Grumpy's Guide to Helena
In this series, we will give you a quick breakdown of each champion. This is geared mostly towards people who have not played with this champion much, so it’s not an in-depth tactical treatise. This is more of a quick breakdown and assessment of the champion.
We will grade each champion’s offense, defense, support, mobility, and control. We’ll explain each grade and then give you a quick vision of a dream activation for that champion.
In a separate series, Grumpy has written about how champions match up with each other. Here are the matchup evaluations for Guardians, Maelstroms, Slayers, and Shapers.
Here is the grading scale for each category:
When Helena first came out, I wrote this. After having a chance to play more games involving her, I stand by most of what I wrote except the evaluation of the matchup with Shayle. Shayle absolutely wrecks Helena.
Helena has a unique special ability which defines her as a champion: she is her own banner. This means that her banner cannot be crushed, only pushed around or (maybe) KOd. This is obviously a tremendous advantage for Helena. For this reason, our usual categories of Offense, Defense, Support, Mobility, and Control don't really capture Helena's true value. She's going to score lower overall in these categories than other champions because having an uncrushable banner, while extremely powerful, does not quite fit into any of those categories.
Helena's potential to impact the battle ladder has a high floor and a low ceiling. Her odds of scoring 5 steps in the end phase are quite good. Her odds of scoring more than 2 steps in throughout the other phases are quite low. Contrast this with a Maelstrom who might score 11 steps by KOing three followers and keeping a flag on the board, and you start to see Helena's limitations. However, that high floor has real value, especially in scenarios like Knowledge where the Battle Ladder shortens up and end phase steps are at a premium.
Helena is a forgiving champion whose tricks are fairly straightforward. It's not hard to get her to do her thing. The issue is whether her thing is enough to win games.
Here are Helena's Cards:
Offense - Bad
Helena herself is about as pillow-fisted as a champion gets without being totally unable to do damage. Holy Light has nice range and can do a bit of damage to a soft target. That's about all. The Will of The People is potentially a 6/6 attack, but this seldom happens. Usually a peasant or two has either been KOd or left out of position, so this ends up being 5/5 or 4/4 when it is used at all. The crew does have two attacks, though, so it's not completely awful.
Defense - Good
I usually don't care that Helena only has 4 health. It seldom matters unless the opponent has a way to score multiple auto-wounds. Her 3/4 defensive statline is the best in the game bar none. Sorry, Finvarr, but protection 4 is simply better than dodge 4. Despite having Rhodri-level armor, Helena is also bringing a good dodge value, which will occasionally thwart specialized Slayer attacks and control skills.The low health is also offset by the rare ability to heal. As long as there is one peasant around, KOing Helena is probably a losing bet.
The Peasants are a bit squishier. 3/1 defenses are a joke, so the Peasants need to stay close to mommy. At 4/2, they are a bit pesky, but still easy prey for most Maelstroms. It doesn't take much to separate a few of these pitchfork wielders from Helena's protective aura and demonstrate the violence inherent in the system. The Rallied Peasants are really the reason why this is not a grade of Outstanding.
Support - Bad
This Crew has some ways to help out. Helena's ultimate can regenerate an entire follower unit for a friendly champion. This is potentially impactful, but highly situational. The Peasants can theoretically hand out an accuracy blight, but Condemnation's accuracy of 3 is very limiting. Helena and her crew certainly have a lot of internal synergy, but only few corner case ways of supporting others.
Mobility - Good
Helena has average 2/2 speed, but earns this grade entirely thanks to Lead the Charge. This is a highly impactful skill that lets Helena and her followers move together. It's very easy to use since Helena does not need to take claim actions in the Plot Phase (she has always already claimed). Leading the Charge can usually generate 7 total hexes of extra movement for the crew overall. Not incredible, but not too shabby either.
Control - Average
Shield Push is very straightforward, but essential to Helena's kit. It is a high accuracy skill which can help her get back onto an objective hex if someone has managed to push her off. Helena would really struggle without it. It is limited by its inability to target multiple models in a hex, though. Beware of opponents with many followers.
Speaking of many followers, the Peasants contribute to Helena's control game simply by being numerous. No other champion has six followers, and the extra board presence is impactful. These angry plebes can't actually move anything around, but they can certainly clog up an area.
Helena only Category - Banner Bearing - Outstanding
This just has to be pointed out. Helena is an uncrushable banner. Champions which emphasize mobility at the expense of offense will absolutely sputter against Helena. Sorry Blackjaw, Jeen, and Raith. As mentioned in the intro, the strong likelihood of Helena scoring end phase steps is the crux of her value. This ability has higher leverage the shorter the BattleLadder gets.
This is pretty straightforward, but then so is Helena. It's late in the clash phase, and Helena has been pushed off of the objectives and been blocked off by a meaty troll and his frog delights. No matter.
Helena's Shield Push has a 93% to hit Halftusk's base dodge of 3. If he had his dodge boon from footwork, it would still be at a solid 81%. From there, all Helena has to do to swing ten steps is to replacement-kill Halftusk' banner by casually walking on top of it. I know it's basic, but this is kind of how Helena is. She is straightforward and forgiving.