Is Haunting Guise Ever Worth It?
Hi, I'm OldManEyebrows, a new writer for A DIFFerent View. I have played League of Legends since beta. I found out about League of Legends when one of Riot's PR reps contacted me because of something I'd written about DoTA. I am kind of old. I don't have old man eyebrows yet but I know I will because my wife keeps pointing out individual strands she wants to pluck.
If you don't know what I mean by old man eyebrows, here is a picture of some of the most epic and classic old man eyebrows known to the masses, those of the late Andy Rooney. Slowly but surely, my eyebrows are getting there.
You are the AP on your team. Your team consists of a decent Ashe and Janna, a struggling Amumu who has died a lot but knows how to ult, and a top Lee Sin who broke even in lane against an Olaf. Their team is the Olaf that ended up getting a lot of the team-fight kills, especially from your poor, constantly cc’d and chased Amumu; an Ahri that did a little less well than you, as you got more kills in teamfights and did better in lane; a Graves with a little less money than your Ashe, a competent Soraka, and a Nautilus that set up most of the kills for his team, especially against your Amumu.
On a team for team basis the gold is about even but you are the stronger point of your team. You have just recalled to heal and will make it in time to set up for a Baron contest which will surely be a 5v5. You have a Sorceror's Boots, Rabadon’s, and two Doran’s Rings. Most outside towers are gone and both teams know how to actually push and win a game, so whoever wins this contest will probably win the game or snowball into a definite win. You have 1710 gold once you’re done healing.
Is Haunting Guise worth it?
The most instantaneous AP you could get is to simply buy a Needlessly Large Rod. That’s 80 AP right there. You could also get a negatron cloak and blasting wand to set up an abyssal—however, you are not worried much about magic, as Ahri did mediocre (and her Q does true damage) and Nautilus is the main source of other magic damage. No, the big rod for a zhonya’s seems better in order to just straight up win the game. Or the first pieces of a Void Staff if you are convinced you don’t need a zhonya’s or are convinced you will eventually buy again…there’s no question though that it’s up to you pick someone off or do most of the initial damage to get someone on their team to die first.
Here’s something you could buy with that money that could be the right call: Haunting Guise, one of the most unpopular items in the game. That has 25 AP, 20 mpen, and a probably unneeded 200 health. And it’s a deadend item. But it might do the best in that situation. In fact, Haunting Guise is one of the most underrated items in the game, and while it’s not always right to buy it, it sometimes is (which is better than the general consensus of never).
I’m not going to beat a dead horse on the last situation as there is room for endless debate and the other hypotheticals, such as which champion you actually are, whether or not there is an abyssal scepter on Amumu already, or what other team scenarios could occur. Instead, let’s review some of the many objections to Haunting Guise and show how much 1,485 gold gets you.
Objections to Buying Haunting Guise
Haunting Guise can be countered with 400 gold spent on a Null Mantle and then you have 25 AP and 4 MR left over.
This objection misses the big picture. A Null Mantle decreases all magic damage. It’d decrease your damage no matter what you got, included a Needlessly Large Rod. Haunting Guise would increase your damage no matter what. The question is how much, which we’ll get to.
Abyssal Scepter is better.
Abyssal Scepter flat-out does more as an item for damage than Haunting Guise does, certainly. It also costs more. There a few reasons you might want to still consider Haunting Guise:
- You already have Abyssal and you can benefit from Guise still.
- Someone else on your team already has one. Common low and top-level play picks that might have bought one include Nautilus, Malphite, Vladimir, Ahri, Karthus, Morgana, Kennen, and Swain. Remember, as far as MR and pure damage is concerned, your own extra damage from AS over HG is only an extra 45 AP. And this is assuming you are the one that has it, not that there is already one on your team.
- No one else on your team does much magic damage—you have a bruiser top, an ad or tanky/low-damage jungler, and a carry (such as Urgot, Ashe, or Vayne) that only does physical damage. See point above about their only being a 45 AP difference in damage.
- The enemy team has a similar composition to above, but their mid isn’t doing very well and isn’t a threat. Again, 45 AP.
- You are someone who can’t safely get in range to use the debuff and need to stay far, far back.
- You are losing and need something more immediate, or believe you won’t be able to complete it before the game ends.
If enough of these are a factor, then yes, I’ll say it, Haunting Guise is a better buy.
Rylai’s is better.
If you need HP, yes, Rylai’s is better. And if you need the cc, you definitely should get Rylai’s. HG is not always the right item to get. But some AP’s and some teams don’t need the cc help. Rylai’s is one of those items for which few champions need to make a decision about whether to buy it. If you don’t need the cc or the health, the damage difference is 80 AP vs. 25 AP and 20 mpen. Later in this post we'll explore the difference in damage for these two items in the scenario at the beginning of this post.
Void Staff is better.
Void Staff is very important for some champions and it’s always important if MR is high. What you need to consider is how much MR the enemy team is stacking. If someone has 80 MR, the amount penetrated with mpen marks, sorc boots, HG, and the 10% mastery is 49/10%, which puts it down to about 28. Void staff instead is 29/48%, which puts it down to 26.5 MR left. The penetration is only 1.5 points more. And it’s worse the lower it goes. There is 45 more AP on Void Staff also, but Void Staff costs 810 more. That is almost the cost of a Blasting Wand.
Haunting Guise can also be good with Void Staff, but the MR on a target needed for that to happen is at 150+. See this post http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?p=24258807#24258807 in which Rioter Ricklessabandon explores this issue. Good luck getting a handle on the math.
You don’t see it at high-level play.
I welcome comments on Haunting Guise from high-level players. Two quick things I’ll say to that comment. First, most play is not high-level, and we don’t just address high-level players. Second, innovation is a real thing and comes from a variety of sources. Use at high-level play is just one of the highest stamps of authority. Some items and champions are “discovered”, such as Cassiopeia or Malphite. But they were good before and after they started being used. I’m saying if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it still makes a sound and that an item, tactic, or champion is always good even just before pro players figure it out and implement use.
Look, listen, this item is just bad. It just doesn’t really increase damage. It doesn’t do anything.
That isn’t true. It gives you 25 AP and it gives 20 additional mpen. This is better than it seems. One crazy thing about Haunting Guise is that like all penetration items, it gets stronger as the game goes on, being more of a percentage-based increase rather than a flat one.
Here’s a chart that shows the amount of damage reduced at various MR/armor levels. Realistically, 20 points will generally represent a 3-10% decrease in their damage reduction, which means an increase in damage when you reduce those same 20 points. Take a look and absorb.
Scenario revisited--80 AP or 25 AP and 20 Mpen?
Let’s say that in the example at the beginning of this article, you are a level 15 Annie. If you have flat AP quints and mpen marks, are 21/0/9, and have sorc boots, a Rabadon’s, and 2 Doran’s Rings, you will have 276 AP for 439 (245+194) damage on disintegrate with 29/10% penetration.
Let’s look at the damage for each against a target with 100 Magic Resist. There will be an Olaf, a Nautilus, a Graves with True Grit and a Soraka giving +16 MR to everyone on the team, so it’s realistic to assume there will be at least two people on the team with about this much MR.
Another NL Rod gives Annie 80 AP, putting her to 385 AP (because of Rabadon’s passive and Archmage talent). Her Q, disintegrate, thus does a total of 514 (245+269) damage plus 29/10 penetration. This leaves 63.9 MR which reduces it to 314 damage.
A Haunting Guise is 25 AP and 20 mpen, putting her to 310 AP for a total of 462 damage plus 49/10 penetration. That leaves 45.9 MR left over, reducing it to 317 damage. Disregarding other stats and speaking only to damage, there is a bigger damage benefit from a Haunting Guise in this situation vs. a Needlessly Large Rod, which is 80 AP. 80 AP is also how much AP there is on a Rod of Ages that is 10 minutes old, as well as a fully built Rylai’s. This is for less than half the cost of either of those items, showing it to be a very cost-effective item, one that can still be good--even at late game.
So again, for this scenario, > for damage. No joke.
TLDR version: Haunting Guise is widely misunderstood and most people think it is never a good buy, but sometimes it is. It is also crazy cost-effective the higher AP you have.