General Guide by theBMB
Not Updated For Current Season
Update: just added seeker's armguard to the list
Many of the builds detail items that are good for the specific character that they're building for, but they never really explain exactly why this item was chosen over another and the situation that demanded that choice. Guides offer a few builds for a champ and while this is generally a good way to learn how to play a character, it's not good for becoming a better player in general. There are too many team compositions for a single build to work in every case, thus a good player knows how to be fluid when building their items. This not only includes what items you buy but: what order you buy the components in, what items you buy at the start, what items to sell and when, and what items to build early so that they can reach their full potential.
The goal of this guide is to deliver an understanding of the items in this game and the phases of build order and to act as a reference for those who might forget about some of the lesser known items that could be useful in certain situations.
Note:If you're looking for info on a specific item, just use ctrl+f and search for it.
Here's a quick list of terms and acronyms used throughout the guide:
AD = Attack damage
AP = Ability Power
AS = Attack Speed
Ar. Pen. = Armor Penetration
M Pen = Magic Penetration
H/M/GPX = Health/Mana/Gold per X seconds
CDR= Cooldown reduction
Nuke = Champion who deals a large amount of damage within a very short period, then waits for cooldowns
DPS = Damage per second, Champion who deals damage over time through auto attacks
CC = Crowd Control (slows, taunts, fears, stuns, snares)
The Basics [Basic Tier]
Before I get into anything I want to list the various basic items to help give an understanding of whether you should buy a Pickaxe or wait for a B. F. Sword and such. Items will be listed with a category as well as their gold efficiency
Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation (Mastery)
Explorer Ward (Mastery)
Long Sword (40 gold per 1 AD)
Pickaxe (35 gold per 1 AD)
B. F. Sword (34.5 gold per 1 AD)
Amplifying Tome (21.75 gold per 1 AP)
Blasting Wand (21.5 gold per 1 AP)
Needlessly Large Rod (20 gold per 1 AP)
Cloth Armor (20 gold per 1 Armor)
Chain Vest (18 gold per 1 Armor)
Magic Resist Items:
Null-Magic Mantle (20 gold per 1 M. Resist)
Negatron Cloak (18 gold per 1 M. Resist)
Attack Speed Items:
Dagger (33.3 gold per 1% AS)
Recurve Bow (31.67 gold per 1% AS)
|SPACE||Critical Chance Items:
Brawler's Gloves (50 gold per 1% crit chance)
Cloak of Agility (48.6 gold per 1% crit chance)
Health and Health Regen:
Ruby Crystal (2.6 gold per 1 Health)
Giant's Belt (2.6 gold per 1 Health)
Rejuvenation Bead (36 gold per 1 HP5)
Mana and Mana Regen:
Sapphire Crystal (2 gold per 1 Mana)
Faerie Charm (60 gold per 1 MP5)
Note: the stats on the doran's items are exceptional, thus you often see them being stacked to compound their effect. However, this should be done with consideration as they lose their effect as the game progresses and your only option is to sell them since they do not build into anything else.
You may be wondering why I would be listing this when it's all available in the Mobafire database. But I want to call attention to the way these items are grouped and the way the groups differ.
For the sake of this discussion I'll be referring to these items in "tiers." Long Sword is tier 1. Pickaxe is tier 2. B. F. Sword is tier 3.
You may notice that there is a tier 2 for health, but not for mana; also that a Pickaxe costs 875, whereas a Blasting Wand costs 860, despite being in the same tier of damage. Basic items are basic because they offer nothing except pure stats at low costs. In many cases this is all you need for the early phases of the game. So you may find yourself buying a Chain Vest, Giant's Belt and a Sapphire Crystal if you're an offtank who needs the extra mana. You may build the Chain Vest and Giant's Belt together into a Sunfire Cape, or the Chain Vest and the Sapphire Crystal into a Glacial Shroud and build the giant's belt into a Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
You can see how important the order you buy your basic items in is. In most cases you'll find that the utility of the passive on an item like Tear of the Goddess demands that you build it as fast as possible. However, if you can focus on building various basic items first than you allow yourself much more flexibility as the game begins to change to favor one thing.
All tier 1 items in this section can be bought at the beginning of the game and they leave a varying amount of gold left over for potions (generally 1-3) and wards (generally one). In most cases you'll want to spend most of the 475 gold you start with. For example, should you buy a sapphire crystal and 2 pots or boots and 3 pots? While this generally depends on what you plan on buying later, sapphire crystal will allow you to cast more spells early, while boots will give you higher mobility and better sustain with the 3rd potion. In the event that you were rushing Tear of the Goddess you would start with the Sapphire Crystal to get it as soon as possible instead of the boots.
To illustrate how complex choosing your basic items can be, I'll use another scenario. Lets say you are an AD caster up against an AP carry mid and they are harassing you very well. The rest of the opponent's team is decently heavy on CC. On your first return to base, you have 780 gold. This is enough to allow you to buy a Negatron Cloak but it will also leave you with only enough to buy a pot and set you back from buying the damage dealing items you need to get as quickly as possible (like a BF sword). However you could also buy a cheaper Null-Magic Mantle to reduce their damage a little bit without setting yourself far back in your build. The cloak can be built into a mid-late game Banshee's Veil, the mantle can be built into an early game Mercury's Treads (I'll go over boot choice in the next section). Both options are viable against a CC heavy team. The point here is that there is no clear decision. The factors you should consider when making a decision like this are: what characters you're playing and who you're up against, how much damage you are dealing now, how much damage you need to deal now and later, and how much damage the opponent is dealing to you now.
So many shoes to choose from
If there is anything you need to know, it's what boots to choose. Boots are essential because everyone builds them. Although it might be possible in very special cases to build without boots, the base movement speed of EVERY champ is simply too low to keep them viable without them.
Before I go into the boots themselves, I'm going to go over the various enchantments that can be applied to boots so I can discuss specific combinations later.
This is the most straightforward enchantment. It gives you a bonus flat 15 movement speed. It is important to note that this flat movement speed will be increased by any items that increase movement speed by percentage e.g. Zeal.
This is a good enchantment for support or initiators as it allows your team to follow you quickly wherever you go. It's also good for pushing as nearby ally minions will move faster, thus meaning they get to towers quicker.
This is a great enchantment since so many initiations rely on flash being off cooldown. It's even more potent if you pack flash AND teleport as it allows you to telegank more often. Try getting this enchantment early as it will have a greater impact on the game that way.
A good enchantment for carries that allows you to stick to your target while attacking them. With 400 movement speed you'll gain a bonus 48 while in combat, which is the equivalent to having another pair of tier 2 boots.
Possibly the most fun enchantment as it lets you zoom out of base extremely quickly and is one of the cheaper options among enchantments. It's particularly good for defending your base against split pushing and backdooring as it allows you to quickly catch up to an enemy champ who's invading your base alone.
The basic boots offer a decent boost to speed, but offer no other benefits. Many champions will start with these boots and 3 Health Potions. Doing so allows for a movement speed advantage over foes and can help you harass and avoid harass easier. For example, if you're mid lane and your opponent is Karthus, buying boots first will make him simply unable to harass you with Lay Waste. However starting with these is not mandatory unless you feel you will need the sustain from 3 potions.
Berserker's Greaves are a standard choice for AD champs and are practically required on ranged AD characters like Ashe or Caitlyn. The attack speed bonus not only makes it easier to farm but gives you an advantage over other AD champs. Keep in mind that attack speed is the difference between hitting like a hammer and hitting like a Jackhammer. These boots synergize well with the Enchantment: Furor as it allows you to chase extremely well, giving you the equivalent of Vayne's passive.
The standard choice for AP carries, do not underestimate the damage bonus that the magic penetration gives. When playing AP I usually buy these boots before any AP item because the magic penetration can have a huge impact, even in early game. These boots go well with Enchantment: Distortion since many AP carries are dependent on flash for setting up combos.
A good choice for champs who are extremely reliant on their abilities. Champs like Renekton or Brand can benefit from these since they need to use their abilities as a combo to use them to their full extent. Keep in mind that max CDR is 40%.
Mercury's Treads are possibly the most versatile boot choice. Every champ can benefit from buying these boots. It offers the tenacity buff, which is useful during all phases of the game. Even carries can benefit from these boots if they expect to be focused down a lot, but you'll most often see these on tanks.
The other boot choice for tank, useful if the enemy team is heavy on AD champs, otherwise you're better off with merc treads since the majority of champs have some sort of CC they could use on you. These boots provide the most damage reduction.
Very useful on stealth and assassin characters who stay out of a fight until the right moment to pick off a foe. Was seen more often when roaming was popular, but you'll typically see Shaco, Evelynn, or Twitch wearing these. They saw a surge in popularity in S2 on junglers like Alistar for their phenomenal ganking ability. Pack these with Enchantment: Homeguard for ridiculous speeds when leaving base.
These boots offer the highest flat movement speed and synergize well with Enchantment: Alacrity, especially on champions with abilities that increase movement speed by a percentage like Garen or Poppy. The slow reduction is good, but I don't suggest buying these boots specifically for that reason, as Mercury Treads reduces the duration of slows and is more versatile. (Though it could be a favorable option if the only CC the enemy team has is in slows).
Differences Between Movement Speed Tiers:
Note: Due to FPS issues, these times are not exact, but the point of these videos is to show the subtle differences between movement speeds.
Tier 2 Boots:
Boots of Swiftness:
Boots of Mobility:
and for the lulz:
Most of these videos were recorded before the S3 item update, so there are much higher speeds reachable now.
Movement Speed is pretty simple to calculate. Every tier of boots adds a fixed number of movement speed points. After that the percentage bonus of items, abilities, buffs, etc. is cumulative and statically added.
But you can't stack movement speed endlessly because there is a break.
This break is called "diminishing returns".
It kicks in as "soft diminishing return" after 415 Movement Speed, which means every point of movement speed over 415 has only an 80% effectiveness.
After 490 movement speed "harsh diminishing return" kicks in which reduces every movement speed above 490 by 50%
Your base movement speed on Tristana is 300. You get yourself Berserker's Greaves and a Phantom Dancer which gives you a 15% movement speed bonus. First, the +45 from your tier 2 Boots get added. After that, the 15% of the Phantom Dancer gets applied. You now would have a movement speed of 425 if there wouldn't be the "diminishing return." Your final movement speed is 423.
Let's say you get another Phantom Dancer, that's another 15%. In total you now have a modifier of 30%.
So now you would have a movement speed of a grandios 481. After diminishing returns calculated you have 467.
We are still not in the region of harsh diminishing returns.
So our little Tristana decides to add get a Youmuu's Ghostblade and activate it, which means another 20% movement speed.
In total, now she has 300 base Movement Speed ,+70 from her Boots, and 50% through items.
She would have an insane movement speed of 555 now though, again, diminishing returns apply.
First, the soft one for anything between 415 and 490 and then the harsh for everything over 490.
Which makes a final movement speed of 527.
The formula for calculating the diminishing return of 555 looks like this:
Thanks to Staub for that useful explanation.
The point to all this is that, for example, when choosing boots of swiftness versus berserker greaves, is that 5% movement speed boost really better than 25% attack speed? Probably not.
Unique like everyone else
This section will explain the term unique and the various types of items that have "unique" abilities.
As you can see there are A LOT of items with unique passives. An item with a unique passive means that the passive isn't multiplied if more than one of the item is purchased (AKA stacking items). While some items like Infinity Edge or the tenacity items don't really need their passives to be unique, other items like Sunfire Cape are extremely powerful and/or annoying when stacked. The term "unique" is basically Riot's go to card when they realize that an item is overpowered when stacked.
You may notice that some unique passives have a special name like "mana font" associated with them. This terminology is used to clear up any ambiguity with how item passives interact with their upgrade. Simply, if two items share a unique passive with the same name, the passives will not stack with each other. For example, Madred's Razors will not apply its passive if you also own a Wriggle's Lantern.
To be clear, the Unique passive enforces a greatly diminished return on each purchase after the first of an item. The unique passive of an item is factored into its cost so no matter how enticing an item's stats are, in nearly every case it is more gold efficient to buy a seperate item.
Among the items with unique passives are the GP10 items. These items provide good early game stats and allow characters to increase their gold income when they feel they might be missing out on farm. Supports will often buy one or two and Avarice Blade is a strong pick for champions who are dependent on farm like Ashe or Gangplank.
GP10 items run an average cost of 750 gold. With 5 GP10 this means it takes approximately 20-25 minutes for a GP10 item to completely pay itself off. It may seem like a long time but the GP10 items generally have strong stats. Therefore you have the benefits of the GP10 item's stats for the early game without actually having to pay for it. Plus, you can use this gold to buy things like wards.
Auras are a special type of unique passive. Auras have 2 different cases in who they effect:
- You and your teammates
- Just your enemies
Most unique actives have unique passives as well, but their strength truly lies in the active. Many of the actives are game changing and should not be forgotten. If you forget to use the active on an item, then you've essentially wasted money buying the item. The cost of the item factors in the active so spam it if you need to until you learn the proper times to use it, otherwise it's a waste. That the actives are unique means you can not have two Zhonya's Hourglass and activate them at seperate times. One of the Hourglasses will simply not have an active ability.
Item List preface
The approach to the following sections is:
When to use it: This section gives you an idea of what scenario you should use this item in
Who to use it with:This gives you a brief look at what champions can benefit from this item, it is not an all inclusive list
Extra Notes: extra details that don't fit in the sections above
While items may be grouped in a specific section, this *DOES NOT* mean that if you are an AD you should restrict yourself to the AD category. Many items can exist in multiple categories and you should consider them all when building. As previously stated, what you should build is often situational and you might have to dip into the support or tank section when necessary.
Physical Damage Items: Hit 'em hard, hit 'em fast
Physical Damage items are what you will be building on your ranged AD carries and bruisers. These items amp up your damage through attack damage, attack speed, armor penetration/reduction, and critical chance and sometimes provide sustain through lifesteal, among other benefical effects.
When to use it:This item synergizes well with health items like Frozen Mallet and Warmog's Armor. Atma's is core for a lot of melee characters.
Who to use it with: Jax, Wukong, Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao
Extra Notes:You'll generally be building this item late since it's more beneficial to build health first, then atma's. Keep in mind that a character with 3000 health gets 60 AD from this, which is quite a bit considering the amount of survivability a character with 3000 health has (Jax gets even more due to his passive). The description for this item is tricky, it only increases the damage for your auto attack, it doesn't actually increase your bonus AD, which means abilities that scale off AD are unaffected.
Atma's doesn't see much play anymore due to its nerfs. The crit chance is often times useless for bruisers so it's somewhat of a wasted stat and without its previous strength there isn't much justification to running atmog's.
EDIT: Mastajdog says it DOES actually increase your AD, so it would affect skills, meaning the tooltip on this site (and possibly in-game) needs to be updated. Need to test myself.
When to use it:One of the GP/5 items, use it on crit characters who are dependent on farm and gold.
Who to use it with: Gangplank, Tryndamere
Extra Notes:Get this item early, if you're just planning on building Youmuu's Ghostblade more characters benefit from building The Brutalizer first.
When to use it:If you're going to build Hextech Gunblade or Blade of the Ruined King
Who to use it with: on-hit AD carries ( Kog'Maw, Varus, Kayle and hybrid characters with gap closers ( Akali, Jax)
Extra Notes: It's got a precent decent active ability but you'll want to upgrade this item quickly as both of its upgrades are vastly superior.
Blade of the Ruined King
When to use it:If you're a character who specializes in on-hit abilities and attack speed or if the enemy is stacking health. It's a pretty versatile pick.
Who to use it with: Kog'Maw, Jax, Caitlyn, Varus, etc.
Extra Notes: This item has a great active as it steals movement speed similar to Malphite's Seismic Shard. It also deals more damage to enemies at full health since it does bonus damage based on the enemies *current* health. This item is a solid alternative to The Bloodthirster. If you're an AD carry, use the active to kite bruisers who are diving at you.
Bonetooth NecklaceBonetooth Necklace
When to use it: This item is for Rengar only and should only be used if you are really good with him.
Who to use it with: Rengar, obviously
Extra Notes: I generally don't like snowball items, they're too risky. This item is very strong with 14 trophies though, so avoid death at all costs if you do decide to get it.
When to use it: This item guarantees that the enemy will not get away from you. If you're a tanky DPS character this item can be really helpful as it provides one of the best item based slows in the game.
Who to use it with: Trundle, Caitlyn, Renekton, Wukong, Shyvana etc.
Extra Notes: There is some debate as to whether the benefits of this item are more useful than those of Trinity Force. I generally lean towards Frozen Mallet, but Triforce provides more damage. This item fits in either the physical damage or tank section.
When to use it:A good item to counter mages through mid game, its stats fall off during the late game, so you'll likely want to upgrade to a Maw of Malmortius
Who to use it with:Works well with melee champs who have to get within casting range of that pesky mage e.g. Pantheon, Xin Zhao, Riven, Kha'Zix
Extra Notes:This item became pretty popular once its upgrade was released, and it provides solid stats for early game. It's also the only other magic damage shield in the game besides morgana's black shield.
When to use it: A solid pick for crit based champions. If your character can naturally get to 100% crit chance or has abilities that synchronize well with criticals, build this item hands down.
Who to use it with: Ashe, Gangplank, Tryndamere, Tristana, the list goes on.
Extra Notes: Build this item if you're build includes a lot of crit chance items. If you're build has a The Bloodthirster and a Trinity Force you probably won't benefit much from this item's passive.
When to use it:Use against armor heavy teams, this item is more useful the more armor your enemy has as it is percentage based reduction.
Who to use it with: Caitlyn, Tryndamere, Ashe, AD champs in general
Extra Notes:This item doesn't offer that much AD so you're really better off saving it for late game when enemies are stacked up on armor. Data shows that this item after a certain point in the game increases your DPS more than buying a bloodthirster does, so keep that in mind.
When to use it: Use this if you are an AD carry or non-mage who built a Tear of the Goddess
Who to use it with: Urgot, Corki, Blitzcrank, Ezreal
Extra Notes: This item is pretty great not for itself, but for its automatic upgrade Muramana. Don't worry about upgrading your Tear of the Goddess too early. This item will help you build the mana faster, but it will only really pay off when its close to getting its upgrade.
Maw of Malmortius
When to use it: Use this on bruisers and AD casters who need to be in the center of a fight to maximize effectiveness. This item will save you from focus burst and AoE damage while you're in the fray.
Who to use it with: Riven, Darius, Shyvana, Talon, etc.
Extra Notes: This item is an upgrade for the Hexdrinker. The idea is to provide physical damage while countering AP champs. When fighting a mage with this item, wait for the shield to pop up before you decide whether to disengage. In close fights in can make a huge difference.
When to use it: If you're an AD carry who's built Quicksilver Sash (see that item for conditions to buy, the upgrade is a no brainer)
Who to use it with: Tryndamere, Ashe, Vayne, Sivir, etc.
Extra Notes: Melee champs get a bonus effect when using this item, so consider building this over other defensive alternatives like Maw of Malmortius when playing champs like Tryndamere, Master Yi, or Fiora.
When to use it: The automatic upgrade for Manamune. You won't have to think about getting this item, but try to stack up that mana quickly because the active is pretty great.
Who to use it with: Urgot, Corki, Ryze, Yorick
Extra Notes: Remember that this item empowers single target *spells* as well, not just auto attacks. For this reason some casters like Ryze can benefit from this item a lot.
When to use it:Useful on tanky DPS characters and since it's a component for Trinity Force it is fairly common. Use this item if you have trouble sticking to your foe.
Who to use it with: Nasus, Trundle, Irelia, Ezreal, Shyvana,etc.
Extra Notes:Choosing which component of triforce to build first when rushing is dependent on what type of character you have. This item is often built first since it provides the stats that bruisers need early game and Bruisers are the ones most commonly building Trinity Force. Also keep in mind that this item has a diminished effect for ranged champions.
When to use it: If you're playing an AD carry, this item is extremly useful.
Who to use it with:Literally any AD carry can benefit from this, except maybe Corki or Tristana since they have built in ways of running away or closing the gap with their target.
Extra Notes: Build the zeal first and then upgrade later, you won't regret it.
When to use it: If you've built a Tiamat, upgrade soon.
Who to use it with: Shyvana, Fiora, Tryndamere
Extra Notes: This item has the second most AD on a single item, even surpassing Infinity Edge. The only thing that beats it is a stacked The Bloodthirster. The AoE lifesteal is great in team fights and is great on disruptors. Don't buy this on a ranged champion though, it won't work.
When to use it:A strong item for ranged on-hit style champions
Who to use it with: Teemo, Kog'Maw, Varus, Kayle
Extra Notes: While the bolts only apply half of your attack damage, each bolt applies a full on-hit effect, including other item effects like Malady or Blade of the Ruined King. This item is great for team fights and can be used to push lanes quickly.
When to use it:A solid alternative to Phantom Dancer. Use this for AD carries who want to farm easily and to have a larger impact on teamfights.
Who to use it with: Ashe, Tryndamere, Master Yi, Gangplank
Extra Notes:This item builds up charges by attacking AND moving, so you're very much encouraged to attack-move (moving between autoattacks) with this item. Learn the skill as it's very important as an AD carry.
When to use it:Good item for AD carries who need CDR or for AP/AS hybrids.
Who to use it with: Kog'Maw, Teemo, Kayle, Varus
Extra Notes: Zephyr is a pretty solid item upgrade so don't hesitate to buy this on on-hit AD champs.
Sword of the Divine
When to use it:Use it if you want the equivalent of burst damage on an AD champ. This is a somewhat risky choice over items like Phantom Dancer, but the pay off can be great. Use it on crit based champions.
Who to use it with: Tryndamere, Ashe, Jayce
Extra Notes:A niche pick but can be very powerful if used at the right moments. Don't waste the passive on tanks as you'll be much weaker afterward. Your Attack speed and thus your DPS will be significantly lower afterward.
The Black Cleaver
When to use it:A very strong item for AD casters. It provides every stat they need.
Who to use it with: Talon, Garen, Riven, Wukong, Pantheon
Extra Notes: This item is core on every AD caster and those with abilities that hit more than once benefit even more. While it can be stacked (and it was a terror when it could be done viable), the unique armor penetration means it's not completely efficient to do so. If you do stack it, the passive will be applied multiple times, but the maximum armor reduction stays the same. I.e. with two black cleavers, Talon's Rake will apply the maximum armor reduction on the second hit.
When to use it:Use on AD champs, the sustainability and damage this item offers, especially in 1v1 situations, is enormous. Champions who farm minions well will be able to get max stacks quickly.
Who to use it with: Caitlyn, Tryndamere, Tristana, Sivir, etc.
Extra Notes:As this is a stacking item, you really need to avoid dying once you buy this, a fully stacked bloodthirster is like having another BF sword and vamp scepter.
When to use it:Good item for bruisers and AD casters. The early game armor penetration and CDR can be useful and it offers the same amount of attack damage as a Pickaxe for a marginally higher price.
Who to use it with: Nocturne, Renekton, Talon, Gangplank, Vi
Extra Notes:Pretty solid item, and it's hard to argue with that 1337 price. You'll likely want to rush this item if you're building a The Black Cleaver since its stats are very strong in the early game.
When to use it: The current meta game favors this item a lot. The all around stats it offers are optimal for any melee champ or off-tank.
Who to use it with: Irelia, Nasus, Ezreal, Alistar, Nidalee, Darius
Extra Notes: Builds generally rush this item due to its all around utility, but it is expensive, so keep in mind that you might want to consider other options to keep yourself more consistent while you build it. This item pretty much fits into any category due to its all around stats, but you'll mainly see it on the above champs.
When to use it:A good item for bruisers and melee carries who want to have a larger impact on teamfighs. Good for pushing lanes as well.
Who to use it with: Shyvana, Fiora, Master Yi, Tryndamere
Extra Notes:This item applies the most damage to closer enemies so try to keep them bunched together. Also, don't forget to use the active. It acts as an autoattack that does damage in an AoE around you, but you don't actually need a target.
When to use it:Used for AS characters and bruisers who want to counter mages.
Who to use it with: Volibear, Teemo, Xin Zhao, Master Yi, Shyvana
Extra Notes:Wit's end + the 4 stacks gives you a little more m. resist that a negatron cloak (50 vs. 48)
When to use it: A great item for duelist champs who specialize in obliterating a single enemy. Also useful for securing dragon or baron.
Who to use it with: Tryndamere, Master Yi, Fiora, Gangplank
Extra Notes: This item's usefulness comes from its active, don't forget to use it. It's a somewhat rare pick though.
When to use it:Used for AD carries or anyone with Trinity Force as a core item.
Who to use it with: Ashe, Gangplank, Vayne, Irelia,etc.
Extra Notes:This item is pretty much useful on anybody, it's bonus movement and attack speed for cheap.
When to use it:Use with AD bruisers who are dependent on abilities and attack speed.
Who to use it with: Vi, Skarner, Master Yi, Olaf
Extra Notes: While a somewhat niche pick, this item is a great tenacity alternative to Mercury's Treads and provides the highest bonus movement speed at 10%.
Magic Damage Items: Combos, Combos everywhere
Magic Damage items are primarily for your AP casters, Initiatiors and AP supports. They amp up damage primarily through ability power, magic penetration, and cooldown reduction. They often come with other damaging effects and provide sustain through spell vamp, mana, and mana regen.
When to use it: This is one of the items designed to give Mages a little extra survivability, but the AP boost and magic reduction aura are really nice on other champs too. This is good for DPS casters who need to be in close range of enemies to deal damage like Swain, Soraka, and Fiddlesticks
Who to use it with: Fiddlesticks, it synergizes extremely well with his ult and his passive. Tanky mages like Galio and Singed also benefit from this item.
When to use it:A great item for mages who started with an early Tear of the Goddess. Useful for mages who have to spam abilities or have abilities that burn mana while they're active
Who to use it with: Karthus, Anivia, Ryze
Extra Notes: A character with 3000 mana gets 90 bonus AP, which is quite a bit. This item doesn't get picked up over Rod of Ages much since it leaves you exceptionally squishy, build this if you're confident you won't die.
Athene's Unholy Grail
When to use it: A good item for mana intensive characters, use this if you don't want to be reliant on blue all the time. It gives you options other than a catalyst the protector and Rod of Ages if you want sustainability.
Who to use it with: Anivia, Maokai, Galio, Sona, etc.
Extra Notes: You'll likely need to choose between this item and Rod of Ages. Keep in mind that you'll need some other form of health (e.g rylai's) if you want to avoid being burst down by pretty much anything. This item has seen some high level play on Anivia's and is a solid pick.
When to use it: Use this to counter HP heavy enemies like Cho'Gath or Dr. Mundo or on combo heavy mages as it will amp up the damage of your entire combo.
Who to use it with:Mages, not too many specific choices, but Veigar is a notable mention since he has no AP cap and is another component for his single target nuke (pretty much another ult/q for him). Evelynn also uses this item in conjuction with her ult to chunk enemies for 50% of their health instantly.
Extra Notes: Be sure to initate with this as it will increase the damage of your following combo. It is essentially useless if you use it last. This item is also commonly seen on odd champion builds like AP Sion
When to use it:A pretty basic cooldown reduction item, it offers nice stats for its price and can be built into either Nashor's Tooth, Deathfire Grasp or a Morello's Evil Tome. A solid choice for mages and AP/AS hybrids.
Who to use it with: Brand, Kog'Maw, Teemo(AP/AS)
Extra Notes:While it's not the greatest item, it's also not a bad item and I'm personally a fan of CDR in any form, it's a great stat to have and this item gives you a little extra mana regen to counterbalance the extra skill usage. It also builds into 3 different things, so it allows you to keep your options open.
When to use it:Great on hybrid champs and AP/AS champs, but it doesn't synergize well with too many champs, so you won't see it too often. It's great for farming and pushing towers. (especially when combined with a lich bane).
Who to use it with: Jax, Nidalee, Kog'Maw, Kennen, Kayle, Teemo
Extra Notes:This item should only be used if it synergizes extremely well with the champ you are playing, or if you need to build pure hybrid, otherwise there are better options. This item fits into either the physical damage or magic damage section.
When to use it:A solid early/mid game item for mages with single target abilities. Upgrade it to Liandry's Torment early on to really bring the pain to your lane opponent.
Who to use it with: Vladimir, Kennen, Teemo
Extra Notes:The magic pen is the equivalent of buying sorceror shoes, so you have the option of buying this item and merc treads if you wish.
When to use it: Great for hybrid characters. It offers some of the best sustainability stats since it provides lifesteal as well as spell vamp. I often rush this when playing a hybrid character.
Who to use it with: Akali, Jax, Ezreal, Katarina
Extra Notes: Remember to use the active, when chasing down a foe it not only lets you burst them down quicker but slows them to ensure that your cooldowns refresh before they can get a way. Take advantage of the range as well, most of the characters that build this will have skills that have a lower range than the active, so you can initiate with it.
This is another hybrid item, so it's not restricted to this section, though physical damage dealers are more likely to build a Blade of the Ruined King.
When to use it:Great for any AP champ really, but even greater for those who aren't strictly mages (in other words AP characters with low cooldown abilities). It gives great sustainability and is core for many characters.
Who to use it with: Akali, Jax, Vladimir, Mordekaiser, Ahri
Extra Notes:Usually the first component built for Hextech Gunblade or Will of the Ancients, it can and should be built early as well. Keep in mind that spell vamp has a diminished effect for AoE abilities, so this should not be built on AP champs with a lot of AoE unless their cooldowns are really low (e.g. Rumble, Mordekaiser) Try not to build this on traditional burst mages with low DPS. They won't benefit much since they can't spam spells to gain health.
Kage's Lucky PickKage's Lucky Pick
When to use it:GP10 item for mages for some extra early game income. If you're playing a support who is dependent on AP, you can also build it.
Who to use it with:Any mage Veigar, Annie, Katarina, Sona, Soraka,etc.
Extra Notes: This item has some good build paths, though I'd say it's more viable on supports than mages (unless you're playing twisted treeline since this item upgrades to Blackfire Torch, but this isn't a guide for TT).
When to use it: The upgrade for Haunting Guise. This item is strong against enemies with lots of health and with pretty much any caster (though DPS casters are very strong with it and they constantly reapply the effect).
Who to use it with: Teemo, Vladimir, Singed, Swain
Extra Notes: This item forms a great combination with Rylai's Crystal Scepter as impaired enemies take double damage and since your spells now slow, your enemies will always take double damage.
When to use it: Allows mages to actually make use of their auto attacks. It synergizes extremely well with champions who proc extra damage on auto attack.
Who to use it with: Akali, Lux, Evelynn, Poppy, Twisted Fate
Extra Notes: try to pace your abilities so you can proc the effect as often as possible. This will really maximize your damage output. Lich Bane is also a great late game item since it allows the AP carry to suddenly start hitting turrets really hard (upwards of 300 damage for an autoattack)
When to use it:This item is great for AP/AS hyrbrid characters and synergizes extremely well with champions who apply bonus magic damage on auto attacks.
Who to use it with: Orianna, Teemo, Kayle, Diana
Extra Notes: This item synergizes with on-hit builds and since the passive scales with AP, it makes AP carries damage much more consistent throughout the entire game.
Morellonomicon (Formerly known as Morello's Evil Tome)
When to use it: Useful for mages who rely on CDR, it provides the best CDR for the combination.
Who to use it with: Brand, Zilean. Not too many champs who really benefit from this item, but there aren't many champs it would be explicitly bad to build this on.
Extra Notes: This item offers the most in the AP and CDR combination and is pretty cost efficient.
When to use it: Used for AP/AS hybrids
Who to use it with: Kog'Maw, Teemo, Kayle,possibly Kennen
Extra Notes: A really solid set of stats, but the lack of any real passive makes it somewhat lackluster for its price. Its counterpart is Phantom Dancer, for comparison.
When to use it:If you're a mage...seriously, if you're playing an AP nuke, you will be buying this item
Who to use it with: Veigar, Brand, Annie, Anivia,etc.
Extra Notes:This is the Infinity edge for mages, it's a huge boost to the raw damage that you do and it buffs every other AP item in your inventory as well.
Rod of Ages
When to use it: Useful for mages who want durability and since it builds from a catalyst, you can have a much more sustainable game.
Who to use it with: Anivia, Singed, Galio, Cho'Gath, Gragas, Malzahar, Kassadin.
Extra Notes: Try to build early to reap the full benefits, but its not absolutely necessary to do so.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
When to use it:Use this item if you're playing an DPS mage or a tanky caster with low cooldowns. This item lets you stick to your opponent to ensure the kill
Who to use it with: Akali, Mordekaiser, Vladimir, Kennen, Rumble
Extra Notes:Great health and good AP boost, for characters like Akali, the slow is EXTREMELY beneficial and should be rushed in many cases.
When to use it: The automatic upgrade for Archangel's Staff. It will happen automatically, so you don't have to worry about rushing it.
Who to use it with: Ryze, Karthus, Nidalee, Cassiopeia
Extra Notes:The shield for this item is based on your current mana, so try to use it at the beginning of a fight before you burn through your mana. It will take a chunk of your mana, but the more mana you have the larger the shield.
When to use it: Use this item if you are an AP champ up against an AD champ. Most commonly you'll need to use this against a Talon or Zed mid.
Who to use it with: Any AP.
Extra Notes:Even if you don't end up building this into Zhonya's, this item provides great stats for its price.
When to use it:Great for champions who have an ability that augments the next auto attack, and since it builds into Trinity Force or Lich Bane this is really a great item to have.
Who to use it with: Nasus, Nidalee, Lux, Irelia, Renekton, Ezreal.
Extra Notes:Remember that this item only applies your BASE attack damage, don't expect it to do much more if you're stacking B.F. swords.
Tear of the Goddess
When to use it:Used for any carry that has mana issues. Buy this item if you intend to toss out abilities to deal the majority of your damage as opposed to auto attacks. Mages and Ad carries with low cooldowns benefit from this a lot.
Who to use it with: Karthus, Zilean, Ryze, Corki, Ezreal, Urgot, Blitzcrank, etc.
Extra Notes:Rush this item early to reap the benefits later. This item solves almost all early game mana issues.
When to use it:A great late game item when enemies are stacked on magic resist. Use on mages, an alternative to Abyssal Scepter.
Who to use it with: Veigar, Anivia, Malzahar, LeBlanc, Zilean, etc.
Extra Notes:Damage from mages tends to scale down in the late game( unless they're fed) so this item keeps their damage consistent. This item is the AP counterpart to Last Whisper.
Will of the Ancients
When to use it: Very useful on casters who want spellvamp, but do not want to build a Hextech Gunblade, as Hextech Revolver is usually an early build for such champs, upgrading to WotA is relatively easy.
Who to use it with: Vladimir, Rumble, Brand, Swain
Extra Notes: You won't have to worry about rushing this item. The Hextech Revolver is good enough for the most part, so focus on your other big ticket items and get this one late. Rush it if you're playing a champ like Vladimir who is really dependent on spellvamp.
When to use it:Useful for mages who get focused down quickly, or if you have an ult that requires you to stand near enemies.
Who to use it with: Fiddlesticks, Morgana, Brand, Veigar
Extra Notes:This item gives you an advantage in 1v1 situations as well, cooldowns continue to refresh while your in stasis, so it's the equivalent of taking off 2 seconds of all of your cooldowns. Throw down your initial burst, activate, then when enemies have stopped focusing you, continue your barrage.
Tank Items: Soak like a sponge
Tank items are for you tanks(obviously) and tanky supports. They allow you to absorb damage away from your teammates while initiating, peeling, or disrupting. They provide damage reduction through health, armor, and magic resist while providing sustain through health regen and mitigating damage from specific sources in special ways. Keep in mind that even as a carry, you should probably build at least one tank item to prevent yourself from being nuked from 100 to 0 at the beginning of a fight.
Aegis of the Legion
When to use it:This is a great item for support, tanks, and tanky DPS type characters (it also gives a little damage). It's relatively cheap and can be bought early on, the stats it offers are pretty decent and can actually make a difference in a team fight.
Who to use it with:Just some examples: Taric, Soraka, Nasus, Amumu
Extra Notes:Keep in mind that the aura is unique, try to make sure there isn't more that one person on your team with this.
When to use it: Against any team that is heavy on CC or to counter ults that target. This item also offers good all around stats, especially since it builds from a Negatron Cloak cloak. It's a great anti-mage item and can save you from traps
Who to use it with: Anyone
Extra Notes: Great for countering ults like Requiem, Ace in the Hole, Hemoplague, etc. It also makes champs who generally intiate with their ult like ww or malz simply unable to really target you until your shield is gone. Forcing them to adapt their approach to the fact that you'll block the first ability they throw at you. However, do not become too reliant on the shield. Some enemies, like Dr. Mundo have abilities with extremely low cooldowns that can easily pop the shield, so be wary.
Catalyst the ProtectorCatalyst the Protector
When to use it:A great item for early game sustainability, it is essentially the same as popping a health AND mana pot every time you level up. And since this item builds into Banshee's Veil and Rod of Ages, it's pretty common.
Who to use it with:Use this on mages and tanky mages. It really can be used on anyone though since it has such an all around usage. Notable mentions: Singed, Anivia, Kassadin, Galio, Karthus
Extra Notes:While AD carries often build banshee's, they really need to build a catalyst first, as they need to focus on damage items early on. Catalyst finds the best usage in the early game, you really shouldn't be buying it by itself after level 14-15.
Chalice of Harmony
When to use it:This item solves early game mana issues and offers some defense. It's a crutch for some characters and essential for others.
Who to use it with:Tanky mages Galio, Maokai and supports Taric
Extra Notes:This item has two very good upgrade paths, so it's a pretty safe purchase if you're mana dependent.
When to use it: This item offers the second most armor in the game (10 less than thornmail) and is a good choice to build if you already have a Glacial Shroud. The aura is beneficial for tanks since they can help alleviate the damage on the rest of their members. The passive can really affect team fights as it lowers the DPS from the enemy AD carry.
Who to use it with: Leona, Zilean, Ryze, Shen, Amumu,etc.
Extra Notes: Always build the glacial shroud first, the cloth armors will just take up inventory space.
When to use it:Another CDR item that gives good stats. The mana and armor are good tanks, mages, and supports. This is the kind of item that is a core part of a build due to its all around usefulness.
Who to use it with:You can build this on just about anyone who needs mana and CDR, some notable examples: Ryze, Zilean, Leona, Anivia, Taric, Blitzcrank, etc.
Extra Notes:Just remember that max CDR is 40%
When to use it:Use this item if you're a tanky DPS who can absorb a fair amount of damage but also needs to be in the middle of the fray to be really useful. This item will make enemies second guess whether they should target you, so it allows you to be much more aggressive. It also allows you to initiate and die, and then resume the fight after enemies have begun to refocus your teammates. This item has become a late game core item on AD carries as well due to their tendency to be focused.
Who to use it with: Nasus, Renekton, Warwick, Anivia(for the Lulz)
Extra Notes:You're not invincible when you have this item. If you die in a bad spot, the enemy team will just gather around you and focus you down when you resurrect. Be ready to take action (e.g flash away) the moment you resurrect.
When to use it:A really strong upgrade for Sheen, use this item if you're building a Glacial Shroud and you want a more offensive alternative to Frozen Heart
Who to use it with: Skarner, Malphite, Vi
Extra Notes: This item won't have a super noticeable effect in teamfights, but its particularly good for chasing and it provides a really excellent set of stats. This item is a little hard to categorize as it offers such a comprehensive set of stats. There are a lot of champions this is viable on.
When to use it:Provides health and CDR, useful for supports or for champs who build Spirit Visage
Who to use it with: Warwick, Sona, Vladimir, Dr. Mundo, Soraka, etc.
Extra Notes:This item has a lot of viable build paths so feel free to buy it and worry about it later depending on what you need to build.
When to use it:Another niche pick, but can be powerful under the right circumstances. Use this if you plan on diving enemy towers a lot.
Who to use it with: Blitzcrank, Singed, Alistar
Extra Notes: Unfortunately, this item is too expensive to be bought during the laning phase, which means you're team will have to coordinate tower dives, meaning you'll likely need to be in a premade to make full use of this item. It can be good to turn the tides if you haven't managed to get any enemy towers yet.
When to use it:Use this to counter ultimates that cause suppression: Warwick, Malzahar, Skarner.
Who to use it with:Anyone really, but mainly AD carries
Extra Notes:This item is a cheap built-in cleanse. It really has no restricted usage, but it's best used to counter a suppression ult, as Banshee's veil + smart positioning is probably better for the purposes of avoiding regular CC. This item can upgrade into Mercurial Scimitar so it's a particularly lucrative purchase if you're an AD carry.
When to use it: Useful for tanks and tanky DPS who find themselves clustered within the enemy team.
Who to use it with: Nasus, Renekton, Jarvan IV, Shen
Extra Notes: Remember to use the active, or this item is mostly a waste considering its stats for its price.
When to use it:If you're a tank/support who built Aegis of the Legion.
Who to use it with: Taric, Amumu, Galio, etc.
Extra Notes:This item is quite possibly one of the most cost efficient in the game and the free 30 magic resist for your entire team can be a game changer. Get this upgrade quickly if you're opponents are heavy on magic damage.
When to use it:One of the items that defines a tank. Tanks throw themselves into the fray so they are surrounded by enemies who constantly take damage from this. You'll often build this first against teams that are heavy on AD, but it's useful all around as well.
Who to use it with:Tanks: Malphite, Amumu, Shen, Leona, Rammusetc.
Extra Notes:You used to be able to stack these, Eve's would run around with 5 of these and kill people by just standing next to them, maximum trolling. I do wish the passive would scale into late game though, it's not exactly an early game item and the magic damage is essentially useless after 30 minutes.
When to use it: Only use with characters who have ways of healing them selves, do not use this to try to buff heals from other characters, it doesn't work that way.
Who to use it with: Vladimir, Warwick, Dr. Mundo, Fiddlesticks, Swain
Extra Notes: Currently one of the strongest magic resist items, despite its situational usage. This item buffs life steal and spell vamp effects as well.
When to use it:Great item to counter AD champs like Tryndamere who are facerolling you. Throw this item into the mix and watch them kill themselves.
Who to use it with: Rammus, Galio, Singed, but can be built on anyone if necessary.
Extra Notes:This item offers the highest amount of armor for a single item. Keep in mind, this only returns damage from Autoattacks, not abilities that deal physical damage. Don't expect this to stop Talon or Riven from tearing you apart.
When to use it:Use on tanks planning to build Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart. A useful counter to ranged AD carries.
Who to use it with: Nasus, Rammus, Amumu, Renekton, Galio,etc.
Extra Notes:This item can help you out if you're getting zoned by an enemy top laner. It mitigates a lot of their damage since it's not only a strong early game armor boost, but it lowers their attack speed as well. Pack this with Ninja Tabi and you're opponent won't be able to do much to you unless they have a The Brutalizer.
When to use it:The best pure health item in the game, expensive, but really amps up your durability. Often combined with Atma's Impaler.
Who to use it with: Dr. Mundo, Garen, Jarvan IV
Extra Notes:Some builds rush Warmog's, but be careful, the item is very expensive so keep in mind that you'll be very weak (aside from having alot of health) while you're waiting to build it.
Support Items: who needs farm?
Support items are for your supports(again, obviously) and sometimes tanks. They generally provide utility in the form of vision, slows, healing, and auras. They are generally low cost items as supports have low income but they are designed to keep supports relevant through all phases of the game.
Banner of Command
When to use it: If you're a support or pusher looking to push lanes quickly.
Who to use it with: Janna, Soraka
Extra Notes: This is a niche pick. You'll likely only be building this in premades in which you have a team comp that revolves around this kind of strategy. This item absorbed the summoner spell Promote
Emblem of Valour
When to use it:A pretty solid item if you're on your way to building Aegis of the Legion. Its cheap cost makes it a counterpart in sustainability to Chalice of Harmony.
Who to use it with:Useful for supports and support tanks as it provides a little extra health to lane mates. It's particularly good with support Heimerdinger since it stacks with his passive.
Extra Notes: You'll likely be buying this item after you get your GP5 or even earlier. Try to get is as soon as possibly so you can make good use of its passive during the laning phase.
When to use it: A good upgrade path for Philosopher's Stone if you don't plan on building Shurelya's Reverie and you are using heal or CV.
Who to use it with: Soraka, Sona, Janna,other supports
Extra Notes: Get this item early. You generally level up more often in the early phases of the game so you will be able to absorb this item's stats and passive sooner.
Keep in mind that it doesn't keep the GP5 passive so you will be losing that source of income.
Locket of the Iron Solari
When to use it: If playing a support or support tank. Remember to use the active early on in a teamfight to mitigate as much damage as possible.
Who to use it with: Supports like Taric, Alistar, Sona, Soraka.
Extra Notes: This item provides a nice defensive alternative for supports. It's a decent alternative to Aegis of the Legion since it provides CDR and builds out of essentially the same items.
When to use it:If you're a support laning with a champ who uses mana, this item is very useful since it gives your lane mate free mana.
Who to use it with: Janna, Soraka, Sona
Extra Notes:Keep in mind that you can start with this item, some situations call for this; this item is practically essential in ARAM. This item is good if you plan on building Shard of True Ice. While you can start off with this item, you're better off with Faerie Charm, wards, and potions to prevent yourself from dying in lane early on.
When to use it: A strong upgrade if you're a mana dependent support. This item has one of the best actives in the game and essentially gives you another summoner spell. Use against CC heavy teams that like to focus down your carry.
Who to use it with: Sona, Soraka, Janna
Extra Notes: With this item there are now 4 possible ways for Sivir to avoid CC. Keep in mind that this item has a very long cooldown, so use it for those clutch moments. It can be a game changer.
Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone
When to use it:Probably the best GP10 item, the stats it offers are great for any support or tank. It gives you the sustainability you need and allows you to buy wards as well.
Who to use it with: Alistar, Blitzcrank, Janna, Leona, Taric,etc.
Extra Notes:This item is great as an early game support, try to get it as soon as possible, but upgrade it during the mid game because its stats fall off quickly.
Shard of True IceShard of True Ice
When to use it:A solid upgrade for AP supports and the only item upgrade to retain a GP10 passive. Use to counter bruisers who like to stick to your allies or to give your own bruiser an advantage in chasing.
Who to use it with: Sona, Nunu, Soraka, Janna
Extra Notes:This item is a strong peeling tool as it will prevent enemies from chasing your carry. This item is great to have early game as it can be used to prevent ganks and it retains all its passives from its children.
Shurelya's ReverieShurelya's Reverie
When to use it: Useful on tanky supports who have already built a Philosopher's Stone. It is a strong initiation and escape tool.
Who to use it with: Blitzcrank, Taric, Alistar.
Extra Notes: Since pretty much every support builds Philosopher's Stone, this item is often core.
When to use it:A strong scouting tool for AP based champions, use this as an initiation tool or if you're enemies are particularly fond of vision wards and oracle's
Who to use it with: Nami, Sona, Janna, pretty much any support
Extra Notes: This item can be used for scouting, chasing, or initiation since the ghosts slow their targets. Each ghost will only slow one target, they won't target one champ for a greater slow.
Zeke's Herald Zeke's Herald (formerly Stark's fervor)
When to use it: Useful for supports since it amps up the damage of your AD carries.
Who to use it with: Nunu, Blitzcrank
Extra Notes: The aura is good, but situational. In long, drawn out team fights, this item can definitely provide an advantage.
Jungle Items: Unleash the beast
Jungle items are items that generally increase your jungle speed and build out of Hunter's Machete. There are only a few items here but its important to know how you should upgrade depending on what kind of jungler you are. I'm not going to put this section in alphabetical order since there are clear groupings of the items that I don't want to disturb.
When to use it:If you're a jungler, start with this item. Your clear speed is too slow without it.
Who to use it with:Any jungler
Extra Notes:I recommend attack speed runes if you're going to be a jungler with this item since every attack applies 10 true damage. Attack speed will increase your damage and clear speed much more than having AP or AD runes.
When to use it:The essential item for junglers, practically mandatory on any AD jungler. It dramatically increases your jungle speed. (like a 25% chance for another smite on your auto attack)
Who to use it with:Any jungler, exceptions: Nunu, Fiddlesticks, Cho'Gath, Amumu. Not that they can't build it, they can still benefit, but there are better options for them.
Extra Notes:Keep in mind that the passive 15% chance for 500 damage disappears if you build this into a Madred's Bloodrazor.
When to use it: If you're an AD jungler or a tanky DPS who needs a boost in farm. Wards are OP and this item not only lets you jungle/farm faster, but also place wards in key places. The passive can give you a farming advantage in lane and can help take out super minions quicker in late game if one of your inhibitors happens to go down.
Who to use it with:Any AD based jungler
Extra Notes: With this item there should never be a period of time longer than a minute that it is not on cooldown. Place wards as often as possible to secure your team an advantage.
When to use it:An upgrade for the less AD focused junglers. Use this one for AP, Tank, and Support type junglers, though even AD junglers can benefit from this. It provides sustain through health and mana regen as opposed to Wriggle's lifesteal.
Who to use it with: Skarner, Warwick, Amumu, Fiddlesticks, etc.
Extra Notes:You'll want to get this item ASAP as it provides good sustain while jungling so you'll be less reliant on potions. Consider how to upgrade based on the role you want to fill in the game.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem
When to use it:This is the Spirit Stone upgrade for tank junglers.
Who to use it with: Amumu, Warwick, Alistar.
Extra Notes:Since this item provides tenacity, you're not restricted to buying Mercury's Treads. Consider buying Boots of Mobility for initiation or Ninja Tabi for better defense.
When to use it:This is the Spirit Stone upgrade for AD junglers who primarily focus on autoattacks.
Who to use it with: Warwick, Lee Sin, Skarner, Udyr
Extra Notes:This item gives you the equivalent of a red buff without the slow. The passive stacks with red buff as well so it really amps up your clear speed AND it means you'll burn opponents for about 50-100 true damage per auto attack. Very nice.
Spirit of the Spectral Wraith
When to use it:This is the Spirit Stone upgrade for AP junglers.
Who to use it with: Fiddlesticks, Diana, Karthus
Extra Notes:This is one of the few items that provides spell vamp. This item seems specifically designed for fiddlesticks, as I can't see many AP junglers besides maybe Diana who need this select set of stats.
Should you snowball?
To put it simply, no you shouldn't. Snowball items are simply too situational to rely on. If they don't work then you basically just bought a really expensive Amplifying Tome. You're behind in your item build and whatever momentum you planned on having is gone. Not to mention that the stats for full stacks are only OK during late game. If you want to snowball, only do so in a game where you've gotten a few kills and are already fed. In that case you've already got enough momentum to build up one of these items.
The best/most common snowball item. Offers 160 AP at full stacks, which synergizes well with Rabadon's Deathcap. You'll generally see this on LeBlanc since she's completely reliant on her momentum through mid game anyway. For most other AP carries, it's safer to just build other items, especially considering how many stacks you lose on death. If you don't have an amazing tank keeping you alive, you're guaranteed to lose the stacks at some point.
Not nearly as common, but still occasionally seen, it offers 110 bonus AD at 20 stacks and the movement speed bonus is useful for AD carries. However this benefit is nearly the same for a fully stacked bloodthirster and bloodthirster gives you lifesteal as well.
Advanced Consumables: DAE ward?
The flask is a great alternative to buying potions as it gives you great sustain and will fully pay itself of after 2-3 visits to the fountain. If you want uber sustain in lane you can start with a flask, a ward, and some extra potions. This will allow you to live through pretty much all of your opponents pokes and you make up the difference by being able to stay in lane and farm to your hearts content.
These potions are temporary and somewhat expensive, but they offer an advantage in the early game since they offer stat boosts that are the equivalent of much more expensive items. If you do buy these, you must capitalize on the advantage or else the money will be wasted and once the potion wears off, you will be behind.
Also remember that the Elixir of fortitude is instant, so if you have one, you can use it like the heal summoner spell in a clutch situation.
These items essentially make buying normal wards unnecessary (though not completely). As a support you'll want to pick this item up very early so you can save your gold for other items. Consider getting it right after or sometimes before your first GP10 item. Upgrade the Sightstone as you transition out of the laning phase as having 3 wards to place will give you much better coverage of objectives. Because you have a limit on how many wards can be placed with these items, you can consider buying normal wards for even better coverage. For example, with one normal sight ward and a Ruby Sightstone you can have 4 ward spots (i.e one on dragon and 3 on baron).
These items reveal any invisible objects or champions within their vision range. Vision wards are just sight wards that reveal invisible things. Drinking an Oracle's Elixir temporarily turns your champ into a vision ward.
Use these items to counter ward and to counter stealth champs like Evelynn, Twitch, Akali, and Shaco. I won't go into the details of counter warding, there are other guides, but the idea is to purchase these items and then make up the gold in destroying enemy wards. These items are useful early in bot lane since Sightstones will prevent your jungler from ganking.
Thanks for reading my guide!
To the new players, I hope that you were able to learn something new through this, the goal is to give an easier entry way into the vast number of items in the game. It's a lot to grasp and many items are easy to forget about, but you never know what combination might just make them work.
To the veterans, any critique is welcome and desired. I want to make this guide a go to place for item advice, and since there isn't really any other guide like it, there's a lot of potential to explore.
With that said, if you disagree with something, let me know in the comments below before you downvote, I'll be sure to consider your opinion.