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General Guide by Gentleman Gannon

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Gentleman Gannon

In 10000 Gold or Less...

Gentleman Gannon Last updated on May 2, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key W
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 14

 
 
 
 
 
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 0


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Introduction

Hello there, unknown readers from the vast beyond. I am Gentleman Gannon and I am the writer of this modest guide. It is my wish to help you alter your playstyle to fit more optimally with each stage of the game. Thank you for taking the time to read my analysis.

The builds given above are a demonstration of what items can be obtained with less than 10,000 gold on a particular character. You'll notice that specialized characters, such as Caitlyn, excel in a single category while being deficient in most others.


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The Ultimate Build...?

As some of you may have discovered, there exists in League of Legends a wondrous build of utter perfection. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this build is:



Behold, the ultimate build! Boasting a hefty +1500 HP, 180 AP *AND* AD, 180% attack speed, 90% crit chance, a total of 72% bonus movespeed, enough mana for whatever you need, AND two really cool passives, this is all you need for any scenario.

…No? Too bland? All right, try this one:



The famous "Atmog's Phantom Trifinity Force of Nature!"

This popular build gets you a bit tankier in exchange for some of that attack speed and movement speed. No wasted passives here, though. This build will turn any character into a deadly tanky DPS -- satisfaction guaranteed.

You're not buying it, huh?


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What This Guide Is For:

As you were looking through the previous section, you may have found yourself thinking something along the lines of "That's dumb."

Why is it dumb? I've created a lineup of the best items in the game, haven't I?

The problem is the cost. Six Trinity Forces will cost you 24,420 gold -- perhaps twice what you'll get in an average game.

So what, then? This guide is to serve one simple purpose: To let you (the savvy player) know how much you can get out of that ~10,000 gold so that your games end up (on average) being better than usual. To that end, I will be focusing mostly on items with a cost of less than 2500 gold. Without further ado, away we go!


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Specialists and Generalists

Most (if not all) champions in this game can be lumped into two large categories:

On the one hand, we have the specialists. These are, for the large part, the carries. When thinking about the items in this guide, you may want to ask yourself: "Am I a specialist? Do I need this other stat more than I need damage, attack speed, and critical strike?" The answer is probably no (unless you already have those stats). Casting specialists have a bit more leeway with their choices, but again they frequently need to follow a more specific build path.

Then we have the generalists. These characters have much more freedom in their building. Their job is to protect the specialists in two ways: Be threatening enough to be an attractive target and be tanky enough to survive.

Naturally I'm generalizing quite a bit here; a well-fed generalist can (depending on their champion and the degree to which they have been fed) often carry a game. They do this by creating a balance between survivability and damage. The mid-range items I have displayed here provide either damage or survivability. Some provide both. When playing as a generalist champion, consider the items below and ask yourself what it is that you need to be more effective at that moment in the game.


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Effective HP

Effective Hit Points (EHP for short) is a measurement of how much damage you can actually take before you die. It's a term that I will use a lot over the course of this guide, so I thought I'd explain it for those of you who are unfamiliar.

Effective Physical Health = Actual Hit Points * (1+(Armor/100)
Effective Magical Health = Actual Hit Points * (1+(Magic Resist/100))

Effective Hit Points = Actual Hit Points * ((1+(Armor/100) + (1+(Magic Resist/100))/2
or
(Effective Physical Health + Effective Magical Health)/2

For those of you who hate math, what this means is basically that for each 1 point of armor or magic resist that you have it takes 1% more damage of that type to kill you.

So, if you have 100 AR/MR, it takes twice as much damage to kill you (50% DR). 200 AR/MR would be three times as much damage (67% DR) and 300 AR/MR is four times as much (75% DR).

In essence, items that build HP take advantage of your Armor and Magic Resist, and vice-versa.
One of the reasons that I'm urging you away from items like Warmog's Armor is that they provide only one stat and need other complementary items to back them up. That's not to say that they aren't useful, but they are VERY expensive and building them early can really kill your momentum.


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Gold Efficiency Factor and Total Gold Value

This is always a testy sort of stat to bring up, but I think it holds some weight. This is essentially the cost of your item over the cost of the stats given by that item. For example:

A Long Sword costs 415 gold and provides 10 attack damage. AD is worth 41.5 gold per point.

I'll list out the stats below, but there is a notable exception:
--Regeneration doesn't count as much. Because most battles take place in the span of five to ten seconds, regeneration healing is almost negligible. HP5 will be added to HP for determining the combat effectiveness of an item, but is otherwise considered a passive (see below)

Basic Stat Values:
--AD ( Long Sword): 41.5 gold per point
--AP ( Amplifying Tome): 21.75 gold per point
--Mana* ( Sapphire Crystal): 2 gold per point
--Health ( Ruby Crystal): 2.63 gold per point
--Armor ( Cloth Armor): 16.66 gold per point
--Magic Resist ( Null-Magic Mantle): 16.66 gold per point
--Attack Speed ( Dagger): 28 gold per point
--Critical Strike ( Brawler's Gloves): 50 gold per point
--Life Steal ( Vampiric Scepter): 37.5 gold per point

*Mana is of varying degrees of value depending on the champion, and should be handled carefully when calculating GEF.

So, for reference, a fully stacked Warmog's Armor provides 1270 HP and 40 HP5 (+40 HP in a 5-second battle) for a total of 1305 effective HP over 5 seconds. HP costs 2.63 gold per point, for a total of 3432 gold worth of stats and a decently useful passive. Warmog's Armor costs 3000 gold, so it has a GEF of 1.144 (3432/3000).

Total Gold Value

This is where most people get confused. Large items have less gold efficiency than small ones (on average), but they make up for it by having a higher total gold value.

The total gold value of an item is its GEF multiplied by its price. I will include this figure for your convenience.


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A Word On Those Awkward Stats

Aura Items

Some items (especially aura items) increase in GEF and TGV for each nearby ally. Please keep in mind that these figures assume that the ally in question can use the stats.

"Magic Damage On Hit" effects:

These effects increase the damage of your attacks but not your abilities (unless those abilities modify your attacks). I have included a raw GEF and an inflated GEF for each of these abilities -- the inflated GEF counts the passive damage as AD; the raw damage doesn't count it at all.

Cooldown Reduction

Nominally, we can calculate the value of a stat like Cooldown Reduction (A Kindlegem is 850 gold. Less the 526 gold for the health, this leaves a point of Cooldown Reduction worth 32.4 gold). A number of factors make this a less-than-accurate view of the item's value, however, and CDR will not be included in the raw GEF of any given item.

Movement Speed

This stat has all sorts of special rules associated with it and there's no good way to accurately value percentage movement speed. For simplicity's sake, it will be excluded.

Passives

This is the hardest stat to judge. Some passives can be calculated more empirically than others ( Guinsoo's Rageblade comes to mind), and when I can accurately calculate their value I will. Some passives increase the GEF of other items ( Rabadon's Deathcap, Spirit Visage) and their efficiency cannot be accurately calculated without viewing the full build. Essentially, though, it often comes down to how much you personally value the effect. Since this is likely to be a different value for different people, I cannot include it in the GEF of these items.


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Aegis of the Legion


The Aegis of the Legion is a more defensive item that improves your team's defenses with your mere presence. It grants you the following stats:
--30 Armor
--39 Magic Resist
--270 Health
--8 Attack Damage

UNIQUE AURA:
--Nearby allies (excluding you) gain
--12 Armor
--15 Magic Resist
--8 Attack Damage


GEF: 1.157 [+.406 for each nearby ally]
Total Gold Value: 2227 [+781 for each nearby ally]



What makes Aegis of the Legion a good choice?
--It's the only item in the game that boosts Health, Armor, *and* Magic Resist, increasing your EHP dramatically and helping to compound off of all of your other defensive stats.
--The aura provides a useful 781 gold worth of stats to each nearby ally. If we include the effect on all allies in the GEF (note that this will not always be the case) then Aegis has a GEF of 2.78; this means that you get almost triple the stats that you paid for by getting the item.
--All allies will benefit from at least the AR/MR of Aegis, making it useful in almost every scenario.
--It makes you an attractive focus target. This is usually helpful to your team as the builder of Aegis will frequently be a support or a tank.

What makes Aegis of the Legion a poor choice?:
--The efficiency of the item drops dramatically if you're not with at least one teammate.
--The item is also much less useful if a teammate already has it; the auras don't stack as favorably as one might hope.
--If you're playing a more specialized role, Aegis's mixed stats might not be the best choice for you. AD carries and burst magi both have other things to spend money on.


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Atma's Impaler


Atma's Impaler is an extremely common item in most tanky builds. It grants you the following stats:
--45 Armor
--18% Critical Strike
--1.5% of your maximum HP as Attack Damage*


*This is technically a passive, but it increases your physical stats and can be easily quantified.

GEF: This one is a bit tricky. The base stats of Atma's Impaler are together worth 1650 gold. The passive is worth about 62 gold for every 100 HP that you have. The total GEF of Atma's Impaler is 0.7+(0.026 per 100 hit points). Here are some values:
--1143 HP: GEF = ~1
--2000 HP: GEF = ~1.225
--3000 HP: GEF = ~1.4875
--4000 HP: GEF = ~1.75
Total Gold Value: 1650 + 62% of HP


What makes Atma's Impaler a good choice?
--By building HP, you can very quickly increase the gold efficiency of Atma's Impaler.
--It provides armor in addition to the damage boost, which creates a useful synergy with the health that you must build to efficiently use the passive.
--It fills out a tanky build well, and can provide a surprisingly large jump in damage after building some health.

What makes Atma's Impaler a poor choice?
--It shoehorns you into a specific sort of build, one which ultimately relies on building more health just to get the extra damage off of the passive.
--Items that provide large amounts of health are generally fairly inefficient, so you end up balancing out almost evenly over the course of your build unless you build multiple small health items.
--It makes a poor early item due to how low your health will likely be at the beginning of the game.


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Bilgewater Cutlass


The Bilgewater Cutlass is a useful hybrid item that provides self-synergizing damage and lifesteal. It grants you the following stats:
--35 Attack Damage
--15% Life Steal

UNIQUE ACTIVE:
--Deals 150 damage at short range and slows the target by 50% for 3 seconds.

GEF: 1.104
Total Gold Value: 2015


What makes Bilgewater Cutlass a good choice?
--Its two stats (Life Steal and Attack Damage) synergize very well with each other.
--It helps both lane and jungle sustain.
--It has a useful active that helps champions stick on their targets and increases burst slightly.
--In the late game, it upgrades into the powerful Hextech Gunblade

What makes Bilgewater Cutlass a poor choice?
-- Hextech Gunblade is the only upgrade choice for the Cutlass, and fits only a very specific sort of character (one who can use both aspects of the Gunblade efficiently).
--Unless you plan to upgrade it, Cutlass is generally outclassed by Wriggle's Lantern.


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Catalyst the Protector

Catalyst the Protector
Catalyst is a defensive item that allows you to sustain yourself in lane. It grants you the following stats:
--290 Health
--325 Mana

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Upon leveling up, restores 250 health and 200 mana over 8 seconds.

GEF: 1.046
Total Gold Value: 1412


What makes Catalyst the Protector a good choice?
--It offers massive sustainability in lane, keeping your champion much healthier than usual and allowing you to play more aggressively.
--It has two build paths; the popular mage item Rod of Ages or the more universally useful Banshee's Veil.
--It makes you generally tankier.

What makes Catalyst the Protector a poor choice?
--Mana is a stat that you don't often want to pay for if you don't have to.
--Catalyst offers NO offensive stats whatsoever unless you're playing as Ryze.
--Upgrading Catalyst is very expensive.
--To get the full benefit of a Catalyst, it must be built as early as possible.


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Chalice of Harmony


The Chalice of Harmony is an early mage item that provides a significant advantage in the early laning phase. It grants you the following stats:
--30 Magic Resist
--7.5 Mana Regen per 5 seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Increases your MP5 by 1% for each 1% of mana that you are missing.

GEF [Raw]: 0.56*
[Counting Mana Regen]: ~1
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 498
[Counting Mana Regen]: ~890


What makes Chalice of Harmony a good choice?
--It defends you against other mages in the lane. The extra 30 Magic Resist effectively "undoes" their runes and Sorcerer's Shoes, increasing your mEHP by (give or take) 300.
--It restores your mana VERY quickly, and encourages you to use your mana pool to optimize its effectiveness.
--It can be sold for most of its cost (623 gold) when you no longer need it.
--It reduces your reliance on blue buff in the early game.
--In the reasonably near future, it will be changed to upgrade into a fancy new item... more on that when it happens.

What makes Chalice of Harmony a poor choice?
--It's slow. Your opponent will be up 900 gold in their build from where you are, so if you can't take serious advantage of the mana boost it will set you back.
--Junglers frequently donate their Blue Buff to the mid lane, overshadowing the Chalice with the infinite mana that Blue provides.


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Cloak and Dagger


The Cloak and Dagger give you better attack speed and critical strike, and make you resistant to disabling effects. They grant you the following stats:
--20% Attack Speed
--20% Critical Strike

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--35% Tenacity

GEF: 1.075
Total Gold Value: 1559


What makes Cloak and Dagger a good choice?
--It can be built on fairly short notice, and it's cheap.
--It offers an alternative to Mercury's Treads when other shoes are needed (most notably, champions who make good use of Boots of Mobility)
--It accents a critical strike build very nicely, since it has the third strongest critical chance bonus in the game.

What makes Cloak and Dagger a poor choice?
--The stats it provides are extremely subpar, and it is quickly outclassed by most other items.
--Tenacity is usually better obtained from Mercury's Treads; keeping boots and a tenacity item in your inventory at the same time leaves you only four other slots.
--It cannot be upgraded.


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Eleisa's Miracle


The second of the triad of Tenacity boosters, Eleisa's miracle restores your health and mana and increases your tenacity. It grants you the following stats:
--25 Health Per 5 Seconds
--20 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--35% Tenacity

GEF [Raw]: 0.051 (This is the 25 health that you regenerate in combat)
[Counting Health and Mana Regen]: 1.414
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 66
[Counting Health and Mana Regen]: 1838


What makes Eleisa's Miracle a good choice?
--It is tied for the title of cheapest Tenacity item in the game.
--It provides massive sustain in lane.
--It builds out of the very useful Philosopher's Stone.
--Upgrading Philosopher's Stone to Eleisa's Miracle before selling it will get you 10 gold.

What makes Eleisa's Miracle a poor choice?
--It requires you to sacrifice the gold gain from your Philosopher's Stone.
--You can no longer upgrade your Philosopher's Stone into Shurelya's Reverie.
--It provides no effect in combat other than the Tenacity.
--It takes up a valuable item slot.


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Elixirs of Agility, Brilliance, and Fortitude


These elixirs can be purchased for 250 gold to give you a temporary advantage on the battlefield. They grant you the following stats for the next 4 minutes:
--[Agility]: 12-22% attack speed (based on champion level)
--[Agility]: 8% Critical Strike
--[Brilliance]: 20-40 Ability Power (based on champion level)
--[Brilliance]: 10% Cooldown Reduction
--[Fortitude]: 140-235 Health (based on champion level)
--[Fortitude]: 10 Attack Damage


From left to right: Agility, Brilliance*, Fortitude:
GEF [Level 1]: 2.944, 3.108, 3.133
[Level 18]: 4.064, 4.848, 4.132
Total Gold Value [Level 1]: 736, 777, 783.2
[Level 18]: 1016, 1212, 1033


*(Counting the Cooldown Reduction)

What makes these items good choices?
--They grant you remarkably high stats for their cost.
--They can be purchased very cheaply at any point in the game.
--Once activated, they don't occupy an item slot.

What makes these items poor choices?
--They only last for four minutes once activated. If you can't take advantage of them during that time, the effect is wasted.


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Executioner's Calling


The Executioner's Calling grants you critical chance and increases your sustainability while decreasing your opponents'. It grants you the following stats:
--18% Life Steal
--15% Critical Strike

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--On hit, your attacks inflict an additional 4 damage per second over 8 seconds.
UNIQUE ACTIVE:
--Inflicts Grievous Wounds (-50% healing and regeneration) on a target for 8 seconds.

GEF: 1.055
Total Gold Value: 1425


What makes Executioner's Calling a good choice?
--The passive damage over time seems weak, but it helps keep your opponent from sustaining in lane if you can land a hit every once in a while.
--The active is absolutely crippling to enemy champions who rely on sustain or healing to keep themselves alive; it lasts 8 seconds, has a long range, and cools down in just 20 seconds.
--It creates a substantial sustain differential between you and your opponent in lane.

What makes Executioner's Calling a poor choice?
--Against a team with little or no healing factor, it does less than other Life Steal items such as Wriggle's Lantern or The Bloodthirster.
--Critical Strike is an unreliable damage stat, and Calling provides less overall damage increase on average than most attack speed or damage items.
--Except during the laning phase, it is primarily a counter item and should usually be played as such.


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Fiendish Codex


This item increases the power of your abilities and the frequency with which you can cast them. It grants you the following stats:
--30 Ability Power
--7 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--10% Cooldown Reduction

GEF [Raw]: 0.579
[Counting Mana Regen]: 0.926
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 0.868
{Counting Both]: 1.215
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 652
[Counting Mana Regen]: 1042
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 977
[Counting Both]: 1367


What makes Fiendish Codex a good choice?
--It improves your cooldowns and gives you the mana to keep up with the more frequent casting.
--It has two upgrade paths: Morello's Evil Tome and Nashor's Tooth.
--It supplements your AP.

What makes Fiendish Codex a poor choice?
--It provides relatively little in a combat situation.
--Mana regeneration is a touchy stat, which is not useful to every champion.


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Glacial Shroud


The Glacial Shroud increases your defenses and improves your spellcasting pool. It grants you the following stats:
--45 Armor
--425 Mana

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--15% Cooldown Reduction

GEF [Raw]: 1.049
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 1.401
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1650
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 2136


What makes Glacial Shroud a good choice?
--It reduces your cooldowns and gives you the mana to support them.
--It makes you significantly tankier, even in mid or late game.
--The Cooldown Reduction it provides is almost free.
--It upgrades into the useful Frozen Heart, the second highest armor item in the game.

What makes Glacial Shroud a poor choice?
--It offers no offensive stats except to Ryze.
--Champions who can't efficiently use the mana waste most of the efficiency of the item.
--It doesn't increase mana regeneration; only mana.


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Guardian Angel


Although it costs (just barely) more than 2500 gold, Guardian Angel is a powerful mid-range defensive item that can change games. It grants you the following stats:
--68 Armor
--38 Magic Resist

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--When you die, if you haven't used Guardian Angel in the last five minutes you return to life with 750 Health and 375 Mana.

GEF [Raw]: 0.679
[Counting the 750 health from the passive*]: 1.450
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1767
[Counting Passive]: 3740


*(Note that I have not counted the mana from the passive. When Guardian Angel resurrects you, I know how much your health will change by -- 750. I have no knowledge of what the change in your mana will be; it could be as good as +375 or worse than -2000. This stat is therefore excluded.)

What makes Guardian Angel a good choice?
--It disincentivizes attacking you, since you'll get up shortly afterward.
--It provides a substantial amount of both resistances.
--It counters burst very well.
--It can turn a teamfight with its passive.

What makes Guardian Angel a poor choice?
--Without the health gain from the passive, it's extremely inefficient.
--Relying on the passive being up before you can really fight limits its effectiveness and yours.
--If you lose the Angel buff, you're out ~2000 gold worth of effect for the next five minutes.


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Guinsoo's Rageblade


This odd hybrid item rewards you for alternating you attacks with your spell casts. It grants you the following stats:
--35 Attack Damage
--45 Ability Power

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Each time you attack or cast a spell, you gain 4% attack speed and 6 Ability Power for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 8 times.

GEF [Unstacked]: 1.088
[Fully Stacked]: 1.956
Total Gold Value [Unstacked]: 2432
[Fully Stacked]: 4372


What makes Guinsoo's Rageblade a good choice?
--It provides massive stats for its cost; fully stacked it is of the same total gold value as many higher-end items.
--It boosts several offensive stats simultaneously.

What makes Guinsoo's Rageblade a poor choice?
--Few characters can take full advantage of all of the stats that it gives.
--Of these, an even smaller subset can reliably maintain or quickly generate full stacks.


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Haunting Guise


A cheap early item that can provide dominance in lane by greatly strengthening your spells. It grants you the following stats:
--200 Health
--25 Ability Power Armor

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--20 Magic Penetration

GEF: 0.720
Total Gold Value: 1044


What makes Haunting Guise a good choice?
--It's a cheap early game item that provides a significant lane advantage.
--It provides Magic Penetration, a rare and useful stat.

What makes Haunting Guise a poor choice?
--It has no natural upgrade.
--It's overshadowed by many other items that a mage can build, since magi are frequently particularly good at farming.
--If you are unable to take quick advantage of the laning dominance that Guise provides, you will soon fall behind.
--It can be countered by purchasing a Null-Magic Mantle, which more than covers the lost Magic Resist for less than the difference in money and can be upgraded into several useful items.


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Hexdrinker


A hybrid offense/defense item that protects your champion from magic damage. It grants you the following stats:
--25 Attack Damage
--30 Magic Resist

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Once every 60 seconds, if you would take magic damage that would leave you below 30% health, you gain a 4-second 250 HP shield that blocks only magic damage.

GEF [Raw]: 1.098
[Counting Shield]: 1.568
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1538
[Counting Shield]: 2195


What makes Hexdrinker a good choice?
--It's highly efficient if you can use the whole shield.
--It will frequently cause your opponent to overestimate their ability to kill you (particularly Garen).
--It's a geometric item; not only does it give you health (in the form of a shield), but also you get some magic resistance to support that health.
--It builds into the more powerful Maw of Malmortius, allowing you to transition to late game.
--It's an excellent choice against a magical opponent in lane ( Teemo, Akali, etc.).

What makes Hexdrinker a poor choice?
--Taking full advantage of the passive is more a product of your opponent's play than yours; against a physical opponent ( Renekton, Riven, Talon.
--It wastes most of its stats against any nonmagical opponent.


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Hextech Revolver


An early-to-mid game item that allows you to sustain yourself more effectively with your magic. It grants you the following stats:
--40 Ability Power
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--12% Spell Vampirism

GEF: 0.725
Total Gold Value: 870


What makes Hextech Revolver a good choice?
--It allows you to sustain yourself much more efficiently, especially in the laning phase.
--It's quite cheap to build early in the game.
--It has two upgrade paths: the super hybrid Hextech Gunblade and the cheaper team item Will of the Ancients.

What makes Hextech Revolver a poor choice?
--Spell Vampirism has only 33% effectiveness when used with an area attack.
--High magic resistance on your opponents will drastically reduce its effectiveness.
--It loses most of its usefulness on burst casters who drop all of their damage at the start of a fight (when they are ideally at full health).


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Ionic Spark


A hybrid offense/defense item that helps you farm and threaten a whole teamfight. It grants you the following stats:
--250 Health
--50% Attack Speed

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--On every fourth hit, Ionic Spark releases a chain lightning attack that deals 110 damage to as many as four targets.

GEF [Raw]: 0.895
If we count the chain lightning, Ionic Spark deals an extra total of 440 damage every fourth hit (or 110 damage per hit on average). In an absolutely perfect scenario (and noting that Ionic Spark does not increase the damage of AD-based abilities) this gives Ionic Spark a GEF of 2.879. Do note, however, that this is an artificially inflated number; against a single target the effective GEF is closer to 1.391.
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 2059
[With Perfect Passive]: 6622 (This is more than a Trinity Force, by the way.)
[With Single-Target Passive]: 3199


What makes Ionic Spark a good choice?
--It's an excellent farming tool that increases both your DPS and your EHP.
--The chain lightning effect can tag multiple enemies in a teamfight, netting you free assists.
--It releases its damage in a burst instead of on each hit, allowing you to start a fight with the full 110 damage through some clever play.

What makes Ionic Spark a poor choice?
--Not being able to land the bursting hit decreases the item's efficiency dramatically.
--It is rare that you will be able to take full advantage of the chain lightning against enemy champions.
--The bonus damage is magical and will not benefit from your armor penetration.


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Last Whisper


A powerful offensive item that renders your opponents' armor all but useless. It grants you the following stats:
--40 Attack Damage
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--40% Armor Penetration

GEF: 0.725
Total Gold Value: 1660


What makes Last Whisper a good choice?
--It is the game's most powerful armor penetration item.
--It reduces the efficiency of your opponents' armor items dramatically.

What makes Last Whisper a poor choice?
--Its usefulness hinges entirely on your opponents' items, making it a poor early choice.
--It doesn't interact well with flat armor penetration or armor reduction abilities.
--It's very inefficient for the stats it gives.


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Leviathan, Mejai's Soulstealer, and Sword of the Occult


A trio of items that grow in power when you do well and lose power when you do poorly. They grant you the following stats (capping at 20 stacks):
--(Leviathan): 180 Health, +32 Health per stack.
--(Mejai's Soulstealer): 20 Ability Power, +8 Ability Power per stack.
--(Sword of the Occult): 10 Attack Damage, +5 Attack Damage per stack.

UNIQUE PASSIVES:
--(All): Gain two stacks per kill and one stack per assist. Caps at 20 stacks. Lose 1/3 of stacks on death.
--(Leviathan): At full stacks, gain 15% damage resistance.
--(Mejai's Soulstealer): At full stacks, gain 15% cooldown reduction.
--(Sword of the Occult): At full stacks, gain 15% movement speed.


In order: Leviathan, Mejai's, Sword of the Occult
GEF [Raw]: 0.373, 0.352, 0.230
[10 Stacks]: 1.023, 1.761, 1.819
[20 Stacks]: 1.746, 3.170, 3.335
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 475, 435, 415
[10 Stacks]: 1304, 2175, 2490
[20 Stacks]: 2226, 3915, 4566


What makes these items good choices?
--If you can maintain their stacks, they are some of the most efficient items in the game.
--If you can stack them, they compound your gold lead over the enemy team.

What makes these items poor choices?
--It takes between three and five kills (or twice as many assists) for these items to start pulling their weight.
--With no stacks, they are the least efficient items in the game.
--By buying these items you intentionally set yourself behind your opponent on the assumption that you are skilled enough to make up the difference.


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Locket of the Iron Solari


An alternative choice to Randuin's Omen, the Locket of the Iron Solari defends your team in a different way. It grants you the following stats:
--300 Health
--35 Armor

UNIQUE AURA:
--Nearby allies (including you) gain 15 Health every 5 seconds.
UNIQUE ACTIVE:
--Nearby receive a shield that blocks the next (50+10xLevel) damage that they would take and lasts 5 seconds.

GEF: 0.635
[Counting the 230 HP shield*]: 0.906 [+0.272 per nearby ally]
Total Gold Value: 1413
[Counting the 230 HP shield]: 2017 [+604 per nearby ally]


*(This is assuming a champion level of 18. The support (a role on which this item might be an attractive choice) is frequently the lowest-level member of a team, and might get a lesser effect.)

What makes Locket of the Iron Solari a good choice?
--It's a cheap alternative to Randuin's Omen.
--It synergizes beautifully with Aegis of the Legion, providing your team extra health and some defenses to back it up.
--Assuming you can shield everyone on your team and that all of their shields are depleted (this will not always be the case), the Locket has a GEF of 2.065.
--It builds out of the useful Heart of Gold and Emblem of Valor, both items that can help early games significantly especially in the bottom lane.

What makes Locket of the Iron Solari a poor choice?
--No offensive stats makes it a less attractive item for carry-type characters.
--Taking full advantage of the item requires a high degree of player skill and demands specific positioning.
-You use up your Heart of Gold. This means that you can no longer use it to build Randuin's Omen, which is often a more useful item to tanky characters due to the extra armor and its powerful activated ability.


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Madred's Razors


An early farming item that is frequently used by junglers to speed up their progress. It grants you the following stats:
--15 Attack Damage
--23 Armor

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--20% chance to deal 300 bonus magic damage when attacking a minion or monster.

GEF [Raw]: 1.006
[Against minions and monsters]: 3.496 (adding an average of 60 damage per hit)
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1006
[Against minions and monsters]: 3496


What makes Madred's Razors a good choice?
--It allows you to farm much more easily.
--It dramatically speeds up jungle time due to its incredible efficiency in player vs. monster fights.
--It's very cheap to build.
--It has two upgrade paths: the high-end item Madred's Bloodrazor and the powerful mid-game Wriggle's Lantern.
--It helps to control the large buffs on the map, as well as the Dragon and the Baron.

What makes Madred's Razors a poor choice?
--Against other players, it is of only average efficiency and provides mediocre stats.
--In the lane, it can cause you to unintentionally push unless you only last-hit, in which case the passive is wasted.


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Malady


A hybrid item that shreds your opponent's magic resist with each strike. It grants you the following stats:
--50% Attack Speed
--25 Ability Power

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Your attacks deal 20 bonus magic damage and reduce the target's magic resist by 6 for 8 seconds (4 stacks).

GEF [Raw]: 1.065
[Counting Passive]: 1.520
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1944
[Counting Passive]: 2774


What makes Malady a good choice?
--It increases your damage while whittling away your opponent's magic resistance.
--The passive damage and the increased attack speed self-synergize well.
--It synergizes well with other items that deal magic damage on hit.
--It can compound magic resist reduction with that from other sources.

What makes Malady a poor choice?
--The damage doesn't benefit from your armor penetration.
--It provides no defensive stats and is generally outclassed by Wit's End.


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Manamune


A niche item that boosts your mana by a massive amount and increases your damage output. It grants you the following stats:
--20 Attack Damage
--350 Mana
--7 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Increase your maximum mana by 4 whenever you cast a spell (3 second cooldown). Increases your maximum mana by 1 each time you attack (3 second cooldown). Caps at +1000 mana.
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Increases your AD by 2% of your maximum mana.

GEF: This is largely dependent on your maximum mana. I'm going to assume a base mana of 650 and no other mana items (note that this is a mid-game assumption; champions have ~1000 mana on average at level 18).
[Raw]: 1.118
[Half-Stacked]: 1.789
[Fully Stacked]: 2.460
[Fully Stacked, Discounting Mana]: 1.180
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 2359
[Half-Stacked]: 3775
[Fully Stacked]: 5191
[Fully Stacked, Discounting Mana]: 2491

What makes Manamune a good choice?
--It's a stunningly efficient item, providing vastly more than you pay for it.
--It all but banishes any mana problems your champion might have.
--It increases in efficiency when you buy other useful mana items ( Frozen Heart, Banshee's Veil, etc.).

What makes Manamune a poor choice?
--A good portion of its efficiency comes from the mana it provides. If your champion can't make good use of the mana, it goes to waste.
--Very few AD champions have the means to generate the stacks with any sort of speed.
--Manaless champions gain virtually no benefit.
--It's slower than most big AD items due to the aforementioned stacking, although even alone it provides over 60 AD when fully stacked (assuming the stacking champion is Vayne or Ashe and has the lowest base mana of mana-using champions).


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Moonflair Spellblade


The third of the alternative Tenacity items. It grants you the following stats:
--50 Ability Power
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--35% Tenacity

GEF: 0.906
Total Gold Value: 1087


What makes Moonflair Spellblade a good choice?
--It both boosts your AP and allows you to resist stuns and snares.
--It lets you get away with building Sorcerer's Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity on many casters instead of Mercury's Treads.

What makes Moonflair Spellblade a poor choice?
--Its stats are mediocre at best and it takes up an item slot.
--If you really need that CDR or Magic Penetration, combining Mercury's Treads with either Fiendish Codex or Haunting Guise will get you better overall stats (30 AP, 7MP5, 10% CDR, 25 MR vs 50 AP 15% CDR) and the potential to upgrade.


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Morello's Evil Tome


An upgraded Fiendish Codex. It grants you the following stats:
--75 Ability Power
--12 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--20% Cooldown Reduction

GEF [Raw]: 0.700
[Counting Mana Regen and Cooldown Reduction]: 1.265
Total Gold Value: 1631
[Counting Mana Regen and Cooldown Reduction]: 2947


What makes Morello's Evil Tome a good choice?
--It provides a large chunk of Cooldown Reduction on a single item, freeing up other space.
--It builds out of cheap and useful parts, including Kage's Lucky Pick.
--Its new active allows you to deal with healing champions ( Dr. Mundo, Swain, Volibear, etc.)

What makes Morello's Evil Tome a poor choice?
--It's often overshadowed by the powerful active effect of Deathfire Grasp or the hybrid benefits of Nashor's Tooth.
--Chunky CDR can be problematic; it's easy to waste the stats with Crest of the Ancient Golem and Elixir of Brilliance. If your build has enough CDR already, skip this item.


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Phage


Phage boosts your damage and your health while helping you chase down your enemies. It grants you the following stats:
--225 Health
--18 Attack Damage

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--25% chance on hit to reduce your target's movement speed by 30% for 2.5 seconds.

GEF: 1.018
Total Gold Value: 1374


What makes Phage a good choice?
--It increases both your DPS and your EHP by a decent margin.
--The passive will get you kills that you would otherwise miss.
--It has two upgrade paths: the high-utility Frozen Mallet and the mighty Trinity Force.

What makes Phage a poor choice?
--The passive is somewhat unreliable and you may not get a slow off when you need one.
--The slowing effect relies on you being able to hit a decent number of auto-attacks in a short period of time, but Phage by itself does not provide any attack speed.


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Quicksilver Sash


A powerful defensive item that can purge your champion of debuffs in an instant. It grants you the following stats:
--56 Magic Resist
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Instantly removes all negative effects from your champion.

GEF: 0.648
Total Gold Value: 933


What makes Quicksilver Sash a good choice?
--It completely shuts down some champions who rely on powerful stuns or damage-over-time effects.
--It is the only way to remove the Grievous Wounds debuff before the duration expires.
--It is the only way to break a "Suppression" effect (barring those champions who are blessed to have cleansing effects of their own).
--It's very cheap.

What makes Quicksilver Sash a poor choice?
--Without the active, it's one of the game's less efficient items.
--The active requires practice to use effectively, more so than other items with similar effects.
--It's a very situational item; you will usually build it to counter a specific opponent ( Malzahar and Mordekaiser are common reasons, as the Sash will break both Nether Grasp/ Children of the Grave and the accompanying Ignite).


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Sheen


An early damage-boosting item to help you farm and duel more effectively. It grants you the following stats:
--250 Mana
--25 Ability Power

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Whenever you cast a spell, you deal bonus damage on your next attack equal to your base damage. This bonus damage cannot crit.

GEF: 0.828
Total Gold Value: 1043


What makes Sheen a good choice?
--It's a cheap way to greatly boost your damage early game.
--It has two build paths: the mage item Lich Bane and the mighty Trinity Force.
--It works superbly with abilities that work "on your next attack" ( Siphoning Strike, Noxian Diplomacy, Rabid Bite,etc.).

What makes Sheen a poor choice?
--Many champions on whom it would otherwise be useful cannot take advantage of the mana or the ability power.
--The bonus damage is from your base damage only, and building extra AD will not increase it; champions with low base AD will get less effect.
--Upgrading it is expensive.


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Shurelya's Reverie

Shurelya's Reverie
A powerful supportive item that reduces your cooldowns and lets your team get in and out of fights much more easily. It grants you the following stats:
--330 Health
--30 Health Per 5 Seconds
--15 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--15% Cooldown Reduction
UNIQUE ACTIVE:
--Increases your movement speed and the movement speed of all surrounding allies by 40% for 3 seconds.

GEF [Raw]: 0.430
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 0.664
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction and the regeneration]: 1.448
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 947
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1460
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction and the regeneration]: 3185.6


What makes Shurelya's Reverie a good choice?
--It allows your team to easily initiate or escape fights.
--The regeneration it provides helps keep you healthy as you poke at your opponents.
--It builds naturally out of Philosopher's Stone, an exceptional early-game item for many characters.

What makes Shurelya's Reverie a poor choice?
--It provides no offensive stats other than Cooldown Reduction, making it less useful to specialized characters.
--It is remarkably useful for getting into teamfights and does little once there.
--If you forget to use the active, the item is very inefficient.


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Soul Shroud


A caster support item that improves your defenses while allowing your team's magi to cast more frequently. It grants you the following stats:
--520 Health
UNIQUE AURA:
--Nearby allies (including you) gain 10% Cooldown Reduction and regenerate 12 mana every 5 seconds.

GEF [Raw]: 0.622
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 0.769 [+0.147 for each nearby ally]
[Counting Cooldown Reduction and regeneration]: 1.073 [+0.451 for each nearby ally]
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1368
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 1692 [+324 for each nearby ally]
[Counting Cooldown Reduction and regeneration]: [+993 for each nearby ally]


What makes Soul Shroud a good choice?
--It alleviates the burden of building Cooldown Reduction and Mana Regeneration for your entire team.
--It boosts your health significantly, giving you more staying power in fights.

What makes Soul Shroud a poor choice?
--It requires prior planning with your teammates, who may already be planning to maximize their Cooldown Reduction.
--Like many Mana Regen/Cooldown Reduction items, Soul Shroud is somewhat overshadowed by Blue Buff.
-- Soul Shroud is frequently left to the support, who will likely not have enough money to get it in addition to other necessary items.


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Spirit Visage


An extremely cheap defensive item that amplifies your healing factor. It grants you the following stats:
--250 Health
--30 Magic Resist

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--10% Cooldown Reduction
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Increases all health that you gain via self-healing or regeneration by 15%.

GEF [Raw]: 0.747
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 0.956
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1158
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1482


What makes Spirit Visage a good choice?
--It provides both health and defense, boosting your EHP significantly.
--It's extremely cheap and provides Cooldown Reduction.
--It increases the efficiency of all of your Life Steal, Spell Vampirism, and Health Regeneration items, as well as improving any natural healing abilities your champion might possess.

What makes Spirit Visage a poor choice?
--It has a low Total Gold Value compared to other items.
--Maximizing its effect requires you to build a certain kind of item.
--It's much less effective on champions without a natural healing factor.


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Stinger


A cheap offensive item that boosts your attack speed and cuts your cooldowns. It grants you the following stats:
--40% Attack Speed

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--10% Cooldown Reduction

GEF [Raw]: 1.028
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1.325
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1158
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1444


What makes Stinger a good choice?
--It cheaply boosts both the speed at which you attack and the speed at which you cast your spells.
--It upgrades into the powerful hybrid item Nashor's Tooth later in the game.

What makes Stinger a poor choice?
--Its very nature makes it an item suited only to characters who need to both attack and cast spells at high speed. This issue is compounded when it upgrades, as Nashor's Tooth brings only an extra 15% from an attack speed perspective.
--Like any Cooldown Reduction item, it is overshadowed by the Blue Buff.


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Tear of the Goddess


A cheap early item that builds up your mana over time. It grants you the following stats:
--350 Mana
--7 Mana Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Increase your maximum mana by 4 whenever you cast a spell (3 second cooldown). Caps at +1000 mana.

GEF [Raw]: 0.704
[+500 Mana]: 1.709
{+1000 Mana]: 2.714
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 700
[+500 Mana]: 1700
[+1000 Mana]: 2700


What makes Tear of the Goddess a good choice?
--It provides an ever-increasing bounty of mana for you to draw upon to cast your spells.
--It has two upgrade paths: the physically oriented Manamune and the caster's Archangel's Staff.
--It allows you to be much less careful with your mana in the lane.

What makes Tear of the Goddess a poor choice?
--It provides no AP until upgraded into Archangel's Staff, an expensive transformation.
--Not all characters can effectively stack it.
--Although it's remarkably efficient, it only gives you mana and not all characters can truly take advantage of it.
--Like any mana item, it's overshadowed by Blue Buff.


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The Brutalizer


A cheap offensive item that boosts your attack damage while weakening your opponents' defenses. It grants you the following stats:
--25 Attack Damage

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--10% Cooldown Reduction
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--15 Armor Penetration

GEF [Raw]: 0.776
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1.018
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1037.5
[Counting the Cooldown Reduction]: 1361


What makes The Brutalizer a good choice?
--It synergizes with itself, increasing your damage while reducing your opponent's effective armor.
--It provides Cooldown Reduction, a useful stat on any character.
--It builds into the powerful Youmuu's Ghostblade.

What makes The Brutalizer a poor choice?
--While many champions can very effectively put The Brutalizer's stats to good use, upgrading it into a Youmuu's Ghostblade is very expensive and adds very little besides Critical Strike and a useful active. For some champions, Brutalizer is best built early and then sold.
--Highly specialized champions will probably want to get a more potent damage item first, skipping The Brutalizer in favor of attack speed afterward.


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Thornmail


The game's most powerful armor item punishes your attackers. It grants you the following stats:
--100 Armor
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Reflects 30% of the raw damage you take (before armor) from basic attacks onto the attacker as magic damage.

GEF: 0.834
Total Gold Value: 1667


What makes Thornmail a good choice?
--It's cheap. Of the large armor items ( Thornmail, Frozen Heart, Randuin's Omen) it has by far the lowest cost.
--It's a highly specialized item that offers you exactly the stats you buy.
--It all but negates any Life Steal your opponent might have because of the way Life Steal interacts with damage dealt.

What makes Thornmail a poor choice?
--It only does one thing, making it useless against any enemy who isn't dealing physical damage.
--It doesn't provide the team utility that Frozen Heart or Randuin's Omen bring to the table.


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Tiamat


A mid-game damage item that causes your attacks to splash. It grants you the following stats:
--50 Attack Damage
--15 Health Per 5 Seconds
--5 Mana Per 5 Seconds

PASSIVE:
--Your attacks splash, dealing 50% damage in a radius of 185 around the target. The splash is reduced to 35% if your champion is ranged.

GEF [Raw]: 1.002
[Counting Regeneration]: 1.347
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 2070
[Counting Regeneration]: 2789


What makes Tiamat a good choice?
--It allows you to very quickly farm minions or monsters.
--It amplifies your damage in teamfights due to incidental splashing.
--It builds out of small regeneration items that can keep you in the lane longer early in the game.

What makes Tiamat a poor choice?
--It naturally pushes any lane it's used in.
--It has a weaker effect when used by ranged champions.
--Most specialized characters tend to go for larger damage items.


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Void Staff


A late-game mage item that renders your opponent's magic resist all but worthless. It grants you the following stats:
--70 Ability Power
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--40% Magic Penetration

GEF: 0.700
Total Gold Value: 1523


What makes Void Staff a good choice?
--It provides significant AP while drastically reducing the efficiency of your opponents' magic resist items.
--It effectively counters the items that your opponents have already build to counter you.

What makes Void Staff a poor choice?
--It's a counter item; unless your opponent already has high magic resist, it doesn't do much for you.
--It interacts poorly with flat magic penetration and magic resist reduction.
--It's inefficient.


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Warden's Mail


A mid-game defensive item that makes it hard for attackers to stick to you. It grants you the following stats:
--50 Armor
--20 Health Per 5 Seconds

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--When an autoattack strikes you, there is a 20% chance that the source will be slowed by 35% for 3 seconds.

GEF [Raw]: 0.656
[Counting Regeneration]: 1.047
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 886
[Counting Regeneration]: 1414


What makes Warden's Mail a good choice?
--It makes you hard to chase, or at the very least gives you a chance against red-buffed junglers out for your blood.
--It builds into the more powerful Randuin's Omen later in the game.
--It incentivizes you to build Heart of Gold, which will net you some cash.

What makes Warden's Mail a poor choice?
--There's not frequently a place for it in the middle of a build. Most people build the Heart of Gold first to take maximum advantage of the gold generation and then skip straight to Randuin's Omen later in the game.
--It's a pure armor item and is useless against any magical attack.


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Will of the Ancients


A team-support item that boosts your allies magic and restores their health. It grants you the following stats:
--60 Ability Power
UNIQUE AURA:
--Nearby allies (including you) gain 20% Spell Vampirism and 30 Ability Power

GEF: 0.7828 [+0.261 for each nearby ally]
Total Gold Value: 1957.5 [+653 for each nearby ally]


What makes Will of the Ancients a good choice?
--It gives large bonuses to your entire team.
--It's quite efficient if you can share the bonus with at least one ally.
--It offers immense sustain even early in the game.

What makes Will of the Ancients a poor choice?
--Casters who rely on front-load burst (dropping all their damage at the start of the fight) can't take advantage of the Spell Vampirism as easily.
--Your team probably has some composition issues if everyone can take good advantage of all of the benefits.
--Building more than two on a team wastes the aura.


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Wit's End


A mid-game hybrid item that boosts your damage and magic resistance. It grants you the following stats:
--40% Attack Speed
--30 Magic Resistance

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--Your basic attacks deal 42 bonus magic damage and increase your Magic Resistance by 5 (maximum of +20)

GEF [Raw]: 0.753
[With the bonus 20 Magic Resistance]: 0.908
[With the bonus 20 Magic Resistance and the 42 magic damage]: 1.720
Total Gold Value [Raw]: 1620
[With the bonus 20 Magic Resistance]: 1954
[With the bonus 20 Magic Resistance and the 42 magic damage]: 3697


What makes Wit's End a good choice?
--The bonus damage and attack speed synergize well.
--It is tied for third-strongest Magic Resistance item in the game when stacked, which is impressive considering its cost and offensive nature.
--It's very cheap and provides a variety of effects.

What makes Wit's End a poor choice?
--The bonus magic damage can't crit, and you won't get life steal or spell vamp off of it. It won't benefit from any armor penetration you have, and your skills won't scale off of it.
--You won't always be able to get or keep the stacks on Wit's End, making the resistance boost slightly unreliable.


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Wriggle's Lantern


An extremely popular mid-game that boosts several stats and provides superior map control and sustainability. It grants you the following stats:
--23 Attack Damage
--30 Armor
--15% Life Steal

UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--20% chance to deal 425 bonus magic damage when attacking a minion or monster.
UNIQUE ACTIVE:
--Places a ward that acts in all ways as a sight ward. Three-minute cooldown.

GEF [Raw]: 1.261
[Against minions and monsters]: 3.465 (adding an average of 85 damage per hit)
Total Gold Value: 2017.6 [+75 for each ward that you place]


What makes Wriggle's Lantern a good choice?
--It provides exceptional combat stats for the early and mid game, and does so very efficiently.
--It generates free wards at a rate of one every three minutes, enabling you to keep a particular location permanently warded [This is the equivalent of generating about 4 gold every 10 seconds save that it must be spent on wards].
--It allows for sustainability in the lane and jungle and helps control buffs.

What makes Wriggle's Lantern a poor choice?
-- Madred's Razors can no longer be upgraded into Madred's Bloodrazor.
--Only champions who can take full advantage of the damage and Life Steal can make particularly good use of it.
--It's a diverse item sometimes unsuited to a specialist champion.


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Zeal


The double swords make you run and attack more quickly. They grant you the following stats:
--20% Attack Speed
--10% Critical Strike

PASSIVE:
--8% bonus movement speed.


GEF: 0.887
Total Gold Value: 1060


What makes Zeal a good choice?
--It has two upgrade paths: the DPS staple Phantom Dancer or the mighty Trinity Force.
--It synergizes well with any item that boosts your Attack Damage, since it gives you attack speed and critical strike to multiply your DPS.
--It boosts your movement speed, which can make the difference between a kill/death and an escape.

What makes Zeal a poor choice?
--It does little for your damage by itself, since attack speed and critical strike are both multipliers. Zero times a thousand is still zero.
--Critical strike is an unreliable stat unless you have a lot of it.
--Upgrading Zeal is expensive.


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Zeke's Herald

Zeke's Herald
Zeke's herald increases your health, decreases your cooldowns, and provides you and your allies with attack speed and life steal. It grants you the following stats:
--250 Health
UNIQUE PASSIVE:
--15% Cooldown Reduction.
UNIQUE AURA:
--Nearby allies (including you) gain 20% Attack Speed and 12% Life Steal.

GEF [Raw]: 0.777 [+0.471 for each nearby ally]
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 1.004 [+0.471 for each nearby ally]
Total Gold Value: 1668 [+1010 for each nearby ally]
[Counting Cooldown Reduction]: 2154 [+1010 for each nearby ally]


What makes Zeke's Herald a good choice?
--It boosts a variety of stats, but all characters can take advantage of the health and cooldown reduction.
--It boosts both the damage output and sustainability of your carry in fights.

What makes Zeke's Herald a poor choice?
--It's unrealistic to think that you will frequently have more than three characters (including yourself) on a team who can use the passive effectively.
--While it boosts several stats, it doesn't boost any of them by terribly much.


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TL;DR Section

Many small items do not beat many big items. That would be dumb and you're right to think so. What many small items *do* beat is few big items. A character with Wit's End and Phage would need to screw up phenomenally to be less effective than a character with Warmog's Armor.

If you're steamrolling, go ahead and build your big stuff. But if you're losing, consider many of these smaller items more carefully. A small but complete item is almost universally better than the skeleton of a bigger one, and you can make up lost ground if you don't insist on getting that Trinity Force at breakneck speed.


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Changelog:

2/15/2012: Published guide
2/16/2012: Added specialist/generalist section. Changed wording of Locket of the Iron Solari to be less confusing.
5/2/2012: Updates! Changed the items that have had little tweaks recently.


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Conclusion

I'd like to conclude by saying that early and mid-game items are a gamble -- you are gaining an advantage on the assumption that you'll be able to use it to gain a bigger advantage.

Don't forget, though: you can sell these mid-game items. League of Legends has an item sell value of 70%; if the game actually does end up going to 60+ minutes, you can get your giant slow items then. Play to your advantages and counter your opponents, and I think you'll find your gaming experience to be a much more pleasant one.

Thank you for reading my guide. I hope it has been informative to you. If it was helpful, please send me an upvote so that other people can find it more easily. If you do decide to downvote, please tell me why so that I can improve. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask away in the comments section.

Tally ho!
--Gentleman Gannon


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