Pantheon Build Guide by neomoses
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.
Phase 2 - Sideboard
Phase 3 - Sideboard
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.
Pantheons biggest problem early game is his mana. It runs out quickly with Spear Shot and takes forever to regenerate. Harassing enemies early game with Spear Shot is essential and, if you harass correctly, you should be throwing a spear every four seconds (champions only). Grabbing Faerie Charm and Rejuvenation Beads right out of the gate will keep the spears chuckin'. Plus, to execute the proper Pantheon kill combo (spear/stun/hss/chase/spear) takes 190 mana early game. On your next trip back to the shop build into Philosopher's Stone (make it your goal to do so by lvl 6 along with Boots of Speed) which grants you more mana regeneration, health regeneration (more lane sustainability), and 900 gold every 30 minutes. This increases your trickle income by approximately 39%. I usually sell this item around the time I build Frozen Mallet to make room.
For boots you want Boots of Swiftness or Ninja Tabi. Boots of Swiftness are my default choice since they allow you to catch up to retreating enemy champs, but also allow you to Spear Shot while chasing without losing much ground. The armor increase from Ninja Tabi plus the 10% damage decrease from basic attacks is huge against auto-attack champions like Yi. Otherwise, you can swap for Mercury Treads if you're facing heavy AP. Tenacity is good in any game. However, you're going to get much more use out of Ninja's damage decrease, being that Pantheon is mid-to-close-range AD, than you would with tenacity. Ninja's will save your life more often.
For your first AD item, Last Whisper is cheaper than most common choices, has a decent AD increase, and the armor pen percentage scales throughout the game. The problem with trying to get Bloodthirster first is the BF sword. A cost of 1550g is always a hurdle and a wait. A pickaxe costs 975g, you can buy it in less time and you can start doing extra damage sooner. Last Whisper makes your build and your performance much more fluid.
Next is either The Bloodthirster or Maw of Malmortius. Your decision should be dependent upon how high your gold income is. If you happen to have a surplus of gold and can buy a BF sword, go for Bloodthirster. But, if you simply don't have the gold, build Maw. There is no sense in going back to the spawn point and not buying anything when you have resources available. Leave stronger than the way you came in.
No one will argue against The Bloodthirster. Damage and Lifesteal that you can build up from 60AD/12LS to 100AD/20LS. This is an essential purchase.
Maw of Malmortius is plain amazing. It completes Pantheon. Attack damage, magic resist, damage increase that scales to how much life you're missing (max +39 AD), and an automatic shield (400 AP absorb) from magic at 30% health remaining. I don't see many people use this item and I have no clue why. The 1 point in damage for 2.5% health is a 'cloak and dagger' and means that every time you're hit you become stronger and it works well with lifesteal. Enemies that are prepared to engage you 1v1 aren't going to see the scaling damage until its too late. It's one more advantage and makes you an unanticipated threat. The magic shield is an amazing game stopper. It's another unanticipated affect the enemy won't see coming. In addition, in a team fight, the enemy with the lowest health is going to be collectively targetted first and, if that's you, this effect will either get you the "out" you need to find safety or the time you need secure kills.
Frozen Hammer remedies Pantheon's squishiness. Pantheon's low health early game isn't too detrimental, but late game he's a target with a low swing count. You need the health to support your battle superiority and keep you in the fight longer. In addition, slowing your target's movement speed makes your stun even more powerful. Now, not only can you jump to your target and stun them - "IN YO FACE!" - you can slow them as well, thwarting their escape.
Lastly, Atma's Impaler. I've seen a lot of people buy Infinity edge here, but I'm not as concerned with critical strikes. Even though Pantheon's spear has chance to crit, Pantheon is not an auto-attack champ. The majority of Pantheon's damage comes from his abilities which means he is not going to get as high as output with critical strikes, nor attack speed for that matter, than another champion would. Atma's grants you a decent amount of armor and damage based upon your max health which is synergetic with Frozen Mallet totalling +42.6 damage.
All in all, this is a super tactical game where you have to adapt and overcome each game. Situation always dictates, in which case I have provided sideboards to adapt to your enemies strengths and weaknesses accordingly.
Pantheon can occupy any of the three lanes. Solo top is ideal. Mid is do-able depending on enemy mid. Bot anyone can do.
Keep in mind that your passive block allows you to turret dive a little bit. While the enemy is under turret, its good for sitting in grass and getting a spear shot in here and there and it will absorb a turret hit for you when you turret dive for a full kill when they're low on health.
Harass your enemy with Spear Shot. Don't waste mana on HSS during early levels, the damage output is too low. You want to keep you're opponent away from the minions to prevent them from farming and gaining experience. Keep Spear Shotting them to get their health count low and don't be to eager to try to kill them right away. Generally, the opponent won't recall unless they're below three bars or so of health (sometimes less) because they're trying to keep levels up and farm. Plus, they'll regain health and mana for leveling; giving them the idea that they can survive. So, manage your mana (190mp for kill combo remember) and wait for that opportune moment to spear/stun/hss(mp allowing)/ignite/chase/spear to get that kill.
Don't slaughter minions so quickly; just last hit them. You want to keep the crowd of minions in the center of both turrets in order to keep your oppenent close but not under safety of their turret. Keeping them away from their turret will allow you more time for a gank after enough Spear Shot harassment. Also, make sure to tell you're jungler early on that you'll ping for gank and so they can help ambush.
The top bush on the river is a great spot for a sight ward which will provide intel on enemy ambushes. Under normal circumstances, level three is the earliest a jungler should come up to gank. If you do happen to get in a pickle with your lane opponent and jungler, use your leap/stun on whoever is between you and your turret before they close in on you which will gain you a head start back to tower.
Pay attention to your map. When you get Grand Skyfall at level six, you can ult on middle or run and ult on bot to help gank when their laning opponents are low on health and/or balls deep on your towers.
This is the most difficult lane for Pantheon and is do-able but almost never necessary. The strategy is the same idea as solo top, but you're opponent is likely to be a long range caster and your chances of getting ganked is greatly increased from jungle, top, and bot. Use wards and both sides of river. Laning opponents like Morgana, Luxe, Malhazar, and Cassiopia who can conjure durational AOE's, stuns, and silences will tear you up and, if they're good, will hardly venture close enough for you to spear shot them. It's sometimes better to just farm with them and wait for someone to come help you gank than to do it by yourself.
Bottom lane is obviously the easiest for the most part. Get as many kills and last hit on minions as you can.
Heavy Armor Penetration because he's an AD champ. Each flat point in Armor Penetration negates one of the enemy's armor on hit. Every point of armor requires a unit to take 1% more of its maximum health in physical damage to be killed. This is called effective health. A unit with 60 armor has 60% more of its maximum health in effective health, so if the unit has 1000 maximum health, it will take 1600 physical damage to kill it. So, essentially, in this example, each point in Armor Penetration is with an extra 10 damage.
Armor (static) for early game advantage. As I said above, each point in Armor increases your effective health by 1%.
Magic Resist (dynamic) for late game survival. Magic resist works exactly like armor (1MR=1% increase to effective health). I use to have Armor (static) for glyphs but 24 MR late game is a better choice.
Unfortunately, there is only one general direction you can go for Pantheon in the Offensive Mastery Tree. If there was a set of points I could apply elsewhere, it would be Alacrity, Lethality, and Frenzy but there are very few useful alternatives.
In the Defensive Mastery Tree, that little bit of armor and magic resist are more early game advantage. Early game is when you want to get fed. If you wanted to go three in armor and one in magic resist, it wouldn't be a terrible idea. Most AP champs are not going to be a huge threat early game and the majority of damage dealt early game is going to be from auto-attack. The 30 health also gives you the early game edge. How many times have you gotten out of a fight with a sliver of health? It grants you that extra hit and potentially another Spear Shot.
Flash is just too good to not have with an offensive champion, especially Pantheon. You've all used it for outs and ambushes; easy peasy.
In regard to Ignite, use it toward the end of a fight and not in the middle! If you use it in the middle, its just a flag to the enemy to run away with a reasonable amount of health. If you use it toward the end of a fight, it flags the enemy to run away when its too late.
I don't believe in absolutes but this skill sequence is definitely absolute. Here's the order of priority:
Ultimate > Spear Shot > HSS > Stun (with the exception of level two, grab stun)
This does not mean on your third level you grab HSS because you don't have it. At level three, HSS is GARBAGE and not useful until it gets bonus damage from items anyway. The maximum damage for the first point of HSS, if you hit your target with all three strikes is a whopping 78 damage; not even a bar. For the same casting cost of 45 mana, put that point into Spear Shot to increase it to 105 from 65. You can cast Spear Shot 2.5 times in the time you can cast HSS once which totals 100 extra damage versus 78. An increase of 128%. FRACK! You only take HSS when you can't level Spear Shot anymore. Get those early game kills and sate your appetite! Nuff said.
Be diligent about your map awareness and ask your teammates to ping when enemy champs are at low health, so you can pick up those extra kills and allow your teammates to push lanes.
There is a two-step cast time to this ability. The first step is before the jump when you're actually casting the ability. During this time, you can choose to disengage the ability. So, if your target is moving around a lot, they're more prepared to run out of the affected area before you actually land. Pay attention and target between the enemy and their safety (tower) a little bit to maximize your chance of success. The second step is the time it takes to fall and hit. You may not know this, but during this time you can cast Spear Shot and as soon as you appear in the air it will activate, doubling the damage and allowing you to quickly follow up with stun.
You're not going to be able to farm with HSS until late game, so save your mana for ganking. For the first half of the game, you have to focus on last hitting and Spear Shotting minions. For the last half, you can finally HSS crowds of them.
Tips and Tricks
Keeping your lane enemy from leveling:
When soloing, as I said before, you should be harassing with Spear Shot. If you get your lane enemy down to a low enough hp count to where they won't come near you, you should be able to hang on the back side of their caster minions keeping the enemy champ out of experience range. Don't try to slaughter the minions so quickly either. Drag out the time they're not gaining experience by only last hitting minions. This will keep the enemy champ at low level and low maximum health. Eventually, they may come close enough for stun range for a kill. This tactic works best with non-ranged champs.
Using flash in tandem with Pantheon's mid-ranged abilities:
You just got out of a fight and your girl of a target is one Spear Shot away from death and is on the move back to base while his buddy is trailing to cover him. They stunned you during retreat leaving a huge gap between you and your target. You respond by flashing forward in range of the covering champion, leaping and stunning that covering champion bringing you in Spear Shot range of your severely wounded prey. It's like using two flashes. Pure joy.
Countering stealth champs:
The nice thing about HSS is that you don't need to actually target your enemy. When they stealth out and try to run, save your HSS for that moment to get the kill.
Countering stealthed Teemo: if you're laning against Teemo, pay attention to where hes at before he stealths. You can HSS him and he can't move without revealing himself. Stay there and continue to HSS. If he decides to run, it's as easy as stun and spear shot to get the kill.
Countering stealthed Akali: Akali likes you in her stealth bubble. If you're diligent with Spear Shotting her when she appears and HSS her bubble, you can out DPS her. However, she's really good about jumping out of it and running when she knows she's losing. Pay attention and be ready to stun.
Choosing your skin:
I roll Full Metal because it's much more like camouflage than any other skin. I'm not claiming that this skin choice is going make enemies run right by your or change your win/loss ratio or anything, especially since you have a huge life bar floating over your head. I'm just saying, when you're in the middle of chaotic 5v5 fight and no one is paying attention to the names on the life bars, the Full Metal skin stands out a lot less than Myrmidon skin. Skin selections are definitely suppose to be more fun than they are tactical. This is just a little food for thought. Take a look for yourself and you'll see it easily blends right into most backgrounds though.