In this Arena of Valor Hero guide, we are going to analyze the different aspects of AoV’s Heroes and how to utilize them in-game in order to defeat your foes. Although you might think that all you need to do is pick a Hero and read through his kit, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So without further ado, let’s get right started with our Arena of Valor Hero guide!
- Hero Classes and Roles
- Reliance on Items/ Experience
- Team Composition
Hero Classes and Roles
In AoV every Hero is assigned a class and a role to represent what they excel at. You will find information about both in the Heroes department – it’s even possible to distribute the Heroes by their class. The Hero’s role will always display next to the class as soon as you click their profile.
Classes give you a first idea of the general purpose of the Hero, therefore our Arena of Valor Hero guide will analyze them to begin with. As of now, there are 6 main classes:
One of the most forward classes, a Tank’s primary purpose is to soak up tons of damage while providing good utility with Crowd Control. Their damage output is (usually) rather low in exchange for their disruptive abilities and high defensive stats.
Therefore Tanks rarely accumulate large amounts of kills. They often struggle in 1v1 situations but excel at teamfighting. As the game goes on, Marksmen are the only class that can take down Tanks efficiently. Most bursty types of Heroes will struggle against their large health pool later on; however, early into the game, Mages and Assassins can definitely take down a Tank with few defensive stats.
A rather diverse group of Heroes with short combat range, good amounts of damage and decent survivability. They thrive in extended fights and can also burst down squishy Heroes. Due to the variety of the class, you will find Warriors with very high mobility and less durability as well as immobile Heroes with massive damage and tankiness.
They usually do well against Assassins due to overall high offensive and defensive stats. However, they struggle against the long-range damage output from Mages and Marksmen and can easily be kited. Crowd Control can also heavily cripple their gameplan because they cannot withstand as much damage as Tanks.
Probably one of the most popular classes – not surprising given that Assassins have access to huge amounts of mobility and damage. They specialize in sneaking behind their foes and assassinating careless squishy targets before slipping back to safety. Marksmen, Mages and squishy Support Heroes are their main prey.
While they provide a ton of burst, Assassins themselves are just as squishy as their targets. Therefore positioning and decision-making is exceptionally important making them probably the most difficult class to master.
Crowd Control is their biggest enemy. There is no way to make it out alive once you got locked down as an Assassin. You usually want to keep your distance from Tanks and Warriors because it’s really difficult to kill those beefy Heroes in one rotation of your abilities – if you don’t succeed in killing them, they will bring you down.
Mages provide large amounts of magic damage for their team. Most of them also have access to long-range, CC and Area-of-Effect damage (AoE). They lack consistent damage but the high damage numbers of their abilities make up with a lot of burst.
The majority of mages have low defensive stats and close to no mobility which makes them easy targets for mobile Heroes such as assassins. They also struggle with taking down tanks due to the lack of DPS.
With enough map awareness or protection, they can wreak havoc and easily devastate the whole enemy team’s health bars though. Mages can also usually deal pretty well with Marksmen throughout the game because their high-ranged burst is usually enough to one-shot them.
Another very popular class, which isn’t too surprising considering that the first Hero we get to know is as Marksman as well.
Marksmen are the consistent damage output and late-game insurance for a team. While they struggle early on, their late game potential is scary. They cut through a Tank’s (and Warrior’s) health bar like a knife through butter and their damage output with completed item build is enough to burst down squishies in no time. They revolve mostly around the use of basic attacks and physical damage.
In exchange for all the late-game power, most Marksmen sacrifice mobility and/or Crowd Control. While they have access to a decent range, many Mages outrange them. Assassins cause a huge threat throughout the game because their superior mobility and burst can one-shot a Marksman before they even realize what’s happening.
The class generally tends to get focused a lot, not only because of their scaling potential but also due to their vulnerability. Therefore they are usually guarded by a support, later on by several teammates.
So let’s take a look at the least favorite class in or Arena of Valor Hero introduction: The Support class partially overlap with the Tank class. Overall Supports are meant to bring a lot of Crowd Control, Buffs and utility to the table without relying too much on gold and experience.
They tend to be weak on their own but unleash their full potential in teamfights and skirmishes, peeling for teammates or disrupting enemies. Supports often guard the Marksman, but they can and should roam around to help the team as a whole.
Aside from Tanks, there are a couple of Mage Supports. Unlike Tanks they are vulnerable themselves; in exchange, they often provide powerful Buffs, Heals and protection for their teammates.
Although the roles officially describe the Hero’s specialities in-game, the term roles are more commonly used for the lane assignments of the Hero (like Jungle, DS Laner etc.). To avoid confusion we’ll go with specialities in our Arena of Valor Hero guide instead.
Those specialities further concretize the Hero’s main strengths. Always make sure to take a look at what your Hero excels at: This gives you a guideline on how to adapt your gameplay accordingly.
As of now, there are 8 specialities of which each Hero can obtain up to 2:
- Buffs: provide allies bonus stats, shields or other benefits – mainly Support Heroes
- Control: means Crowd Control, any form of disabling abilities like roots, stuns, silence but also slows – mainly Mages, Tanks, Supports
- Finisher: strong potential to finish off low health enemies in fights (e.g. due to damage scaling with missing health) – mainly Assassins
- Harass: focus on frequent poke damage from afar – mainly Mages and Marksman
- Healer: kits that evolve about restoring allies’ HP – mainly Supports, Tanks
- Initiator: hard CC with long-range and/ or paired with decent mobility to start off fights – mainly Tanks and Supports
- Mobility: revolves around being slippery and faster than the enemy, often implies jumps, blinks, dashes – mainly Assassins, some Marksmen and Warriors
- Lifesteal: strong ability to self-sustain and regenerate HP even without any additional items – mainly Tanks and Warriors
How do you know when it’s your Hero’s time to shine? And why? Maybe you’ve asked those questions yourself or you wondered why your Yorn can’t compete with the enemy Fennik as you just arrive in the lane.
That’s why we are going to take a look at the different attributes that impact a Hero’s power curve in our Arena of Valor Hero guide now:
Base Damage and Ratios
This is the most obvious, although by far not the only determinant to measure scaling.
Every Hero has certain base damages and conversion ratios on their abilities. The base damage has a flat value that only increases with levels. Meanwhile, the ratio tells you how much of your additional stats the respective ability can convert into additional damage.
Krixi’s ultimate ability Moonfall, for example, deals 275/350/425 (+0.6 AP) magic damage per hit.
As for Krixi’s ultimate ability, 60% of additional Ability Power will be converted into additional magic damage. You can always check the damage numbers of each Hero in-game to get a first impression of their scaling potential.
Those are especially important for any Arena of Valor Hero who isn’t Auto Attack reliant. Whereas most Marksmen deal consistent DPS (damage per second) with AA’s, other Heroes mainly use abilities to fight their opponents.
Heroes with very low Cooldowns generally have a scaling advantage over others because they naturally gain access to their source of Damage before the enemy does. Keep in mind that some Cooldowns are static while others decrease as you invest more skill points.
Let’s take a look at Lauriel: Only the CD of her ultimate decreases with more levels from 40 down to 30 seconds. Her other abilities have static Cooldowns of 5/10 seconds respectively. Also, her damage numbers aren’t exceptionally high, neither in terms of base damage nor scaling. 5 seconds on her first ability are rather low, but that alone doesn’t suffice to consider Lauriel as a late game Hero.
However, her ultimate grants her bonus Cooldown Reduction (CDR) on her other abilities. This means that especially with additional CDR from items, Lauriel is able to spam her skills nonstop during the 12 seconds her ultimate lasts.
What makes it even scarier is her Passive that has no Cooldown at all. Not only is it an additional source of damage, but it also grants sustain a slow and True Damage:
Divine Punishment: Enemies hit by Lauriel’s abilities become marked. Every 4 marks trigger an explosion that deals 160 (+0.64 AP)ˀ true damage to nearby enemies and slows their movement speed by 50-90% (increases with hero level) for 1 second. Lauriel also recovers 110 HP after the explosion.
True Damage and Percentage Damage
This only applies to a couple of Heroes like Lauriel. Both types of damage indicate strong scaling since there aren’t efficient ways to itemize against them.
The only way to deal with True Damage is by stacking Health. However, stacking HP isn’t efficient either because you need Armor/ Magic Defense as well (if you aren’t sure why not check out our AoV Item guide).
Percentage Damage is nearly as painful, however, Defense can help to lower Percentage Damage that isn’t also True Damage. Annette’s first skill, for example, deals an additional 2% of the enemy’s maximum HP as magic damage. Therefore the damage can be lowered by building Magic Defense.
Both types of damage are incredibly valuable later into the game since they scale with the enemy’s HP (which only grows as Heroes level up and buy more items).
Veres is an exceptionally painful late game Hero since her ultimate deals True Damage that is based on the enemy’s missing HP. It also scales with bonus Attack Damage and it’s CD gets reduced by her other abilities:
Venom: Veres rushes to the target location and commands her snake to split and surface, dealing 300/450/600(+12/16/20%(+4 every skill level)(+1% of AD) of the target’s lost HP) true damage to enemies in a frontal cone area.
Buffs and Steroids
Several Heroes have self-enhancing abilities in their kit that grant them powerful bonuses. There are different types of buffs, offensive, defensive and utility-based:
- Shields: Most commonly found in kits of tanks, supports or warriors. They block incoming damage, effectively granting the target additional HP until the shield is broken or times out. Shields scale with the receiver’s Defense so they become especially powerful on tanky Heroes.
- Heals: Pretty similar to shields Heals are also common for utility Heroes and scale with Defense of the receiver. However, healing will instantly increase the target’s current HP until maximum HP. Unlike shields, heals won’t time out but they can be countered by building Healing Reduction items. They also won’t do anything for targets at max HP.
- Movement Speed: An underestimated Buff. A lot of Heroes have access to speed boosts from their abilities. Being faster than your opponent allows you to control the situation because you can reposition faster, decide to close the gap and engage or run if you cannot win the fight.
- Damage Steroids: Mostly found in the kits of carries, there are tons of damage amplifying Buffs: Attack Speed, bonus damage, additional range to name a few.
Invulnerability and Immunity
Very few Heroes have access to skills that grant short frames during which they cannot be damaged or controlled. If timed right, this allows to dodge large amounts of damage or deadly lockdown.
Heroes with Invulnerability (I-frames)
Heroes with CC Immunity
- D’arcy (he also gains damage reduction but isn’t invulnerable)
- Florentino (partial CC immunity)
Reliance on Items/ Experience
Now that we have a basic understanding of Heroes and their diverse purposes, let’s talk about the importance of gold and experience in our Arena of Valor Hero guide.
You’re right when you’re thinking But every Hero needs levels and Items in order to be efficient. However, this is especially true for certain groups of Heroes whereas others fair decently even with very little gold.
Highly Item dependent
Marksmen are the best example here: They have low base stats and depend heavily on their core Items in order to get Crit, Attack Damage, and Attack Speed to enhance the damage done by their Auto Attacks. Many Marksmen have damage multipliers in their kits: Tel’Annas has an Attack Speed and range steroid on her first ability; Violet strengthens the damage of her next AA’s after using her first ability; Capheny gains additional Crit/ Penetration.
Of course, there are exceptions like Valhein. He has a very limited range without significant steroids to keep up with other Marksmen in the later stages of the game.
Relatively Item and level independent
Supports and Tanks can pretty much always do their job even when being gold and exp starved. Their kits alone usually provide a high amount of utility, CC and help for their team overall. That’s obviously the reason why they also tend to play the Support role.
By building a Support Item and roaming around the map they renounce a large amount of income that instead gets funnelled to the damage dealers of the team.
General rule of thumb
While Marksmen and Supports are excesses when it comes to Item reliance, you can usually go by whether a Hero scales well into the later stages of the game or not. Because higher ratios always convert more of the additional stats from Items, scaling always determines the efficiency of those Items for your Hero.
You learn to love it and to hate it: AoV is a team-based game. Therefore understanding how to work with and around your teammates is key in order to destroy the enemy’s core.
While you obviously cannot influence which Heroes your teammates will pick, you can analyze their picks and identify a gameplan to lead your allies to success. Nearly every Hero in Arena of Valor can perform well in several compositions (the Hero’s speciality already gives you an idea of their purpose and win condition).
Knowing your own team’s win conditions as well as the other team’s will improve your gameplay massively. It allows you to abuse your own strengths and to predict your opponent’s strategies. Even in higher elos some players still fail to understand team comps and keep wondering, why they lost the game despite performing well.
To make sure you won’t be one of them, always look at what your team comp excels at and what they struggle with. Identify the main goal of your composition and then play around it:
This Composition revolves around long-ranged harass to poke down the enemy Heroes so they cannot engage. Ideally, you have some form of disengage (e.g. Annette or Alice) to deny the enemy any engage attempts. Mid-late game you group up and constantly force the enemy to recall while taking down their turrets.
Example Heroes that fit well into Poke Comps:
Tel’Annas, Violet, Krixi, Kahlii, Natalya
Poke Comps tend to struggle against hard engage (mainly Heroes with the Initiator Role).
Unlike Poke Compositions, Splitpush Comps should avoid grouping and teamfighting. Their strengths are potent sidelaners that can 1v1 or even 1v2 the enemy.
In an ideal scenario, they split the map into a 1-3-1, with one Hero in each sidelane and 3 Heroes mid. The enemy team is then forced to send multiple members into the sidelane to deny the enemy free towers. This means the 3 Heroes mid can then pressure their lane, causing a Lose-Lose situation for their opponents.
This comp is difficult to execute in SoloQ because it requires the 2 sidelaners to be even, better ahead of the enemy’s. Once you fall behind, you cannot safely splitpush and the enemy can easily force teamfights, which you naturally struggle at.
Strong Splitpush Heroes involve:
Florentino, Kil’Groth, Airi, Amily, Taara
Splitpush Comps tend to lose against Pick Compositions and hard engage just like Poke Comps. The 3 players mid can easily get collapsed on by the 5 members of the enemy team, what makes this Comp even more volatile until higher elos.
Rather straight forward, Pick Comps excel at picking off single targets and creating a numbers disadvantage for the enemy. Especially in SoloQ players are greedy, don’t check the map as often and aren’t coordinated. Early game those picks give your team easy kills to get ahead. Later on, a single pick can win you the game.
All you need is a decent amount of single-target lockdown and enough follow-up to get the kill.
Heroes with strong pick potential:
Arum, Grock (!), Aleister, Omen, Enzo
While Pick Comps are easy to execute, they tend to struggle with fair 5v5s. Single-target CC isn’t effective when you yourself get blown up by 4 enemies while you’re focused on one enemy. Always try to fish for careless enemies before engaging onto the enemy team.
Teamfight Compositions excel at front-to-back teamfighting in straight 5v5s. They tend to provide a lot of AoE Crowd Control and engage as well as a decent frontline to initiate and soak up damage. You need at least one, better 2 tanks or a warrior so that you don’t lose 2 members just by engaging into a 5-man squad.
The major issue with Teamfight Comps is timing. On paper, it looks straight-forward, but you need your carries to dish out the damage while the frontline goes in. Miscommunication can heavily hinder this Composition’s effective execution, so make sure to be on the same wavelength before a fight starts.
Heroes with great Teamfight potential:
Krixi, Peura, Thane, Capheny, Azzen’Ka, Alice, Ilumia
My team doesn’t have a clear win condition
As we already said, many Heroes fit into different Compositions. This means that most drafted SoloQ teams can play different styles by simply adjusting their gameplay. Just make sure to know your strengths and you should be fine.
While you’ll rarely find a pure teamfight comp, you’ll see teams group up a lot during mid and late game. This is especially true in lower elos where many players don’t know how to close out the game or aren’t sure what to do next once outer towers are down. You can easily abuse this mistake and punish your opponents for not playing around their win conditions.
Now that we’re done with Comps, let’s take a quick look at learning curves in our Arena of Valor Hero guide:
When you check the Heroes section in-game and click on a random Hero, you will find Difficulty as one of four attributes. While this might not seem important at first glance, you definitely want to check it out as a new player.
Difficult Heroes take time to master. They often work around crucial skill shots that you mustn’t miss, they have unique mechanics or they require well-executed combos in order to be effective. This means that they have a steeper learning curve: You will need many more games on Florentino than on Valhein to become equally skilled with the former.
In exchange for a very high skill-floor, those hard Heroes usually offer much more potential than very simple ones. They can carry harder, they can outplay easier, they are versatile. This all comes at the price of a high skill-cap.
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t 1v9 in your first Florentino game. Practice makes perfect!