General Guide by SakeBurst
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.
The introduction is not SO important, but it gives a deeper understanding of this guide.
The tables section gives an introduction to my tools and how I used them. A short section, read it.
I will shortly explain how I did my calculations, and why I chose the certain stats, and excluded others. It will also explain how the tables work.
The mage items are the items that give Ability Power, and Mana.
The carry items are the items that give Attack Damage, Attack Speed and Critical Strike Chance.
The tank items are the items that give Health, Armour and Magic Resistance.
Tanacity gets it's own chapter and table. I think few have spared their thought to this unique stat, so I wanted to pay its respect.
From my lists, I've excluded some items, like Trinity Force and Lich Bane due to their multi-use. I will include them in their own section and do some separate calculations for these, as much as possible. I will also explain why I have excluded them.
If you don't bother the details, you may jump right to the conclusion. I have tried to draw some strings between the items, and make a rough list on items worthy of purchase, and items to generally stay away from.
In the "Extra notes" I will add the assumptions made in my calculations (like use of items that stack) and my reasons for it. I will also state the goal of this guide, and why these numbers mean anything.
Throughout the guide, you should raise criticism to every word I've written and every calculation. This is quite simplified mathematics. Read the second-last section if you want more details on this.
Short note: You may notice that I stick to British-English, not American-English, thus "armour" etc.
There were mainly three reasons I wanted to do this calculations for myself, and in the process, I thought: "might as well share it".
The first thing that triggered me, was the Graves patch preview.
Around 1:35, Phreak says:
Almost all of Hextech Gunblade stats are getting hit on the next patch, what are the goals for this nerf?
To which Morello replies:
We ran some math on Hextech Gunblade, and the stats you get for the amount of gold are frankly, pretty insane.
So I though.... Really? Have they reduced it enough now? How does Riot do their math?
The second reason was my own interest in calculations, as well as wanting to know which items are useful or not. All though some items have more bonuses than the ones I've calculated (like Lich Bane), we can still get SOME idea of how good an item is. Many guides and players out there, often pick their items "on the feeling".
Which brings me to the third reason. After I read a guide, mentioning that Sunfire Cape is a ****py items, I started thinking thoroughly about it. I told my friend: "You do realise that Sunfire Cape is way to expensive for it's stats? The Chain Vest for 700 (45 armour) pluss the Giant's Belt for 1110 (430 health) are good. The problem is that, to combine the two items, you need 800 gold. You use 800 hold on 20 health AND a small damage aura, which doesn't do a **** in team-fights and barely anything in lane." He did the typical reply to that: "But how else do you get armour and health together? You sort of need it regardless?"
This is what I mean about "picking items on feeling". You can't get health and armour together otherwise, but let's assume you buy TWO Sunfire capes. They would give 900 health, 90 armour and cost 5220 gold. Let's rather buy 1 Warmog's Armor (920 health base for 3000 gold) and 1 Thornmail (100 armour for 2000 gold). Now you just saved 220 gold, and you got 20 more health, 20 more armour, an AWESOME thorn-bonus which deals damage back AND the health bonus from stacking kills in Warmog's Armor! Damn that Sunfire Cape suck!
The tools used - Tables
Initially, I used Microsoft Excel to do all my calculations. I also used scaling colours for my own visuals through the work. This wasn't included in Zoho however.
Zoho is a free website that allows sharing of documents and tables. It can be embedded into normal blogs and sites, but unfortunately, it didn't work here.
I'm sorry, but you'll have to click the links to open the tables.
The tables you'll see are locked. You may unlock it, but any change you may, is not saved in my shared document.
All my calculations are simple.
In the case of AP, I listed up ALL the items that give ability power in two list. One list is the few items that give AP ONLY ( Amplifying Tome, Blasting Wand and Needlessly Large Rod (what I call pure items)) and the other list was items giving AP as well as other stats. I calculated the average in each of the two list, and added an average of the two averages I found.
To find their relative value, I divided their cost, on their ability power. This means I found the cost of ONE ability power on each item.
Amplifying Tome costs 21.75 gold per AP.
Blasting Wand costs 19.11 gold per AP.
Needlessly Large Rod costs 20 gold per AP.
In average, these costs 20.29 gold per AP.
The other items had an average of 39.98 gold per AP.
The two averages had an average of ((20.29+39.98)/2)=30.13 gold per AP.
When I started off, I thought I would include them together, but I quickly found out it was necessary to divide it up in this way. The reasons is that the pure AP items give the most real ratio, but you never buy these items alone to complete your build, due to their lack of stats. The mixed items give their own reality, as these are the items you would ACTUALLY buy and build up. Yet, these give an unreal image of what the cost-ap ratio is, thus I figured averaging the two would give a good balance of the theoretical and the pragmatical. This is, of course, done with all categories, not just ability power.
The cost-ap ratio is simply the cost divided by the AP.
I did include the average cost, and average AP on the items, partly because it's so easy to add, and partly because it's fun-fact to know. There are little conclusions that can be drawn from it.
My tenacity calculations are based on the upgrading value. Since items gain the tenacity through their last upgrade (and no "base-item" give tenacity), I took the total value of the item, minus the component-value, and got my value. This is added in it's own table.
Mage items (AP and Mana)
The following table contains calculations about ability power items (framed in purple) and mana item (framed in blue). Lich Bane is excluded from the mana table, but not ability power.
Ability power first
The items that are especially good are
Rabadon's Deathcap - (DUH!) To be used for all mages in need of SERIOUS AP.
Archangel's Staff- (despite calculating with "only" 3k mana, when people often get more than this in late-game) Also very good for any mage, except Vladimir, Kennen etc. This gives remarkable high AP-cost ratio, AND it gives you more mana.
Moonflair Spellblade - This would be your item on a low-budget, and if you don't have MR boots. I actually find it surprising to be so good, since I've almost never used it. Check the tanacity table to find out more.
Guinsoo's Rageblade - I doubt this would be your typical mage item, but it still gives good AP, if you get your stacks up. To make an example: Brand spams out his abilities in the team clash, and within the time he got a spell ready, he has stacked up the attack speed and ability power. The item isn't VERY expensive, and it gives surprisingly much AP. There is, of course a chance that you attack some minions BEFORE the clash, so you're stacks may already be up. It may also help you deal some normal damage, between the cooldowns, assuming you're not being focused. This item is more common as the hybrid guys ( Jax, Akali etc.), but may even be considered by certain mages and melee guys? ( Alistar, Kassadin, Nidalee?)
Items with bad numbers
Malady - This had the worst calculated cost-ap ratio. This has never been an mage items, so one should raise scepticism to this. It is mostly used for AP Teemo and such characters. It does have some other bonuses, and one should rather look at the attack speed list to see if this is worth it.
Haunting Guise - Honestly, this surprises me. This does neither give any good cost-health ratio, nor cost-ap ratio. It does give magic penetration, which few items have, but before I calculated this, it looked like a good low-budget item. It seems like it isn't even that. I doubt I will ever purchase this again, since it lacks other good bonuses to compensate.
Nashor's Tooth - This has a high cost-ap ratio, as well as cost-as ratio, but a neat cooldown reduction. Despite it's bad numbers, I think there are few items with that high attack speed AND the ap you need. Who would rather buy Rabadon's Deathcap + Sword of the Divine? :-D
Hextech Gunblade - It seems unlucky in this list, but it has that irreplaceable spell vamp, and has many other good stats. I suppose this was some of the nerf Riot did some patches back?
Sheen - wasn't the worst, but not the best. Fear not, as it's passive is REALLY awesome, and the upgrades are to damn good :-D
Tear of the Goddess - YOU WANT MANA?!?! WHY ARE YOU WAITING?!?!
Archangel's Staff - The upgraded version of the Tear is still awesome for mana.
Not so fortunate numbers
Manamune - Am I the only one surprised? I knew that few AD guys buy this, since people "feel it's not worth it", but it is actually THIS bad. AD guys can't really stack tears the same way mages do huh? Buff this item! (To be used only for REALLY high mana guys, whoever they are) You'll have to read the AD list to figure if this is worth it or not.
Banshee's Veil - I've played Singed for a while now, and often gotten this item, both for the HP and the mana (to get HP). I'm surprised it gives SO little mana though. It seems to score low on the HP and MR list too. That passive spell-block is expensive huh?
Frozen Heart - A common item for Ryze to get more armour. Don't worry that it scores badly at mana, because it scores bad only because the good Glacial Shroud is getting "watered-out" by the armour. Considering it's awesome aura too, this item would be very much recommended regardless of the cost-mana ratio.
Carry items (AD, AS, Crit)
The following table contains calculations about attack damage (framed in red), attack speed (framed in yellow) and critical strike chance items (framed in orange). Frozen Mallet and Madred's Bloodrazor are excluded from the AD list, Madred's Bloodrazor and Youmuu's Ghostblade are excluded from the AS list, and Atma's Impaler and Youmuu's Ghostblade are excluded from the crit list.
Bring in the damage
Atma's Impaler - The abo****ely best item on the list. You have little use of this as the most squishy guy, but it proves to be well worth it, EVEN if you have 2k health. Since our average says 47, and 2k-atma's says 39, I would consider this a valuable item regardless of low health. Additionally to being a crazy item, it gives you critical strike chance AND armour for survivability. Consider this: Most melee have 2k health already, making this item relatively cheap, adding Warmog's Armor to your build (like Nocturne, Lee Sin, Gangplank etc.), you will be increasing your damage by 38 (1270 HP max-stack * 0,03 = 38.1), which is far from bad, next to the survivability.
Manamune - Luckely, this item scores well on the AD list. It's cost is relatively cheap, and it gives you that extra mana you need, to keep harassing with your abilities. I assumed that ANY AD-carry would have at least 1k base mana, and with the additional 1k mana you stack up from the tear, you would have at least 2k. If you are a high-mana-AD-carry, this would be good to convert over some damage. If you are VERY mana-starved, which Yorick is well-known for (I suppose a few more guys too), this would be an investment to ease that burden. Underrated item huh?
Tiamat - "Unfortunately" this item, along with Manamune, doesn't ACTUALLY give the most AD, but are low-budget. Since it gives it's splash damage, additionally to being cheap, I suppose it's another underrated item for tower-pushers and farmers. Maybe even any use for faster jungeling? This is no spectacular item, but should be considered.
Light metal(not necessarily bad, just light-weights)
Hextech Gunblade - came the worst out here. Of course Tryndamere wouldn't use this item, but Alkali would. In this case, you must look at it's ACTUAL stats, which is 40 AD and a lot more fanciness. It scores decently on the AP list, and it is simply irreplaceable with it's unique combo spell-life-vamp-steal. Don't worry about the numbers.
Youmuu's Ghostblade - Like in all the lists, this item sucks... Mathematics is very theoretical, and I'm not sure if it's possible to compare this item in any way. This item is expensive in each individual way, but is a super mash-up of many things, so shouldn't be looked down on regardless. You wouldn't use this to stack AD, but this all-round item is good nevertheless. I don't know if it's legit to keep this in the list at all. Youmuu: I owe you an apology.
Wriggle's Lantern - AWESOME warding-item, a must-have for many junglers. Don't worry about the list. It has other values.
Phage - You'll be an EXCELLENT healthy mace some day. That's why you're daddy isn't categorized as my damage-item. You have decent damage for a decent prize, so you're not worthless.
Madred's Bloodrazor - One expensive item. This lacks attack damage in my opinion. The extra magic damage it does is often quite weak and easily countered by magic resist. Utterly rare that I use this item, despite warmog-team. The reasons it's not in the AS or armour list, is because it's too expensive. One of the AD items you should reconsider.
The Fast and the Furious
Stinger - Excels in the list, but you don't keep it there all the time. Luckily, Nashor's Tooth isn't too bad, and you don't complain about some cooldown reduction? Perhaps an idea to buy this item early, and keep it in this stage, to rather build other items in the mean time?
Sword of the Divine - I don't think I've ever seen anyone buy this? This is REALLY underrated. For one, this is relatively cheap for it's attack speed, it does an average of extra magic damage per attack, AND you get 30 armour pen. for 8 seconds with 40sec CD (1/5 of the time). I would recommend this for every AS Teemo/ Kog'Maw.
Malady - Used by most AS stackers, and for good reasons. This cheap item gives a great bonus. Next to its nice attack speed, it will deal some extra damage and reduce others MR. Combine with Sword of the Divine perhaps?
Berserker's Greaves - Every ad-carry's boots. Don't miss it.
Number Two(sequels aren't always as good)
Cloak and Dagger - It does bad in this list, due to no increase in AS from the normal dagger. It is still a good, low-budget item against heavy CC team you're struggling against. Some math: 420g (20AS) + 830g (18crit) = 1250g for 20AS and 18crit. Adding 2 crit and 35 tanacity costs you 200g. Look up the tanacity table.
Guinsoo's Rageblade - It's surprising to see this item scoring so badly, but it's still a good item. It gives a lot of ability power, and the extra attack speed is only a bonus. This is, again, the item for hybrid characters, in need of ability power, that might as well add some AS. You wouldn't want this as AD carry.
Stark's Favor - Surprisingly bad item for yourself. It's no efficient item if YOU want more attack speed, but should always be considered if you have two GREAT carries, or three ad people on your team. It will also give more life-steal to all team mates, meaning they will benefit a lot from you. Despite the bad numbers here, this is a VERY good item.
Zeal - From attack speed alone, it's no good. From Crit alone, it's no good. Its upgraded version is very good however, so this one is worth it.
Avarice Blade - A very good item, for Tryndamere and other people building up crit. Since it's so cheap, it's worth getting early, for that extra gold, and cheap crit, and can be kept, almost like a Doran's item. Ghostblade is also a very good item, and this is just a side-step to it. The Brutilizer has decent cost-ad ratio too.
Executioner's Calling - An item I've rarely seen used. Additionally to giving good critical strike and life-steal, it has a great heal-reducing effect that is very useful to heavy heal teams (Support+ Dr. Mundo+ Fiddlesticks+ Tryndamere+ Vladimir). Underrated item in my opinion, considering it's cost. Definitively your item on a low-budget.
Phantom Dancer - Despite Zeal not going so well, this is an awesome item. Everyone in need of crit, movement and attack speed, should have this.
Ryze Style(amazing physical crits!)
Youmuu's Ghostblade - Not sure why the item is on the list. It sort of illustrates that math isn't always so brilliant. I'll have this blade in it's own section.
Infinity Edge - The critical strike chance alone, isn't worth the money. It proves to be very good for the attack damage however, and the passive is necessary for everyone with " Tryndamere" as surname.
Tank items (Health, Armour, Magic Resist)
The following table contains information about health, armour and magic resist, what you'll find in every tank. I've only excluded Lich Bane from the MR list.
Warmog's Armor - Didn't you eat your vegetables? Equip this. Are you still unhealthy? Equip another. You can stack them.
Heart of Gold - Most tanks will get Randuin's Omen after a while. If not, they will most likely have Heart of Gold for a while. Next to giving a nice amount of health, it also gives you the gold you need. Don't be afraid to have this one laying around while upgrading other items.
Kindlegem - is cheap and gives a nice amount of health. Feel free to have Philosopher's Stone AND this laying around, before fully upgrading the crown.
Randuin's Omen - This one scores better in armour than in health. It's passive and passive use are very useful. It may be that this item needs a slight buff, but it's still useful, since you'll be upgrading your heart of gold after a while anyway.
Haunting Guise - Is this item useful for anything? Magic penetration isn't THAT expensive, is it? This item needs a buff in my opinion. Costing 1485g is too expensive to be an early-game item, and the benefits are way too low.
Banshee's Veil - Quite expensive thing. It neither excels in mana, health nor magic resist. The passive shield is only each 45 second, which is not often enough for its high cost. Buff this item, or give it cost reduction.
Aegis of the Legion - Not a good item for solo show, but absolutely necessary for a good support. If I had added the bonuses it gives to its team mates in total, this item would be EXTREMELY good, which is actually is. Don't mind the numbers.
Thornmail - Need armour? Get this. There are 5 other armour items more expensive than this, and this is still the best. Both bonus, and passive. Every AD-carry's nightmare.
Warden's Mail - The item needed to make Randuin's Omen. Worth the armour and gives a neat passive too. To be considered.
Frozen Heart - Having only 1 less armour, and costing only 775 gold more than Thornmail, this is an item still worth the gold. If you need armour, the aura you get with it is VERY useful. One of two ways to get tanky- Ryze.
Zhonya's Hourglass - if you need armour alone, don't get this. If you're a mage, and need armour, get this. It has very good AP and it's passive use can let you dream your way through an ulti or two. One of two ways to get tanky- Ryze.
Sunfire Cape - Read the third reason I wrote this guide, up in the introduction. This is a ****ty item.
Force of Nature - The most common item to counter heavy AP team. It's a good item, since it has the highest MR in the game. This one does require a decent budget, but it is, luckily, not too expensive.
Quicksilver Sash - The magical sash made purely from quicksilver, also known as mercury, the liquid silver. Commonly used to slay vampires and werewolves. Also commonly used when your team is feeding. Having the third highest MR value, it is very cheap, and gives a nice cleanse. It is the cheapest among the top 5 MR items.
Chalice of Harmony - It's probably not common to use this for the magic resist, but it's a very cheap item, so you won't miss much. If you're running low on mana fast, and you're up against magical users, this should be taken into consideration. It may be "only" 30 MR, but it's VERY cost efficient, and could be useful for early-game pushing.
Abyssal Scepter - This isn't among the good items, but I want to add it regardless. It has the second highest value, and gives a nice aura for your enemies. It does well in AP too, so should be considered by all mages.
Guardian Angel - Sorry for putting it on the list. You would use this more for it's armour, and it's irreplaceable passive.
Hexdrinker - Who uses this item? What is it for? Being placed at 1800 gold isn't even low-budget enough for these low stats. Buff this please!
Banshee's Veil - Haven't I said it enough? This is overrated item in my opinion. Nearly 3k gold isn't worth the low stats. A spell shield each 45 second is not often enough in that case.
Cloak and Dagger - Gives the cheapest Tenacity of them all, but also the least extra stats, only 2 extra crit.
Eleisa's Miracle - The most expensive Tenacity. It adds another 7 health regen, and 12 mana regen. Very recommended for supports who wants cooldown reduction boots.
Mercury's Treads - The second most expensive tenacity, but the most used. It gives an extra boost of 1 magic resist, and 1 movement speed.
Moonflair Spellblade - Already being a relatively cheap way to get tenacity, it also gives a nicely scaled AP. From the Blast Wand's 40, you get another 10, making this a very recommended item for mages with magic pen boots.
Special Items removed from lists
One of the items I've removed from all of the lists, are the snowball items. Excluding The Bloodthirster, I count three of them. The table below shows how powerful these are, relative to their cost, and relative to other items.
I added each item with 20 stacks (max), 15 stacks, 10 stacks, 5 stacks, 0 stacks, and the average cost of their particular stat. It proves that the item is worth the money even below 5 stacks, thus making it quite incomparable with other items around 20 stacks. If you're not the dying guy, I'd highly recommend any of these items.
Sword of the Occult is one of the most underrated in my opinion, as it actually gives 110 damage on max (equal to Atma's Impaler user with 3.8k hp or so).
Levithan is another item very little used. Giving as much as 820 health at max, you get your health as cheap as 1.6 gold per hp. If you're a typical Cho'Gath that survives every team clash, get this one.
Mejai's Soulstealer aka "The Book": The eighth CHEAPEST item of EVERY item that gives ability power, it is the best (or second best (depending on Rabadon's Deathcap) item you can have.
The other items I've removed from certain lists, are Trinity Force, Lich Bane etc. I made a separate table for these, in which I wanted to calculate in a different way. Instead of simply using the finish product, I started with removing all the costs and stats from the item which comes from the components. In other words, the stats from Sheen has been deducted from Lich Bane. I also added Madred's Bloodrazor here. I didn't calculate the stats, but rather the damage you would deal, with some different magic-resists.
I did this same procedure on Trinity Force, Frozen Mallet, Phantom Dancer, Lich Bane, Infinity Edge and Youmuu's Ghostblade. The two last was added partly for their interesting uniqueness, while the four first was due to their connection with Trinity Force.
I don't feel any need to add comments to these, but you may evaluate them yourself, and consider how much their stats and passives are worth. All stats that are CHEAPER than the average, are marked greed, while the MORE expensive items are red.
The reason I put these (especially Trinity Force and Youmuu's Ghostblade) in a separate list, was because they ruined the average in all the others. Since they are so combined items, they can't be calculated with each one stat.
One note: The Madred's Bloodrazor damage is calculated by:
(100/(100+MAGIC RESIST))*(HEALTH*0.04) I found the formula for magic resist on the LOL-wiki.
I don't want to tie too many knots for you, but leave you thinking.
What I got from this, from seeing the numbers and doing the calculations, was how surprisingly some good items are, and how bad others are.
I knew that Sunfire Cape was a bad item when I started this, but I don't think I'll be buying Banshee's Veil much after this. As a mage, I will consider Moonflair Spellblade, and perhaps even Chalice of Harmony once in a while. It seems like there are a lot good cheap items out there, but also some bad once you should stay away from.
I was surprised to find snowball items so incredibly superior and will be taken into consideration almost every game on my part.
Lastly, if you're skipping right to this part without reading thoroughly, you should know not to accept every number I show. The second-last and last section will cover the complexity of the items.
There are a lot of ways to deem an item good or bad. You must make your own choices in this, but I will try to explain what these numbers REALLY mean.
That an item is cheap relative to its stats, does not necessarily mean you should/shouldn't buy the item. Some items are still irreplaceable. Guardian Angel, is one example. No item can be compared with the unique ability to revive you, and it is very hard to put a prize on this effect. I could put a prize on "things that have a passive use" but it wouldn't be possible to compare Youmuu's Ghostblade with Zhonya's Hourglass or Hextech Gunblade. These numbers only give an indication about roughly how good an item is, and "if it's worth it". I think you understand well enough that these numbers aren't EXACT or ABSOLUTE.
Additionally, each item has been calculated from each individual stats. As mentioned, calculating Trinity Force from each of its stats would be too unreal, as it isn't good for anything in particular, but very much an all-round item. Items such as Frozen Mallet is often bought for its health, thus a good item to include under the health section, but not under damage. Abyssal Scepter, would also be an item you buy for MR and/or ability power, and can be included in both lists.
Again, I didn't want to show anything absolute, but I wanted to give some awareness to the real values in items, not just "I feel this is a good item".
Remember that each item needs context. Chalice of Harmony proves to be worth the gold, but don't buy it if you're Lee Sin.
Criticism and Errors in calculations
As mentioned in the "Extra Note", not all items are comparable. For realism, it may have been so that I should have excluded all items that have very valuable passives, next to their stats. Some items come bad out on the lists due to lack of "main stats", but score well on cooldown reduction, magic penetration etc.
It may be that I shouldn't have included the "pure item" (containing single stats only), or used these as the only REAL average cost stat.
I should have calculated the same way, as I did with Trinity Force, with every item, but quite frankly, it's too much work, and I don't get paid for this.
Imaginary FAQ: - But SakeBurst: Sometimes certain items are good because they combine several stats into one item, and my core build doesn't allow more items than what I have! You say this item is bad, but there is no way to replace it!
My reply: - That may be so, but the question isn't if you HAVE to have this item or not, but rather: "How much are you willing to sacrifice? Are your items cost-efficient enough to be completed when your team is struggling?"
If anyone comes up with more critical questions, I will add them here.
If Riot would ever pay me
A suggestions for calculations (for the real interested), is to put a value on each stat, and add an exponential value for the space it takes. To exemplify (without meaning to suggest values), each ability power could cost 20 gold, magic resist 23 gold and mana 4 gold. Next to these values, each stat should have a value to be added for the space-savers they are, meaning 1000 mana costs more than 100 mana. Something like AP costs another 0.1 gold per. Magic resist 0.05 gold per and mana 0.0005 gold per extra. This would give the formulas f(x)= 20x * 0.1x = 2x^2 for AP. 1.15x^2 for MR and 0.02x^2 for mana.
An item with 10 AP, 15 MR and 200 mana would cost 1259 (1258.75) gold. The doubled stats with 20 AP, 30 MR and 400 mana would not cost double the money, but rather 5035 gold (more than double). This isn't a very good example, as it is very hard to find "the perfect scale" for each stat, but if I was paid by Riot, I would do it for real, and make real values for each type of stat. With such a way to calculate, we could so have real good values on EVERY item, and NO item would be imbalanced. The point I want to make is that stats should have a real value, with an increasing value as you get MORE of that stat (thus x^2).
-Changed what I said about stacking Archangel's Staff for mana
-Added Madred's Bloodrazor to the list in "etc" to show it's damage. It's simply a table over the damage it deals with different magic resist rates.
-Changed some fonts and sizes for read-ability.