In Elo Hell? Hellhound Fortress gets you OUT by Chocolated

In Elo Hell? Hellhound Fortress gets you OUT

By: Chocolated
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2017
5 Votes
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Fortress

Build: Captain - Support your Allies

Ability Path

Packmates
Heroic Perk
Truth of the Tooth
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Law of the Claw
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Attack of the Pack
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Introduction Top

Sup, Chocolated here. I'm based in SEA and primarily play as Jungle/Captain. I've been playing since Season Zero and Fortress is by far my favourite character. He is one of my comfort picks in ranked primarily because his kit doesn't contain skillshots. Not that I'm bad at aiming skillshots or anything but I dislike losing ranked games because of a missed skillshot or having my teammates rage at me over a One Shot One Kill that failed to connect. Fortress' kit is rather 'safe' in that sense and the skill of utilising him comes mainly from itemisation, knowing his power spikes and timing.

As of 2.1, I've played him almost exclusively to Tier 8 (90% of time, unless forced into Carry role which doesn't really happen here in SEA) so he's definitely viable. While he may not be one of the meta picks, I assure you that Fortress is by no means weak, particularly in lower tiers that do not know how to deal with him.

This guide is primarily for playing Fortress in the CP Jungle position though you can toggle to build #2 for the standard captain build. Towards the end of the guide there is a separate section for playing Fortress in the captain position. As of 2.1, Fortress is arguably more viable as a jungler than a captain which is why I choose to focus on his CP jungle build. Do use the indicators in-game to indicate you are playing Fortress as jungle though as most people will assume that you are playing captain with him otherwise.

Fortress in 2.1? Top

One thing to understand about Fortress is that he is an early game hero. Regardless whether you are playing as a jungle or captain, Fortress is strongest at the beginning of the game.

In update 2.1, Fortress received a boost for his armor from 30-85 to 30-86 and shield up from 20-75 to 30-86. His Truth of the Tooth is also fixed. All in all, Fortress received a slight buff and plays more fluidly than in 2.0. However, the real buff that Fortress received is in the change in the jungle with the addition of the Elder Treeant and increase in kill bounties.

Admittedly, I did not play Fortress much in 2.0 because of the strong Crystal Miner placing emphasis on late-game comps. In 2.1, this all changed because of the potential of level 1 teamfights breaking out over the middle treeant, the later jungle camp spawn times and the massive gold bounty for getting first blood. First blood now becomes especially valuable to the team that gets it and that is where Fortress excels. The rise of early game comps means that Fortress is on the rise again. While he may not be as strong as in the days of the dive-comp meta, Fortress still has what it takes to dominate like he once did in the early game.

Abilties Top

Packmates
Slot: Heroic Perk

When Fortress is near an allied hero, he will move faster after 1s. He will maintain this move-speed bonus so long as he's alongside any allied hero.

This is what allows Fortress to be a really sticky hero. You will need your teammates around you to get this movement speed boost. This ability is reason why Fortress excels in dive comps. You will want to stick around your teammates as far as possible because it really gives you a decent speed bonus. In early game without the Crystal Miner and when most people haven't bought their boots yet, this is what will enable you to stick to the enemy and chase him around his jungle to his death. It is important to note that it can be used both offensively (for chasing, engaging) and defensively (juking skillshots such as Alpha's Prime Directive and disengaging). Don't forget about this skill when you are running away - I've survived few times by skin of my teeth by calling an ally to slow down for me so that I'll be able to get this boost and escape.

Truth of the Tooth
Slot: A

Fortress lunges at the target enemy and marks them as prey.
  • Fortress and his allies move faster toward prey and have lifesteal when attacking them.

Your gap closer and primary initiating ability. I typically use it to engage on the enemy carry so that my allies can use the movement speed boost to close in on him and finish the job. The cooldown is sufficiently short that you don't really need to worry about saving this ability in most cases. Can be used as an escape tool as well by targetting a creep or jungle mob (even over some walls!) when running away.

Law of the Claw
Slot: B

Fortress claws his target, causing it to bleed for several seconds.
  • Attacks from Fortress and his allies increase bleeding by one stack.
  • Upon reaching 7 stacks, the target is dealt a burst of damage based on its max health and receives mortal wound (reduced healing).
  • Overdrive: At max rank, the target is also slowed by 40% upon reaching 7 stacks.
  • Bleeding damage per second: 10 (+15% of crystal power)

Your primary source of damage. This ability makes Fortress deceivingly strong because most people, especially at lower tiers, do not realise the stacks on them and that Fortress' damage is delayed. Not only do damaged targets bleed and lose HP every second, the bleed stacks up to 6 and then does a burst of damage. Do note that attacks from your allies help stack and hence proc the bleed so it is important when playing Fortress for your team to focus on the same target. This ability also allows Fortress to stand up against tanks because of the damage based on max health and against lifesteal / fortified health / healing heroes because of the built in Mortal Wounds. Max this first and take its overdrive ASAP at level 8.

Attack of the Pack
Slot: C

Fortress summons a pack of wolves. Each pack wolf seeks out a different enemy hero.
  • It takes three separate attacks to kill a pack wolf.
  • Wolves apply bleeding with their basic attacks.
  • Wolves take normal damage from abilities and are granted 20% of Fortress' bonus defensive stats.
  • Fortress gains fortified health and attack speed when the wolves are summoned.

The ability that makes Fortress Fortress. You do not want to fight against a Fortress when his ult is up. The wolves do not only grant vision and attack enemy targets, they also apply bleeding and help proc your B stacks! The wolves are much stronger than they appear and the damage they do will stack up to a significant amount especially if the enemy ignores them. You want to activate this ability at the beginning / middle of teamfights not just for its teamfight disruption but also because of the fortified health it gives you. The fortified health, coupled with the attack speed bonus, grants you a significant advantage in any teamfight. Whether you're going Jungle or Captain, this skill is too good to pass up. Upgrade it whenever you can and max it.

There are many uses of this skill - you can activate it when you're low under a turret to save your life and disrupt the enemies from taking an objective, use it as a disengage tool or even to pick off a low health enemy. The varied use of it is limited only by your creativity but I highly suggest you forget using it for vision. Treat vision as a side-effect of using this skill rather than the main effect. Yes, you can use it to check whether the enemy is taking Kraken but it is much better to use it when the enemy is about to finish Kraken - you may pick up an enemy that is low, you can use the fortified health to potentially steal Kraken, you have the additional stats to assist in a teamfight, your mortal wound procs reduce the healing even if the enemy secures Kraken. Treat the vision as a bonus side-effect that allows you to chase down that fleeing Taka or that one missing enemy when you fight 2 of them head-on in a teamfight. Its opportunity cost is too huge to use it simply as a flare.

Early Game Top

Grab a Crystal Bit, Oakheart and Halcyon Potion if you are going CP Jungle. You will want the Oakheart for that little bit of health and to rush your Stormguard Banner. Crystal Bit for that little bit (no pun intended) of damage and potion for recovery after a fight. At the loading page or after the draft is finished, you should be taking note of whether your enemies' early game is stronger than yours and formulating your early game plan. 90% of the time, your goal is to provoke an early game fight and get first blood because Fortress' early game is really strong.

I typically start at the mustache brush with my team and head into the enemy's team mustache brush, aiming for the enemy carry if he is there. It's not really important who you pick off at level 1 though so you can just aim at the nearest target. Starting at your mustache brush allows you to watch out for invades from the top. Another tactic I use is waiting at my side's tribrush and then heading towards the enemy tribrush / mid treeant. Your primary goal at the very early game is to hunt for first blood (without giving it up yourself). Your secondary goal should be to secure the middle treeant and invade. When invading, priority should be on the enemy's outer treeant. Amongst all the monsters in the enemy jungle, this is the most important one you should deny them. Without its health regen, it may not be safe for the enemy jungler to venture out and take his shop golems. When you deny the enemy jungler his outer treeant, you have effectively forced the enemy team to play more cautiously or farm at their backs. How aggressively you play or invade will depend on how strong the enemy matchup is against yours. If say you're Fortress/ Lance against Alpha/ Catherine, you wanna be going ham on them early.

If you gauge that their matchup is stronger than yours in the early game, play passively and secure your outer treeant first (due to its importance which I've cited above). If you've hit level 2 before the enemy team takes the middle treeant and are feeling ballsy, consider using your A + B combo to steal the middle treeant and get out with the movement bonus from your nearby ally (do not try it without a nearby ally, giving up first blood is terrible). Play passively and farm your own jungle until you see both the enemy laner and captain at lane. Only then consider invading if the enemy jungler is weaker than you (i.e not Koshka). Consider getting a tier one defense item of the relevant type if the enemy is stronger or getting kills from your team. Armor/shield are very effective even in small amounts. The general correlation between the value of armor/shield and damage reduction is that the more higher the value of armor/shield, the less damage reduction it offers per unit armor/shield. Basically if you do the math, a Light Armor/ Light Shield provides great value for money even on its own and that is what you want to use your limited gold at the start of the game for to boost your early game fighting prowess.

Around the 4 min mark, you should make your way to the jungle shop to pick up your Stormguard Banner & Sprint Boots or Stormcrown if you have enough gold for it (getting early kills is important). These items will help you to clear the jungle faster and give you more time to invade/gank. Regardless whether you're ahead or behind, I would go a Stormcrown because its stats synergize so nicely with Fortress. It is a fantastic early game item at that (much better to purchase early on CP Fortress than later) and makes Fortress' strong early game even stronger.

Mid Game Top

Mid game you should be more cautious of where you pick your fights. Treat the Crystal Miner as a turret - you do not want to fight near it if you can help it. At this point of the game, your objective priorities should be turret, gold miner and crystal miner in that order. In most games (even pro matches), the team that takes the first lane turret earlier and manages to hold on to their own for the mid game ends up winning the game. The advantage provided by securing the first lane turret is immense. It will give you greater freedom in wandering the jungle as well so it's your top priority in the mid game to secure a turret and avoid giving up your own. Of course, you should already be doing this in the early game but mid game is when you start to scale off - you want to use the advantage you have built from outjungling, killing enemies in the early game while you still have it. Kills aren't as important at this stage, it is what you do with them that counts (i.e take objectives). While kills are important early game for the gold advantage (a 300 gold lead early in the game is more valuable than a 300 gold lead by say, the 10min mark), by mid game kills are more important for objective pushing. An enemy retreating is almost as good as an enemy dead considering that respawn timers aren't that high yet so quit chasing down that kill if you have an objective to push.

Build wise, Aftershock is a solid mid-game item that you should work on completing. You will have a neat power spike once you get it. You should have some defense and your boots as well. By this stage, you should have a rough idea who is good and who is not on the enemy team, who is fed and who is not. If they're about equal in skills and kills, look at which hero has the most late game potential on their team. Plan which tier 3 defense item you are going to get and prioritize getting its tier 1/2 parts over the pieces of your next offensive item.

As Fortress, you may get by early game without using flares/scout traps (don't hang me). I don't really care if there is an enemy in the brush when I facecheck because I know I'm more likely to win the engagement. However, mid game you should start purchasing vision for your team. Vision is everyone's responsibility and you should be helping your team in whatever aspect you can. If you've noticed, Fortress' full build is rather cheap. If you had the choice between an Hourglass or 5 x Scout Trap, pick the scout traps. They offer you far more utility and advantage than a single Hourglass does. As a jungler, you are getting quite a fair bit of income compared to your Captain. At this point of the game, your captain will need as much gold as he can get his hands on to rush the relevant defensive item for your team after his Fountain of Renewal. You, as a Fortress, have already started to scale off in terms of your 'gold-to-teamwide-usefulness-and-advantage' ratio. If you're winning, vision helps you secure your lead and prevent your teammates from doing stupid stuff such as face-checking brushes. If you're behind and have lost your first turret, you need the vision to stay safe when you venture into the jungle. Tl;dr: just because you're playing CP Fortress doesn't give you an excuse not to get vision.

Late Game Top

Get your Broken Myth and complete whatever items you have yet to complete. Your Stormcrown makes you a beast at tearing down turrets / taking down kraken so you always wanna be with your team when taking objectives... not that derp taking the creeps at lane. Always move with your team when possible. Broken myth ensures that you stay sorta viable late-game when enemies have gotten shield with its shield pierce and increases your bleed damage quite a bit. Your usefulness late-game comes not really from your damage to enemies but from your teamfight disruptions with your Attack of the Pack ultimate and ability to take objectives down with your Stormcrown. Be careful when you engage because respawn timers are really high and an ace certainly means that you will lose objectives if not the game. Coordinate with your team and pick your fights carefully.

If you decide to take Kraken, it might be worth to ulti when the Kraken is about to be captured just for the vision and fortified health bonus if someone decides to steal / a fight breaks out. Of course, be smart about it, there's no point ulti-ing if the enemy is too weak / unskilled to steal it reliably or if you know they're still far away / dead. It's wrong most of the time to back after taking a Kraken, you want to get a Crystal Infusion and stay with it. If not for the damage you can contribute, staying with the Kraken also places pressure placed on the enemy team. Low health enemies cannot just stand around dealing damage to the Kraken casually but are forced to watch their positioning or back off. Even when your health is low, you can still bait fights that cost the enemy team the game should they ignore the Kraken.

Picking Fortress in Draft Top

In any draft match, you want to consider who you are playing with and who you are playing against.
I will go into detailed synergies and matchups in a different section (coming soon after Grumpjaw's release!) but here I wish to give you some pointers to consider when drafting Fortress.

Generally speaking, Fortress goes well with other melee heroes because like you, they want to get into the fray as well and you get to benefit from their movement speed. Team comp wise, you should consider building a dive-comp (meaning heroes with good engages and want to get behind enemy lines) or an early-game comp (heroes that are strong early so that you can dominate the enemy jungle and snowball). To give a simple example, Fortress would synergize well with Blackfeather in a dive-comp because Blackfeather's kit enables him to get in on the enemy carry but has negative synergy with Blackfeather in an early-game comp as Blackfeather is a late-game hero. This is not to say that Blackfeather and Fortress don't work well together or are 'meh' together but to give you an idea of how you should be planning your team comps, knowing what works for your team and how you should be playing. So in the case above, you know your main strategy as a team isn't really to focus on either early or late game but more of entering teamfights together and focusing on clearing the enemy backline.

As for picking Fortress as a counter, consider what his kit offers you. Personally, I don't feel that Fortress hard counters anyone. However, his natural move speed makes him pretty good at dodging skillshot reliant heroes such as Celeste and Skaarf and getting the jump on them. His second skill also has a built in mortal wounds so he's a good pick against heroes with lifesteal such as Ozo or heroes with healing abilities such as Lyra and Adagio. His ulti grants vision when you use it in teamfights, making him a pretty good pick against heroes with stealth such as Flicker, Taka and Kestrel. I'd say that while Fortress may not hard counter any of them, his kit offers some neat utility against them. Definitely worth your consideration when counter-picking as any advantage you have over the enemy can mean the difference between a win or a loss.

Item Choices Top



Offensive:



Stormcrown: This item does amazing things for your jungle clear speed. It's a fabulous item that you want to get in the early-game because it has all the stats that Fortress needs and benefits from. Additional hp for bulk, cooldown reduction on his abilities, energy regen and true damage. Late-game, the true damage continues to be useful when you want to clear objectives. If you're ahead, you get to clear the enemy jungle even faster and have more confidence when invading. If you're behind, you get this to clear your own jungle faster and gank. Either way, Stormcrown is too useful for jungle Fortress not to pick up.

Aftershock: Another amazing item on Fortress that synergizes well with his abilities. It was my go-to item on Fortress before Stormcrown came out. Once you complete this, you'll notice a significant spike in your damage. Aftershock is great value-for-money as well and an awesome mid-game item as that is the time your enemies' start getting hp items and reflex blocks. Together with your second skill, this is the item that will enable you to shred tanks come late game.

Broken Myth: Due to the nerf on Broken Myth, it's no longer as good as it was before. Nevertheless, if you want to continue doing damage in the late game after enemies' get their shield, no other tier 3 crystal item provides shield pierce. Your wolves will also help you gain Broken Myth stacks if you can deal enough crystal damage to enemy heroes.

Shatterglass: Worth considering in the place of Broken Myth. My main issue with this item is that normally you want to get it in earlier phases of the game when enemies do not have much shield. That is when you will notice a significant power spike. Unlike other standard burst CP heroes, Fortress' burst relies more on proc-ing his items and thus needs to complete his Stormcrown and Aftershock first. Shatterglass is still a good pick though but I'm simply a greater fan of Broken Myth.

Frostburn: You don't really need the slow. If you want to provide more teamfight utility with your wolves you can get this but it faces the same issue as Shatterglass when going against Broken Myth.

Alternating Current: Contrary to popular belief, it's not a good item on Fortress. While the attack speed helps to stack your second skill, Fortress doesn't really rely on attack speed per se. Fortress doesn't have the bulk or lifesteal for prolonged engagements where you can stand in front of the enemy, attack him and make use of that attack speed. Instead, Fortress relies on burst and his allies to build stacks for him. In that sense, it is much better to get a raw CP item if you want to do more damage with your Law of the Claw. Overall, it's not a terrible item but it just focuses on one way of dealing damage and neglects others (proc and bleed) which are crucial aspects of Fortress' overall damage.


Defensive:



Aegis: standard tier 3 defense item for carries. Builds out of a reflex block so that's a plus point. Definite must against double CP enemies.

Atlas Pauldron: I personally recommend this over Metal Jacket as your go-to armor item even if you're carrying. As Fortress, you're gonna get up close and personal with the enemy carry. You always have the opportunity to activate Atlas when fighting as Fortress. The attack speed reduction isn't just useful for you but for your entire team. Fantastic against attack speed reliant heroes and a must against double WP.

Metal Jacket: Only time I get this over Atlas is against crit Joule. Worth considering against double WP and if you get shredded before you can even dive them. If you already got an Atlas, don't get this. As I said earlier in the guide, the net value of armor decreases the higher armor you already have. You'd be better off with a HP item if you're struggling against a WP hero when you already have Atlas.

Crucible: If it's a toss up between Aegis and Crucible, go Aegis. Defensive stats are better than raw HP late game. Pick if the enemy comp requires a second reflex block and you don't require need an Aegis/Atlas.

Shiversteel: My issue with this item is that it's not really a true tier 3 item in terms of cost and stats. It's a good pick up mid-game but as Fortress, you already have a lot of things to build early and mid game. It's pretty cheap though and offers a good amount of hp. Late game when you have more than enough gold, I would prefer a different tier 3 item because Crucible grants more HP and you don't really require the slow as Fortress. Overall, it's good but there are much better options.

Fountain of Renewal: A really good defensive and support item that can turn the tide of games. Get this if your Captain can't fountain properly. Don't underestimate its stats too, +75 shield is pretty neat. If no other defensive items seem to fit, fountain is an amazing pick up. I get this when I'm far ahead and no enemy seems to be a significant threat - it's basically like a second life. In lower elos, simply fountain-ing properly will win you lots of games. No other item has as big an impact on your teammates and on the game as FoR. If you're looking for a way to climb out of elo hell, you don't wanna leave the responsibility of fountaining and controlling the teamfight to some Captain playing like a 5-year old elephant. Gitgud with this and you will climb, trust me.

Slumbering Husk: Highly situational. Consider getting against CP Taka, CP/Echo Joule or a fed CP Kestrel. It's a fairly cheap mid-game defense though. Late-game you have better options.


Boots:



Journey Boots: I typically get this because I'm addicted to move speed (I blame battle royale for being too fast-paced). But seriously, having your boots up often as Fortress is what makes him such a formidable chaser. Activating your boots and then using your first skill to catch up to an out-of-range foe is like a pseudo War Treads because your team benefits of that speed boost. Your passive benefits off the bonus move speed from Journey Boots as well.

War Treads: Another worthy consideration. War Treads works pretty well with your Packmates ability because you want to move together as a team. I pick this up when my team needs the added utility from War Treads or when I want to get bulkier with the additional HP. But yeah, I usually let my Captain do his job.

Halcyon Chargers: Of all three boot choices I think this is the worst. Get if you're really struggling with energy issues. You can get around most of Fortress' mp problems by just taking a treeant though. The cooldown reduction isn't really noticeable.

General Tips Top

Do treat this section (and the rest of the guide) with a pinch of salt. These tips aren't rules that are gonna work out for you 100% of the time. You will wanna go against these tips as well as my some of the playstyles, ways to use the skills that I recommended earlier as the situation dictates. Do not let these tips restrict you, your creativity and how you wish to play. Generally though, these tips are helpful and good to keep in mind:

-Play aggressively as Fortress early-game -- you are presented with an advantage early on as a strong early-game hero. If you're not using it, it is your own loss. Fortress isn't that tanky overall so early-game is your only chance to play like a REAL bruiser.

- Pick your engagements carefully -- as Fortress, you have great initiate and determine when and where your team is fighting. You want to determine when and where your team picks a teamfight so that you have an advantage. If you allow the other team to determine for you, you're losing out. Of course, you may win the teamfight or the other team may engage at a bad spot, but good players don't leave such things to chance. If you want to win consistently, you need to have control over more aspects of the game.

- Fight when the lane is pushed -- ties in to picking your engagements. If the lane pushed in favour of the enemy and you engage in a teamfight, the enemy minions may be getting free damage in on your turret. Say you win the teamfight, you would be at a disadvantage because you don't have minion help in taking down the enemy towers or have to waste time clearing the creeps. Worse, if you lose the teamfight, the enemy can easily take your turrets and push further. Typically, in the late game, you only want to go around the jungle looking for fights when your lane is pushed and hang back when it isn't.

- pretend you're a Taka -- when the situation calls for it. By this I mean diving in, proc-ing your items and using your abilities, then running out. Wait till your cooldowns reset or you regen some hp, then dive in once again repeating the cycle. This strategy works more in late game when you start taking crazy amounts of damage from the enemies' full build and you don't want to give up a kill. Here you'll be using more of your burst damage from your item procs and counting on your carry (who's hopefully ranged) to proc your second skill for you for the second round of burst. So dive in, use everything, soak some damage, dive out and wait at the edge of the teamfight to finish the job. You'll want to use this strategy against heroes like Reim and Krul which benefit from prolonged teamfights against melee too.

- some items are better than others in certain stages of the game -- not all items are made equal. Some items are better to pick up in the early stages of the game and some later. Capitalise on such advanatages by knowing when you wanna pick which item up.

- plan your builds in advance -- by this I mean work out what items you're working towards during the course of the game. Know how much gold is necessary to complete your item so that you know when to back / head towards to jungle shop. Helps you shop faster as well. You already know what items are in the shop, no sense thinking of what to buy only when you reach the mall.

- build based off what your enemy AND your team is building -- I can't emphasize enough how important counter-building against your enemy is. Don't just look at what your enemies are building, look at what your captain is building and what items he still lacks. For example, if you're set on going War Treads, it may be a good idea to get it sooner rather than later while your captain is still working on another item. That way you have more activables at your disposal when it comes to a teamfight.

- build based off what SUITS your enemy AND your team -- sometimes you don't just want to counter-build against items but against heroes. Certain skills like Ardan and Adagio's ulti are worth picking a Reflex Block/ Crucible for. When your team is fairly slow and the enemy team is mobile, items such as Frostburn and Shiversteel instantly become more valuable. Don't just stick to the recommended builds, think situationally what would benefit your team at that point in time!

- don't take the crystal miner after taking Kraken -- unless it's the 3rd spawn or you are confident of finishing its respawn off quickly. It benefits the enemy team to have their crystal miner fighting alongside them when the Kraken pushes. Taking their crystal miner turns a 4v3 (3 of you + kraken) into a 4v4 (3 of them + crystal miner)

- infuse after getting Kraken -- unless you stole it and/or are not confident of following up on the push. It's one of the best times to pop a [Crystal Infusion]]. It's pretty much guaranteed use of the additional stats. Other times, especially mid-game when you get an infusion, you would want to force a fight so that you get value out of it. That may lead to some sub-optimal engagements. With the Kraken, you pretty much know where the fight is gonna be at (link to point about picking your engagements)

- turrets over kills -- it's a game over destroying the vain after all. Kills along the way are just to help you achieve your goal of destroying all the turrets and then the vain. Same with the gold miner, crystal miner and kraken. Don't lose sight of that.

- a back is (nearly) as good as a kill -- think about why you wanna get kills in the grand scheme of things. Beyond just a nice score and a gold bounty and a ace bonus, why you wanna get a kill is because it forces the enemy back to the base so you can take some other objective. Think carefully before you trade your life for the enemy's... if you can just force him back, that's usually good enough.

- learn when each hero's power spikes are -- it's really important, trust me. Knowing when the heroes on your team get their power spikes and when the enemy heroes get theirs helps you gauge whether your team or the enemy's is stronger at any point of the game. These power spikes may be due to getting a certain item or hitting a certain level (unlocking an ability or getting its overdrive). As Fortress this is paramount because you will the one engaging for your team and you want to pick fights that you know you have an advantage in. Poor players rely solely on intuition when they decide whether to fight or run. Good players know exactly when they have that advantage and when they don't. Eg. against Adagio you would prefer to fight him before he gets level 2 because his A-B combo hits really hard early game so you would invade early and fight him but be more cautious once he hits lvl 2. Against Celeste you can bully her till she overlocks her massive range from her Heliogenenis overdrive at lvl 8. Against Alpha you do not really need to worry about her damage output until she completes her Aftershock. The examples are endless.

- know what is in each hero's kit -- best way to outplay your opponents is to know how they play. Hop around a few Battle Royale games and learn how to play heroes that you don't have. That's the simplest way to know each hero's strengths and weaknesses aside from reading guides.

- don't just think of which individual hero is threat to you, think of their combos --take for example you're playing against a Lance and Celeste. Looking at them individually, you might think the Lance is a threat to you early game and the Celeste starts getting really powerful up late. However, that would not be a complete analysis of their threat to you. Think of what would happen if they manage to chain their stuns or pull off an Impale + Core Collapse combo. You want to be looking out for such things in-game!

- prefer flares for early-game, scout traps for late-game -- in terms of value-for-money. Early game you can sorta predict the enemy's movements and rotation, late-game is when scout traps become more important for overall map awareness and objective control.

- prefer flares when you're behind, scout traps when you're ahead -- when you're behind you want to avoid engaging poorly. You need to maximise use of your gold and the scout traps you place will just be easily activated by your enemies who have more freedom of roaming the map. On the other hand, if you're ahead your enemies will be afraid to venture around the map alone and scout traps help you secure your lead by giving you vision of where the entire enemy team is (if not you'll be able to catch someone out)

- scroll around the map to observe for enemy skills -- Certain skill animations are visible even when you don't have vision of the area. This is really helpful when you think the enemy team is taking Kraken or to observe the enemy jungler's rotations. Knowing your enemies' positions helps you decide on your engagements better as well.

Captain Fortress Top

Thus far the guide has been about CP Jungle Fortress. For this section, I will be elaborating on playing Fortress in the Captain role. Currently in 2.1, Fortress isn't really a meta captain because of the limited utility he provides to the team. Compared with standard captains such as Lance, Phinn, Ardan, Lyra etc his kit doesn't offer reliable CC, shields or heals. Nevertheless, he can still perform well in the captain role but must be played differently from these other captains (if not why would you pick Fortress?)

Fortress is the type of captain that gets a lot of kills. He has high damage output for a Captain, good teamfight disruption and has a reliable initiate. Yes, Phinn and Lance do have great initiates as well but they are skillshot based, meaning they can be missed. On the other hand, Fortress' A is a targetted ability and ensures that you can definitely dive the enemy backline, the only issue being when do you want to do so. Personally, I pick Fortress captain when forced to fill in lower tiers because if my carry and jungler aren't pulling their weight, I can easily convert to a pseudo-jungler and carry my team if needed. Guess that's one hidden advantage of playing Fortress captain :P

In terms of play-style and utilisation of skills, Captain Fortress does not deviate much from CP Fortress so you can follow the tips I gave earlier. Main difference is that you want to consciously use your Packmates movespeed bonus from being near allies to bodyblock skills for them where possible because of your added bulk. Early on, you want to stick with your jungler for the first rotation and/or potentially invade. If your laner is weak early and struggling against a strong laner like SAW, you can camp in your mustache brush and babysit him but most of the time, you are better off going with your jungler as in the jungle you have more room to manoeuver and force early fights.

The main difference between Captain Fortress and CP Fortress is in terms of builds and prioritization of the items you get. Start with 2 x Oakheart and a Halcycon Potion. Alternatively, pick up an Oakheart, Light Shield and a mixture of potions/flares with the remaining gold. Even in the captain position, Fortress is strong early and can dish out a fair bit of damage. You want to play aggressively with him. Best case scenario, you want to be the second jungler for your team - your jungler clearing either your team's side of the jungle or the enemies' and you taking the other side. To do so safely, you need to get a Stormguard Banner early on to help with your clear. That is what the second Oakheart in the more aggressive start is for. If opting for safe play, go with the Oakheart and Light Shield start. Either way you build, you will want to rush a Fountain of Renewal ASAP. If you get a Fountain and a teamfight breaks out, you will have a massive advantage over the enemy team if the enemy captain does not have his fountain yet. You are almost guaranteed to win that fight, stupid plays aside. It is for this reason that I do not favour starting with any of the Contracts as well because they do not build into anything at the moment. I find that the Ironguard Contract is too slow on Fortress who likes being aggressive early and that the other two are a risk - if you fail to capitalise on them early, they are a waste of gold and will put behind in the race for Fountain.

After your Fountain and Boots you do not really have a fixed build. A good captain builds what his team needs most at the moment. Prioritize your next item(s) accordingly. Against heroes reliant on attack speed? Get Atlas Pauldron. Against heroes with strong CC or burst? Get Crucible/ Aegis. Against stealth? Get Contraption. Need better engage/disengage? Get War Treads. Your team's objective clear is too slow? Build Stormcrown. Build based on whoever is the biggest threat in the enemy team. As a captain you shouldn't be following any fixed build but getting the relevant defensive/utility item that would benefit your team most at any point of time.

As for vision, I personally get Scout Trap only after Fountain of Renewal because the gold cost is pretty heavy early and it is important to rush Fountain ASAP. I do get Scout Traps early when scared of an invade / gank but it doesn't happen too often because most people respect Fortress' early game. There is a reason why people do not just fill their inventory with Scout Traps right at the beginning of the game - stats are much more important early on and the map control that Scout Traps afford you is not as valuable in the stage where everyone is still farming up. Yes, Scout Traps do deal a fair bit of damage early on but you should not be utilising them for that (though stacking scout traps where a SAW stands with his full stacks is a mean trick). Another trick you can do with scout traps mid / late game is stacking them right in front of your tower when you have to hold it alone. When the scout traps activate, they will kill the enemy minions and force the enemy to either wait for the next wave or endure the turret damage should they try to push. As a captain, you do not have much damage on your own so this trick may be of some use to get some cheap damage in if you are in a scenario where you need to hold off a push till your allies come back / respawn. Flares, on the other hand, are useful to hold onto in any stage of the game although if you can afford to facecheck a brush (which you can against weaker team comps early on or are really fed) you might want to scrimp on flares in pursuit of your Fountain. Of course, this doesn't apply when facing stealth enemies such as Taka, in which case you should always have flares / Flare Gun on hand or risk getting purple-pinged by your teammates.

"When can I start getting an offensive/damage item as a captain?" is a question on the mind of a lot of new players. While it is common nowadays for people to get a single offensive item on a captain, you should only start building towards your last offensive item when all the needs of your team are taken care of and you've counter-built against the enemy team satisfactorily. This means that you have the threats from the enemy team under control with the items that you've built already. For example, if you are facing a WP SAW and a Flicker from the other team, you do not want to start getting an Aftershock until you have at least an Atlas or Contraption on top of your fountain and boots. If there is still significant utility you can offer to your team with the items you buy, don't get your offensive item yet. As Fortress, I would recommend Aftershock is your single offensive item if you are to get one. It is strong enough as a standalone offensive item and allows to remain relevant in fights by doing significant damage to tanky foes with your abilities.

Fountain of Renewal Top

I decided to set aside a separate section for this item simply because of how game-changing and important is. No other item provides as much of an advantage or has the ability to change the outcome of fights like this item does. In fact, I would venture to say that the whole Captain role is crafted around the usage of this item. There is a reason why the meta is based around one captain, one jungler and one carry instead of just 3 squishies / damage dealers. A captain typically builds a Fountain of Renewal first and defensive items for the team so that he can remain bulky enough to use this item at the time when the team needs it the most. As captain Fortress or any captain for that matter, this is single most important item you can ever get (and MUST get) and use. Therefore, learning how to fountain properly is paramount.

A fountain heals you and nearby allies for 2 health for each % of missing health per second for 3 seconds. If you didn't get that, basically it means that a fountain's heal scales based on how little hp you and your allies have. If you're at 25% HP and your ally is at 75%, you would heal more raw HP than your ally. The lower your health points, the more health points you heal for. See its importance in teamfights? If you heal too early, your team doesn't benefit as much from the heal. If you heal too late, your ally may die. This is what makes the skillcap of using this item properly so high and the captain role such an interesting but stressful one to play. Push the Fountain button a split-second early or late and you may cost your entire team the fight or the game. The easiest way to tell whether your captain is good or not is by how he uses his Fountain.

I do not claim to the best Fountain of Renewal user. Even pros do not fountain on point 100% of the time. It is a difficult decision to make whether to fountain or not and in the heat of a teamfight, there are a lot of things to pay attention to such that only on hindsight will you know whether you used your Fountain in the most optimal way. Yet here are some general tips that are commonly accepted by the community to help you gauge (once again, they're not definitive!) when is the best time to activate your fountain:

    - make sure both your allies are near enough to you to receive your fountain. If one ally is out of range, try to position yourself such that both are within range before you activate it.

    - activate your fountain both your allies are below 50% health

    - delay your fountain to the last possible second. It is usually better for the enemy to use fountain before you do.

    - bait enemies to compromising positions with your low health heroes eg. under turret then fountain up

    - knowing when to fountain is important as knowing when not to fountain. Its cooldown is not something to be trifled with because a good enemy will be more willing to engage knowing that you don't have your fountain up.

    - Don't fountain when you and your allies are not in any immediate danger. Don't use it as a heal but save it for teamfights

    - Don't fountain when only you are low. Save it for your damage dealers!

    - Don't fountain yourself when only you are going to die. Consider saving it for the next teamfight unless your death counter is too long. In that case, it's better to do something than nothing.

Practice makes perfect! Improve on your Fountain-ing skills and soon you'll be able to carry yourself out of Elo Hell.

Conclusion Top

Thanks for reading the guide! I hope it has been beneficial to you in one way or another. Feel free to leave comments / feedback in the discussion section. I'm still learning as well and would really appreciate any tips / areas for improvement that you have in mind because this guide is a reflection of my gameplay and what I have learnt thus far. Would also love to hear from you guys if you've had any success using the info from this guide haha.

If anyone wishes to contribute to the guide or help me with it, do hit me up. I'm not very good with math, formatting and design and there's a lot of improvements which I wish to implement in this guide but do not have the means/time to do so now. Drop me a PM if you're interested :)

Thanks and peace... till we meet on the Fold.

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