General Guide by Searz

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Searz

Mastery Guide

Searz Last updated on May 2, 2012
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Team 1


Team 2

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

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



Offense: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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This is an analysis of how useful different masteries are.

Keep in mind that even though my knowledge of the game is vast, I'm only stating my opinion.

The builds are just some examples of what masteries I'd use on some champions. I play most of them, but not all.

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AD = Attack Damage
AS = Attack Speed
CrC = Critical-strike Chance
CrD = Critical-strike Damage
ArP = Armor Penetration
MrP = Magic/MR Penetration

HP = Hit/Health Points
HP5 = Heath-regen Per 5 seconds

MP5 = Mana-regen Per 5 seconds
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
AP = Ability Power
MR = Magic Resist

GP10 = Gold per 10 seconds
/lvl = Per Level (bonuses which you gain a part of with each level)
AoE = Area of Effect

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The Offense Tree

Summoner's Wrath
Good mastery. The only dumb thing about this is that Ignite gives 5AD and 5AP, not 10AP. 1AD is worth ~2AP...

Brute Force
Good mastery. I even pick it on 90% of my casters just because Mental Force is ****ing terrible..

Mental Force
Really bad mastery. Should provide 2AP per point to compare with Brute Force since 1AD is worth about 2AP. BUFF PLOX RIOT

Decent mastery. Only really useful to junglers though.


Pretty good for anyone who has use of AS. This alone makes jungling a lot better.

Good mastery. CDR is almost always useful, no matter your role.

Ok mastery. Gives 10 damage before armor. Meaning about 3 actual damage to towers.

Really bad mastery. AD/lvl is and has always been a really ****ty stat at the levels Riot has implemented it.

Weapon Expertise
Good mastery. I'd like to see Riot enabling you to spend 4 points in Sorcery to reach this, for those physical damage champions that can't use AS well.

Arcane Knowledge
Good mastery. Used to be stronger, but it was a little too strong for being so far up. I'd like what I said on Weapon Expertise to be done for Alacrity and Arcane Knowledge too.

Good mastery. The numbers aren't high enough to make you want to sacrifice most other good masteries for it though.


Very strong mastery. It may not do anything early on, but in lategame it'll be great on anyone who uses crit.

Good mastery. Worth grabbing if life steal is useful for the champion in question.

Pretty decent. Not strong, nor weak.


Strong mastery on anyone who can make good use of the ArP.

Pretty good. Mostly effective in lategame with lots of AP though.


Strong mastery. Since it's the last ("ultimate") point however; I feel like they should give it a small buff. I'd like to see it activate below 50% HP, or nerfed and always be active.

Overall analysis of the Offense tree

Currently the overall strongest mastery tree because of how much every point in the tree is worth. The points in defense and especially utility are worth less.

You could run 21 utility or defense and go 9 points into offense for 10%ArP or MrP, but right now it's just not worth it. RIOT, BALANCE MASTERIES PLOX.

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The Defense Tree

Summoner's Resolve
Useful if you happen to grab any of those spells.

Decent mastery. Helps a lot early on and less in lategame (because of the diminishing returns of MR).

Decent mastery. Helps a lot early on and less in lategame (because of the diminishing returns of armor).

Tough Skin
A pretty bad mastery. Only reason to take it would be to reach Bladed Armor .


It's a little on the weak end of the scale, but Veteran's Scars totally makes up for that.

Really bad mastery. Here Riot did another big mistake in having the same amount of stats for 2 totally different stats (see Mental Force). MP5 ( Meditation ) is worth about DOUBLE what HP5 is. Vigor should be giving 2HP5 per point (max 6HP5). 1HP5 just doesn't cut it.

Pretty good mastery. Helps a lot against damage over time spells and in the jungle.

Veteran's Scars
Great mastery. Gives a big chunk of flat HP for just one point.

One of the worst masteries in the game. Let's say that ~40% of all damage is AOE, then this would reduce 1.2% damage, overall.

Bladed Armor
Great mastery for any defensive jungler. ( Rammus, Amumu among others)


Siege Commander
Ok mastery. Gives ~1% more damage to towers. You'll need a combined AD of over 300 to deal more damage than Demolitionist would.

Good mastery. Worth picking up if you think you'll be needing that small boost to your initiating speed.

Pretty good mastery. It gives an attractive stat for most tanky champions.


Honor Guard
Pretty bad. It can roughly compare to Resistance and Hardiness . Those are tier 1 masteries and not very strong either..

Kind of bad. It's not a big amount of gold, it's also highly situational and relies on snowballing. I just don't like the idea of the mastery at all.


Strong mastery. Since it's the last ("ultimate") point however; I feel like they should give it a small buff. +3%HP really isn't much, I'd like to see +5%.

Overall analysis of the Defense tree

It contains a few stats that are attractive to tanks and tanky DPS, but the general value of the masteries are slightly lower than the ones in offense and I'd like to see a few of them buffed.

Unless your champion is very mana hungry you should probably be spending 9 points to reach the 9-point-wonder Veteran's Scars on most champions.

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The Utility Tree

Summoner's Insight
Provides a few useful bonuses. Worth picking up if you've got any of those spells and skill down utility anyways.

Good Hands
Pretty decent mastery. Usually worth picking up the first point since it gives 4% instead of 3%.

Expanded Mind
Good mastery. It went from being the worst mastery in the game to being pretty good. To get the same amount of mana from the old one you'd have to have more than ~5000mana.

Improved Recall
A decent mastery. It never hurts to be able to recall faster, but it'll rarely change anything.


Good mastery. MS is useful on a lot of champions and very good on some.

Good mastery. Especially useful early on (like all kinds of regen).

Really bad mastery. Only useful on supports and even on them it's not that good..

Bad. It gives ~280 gold by 25 min. You get ~70 gold per point after 25min.. Just to make a quick comparison; normal masteries give ~42g per point and you receive that benefit instantly. Gold also gives less benefit in lategame because it needs inventory space to help while stat bonuses don't.

Bad mastery. Another case of Riot grouping stats together (see Mental Force and Vigor). Vampirism - while not THAT strong - is fine as it is while spell vamp is worth much less than life steal. That makes this mastery very lacking in comparison.

Runic Affinity
Very good mastery for anyone who picks up neutral buffs a lot. AP carries and junglers in particular.

Bad mastery. Needs to sit at at least 30gold per point to be decent.

Bad mastery. It was good back in the days, but now a lot of masteries got buffed while Awareness wasn't and was put a lot further down in the tree. It just doesn't give enough for a mastery that is that hard to reach. Keep in mind that it's useless in lategame, so it needs to be noticeable early/mid to be of any use.

Pretty bad. Not only is it a small amount, it's also highly situational and relies on snowballing. I just don't like the idea of the mastery at all.


Strength of Spirit
Decent, but unless you're stacking mana this is rather bad. Especially in comparison to Intelligence . I'd like to see this in tier 3. Tier 5 is too high, unless they buff it.

Very strong. Has always been and still is one of the strongest masteries in the game.


(Still) The best mastery in the game. Summoner spells are very powerful tools and this allows you to use them more often. It's as simple as that.

Overall analysis of the Utility tree

The worst mastery tree right now simply because the masteries in tier 3 and 4 are BAAAD (with the exception of Runic Affinity ).
Most other masteries are pretty good, but if you have to spend 8 points on bad masteries, it's sooo rarely worth it to go more than 9points into utility.

It's a good idea to go 8 or 9 points in if you're playing a mana hungry champion or someone who has great use of Runic Affinity or Swiftness .

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Cost effectiveness

I'm using only basic items to calculate cost effectiveness.
I'm counting PER POINT, not with all the points.

"Approximates" means that I had to use an item with more than one stat to calculate the gold effectiveness. I can't get an exact number there. The numbers on those are probably slightly off, but shouldn't be more than 5 gold off (which is a fairly small number).


Brute Force - 41.5g
Mental Force - 21.75g <-- OMG RIOT >.>
Alacrity - 28g <-- OMG RIOT >.>
Vampirism - 45g

Archmage - 27.2g per 100AP (this is just in the "twenties" because I put an even number like 100 there. It's not low)

Sorcery - 37.5g


Resistance - 33.33g
Hardiness - 33.33g
Vigor - 29g
Veteran's Scars - 79.17g

Mercenary - 8g per kill and assist


Meditation - 55.7g
Wealth - 20g <-- OMG RIOT >.>

Greed - 3g/minute 70.5g@25min (90sec at the start goes without gold income)
Strength of Spirit - ~40g per 400mana you have

Transmutation - 28g <-- OMG RIOT >.>
Intelligence - 75g

Per level masteries

Deadliness -
Blast - 5.44g/lvl 98g@lvl18
Durability - 3.96g/lvl 71.25@lvl18
Expanded Mind - 8g/lvl 144@lvl18

Enlightenment - 5.6g/lvl 101g@lvl18

All in all the big problems seem very clear here. Any mastery in the "twenties" (worth below 30gold per point) needs a buff really badly.

Honor Guard and Havoc

They can't be measured precisely, but if I compare them to similar stats I can get a relatively good figure of what they're worth.

Havoc compared to AD:
Damage = 50 = Havoc is worth ~10.375g (1.005*50-50=0.25damage)
Damage = 100 = Havoc is worth ~20.75g (1.005*100-100=0.5damage)
Damage = 200 = Havoc is worth ~41.5g (1.005*200-200=1damage)
Damage = 400 = Havoc is worth ~83g (1.005*400-400=2damage)

Not too shabby numbers I must say.

Honor Guard compared to armor/MR:
Armor/MR = 25 = Honor Guard is worth ~20.94g ((100+25)/0.995-125=0.628armor AND MR)
Armor/MR = 50 = Honor Guard is worth ~25.1g ((100+50)/0.995-150=0.754armor AND MR)
Armor/MR = 100 = Honor Guard is worth ~33.5g ((100+100)/0.995-200=1armor AND MR)
Armor/MR = 200 = Honor Guard is worth ~50.26g ((100+200)/0.995-300=1.51armor AND MR)

So you need more than 100armor and MR to make Honor Guard about as good as Resistance and Hardiness .
WAY too weak for a tier 5 mastery.

Why is it that Honor Guard is so much worse than Havoc then?
That is because damage reduction has diminishing returns. ANOTHER case of Riot grouping totally different stats together --.--

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Riot seriously needs to buff some masteries, because the balance is way off right now.

These NEED buffs:

Mental Force - Buff to 2 AP per point.
Vigor - Buff to 2HP5 per point.
Transmutation - Buff to 1.5% Spell Vamp per point. (increase point total to 4 for an even number?)
Wealth - Buff to 50gold per point. (but if Greed isn't needed 30gold will do just fine)
The above just can't compare to good masteries if these buffs are not implemented.

These could use buffs, but aren't complete **** (like the ones above):

Summoner's Wrath - Buff the Ignite part to 10AP and 5AD.
Tough Skin - Buff to 2 damage blocked vs minions/monsters per point.
Indomitable - Buff to 1.5 damage blocked per point.
Evasion - Buffed to 3% reduced damage taken from AoE abilities per point.
Honor Guard - Buffed to 1% reduced damage taken per point.
Scout - Buff to +10% increased vision ward sight.
Greed - Buff to about 0.8 per point. (or even 1 per point, but that may be too strong. 1GP10 is more balanced than 0.5 in any case)

Less important balance changes I believe would be good:

Executioner - Buff to activate at below 50% HP.
Durability - (ONLY IF Veteran's Scars is nerfed to 25HP) Buff to 2HP per level and point.
Mercenary - Buff to 10gold per kill and point.
Juggernaut - Buff to +5%HP.
Sage - Buff to 50exp per kill.

I implore you, Riot. Please balance masteries while the iron is still hot.

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Mastery templates

Keep in mind that these are just the most standard masteries. There will be champions who don't fit my suggestions.

Casters: 21/0/9

You reach the mana, mana-reg and buff duration with just 9 points, then you can spend the rest on power. Until Riot buffs the utility masteries offense is simply a better choice for anyone who scale well with AP.
In some rare cases you might benefit from 9defense more than utility, but you are a caster after all and mana is almost always very useful.

Support casters: 0/9/21

While utility is very lacking right now, supports just don't benefit much from any other masteries.

Crit/AD carries: 21/9/0

Simply benefits most AD carries more than any other masteries. Sure you could go 9 into utility, but you need to consider how much laning power you'll lose, because 9 defense helps a ton.

Physical damage tanks/offtanks: 21/9/0 or 1/21/8

Pick defense or offense depending on your needs.

Magical damage tanks/offtanks: 1/21/8 or 21/9/0

Pick defense or offense depending on your needs.

Physical damage junglers: 21/0/9

Offense is simply more powerful than other masteries. Use it.

Magical damage tanky junglers: 0/21/9

Bladed Armor just helps a ton for these junglers.

Manaless champions: 21/9/0

Most of them should be running this setup because chances are they won't have much use of utility.
Offense gives the most bang for your points right now, so if you have the choice; chances are that you'll want offense.


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