The Bloodthirster vs. Blade of the Ruined King


Which to get?

FYI, BT = Bloodthirster and BotRK = Blade of the Ruined King, which are the only things I’ll be discussing today. Look how similar these items are. Which one do you get?! Why is BT recommended on most AD carries, but BotRK is recommended on Graves and more often on bruisers and melees? There’s a reason that BT is an AD Carry Item and  BotRK is a bruiser item.

But really, they are so similar at first glance. They even have a price difference of only 100 gold. Let’s review the numbers. From here on out AD = attack damage and LS = lifesteal. We’ll be talking a lot about those too.

The Bloodthirster: 3000g (650g) 70 AD, 12 LS. Passive: Gains 1 stack per kill, up to a maximum of 30. Each stack grants +1 attack damage and +0.2% life steal (max: +30 attack damage and +6% life steal). Half of the current stacks are lost upon death.

Blade of the Ruined King: 2900g (975g) 40 AD, 10 LS. Passive  (Unique): Your attacks deal 4% of the target's current health in physical damage and heals you for half the amount (120 max vs minions). Active (Unique): Drains target champion, dealing 150 physical damage plus 50% of your attack damage and healing you by the same amount. Additionally you steal 30% of their movement speed for 2 seconds - 60 second cooldown. (500 range)

At first glance, it seems like these are just both items that are about huge damage and lifesteal. And they are. But they serve different purposes.  

The most apparent difference is that BT is simple, and BotRK has an active and a dependent stat, that is, an extra 4% damage according to the target’s current health. This means that the damage dealt by BotRK is always varying, (except to Baron, Dragon, or Golems with more than 3,000 health of course, due to the 120 damage limit, 120 / .04 = 3,000) which makes it a pain to compare it to BT. This means the lifesteal will vary, too, as you are getting lifesteal for half of this bonus, + 10% to your regular damage. To boot, even though BT’s stats are flat, its stacks are not. ARGH!

So to start, I made nice little chart I’ve got about BotRK. It shows how much damage is dealt at certain health ranges. I then show the total damage that BotRK deals (40 + the passive), and then the passive damage bonus only, and the amount healed based off that passive. With this chart alone, you can calculate the damage difference between BotRK and BT.

Damage Blade of the Ruined King Deals By Opponent Health

Health Total Damage Passive Damage Bonus Heals from Passive Damage (pre-reduction)
3200 168 128 64
3100 164 124 62
3000 160 120 60
2900 156 116 58
2800 152 112 56
2700 148 108 54
2600 144 104 52
2500 140 100 50
2400 136 96 48
2300 132 92 46
2200 128 88 44
2100 124 84 42
2000 120 80 40
1900 116 76 38
1800 112 72 36
1700 108 68 34
1600 104 64 32
1500 100 60 30
1400 96 56 28
1300 92 52 26
1200 88 48 24
1100 84 44 22
1000 80 40 20
900 76 36 18
800 72 32 16
700 68 28 14
600 64 24 12
500 60 20 10
400 56 16 8
300 52 12 6
200 48 8 4
100 44 4 2


Damage wise, at 1,500 life, a BotRK does more damage than a fully-stacked BT. Any health above that and BotRK always does more damage. A 0 stacks BT does more damage only at 750 and below health. Again: if a BT has 0 stacks, it does less damage than BotRK if the target is above 750 health.

Lifesteal is a whole new ballgame, because lifesteal takes into account your total damage sources, not just the item it has. So, let’s say that BT or BotRK is your first big item and you already have 100 damage, then BotRK or BT adde don top of that.

For BotRK, you have 140 AD and 10 LS: 14 lifesteal from damage, plus the passive heal bonus as charted above.

An Unstacked BT at 170 AD and 12 LS has 20.4 lifesteal from damage. A half-stacked BT is 185 AD and 15 LS, for 27.75 lifesteal from damage. Fully-stacked BT is 200 AD and 18 LS for 36 lifesteal from damage.

In this scenario, an Unstacked BT gives as much lifesteal as BotRK at about 300 life, half-stacked does at about 700, and fully-stacked does at about 1,100.

The thing to note is that BT’s lifesteal scales better with more damage items compared to BotRK. If BT is on someone who has 200 damage from everything else, you go to 270, 285, and 300 AD in those respective stack scenarios instead. 270 and 12 is 32.4, 285 and 15 is 42.75, and 300 and 18 is 54. BotRK is 10% of 240, for 24 plus the passive. In this scenario, again using the chart, the equivalence between the two items for healing is bumped up to 400 instead of 300 on an unstacked BT, 950 on a half-stacked BT, and 1,500 on a fully-stacked BT.

The TL;DR which I’m putting in the middle of the article: BotRK is better as a sole damage source for tops and jungles, and BT is still mostly better on AD Carries. Summary on each item below.

When and Why to take Bloodthirster

  • BT is better if you are more dependent on abilities and not basic attacks. Renekton or Pantheon, for example.
  • BT is more reliable damage when fully stacked. You don’t have a varying amount of damage to worry about.
  • BT is better in lifesteal the more damage you get.
  • BT is better at killing structures.
  • BT is better at killing targets around 1,500 below at late game, and 1,000-1,200 below in mid and early game.
  • BT (because of above) is better at killing lane minions.

When and Why to take Blade of the Ruined King

  • BotRK is better at killing Dragon and Baron.
  • BotRK is better at softening up heavy targets, doing initial damage in a fight on full-health fatties. The more a champ is higher than 1,500 health, and the harder is he to get below that life point, the better BotRK is.
  • BotRK is easier to build. Pickaxe involved, but no BF Sword.
  • BotRK is better as a sole damage item, as it doesn’t scale better with other items the way BT does, making it generally better on tops and junglers.
  • BotRK has an active that is helpful for chasing people, making it a better dueling weapon.

I suppose the reason it’s a recommended Graves should get it is that Graves has a shorter range and is more durable, and thus will often have more need to get a lot of damage off on a charging 3,500 HP Olaf than other carries would.

Generally, bruisers and junglers should get BotRK and AD Carries and burst assassins should get BT. However, team comps, player skill, champ skills, and game situations (such as 70% of kills on the enemy top) can mean that the opposite is permissible or even desirable.

Steal life with aplomb, friends.


Old Man Eyebrows

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  • #62 TheDuriel

    i demand an update with the new changes

  • #61 BeastEye

    Some graphs here would be really useful, plotting both how much damage is dealt to targets per hp (tables just don't do well at comparing) as well as how much life is stolen per attack to AD, how much life is stolen in 5 seconds at x dmg to health including as well as another graph excluding the use of the active on BotRK.
    Visuals help keep the reader interested and give understanding, walls don't nearly as much!

    Other than that great post, thanks! =)

  • #59 Xyonon

    Kog'Maw? Ruined thing seems stronger on any ADC that focuses on Attack Speed or has a steroid. Like Trist or Kog. Also dat active :O

  • #60 Gameguy301

    i think most would agree that kogmaw has a love affair with infinity edge and phantom dancer, 55% crit benefits 100AD alot more than it benefits 40AD, keep in mind that the %hp does not benefit from crit even though it is physical damage. you are correct that on hit effects love attakspeed, but you are forgetting that AD benefits just as much from attackspeed as on hit effects do.

    as the conclusion of this article reads, ruined king is designed for people who will be building only a small amount of damage. if you plan on doing alot of damage your going to want something that scales better. (blood thirster.)

    Last edited by Gameguy301: 12/22/2012 3:45:38 PM
  • #55 Cerbereth

    I have been sort of dissapointed in Blade of the Ruined King. I was expecting it to be a good carry item, but in the games ive used it it feels weak, and doesn't seem to heal very much.

    I am gonna stick to Bloodthirster for pretty much everyone from now on.

  • #54 registermyaccount

    On Graves, why not BT and BotRK? You said that if you rely heavily on abilities, you should get BT, but I also understand why you would get BotRK on Graves too. So why not both? I can see a Graves build as: Boots, BT, BotRK, Black Cleaver, IE, GA. Pretty much you're replacing PD with BotRK, since PD isn't as good as it once was, and Graves already has an AS steroid.

  • #52 dumbitdownjr

    How are those old man eybrows?

  • #56 BuddyBoombox

    Agreed, way too young.


  • #45 RisingChaos

    I already came to the same general conclusion comparing the two items but doesn't the active on BotRK make it that much better in the general case? Even the champions that would lean toward BT on paper, I imagine that many of them would just as well buy BotRK and be equally good, if not better, because of the active ability.

    I know it was mentioned in the end as a bullet point "pro" of the item but without the math showcasing what it adds, I feel like it's not been as strongly considered as it should. How much more damage do I need to deal with BT to make up the lifegain not accounted for in BotRK's active? How many other (and which) damage items must I build before the DPS gain of BT over BotRK, say on oh I dunno Tristana because she lacks AD ratios, makes up for the extra nuke in a timely fashion? And there's really no measuring the value of successfully sustaining a kite/chase because the ranged slow+haste allows it, or the value of extra burst in some scenarios.

    TL;DR Where BT is better, BotRK is often just as good. Where BotRK is better, BT is rarely an equally good choice. What say you?

  • #46 MerryLane

    Just that BTRK has ALWAYS been known as a really awesome item but was eclipsed momentaneously by BC.


    Last edited by MerryLane: 12/19/2012 8:00:48 AM
  • #57 exacerberus

    Quote from RisingChaos »

    TL;DR Where BT is better, BotRK is often just as good. Where BotRK is better, BT is rarely an equally good choice. What say you?

    I'd say you're wrong: would you get BotRK over BT or Hydra on any AD caster or champions with great AD ratios? Short answer: no.

  • #58 MerryLane

    The long answer is :
    Yeah you "might" get BTRK.

    For instance, BTRK gives you a bit more of edge early/midgame, and gives a little MS boost/slow really convenient in teamfights. On top of helping when you wanna destroy an HP bag (Mundo, Singed, Olaf, Chogath...)

    But to give an answer that would stick to your argument, pick BotRK with another AD item. BotRK+BT for instance, or Btrk + LW/BC/... Thus the difference of 40 AD will be averaged, altough you'd still miss that AD.

    And even if you are an AD caster (let's say, Darius/Graves/Caitl/Talon...) you are also sposed using AA, weither in 1v1 situations, in some squirmishes or against Nashor/Drake.
    In plain 5v5 teamfights, you sure use less effectively your AA and thus BTRK's passive, but there the active can become priceless : slowing one guy of their frontline (rushing your carries) to close the gap to one of their carries is REALLY helpful.

    Long story short, there are situations in some games in which you gain a huge advantage because you had BTRK.

    Last edited by MerryLane: 12/20/2012 11:19:54 AM
  • #41 lazorexplosion

    Great article, another very useful comparison.

  • #38 vicious2500

    I'm curious for a champion like Riven would it be better to rush BT, BotRK or Hydra?

  • #39 sgtcolon

    I don't really play Riven much, but considering how ability reliant she is and that almost all her skills scale well with AD. I'd guess BT makes the most sense for her. BT/BC seem like they'd be pretty core items.

  • #40 MerryLane

    I think that Riven is a champion that is either ON or OFF.
    If you win with her, almost every build makes you snowball hard (unless you go AP xD)
    But mostly, Riven likes stacking AD, and then there is no discussion, a stacked BT wins over all.

    Altough, you could viably go for Hydra or BotRk under some circumstances.
    Generally when you can't back with enough gold to grab a BT, you go pickaxe and then choose according to your need.
    You must know that both Hydra and BotRK are better if you plan to get tankier items (because you are behind and your team can carry you), and also BotRK is more viable when you jungle (because you can't always stack BT) and because it adds "directly" an extra burst and a slow.
    A bit the same for Hydra, you can chomp a bit faster camps with your aoe or splitpush quickly a lane when you don't have this "overfed" mode you are likely to have on toplane (less levels, less ad, so you can't always QWE a full wave)

    But most of the time, don't think, get BT

  • #48 vicious2500

    She's my favorite top and use her jungle at times to. Since the new items came out I haven't built bt on riven, I've replaced it with hydra and was wondering if it were a good choice. The thought of being a full AoE off tank was cool. This article really sparked my interest in blade never thought about using blade when jungling thanks. I generally start rejuv bead, flask and ward. Getting a vamp scepter when I b to have sustain and if fed a brutalizer to start BC. After completing my brutalizer I'll finish my boots and start my GA for tankiness. So I can initiate fights if need be then I'll finish either hydra or BC.

    So I guess I'm wondering my 4 & 5 items would it be better to go blade instead of a BT if being tanky the active sounds good on an ADC/AP. Then a defensive item for 5th item giving u 3 offensive and 2 defensive. So many choices seems nice not to be forced to rush bt or go wriggles for sustain now. I go tankier not because I'm behind but in my experiences its better to do so since its hard to carry a team yourself

  • #37 Migotliv

    I needed an article like this. Now I know when and on whom to go BT and who prefers BotRK.

    The conclusions drawn are the best part, really. If you just remember that BT scales better with more items while BotRK is better as a sole damage item, you're already off to a good start.

  • #34 Laviian

    He did mention crit and attack speed. Use context.

    He says,

    "BotRK is better as a sole damage item, as it doesn’t scale better with other items the way BT does, making it generally better on tops and junglers."

    "The thing to note is that BT’s lifesteal scales better with more damage items compared to BotRK"

    What are more damage items...CRIT and Attack speed.

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