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League of Legends Build Guide Author salmjak

A Short Guide to Counter-Items

salmjak Last updated on March 14, 2013
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This is a guide for rookies that are having a hard time against different champions.
This guide will include what items to buy to counter different types of champions.

I try to make this guide as simple and easy to follow as possible, but LoL is a rather complex game and many things have to be taken into account before getting a certain item.

This guide will NOT include specific counters, but more general counters against a certain type of champion.

If you notice I'm missing an item, please leave a comment :)

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Change log



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Here comes an explanation for the abbrevations in this guide as well as some good to know information:

Too view information about each item/champion, just hold your mouse over the picture and a box with the name of the item aswell as description should appear.

Counter? Say What?

"What is a counter?" - "To move, act, or respond so as to be in opposition."

A counter-move is a move that will most of the time "turn the table". That is to say, a counter-move is used to turn the fight to your advantage.
A counter can come in many forms, a champion can be a counter to another champion (because they are eachothers opposites), you can have counter-tactics like backdooring (take down a turret without minions while the enemies are buisy), stealing Baron Nashor instead of taking it on yourselves is also a Counter-tactic. In this guide I'm going to speak mainly about Counter-Items.


  • DoT: Short for "Damage over Time", what a DoT does is that it makes your champion take a certain amount of damage over a certain amount of time. E.g. 100 damage over 5 seconds. So the damage every second would be equal to 100/5.
  • AD Carry: AD = Attack Damage, these are champions that focus in melee damage. The opposite would be the AP Carry = Ability Power Carry which are champions that relies on Ability Power.
  • CC: CC is short for "Crowd Control", crowd controls are skills like: Silence (makes you unable to use skills), Stun (immobalises), Slow (reduce movement speed).
  • Off-Tank: Off-Tank is short for "Offensive Tank" most Off-Tanks are just AD carries that buys an Warmog's Armor together with Atma's Impaler.

Unique Actives

A lot of the following items use what is called an "active". To use this active you have to press the number-keys on your keyboard that correspond to it's respective slot number.
The slot number are as follows:

Where each box represents an item slot.
E.g: If you have your Executioner's Calling on slot number 4 you use its active by pressing the number 4-key on your keyboard and select a target.

Another way of using an "active" is by clicking on the item in your slot with your mouse. This takes a lot of time and is not optimal.

Too change which slot an item is in, just drag and drop them in a another slot and those item will switch place.

(This is the same way that you use Health Potion)

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What Items against What kind of Champion?

Here follows some general items that are good for countering.

Counter Lifesteal/Heal/Regeneration

Executioner's Calling :
This item is a great item for countering champions like: If your team lacks you HAVE to tell (mainly) your AD carry to get this item. Its active is much like but without the DoT. It will reduce lifesteal or other heals (including regeneration) by 50%. In addition it is not a bad item for an AD carry since it gives a huge amount of lifesteal.

How to use this item:
Use this item slightly before you think they're going to get a heal or use their Regenerative abilities. For life-stealing champions like , pop it on them DIRECTLY. Hopefully you will be able to bring them down within the duration of 8 seconds.
If anyone in your team got it will work just as well.

Morellonomicon :
This item does the same as Executioner's Calling but instead of being an active it is a passive which require you to make the enemy lose some health first which can be hard on life-stealing champions unless you have enough burst.
Since this item gives you cooldown reduction and ability power it's optimal for the AP carry to buy this. Sometimes the AP Carry might be better of with another item though.

Counter Crowd Control

Quicksilver Sash /Mercurial Scimitar :
This item is a must-have against suppressive champions like:
This item works like but is slightly better since it removes ALL DoTs. A complete list of what it neglect can be found here.
Since it is only built into Mercurial Scimitar I would only recommended it for AD champions, Quicksilver Sash can work wonders on any champion though if used correctly.

An alternative to this item is:
Banshee's Veil :
This item gives slightly less magic resistance than Quicksilver Sash and is a lot more expensive also you cannot choose when to use it. But on the other hand it gives both health and mana, it also have HALF the cooldown compared to Quicksilver Sash.
This item will NULLIFY the whole skill casted upon you. That means you will take NO damage or be affected by CCs.
Probably best counter-item against champions like:

Counter Attack Speed

Randuin's Omen :
This item is a great counter to AD Carries that focus on attack speed. This item's passive and active gives about the same debuffs, so even after you used the active you can still slow them if they choose to attack you.
This is a good counter to AD Carries that build attack speed items like:
How to use this item:
Use it when as many of their AD carries are around you as possible for maximum effect. (Quite self explaining)

Frozen Heart :
This items aura reduces attack speed of nearby champions by 20%. This items full cost is cheaper than Randuin's Omen aswell, but if you have golden heart for ~12 min Randuin's Omen will turn out to be the cheaper item.

Between these two items the real question is: Active vs Passive, Slow vs No slow and also if you benefit from Mana and a higher cooldown reduction or from more Health. This might come down to what the player prefers.

Counter Heavy Armor and Off-tanks with Health

Last Whisper :
If your enemies builds a lot of armor your AD carry should get this item to counter it. 40% Armor Penetration means that if the enemies have 100 Armor, it will count as if they have 60 Armor (100*0,6=60)
Alternative to this item is: The Black Cleaver

Blade of the Ruined King :
This is a new awesome item that kind of replaced Madred's Bloodrazor. This is an awesome item for a jungler or ranged AD carry since it gives a lot of life-steal and attack speed. Also Bilgewater Cutlass is handy in the jungle because of it's active slow.
But what is really amazing with this item is the active that deals 15% of the targets maximum health as physical damage. This make Blade of the Ruined King an optimal counter-item against Heavy Health champions as Cho'Gath or when the enemy tank is building a lot of health ( Warmog's Armor).

Counter High Health and Magic Resist Champions as an Ability Power Champion

Deathfire Grasp
The active of this item just gives such a good burst on someone with full health. It is also overall a really good item for AP carries.
Use this item on the ones with most health and lowest magic resist for best performance.
Do NOT use it on champions with a lot of lifesteal if your team hasn't agreed to take him down in before hand since it will probably just be a waste.

Void Staff :
If you play against someone who starts to build heavy magic resist you whould really get this item since it has 35% Magic Penetration. This will make sure you maintain your burst damage against these champions. This is the Magic Resist equivalent of Last Whisper basicly.

Counter Stealth

Oracle's elixir/Vision Ward
/ :
These are often a must-get if you're fighting against a team with assasins that can go into stealth (become invisible) like: A Vision Ward can actually be really handy when the opponent doesn't know about it's existance and jump in recklessly, this is when you can get an easy kill.

Counter Ability Power Burst

Banshee's Veil :
See Counter Crowd Control. Except from it's very usefull passive (that will neglect any spell) it gives some magic resist.

Maw of Malmortius :
This is a new item that has Hexdrinker included in its recipe. With this new item Hexdrinker no longer is such a useless item (since you can upgrade it). Maw of Malmortius is a good counter-item against AP Burst Champions because of its 400 magic damage shield that will basicly nullify a magic attack and thanks to the decent attack damage it gives it is not a waste of money for an AD Carry.
This item is good against champions like:

Counter Auto-attack AD Carries

Thornmail : If you have a decent amount of HP and their team has AD Carries that you're having a hard time with this item will help A LOT. Not only does it give a bunch of armor but also inflicts 30% of the damage dealt upon you as magic damage on the attacker. What does this lead to? In some cases when you're a tank with insanely much HP versus a squishy AD Carry they will simply shoot themselves to death.
This is good against any auto-attacker like:

Ninja Tabi : These boots are just so good. They are cheap and will start neglecting some damage right away. If you notice the enemy team has a lot of AD champions, get these as a tank or jungler. You should especially get these if you're the jungler since some early game movement speed will benefit your ganks (and armor will grant you some more sustain in the jungle).

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sight ward and Vision Ward are two very essential items to buy. These are maybe not "counter-items" but they are an useful strategic resource to counter another team.
I'm not going to write about them myself since there already are great guides about how to use wards. Therefore I'm going to ask you to read this guide by Panglot if you want to know more about where to place wards.

I might add that items that give you gold ( philosopher's stone, kage's lucky pick and Avarice Blade) can be quite useful since the extra money you earn can be spent on buying sight ward, you should not get more than one of these items though.

Wriggle's Lantern is a great item for any AD Carry since it's stats are actually not a waste of money and it will give you a free " sight ward" every 3 min (=the duration of a sight ward). Do not hesitate to buy Wriggle's Lantern even if you're not a jungler if you feel that your team is lacking map-control.

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Summoner Spells

: This summoner spell is not only to slow MOVEMENT SPEED and chase down. This summoner spell also reduces ATTACK DAMAGE. In a fight you should use this on AD carries like or to reduce their attack damage.

: See Executioner's Calling

: This summoner spell will remove all CC's on your champion but not debuffs (except debuffs from summoner spells, such as the DoT from Ignite or attack speed reduction from Exhaust). Cleanse also reduces duration of new CC's for 3 seconds.
Might not be an optimal summoner spell unless it's important that you do not get stuck, often used on ranged AD carries because of that reason.

: This summoner spell is not optimal because it is easily countered with Ignite. If you want a last minute burst sustain use Barrier instead.

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Tenacity is a value that will reduce Crowd Controls, Tenacity does not stack.

Items that grants tenacity are:

Mercury's Treads : Probably the most common tenacity item since it saves another slot that you can use to get more Damage items. It also grants some magic resist.

Spirit of the Ancient Golem : This item does grant tenacity and some other nice stats (only for jungler). I personally don't like this item though because I rather get Spirit of the Elder Lizard together with Mercury's Treads.

Zephyr : This item is an awesome item for AD bruisers/Off-Tanks. It gives tons of usefull stats aswell as tenacity. The con is that it doesn't have any tanky stats if that's what you're looking for.

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Handy Items

Okey, so this section is not really about counter-items but items that are "handy" and much more of a "strategical counter".

Them Boots (Enchantments)

Here I will discuss the new boot enchantments, how they can be used and what you should think about.

Homeguard : This is a VERY usefull enchantment. It can turn games. When enemies are in your base time will be crucial, being able to return to spawn and get full health and rush out again in split seconds will put you at a much greater advantage!
Get this item when you can see that this kind of situation will occur. You can also get it earlier since it will help you get back to lane faster after recalling.
I would ALWAYS get this enchantment unless you're looking for something in particular.

Furor : Extra movement speed on attack? Yes, please! If you're ranged AD Carry you should go for this since your chasing capability will increase a lot.
So, the keyword with this enchantment is: Chasing Capability.

Alacrity : Extra movement speed... Meh... I would only get this on Alistar or Singed where movement speed is crucial for positioning.

Captain : If you are the Tank in your team, I would suggest getting this one. Together with Shurelya's Reverie this would make your team's maneuver capability much greater.

Distortion : I don't really like this enchantment, but Teleport + Ghost is not an unusual summoner spell setup, so if you use that I would definetly get this enchantment.

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When should I get these items?

This is probably your biggest question and my answer is:
Do not rush these items until you recon a specific champion as a huge threat.
Just keep to your regular build until then. These items are very situational. is not always necessary to counter e.g. but will help A LOT. Most of the time a counter-champion is better than a counter-item.
If you're being focused by this champion in team fights (that is, he puts all his spells on you every single time) on the other hand you should get the counter-item as fast as possible.

With that said as an e.g. AD Carry it might just be smarter to focus on your regular build with higher damage output and switch lane with someone who can handle him.

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Champions to watch out for/Do not target these

Extremly Tanky:

Alistar: His ultimate will reduce 70% of all incoming damage, if he is tanky he will be close to impossible to take down, while he keeps CC your team. Only focus him if your team has decided to take him down first.

Nasus: Nasus with his ultimate running is a pain in the *** (He gets a lot of bonus health aswell as bonus attack damage).

Blitzcrank: His passive mana shield can be a real suprise when you think you're taking him down and he just turn the whole fight around.

Stealth champions:
These champions are simply really hard to take down due to their stealth mechanism if no one got




(I do not include Talon here because you can see which way he went depending on how the blades fly (which is directly towards him))

Kite Champions
These champions will do anything to make you follow them into a trap.


AP Soraka with Starcall is dangerous!


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