Indomitable - The Defensive Mastery that makes you so

I've recently been picking up top-laners again and enjoying the battle of attrition that goes on there. After experimenting with various mastery set ups, one of the things that intrigued me most was the effectiveness of the two masteries, Tough Skin and Indomitable. Both reduce incoming damage and considering the fact that minions are a significant portion of early game damage, it stands to reason that negating that portion heftily will have a considerable impact on your ability to trade early game.
Needless to say, I looked at the numbers and have them ready to share with you today, complete with conclusions and opinions. There's even a video version for those who prefer the audio-visual experience.
Read on for more!

The Video Version

Before we get on to the written version - here's the video version for those of you who enjoy your content in this format.

The Assumptions

So there are two masteries we need to worry about - one reduces damage from minions and the other reduces damage from all sources. Since we're focusing on top lane bruisers - I'll be looking at how effective this is at level 1. Bruisers will likely have an armor of ~39. Why? Because the average base starting armor for bruisers is around 20. They'll get 6 from Hardiness and 13 from Armor Seals - giving us a level 1 armor value of 39. I'll also be looking at the effectiveness for other champions. Mages usually start off at around 20 or much lower depending on the champion. So I'll be using values of 20 and 13 armor respectively. 

In the interest of analysing the scalability to late game - I'll also be looking at the effectiveness when you have 100 armor. On with the graphs! It'll be a lot clearer once you see the graphs and I can explain more later on in the article.

The Results

Top laner

The following is the graph for 39 armor, i.e. the effective increase in armor for a bruiser who is fully specced into Tough Skin and Indomitable.
As you can see, it's extremely effective against minion damage. For reference, a melee minion does 12 damage at level 1 and a caster minion does 25 damage at level 1. As you can see the effective armor increase against minions is extremely high, going over 100. However how does this compare against just champions? ie. Only Indomitable - Tough Skin does not apply to champions! 
Once again, you see that it gives you around 5 extra armor when the enemy is hitting you for 70-80 which is a realistic amount at level 1. Once again this mastery proves to be extremely efficient.


How about for a mage? Mages start at around 20 armor as stated above. Let's take a look.
As you can see - it's a reduced effective increase. This can be attributed to the apparent diminishing returns of armor stacking. However it's still a significant increase.
Let's have a gander at resistance increase just against their enemy - who will likely be dealing around 55 physical damage and greater magical damage. Remember Indomitable works on both physical and magical damage.
Once again, you see that it is a increase that is just under 5.
I'll include the graphs for a squishy mage at 13 starting armor just so you get an idea of how the data changes with armor values.
And without tough skin..

Late Game

Late game - you'll have more armor and the enemies will be dealing more damage. However you are less likely to be taking damage from minions and it will not be as significant. So here is the graph for effective resistance increase at 100 Armor/Magic Resist. So the following is the effective increase with only Indomitable - since Tough Skin will not be of significance at this point in the game.
Once again, you see that it is a decent amount and that it is much more effective against smaller quantities of damage meaning that it is very effective against champions who deal DoT damage - since they occur in small ticks.
You can watch the video version above for more detailed explanations on all of the above.


After seeing the data above and the explanations (more detailed explanations can be found within the video) - I firmly believe that the defence tree has better options than the offence tree for the likes of AD bruisers. Short of taking 21/9 on champions like Riven or Tryndamere, I always use 9/21 for bruisers now. The benefits of the defence tree far outweigh the offence tree and reducing incoming damage helps a lot early game. The utility provided from the rest of the defence tree is also very desirable, with bonuses like movement speed, CC reduction, health regeneration and increased health. You can start off with "invisible armor" that fools your opponent and you will take minion damage as though you had ~130 armor. Psychologically and physically, this is both demoralising to your opponent and beneficial to you.
If you want a deeper analysis of this, you can watch the video version which has a lot more "insight" as I talk a lot more about each graph and what it means, giving examples.
tl'dr: I like Indomitable - numbers show that it's strong.
I hope you found the analysis of these masteries interesting. Thanks for reading :)
If you enjoy reading the article - I'd really appreciate you clicking the up arrow - thank you in advance!
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  • #11 dreammorpheus

    I'm curious to see what those numbers look like for Fizz. Ive noticed that his nigh invulnerability to minion damage gives him a pretty serious edge in lane. Doesn't it stand to reason that the more flat damage reduction you get against minions, the more effective each new point is?  Its value grows somewhat recursively.

  • #9 ncannavino11

    Is indomitable better than Honor guard?

  • #12 Rhakzor

    Honor guard isn't a strong summoner spell at all. It's the same as Havoc

  • #8 guptee

    I stopped taking 21 in offense long time ago. 21 in defense too stronk.. 

  • #7 Skip3rd

    I'm gonna try 20/10/0 AD carry bot! =D

  • #13 Rhakzor

    I'd say 19/11/0 is stronger then. Getting the veteran scar's aswell :)

  • #6 DonYagamoth

     Nice post - it shows the power of flat-number-reduction in the early levels ^^

    I use these 11 points in the defense tree since I read about them in "Rincents Toplane Kayle" guide. 19/11/0 is a reasonable option to go for, if you want to deal a bit more damage. But I would not want to miss the 4 damage reduction against minions anymore on most of my champions. 

    Even on mid Champions like LeBlanc, where I want to dominate from level 2 upwards I go for that reduction. I can stand very offensive, using Q and auto attacks to harass without taking (as) much damage in return. If the jungler comes I simply dash away with the W. If the enemy isn't prepared for this harass and gets low when I reach level 3, he is usually dead, even with flash.
    (And on a sidenote - speaking of flat reduction, if you think you won't get the kill early anyway, burn Ignite for the flat 5 AD and 5 AP to be able to harass the opponent out of lane easily)

  • #5 DaveExclamationMark

    You did the math on one side. The Math seems correct, but you forgot to do the Math on the other side (Offsensive Tree) and compare them.  You can present those graphs and argue that the effective armor that you get from "Indomitable" is really good. But you can not make the conclusion that this makes the 9/21 build better than the 21/9 build.

    I'm not saying that you are wrong btw, for most bruisers it is far better to go 21 in defensive (also for alot of other reasons like the cc reduction in juggernaut). But if you do the science, do it right.

  • #3 chainpullz

    Something I often do on bruiser in the top lane when I want the lifesteal and armor pen from offense is to go 19/11/0 missing out on havoc while picking up both tough skin and indomitable.

  • #2 aretziel

    Looks good. Like the presentation even that you kinda ramble sometimes =)
    A script would have made it cleaner, but who cares =))

    I have actually run this myself for some time as Singed as well as some of the other more 'poking' Bruisers (Jarvan and his Q) that you hit with then always will get 2-3 hits from minions in trade for the damage you make on their Champ.

    Nice to see it broken down into some numbers. Like the graphs you made. A request would be to see if you can have some smaller numbers in between the large ones. Like 10,20,30,40 small and 50 as big etc. and a shaded grid behind the graph and such things that make it easier for people to look things up on the graphs.

    Small stuff that does nothing really but would make me happy =p

    Thanks again.

    Last edited by aretziel: 6/26/2012 8:34:55 PM
  • #1 TaeAinion

    Why not run 9/12/9 or 9/14/7, something like that? The only really good point in the defense tree after Indomitable is the movespeed one, but even then, it might be wiser to get ArPen in Offense and Mana Regen or Movespeed in Utility.

  • #4 srks

    you realy think mana regen as a bruiser outpowers +3%HP and -10% CC or even movement speed???

    you must be new here....

  • #10 darkuser77

    You really think an extra 90 hp at 3000 and 150 milliseconds off cc which stacks multiplicatively with mercs is better then being sustainable on mana hungry top lane/junglers like malphite, skarner, yorick, mao, amumu

    oh no they invaded blue and now my jungle is screwed.... having to B all the time and not being able to gank because you can only sustain 1 spell per camp on slower junglers is dumb.

    split build VS 0/21/9 jungle builds, the 9 in offense gives you about 3-4 quints worth of stats in the early game increasing to 10-20 mp/arp for your late game vs filling out defense which gives you almost nothing but run speed until late game.

    A 9/15/7 build will get you the runspeed vs the buff durations you give away all game.

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