Pantheon Build Guide by TheWolfinator
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Tanky DPS. ONLY THE BUILD AN
Against an Ap top laner
Against an Ad top laner
About me and why you fellow warrior should trust this guide.
I can't say that i'm a veteran or whatever at this game since i started playing at the start of season 3 and started ranked games more or less on septembe rof that year, so you could say that i'm pretty new in the "competitive scene", but i played Pantheon since my earlier start: on my first week i wasn't sure between Gangplank, Kayle, and Pantheon, and since i study latin and ancient greek at school i went for the reckless spartan.
Don't have many ranked games with him in top lane (used him pretty much only in promos for being able to carry) since i'm actually a main support but i can say to have acquired a bunch of experience from his normal games that i'm sure to have the requirements to teach you guys something.
That's an in-depth guide, so i'll consider some scaling mathematically and write really a lot, sorry if it's gonna be boring but it'll be more or less everything you need to know about Pantheon.
Pantheon is a top laner with great possibilities of tanking and assassinating at the same time, he also has an enormous mobility so he can have an impact everywhere at every stage of the game, all of that makes him a great carry champion in solo-que if played properly.
Too bad he doesn't scale very well and if doesn't get a bit of advantage in the early game, won't be much than a tank in mid/late game.
Has a really simple skill set that can be easily counter played in lane after he loses his golden age in the early game.
Anyways his great early damage, global presence, innate tanky diver ability, and good snowballing makes him a great champion to play in low-mid elo (Bronze to Platinum).
Well those are pretty simple runes that everyone should have, yellows armor for early trades and minion damage, ad quints and reds for his great scaling spears, mag res scaling blues to have that bit of mag res needed in mid game cause at the moment you cant see that many ap top laners in low-mid elo.
Classic mastery page for Ad casters, those will help you getting an advantage in early and zoning the enemy laner from farming. You may run a defensive 9/21 if against a Renekton or similar, but you wont be able to be THAT impactful towards roaming.
No "Warlord" because it gives you only +5% of TOTAL AD, so just 5,75 AD (115:100=1.15, 1,15x5=5,75), and i'd prefer to have for example those 82 mana and 246 hp at the 13th wave thanks to "Feast", that may even help a lot since you don't have any in lane sustain, rather than 5,75 AD.
Then "Dangerous Game" instead of "Frenzy" because you may be fighting someome with ignite in top lane or find yourself diving alone the enemy ADC, and those hp recovered by the kill may save your life in those situations.
1000 hp missing --> 50 hp back
2000 hp missing --> 100 hp back
3000 hp missing --> 150 hp back
Ignite deals around 70-410 true damage, since it' will be used early in the fight "Dangerous Game" WILL save you from his last tick.
I've tried lots of starts with Pantheon, from cloth+5 to doran's items and even more crazy stuff like mana regen. or cristalline flask, but this is the one i found more useful to get ahead in the early game, you'll have the free damage from the long sword that will be immediately built in a Tiamat or a Last Whisper and the sustain from 2 red pots, and you'll have mana to just spam 3 more random spears and just deny the early farm to your lane opponent.
Your boots depend completely on the enemy team:
if they have many CCs (Ryze, Leona, Thresh, Elise,..) you may go with Mercury's;
if there are many AA dealers (Aatrox, Trynda, Yi,..) you may prefer Tabi's;
if there are neither of those and you're doing well in lane you may even go with mobility's and take advantage of your already high mov. speed base to roam more.
Hydra instead of Bloodthrister 'cause it will help you out-trading your opponent in lane phase, and you'll be able to drop more burst and damage when you'll engage with ult, also you have that great mid game item that Tiamat is, so you'll be able to delay your Hydra and get tanky and usefull to your team as soon as possible.
If against sustain match ups (Irelia, Vladimir) or hyper carries (Trynda, Fiora,..) you may run a Tiamat to try bursting them or at least a Vampiric Scepter, since with Last Whisper you'd have no sustain, and then get tanky as soon as possible, or maybe even getting a Sunfire early and roam as much as possible, depends on your way to play the game.
But usually the greatest enemy of your laning phase as Pantheon should be armor, if your opponent comes back to lane with a chain vest and you have not got at least a pickaxe already you won't be able to zone him out and you may better invest your mana in pushing your lane; so basically you'll want some armor penetration as soon as possible even prioritizing that over sustain in lane, keeping buying some red and blue pots: i've done a lot of math with the xp you earn each level, gold, armor and ad scaling, thinking if it' actually worth or not to get an early Last Whisper, those are my results, basically more or less at level 8 you should have enough money to afford a Last whisper even if you backed once to get a pickaxe and some pots and then a total of 132 AD, meanwhile most of in meta top laners will have around 105/125 armor depending if he went with Tabi's+Chain vest or just a Sunfire; then just watch those schemes that i found on leaguepedia and you'll see it will be gold efficient and worth as laning item instead of Black Cleaver which has less penetration even with 5 stacks of it, when against an enemy with at least 100 armor, and even leaving that out, it would just slow down your build path denying you to get tanky earlier. In the first scheme you can see how much damage the penetration adds on how much armor, the last whisper needs around 24 damage added to become cost efficient; and in the second how much armor the enemy needs to have to make your Last Whisper worth.
Those are the 2 cores you need as Pantheon, Last Whisper and Tiamat, i always get both of them as soon as possible so i can out damage the enemy laner and use my early advantage at the maximum and just get easily fed and ahead. Then you'll just have to get tanky, cause you know you're a spartan and ****, so you'll grab a Sunfire Cape or a Spectre's Cowl depending if your enemy laner is an ap or ad. Your boots should be Ninja Tabi or either Mercury's Treads if the enemy team is full of CCs (Crowd Controls, Stuns, Slow, Roots, etc.). Then you'll just pick up the last tanky items you need depending on the enemy feed.
Nothing particular to say here, you wont win any actual 1v1 at level 1 but you'll be able to zone enemies out of the farm with Q; then the W will help you in trades thanks to the refreshing passive and so the double block, and you'll even be able to escape early ganks.
Pantheon has a pretty simple skill set that can be combined in intuitive and simple combos.
Try to abuse of it to zone out your enemy but try to dont use your spells on minions if you aren't pushing or splitpushing consciously; you need to freeze your lane (last hitting minions as slowly as possible, not damaging the minions if not for last hitting them, don't letting the enemy waves to come at your tower tanking them until your wave comes, try to not lose too many hp by freezing though, or you may lose you dominance) as better as possible so that you'll deny A LOT of xp and farm to your opponent since he would be vulnerable to ganks or however zoned by your poke and your early potential.
The key of your laning phase is basically your Q, so try to not spam it too much, but yet abuse of it to zone out your opponent.
Never use your W when you already have your passive up, is a waste of a block that may even save your like or make you win a trade, try to time your passive and w so you can block empowered abilities (like nasus q, jax w or third attack, etc.).
Try to land your E on the more enemies possible, half of your damage in teamfights comes from that, his passive will help you in farming if you're still learning.
His R is like impossible to land perfectly, so you'll need a bit of time learning it, try to use it on way outs, pits, jungle, crossroads, everywhere that you'll be able to just force a fight, you can use it as a wave clear item, to zone out enemies and deny a fight, to roam or as an engage, but only when you'll get tankier if not you'll just get bursted down without an immediate follow up from your team-mates. You can even use it as an escape in some cases since it can be stopped only by stuns and knocks.
Basically you must win the immediate early game in your lane if you want to go on with Pantheon, so you'll be able to use his enormous roaming potential, just even after the second back you could back and then go ult bottom lane and maybe get a double kill and a drake and tp back farming your top lane, or you could teleport botlane and maybe then ult mid lane, , or maybe ult in jungle if your jungler is invading the enemy buff and there's the enemy mid laner too so you'll get a double kill then back and teleport at your lane like nothing happened, you have so many possibilities to advantage your whole team thanks to his ult combined to a teleport instead of an ignite that may do nothing else that make you have a kill in lane.