage will remove any enemy team from the Fold.
Glaive is a tank meant to be in the thick of battle, using the lifesteal from his Blood Song stacks to stay alive in fights. The additional fortified health and stickiness from Phinn’s Polite Company can spell doom for the enemy team. In yet another chain stun combo, Glaive can use his Afterburn to knock an enemy back toward Phinn for a Quibble and instant removal.
Kestrel is another poke carry that benefits from Phinn’s peel. She can move around team fights, setting up her Glimmershots while Phinn keeps the enemy team away from her. Also, a Forced Accord into an Active Camo and Quibble is great for team wide AoE chain stuns.
Krul, master of diving straight into the heart of fights, loves to have Phinn around keeping enemies snug. Phinn’s kit—specifically Polite Company’s Fortified Health—amplifies Krul’s inherent abilities to sustain through fights and stick to enemy heroes. Krul’s From Hell’s Heart can be a great way to single out a hero for a follow-up Quibble or Forced Accord.
Ozo has on-paper synergy with Phinn. Ozo’s Heroic Perk, Carnie Luck, works nicely with Polite Company for bonus health, armor and shield; furthermore, Ozo’s A and B skills deal AoE damage to follow up on Forced Accord and Quibble. Fall victim to Ozo’s Bangarang in tandem with Forced Accord and you better hope to have brought some bananas.
Teamwork makes the Reim work. Thanks to recent buffs, Reim provides all the slows, AoE damage and a bruisey team fighting force that Phinn dreams of. Between Reim’s Heroic Perk, Winter Spire, and his B skill, Chill Winds, he has a nice combination of tankiness, CC and zone control. Theoretically, Reim is the perfect wombo to Phinn’s combo, but success is simply a matter of in-game skill, timing and communication.
Rona is another hero that, like Krul and Reim, thrives in the fray. She comes with her own level of tankiness, but add a Phinn and it gets turned up to 11. With his trio of crowd control abilities, Phinn also provides the stickiness necessary for Rona to Red Mist the entire team and spin to win.
Samuel plays an effective siege/poke style with Phinn; the river troll can push down Lane, soaking damage and keeping enemies in front of Samuel—who should focus on building Broken Myth stacks and looking for a engage or counter-engage opportunity. Oblivion can be a difficult spell to hit, but the potential playmaking opportunity using Samuel’s ultimate in conjunction with Forced Accord and/or Quibble is an extremely strong CC chain.
Skye synergizes with most heroes; her kit provides engage, disengage, poke and insane kiting potential. Whether building stacks on Broken Myth or Breaking Point, Skye benefits greatly from Phinn’s ability to keep enemy heroes in the fight and be a meat-shield for incoming poke damage. Death from Above and Forced Accord are both low-cooldown abilities that, when used in tandem, opportunities for isolating single targets or pulling/stunning the entire team open up about every twenty seconds—a powerful combination.
Adagio needs someone in the middle of the enemy team to spread his Gift of Fire and Phinn is happy to oblige. Phinn can also provide the invites to Adagio’s Verse of Judgement through any of his abilities. Needless to say, those Verse of Judgements are much easier to land with Phinn around.
Alpha is somewhat of a hybrid character—she has some tankiness, some single target burst and some AoE damage, without really being exceptional at any. If Phinn can use Quibble to peel for and protect Alpha through Infinite Reboot, the two of them can be a strong frontline duo or skirmishing force. Unfortunately, Alpha doesn’t bring any speed boosts or CC to the party, and is reliant on teammates for long-term lockdown.
Baron presents a bit of a problem for synergy analysis. While it is fair to say that while he synergizes well with Phinn, Baron does not specifically gain anything from Phinn’s kit. However, slows from Porcupine Mortar are great for helping Phinn stick to enemy heroes, and the AoE WP damage from Baron’s Rocket Launcher Heroic Perk and Ion Cannon work well with Quibble and Forced Accord.
In Idris’, weapon power path, he will be diving into the action and can benefit from the added survivability from Phinn. Even in his crystal power path, Idris’ relatively short range requires him to be closer than most, which means he will still rely on Phinn during team fights to add fortified health and keep the enemy team close.
Any hero with a stun to chain with Quibble is going to have some synergy with Phinn, and Joule can do that with her Rocket Leap. The pick potential these two can bring to the table between stuns and Joule’s Big Red Button in incredibly potent, and their early game can be highly dominant in the Jungle. But, Joule becomes trickier to play late game as enemy heroes build more defense, and her limited range makes sieging down Lane tough to pull off.
Koshka has a strong early game and a fuzzy stun; any sort of combination of Yummy Catnip Frenzy, Forced Accord and Quibble provide more than enough lockdown for picking off one of the other team’s carries. However, Koshka’s damage can fall off late game, and Twirly Death isn’t exactly the AoE burst you are looking for. Koshka does not need a slow or disruption to pounce onto her target, but correctly layering CC should overwhelm enemy carries who either don’t have built-in disengage or aren’t quick on their Reflex Blocks.
All Petal wants to do is hammer away at enemies from range, and Phinn is more than happy to keep enemies from quickly closing the gap on her. Petal brings her own heal to the party with Spontaneous Combustion, which opens the door for Captains who lack heals—such as Phinn and Lance—to party on the Fold with her. Any combination of Quibble or Forced Accord with Spontaneous Combustion can devastate the opposition. However, having Lance or Catherine’s extra peel allows Petal to position herself better in the heat of the battle.
SAW appreciates the consistent stuns that Phinn can put out with Quibble on overdrive; the longer enemies are within range of a fully spun up SAW the happier he is. However, when PUSH PUSH comes to shove there are Captains like Lyra and Adagio who provide the heals that SAW needs for his Lane pressure potential to be fully unlocked.
Skaarf’s synergy with Phinn is comparable to Samuel’s, but where Samuel has a long-range CC spell (Oblivion), Skaarf swaps in an AoE damaging spell, Dragon Breath. The result is that Skaarf provides more teamfight synergy with Phinn, while Samuel plays better into a pick composition. Phinn’s tankiness and ability to keep targets close allows Skaarf to crank out fireballs and build up Broken Myth stacks; in turn, the slow from Goop helps keep Phinn close to enemies and sets up easier Quibble-stuns. However, Skaarf’s Goop can accomplish half the work Phinn’s endless CC provides.
Vox, like Idris, has a shorter than normal ranged attack. Phinn keeps the enemies close while providing him the extra layer of protection to overcome his squishiness. A Wait For It can silence the enemy team allowing Phinn to use the Forced Accord into Quibble combo on the entire team. Pull this combo off and you’ll be the only team dancing on the Fold.
Phinn’s presence adds survivability and peel for any hero. He synergizes well with heroes that deal lots of damage when they can stick to enemy opponents. Although he can provide this for every hero, some heroes are too mobile to synergize well with Phinn and his kit. Whether it’s diving or kiting, Phinn is not a phann (fine, we’ll stop), leaving other Captains more suited for these type of team compositions. Phinn prefers to control a single area, declaring dominance with his stuns and crowd control, and allowing his allies to reinforce his claim.
In recent patches, Phinn has not seen much action, especially with the heavy poke and kite meta. But as the meta slows down and becomes much more Lane-focused with recent changes to the Jungle in update 2.0, Phinn could be a strong pick with his ability to control an area and protect carries from poke.
A well-played Phinn will always be viable for his ability to create engagements. Different builds and styles of play will come in-and-out-of-meta, but the playmaking opportunities Phinn provides allow him to synergize with nearly every hero, making him a lot of fun to play or play with. We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Support Synergy. Now get back out on the Fold with a friend and pull in some fish!
Khamster: Vainglory Village Idiot. @KHamsterVG on Twitter.