Gentleman Gustaf here to talk to you about noob traps. The wrong summoner spells, items, champions, and even playstyles can cause you to lose your lane or late-game fights, or cause you to lose out on game objectives. The following is a description of common noob traps, and why to avoid them.
Clairvoyance – Clairvoyance is about map control. It used to be a necessary pick on support champions, but with its nerfs at the beginning of S2, it fell out of favor, with exhaust taking over eventually Clairvoyance’s primary uses are to keep tabs on the jungler/roamers and to aid in dragon/baron fights. Why is Clairvoyance a noob trap? You pick it for security, not viability. If your ward coverage is dead and you CV, either you see something or you don't, and either way, you're just as in the dark a few seconds later. Having CV to make up for situations without wards is a bit like taking iron supplements when you're bleeding out. Sure, you need iron, but you need to stop bleeding first. Working to avoid losing ward control is simply going to outclass CV, and then you can take another summoner spell.
- Who should take Clairvoyance? Currently, nobody really does, but if somebody did, I'd prefer to see it on a support. I've toyed with the idea of running it on a long-ranged mid who wants to avoid aggro (Lux?).
Clarity – Clarity is a bad choice. There are a few champions who have really low mana pools and high costs, and it can feel like Clarity could make them work. This is an illusion. Either they can survive the laning phase by not spamming abilities, or they need early mana items, or they are simply bad champions for the lane you’re trying to fit them into. A perfect example is Skarner. He was a very strong top before his Q mana cost skyrocketed. The response should be one of two things, early mana items on Skarner, or no more top Skarner. Running Clarity on Skarner is like running a 5'0" Center on a basketball team, and putting him in 2 foot tall platform shoes. Sure, you've solved the height problem, but why not just put a fuck-off tall guy in his place and move on?
- Who should take Clarity? Bad players. That way they’ll stay bad and not end up in my games with their bad Clarity.
Heal – Heal is stronger than it used to be, and can actually help 1v1 fights early or team fights later.. Some people will take it on top laners with little early game sustainability, but much like with clarity, you are wasting a summoner spell to force a champion into a play style they don’t really fit. You are much better off just picking a more sustainy top and getting two real summoner spells. The main problems with Heal are as follows: Ignite counters it (and who doesn't like ignite), and when taken on a support, it doesn't heal the AD enough. Look to see this solved in Season 3.
- Who should take Heal? Mostly supports. Maybe Volibear, but I don’t like it.
- Yes, some AD carries, especially in the Korean meta, take heal, and run ignite on their supports. They're really, really good. When you're really, really good too, you can do that.
Ignite ON EVERY CHAMPION IN THE GAME – Ignite is considered an auto-pick for the three farm/kill roles, top/mid/AD. No doubt, it is good, but I do not see it as a necessary pick. Exhaust can often help with the same thing (1v1 fights), and exhaust is much more useful late game. Ignite is, however, an important counter-pick against heavy healing compositions, and good to secure kills with. By no means is it bad, but not EVERY mid and top needs an ignite.
- Who should take Ignite? Not as many people as currently do, as per my comments above. Bursty AP champions with long cooldowns, and assassins who want to blow escapes and leave right away (Talon, for example). But if you're somebody like Karthus, you're probably better off with Exhaust, so you can keep AoEing even longer.
- Who should take Revive? Karthus, Pantheon, Twisted Fate and Shen all can, although it’s better on Karthus, Shen, and Pantheon.
Jungling without Smite – Smite is for junglers. Some junglers can clear the jungle without it, but if you do jungle without smite, the enemy jungler will steal half of your buffs, dragons, and barons with their own smite. Don’t do it.
- Who should take Smite? All junglers. If you think you can jungle without Smite, I have one question for you. Are you on my team? If so, screw you. If not, thank you for the buffs and the elo.
Teleport – You want teleport, not (as is commonly thought) to get back to your lane quickly (although that is a nice benefit), but to get to team-fights when need be. Top should be constantly farming, but sometimes dragon fights happen when you’re out of range. At these times, you want Teleport up to enter those fights. But honestly, most of the time, taking TP is a sign that you don't have good enough game sense to know where you need to be. There are a few champions in a few compositions who want Teleport for a split comp, and if you're 1v2, it could be nice, I guess, but wouldn't you prefer an Exhaust so you can not die?
Black Cleaver - It's just weirdly designed. If you're attacking a target a lot (to stack up the debuff), I assume it's tanky, so why aren't you wanting % Pen? And if it's squishy, why do you want an item that forces you to attack 3 times to get to max efficiency; your target will almost be dead before BC does anything! I guess I could see it on your top bruiser if he can safely and quickly apply stacks (Renekton/Jayce). New Black Cleaver should remedy these problems, by allowing abilities to apply stacks, and by making stacks % of armor, not flat.
Guinsoo's Rageblade - Suffers from the same problems Surge does: AS and AP don't necessarily have that much multiplicative value, and there are better items.
Tear of the Goddess - I don't really feel like explaining this one. It's the Clarity problem all over again. It's good on one or two champions designed around spam (Yorick), but I feel there are typically better mana items (Glacial Shroud)
Mana Regen - Mana Regen is just Clarity all over again. But basically, it's a laning stat. All the mana regen in the world won't help you in a team fight, but Mana will. Chalice and Athene's are a clear exception because they give you % Missing Mana Regen, so the lower you get, the more you get.
Damage on junglers/supports - You are poor. Who do you think likes that Infinity Edge, you, who attacks twice every three seconds, or Tristana, who attacks three times every 2 seconds?
Multiplicative damage on junglers/supports - Let's say you want damage anyway. Please don't go for the type of damage that's only good if you have a lot of damage (crit chance). Because you won't have a lot of damage. Go for something like BT, which will give you burst from spells and lifesteal (good with the resistances you bought).
Lower tier champions when higher tier champions who do largely the same thing are available. Yes, I'm sure you love them and they're your favorite, but unless you're picking them in a situation where they excel in a way the higher tier champion doesn't (their niche), you're essentially handicapping yourself. Yes, there is room for skill, but if one champion can be 'as good' as another champion if you are better, why not just apply being better to the 'better' champion, and do even better?
Basically, whenever you pick anything in game, an item, a mastery point, a rune, a summoner spell, you have to think 'what advantage do I gain from doing this?' A lot of times, the answer is 'this is what I'm used to', or 'this is what suits my playstyle', and it's often better to change what you're used to or change your playstyle than it is to force a square peg into a round hole. I love Skarner as much as the next guy, but if I have to give up a summoner spell (by running Clarity) just to make him viable top, I'm going to run another champion top, or run Skarner somewhere where he can deal with the lower mana.
Don't worry, I'm not moving away from mathcrafting and more technical articles, I just feel like the game's about to change so much, so the current math isn't worth looking at, and the future math is in flux, so I don't really want to invest weeks of effort into it when everything I write about will be a week or more too old.