Itemizing for Late and Really Late Game as Support in Preseason 4


No more PBE updates until the 5th! It’s quiet season.

A common trend has been for games to go late and for even supports to be able to buy late game items (if not fully loaded). Because of this and the fact that items haven’t been hit hard recently in the PBE (no guarantee that will continue though!), a review of items on supports or items for their late game, team fight ability might be of use. Sometimes, you’re not used to buying a full build but supporting someone. Some choices are obvious, but there is a lot of room for variation, especially in the 5th or 6th items on a long game. So, for the sake of the late game, especially for supports, let’s take a look.

Furthermore, at late game sometimes an item can be replaced. It’s not the majority of games but the percentage of games where I can buy an elixir or trade up for a better 6th item happens a lot. It’s unfortunate when a support has items that they can’t utilize effectively to do a support’s job.

Locket of the Iron Solari

This item feels underwhelming, but it is great for smoothing over and rounding out your stats, and is also strong in the early game and mid game against burst or in bottom lane (if it’s still laning phase, which will be unlikely). The problem is if an avalanche of huge folks like Dr. Mundo or Shyvana are coming down on you, you want crowd control, not a minor shield. It’s also hard for the average player to use well in team fights. Sometimes it’s an appropriate item, but it’s better to get something with a better active or with stronger offensive or defensive stats. Right now it’s a jack-of-all trades, which isn’t what you need at the late game, so swap it when you get to late and don’t build it if you know it won’t make a big enough difference.

Banner of Command

I like this one’s stats better than last year’s, but by the time you actually get this, it won’t be too helpful. If you’re mid you probably shouldn’t get it, and if you’re a support you’ll want to have purchased Sightstone and a money item before this time, where it’s needed. Waveclearing is more important now, and with supports being better able to do this a fat minion isn’t as good as he used to be. Not that he was that great in the first place.

Athene’s Holy Grail vs. Morellonomicon

While Morellonomicon is cheaper and has more AP, Grail gives you 40 MR and more mana for 400 more gold. As a support you’ll want this more. As a mid you’ll generally want this more. I’d only get Morellonomicon if you really need the passive or if you’re in a hurry to get the CDR and will swap it later. But in the late game, the 40 MR is almost always going to be better. Most of the time, even if the mid is physical damage, the marksmen and/or support will be piling on some magic damage too. Surely you’ve seen Leona putting heavy damage on squishies at late game.

Late game support Gold Items

Ancient Coin > Nomad’s Medallion > Talisman of Ascension is the usually the best choice for items. For one, it’s much easier to get gold with, and you can even benefit from defending turrets by yourself (the passive still hits even if a turret gets the minion or kill: the other two require a friend or enemy to benefit from). With Spellthief’s Edge and Relic Shield, circumstances can prevent you from maximizing the active and the gold generation abilities. This includes if you’re winning and enemies won’t come near you or your teammates won’t let you use your shield stacks while they try to outcs each other during pushing. Don’t forget, only one person gets it, and teammates don’t want to risk not being the one to benefit.

Lastly, the active on Talisman is much more flexible and easy to use, both offensively and defensively, and it supplies 20% CDR, instead of 0 or 10. If you go Spellthief and you want to get CDR, you’re almost always looking are more mana regen you don’t want.

When you choose one of the other two paths, especially Edge, you are saying you don’t care about cooldowns (probably not a good idea) or that you plan on supplying a lot of CDR from a different item. I would usually sell Edge by late game’s end, and rarely upgrade to Frostqueen’s Claim, and replace it with a different mana generating item. Face of the Mountain at least provides tons of siege power, some cooldown, and a shield and with hopeful AOE damage, but you’re committing to finding mana regen elsewhere or being conservative with how often you use abilities.

Spirit Visage

Awesome for so many people. Heavy MR, which is hard to get, not expensive, 20 CDR, which isn’t on many items, and the passive is great for sieging and works well for so many champs. This is why it isn’t surprising that nerfs for it are on the PBE. Even if the CDR is reduced to 10, it’s still going to be a strong choice.

Deathfire Grasp

Yes, even on supports. It can help others, but really it just takes enemies out of the fight (even if they live) and team fights happen much more these days. CDR is also more important in extended fights and games. Most supports can’t use this well, but those that can (Annie, LeBlanc) will get a lot of use out of it, even if it’s simply to make the other team afraid to defend or initiate.

Liandry’s Torment

This gets built a ton, even on Annie. With the nerfs to penetration in the offense tree, penetration becomes even more valuable. Plus it is strong against big, fat tanks, and goes well with cc, which is your job. Health makes you a little less squishy. One of the best AP items on a support.

Frozen Heart

A niche item. It offers no health, you may not need the mana, and a lot of frontline champions don’t suffer from the attack speed debuff (Dr. Mundo or Renekton, for example, who rely a lot on abilities). Marksmen will likely not be in range, and if they are, that probably means you’re in a good position, next to them, with them focusing on escaping. Spirit Visage is usually the go-to for MR, and that will give you your 20% CDR. Buy with caution.

Randuin’s Omen

Much more universally useful than FH. The debuff applies to about everyone, and you can chase and save with the active. I will even get this on a non-tank support like Karma if I find it necessary. The ability to kite with this when you’re already a kiting champion is tremendous.

Iceborn Gauntlet

I only get this if I know it will vastly improve a champion’s cc output, or if they’ll get the chance to use lots of procs. If neither of these happens, don’t get it. Also be aware of if enemies aren’t affect by it. A Nidalee, for example, isn’t locked down strongly by it, whereas Annie or Thresh will be.

Lich Bane

Again, niche. You already know if your champion has the ability to legitimately use this. If you’re desperate to backdoor or split push this greatly increases pushing power, and not just the damage. More mana means more to clear with and the movespeed lets you escape and splitpush more safely.

Mikael’s Crucible

It’s cheap! It’s tons of mana regen! It’s got MR that’s hard to get! And it saves people. It’s still not a one-size-fits all item, and you may find that increasing your cooldowns makes you better able to save people. Or, the other team might not really have that strong of cc, or your might have smart teammates. In any of these situations you’ll be left, strangely, with a useful item that doesn’t actually seem to have much use. Furthermore, you can get much better stats in Grail when it comes to the late game, which we’re evaluating. Still, it is the only item with the active that does what it does, which is heal and remove cc on someone else at the same time, and that, at times, can be irreplaceable. If you max your build and still have this, remember to replace it if you need to.


Good for pushing or making plays against really stubborn teams that defend with discipline, when you are pushing with discipline. Late game there will be fewer turrets. Late game you can afford Rylai’s, which has more of the same stats.


If this increases your cc output, lovely. If not, it’s better to get Liandry’s first, or even Rod of Ages, or get your AP and health on separate items.

Rod of Ages

You’re probably not going to need the mana from this, and would do better to get Liandry’s or Rylai’s.

Zhonya’s Hourglass

Awesome for if you are bait for the other team. Tons of two relevant stats for the late game. If you are a mage that functions similarly to mid, you won’t be saving others with this item but if you get the point where you can actually afford this, you’re likely going to be benefit from this and playing as if you should have one. If you want to act like you are a mid this is one of the most important items to get.

Spirit of the Ancient Golem

Good for mid game. The tenacity combined with Tabi is what makes this item great, and it’s an alternative source of mana regen. Medium power as an item though and junglers might get upset that you got it. Better to move on to Randuin’s and just live with Talisman mana.

Sunfire Cape

Sometimes I’ll see people build this against mostly ranged or mostly magic teams. If you aren’t going to be getting attacked at close range constantly, and you won’t be able to stick on someone with this without dying, don’t get it! Even on Leona and Thresh this item is sometimes a bad decision. Get Randuin’s instead.

Twin Shadows

With the new vision system, that active on this sucker is better than ever. The extra movespeed is handy for actually living. The biggest issue is it doesn’t supply mana regen or CDR, you need to put it good use if you finish it as one of your earlier items. Late game I might actually keep this for the speed and the active, but this depends a lot on the team compositions, builds, and which people are fed.

Will of the Ancients

There’s no aura on this item anymore. The spell vamp won’t help you much as your teammates will be getting the minions. You have other options for AP, CDR, and mana regen. Get Grail, Morellonomicon, or Talisman instead.

Banshee’s Veil

Occasionally. I’d only get this if you are becoming the obvious choice against an assassin like Ahri or LeBlanc, or if you are having trouble with an enemy Annie.

Abyssal Scepter

Supports won’t get to use this much due to needing to be in range, and it doesn’t supply HP or CDR. Liandry’s is safer for doing more damage personally, and there are a lot more safer and generally useful options for MR. I’d generally pass.

Guinsoo's Rageblade


Tear of the Goddess

If you can build this early without compromising your lane, perhaps you’ll get it fully stacked. This is unlikely and a Mikhael’s or Grail will probably serve your purposes better. If you’re thinking about Sona, she is indeed the best typical support to get it on.

Nashor's Tooth

Can’t see this being used much on a support that isn’t Kayle.

Wit's End

Unlikely. You have better stuff to use. Basic attacks isn’t usually something a support can do, even in Preaseason 4.


This is late game we’re talking about--you’re likely to get more AP or damage by getting a different item like Void Staff.


You gotta be carrying hard to use one of these babies. So if you’re not going to be pushing for high AP (as in 300-350 or more before the passive on this hits), it’s better to just get Zhonya’s or DFG.


On some tanks, you can pull this off or might be able to cramp a marksman’s style. Randuin’s or a Warden’s is much safer to start.

Warmog's Armor

We don’t see this much anywhere anymore, and you can usually get enough health from other items. I guess if you managed to go Shen or Mundo support and you’re in siege mode, you could use one of these as long as you have the armor and mr already.

Void Staff

If you’ve been reasonably farmed and have plenty of other AP items and know you can actually blow someone up, this is fine. Just make sure you can actually help your team and aren’t doing it to be greedy.

Guardian Angel

You’re flattering yourself if you get this without being stacked and able to push hard. If you buy this, and you aren’t able to push hard as one of the last two members of your team, you’ll look like an idiot, so get it so you can push afterward or so that you can bait the enemy for a victorious teamfight (make sure your team understands this).

AD Items:

Most supports will not be able to build attack damage items, and unlike some AP items, there isn’t much utility provided in them while providing no poorer defensive stats to you. The one exception to this is Zeke’s Herald, which should rarely be purchased. To use it you have to have a lot of your teammates get a lot of basic attacks down all while you maintain presence in the fight.

Items to buy the most for a finished build:

The late-game items you should be looking at most often for a support are Randuin’s Omen, Liandry’s Torment, Talisman of Ascension, and the obvious Sightstone, which didn’t require discussion (don’t forget to upgrade to Ruby when you run out of stuff to buy, and to switch your trinket to either drop pinks or clear wards). A support should still be a support. You can tank and you can do a lot of damage, but make sure your items help you do that while also giving you the ability to do your own job. You should about always be building at least one of these three (notable exception: Leona with Sunfire Cape and Face of the Mountain). For the rest, as good as some of them are, there is some flexibility.

Mikael’s Crucible, Twin Shadows, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Face of the Mountain, Deathfire Grasp, and Athene’s Holy Grail are also strong, but not essential items.

Best of luck in your late-game team fights! What’s been working for you? I hope your Christmas was good.


Old Man Eyebrows

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  • #24 Basinator

    Nashor's Tooth

    Can’t see this being used much on a support that isn’t Kayle.

    Wit's End

    Unlikely. You have better stuff to use. Basic attacks isn’t usually something a support can do, even in Preaseason 4.

    Karma OP. Dat passive!

    You mgiht want to note that VS > Deathcap. TBH I don't think Warmog's is great on anyone especially later in the game. Mundo's only hp-scaling is the costs of his abilities, although for Shen...his passive and his heal regen on others scale with hp, but his self regen on Q doesn't.

  • #22 tsuhume

    You need to talk about bt vs bork. Bork is clearly better in this meta but people are buying bt. I do not understand.

  • #21 Aposter

    I do wonder if randuins is gonna get hit one day.  Its too good for too many situations, and crowding out other hp items as a result.  

  • #19 Winterclaw42

    How viable is it to get an AD item or two on leona? Say a final build of sight stone, 2 defensive items, boots, one AD item, and an optional one (AD, tank, or supporty item here).

    Take BORK.  The active will help CC and the passive will help you whittle someone down in a manner that's friendly to teammates.  I never get it though unless I'm screwing around in a non-ranked game.  Also can frozen mallet or TF be justified on her?

    I also know it's probably a no-no, but I personally like getting Hydra on her, esp if I'm getting a sunfire cape.

  • #25 Basinator

    Why not TriForce instead?

  • #26 Winterclaw42

    TF is one of the options I was thinking about.  I think it's a little better on jungle Leona and I'd need to test more for support leona.

  • #16 TheIncapable

    Mana items: Downside: They give mana, you don't need more mana.

    No mana items: Downside: You don't get any mana from it.

  • #17 OldManEyeBrows

    This is more salient for the support items and I could have said it more clearly.

    If you get Talisman you are usually wasting stats by getting more mana or CDR. If you get Spellthief, you don't have CDR, ,which is exactly what that item would want, while still having mana, which any CDR item a mage gets will also have (I usually just sell it but it can lead to redundant stats for a while).

    Targon doesn't give you lack of mana, and the choices for mana after that don't usually mix well with tanks. If you get it with Alistar, do you get chalice? Tear? Gauntlet? What if FH isn't a good buy? This is a thing you have to account for. 

  • #15 nexttoradio

    I think you sell Mejai's a little short. Perhaps this is just because I'm in silver, but if my team has a reasonable lead I can pick up soulstealer and get 7+ stacks no problem. On a champion like Karma or Janna you can usually be pretty safe (unless an assassin has it out for you in which case I never get this at all). I generally end games that I buy this with 17+ stacks. I think on a safe support it's such a low risk for such a high potential reward. Additionally, most supports are so good at getting assists that a single ace generally gets 4-5 stacks.

    It's still a win-more item, but on a support, this can help you maintain relevance as a damage threat/ give you fat shields into the late game. I'd say it's better in solo queue than in any form of competitive environment, but solo is pretty much all I play.

  • #18 OldManEyeBrows

    A lot of people don't play support with that level of caution or skill, and this article is about the late, and late late game. Might as well get Rabadon's or Void Staff for more damage.


  • #11 dragonfells

    Oh, this is the article that I've needed ever since I've actually starting to get past the "obvious" early support items (boots sightstone talisman and... err.. here I get lost). TenQ. :D

  • #10 SummonerSupreme

    SUPPORT ARTICLE AT LAST . Glad to see this. I'd love to see the math on when morellonomicon is actually useful. How much healing I take away from a late game tryndamere or other BOTRK champs, how much mid game healing do I take away from a jax with BOTRK? I've always thought I should get the passive against heals of course but I want to know if it's worth while vs BOTRK champs mid and/or late game. Please let me know if an article like this exist or may in the future!

  • #7 Hyp3r1on

    butr but thresh hurts with Witsend D:

  • #8 Benegesserit

    Unlikely. You have better stuff to use. Basic attacks isn’t usually something a support can do, even in Preaseason 4.

    Note that he did say "unlikely" and "isn't usually". I'm sure Thresh is one of those examples where it's not the worst pick but honestly it's better on champs who can attack quickly to max the stacks ASAP. I've gotten it on Thresh when dominating already but it's not a common buy.

  • #6 Sinscar1

    You have dramatically undervalued Frozen Heart.  Having mana is always useful, and the attack speed debuff really helps to deal with enemy ADCs as well as attack speed oriented carries like Jax or Tryndamere.  Good rule of thumb - if they have 3 people who are auto attacking, get a frozen heart.  Also 20% cooldown redux is nothing to sneeze at, and it has 95 armor.

  • #9 Benegesserit

    He said niche and 3 AA reliant carries on the enemy team is definitely a rare niche situation. So yes, obviously good there but it had to be mentioned as a niche item because it DOES get bought too often when Randuin's is a far better choice against AD usually.

    Also keep in mind that the extra mana isn't very useful if you also have a another item with very strong mana regen that serves other important purposes (MR, AP, more CDR, useful active, etc). There are some supports where I can spam all day and never have mana issues if I'm using some other mana related items. So yeah FH is never something I'm going to consider if I need mana...only for the heavy ADC comp rare situations.

    Last edited by Benegesserit: 12/27/2013 5:29:23 PM
  • #12 Aeonx651

    oldmaneyebrow doesn't really show both sides of the spectrum (pros/cons) for each item. Instead, he appears to be targeting an audience that can't think for themselves. Each paragraph is heavily biased so any reader can understand what the correct choice in, in his eyes. 

  • #13 registermyaccount

    Well, to be fair if he was going to analyze each item thoroughly, he'd probably only be doing 1-2 items in an article. Similar to item comparisons like Sunfire vs. Thornmail, he'll be doing a bunch of math and stuff.

    Although that'll be interesting, I don't think the aim of this article is to show analytic proof of when an item is superior, but rather be a quick guideline for people who just want the info fast. After all, if you want both sides of each item, he won't be able to look at all of them here :)

    And of course, you can always do your own analysis and think for yourself too, right? (No sarcasm or anything)

  • #5 KKeegan

    Great article !

  • #4 Benegesserit

    MC still sucks because the active is a missle...I won't ever touch that again until they make it a targeted instant

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