Pantheon Build Guide by Lucorian5
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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.
Pantheon is an AD-Caster/Assassin who excels at dishing out massive amounts of damage with his abilities AND auto attacks, while being able to absorb a decent amount himself. Pantheon has really become quite strong with the new Season 3 changes; and if played and built correctly (ie. by following this guide!) he can deal out some enormous damage and not fall off late-game like he usually did before. This guide will cover many aspects of playing Pantheon, and I can assure you that reading through this will help develop your Pantheon skills!
My Pantheon Background
You may be wondering whether or not I really know what I'm talking about, and how much experience I have with Pantheon. I don't blame you, and so allow me to give a brief recount of my Pantheon history:
In a way, Pantheon was why I started playing League of Legends. A couple years ago, as I watched my cousin play (making fun of him for how stupid I thought it was :P) I decided I was going to pick which character he was going to use for the next game. So I scrolled boredly through the long list of champions in the Champion Select screen, when suddenly I saw a SUPER badass looking spartan holding a spear out of the corner of my eye. I immediately started asking questions about him and recieved some disappointing answers about how he's "decent, but falls off really hard late game" Still, my interest was captured, and so the next day I made an account and began playing.
Pantheon was the first champion I ever bought, and the only reason why I played at the start was to get enough IP to buy him. I know I've played Pantheon far more than any of my other main champions, and I have probably used him in around 40% of my total games. In fact, from around sommoner levels 4-10 or so, he was literally the only champion I played. And how do I know what items to buy for him? I assure you, I've tried just about every different possible build for Pantheon in my time. I've gone tank, I've gone off-tank, bruiser, glass-cannon and everything in between. How do I know that maxing Heartseeker Strike over Spear Shot is best? Because when I started, and for quite a long time afterwards, I would always max Spear Shot first; and got the same result every time. Great early game, but USELESS late game and not even very strong mid game either. I played probably almost 100 games and never once broke 19 kills, so I knew something was wrong. I've also tried alternating between Spear Shot and Heartseeker Strike, and that REALLY didn't work.
After switching up my build to be less tanky and more offensive, and maxing Heartseeker Strike as soon as possible, I IMMEDIATELY started seeing results. Getting a 28 kill game no more than ten games after making this switch. My results from there on were consistently quite a bit higher. However, this was back very early in Season 2 and a little before level 30, and as I got to level 30 and started coming up against significantly tougher opponents, I began to get seriously out-done by other melee AD champions such as Xin Zhao and Darius simply because my damage couldn't compete with theirs. After a lot of games that went mediocre at best, and some mostly unsuccessful ranked play, I finally just shelved Pantheon. And for about two or three months I almost never played him. But with Season 3, Pantheon has really come back strong; and is now a very viable pick for both ranked and normal games. His damage has taken a dramatic increase and he can now compete with the best of them. I was really excited about this and quickly found a build that worked extremely well, which I am now sharing in this guide!
Pros / Cons
I set up my runes with offensive Marks and Quintessences, and with Seals and Glyphs for defense against both AP and AD opponents.
I recently switched from Armor Penetration Marks to Attack Damage for a couple different reasons; first off is that with your sustain start, your going to have about 58 Attack Damage at Level 1, which makes trade-offs a lot more difficult and noticeably decreases your damage output. Farming early on is also a lot harder if you take armor penetration since you won't be doing very much auto attack damage. However, armor penetration marks are great for late game, so feel free to take them if you decide you like them better.
Nine of these seals will offer a significant boost in armor early game. Which will allow you to negate a lot of your lane opponent's auto attack damage at early levels. The only substitutes for these would be the Greater Seal of Scaling Armor (x9), which offer late game armor benefits as opposed to early. I prefer the flat armor, but either is fine.
I take nine of the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to defend against magic damage early on. These will help quite a lot if you find yourself facing an AP champion, which you quite often will. The only alternative to these would be the Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist which offer bonuses geared towards the late game rather than early. As with armor, I prefer the flat Magic Resist to the scaling, but either one works fine.
My Quintessences build off of my Marks, and so I have also switched to Attack Damage Quintessences to compliment my Marks for some significant early game damage increase. The reasoning to AD vs Armor Pen. is pretty much the same as with the Marks. Basically take AD for better farming and early game trading, and Armor Penetration for better late game damage to tougher opponenets.
: Gives a decent 5 Attack Damage boost when your Ignite is on cooldown, which can be helpful for early farming and trades
: Small amount of Attack Speed to help with last hitting and for those times where you are finishing off an opponent with auto attacks if you have to
: Cooldown Reduction is great for a Caster like Pantheon who relies mainly on abilities for damage, having a spell come off of cooldown a couple seconds earlier can save you life and/or secure you a kill
: Small Attack Damage per level boost, an obvius benefit to an AD oriented champion like Pantheon
: Half-decent mastery that slightly increases your damage against turrets, more to unlock the next tier than anything else, but still somewhat useful
: Helps to negate a chunk of opponents armor, very nice mastery
: Small amount of flat AD, beneficial early on
: Some flat Armor Penetration to help get you through more of your opponent's armor
- Executioner : Probably the best mastery in the tree, hugely helpful for finishing off your enemies when they get low
: A 15 second cooldown reduction on Pantheon's only real escape method is well worth the investment
: Helps significantly with getting around the map, combined with your extremely high base movement speed it completely demolishes the need to start with boots
: Helps a lot with sustain, paired with Faerie Charm it will ensure you don't run out of mana nearly as fast
- Expanded Mind : Small chunk of mana per level, further increases your sustain and the amount of spells you can cast without running out of mana
|Your primary offensive item. It should be build after you have The Brutalizer and will give you up to 100 Attack Damage and 18% Life Steal. This will ensure that your abilities will absolutely punish anybody who gets caught up in them, and it is an absolutely must buy item when playing Pantheon, 'nuff said.|
|This should actually be built after The Bloodthirster nowadays, and you should only finish The Black Cleaver once you have this. It is straight up the best armor-shredding item in the game, and supplies a handful of attack damage also, making it worthy of a place of honor in the Spartan armory. Once you have this item and The Brutalizer, you will start absolutely shredding the enemy carries, and doing massive damage to the tankier champions also. This item is also non-negotiable, and MUST always be part of your build no matter what the situation.|
|Your third core item that also needs to be a part of your build no matter what. Unfortunately, the short-lived reign of the League of Cleavers has come to an end with the (admittedly MUCH needed) nerfs to our beloved BC; however, its still an amazing item. Its no longer what you want to be rushing, and although you want The Brutalizer as soon as possible, you probably shouldn't finish your Cleaver until after you have your other two core items. However sometimes you may want it after The Bloodthirster as your second core item if your team doesn't have one but the other team does. Basically you want this because it renders enemy armor useless, provides a lot of damage for your abilities, and also a nice 10% cooldown reduction, I almost feel like it was made for Pantheon.|
|I actually really like this item, and have started buying it more and more often. It offers a pretty good amount of attack damage, and the AMAZING Quicksilver Sash active that I have learned to love. Its a great counter to teams with a lot of CC, and if you find yourself getting caught up in a lot of slows, traps, stuns, etc. then I highly recommend this item as a late game buy.|
|This item actually supplies the highest physical damage in the game, IF you remember to use the active. And often. The problem with this item, and the reason I buy it late if I end up getting it, is that Tiamat is not a good snowballing item at all. Your going to be a lot stronger early game with a B. F. Sword and The Brutalizer then you would be trying to build Tiamat. So if you do wish to buy this item, get it as a final item only.|
|Buying a second The Bloodthirster to finish my build off is not something I too often do; however if you think you need more straight Attack Damage, then it can be a good buy. Once you work up the stacks you will have a ridiculous amount of AD, which is never a bad thing; however I would only take a purely offensive item as a final item choice if I was really fed or the enemy team wasn't very tanky and had a small amount of CC.|
|Truth be told, I've only ever taken this on Pantheon like five times, and all of those were back in Season 2 when Mercurial Scimitar didn't exist. 90% of the time, if I needed Magic Resistance, I would take the Mercurial Scimitar since it supplies more damage and the Quicksilver Sash active. However, if you are really getting hammered by a fed LeBlanc or Veigar or the like, then the spellshield this item provides could be quite beneficial; buy at your own discretion if you think you really want it, but otherwise I would say there are better options.|
|I used to really like this item, and always bought it. But with the Season 3 10 Attack Damage decrease on it, its become a lot less appealing. Especially since the fact that The Bloodthirster now starts with the same amount of attack damage, as opposed to 20 less like in Season 2. The fact that BT starts with 70 Base AD instead of 60 and is quite easy to farm up means its just a lot better of an item for an AD Caster like Pantheon. However, the critical strike chance and damage increase is still very nice, and so if you find yourself auto-attacking a lot, then this item is a good way to finish off your build.|
|An item I have recently picked up and decided I really like. This is the defensive item I would recommend the most, because nowadays a large amount of health is a much better defense than a large amount of armor, I find myself able to withstand more damage with this than like a Guardian Angel or some other armor item, and so I would say this is probably your best bet.|
|It used to be what I always took for defense, but with all the different ways in Season 3 to shred through armor, and also the nerf to it, I've found its usefulness has taken a slight decline. Don't get me wrong, its still a nice item with a great passive that can turn a teamfight around (...or just slightly delay your death if your team lost hard). However as I said I now prefer taking the health from Warmog's Armor; but if you notice the other team doesn't have too much armor penetration, and you think you need the passive, then go ahead and take this item.|
|This item offers a LOT of defense in the form of both health and armor, which makes it possibly your best bet depending on the situation. I mostly buy this item for defense if the enemy AD Carry gets fed and is starting to deal crazy amounts of damage and dominate, since it is something of an anti-carry item. I would call this the second-best defensive item on Pantheon, but possibly the best if the enemy carry is fed out of control.|
|This item is something I used to always buy, but haven't used in a looooong time due to the discovery and release of better defensive and partially damage items. The reason I don't take this item for health over Warmog's Armor is that I find the small amount of damage is kind of useless an doesn't make a difference, while the tankiness you lose out on from the lesser HP bonus IS noticeable, so all in all its not something I take very often. However the slow is very nice, and it can be a good buy if you think you want it.|
As I've said in all my guides, these are the two best summoner spells in the game, and I take them with just about all of the champions I play (except supports...then again, I don't support, so nevermind :P). Simply because, having Ignite will get you at least 1 or 2 kills a game that you couldn't have otherwise had, while Flash can allow you to escape situations that otherwise would've killed you AND it can be used as a gap closer to secure a kill on an enemy who would've escaped.
This is a half-decent spell, it can help you escape or close gaps. However, I would only ever suggest taking this over flash if you weren't high enough level to use Flash. Otherwise just take Flash, because in most cases, a short-ranged blink is better then increased movement speed.
You can take this spell if you think you really must, or if nobody else on your team has it. It's great for securing kills, and it can also be used to escape if there's only one person chasing you.
This spell is somewhat okay; but only for new players. This is a suggestion only as a necessary replacement to Flash and Ignite when you aren't high enough level to have them. Normally, if this was the case, I would suggest Ghost and Exhaust, but Heal can be decent also.
After attacking or casting spells 4 times, Pantheon will gain a shield, that will block the next Tower Shot or normal/enhanced standard attack that deals more than 40 physical damage to him.SPACESPACE
Tips and Tricks
Pantheon hurls his spear at an opponent dealing physical damage. If Heartseeker Strike has been leveled up once, Spear Shot will crit to deal 150% damage against opponents whose current health is below 15% of their max health.SPACESPACE
Tips and Tricks
Aegis of Zeonia
Pantheon leaps at an enemy and bashes them with his shield, dealing magic damage and stunning them for 1 second. Pantheon's Aegis Protection is also refreshed.SPACESPACE
Tips and Tricks:
Passive: Pantheon's autoattacks and Spear Shot gain 100% critical strike chance against targets whose current health is below 15% of their max health.SPACESPACE
Active: Pantheon channels for 0.75 seconds and deals 3 swift strikes in a cone in front of him. Each strike deals physical damage, and they deal double damage to champions.
Tips and Tricks:
Primary Skill Sequence
Maxing Heartseeker Strike first is almost always the best thing to do for mid lane, and it will give you the highest possible damage output. Spear Shot should be maxed second, and Aegis of Zeonia last, as its a utility skill. Take points in your ultimate at the standard three levels of 6, 11, and 16.
Counter Lane Alternative
I never ever use this myself, because Heartseeker Strike just does waaaaay more damage and will allow you to dominate your lane; HOWEVER, in the case of being hard counterpicked by a Riven or Lee Sin or some other AD Bruiser who goes mid to shut you down, then maxing Spear Shot first isn't too terrible of an idea since you don't want to get close to them and need to be able to harass hard from a distance.
Why Max Heartseeker Strike over Spear Shot?
I'm writing this chapter because 90% of the Pantheon players I see max Spear Shot first; which means that 90% of Pantheon players do not understand the champion they're trying to play. Heartseeker Strike is your main damage tool, and if you max Spear Shot first, then you will relying on it COMPLETELY for damage, which is not good. It also means that your iconic Aegis of Zeonia + Heartseeker Strike combo will be useless, meaning so will you.
The reason Pantheon is surrounded with this stereotype of falling off hard late game is because, if you play him like most people do, he does. When maxing Spear Shot first, you will have some strong (not OP or SO BROKEN ODFSLKJFSLKDJF like most guides will try to say, just, strong) poking power EARLY game, but in the mid game it will drop off quite significantly, and by the late game it will have fallen off extremely hard. Heartseeker Strike, on the other hand, becomes STRONGER as the game goes on. And when you have The Black Cleaver, The Bloodthirster, and Last Whisper, it will be doing TRUE DAMAGE, or very close to it; because Heartseeker Strike is actually influenced by armor penetration.
In case your still not entirely convinced, and you think that Spear Shot is meant to be your entire offense, then lets do some calculations...
1. Lets say you're at Level 9, and have 150 bonus attack damage, well lets calculate the damage difference between the two abilities at their highest rank, calculating the total damage of all three strikes for Heartseeker:
Ok so pretty close (not), Heartseeker Strike deals almost double Spear Shot's damage at level 9 once its been fully ranked up. I've heard people argue that Spear Shot has a lower cooldown and can be spammed, whereas Heartseeker Strike has a higher cooldown and takes time to channel. Well the channeling time does warrant some consideration, as Spear Shot is an instant throw as opposed to a channeled ability; however, if you use Heartseeker Strike with your stun, this shouldn't be a problem. And as for cooldowns, this is only true at early levels. Heartseeker Strike starts with a 10 second cooldown, but decreases to 6 at full rank, while Spear Shot has a flat 4 second cooldown. So there isn't really much difference at all if you max Heartseeker Strike as soon as possible.
2. For the second comparison, lets calculate the starting damage of both abilities at level 1, with 20 bonus attack damage:
This is the only category where Spear Shot has a slight edge...which is why I say to START the game with a point in it at Level 1, and get Heartseeker Strike second. The way its structured, Heartseeker Strike will increase its damage over Spear Shot the more attack damage you build because it scales better. The reason Spear Shot wins here despite slightly less damage is that at this point, it would have six seconds less of a cooldown, and its an instant throw as opposed to a channeled ability, and therefore a guaranteed land.
3. For the third comparison, lets calculate each skill's damage at full rank in the late game, with 350 bonus attack damage:
Absolutely no contest here, Heartseeker Strike destroys Spear Shot in the late game when they are both maxed out. And this isn't even taking into consideration the fact that Heartseeker Strike is affected by armor penetration, whereas Spear Shot isn't. Now you may be thinking "What's the point of this calculation? They will both be maxed by this point anyway, so the skill sequence doesn't matter" and you would be right. That was more just for fun, so let's do one last calculation more relevant to the argument...
4. For the final comparison, and the one that hopefully will put this to rest, lets calculate your TOTAL damage with both abilities at Summoner level 11 when you have maxed out one skill, have two points in the other, and have 215 bonus attack damage. Starting with a maxed out spear shot:
So as you can see, you will have more damage with the full rank of Heartseeker Strike, but not by much. However, this actually PROVES my point, because if you'll notice, Heartseeker Strike at rank 2 does more damage than Spear Shot does at rank 5, although it would have a 9 second cooldown as opposed to Spear Shot's 4. And Spear Shot's damage at rank two is so lousy it barely puts that combination ahead. Which again proves my point, because people thinking that it should be maxed first for damage is flat out stupid when you see how much better Heartseeker Strike scales with your attack damage; and just how much more damge it DOES. Hopefully reading this will convince you to stop following whatever guide you read that mislead you, and I GUARANTEE you will notice a huge damage increase when maxing Heartseeker Strike first, and you will almost certainly begin to get better scores. The bottom line is, Spear Shot is meant to be a ranged harass that you hit your enemy a couple times with to wither him down before you go in with your MAIN combo; and also as a finisher to critical shot enemies below 15% health with Heartseeker Strike's passive. It is NOT meant to be your main damage tool, so please just max Heartseeker Strike first, and don't make me had to have done all that math for nothing.
Using Grand Skyfall
Pantheon's ultimate, Grand Skyfall, is a great ultimate that can be very fun to use. However, it has a high cooldown and is VERY easy to use incorrectly. It requires a ton of practice to properly use, and in this section, I will tell you the rules of using Grand Skyfall that will give you a good idea of when to use it, and when NOT to use it.
If you see two allies defending a turret against three or four enemies and your too far away to get there normally, then a Grand Skyfall around the turret will both drive the enemies backwards to avoid the circle and possibly save the turret and the allies guarding it. The same would go for if you see a fight breaking out in the jungle or somewhere on the map and your team is outnumbered, then do not hesitate to use it to jump into the fight and help your team.
When you use your ultimate to land on a group of enemies, MAKE SURE that you have teammates that are either there already, or very close. Otherwise you are just offering yourself as a sacrrifice and really hurting your team. I cannot tell you how many times I used to activate first and think second, meaning I would see a fight and then immediately jump in the midst of the enemy team...only to find my team had retreated and I was suddenly in a 1v4 or 5. So even if you see teammates there, make sure they're going to still be there when you land, and don't jump in if you think they're about to retreat.
When you are using Grand Skyfall to cut off a fleeing enemy, make sure you aim it so that they run into the circle as you land. In order to do this, place your circle a short distance ahead of where they are running, this can be tricky if its in the jungle, and I wouldn't recommend using it if they've dissapeared into the brush, as its very hard to predict their movements. However, if they are running straight down a lane towards a turret with teammates chasing, simply aim a short distance in front of them, and even if they see it and turn back they will be trapped between you and your team, and therefore, dead. So don't aim your ultimate right where you first see them if they're running, or you will just land behind them and waste it.
If you see your team is pushing an enemy tower, but the enemy team is all lined up protecting it, then you can use Grand Skyfall to push them back and let your team take the turret. WAIT UNTIL YOUR MINIONS HAVE PUSHED RIGHT UP, otherwise you just landed in the midst of a group of enemies underneath their turret, giving them a free kill. Again, wait until your minions are right up to the turret, with your team close behind, and then place your circle around the turret; the enemy team will see this and be forced to fall back in order to avoid taking mass damage and possibly losing a team fight. Once they've retreated, your team can now finish destroying the turret, so even though you may not have gotten a kill, this is not a waste.
Here I will submit GOOD Pantheon games by me using this build. However, if you have a good game with it, send me a screenshot and I will add it in!
DarkAkumaLord playing his first time Pantheon in a Ranked game and coming away with a win. Very nice.
Aughes with a flawless score of 14-0 in his first Ranked game as Pantheon.
Well, that's the end of the guide I suppose. Thank you for taking the time to actually read the entire thing, and I promise your Pantheon play will improve significantly if you paid attention. There are only two things I ask of you now that you have read my guide: The first is that you DO NOT downvote because you disagree with something small like ONE item or a couple masteries or any other small mostly insignificant thing. If you REALLY for some reason feel like you need to downvote, then please explain why and possibly offer some constructive criticism. The second thing that I ask is that you simply have fun dominating the field with the Season 3 Pantheon :D. Good luck!