Pantheon Build Guide by StoicPraetorian
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.
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.
Hello there John Q. Summoner! My name is StoicPraetorian and this is my comprehensive guide on how to play a successful Pantheon in your next game of League of Legends. Now, you may be asking yourself a few questions having already scrolled past the Cheat Sheet located above this text and may have some reservations about using my guide. Well have faith my friend as all of those questions you raise, and more, will be answered further down. So, without further ado, lets dive into the real heart of the matter of playing Pantheon: The Artisan of War.
Pantheon is a Champion that is very much dependent on the correct choice of Runes. Why is this you may ask? Well John Q. Summoner, it is because the most important stat to Pantheon is one that is not easy to come by.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
This Rune is your best friend when it comes to playing a successful Pantheon. Nothing is as important to Pantheon as Armor Penetration. Why is this? Well John Q. Summoner, that is because Pantheon's main sources of damage are physical and as such are reduced by the enemy's armor. Therefore, we must take every step possible to get around this roadblock since armor is relatively easy to come by once in game. ArP, however, is not. This leads us to the next set of runes necessary for success as Pantheon.
Greater Mark of Desolation
Here again is where we find the heart of Pantheon's true effectiveness in battle. Marks are where physical attack is put at the forefront and thus is where physical attack runes give you the most bang for your buck. Like previously stated, ArP is of the utmost importance.
Greater Seal of Replenishment
These runes right here are Pantheon's fuel tank, if I might offer a metaphor. Pantheon is a Champion that needs mana in order to use all of his abilities. However, none of them require a great deal of it, with the one exception of Grand Skyfall, his ultimate. However, both Aegis of Zeonia and Heartseeker Strike cost 70 mana, while Spear Shot costs a paltry 45. Bearing this in mind, it is not very hard to build Pantheon so that he will always have a workable pool of available mana, if not always operating with at full mana. Mana regen works out to be extraordinarily useful, especially early in the game, but we'll get to that later.
This last rune is one that many people and many guides seem to forego in favor of a more defensive choice, such as magic resist.
"But Mr. Praetorian, why do you feel as though this is a better choice?"
Well, I'll tell you why John Q. Summoner, it is because the cooldown reduction makes you much more of a force to be reckoned with all throughout the game and feeds into Pantheon's passive ability Aegis Protection. Reducing Pantheon's cooldowns means that you can cast more often, and the more quickly one can cast, the more quickly Aegis Protection will charge and thus the more often it will be used. The benefit of this is twofold. More casting means dealing more damage while taking less. This, John Q. Summoner, is what we in the business call a "win-win situation."
The next thing that will certainly be obvious to the astute observer will be the choice of Summoner Spells that this guide provides. These spells are usually the most indicative of a summoner's preference in playing the character that he or she has chosen. These are the spells that I usually decide on while playing Pantheon, since they both offer offensive as well as defensive options to the summoner.
The first spell, and thus the one that is closest at hand, that I choose is Ghost. This is a spell that enhances one of Pantheon's many strengths, his Movement Speed. Pantheon is one of the Champions in League of Legends who has the highest base Movement Speed of 330.
"But Mr. Praetorian, wouldn't in therefore be better to pick up a summoner spell to compensate for Pantheon's shortcomings?"
Well, John Q. Summoner, while that is an excellent and pragmatic point, I would offer this as a rebuttal. When playing a game of League of Legends, a summoner should want to amplify any advantage he has over an opponent who is lacking in that department. Consider Master Yi Who will cast Highlander and Ghost when cornered by the enemy team and simply vanish into the wind never to be caught.
By this logic of compensation, AP characters like Veigar should want some Attack Damage to round out their characters. No, John Q. Summoner, we want to be able to supercharge that which Pantheon already does well. Aside from this, Ghost can be used in many different ways, closing the distance to unsuspecting opponents, widening the gap while on the retreat, or getting to that besieged tower in the next lane over.
The next Summoner Spell that one should want to have as Pantheon is Flash, whose effectiveness, in my esteemed opinion, goes almost without saying. How many times have we all cursed Flash for being overpowered when it saves and enemy's skin or praised it when we ourselves have used it in times of dire need? The uses of this Summoner Spell are even more numerous than Ghost. It provides both a surprise entry into combat, and a nigh indispensable escape maneuver. In short, it perhaps the most useful, of the best Summoner Spell in the game.
I would like to get into Masteries first, before we dive into the logic behind the skill sequence. Pantheon, while very much an offensive character, does not really benefit as much from reaching the bottom of the Offensive Tree as one might think. The astute Summoner may notice that my Mastery selections are not geared towards making Pantheon hit harder, but to make him operate faster.
"But Mr. Praetorian, wouldn't it be better for Pantheon to have all of his attacks and spells hit 4% harder?"
Well, John Q. Summoner, while it would be to Pantheon's benefit to deal 4% more damage, it is more advantageous for him to hit 6% faster. If one were to carry out the math over the course of the entire match they would find that the reduced cooldowns will, in fact, generate more damage than each Spell and Attack hitting 4% harder. This is due to the cooldowns eventually giving Pantheon the ability to cast more often and compensate for the 4% less damage. This also, as I said before, contribute to a faster charging of Aegis Protection and thus will help you, John Q. Summoner, take less damage overall as well as dishing out more. Don't be fooled by the glamor of having 21 points in a single Mastery, as it might not always be your best bet.
Now we come to the heart of the Build, the choices for Skills and Items. Now, the main difference between this build and many other build that I have seen for Pantheon is which skill the build favors first. Most that I have seen favor Heartseeker Strike first and foremost. However, this should not be your first priority when playing Pantheon, John Q. Summoner. Rather, it should be Spear Shot that you pump up first.
"But Mr. Praetorian, doesn't Heartseeker Strike do the most damage of all Pantheon's abilities?"
Well, John Q. Summoner, you are right. Heartseeker Strike does more damage than Spear Shot ever could, and to multiple targets. In fact, if one had all of their stacks on Sword of the Occult and The Bloodthirster, Heartseeker Strike would deal a grand total of 2024 damage to any champions unfortunate enough to catch the full brunt of the attack before damage mitigation. Spear Shot on the other hand would deal a paltry 826 by comparison. However, the reasoning behind this skill sequence is a matter of spreading out Pantheon's efficiency over the course of the whole game. If you have played Pantheon before John Q. Summoner, then ask yourself how many times the following situation has happened to you in the early stage of the game while following a build guide favoring Heartseeker Strike.
You and your lane partner are doing your best to fight off your opponents when the opportunity arises to catch one of them off-guard. Playing Pantheon, you are probably one of the best physical damage assassins in the game, killing an opponent should be no trouble at all.
So, you engage the opponent, executing your skill rotation perfectly, leading with Aegis of Zeonia directing your Heartseeker Strike directly at the opponents escape route, forcing them to take the full force of the attack. As they make their escpae you ready your Spear Shot and Pantheon, giving a mighty war cry heaves his spear at the enemy...
And they escape.
You swear under you breath and think to yourself, "If only I had another point in Spear Shot I would have gotten them."
This is why the build favors Spear Shot first. In the early stages of the game, Summoners are not interested in maintaining pitched combat in their lane for fear of giving the other team an experience boost by dieing and thus giving the rest of their team reason to blame the outcome of the match on them, being branded as a feeder.
As such, an attack with such a constricted AoE like Heartseeker Strike will not be able to reach its full potential since your opponents will be doing everything in their power to get away from the fight rather than leap into a full fledged team fight. Team fights are where Heartseeker Strike really shines since it is likely that you can catch two or even three of your opponents in its deadly grasp. However, these team fights aren't likely to happen until around Level 11.
Until then, John Q. Summoner, you are much better served to put points into Spear Shot since it is a single target spell, rather than a skill shot. This mitigates summoner's general dislike of joining in pitched combat during the early laning phases of the game. With the imminent threat of that spear, you can push your enemies further back, potentially out of XP range for a good chunk of the early match, further strengthening the points we placed into Awareness before the match even began.
And there you have the Build's namesake, John Q. Summoner, The Spear of Destiny
Now we come to the final part of the Build Guide, the Item Sequence. This is another part of most builds that I find I disagree with. The final Item build should look a little something like this:
The astute summoner will notice that my item set does share three items with the recommended list that League of Legends provides, which may turn some of the grizzled veterans off from my guide. However, this is chiefly due to Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade being the only two items in the game who passively grant Armor Penetration. Aside from those two Chalice of Harmony is capable of solving any mana problems that Pantheon could ever have, since all of his abilities cost such little mana, comparatively speaking.
"But Mr. Praetorian, what order should I purchase my items in?"
Well John Q. Summoner, at the top of the guide, I provided my preferred purchase order for items, complete with the order for the various ingredients for those items. However, I will indulge you with a little more explanation on those choices.
First off, start with a Meki Pendant and two Mana Potions This will help you to maintain casting your Spear Shot as much as is humanly possible. The Meki Pendant will be able to pick up the majority of the slack in terms of Mana Regeneration, and the extra 85 gold leftover enable you to buy those two extra potions, just in case. Starting off your inventory should look like this:
Right around the time when you're encroaching on Level 6, where the real dirty fighting begins, you want to start working on your middle tier items. These are going to be The Brutalizer, then Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and finally Chalice of Harmony. The reasoning for this purchase order is that it mirrors what your priorities as Pantheon ought to be. Armor Penetration > Cooldown Reduction > Mana Regen
You want to build both The Brutalizer and Ionian Boots of Lucidity simultaneously, so buy the components for each of these items in an alternating way before completing either. After both of those are done, then you can move on to finishing your Chalice of Harmony This will make sure that you have enough mana as the game moves into its later stages. So around this point of the game, your inventory should look like this:
This is where the Spear of Destiny Build chiefly differs from many other builds. There are plenty of Summoners out there who would favor a more defensive boot, such Mercury Treads or the extra mobility of Boots of Swiftness. However, the gains from a defensive boot will not really net the Summoner too much in the long run, and the extra Movement Speed from Boots of Swiftness really necessary either.
"But Mr. Praetorian, I thought you said we should amplify Pantheon's advantage of high movement speed?"
You're right again, John Q. Summoner, however, Movespeed does not fall within the hierarchy of important statistics needed for Pantheon to be effective. Moreover, I gave that example within the context of Summoner Spells, which do not do nearly as wide a variety of things that items are capable of. So, for boots, there is no better choice than Ionian Boots of Lucidity since they will net the Summoner an extra 15% Reduced Cooldowns, dropping .6 seconds off Spear Shot alone. Aside from this, Mercury Treads only reduces the durations of stuns and the like by 25%. Pantheon is a squishy enough Champion that once you are caught far enough away by any two enemy Champions that the 25% will never save you. That being said, it is better to get a pair of boots that do something to feed into what the rest of the build is already doing.
This is when we start working on the bigger and badder items that make up large chunks of Pantheon's Damage and Armor Penetration. At this point in the game, all the Summoners on both teams will be roaming around the map and getting into progressively larger and larger team fights. This first item you want to prioritize is Last Whisper. This is perhaps your greatest source of Armor Penetration and needs to be completed first. Without the ability to mitigate enemy armor, it will never matter how much damage Pantheon can do with any of his abilities. After Last Whisper is completed, one can move on to items dealing strictly with damage.
"But Mr. Praetorian, which damage items are the best? There are quite a few after all."
That is an excellent question John Q. Summoner, and the answer is quite simple. The best damage items are those that give the most damage per gold spent, and those usually wind up being the ones that simply can give you the most potential damage. These two are Sword of the Occult and The Bloodthirster. However, right off the heels of your Mid-Game items, you want to pick up a B. F. Sword for your later The Bloodthirster. The B. F. Sword will net you a large jump in ability damage and will help to farm up the necessary gold for the other items of the build. After this purchase, begin working on your Sword of the Occult and try to build up its stacks. This sort of snowballing damage will ensure that you are a force to be reckoned with, no matter where your team is fighting. At this point your inventory should be looking similar to this:
At this point, you should be just about done with the core of your item build, now is when we put the capstone on top of the rest of the items. This means finishing up your The Bloodthirster and your Youmuu's Ghostblade because the final stages of these items give Pantheon things that are good, but not necessarily what he needs for the most part. Sword of the Occult is a self-finishing item in that it no longer requires gold and will simply become better over time. The Bloodthirster should be your priority over Youmuu's Ghostblade since the former stacks damage with is the source of all Pantheon's damage-dealing capabilities. When all is said and done, your items should look like the original build above:
Well there you have it, John Q. Summoner! This is my comprehensive guide to building a successful Pantheon in your next game of League of Legends. There are two main points I would like to stress when playing as Pantheon and using this guide:
1. Be Aggressive
This is a decidedly offensive build, with little to no regard given to defense, other then building the charges for Aegis Protection more quickly. Use this offensive nature to your advantage the best defense, in this case, is a good offense.
2. Being the Underdog
Pantheon is an extremely underrated Champion, I rarely ever see him played by anyone and as such, has garnered a reputation of being a Champion who is easy to deal with. Use this to your advantage. When people are met with a rarely used Champion, especially one who is extremely aggressive and suppresses their lane, it can devastate the enemy team's morale and efficiency.
Pantheon needs to be played as aggressively as is possible, or else you will fall behind the curve and find it difficult to catch up without a healthy supply of luck. However, I feel as though this guide will lead Summoners, both Veterans and Neophytes, to Victory as Pantheon: The Artisan of War
Strength and Honor!