Strategy Theorycrafting 2

The New Broken Myth (v1.5.0): A Comprehensive Guide

broken-mythgreater than symbolshatterglassquestion_mark (trimmed bottom)

In the latest version of Vainglory, there were some major revisions to the item, Broken Myth, and there are some questions floating about:

  • Is the new Broken Myth viable?
  • When should I buy it and for which heroes?
  • How does it work?

By the end of this post, you should have all these answers (and much more).

Let’s begin with the official item description:

  • 3100 gold
  • +70 Crystal Power (CP)
  • +10% Shield Pierce
  • Passive: Amplify all crystal damage by 10% for each second you are in combat with heroes, turrets, or Kraken. After 5 seconds, you lose a stack each second. 3 stacks max.

The next part of this post speaks in detail about how the items works, particularly how you build, maintain, and lose stacks. If you feel like you’re already an expert on that topic, skip over it and move on to the next section. Admittedly, I believe even some experienced players will be surprised with some of “How it Works” details.

How it Works

For each “stack” you build on Broken Myth, you get +10% to all your crystal damage, up to a maximum of 30% (i.e. three stacks). This means that ANY crystal damage created by your hero is increased by that percent. This includes:

  • Base ability damage
  • Additional ability damage created by crystal power items and crystal power ratios
  • Crystal damage from item activations, such as Alternating Current and Aftershock

You build a stack for each second you’re in combat. “In combat” is defined by the following activities:

  • You damage a tower, an enemy hero, or the Kraken.
  • You are damaged by a tower, an enemy hero, or the Kraken.

When I say “damage,” I mean it in its most broad and liberal form. Damage could take place via abilities or basic attacks. As long as that damage is being dealt to or dealt by an enemy hero, tower, or Kraken, you will build an additional stack of bonus crystal damage. However, no matter how frequently you are dealing damage or being damaged, you cannot build more than one stack per second.

Specific ways you can build stacks:

  • Causing damage with your abilities.
  • Basic attacks. You could build stacks by harassing your opponents with random basic attacks. You could also build up stacks by laying a few basic attacks on a nearby tower or Kraken.
  • Damage-over-time effects. Any ability that continues to deal damage over time (DoT) will generate a Broken Myth stack every second that it’s actively damaging a target. Examples of this include: Skaarf’s Spitfire, Adagio’s Gift of Fire, Taka’s X-Restu, and the bleed effects from Fortress’s Law of the Claw and Attack of the Pack. As a creative example, you could place a Skaarf Goop underneath a tower, ignite it, and build a stack for each second the tower is being damaged.
  • Taking a beating. You could be running away from an enemy hero that is attacking you and then, after 3 seconds of building stacks, suddenly turn around and hit him in the face with a bonus 30% crystal damage.
  • Any combination of the above. Broken Myth is incredibly relaxed when it comes to building stacks in any combination of methods. In my testing, the one thing that did not build stacks was the damage from scout traps.

Now that you have a more thorough understanding of how stacks are built, let’s talk about how stacks are maintained and/or lost. There is a 5-second timer that is refreshed each time you deal damage to or are damaged by a tower, enemy hero, or Kraken. If at any point that 5-second timer ticks down to 0 without any of the aforementioned damage transactions, you will begin to lose one stack per second. If at any point during the loss of stacks, you deal damage to or are damaged by heroes/towers/Kraken, you will immediately gain another stack and the timer will once again reset to 5 seconds.

It’s worth noting that if you’re using a hit-and-run strategy with a hero – such as some Taka and Koshka builds – you will probably not get much value from Broken Myth because you will not stay in the fight long enough to build up stacks.

The Principles of Purchasing Broken Myth

In the previous version of Broken Myth, more stacks gave you more shield piercing, so the purchasing decision often revolved around whether or not your opponents were building shield defenses. The new Broken Myth, however, has a flat shield piercing that is equivalent to a Piercing Shard (10%). As a result, I’m not going to spend time talking about the shield pierce; instead, I’m going to focus on the benefits of its unique passive.

Broken Myth’s passive may make it a good purchasing decision if one or more of your abilities…

  • … has a low crystal power ratio.
  • … has a high base damage.
  • … receives bonus damage from something other than crystal power (CP).

Here’s some notable examples of situations where Broken Myth will most likely outperform another tier 3 crystal item (e.g. Shatterglass):

Teh Mathz

So, let’s show you how the math works out for Broken Myth. First, I want to note that a Broken Myth (3100 gold) with no stacks is the equivalent of a Piercing Shard + Heavy Prism (1950 gold) and will almost never outperform a comparable tier 3 item such as a Shatterglass (3000 gold). That being said, I’m going to be focusing on how a fully stacked Broken Myth compares to a Shatterglass.

In this first spreadsheet screenshot, I’ll be making a few assumptions:

  • Each ability is at max rank
  • Your target has an average level 12 base shield defense of 80 (i.e. no shield defense items)
  • You have not previously purchased crystal power and are deciding what your first item should be: Broken Myth or Shatterglass.

Broken Myth 0 CP

Focusing on the two rightmost columns, you can see which abilities benefit most from Broken Myth as well as the percentage damage increase over purchasing a Shatterglass. In situations where Shatterglass is the superior choice, you will see a negative percentage, indicating how much worse a Broken Myth would be for your damage output.

The highest percent an ability can receive is 40%. Assuming an ability lacks a CP ratio, it will get 10% bonus damage from the shield pierce and 30% from the Broken Myth passive. The average performance advantage of Broken Myth is 14%, with a median of advantage of 18%. Here’s some of the notable Broken Myth synergies:

  • As previously expected and noted, Wait for it and Spectral Smite are top performers due to their lack of CP ratios.
  • Core Collapse, Spectral Smite‘s damage per stack, From Hell’s Heart, and Bloodsong are also top performers because they have moderately high base damages in proportion to their low CP ratios (less than or equal to 50%).
  • You can see the remainder of the solid performers if you look for percentages around 15% or higher. In general, the heroes that seem to benefit the most are Celeste, Fortress, Glaive, Koshka, Krul, and Taka.

Let’s discuss some of the abilities where the Broken Myth doesn’t seem to be the best fit:

  • Pulse (resonance bonus damage), Twisted Stroke, and Twirling Silver have 0 base damage with pure CP scaling. You would need to first obtain approximately 150 CP to artificially increase the base damage before Broken Myth will be useful.
  • Hellfire Brew does true damage (i.e. 100% shield pierce), so Broken Myth’s 10% shield pierce is a wasted stat here – i.e. 600 gold down the drain – allowing Shatterglass to edge out Broken Myth in performance. However, once you get to around 150 CP – which seems to be the magic number today – Broken Myth will be begin to break even in performance with Shatterglass.
  • Mad Cannon does bonus damage equal to 15% of target’s missing health, so Broken Myth will often be superior in scenarios where opponents are at less than 80% health.

That being said, if we move you forward in time and pretend that you already purchased a Shatterglass (150 CP) and ask yourself whether you should get a second Shatterglass or a Broken Myth, the answer is almost unanimously the latter:

Broken Myth 150 CP

The average advantage of a Broken Myth has now jumped to 22%, with a median of 23%. The only ability that seems to still fall a tiny bit behind is Hellfire Brew, but it’s so close that it’s practically breaking even with the option of purchasing a second Shatterglass.

If you want to play with the numbers yourself, here’s a link to my spreadsheet. Just save a copy to your computer or Google Docs, then you can fiddle with the CP and shield numbers in column B and the spreadsheet will recalculate everything for you.

For full disclosure, there’s a handful of abilities that have special “rules” to their damage. I have highlighted those in bright yellow.

  • Hellfire Brew does true damage, meaning that it always has 100% pierce to shield defenses. I have factored this into the calculations.
  • Roadie Run and Mad Cannon deal additional damage equal to a percentage of the target’s missing life. There’s no way for me to accurately factor this into the calculation since it’s circumstantial. You’ll have to use your judgment on this one, but I’m inclined to believe Broken Myth will have great synergies with those abilities.
  • Dragon Breath (at max rank) has 45% shield pierce built into it. I have factored this into the calculations.
  • X-Retsu (when you’re level 12) deals an extra 68 damage per second for 4 seconds, totaling an additional 272 damage and does not have a crystal ratio to it. I have factored this into the calculations as well.

So what?

There’s a few potentially significant implications from the new Broken Myth.

Overriding Previous Nerfs

Not too long ago, Vox’s ultimate, Wait for it,  was so overpowered that they had to remove the CP ratio to prevent it from scaling into a late game nightmare. Likewise, Aftershock was such an overused – potentially abused – item that they reduced the percent-of-max-health damage from 20% to 15%. With a fully stacked Broken Myth, Aftershock will now be back to its previous 20% glory – albeit not by itself – and Vox’s ultimate could potentially devastate entire teams again.

A Lack of Heavy Shield Pierce Items

When fully stacked, the previous Broken Myth could reach 35% shield pierce, acting as an effective counter to enemy teams who were building shield defenses. Now, you can only achieve 10% shield pierce per item slot (at most). This means that building a team composition that is heavily crystal damage might be to your detriment because the opposing team could probably shut down your damage output with a few Aegises or Fountains.

Teams should be encouraged to try to make sure their lane carry and jungle carry are building opposite damage types, forcing opponents to choose which damage type they’re going to defend against. To help with this, there are certain carries that are almost always predominantly one damage type. For example, if you see a Koshka, Celeste, or Skaarf, you can assume that they’re going to be crystal damage and the other carry should plan on a weapon power build. Thankfully, there’s several heroes that are flexible in what damage type they can build, such as: SAW, Taka, Joule, and Krul.

Hybrid Builds

Speaking of balancing damage types…

Imagine a weapon power SAW that can delete someone with Roadie Run or explode them with Mad Cannon. Imagine a Breaking Point (i.e. weapon power) Krul whose Spectral Smites hit like a truck. Imagine a weapon power Joule that can wipe out a team with his Big Red Button. By throwing in a single Broken Myth, these scenarios might all be possible. You could also foresee similar hybrids coming from weapon power builds on Vox and Taka.

This isn’t, however, just about balancing damage types; it could be a new form of counter building. As an example, if you see your opponents building lots of armor to mitigate your weapon damage, there’s usually one primary option: Bonesaw. However, there might be an alternative option now: let them mitigate your basic attacks and go around those defenses by hitting harder with your abilities. I haven’t performed any formal testing of this, so I’m just giving some food for thought.

Tanky Mages

Since we’ve observed that a fully stacked Broken Myth is probably the most efficient damage item, imagine a mage hero – such as Celeste or Skaarf – with a Broken Myth, Eve of Harvest, and a bunch of armor and shield defense. I’ve already seen the potential of this strategy in the most recent round of ESL Matches with BestCelesteEU. If you were to take this build and replace Shatterglass with Broken Myth, we might see some very annoying mages running around Halcyon Fold.

Thanks for reading! I want to see any exciting or unique builds you guys think up. Feel free to post a link or screenshot to your build in the comments below and I’ll be happy to analyze it with you.

— Gadianton, Chief Theorycrafter at


  • Reply
    Jun 02, 2015 11:36 am

    I’m very impressed with your analysis. Almost seems like you are basis toward BM…. I now have a much better understanding with this updated item and cant wait to try it myself. I’m especially curious how this new BM is going to work with Krul and Taka and how much difference it will make in actual combat.

    • Reply
      Jun 02, 2015 1:56 pm

      It does come across biased, doesn’t it? However, I just stated the facts and the facts are heavily weighted in favor of BM. Nonetheless, I did try to do my own due diligence by stating several circumstances where it would not be a good fit and even saying that a BM with no stacks is not even close to comparable to an SG.

      One example I neglected to mention (because it’s kind of an obvious one) is that if you want to open a fight with a particular ability, it’s not going to have all those pretty stacks built up. This falls under a similar heading as hit-and-run tactics (which was mentioned in the post), where you’re engaging without stacks.

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