General Guide by Lvx
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You can find my other build and ideas as well as calculations about maxing out other champions potentials here:
The mathematically proof, that you can one-hit towers with Alistar, and have a great heal as well as an amazing dmg output against units at the same time.
Doc Mungo (build)
An idea, how to max out his HP and his harrassing potential. You will find quite detailed information about armor penetration and critical strikes here. Graphs included.
An entire AP / MP guide for Karthus, showing the benefits on playing him hybrid in comparsion to pure AP builds.
Dedicated information about game mechanics and showing the effects of pure AP / pure AD and hybrid builds on Kayle. Graps included.
Some calculations about cooldown reduction and AP. You will find information about magic resistance and magic penetration here. Graphs included.
No skill sequences, no runes, no masteries... NOOB!
Yeah, the ****, I love you as well. This is no build, this is no guide how to play your chars, and especially this is no post adressed to these "Nah, I like a single other rune better, I'll give you -1"-guys.
This is, once again, only an attemp to show you some facts about game mechanics. Dressed in fancy graphs, so you can proverbial see, what effect your builds will take.
1.) Base dmg and AP-scaling
Time after time, I see players with mere AP-equip on their chars. May it be pure caster like Annie, Malzahar or Karthus, may it be AP-based pusher like Heimer, may it be assasins like Evelyn. The same builds, over and over again. Not only boring, but minor effective.
First of all, you are supposed to keep the effect of AP-scaling in mind. While there are abilites that scale great on AP (i.e. the 2,5x scaling of Nunus ulti (R)), there are also those with a pretty bad scale, like a 0,25 with Karthus defile (E).
Beside that, all skills have a base dmg. The higher the base dmg is, the less AP-dependant will that ability be. That is i.e. with Ryzes overload (Q). It has a nice base dmg, +10% of Ryzes max mana. These 10% of approx. 3.000 mana are a already a higher dmg boost than an 0,45 x 500 AP would be.
So keep in mind, that pure AP-builds, are especially (and to my opinion: only) to be considered if your abilites have a high AP scaling.
2.) MagPen, and MR - how things work
Furthermore, you have to keep in mind how MR and MagPen work. When I see ppl with MagPen equip, it is mostly a void staff. Well, it will give you +70 AP, which is great indeed. But sadly it has +40% MagPen. Sounds nice... but is it?
Magic penetration is divided (same with ArP) into flat penetration, i.e. +20 on sorcerers shoes, and penetration by percentage, which is void staff. At the moment (and after the last patches concerning this topic have changed game mechanics to be like this I guess things will stay like that) MR will be reduced by flat MagPen first, and by percentage thereafter.
An enemies 30 MR, will be reduced by your sorcerers shoes by 20 - 10 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 30 MR, will be reduced by your void staff by 40% - 18 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your sorcerers shoes by 20 - 55 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your void staff by 40% - 45 MR will be in effect.
It's obvious: The higher your enemies MR is, the more effective will a void staff be. But to be honest: No one will play without boots. So we have a first -20 MR already. So now we are forced to decide, if we and our next MagPen item to be an abyssal scepter (70 AP, 20 MagPen flat) or a void staff (70 AP, 40% Mag Pen).
Once again, some hard facts...
An enemies 30 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + scept by 40 - -10 MR will be in effect (yes, numbers can go negative!).
An enemies 30 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + void staff by 20 | 40% - 10 * 0,6 = 6 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + scept by 40 - 35 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + void staff by 20 | 40% - 55 * 0,6 = 33 MR will be in effect.
You see, we did almost even out the benefits of the void staff. If we had even more flat MagPen, we could let the void staff go, for it's not the most efficent item anymore.
3.) Our rune set
That leads us to our rune set. And to stress it out very clearly: This is where the wheat of the players is seperated from the chaffs - where you can see if you got the game, or if you only managed to follow inferior builds blindly.
As the highest amount of MagPen can be achived due to marks and essences, we will focus on them. There is no MagPen seals anyways, and the glyphs are way less effective then the marks - spend them on MR or so.
You have to decide between two possibilites: Going for Force runes for AP, or going for Insight runes for MagPen.
3 x essence of force, 9 x mark of force
-> 3 * 7,74 + 9 x 1,8 = 39,42 AP (on lvl 18)
3 x essence of insight, 9 x mark of insight
-> 3 x 1,89 + 9 * 0,95 = 14,22 MagPen (flat!)
Remember the numbers from above? Let's do some fixes to them:
[i}An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + scept by 40 + 14,22 - 20,78 MR will be in effect.
An enemies 75 MR, will be reduced by your shoes + void staff by 20 + 14,22 | 40% - 40,78 * 0,6 = 24,47 MR will be in effect.[/i]
...aaaaaand the use of the +40% MagPen are gone. It is the same with any big numbers or sexy girls in advertisements: good from far, but far from good.
4.) Comparsion between MagPen and AP builds, and conclusio
Okay, wait... I just told you, that you could get 39,42 AP on lvl 18, instead of the MagPen. That has to have an effect too! - Yes, sure it does.
But to write this down, I would have to write a post as long as the bible, the qur'an or whatever religous text you tend to imagine for its impressive length now.
So I put these calculations in the fancy graphics, I promised you in the title. So lets have a look on these:
Enemies MR: 20
Enemies MR: 50
Enemies MR: 75
Enemies MR: 100
Enemies MR: 150
So what do we see here? As it is easier to depict, I chose to make five screenshots with different values of your opponents MR. 20 MR is quite theoretical, as any enemy will start with 30 MR at least. It is just to show the scaling effects.
You will find three builds on any linked graphic: MagPen build (top), AP build (mid) and hybrid build (bottom).
The first two rows will show you, in a colored bar, how much of your dmg (the one yo can read in your skill descriptions in game) you will really deal after your opponents MR.
Next, the traffic light icons state, how effective the given ability (I picked some for this explanation) will be in comparsion to the other two builds.
You might notice, that not in all five calculation sheets, all icons will be the same. That is due to the different AP scaling and AP dependance, I mentioned above.
For example Ryzes overload will be more effective in an pure MagPen build than a hybrid build (while his other skills wont!). Thats because of the +10% of max mana dmg: Overload is not that AP-dependant, so it benefits more from the pure MagPen, than the additional AP in a hybrid build.
In general you can see, that there is never a point in going for pure AP, even if your opponent had only that theoretical 20 MR!
After 100 MR even the hybrid build is outnumbered by a pure MagPen build. So, if you face enemies with high MR during the late game, feel free to sell an AP items for i.e. haunting guise. It will boost your effective dmg incredibly.
At last, I have to stress something out, about "pure MagPen" builds:
When I talk about "pure MagPen", then I mean focussing on MagPen items and runes only. But for sure, these items have AP as well, and for sure you wont go for six MagPen items.
So even the "pure MagPen" build still gives you 456 AP!
There is absolutely no reason for crying about your low AP now ;).
Hope that gave you some ideas about how to equip your caster / nuker this day forth, and I am looking forward to the negative ratings of those AP-freaks that still dont get a thing.