Trinity Force 2.0: Tons of Damage

Just in case anybody's forgotten, this is what we're talking about today

Trinity Force was arguably the defining item of Season 2. Between lifesteal and the strength of Trinity Force, bruisers were able to edge AP Carries out of top, and a whole class of champions (Trinity-tanks) arose. These champions could be built with Trinity Force and nothing but defensive items, due to the strong base damage of Trinity Force, plus the Movement Speed and the Slow. But all good things must come to an end, and Trinity Force slowly trickled out of favor. Why did Trinity Force stop being a must-buy, why did every champion who relied on Trinity Force either stop buying it or fall out of favor, and why is it set to make a comeback with the rework?

First, let's recap what made Trinity Force good and bad. I spelled this all out in a previous article, but here's the summary.

Good 1 - Stat Efficiency

Trinity Force gives you a TON of stats, not ever counting the passives. Add in the Sheen Proc and the Movement Speed and the Phage effect and you just get a ton of things for free.

Bad 1 - Smörgåsbord Syndrome

Who uses all of those stats? Who wants Crit Chance and Mana? Who wants Attack Speed and AP? Pretty much everybody wastes SOME stats on Trinity Force. This is why it has to have so much stat efficiency, because few champions will use all of the stats. Unfortunately, this made the item extra strong on champs who could use all the stats, and prompted nerfs.

Good 2 - Slot Efficiency

Once you finish Trinity Force, you can buy whatever you want. Need armor? Get a chain vest. Need MR? Get a Negatron Cloak. Need Health? Get a Giant's Belt. Need speed? Get boots. You STILL have a slot for wards. Trinity Force gives you such a glut of stats that as long as you build defensively after it, you'll remain relevant.

Bad 2 - Phage

Phage turns won trades into kills. If you can initiate trades safely, you can initiate kills safely if you get a slow proc. Because of that, Phage needs to be stat efficient; if you by it while even in lane, you become weaker in fights (you have to, since fights with you become hard to avoid).

Good 3 - Good rush item

Such good base stats that if you get it first, you do crazy damage.

Bad 3 - Bad synergy

Scales with Base AD mostly, so the later the game goes on, the less useful the Sheen proc becomes.

However, Trinity Force has since fallen out of favor for a few reasons.

1 - Harder laning phases/earlier teamfights

It wasn't uncommon for the laning phase to run 20 minutes, so you'd leave lane with a Trinity Force PLUS your basic defensive items (Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak). Now, with 1v2 lanes being so common, your bruiser isn't getting all that much farm, and is behind on levels (weakening the Sheen proc), so he'd get to teamfights with maybe just a Trinity Force, and be too squishy to participate.

2 - Weakening Resistances

Resistances got weaker in S3; if you have just them without a strong health item, you still end up pretty squishy. Trinity Force + Chain Vest + Negatron Cloak just isn't the tankiness it once was.

3 - BotRK

Talk about a solid lone defensive item; BotRK is cheaper than Trinity Force, gives good dive potential with the active, plus sustain and the guarantee that you can USE all the stats. And it truly is a replacement for Trinity Force, being perfectly viable as an only offensive item (due to scaling off of enemy health).

4 - Winmore Status

Trinity Force is a bit of a winmore item. Its proc scales on levels, so the more ahead you are, the more damage you do. It causes your champion to rely on base tankiness, which means if you're ahead, you can dive squishies, do tons of damage, and live, but if you're behind, you might just die. And then there's the Phage reliance; if you can't get on the target in the first place, how can you slow them indefinitely? This is why Bruisers with gap closers became so strong in S2; dive an ADC and permaslow them while doing tons of damage. But if you don't have a gap closer, Trinity Force doesn't do much for you because you can never apply that slow. The nature of this interaction is arguably a cause for mobility creep.

Why New Trinity Force is a Marked Improvement

New Trinity Force is fantastic in so many ways.

Truly Tons of Damage

First of all, you get DOUBLE your AD every 2 seconds (up from 1.5). How much is that? Well, let's say you have an Attack Speed of about 1. That means that the Trinity Force Sheen proc is worth about your base AD (2 attacks per proc). Given that most bruisers have in between 105 and 120 AD at level 18, that means Trinity Force gives you auto-attack damage equivalent to 100 AD. In addition to the stats it actually gives:

+30 ability power
+30 attack damage
+30% attack speed
+10% critical strike chance
+250 health
+200 mana
+8% movement speed

Better Gapclosing

First, you get +8% Movement Speed, which is nice already (somewhere in between 24 and 32).

Then if you damage a unit, you get another 20 Movement Speed (which is boosted by the + 8%, so 22-ish). And if you kill a unit, you get 60 Movement Speed (which is boosted by the 8%, so 65-ish). Are you starting to see how fast this item makes you?

On top of that, a slow only affects one person, a speed buff makes you faster relative to their whole team! Slows are better for picks, but speed buffs are stronger in teamfight situations (on bruisers, at least).

Who Should Get Trinity Force?

The first group is obvious: bruisers who used to get it, not because it was strong, but because it was extremely synergistic. We're talking Irelia, Jax, Nasus, and so on. Unfortunately, they have fallen out for other reasons, but maybe the new Trinity Force is what they need? I'd like to be optimistic about this, but it looks like the 2v1 meta is still here to stay (given that we saw a 4 minute tower in Super Week, even with the new tower Armor buff). Personally, I'd like to see a few more bruisers picking it up and going mid.

We saw Meteos play carry junglers and basically just farm the jungle (or Nocturne ult in to gank). Maybe another champion could fill that niche; one who likes Trinity Force? I'd have said that Trinity Force was a bit expensive for a jungler in professional play, but I'd also have said the same about Ravenous Hydra + Last Whisper, and boy did Meteos prove me wrong. Maybe Ponyman could pull off a similar trick? I personally doubt it, but I'm willing to be proven wrong (looking at you, Meteos!).

Finally, I feel that a few ADCs will shine with Trinity Force.

First, you have the obvious two; Ezreal and Corki. It may no longer have a slow, but it now has tons of damage and movespeed, allowing an ADC to kite for ages.

Second, you have Lucian. He has no AS steroid and pretty decent AD scaling, not to mention a ton of mobility. As such, I've been building him Brutalizer -> BT -> Trinity Force plus two of IE/Black Cleaver/Last Whisper, and found that it gives him a ton of damage in conjunction with his passive, and fits his kitey caster style well.

Third, you have Vayne. Vayne suffers from being EXTREMELY slow when running away from somebody, and Trinity Force helps with that. On top of that, the Sheen procs in combination with Tumble and Silver Bolts would only add burst to her already bursty dueling. Finally, she's already viable with 2 attack speed items after BotRK, so why not have one of them give her tons of utility to go with her ludicrous damage?


What do you think, RoG? Have you experimented with the new Trinity Force? Do you think it does tons of damage, or is just a huge waste of gold?

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