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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