Are on-hit builds more viable now?
One of the new masteries, Spellsword, grants 5% of your AP in magic damage to each basic attack. That means that anyone can now add magic damage to their basic-attacks simply by building AP and taking this mastery. It begs the question of whether on-hit builds are something that can work now, and of how much an improvement has been made to already existing builds.
There are also two items with effects similar to Spellsword, Malady and Lich Bane. Malady has had its numbers tweaked, but its passive rework is the most notable change. It only reduces MR by 4, but stacks 7 times, as opposed to 6 with 4 stacks. This is weaker overall, however, magic pen is harder to come by, and MR costs more, so this change is justified. The damage is now this: basic attacks deal 15 + 10% of ability power as bonus magic damage. Oh-ho.
Lich Bane has also had its stats reworked (no MR, reduced cost and other stats), but its passive change is the most notable. Instead of dealing physical damage, it deals magical damage equal to 50 + 75% of your ability power. This means the flat damage added is less, but what it does gives is magic damage, which is better for mages. It is also easier to build (3000 g, path is Sheen > Wand > recipe).
Here are the questions I’m asking :
Is Malady better than Wit’s End?
To equal the 42 magic damage that Wit's End gives, you need 270 AP, and 180 with Spellsword (15 + 10% of 270; 15 + 15% of 180). But you need 171 if you have the 5% extra ap mastery. 25 of that comes with the malady itself. 6 AP and 1 ap per level comes from 21 offense masteries. If you have flat ap quints, that’s 15. If you're at level 6, then: 171 – 25 – 12 - 15 is 119 ap from items. Less if you got AP in glyphs or seals.
It takes a bit to get to 121 ap. But there’s a catch. And that is that Malady reduces MR. At 7 stacks, that’s -28 MR. But at this point it seems like a win-more condition, because you rarely get to land 7 hits on someone. If you do, they either die before that point anyway, probably from being cc’d that much. If you get more than that many hits and the person has a way to go, you or your team have a problem with your damage or with the person you’re hitting (i.e., they are fed and huge and probably going to tank their way to you anyway).
A bruiser or tank should almost always get Wit’s End again—it’s better to have 42 damage and 20 MR (which increases) than 17.5 damage + the ap ratio and to slowly chip away their own MR. 50% of 42 damage is 21. 17.5 damage, even with 0 MR, is still 17.5 damage.
Old Malady costs less, and simply gave 20. It was also easier to stack it. And so far, the penetration changes (see my last article at the end REFERRAL HERE) do not inspire confidence for this item.
On mages, here are comparable items in cost based on AP alone:
- Twin Shadows: 1900 gold, 50 AP
- Morellonomicon: 2200 gold, 75 AP
- Void Staff: 2295 gold, 70 AP, 35% magic pen
Attack speed generally is not beneficial on mages. If it were, Nashor’s Tooth would be built more often. You’re counting on using attack speed to reduce MR and get some MR damage. If you are mainly burst and not going for attack points, then these other items will clearly give you more damage. And Twin Shadows gives you 30 MR, 5% movespeed, a sweet active, and builds out of Pick. And it costs 1900, less if you count the Kage's Pick gold.
Can you make a completely new build out of it?
Based on the previous, no. Plus, on-hit is already hard to do because of the nature of on-hit, that is, getting a bunch of stacks and managing to hit someone over and over again. The better another player, the harder that is to do.
On-hit builds and their viability will not grow much, if at all.
What does the adding of Spellsword mean?
Spellsword is simply one mastery point, and falls naturally in the AP tree. It won’t have much benefit for champions like Anivia or Karthus, who will, at crunch time, literally never need to autoattack. It will help with last-hitting, though.
At mid or late game, every 100 AP means 5 damage in magic on every auto-attack. You'll have 1-3 in early game.
With that in mind, though it is a small change with minimal impact on the big game, I welcome it. Easier last-hitting is lovely and so is the extra damage on AP mids who will actually use their basic attacks, such as:
- Ezreal (yuck, though this probably strengthens him more than it does other aps)
- Fizz (though he is burst, he does require auto-attacks)
- Master Yi
- Twisted Fate
Optional: Ahri, Annie, Kass, Katarina, Orianna, Viktor, Zilean, Zyra. These people get auto-attacks in during early and even mid game, but in teamfights and later game a lot fewer, if it all. They too busy casting spells at that point. For these, I feel it’s a preference.
What about these champions?
There are some champions that you are probably wondering about. I’ll highlight a few of them here.
If you’re going AP, you’re all about doing your 3-time combo, not getting auto-attacks in, not enough to use Malady stacks. If you’ve got attack speed, you likely won’t have the AP to back it up and should just go Wit's End.
AD Kayle is better. Guinsoo’s Rageblade, Malady, and Spellsword make AP and hybrid Kayle better than last season, but with damage being cheaper and other nice damage toys to play with AD is looking better. I’d rather get Black Cleaver with her, wouldn’t you? After 4 hits, that’s 42% of the armor reduced. After 5, 45%. Then add 20 armor pen on top of that from the flat 15 and then 5 from Sunder. With that item alone, at 5 attacks, a 100 armor person would 35 armor vs. Kayle. Someone with 80, would have 24. That’s off that item alone.
Teemo still gets to get away with this, and this just makes him even less fun to play against. Malady at will if you're going to go enough AP. Just don’t rush Nashor’s Tooth.
Jax can get so many better items. He benefits more from damage than he does AP, and he’s not going to stack AP. If you want to try something new, get the new Guinsoo’s Rageblade, which gives a crazy activate when he goes below 50% health.
Because he’s a Lich Bane guy, and because of his ultimate, you could actually get this on him, but I’d get Lich Bane and Void Staff or Rabadon’s first so that your shield will hold and your stun will hurt. Otherwise, your shield will die, or even if it doesn’t, your 1-2 punch won’t be enough for your auto-attacks to finish them off. It is looking nice on him with Lich Bane and his Ult, though, don't you think?
Just not enough damage there. E and Q scale fully off physical. While you can get this and still kill a lot of people with it, it still won’t do as much damage as going AD.
On-hit: still not a thing
On paper, it looked very exciting, but it’s not adding to many champs. It’s a change that makes it better on the few that can actually do it, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The Spellsword mastery is nice on some mids, though.
As for hybrid, I do believe masteries are friendlier to it, so there is that. I am not sure much can be done with it, but perhaps this is the setup you should start from for thinking about what to work with.
Old Man Eyebrows
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