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General Guide by BarbJ

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League of Legends Build Guide Author BarbJ

Mastery Explanations

BarbJ Last updated on October 21, 2011
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Introduction

During my adventures in the League of Legends, and here on MOBAFire, I have often found myself deep in discussion over masteries. I decided to make a guide discussing all of the masteries, focusing in particular on those that are often disputed. It is quite lengthy, and getting ever longer, so take your time.

Please let me know if you would like to know more about them, or if you feel that I've left anything out. Enjoy!


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What are Masteries?

For those of you who do not know, masteries are points granted to players to increase their abilities in game. For each level you gain, you are granted one mastery point. Since level 30 is the highest attainable, you will end with thirty points.

Masteries are spent in three different "trees":
The Offensive TreespacingspacingThe Defensive TreespacingspacingThe Utility Tree

Trees are also broken into tiers, and require certain requirements to unlock stronger masteries. While the first tier is available without any points spent, each tier after costs 4 points to unlock.


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Offensive Tree

Offensive Tree Masteries

The Offensive Tree seems to be the least contested of the bunch. Whether you are trying to build an attack damage character (such as Ashe or Miss Fortune), or a magic damage character (such as Annie or Kassadin), there is a very specific mastery order you should follow.

Tier 1


Attack damage champions normally take 3 levels in Deadliness mastery to progress down the tree. The critical strike chance granted by this mastery is more beneficial to them than anyone else. Someone like Annie who relies on her abilities to deal damage, will not get much from this. However, Ashe, who only uses auto attacks to deal her damage, benefits the most from it.

2% critical strike chance might not sound astounding, but it has potential. In a 30 minute game, you use about 900 auto attacks (1 attack every half second). This mastery allows 2% of those attack to deal double damage. When your auto attacks at the end of the game are dealing 200 damage per strike, this mastery can rear it's head.
Cripple increases the effectiveness of Exhaust. Players who like the utilty offered by Exhaust often take a point in this skill to help them progress farther down the tree. In games where your team is able to focus a marked target, this will increase their incoming damage. The reduction of resistances may be minimal, but when cast on a carry (who has low armor and magic resist levels to begin with), can severly cripple their gameplay. Since defensive statistics do not have a linear effect, 10 armor reduction can be quite terrifying.

- Corki has 60 armor. When targeted by Exhaust and focused by your friendly Ashe, he takes 37.5% reduced damage.
- Corki has 60 armor. When targeted by Exhaust that has been empowered with Cripple and focused again by Ashe, he now takes 33.3% reduced damage.

Cripple has effectively given both Ashe and yourself 4% increased damage against Corki! Not bad for 1 point.

You can learn more about armor here. You can learn more about magic resistance here.
Junglers are the only champions who should select this mastery. By junglers, I am reffering to someone who spends the early and mid-game in the jungle between the lanes. If you are playing Warwick in the top lane this is not a mastery you should select- despite being a "jungler" champion.

The extra gold Plentiful Bounty grants, in addition to the reduction in cool down time helps a jungler's gameplay dramatically. While some may dismiss the benefits of this mastery, by the end of a match, it will have helped in several ways. Say for instance that you use Smite whenever it comes off of cooldown during the course of a 30 minute round.

- Without Plentiful Bounty , you are able to cast Smite 24 times.
- With Plentiful Bounty , you able to cast Smite 26 times, and gain 130 gold!

By specializing in Plentiful Bounty , you are able to purchase 3 additional Health Potions than if you had not. 600 health is nothing sneeze at!
Magic damage champions normally take 3 levels of this mastery to progress down the tree. The ability power granted by this mastery is more beneficial to them than anyone else. Someone like Vayne, who relies on her auto attack to deal damage, will not get much from this. However, Lux, who only uses ability power to increase her damage, benefits the most from it.

At level 18, 3 ranks in Archmage's Savvy grants 18 ability power. This "free" ability power is also affected by a mage's best friend, Rabadon's Deathcap, granting you 23.4 ability power total.

Tier 2


Normally, mage characters get all four ranks Sorcery to continue down the tree. Other roles typically avoid it entirely, or take just a few ranks to progress further in the tree. The amount of cool down reduction given by Sorcery is rather minimal however. The only noticable difference is in the timer on your ultimate abilities. All four points need to be upgraded in this mastery if you want to use Archaic Knowledge .

Please note that cool down reduction granted by Sorcery only affects your four ability's cool downs, not your summoner spells.
Champions who utilize their auto attacks often take this mastery if they need to progress further down the tree. Alacrity scales from base attack speed only, not from itemized attack speed. If you instance, you purchase a Malady, Alacrity 's effect will not increase.

Alacrity if also effective on champions with high base attack speed, or who need higher attack speed during the early game. Twitch has a high base attack speed, and benefits noticably from it. Warwick and Xin Zhao both require auto attacks to heal themselves in the jungle, making Alacrity a good choice for them as well.

Tier 3


Burning Embers grants a small amount of ability power while Ignite is on cool down (or ready to be cast). This mastery is normally skipped by every champion, for several reasons. Mages ( Annie, or Brand) who benefit from ability power, cannot afford to place a point into this slot. Attack damage champions ( Ashe, or Master Yi) could put a point here, but they do not benefit from ability power significantly enough to warrant a point.
This is usually the final stop for all magic damage champions in the offensive tree. The masteries in the following tiers offer very little incentive for mages to continue to invest more points in this tree when the Utility Tree has so much to offer.

15% spell penetration may seem like another useless number, but it has a far greater impact than Deadliness or Archmage's Savvy do. Archaic Knowledge allows you spells to ignore a portion of your enemy's magic resistance. Against a carry champion, who has very little magic resist (somewhere around 60 usually), the effect is underwhelming, ignoring only 9 magic resist. However, against an enemy tank who has right around 150 magic resistance, Archaic Knowledge pierces through 23 magic resist.
Sunder is often taken by, yet again, by attack damage champions. Armor penetration is vital to dealing as much physical damage as possible. Sunder is similar to Archaic Knowledge in that it allows you to deal more damage to targets. However, unlike Archaic Knowledge , Sunder is a flat armor reduction, not a percentage. Therefore, Sunder is equally effective, regardless of the target's armor value. Junglers also often take Sunder to pierce through the armor of the jungle monsters.

One should not be content to stop gaining armor penetration however. Often times, carry champions also purchase a Last Whisper and/or The Black Cleaver. This allows your Miss Fortune to continue to deal as close to full damage as possible.
The final skill in tier 3! The increased damage to minions granted by Offensive Mastery is vital to most jungler's success. While someone like Nunu who has two abilities to use against the jungle monsters does not need it, but auto attacking junglers, like Warwick, Xin Zhao, and Lee Sin will benefit from it.

Laning champions should never take Offensive Mastery ! Unlike junglers, laning champions have the luxury of being able to wait to get their last hits. Though that two extra damage from your attacks might help your lane, it is far more advantageous to put your points elsewhere.

Tier 4


You guessed it, attack damage champions! Though this is one of the less beneficial masteries in this tree, it does still offer some benefit. As with many other masteries, this mainly affects the early game. 3 damage isn't much when Galio has 2,000 health, but when Soraka only has 600, it can make for a nasty first few minutes.

This can also be taken by some champions who have lifesteal (namely Nasus). The amount gained is minimal, if noticeable at all, but anything for an advantage over your lane opponent! Brute Force also helps many junglers clear their paths faster, and thus saving their precious health.

Though Brute Force looks promising for someone like Warwick, who I've mentioned relies on auto attacks, it does little for his survivability. Both he and Xin Zhao gain health based on their attack speeds, and gain a flat number of health. They do not have lifesteal: they do not heal for a percentage of the damage dealt. Still good for damage, but adds nothing to your healing. Keep that in mind when selecting your masteries.

Tier 5



Tier 6



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Defensive Tree

Defensive Tree Masteries

The Defensive Tree is by far the most contested of the bunch. Since some champions need very few, or no defenses at all, this tree is often skipped. For champions who want some added survivability however, this tree gives plenty of oppurtunities to demonstrate your personal preference- and not always as peacefully as we would like. No raging, it's just a game!

Tier 1



Tier 2



Tier 3



Tier 4



Tier 5



Tier 6



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Utility Tree


Tier 1



Tier 2



Tier 3



Tier 4



Tier 5



Tier 6



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Sample Mastery Page Displayer 9000!

It can often be a hassle looking through a different guide every time you play a new champion or role. Well not with the new:

Sample Mastery Page Displayer 9000!


Ability Power Jungler: Nunu, or Fiddlesticks
Ability Power Mage: Annie, or Cassiopeia
Attack Damage Carry: Ezreal, or Corki
Attack Speed Jungler: Warwick, or Xin Zhao
Bruiser (No Manabar): Renekton
Bruiser (With Manabar): Jarvan IV, or Irelia
Defensive Jungler: Amumu
Support: Soraka, Taric, or Sona


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Conclusion

Who decided to put the publish button right next to the save button? That's what I want to know...

Well I'll keep working on it, ignore any code errors or missing sections for now. ^,^

Hope you've learned as much from reading this as I did writing it. Question, comments, or concerns? Voice them below. I'll do my best to respond in an orderly fashion.


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