It’s been a while since I evaluated game items as a whole and it’s time to take a new look with a lot of experience behind us. Let’s take a revisit. Keep in mind that these items are assuming that you are playing with smart masteries and runes, and in teams where your teammates are doing their roles. Using too many offensive or defensive items on the, shall we say, inappropriate role only works when your teammates or their teammates aren’t doing their jobs right.
The tiers are loosely based on necessity. How likely is a team comp going to need this item? What is the number of champions that greatly benefit from it? What are the number of champs that pretty much have to get it? How often does this item show up in a game, i.e., if there is a game, what are the odds that this item ought to show up on one of the ten players?
Awesome items. Is highly efficient and/or a good fit in the meta. Sometimes entire roles always get these. Plenty of champions always want this. Meta-defining items.
Zhonya’s Hourglass / Seeker’s Armguard: you almost always get this as a mid. Zhonya’s is usually better than the other NLR items. Even if there isn’t a Zed at mid or something, you get it for survival and to deal with diving, carries, bursts, and more. And Armguard is 1,160 and can be purchased in increments of 300, 435, and 125. Then you build stacks and it gets you 35 AP and 45 armor all by itself.
If you’re an ap at top, you pretty much would always need armguard too, even if you don’t finish it.
Tear of the Goddess: good on a lot of champions right now, some mainstream and some not. For those that get a lot of use and are strong, it’s a very important item. Highly efficient and needed to be nerfed. For the people that use it, it’s very valuable.
Manamune and Archangel’s after aren’t bad either, though not necessarily required finishing.
Blade of the Ruined King: Probably the strongest item in the game right now. Sustain, damage, and a powerful active, with a smaller one that you get through Cutlass before you’ve even paid for half of the full item. Almost all AD Carries get this item at some point. Much of the meta revolves around this item, to the point I’ll have to keep mentioning it.
Infinity Edge: this item does more for total basic attack damage than any other item for carries; by the time you get six items you should have one of these (unless you’re blue).
Randuin’s Omen: because of Blade of the Ruined King, this item is the best purely defensive item in the game right now, the most universally applicable. You still get your health, it is one of the strongest armor items, and it has utility for your whole team through its active and passive. Late game, the reduced attack speed helps you to escape and endure carry fire.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem: 2,000 gold for 500 health. A Giant’s Belt costs 1,000 gold and gives you 380. And you get the cooldown, regen, and tenacity. An absolute steal, and something almost every jungler should get. But this is old news.
Aegis / Bulwark: this item is not as necessary as it used to be, but still very useful. Bulwark is much more situational: if there is only one AP and he’s weak, or if it’s an all AD team (much more common these days), the 800 gold is kind of a waste.
The rest: Sightstone / Ruby Sightstone, Last Whisper
Good items, but not on everyone. Most items fall in this tier. Usually not a bad idea to purchase these; only bad if it’s on the wrong champion or against the wrong team.
Iceborne Gauntlet: not for everyone, but everyone that does use it benefits from it insanely. Ezreal, Gangplank, Yorick, Hecarim…it’s one of the few items that offer both offensive and defensive benefits, and does a good job of it (unlike, say, Atma’s).
Spirit Visage: if/when this item gets buffed it will become a must-have on top-laners. As it is right now, it does a great job of complimenting some champions who really need both MR and CDR. The Health and the passive aren’t usually the reasons why this is purchased.
The rest: Athene’s, Archangel’s, Doran’s Shield, Guardian Angel, Black Cleaver, Liandry’s Torment, Lich Bane, Locket of the Iron Solari, Madred’s Razor, Morellonomicon, Phantom Dancer, Rabadon’s, Tiamat / Ravenous Hydra, Rylai’s, Statikk Shiv, Sunfire Cape, Sword of the Divine, Bloodthirster, Twin Shadows, Void Staff.
Hit and miss items, typically optional, mostly not required. Is possible that you can need something in here, but never as a core item and rarely your only choice, usually situational. “Filler” items. Niche items are in here.
Wriggle’s Lantern: think of it this way. Between Razor and Lantern’s build, it costs 1300 gold to get 25 damage and 15% lifesteal, the ward, and 40 more damage per hit on monsters.
While that’s not bad, there are two scenarios here.
First, you could get a Bilgewater Cutlass instead for about the same price, and then have something better to do with it.
Second, it’s bad case vs. bad case. If you rush the Lantern, you won’t have needed health or perhaps MR for when you’re doing ganks. This will leave you squishy and possibly vulnerable. If you get early kills and start to snowball want to use the wards to even further dominate the other jungler, fine, but that’s not the usual case. If you don’t rush it, you won’t need the wards nearly as much when you decide to go back and finish it.
And again, Blade of the Ruined King.
Abyssal Scepter, Banshee’s, DFG, Frozen Heart, Hexdrinker/Maw, Hextech Gunblade, Quicksilver Sash / Mercurial Scimitar, Nashor’s Tooth, Rod of Ages, Shurelya's, Spirit of the Elder Lizard, Spirit of the Spectral Wraith, Thornmail, Trinity Force, Warmog’s Armor, Will of the Ancients, Wit’s End, Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Wriggle’s Lantern.
Junk; another item is almost always better. The worst of the worst.
Guinsoo’s Rageblade: Blade of the Ruined King. Nashor’s Tooth. Hextech Gunblade. All much better options.
Frozen Mallet: this item doesn’t help much with damage, is inferior in what it offers defensively, and the new item sets and meta leaves us with champions who don’t need this and champions who can deal with it easily. Phage isn’t as bad, but is still a bad idea. It’s not really for tanks and it’s not really for damage-dealers. A Randuin’s can slow. A Warmog’s gives you way more Health. A Blade of the Ruined King has a slow activate. Just get that.
Atma’s, Banner of Command, Executioner’s Calling, Guinsoo’s Rageblade, Frozen Mallet, Guinoo’s Rageblade, Mikael’s Crucible, Ohmwrecker, Runaan’s Hurricane, Shard of True Ice, Zephyr, Zeke’s.
The strongest items in the game
Seeker’s Armguard / Zhonya’s, Randuin’s Omen, Spirit of the Ancient Golem, Aegis of the Legion/Bulwark, Sightstone/Ruby Sightstone, and Last Whisper are the strongest items in the game right now.
Look at these. They are what the game is built around right now, and the best champions use these items the best. The ones that use them less effectively less so.
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