Why Exhaust is Sometimes Better Than Ignite

Exhaust is underrated, and I don't get why everyone thinks that it's only for the support and some jungles. Everyone gets ignite.

I've seen a few tops taking exhaust and thought "why don't more people take it?" I decided to try it more on some tops and also as a carry and am convinced it is a viable and underappreciated option. I'm not saying you shouldn't take ignite anymore--I'm saying sometimes exhaust might be a better option, while the consensus is that it generally never is.

There's not much to say on the matter for junglers and supports, as they tend to use it. Mids are bursty mages, and while champs like Karthus have a good reason to use it, ignite seems to fit AP mids naturally. Their job is to hurry and burst a target down, and ignite fits in with that. Exhaust won't help much as you generally simply blow all your abilities and hope they die immediately, and if they don't, and it's barely, you want ignite for a finisher. The 2.5 seconds of exhaust generally isn't enough to get you another spell in, and that spell won't do as much. So, for mid I can say I don't wish to make the argument you should take exhaust more. It's possible you should, but I can't see why personally. And what about top, or the ad carry?

Tops Taking Exhaust

At top my jungler loves it when I have this as no matter what champion I am, I have a good cc that helps us to both wail on him during ganks. A jungler has 3 lanes and another jungler to account for, and his exhaust should be on cooldown frequently. To say you can get on them and then exhaust them to get the gank started will get you jungle attention and more successful ganks. It can also save you as well, as a flash out can lead to another flash from the enemy champs, whereas an exhaust can function as a second escape in small fights. Usually it's 1-3 people and only one is chasing you or can make it to you. You're going down the river, running as much as you can and Amumu or someone else with some gap closer is trying to get one more bandage on you. If he's exhausted earlier, he won't catch up and have the chance to use it again.

Some people it's not going to do enough for, such as Jayce or Lee Sin, since they have some pretty stupid escape mechanics that let them get away from multiple cc. Other strong tops, like Vlad or Irelia, will have flash and perhaps one other mechanism up, but afterward are sitting ducks from a nice exhaust, leaving them sitting ducks.

People aren't used to seeing exhaust. They expect a top that will ignite and then flash away. An exhaust is great when someone tries to tower dive you as it gives you the ability to avoid them for another 2.5 seconds. That's 2 and a half tower hits while they are 40% slower. Meanwhile, you flash out or walk away, surviving and perhaps even getting the kill. I've seen this happen more than once.

Late game, when other people have like 3000 life, ignite just signals for them to stall or run when they might not know better. Ignite means you are all in. Exhaust usually means you're all in, but not necessarily, and even if it is, it can be too late.

Exhaust scales into late game better for that reason and more. It is more flexible, and it gives more to your teammates. Yes, 50% healing reduction is nicer than armor/mr reduced by 10, but a 2.5 second slow and 70%/35% less damage on an enemy is way better in team fights. One game, the carry went in on us and got exhausted by our support, so he walked out and was at the edge of the fight. He walked back in and I exhausted him again. The rest of his team lost way more health from our carry in the meantime. It was a 5v4 for about 6 seconds. That is a long time in late game fights where everyone crashes together.

Exhaust on the AD Carry

Straight up damage to damage...let's say two level 9 carries hit each other for 5 seconds, at a rate of 6 attacks each. They each have 170 damage and 19% lifesteal (3 from masteries, 6 from 2 Doran's Blades, and 10 from Vampiric Scepter). One uses exhaust, and the other uses ignite. Both have 60 armor. Both have the improved mastery for these abilities.

The champion that uses exhaust and is ignited will have reduced an enemy with reduced armor for 2.5 seconds and will have only 9.5% lifesteal from the ignite. So, 3 of these autoattacks will do 170 vs. 50 armor, the other vs. 60 armor, at a lifesteal rate of 9.5%. (113 x 3 + 108 x 3)(.095) = 663 damage dealt and 63 lifesteal.

The champion that is exhausted and uses ignite will get 5 extra damage from the mastery, but do 70% reduced auto-attack damage for half of those attacks. The first three attacks are 53 each, then it's 175 three times. Lifesteal is 19%. With 60 armor, that makes 34 on each hit and 111 on each hit. (34 x 3 + 111 x 3)(.19) = 435 and 83 lifesteal.

The champion with exhaust that gets ignited receives 435 + 230 from ignite damage and gains 63 life for 602 damage sustained.

The champion that uses ignite but get exhausted receives 663 damage and gains 83 life for 580 damage sustained.

That's pretty close. 

But that isn't really how carrying works, of course, they will both be doing other things. Late game, the carry does so much damage that I feel an ignite isn't always needed, or even helpful. Late game, the previous scenario happens more often but the attack speed is higher and the damage is higher and exhaust does more for you. Exhaust can prevent an enemy from getting away from the fight so they can't leave and then come back. An exhaust on a Nunu ult can save more than one team member's life. 

Exhaust vs. Ignite

Again, before you say something so hateful that VVinrar decides to joke about it in ADV chat and on this posts and make your epic hate comment, I'm not saying ignite is always worse. I'm saying people feel exhaust is always worse, and I don't feel it's that clear cut. Sometimes exhaust goes really well instead. So then, lists on both.

Reasons to take Exhaust:

  • You or your team need more cc
  • You want to play more safely (an exhaust means you + teammates are less likely to die)
  • You think you'll get dived a lot (divers tend to account for ignite when they go in more than they do exhaust)
  • You are aiming for mid/late game and teamfights more than 1v1
  • You're facing tough-to-kill champs who need to be safely focused and it's hard to just burst them. Examples include Anivia, Cho'Gath, Amumu, Shyvana, Jax, Nunu, and Singed

Reasons to take ignite:

  • You are trying to snowball (exhaust can also help with this, but ignite is a more aggressive move)
  • You or your team need more burst
  • The enemy has a lot of champs that are squishy, have great aggression/juke skills, or other assassins, such as LeBlanc, Shaco, Fizz, Talon, Teemo, Katarina, Kassadin, Akali
  • The team has too many heals / lifesteal / spell vamp mechanics, or more importantly, are superior to you at this
  • The team is more ability-based. Fun fact: a sheen that doubles will only do extra 65% of it's buff because of exhaust counting it as an ability, so the reduction happens twice--70% off of the attack, and then only 65% of the proc. That means a regular attack deals only 30% of what it dealt, but a sheen proc is reduced less--100 regular damage would only be 30, but 200 sheen damage would be 95 (30 + 65), which is not as big a reduction. That ends up being only half. Anyway, translation and usefulness factor means Corki with Triforce, bombs, and missiles is not affected as much by exhaust as Caitlyn is with just autoattacks and her passive, or a Graves who just got done using his buckshot.  

Also, remember that cleanse removes both, except the healing debuff on ignite.  

If you've taken exhaust as the carry or at top, let me know your thoughts. 

Best,
Old Man Eyebrows

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