Strategy Theorycrafting 3

Tyrant’s Monocle v1.10: A Comparative Analysis

Tyrant's Monocle 1.10 Banner

As far back as I can remember (November 2014), Tyrant’s Monocle has remained an unchanging fixture in Vainglory’s item lineup – until now. In Vainglory’s 1.10 update, Tyrant’s Monocle is receiving its first – albeit slight – change:

  • Before 1.10 = 50 weapon power, 30% critical chance, 30% critical damage
  • After 1.10 = 50 weapon power, 40% critical chance, 20% critical damage

The shifting of 10% from critical damage to critical chance had me curious. Will this be better or worse than before? By how much? What will the impact be to weapon builds? I dusted off some spreadsheets and went to work.


To effectively analyze Tyrant’s Monocle,  we need to look at it from a few different angles. First, how well does it perform as a core (first) weapon or complementary (subsequent) weapon? Second, within a weapon build, does it work better in longer or shorter combat engagements?

Unless otherwise stated, the proceeding analyses use these assumptions:

  • 140 base weapon power and 120% base attack speed vs. 80 armor. These numbers were generated by calculating the average values across all currently existing heroes when at level 12.
  • Also, to accommodate for the uncertainty of critical hit chance, the bonus damage of critical hits has been amortized.
  • Lastly, all calculations are for basic attacks only (i.e. the primary damage source of weapon power builds). Abilities and heroic perks are not factored into these calculations, but I will address that at the end of this article.

Note: while I have done my best to accommodate our mobile-based readers, some of the graphics in this post might be better suited for a larger screen, such as a tablet or laptop. You can tap (or click) on any graph to view a larger version. 

Tyrant’s Monocle as a Core Weapon

A core weapon is the foundation of a weapon power build. It’s often the first tier three weapon completed and provides moderate to heavy amount of raw weapon power, thus setting the stage for complementary weapons (more on that later). There are four items that compete for this spot in a weapon build: Tyrant’s Monocle, Sorrowblade, Tension Bow, and Serpent’s Mask.

First, let’s compare the old Tyrant’s Monocle to itself:

Tyrant's Monocle: Old vs. NewThe initial good news is that the new Monocle is better than the old one. More specifically, it’s better by about 3%. This may seem small, but for anyone who has tried optimizing gameplay before, gaining a few percentage points here and there can really begin to add up to something significant. Also, many will agree it’s much better that SEMC make small changes to the game rather than Tyrant’s Monocle becoming an overpowered flavor-of-the-month.

Now, the real question: how does the new Monocle measure up to the other core weapons?

1.10 Comparison of Core Weapons

Let’s quickly break down what is being observed here:

  • Sorrowblade Is the overall king of damage output, providing a steady stream of heavy weapon power and quickly outpacing every other item.
  • Tension Bow is the king of poke, burst, and quick engagements (i.e. less than one second).
  • Serpent’s Mask is at the bottom of the pack, but this can be expected since it’s often prized for it’s lifesteal. This chart is also factoring in the fact that Serpent’s Mask is being reduced from 90 weapon power to 75 weapon power.
  • Tyrant’s Monocle fights a constant tug-of-war for second place as Tension Bow gets a burst of damage every six seconds.

Here’s the problem I’m seeing when it comes to Tyrant’s Monocle as an optimal first weapon choice: it’s not the king of long or short engagements. Those titles are respectively held by Sorrowblade and Tension Bow. And even though Monocle seems to be on a par with Tension Bow for damage output, its price tag is 450 gold higher, making it a less efficient choice.

Tyrant’s Monocle as a Complementary Weapon

A complementary weapon typically focuses on attributes such as attack speed, critical chance, critical damage, and armor pierce/shred. Each of these attributes can play an important role in a weapon power build; however, without a foundation of raw weapon power (i.e. a solid core weapon), you’re essentially trying to kill your opponent with a million paper cuts. As example of this, let’s see how Tornado Trigger and Bonesaw – both complementary weapons – perform as a first weapon purchase.

Sorrowblade vs. Complementary WeaponsWhile this graph shows how Sorrowblade makes Tornado Trigger and Bonesaw look like kids’ toys, the reality is that these items are meant to complement each other, not compete with one another. Let’s now move the story forward in time a little bit and assume we’ve already purchased a Sorrowblade and trying to figure out what we should purchase next. Interestingly enough, Tyrant’s Monocle has the attributes of both a core weapon (i.e. a moderate amount of raw weapon power) and a complementary weapon (i.e. critical chance and critical damage). Since Monocle didn’t win in the core weapon category, let’s see how well it does as a complementary weapon.
Sorrowblade + ...If you’re on a cell phone right now, this is probably quite the eye chart. Let me break it down for you:

  • Tyrant’s Monocle as well the option of a second Sorrowblade take the lead for the first 1.5 seconds of combat, after which Tornado Trigger takes over with a fairly steep incline in damage potential. Also, the second Sorrowblade begins to slightly edge out the Tyrant’s Monocle as a better purchase.
  • Bonesaw’s aggregate damage grows at a slower rate at first since it needs to build up stacks of armor shred before reaching prime effectiveness. It overtakes the second Sorrowblade and Tyrant’s Monocle at around 2.75 seconds, putting it in second place to Tornado Trigger for the king of the longer engagements. Admittedly, this story might be more in favor of Bonesaw if the opponent had built some additional armor defense, but we’re not here to do an in-depth analysis on Bonesaw right now.

So, it seems that Tyrant’s Monocle isn’t an optimal choice for engagements longer than a couple seconds. However, it might be an optimal choice as a second weapon if we intend to do more poking or shorter engagements. Actually, that’s not true either. It wouldn’t be fair to place our bets on a poking king without including Tension Bow in the mix. Here’s an updated graph where I added Tension Bow as a choice for second item purchase:
Sorrowblade + ... (w/ Tension Bow)In this graph, you’ll notice that 1.5 seconds is the magical spot. Before that point, Tension Bow reigns supreme (again) as the best second item choice for short engagements. After 1.5 seconds of continuous combat, Tornado Trigger reigns supreme as the best second item for longer-term, steady damage output. Sadly, this once again leaves Tyrant’s Monocle as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Concluding Thoughts

While the math in the article seems to indicate Tyrant’s Monocle struggles (it does), there are some scenarios where it can play a specialty role (and maybe that’s its intended purpose):

  • Assuming you’re considering a third item after purchasing a Sorrowblade and Tornado Trigger, my initial calculations seem to indicate that Monocle could be an optimal pick. This only works because both the attack speed and initial critical chance/damage from Tornado Trigger synergize with Monocle’s bonuses. However, building yet another expensive tier three weapon means you’re either in extraordinarily long game or you’re going for a completely glass cannon (no defensive items) – neither of which I recommend.
  • Joule’s Thunderstrike can do critical damage, but cannot take advantage of Tension Bow procs; therefore, Monocle would be superior as a poking weapon. However, this might be a toss up with Tornado Trigger, the latter of which would allow you to poke more frequently, but with less chance to crit. If you’re confident in your ability to consistently land Thunderstrikes, Monocle is probably your better option.
  • For heroes with large attack speed bonuses (e.g. SAW’s and Rona’s heroic perks, Ringo’s Twirling Silver), players may experience difficulties stutter stepping fast enough to take advantage of the large attack speed boost from a Tornado Trigger. In fact, for a fully spun up SAW, I’m pretty sure the attack speed bonus of Tornado Trigger is worthless. In such scenarios, Monocle (or Breaking Point)  is most likely your best option for critical chance and damage.
  • Speaking of Breaking Point, it was largely left out of this article because it’s a beast of its own and a bit of an enigma when it comes to weapon builds. It can function as either a core item or a complementary item and it really only plays a significant role in combats longer than five seconds, which really doesn’t help with most of the analyses in this article. That being said, expect to hear more about Breaking Point in the future.

— Gadianton


  • Reply
    Nov 29, 2015 6:51 pm

    Something to note, not directly mentioned in the article. Abilities and heroic perks do not factor in base weapon power. This notably impacts poke/burst potential and Taka’s heroic perk.

  • Reply
    Nov 03, 2015 10:55 am

    So, Would you recommend purchasing a tyrants monocle for the 1.10 Taka?

  • Reply
    Nov 03, 2015 6:00 am

    Thank you. I know how I am going to try adjusting by next weapon build.

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