Vela - Empires and Puzzles Hero of the Month - HOTM Review UPDATED

Vela became one of the most used defensive heroes in Empires and Puzzles. Combined with Telluria or Heimdall, or other green tank, she became a staple of diamond tier defenses. Vella was the Legendary 5* HOTM for the game in January 2020, coming just before Jean-Francois and Telluria.

UPDATE: Vela received a second nerf in August 2020 and a third nerf in October 2020 and this review has been updated to reflect the changes. 
Vela Hero Card - January HOTM

Vela's Stats:

  • Mana Speed: Fast
  • Level: Legendary 5*
  • Class: Druid
  • Element: Blue - Ice
  • Attack: 743
  • Defense: 729
  • Health - HP: 1303
  • Innate talent:  resists incoming negative effects and damage from Minions.

Vela Special Skill:Aquatic Outbreak

  • All enemies receive 208  156 Water damage over 4 turns. (Reduced to 3 turns in August 2020)
  • All Fire enemies get -34% attack for 4 turns. (reduced from 54% in May 2020 rebalance update). (Deleted in August 2020.)
  • All enemies get -34%  -24%ttack for 3 turns. (Added in August 2020)
  • Deals extra damage against Fire. (Deleted August 2020)
  • Element link gives all Ice allies +10% critical chance for 6 turns. This effect can't be dispelled.

Vela HOTM Review:

Vela was the January 2020 Hero of the Month (HOTM). At first most players did not realize how powerful she was, but over time, she became appreciated as one of the best heroes in Empires & Puzzles. In fact, Vela became viewed as so overpowered that Small Giant decided the game had become unbalanced because of Vela's combination with powerful green/nature tanks like Telluria. In the May 2020 rebalance, Vella's special skill was nerfed down in two ways:
  • Amount of extra Water damage to Fire enemies reduced.
  • Attack ailment to all Fire enemies reduced from -54% to -34%.
Even after the rebalance, Vela has remained devastating on defense largely due to the extra damage dealt against red/fire heroes. This is what created the great synergy with green tanks like Telluria, Heimdall or Yunan, since normally you want to bring red/fire heroes against a green tank, but Vela made that strategy risky because she could almost single-handedly destroy a red mono or red 3/2 attack team.  Because of this, it is possible that Vela could receive a further "rebalance."  (That's what I wrote in the original review and was right, since Vela was nerfed again in August 2020).  Personally, I hope not. (It happened).  However, the rebalance of Vela was intended to reduce the prevalence of defenses featuring Telluria at tank and Vela on flank (next to tank).  It did result in some reduction, but only by about 10%.  So in the diamond raid tier, you still see Vela-Telluria combos about 60%-70% of the time.

UPDATE: The game developers decided to try a second "rebalance" in August 2020 because the original nerf did not reduce the prevalence of Vela-Telluria defenses. They removed the extra damage on Fire enemies. This does undo the good synergy Vela had with green tanks. However, even after this nerf, Vela remains a strong defensive hero. 

UPDATE 2: Vela still was so strong that she got a third "rebalance" in October 2020. This time, her attack ailment was reduced to -24% from -34%. I have tested this version of Vela and still find her very strong on defense.

Since Vela still remains a strong hero, it is unlikely that Vela plus green tank defenses will disappear. This is especially true for people who put a lot of emblems on Vela. It takes a lot of food/iron to do that, even after the October 2020 change that gave you a 20% refund of the food/iron put in if you use a token to remove emblems. So most players don't want to pull off the emblems and put them somewhere else if they do not have to. With this nerf, I think some players will do that, but for most, they will just leave their emblems on Vela due to the high cost of the change. If the game developers really want to make a substantial reduction in the Vela+Telluria defenses, I think they will need to figure out a way to do a full food/iron refund, like maybe giving food/iron bundles to player who remove emblems from Vela.

UPDATE: With the October 2020 nerf of Telluria, I expect that there will be a large reduction in the frequency of green tanks, although they still will remain the most popular color. There will be some reduction of Telluria on defense, replaced by Yunan or Heimdall. 

Vela Packs a Good Punch on Defense

Vela now hits all heroes moderately hard, and also casts a -24% attack ailment on all heroes. That makes Vela still a great defense hero, since she does this with fast mana. This special skill no longer is crippling on red enemies, but it does put a lot of damage and ailment on an opposing team.

Vela's Fast Mana and Decent Attack Make Her Good in Events and Raid Attacks

Although not as dominant in raid attacking as she is on defense, Vela still is good. Her fast mana, combined with strong special skill makes her a great addition to a blue stack in raids. And, if the opponent has any fire/red heroes, Vela is devastating on them.

Vela Against Titans

In addition, Vela gives all her allies a +10% critical chance.  This is very useful against titans. I have reduced her titan grade, since she no longer is extra strong against red enemies.

Vela Has Powerful Synergies with Other Heroes

Due to Vela's unique combinations of special skills, she has great synergies with other heroes:
  • Green / Nature Tanks:  (Vela no longer has a special synergy with green tanks after the August 2020 nerf).
  • Finley:  Finley is also considered one of the most powerful heroes in the game. Increasingly you see top players putting Finley on wing in defense, with Vela on the opposite flank.  One reason is Finley's defense down works very well with Vela's attack on everyone (AoE) special skill.  Another is combining Vela with a green tank means you reduce the chance that the attacker will bring green heroes to the fight, since they want to bring red heroes to kill the tank fast. No greens provides protection for Finley (and Vela) against green, which they are weak against.
  • Any Defense Down Special Skill Hero:  Because of Vela's AoE special skill, defense down specials work well with her.

Vela's Emblem / Skill Path:

Vela's primary power is in the damage she can inflict on enemies. Even though she is great for defense, you gain a greater advantage by increasing her attack stat.  On balance, I recommend the attack-defense route on the Druid class talent grid.  

Vela Grading:

  • Attack: B
  • Overall Defense: B
    • Tank: C
    • Flank: B+
    • Wing: B
  • Titans: B
  • Raid Tournaments:
    • Rush: B
    • Buff Booster: B+
    • Bloody Battle: B+
Overall Vela Rating: B
NOTE:  I have lowered Vela's ratings further after all the rebalance changes that have been made to her. Having played with my Vela some more, I have viewed a downgrade as appropriate.. For example, I consider her a borderline B- for defense teams now, even attacking titans, and have reduced her to B. What do you think?  Should I lower her ratings further, or raise her up a little?

Comments

Unknown said…
I feel that the new vela "nerf" was actually a buff. Now her attack down just doesn't affect reds, but all. So she is essentially a Zeline, plus water damage. If she also had a buff/aligment dispel, it would be overly crazy.
ODog said…
I agree that the first nerf was like a buff, since it gave the attack ailment to everyone. The new October nerf seems to be a real nerf, since the attack ailment has been reduced. She's still strong on defense, just not as good.
Cernicalo said…
Overall Rating still Shows A+, though All valide are <B
I arger in B as she still can be troublesome with the right allies. Even if newer hero’s replaced her now in the top teams.
Telly said…
@Cericalo: Thanks for catching that. Fixed. Yes, I agree Vela still has use, and I still use her often in a blue stack; the attack down ailment slows down the other side nicely.