Strategy 5

Tier 3 Crystal Power Items

In my first months of playing Vainglory the game was dominated by Weapon Power builds. Heroes like Petal, Adagio, Ringo, and even SAW were controlling the meta with their high damage output and Breaking Point. Ever since Breaking Point was changed there has been a shift in the meta towards Crystal Power carries. I figured this would be a great time to visit the tier 3 Crystal Power items to see what’s hot and what’s not.


  • 25% Cooldown Acceleration
  • 2.4 Energy Recharge
  • 35 Crystal Power

These stats wouldn’t make you think this item would be the most popular Crystal Power item in the game. Aftershock has decent CDA, low energy recharge, and as much Crystal Power as an Eclipse Prism that costs 650 gold. So for 2600 gold, what makes this item so good? The fine print:

  • After using an ability, your next basic attack deals 15-20% (level 1-12) of your target’s maximum health as “damage” with +50% lifesteal. Max 400 damage vs non-heroes. 2 second cooldown.

20% of someone’s maximum health is pretty good for a two second cooldown, but to steal 50% of your attack’s damage back as life is also really strong. Too strong? Perhaps. This item is ideal on burst and assassin heroes who have no intention of buying other Crystal Power items, because the triggered active does not scale off total Crystal Power like regular abilities do.

A number of heroes greatly benefit from an item like Aftershock. Any hero with short cooldowns, high base damage on their abilities, or generally tanky champions can like this item. It provides a bit of sustain and a lot of burst while also fixing up some energy issues.

Sadly, I’m not sure what kind of “damage” the Aftershock triggered ability does. Maybe someone will be so kind to chime in and leave a comment clarifying that!

This item is trending in the current meta because it provides so much benefit so early. It can be finished before Weapon or Crystal carries can finish their builds, and does enough damage to turn the tables in most team fights.

Ady’s Rating of Aftershock: Overpowered.


alternating-currentAlternating Current:

  • 50 Crystal Power
  • 40% Attack Speed

Le fine print:

  • Every other basic attack deals 115% of your Crystal Power as bonus “damage”.

Again, another mysterious “damage” claim. I normally only see this item built on Vox (I’ve seen it a number of times on Skaarf, but I’m still skeptical) and for good reason. For 2800 gold this item appears grossly overpriced. It’s not giving you the 150 Crystal Power boost that Shatterglass will give you, but it costs almost as much. Why?

This item has the potential to be the second most “late game” Crystal Power item in the game. Honestly, I think this item is “sleeper OP”. I think it’s good, but no one builds it. If you rush this as a first item on any Crystal carry, you are probably losing the game. The passive ability to deal 115% of your Crystal Power on every other auto attack isn’t doing too great when that damage is only affected by your 50 Crystal Power! 57.5 damage just isn’t enough.

However, if you started Shatterglass and then built Alternating Current, now every other hit has 230 bonus damage! Some would argue and say that if you invested your money in just a Sorrowblade then you’d be in a better place anyway (150 bonus on each attack), and they wouldn’t be wrong in most cases. Most cases, but not all. The two stats that Alternating Current provide are Attack Speed and Crystal Power. The passive ability is just bonus. If you’re playing a hero that scales well with Attack Speed and Crystal Power (ahemVOXhem) then this item has some serious late-game implications.

The meta is currently poised to punish players for building an Alternating Current. The game revolves around early jungle pressure, who can get Tension Bow first, which team picked the bursty early game champion, and for this reason Alternating Current is not one of the best items in the game. Give this item some time, and you’ll see it doing some work in the late game.

Ady’s Rating of Alternating Current: Hipster good.


broken-mythBroken Myth:

  • 10% Shield Pierce
  • 20 Crystal Power
  • Passive: Gain 5% Shield Pierce per second as long as you are in combat with enemy heroes, turrets, or Kraken. After 5 seconds, lose a stack each second. Max 5 stacks.

This is another late bloomer. Gadianton did a review of Broken Myth and said that while the item is situational, almost any Crystal Power carry would want to invest in a Broken Myth as either a second or third item. This only applies to raw damage, as it doesn’t provide any utility other than ignoring a percentage of your target’s Shield, which again translates into damage.

I wouldn’t buy this item on very many heroes. I could see this item being very situational on Vox, Celeste, Skaarf, CP SAW, CP Ringo, and CP Petal. Melees would have a harder time maintaining the passive at five stacks, and therefore get almost no benefit from this item.

Shield Pierce is an expensive statistic. Normally it is 600 gold for 15%, or 40 gold per percentage point. At 35% pierce, this item would be worth 1400 gold at max stacks, plus 300 gold for the 20 Crystal Power. However, this item costs 2150. Like most items in the game, the Shield Pierce stat can be more affordably purchased in smaller items, but item slots plays a large role in deciding what makes it into the finished build.

Ady’s Rating of Broken Myth: Great site, but a situational item.



  • 50% Cooldown Acceleration
  • 250 Max Energy
  • 7.4 Energy Recharge

Hey, what gives? Where’s the fine print??

I think Clockwork could use some fine print. Cooldown Acceleration (CDA) was never clearly explained to me, but I quickly discovered that it stacks and scales linearly. As an example, without any CDA an ability takes 20 seconds to come off cooldown. With 100% CDA that ability can be cast twice in the same amount of time. With another 100% CDA that ability can be cast three times in the same amount of time.

To keep yourself from becoming exhausted (out of energy, amirite??) this item increases your total Energy, while also providing a medium amount of Energy Recharge. Many heroes can function without any Energy items, which makes this item appeal to heroes who rely heavily on their abilities.

25% CDA costs roughly 800 gold and the Energy and Energy recharge costs 750 gold for 5 and 300 for another 2.5. This means that Clockwork granting 50% CDA means it should cost more than 2500, but instead costs 1950. This is a rare time when a Tier 3 item is actually cost efficient. However, because it doesn’t grant any Crystal Power it’s not ideal for most heroes.

Any heroes with high Crystal Power ratios on their abilities would probably be best avoiding this item, but because the reduction is percentage based it’s likely that heroes with longer cooldowns would benefit slightly more. I could see this item being beneficial on Celeste, Glaive, Krul, and Ringo.

Overall, I’m not in love with this item. I feel like the stats it does provide are not as efficient for winning on the Fold. I wish it had some Crystal Power to roll into the mix because without CP it feels lacking.

Ady’s Rating of Clockwork: Affordable Cardboard. Cheap, but you shouldn’t build anything with it.


eve-of-harvestEve of Harvest:

  • 25% Crystal Lifesteal
  • 50 Crystal Power
  • 250 Max Energy
  • 5 Energy Recharge

This item feels like it has a very strong passive, but it’s documented like a stat, which means you can have as many of these as you’d like. Crystal Lifesteal is a stat that you can’t get on any other item. This lets squishy mages build like a glass cannon and then sustain their health through their spells.

League of Legends has a similar stat (spell vamp) that has a diminished effect on any AoE or DoT abilities, reducing the effectiveness to 1/3. Vainglory doesn’t pull punches like that. Skaarf has 1 health point left and lands an ultimate dealing 10 gazillion damage to three players at the same time? What’s 25% of 10 gazillion times three? Full health. I’ve seen some pretty swingy Big Red Buttons, Solar Storms, and Suppressing Fires. This item can save you in a pinch!

50 Crystal Power is fairly middle of the road. No one is complaining about the Energy stats built into this item, because the Crystal Lifesteal encourages you to heal by using your abilities. It is valuing the 25% Crystal Lifesteal at about 950 gold, but for most Crystal heroes that’s a drop in the bucket. At a combined cost of 2500 gold this item provides survivability, sustained Energy, and a bit of damage. It’s not overpriced, and not overpowered. It works well on some heroes, and too well on others. Because Celeste and Vox have Crystal empowered auto attacks, Eve of Harvest actually triggers from their basic attacks.

There are definitely mages that can put Eve of Harvest to great use. I like the numbers it provides, and sometimes that 25% heal can be the difference between life and death.

Ady’s Rating of Eve of Harvest: Effective and Affordable.



  • 85 Crystal Power
  • Passive: Dealing Crystal Damage to enemy heroes will also slow for 1.5 seconds, target can’t be affected by Frostburn against for 2 seconds thereafter. Slows by 15% + 1% per 10 Crystal Power. Max 35% slow.

We’re rounding out the final couple of items, and you probably noticed that Frostburn is a higher Crystal Power item than any other one so far. However, it’s roughly equivalent to a Heavy Prism and Eclipse Prism combined, or 1700 gold. That means the scaling slow needs to be worth at least 500 gold and an item slot.

Last night TheFooJee said that Frostburn was the opposite of OP. I fairly sure there is a term for that, but I could see where he was coming from. It’s really just ability damage and a potential slow. However, the game is so full of crowd control effects and movement speed abilities that it’s probably very rare that you ever need an extra slow that triggers from your ability damage.

This item really only has potential for Celeste, Joule (ew), Petal, Ringo, Skaarf, and Vox. Celeste, Vox, and sometimes even Ringo and Skaarf can apply this passive with their auto attacks. Joule has an ability on a very short cooldown, and Petal can trigger it with her munions. Other than that, it would be very inefficient to try to get value out of the slow.

However, with just a Frostburn and Shatterglass you would have a 35% 1.5 second slow on a 2 second cooldown with the heroes mentioned above. I’d love to compare that to the Shiversteel slow, but 35% and 6 don’t seem to be comparable figures! At least the slow duration is twice as long for ranged heroes with Frostburn, but it doesn’t provide the 600 health that Shiversteel comes with.

If your team is lacking stuns or slows then Frostburn can be a great item to bring more utility to the team. I could see this item working quite well on Celeste to slow a target with Heliogenesis and then catch them in a Core Collapse before their movement speed returns. Or even an auto attack to slow, followed by quick casts of both abilities for even more burst and crowd control.

Ady’s Rating of Frostburn: 6th Man Award. Best-in-slot for the 7th item slot that doesn’t exist.



  • 150 Crystal Power

The Big Kahuna. The Finisher. This puts the “glass” in “glass cannon”.

Shatterglass seems to crush games. If a mage rushes Shatterglass first and didn’t get punished for it, expect that Crystal carry to do well. This item dwarfs the other tier 3 items in sheer Crystal Power. The numbers are immense. Sorry, I’ll stop drooling. This is just a mage’s dreams come true.

Not much to be said about the utility this item brings, if you get it early enough you don’t really need utility because the enemy can’t do much against you when they are dead. At the top of the food chain, Shatterglass doesn’t have anything lurking above its head.

For 3000 gold, Shatterglass is selling you Crystal Power at 20 gold a pop. This matches the pattern we’ve seen a number of times where it’s not as gold efficient as starting items (15 gold per CP), but you’re paying for this much Crystal Power slimmed into one item slot in your inventory.

This item is a must-buy on every Crystal Power carry. If your build is complete and you forgot Shatterglass then you brought a pencil to a gun fight. Don’t be that guy. I don’t care if you’re playing CP Adagio (unless you’re on my team, then I do care). If you don’t have a Shatterglass as one of your items when you’re supposed to be the carry then you deserve to lose. Ouch. Band-aid off fast!

Ady’s Rating of Shatterglass: Top Honors.




  • Reply
    Apr 25, 2015 7:24 am

    Frostburn works very well on Vox with his Pulse for an over 50% slow effect. Vox’s ultimate to initiate + Frostburn ion the carry….that’s a teamfight swing right there. It also is THE pursuit item in the game. There is none other like it.

    Skaarf needs Clockwork. it is the only item with enough energy regen for his abilities and he lives and dies with his ultimate. Skaarf needs CW + SG + Eve + BM and he is done as a glass cannon. Also Skaarf if a solo laner should consider maxing SG first so his goop wipes minions faster than any other player (even Celeste). SG + Goop is the game’s biggest defensive play. If the enemy are no building shield (dumb) skip the Broken Myth and get a Frostburn to slow and then Fan the Flames.

    Nice site.

    • Reply
      Apr 25, 2015 9:42 am

      I wasn’t sure if Frostburn worked with Pulse because Pulse doesn’t deal damage so I just tried it in a practice game and it does add to the slow.

      Skaarf is reliant on his ultimate, but I wasn’t sure how critical CDA was for him.


      • Reply
        Apr 25, 2015 12:28 pm

        Eve + CW is a very large pool and a mega ton of regen. Energy wise i think thats a bit over kill. I do appreciate the amount of CDA CW offers on skaarf, but i dont find team fight breaking out as often as to require an item slot. I’m a defensive item kinda guy or if FB or another SG if it strikes ur fancy.

        FB is always an effect i want but never really got. On Vox, its very powerful. But i keep valuing other items over it. for example i would rather have a aftershock if i want that carry dead faster before he can get away. If i have another slot for vox i would definite get FB. but til then i will stick to my SG and AC.

  • Reply
    Apr 22, 2015 1:40 pm

    Awesome analysis as usual!

    This seals it, too, at least imho: one of Vox’s best builds in the current meta would be Boots, Aegis, Eve of Harvest, Shatterglass and Alternate Current, built in that order.

    Toss in a situational Aftershock (for enemies stacking Crucibles) or additional defense (for enemies stacking WP) and you’re essentially a late-game monster.

  • Reply
    Apr 22, 2015 10:47 am

    I tried the 6 clockwork Taka…

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