Why Executioner's Calling Even Exists: A Theory

Pointless?

Why does Executioner's Calling exist? It gives you lifesteal, crit, a passive that does minimal damage and an active that does no damage. It's an item for auto-attacking champions that adds little damage. One of the biggest objections is that it has "weird stats" that you don't want, similar to why you wouldn't get Nashor's Tooth. Lifesteal/Crit and that's it? Where's the damage? Furthermore, it takes up an item slot and can be better spent on "real" items like Doran's Blade, Lantern, Trinity Force pieces, Infinity Edge, level 2 boots, and plenty of other normally purchased items. 

So why would you get it? And why does it exist? Today I'll review some of the benefits of Executioner's Calling, and wrap up with some thoughts on what its purpose is in the game. 

One of the first things to note about Executioner's Calling (now referred to as EC) is that it's an efficient item. It is a mere 1,350 gold. The recipe cost is only 500 gold. That extra 500 gold gives you another 7% crit, 8% lifesteal, and the passive and active. One thing to note about the lifesteal (18%) is that it's a very high amount of lifesteal that is often forgotten. Do you remember how much lifesteal Wriggle's Lantern has? It's 12. Gunblade has 15, Zeke's Herald has 12. The big mama, Bloodthirster? That has 12. What's that, max stacks? Then it's 20. EC gives you more lifesteal than any other item in the game except stack items. Even then, Dominion's Sanguine Blade has 4% more after only 7 basic attacks and Bloodthirster has 2% more only after 40 stacks. 

The passive seems a weak point but it is damage and great for trades. In the teamfight phase the damage is laughable, probably one reason it isn't very popular.  But for harrass, it is a mini-passive that will annoy your enemy. If it does 3 damage per tic, it's 24 damage off one single auto-attack--it functions like a weaker version of Teemo's toxic shot. EC thus favors hit-and-run tactics.  

The active, "Grievous Wound", is an ability that also doesn't really do damage--it simply reduces healing. It is an ability a few champions have as a part of one of their moves, such as Miss Fortune, Varus, or Tristana, and one that does not seem to do very much.

I feel that Riot feels this is an important item to have in the game, and that passive ability might be our biggest clue. Somewhat recently Grievous Wound was put on Morello's Evil Tome, an AP item. The message to take from this is that Riot feels it's necessary for any kind of champ to have room to have this exact ability to fight against healing, lifesteal, and spell vamp. 

The prevalence of healing effects and the pain of sustain

 

Those effects end up being in every single game of course, if only on the ad carry, but they are also often on junglers and bruisers, and over a third of all champions have a healing or lifesteal/spellvamp ability. We mostly think of supports, Vladimir, and Dr. Mundo when we think of healing effects but there are a lot more than you'd think. A large number of champs have built in abilities that heal or steal, and many champions purchase items to have such an effect. Every ad carry will have lifesteal from masteries and doran's blades. Some champs' abilities are subtle and underrated and are also counterable by slapping Grievous Wound beforehand (such as Maokai's passive, which gets beastly in the late game). Here's a list: Soraka, Mundo, Tryndamere, Taric, Vladimir, Volibear, Swain, Warwick, Sona, Akali, Ahri, Alistar, Cho'gath, Fiddlesticks, Fiora, Galio, Gangplank, Garen, Hecarim, Irelia, Janna, Karma, Kayle, Lee Sin, Maokai, Master Yi, Morgana, Nasus, Olaf, Nunu, Nidalee, Renekton, Ryze, Shen, Sion, Singed, Skarner, Trundle, Udyr, Xin Zhao, Yorick. Kennen, Kat, Morde, and Rumble get honorable mentions as they always buy Hextech Revolver.

Some of these champs are a pain to face at top because of their built in sustain. How often have you been in the situation of being at top where you are facing a champ and you try to trade with your opponent, only to find your opponent simply gets his life back within 15-30 seconds through the use of their abilities and items? Prominent example include a Riven with 2 Doran's Blades, Lee Sin, Vladimir, Cho'Gath, Yorick, Nidalee, and Irelia. These champs make top lane highly boring, as the only way to kill these champs is through full-on burst. It's that or get a gank. In late game, they stay in fights much longer. 

Executioner's Calling combats all of these sustain and burst issues by slowing the rate at which champs heal themselves. Sustain is one of the biggest traits by which champions are rated. 

Instead of just thinking of the typical counters, let's look at what it really does during lane.

Grievous Wound lasts 8 seconds and only has a 20 second cooldown. This means it can hypothetically be on your opponent 40% of the time. Assuming you cast it once every 25 seconds, which is one half-their regen one 3rd of the time, that's one sixth of their HP regen.  If they have 25 hp/5, that's normally 300 a minute. Instead, it's 250. Nothing to write home about.  But what about, say Riven, who has low hp/5 but lots of lifesteal? This depends on player skill, but it means you can cast it less as spam and more when their sustain is focused (that is, when hitting you or minions), and nabbing approximately 1/6 or less of their regen but about half of their lifesteal. If a bruiser has, say, 17% lifesteal at 110 damage, and will last hit 11 of the 12.5 minions spawned in one minute with all armor negated and get two hits on their lane opponent (due to being denied/harrassed), at 70% damage...that is .17((110 x 11) + 110 x 2 x .7), which equals 231.88 lifesteal. If you manage to get half of that through good use of Grievous Wound, that's 116 lifesteal they don't get. If you use it during a potion consumption, it hits 5 health per second that the potion for a total of 40 of 150 health negated if you use it during the first 7 seconds of potion consumption.

So a summary of what you could get in one minute from EC's passive and active, keeping in mind some of the conditions set:

  • 116 lifesteal negated from Grievous Wound
  • 30 health from a potion negated (we'll say you just get the last 6 seconds) from Grievous Wound
  • 50 health negated from HP/5 from Grievous Wound
  • 2 auto-attacks from harrassment that give you 16 ticks of the passive, at 3 damage each, for 48 damage. 
  • And don't forget, you have 15% more crit and 18% more lifesteal (which is the most cost efficient lifesteal amount you can get), which helps with your own sustain. Compared to Wriggle's, you get more lifesteal, even when the damage comes into account. Let's say you have 100 damage and buy an EC for 18% more lifesteal, instead of Wriggle's, which gives you 123 damage and 12% lifesteal. You get 14.76 lifesteal out of a Wriggle's hit, and 18 lifesteal out of the EC.

vs.

 

Speaking of Wriggle's, you are probably thinking that Wriggle's is a flat-out better item. "If a champion gets Wriggle's Lantern they will categorically beat a champion that gets Executioner's Calling." Well, let's factor armor and damage in then. Let's say you have two bruisers, both with 100 damage, 50 armor, and 0 lifesteal. One purchases EC and the other purchases a Lantern.

The bruiser with EC will have 50 armor 100 damage, and 18 lifesteal. The bruiser with Lantern will have 80 armor, 123 damage, and 12% lifesteal. I'm going to ignore all the abilities used as that is extremely large in scope and there is no way we can realistically take them all into account. We'll simply have two auto-attack hit trades. I'll ignore the armor pen both are likely to have, and we'll say that neither champ, including the one with EC, will proc any crits.

The EC bruiser will deal 55 damage (100-45 from 80 armor) with 18% lifesteal for 10 life stolen, with 9 tics of 3 damage from the passive, for 82 damage. The Wriggle's bruiser will deal 82 damage (123-41 from armor) at 6% lifesteal (halved from Grievous Wound) for 5 life recovered. Since GW was activated, we'll also note the lost health from regen, which is 16 over 8 seconds if there is 20 hp/5 (4 hp x 8 seconds = 32 life, halved makes 16). Summary: EC bruiser deals 55 damage + 27 tic damage + 16 life prevented from healing - 5 from life recovered for 93 damage.

The Wriggle's bruiser deals 82 damage - 10 life stolen, for 72 damage. This exchange comes in favor of Executioner's calling, assuming no minion damage is taken and that 8 seconds transpires in between. Again, EC favors hit and run and harrass over outright absorption of all enemy abilities.

Of course, those caveats show that these exchanges are highly simple, and don't take into account any possible minion damage, or abilities, or crits. There are few assumptions that can be made. Abilities will make a big difference here. It comes down to whose abilities counter whose, with attack-speed / auto-attack based champions (Xin, Warwick, Trundle, Tryndamere), being outclassed by bursty bruisers or mages, and the winner of top being determined by sustain advantage or jungle ganks. Dry times indeed.

Still, if abilities and trades are about even, the person with Executioner's Calling will do much better with sustain issues. With Grievous Wound Spam and superior lifesteal, EC gives champions with weaker sustain a fighting chance in the laning phase.

Executioner's Calling is better the higher attack speed you have due to the higher crit and lifesteal--again, attack-speed abilities and champions are generally inferior to burst abilities. The passive also prevents recalls. It also really counters Malphite's and Garen's passives.

Executioner's Calling is a very niche item but it plays an important role in the game. It allows some champions to have a chance against difficult lane matchups in which they wouldn't have before. Late game it's even more niche, but there are times when the enemy has more lifesteal/spellvamp than you do, making it a lifesteal fight as much as a damage fight. In fights where the enemy always seem to have more life than you do, even if you have equal or even about better stats, grab an EC and marvel as you get a leg up in the sustain/lifesteal fight.

This week's eyebrows: 

 

Best,

Old Man Eyebrows

 

 

28

Comments

  • #26 Talith_PA

    It's one of the most powerful items used in High ELO Dominion. 

  • #27 Fatality101

    This.  I see it used every game (and buy it very often myself), due to its raw efficiency and the power of lifesteal, among other things.

  • #24 Blacknsilver

    You covered 1 situation (poke), so let's cover a few more:

    All-in fight: Wriggle's wins out by a lot because of the armor.

    You getting ganked: Wriggle's wins because you get an extra ward (2 extra potions=300extra hp at the very least) and more armor.

    Him getting ganked: Arguable, some champions (Jax, Lee Sin) get A LOT from having an extra ward on hand, I'd say this is 60-40 in favor of EC.

    You jungling/counter-jungling: Obvious wriggle's win.

    Dragon/baron: Wriggle's.

    TF: You'll usually have an ignite for important targets but let's say EC wins this by a bit.

    Actual item efficiency: Wriggle's is built out of cloth armor which many champions start out with. This means it's often much easier to build than EC. And the really big thing: FREE WARDS! How could you forget this?! If you buy a wriggle's at 12:00, that's an extra kill's worth of gold you're gonna have by the 30min mark! AND it saves time too in case you only want to B for that ward.

    What about the stats? EVERYBODY wants armor, very few champions want crit. If you don't want armor, you're gonna want hp. Which EC lacks.

  • #25 TreeBurrow

    Quote from Blacknsilver »

    You covered 1 situation (poke), so let's cover a few more:

    All-in fight: Wriggle's wins out by a lot because of the armor.

    You getting ganked: Wriggle's wins because you get an extra ward (2 extra potions=300extra hp at the very least) and more armor.

    Him getting ganked: Arguable, some champions (Jax, Lee Sin) get A LOT from having an extra ward on hand, I'd say this is 60-40 in favor of EC.

    You jungling/counter-jungling: Obvious wriggle's win.

    Dragon/baron: Wriggle's.

    TF: You'll usually have an ignite for important targets but let's say EC wins this by a bit.

    Actual item efficiency: Wriggle's is built out of cloth armor which many champions start out with. This means it's often much easier to build than EC. And the really big thing: FREE WARDS! How could you forget this?! If you buy a wriggle's at 12:00, that's an extra kill's worth of gold you're gonna have by the 30min mark! AND it saves time too in case you only want to B for that ward.

    What about the stats? EVERYBODY wants armor, very few champions want crit. If you don't want armor, you're gonna want hp. Which EC lacks.


    Apply all of these situations to an AD carry...

    All in fight: Your positioning should be so good that you don't NEED the extra armour

    You getting ganked: The support should be warding for you...

    Him getting ganked: You're not Lee-sin or Jax, The extra ward won't benefit you, instead, the grevious wounds from ExCa will help you burst down your target, cutting down the effectiveness of summoner heal, or a heal from their support...

    Jungling/Counter-jungling, Yes, Wriggle's would probably win in this situation, but should you really be counter-jungling much anyway? You're an AD carry, you should play safe and farm early game...

    Dragon/Baron: This depends... Wriggle's might let you kill the objective slightly faster early game, but ExCa will be a bigger increase in damage late game... The ward from Wriggle's ALWAYS helps, but the ExCa is really valuable if a fight breaks out... If your team is doing Baron, the armour might be more important, because your positioning isn't as good and you could get targetted easier... So IMO, ít depends a lot on what's happening, but we'll call it 50/50...

    TF: ExCa...

    Item Efficiency: ExCa, because you don't need wards as much, you don't rely on armour as much...

    Stats: You want Crit a lot more than you want armour IF YOU'RE GOOD AT POSITIONING

  • #22 Fatality101

    In laning, EC has the downside of drawing tower aggro.  However, it is one of the most cost-effective items in the game, even without the grievous wounds passive, giving large amounts of an overpowered stat (lifesteal), and can easily replace BT before you have enough gold.

    On bruisers, especially if you don't care about harassing under tower, it can also be an incredibly powerful item.  Sauron, the best Dominion player, often buys one to three of them on bot-lane Jax and other similar bruisers, for example (selling them later if needed).

  • #20 BlackphoenixSong

    It is quite strong on an AD Kennen top since he already has a strong harass. Although u might just want to stack dorans --> zeal--> phantom dancers-->mallet

  • #19 Uberbonisseur

    You forgot that Wriggle has... wards. Which is part of the tremendous cost efficiency of the item.

    The bruiser with Wriggle wins because he sees the gank coming.

     Seriously though, I tried to like the item really hard. It's still bad because it brings multiplicative stats; while Wriggles bring you basic stats. You cannot rush EC.

    Last edited by Uberbonisseur: 8/29/2012 9:56:46 AM
  • #17 SheriffV2

    But does that take into account a Wriggle's proc? A Wriggle's proc + lifesteal would give you a lot of hp.


    Personally, I just view EC as a counter to Trynd/Mundo, and even then I rarely build it. I've only ever really built it on lane-Warwick.

  • #18 DonYagamoth

    The Wriggle's Proc does not heal you anymore, they fixed that quite a while ago.

    But I think, the Wriggle's Proc can often outweigh the active+passive of EC. Especially if you want to push your lane, but do not have a lane clear.

  • #28 SheriffV2

    "Fixed"? I thought it was intentional, like how Spellvamp+Smite heal you. But then, I was surprised that the Wriggles proc healed at all, since I thought it was an extra magic dmg not added onto an auto-attack...

  • #29 Kantuti

    Proc used to do physical damage. It got nerfed a while back - hit couple of minions in a wave, 2k hp healed.

     

     

  • #14 Nusaik

    You forget Galio in your list of champions with built-in heals.

  • #15 OldManEyeBrows

    Haha. I knew I'd miss at least one.

  • #13 darksamurai0

    It all depends on what champ you're playing and who you're playing against. If you're going for a tanky top, you'll probably choose Wriggle's over as you won't need the crit bonus and Wriggle's gives you 30 armor and 23 damage. As for the "who you're playing against" part - pretty much all the ones with good sustain. Granted that you can get closer to them, of course.

    I wouldn't say that it's bad mid-late. It's not often that you get a full build (at least at my elo), so this item is likely to stay in your inventory till the end of the game (unless you decide to sell to buy something else). Still, the active is so underrated while it's amazing. Sometimes you cast ignite not for the damage, but for the hp regen/lifesteal/spellvamp reduction. I mean, dealing that few hundred damage over a few seconds wouldn't do much to a few Mundo. On the other hand, if you cripple his hp regen by half its amount, it's far more effective. So it's kind of a worse version of ignite. What makes it cool, though, is the cooldown. Imagine that you have a teamfight where you fight and then there's some chasing/running. If the first round of the fight lasts ten seconds, it's only ten seconds until you can use it again. And it's likely that Ignites will be burnt in the first round. That Swain will be sad when he sees his spellvamp from ult reduced. That carry will cry tears of despair when he sees that his BT doesn't give him back as much HP as he expected.

    It's all about team matchups.

     

    PS I don't like this post. It will make my game harder xD.

  • #12 DonYagamoth

    Nice post, I'm also someone who buys EC in some matchups. I think, there are 2 main problems with this item though:

    1) klvkboom already mentioned it: When to buy it? Technically it's an incredibly strong item in the laning phase. But in a direct fight, it's rarely as strong it's alternatives (Unless the opponent is reliant on regen/lifesteal). If the opponent forces you to have a direct encounter instead of a poke battle, you will most likely lose. Later in the game, it's even more situational than in the laning phase.

    2) It has the one big problem supports also have: It's too subtle. Hashinshin even made a post very recently about this "Player perception on balance, or, anything that does damage is clearly overpowered". People don't realize the massive impact this item has, because it's not an immediate impact.

    Want to counter a Yorick? Take any bruiser, get EC and shut down his sustain. Same goes against a WW or Irelia. It's about knowing when to use the active for maximum effect and trying to get auto-attacks off every so often to use the passive.

    Sidenote: Try it on a Nasus... You can outsustain anything once you survived long enough without falling behind - it's fairly funny Q-ing a minion and regaining 10-20% life ^^.

    Sidenote: (I personally think, supports don't have quite as much influence to the outcome of a match as other roles, but it's by no means a big difference.)

  • #10 guy420

    I tought this too a while ago and told myself "man this item will make tryndamere a lane terror again!".

     

    It didnt.

    Theres something beyond the numbers that makes this item fail hard.

  • #21 l3rowncow

    yeah its tryndamere lol

  • #9 inb4jelly

    ec is good at countering garen and malphite.

  • #8 klvkboom

    I've always known EC was a respectably strong item, primarily for AD carries, who easily utilizes the all of its stats effectively. Only real problem comes to "when should you buy it?". By looking at its cost, it looks strong as an early game item along with its stats being very cost efficient. Along with the active/passive, also good for early game where lane sustain is heavily appreciated, and extra poke is always nice. However, crit is somehow unreliable early game, and even though you can get some nice lucky hits during laning phase, the average damage increase EC gives you is actually pretty small seeing you don't have as much AD early game to begin with. Crit scales better with other items and so EC may not be the best first item investment if damage is what you're aiming for. Damage-wise, a pickaxe + vamp scepter would give you similar stats but more damage early game for nearly the same cost.

    But then there's the time later in the game where an important fight is imminent, you're quite low on gold so no BT, you're holding a vamp scepter from laning phase, what do? EC is great for making the best use of gold. Sure, it takes an important item slot, which could hurt you later in the game, but at that moment, if EC wins you the fight then it's well worth it. If you have IE/PD by the time you purchase it, then the damage increase is much more noticeable, as you have a decent amount of AD nearing ~200, 55% crit chance, 260% crit damage, and more AS. So the 15% more crit could amount to a substantial amount, more so than it would in lane. And of course, the extra lifesteal over vamp scepter is definitely a lot, and quite a substantial amount that can potentially turn the tides of a fight.

  • #16 kirillian

    Frankly, I've never bought it as an early game item. It's a phenomenal mid game item for charactes such as Jax or Tryndamere...really any duelists would take advantage of this, but Jax and Tryndamere really scale well with attack speed and crit (Tryndamere wants to limit how much he gets from items though as he caps quickly).

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