In Depth: Utility Tree

Introduction


Hello and welcome to A DIFFerent View, today I will be talking about the Utility masteries. Since the new masteries that were released many months ago, many people have avoided using the Utility Tree, or often won't go beyond 9 points in it. It seems that going far into the Utility tree is something only supports do. I think that the Utility Tree is rather underrated and even though it is not by any means the strongest tree, it is balanced with the others and should be considered more often. 

 

The Early Points


The first three rows of the Utility tree are pretty often used, because people will often go 9 points into it. When people do so they have usual masteries they take. These are the more common ones taken. 

Meditation

  • +1/2/3 Mana Regen per 5 seconds.

This seems to be the most used mastery in the Utility tree. It gives 3 mana per a 5 for 3 points put into it. When compared to Faerie Charm, this is 60 gold per a point, and when compared to Meki Pendant, about 55 gold per a point. However in order to take this mastery, you must first invest 3 points in Expanded Mind.

Expanded Mind
 

  • +4/8/12 Mana per level (+72/144/216 Mana at champion level 18) or +4/7/10 Energy.

This mastery gives mana per level or flat energy. Even though 216 mana could be valued slightly above 400 gold, this is 400 gold at level 18, which makes a small difference. The energy can be very useful on any of the 4 champions that can use it, because besides runes there are no other ways of getting Energy.

Summoner's Insight
 

  • Improved the following Summoner Spells: 
    Teleport: Reduces cast time by 0.5 seconds.
    Promote: Increases promoted minion's bonus defensive stats by 15%
    Flash: Reduces cooldown by 15 seconds.
    Clarity: Increases Mana restored by 20%.
    Clairvoyance: Increases duration by 2 seconds. 

Of all the masteries that effect summoner spells, I think this one is one of the worst. Promote, Clarity, and Clairvoyance are rarely taken in the first place, Teleport time being reduced by 0.5 seconds can be somewhat useful, but really isn't a big change. However it does effect Flash, the most common taken summoner spell in the game. Reducing the cooldown of Flash by 15 seconds can be very useful, especially because often times when someone uses Flash, so does their enemy. If only one of these people have the reduced cooldown, they could potentially use that 15 seconds to play aggressive and get a kill.

Improved Recall

  • Reduces the cast time of Recall by 1 second and Enhanced Recall by 0.5 seconds.

I can understand why this mastery is often taken. In a typical 9 points in Utility the other option is 0.5% movespeed, in terms of getting back to lane quicker the Improved Recall is faster than 0.5% movespeed.

Swiftness

  • +0.5/1/1.5/2% Movement Speed

2% movespeed is strong, but at the cost of 4 mastery points it is a rather big investment. But I like to think of it as a similar effect to Janna's passive. When you play with or against Janna, you start to notice that 3% movespeed can make a difference in chasing, escaping, trading, and even more. 

Runic Affinity

  • Increases the duration of shrine, relic, quest, and neutral monster buffs by 20% 

This is where the 9th point usually goes. On Summoner's Rift this only affects red and blue buff, but it adds 30 seconds to their duration, and 30 seconds of blue buff is an additional 150 mana plus 15% of your maximum mana. This mastery is much strong on Dominion where it effects Speed Shrines, the Shield Buff, and the quest Buffs. 

The Later Points


These are the masteries that take a bit more investment into the Utility tree. When taking these masteries you have to begin asking yourself if you need something in another tree more. Currently it seems that only supports delve this deep into this tree, but I think there are other champions that can use it as well. Let's take a look at some of the stronger masteries:

Transmutation
 

  • +1/2/3% Spell Vamp. 

This mastery is an interesting counterpart to Vampirism. 3% Spell Vamp may seem somewhat minimal, and on a lot of champions it may be, but it stacks well with other sources of Spell Vamp and can make the nerfed Spell Vamp items a bit more noticeable. 

Greed
 

  • Gain an additional 0.5/1/1.5/2 gold every 10 seconds.

This mastery is very interesting. 2 gold per 10 seconds starting at 1:30 in a game is 12 gold per minute and results at 222 gold at 20 minutes. This is about 3 free wards and even though it's not the greatest, it is still effective. The biggest problem with this mastery along with runes of the same effect is if you have full items this mastery doesn't really do anything except add a bit of gold for triple elixirs. 

Wealth
 

  • Increases starting gold by 20/40.

A very unique mastery that can increase your starting gold. With just 1 point in it you can start with Boots and 4 Health potions. Some people already wait in the base for a few seconds to obtain this, but this mastery allows you to help your jungler or even be a jungler with these items. The 40 gold can allow you to start with Boots, 1 ward, and 2 potions, which can be useful if you expect to be ganked early. I know that Alex Ich does this when he plays Ryze, a champion that somewhat commonly takes 21 in Utility. 

Awareness
 

  • Increases experience gained by 1.25/2.5/3.75/5%.

This mastery is somewhat mysterious and people don't exactly know its effectiveness. If you are in a solo lane with 4 points in this mastery and don't miss any experience early on, you will hit level 6 three minions earlier. These 3 minions however are seperated by a minion wave, meaning that you will likely have about 20-25 seconds of being level 6 before your opponent, which can allow you to zone them or even get an easy kill. On junglers this mastery isn't too easy to notice. If you do blue, red, and each small camp twice you will hit level 5, which can't be said without it. It's hard to come up with anything further because beyond that points you will likely be ganking if you already haven't, and the kills, assists, or even leeching from lane will affect your experience. I think it's good for the fact that maybe on a jungler you want to invest in Utility for other masteries, and now you don't jungle too much slower because of it. 

Strength of Spirit
 

  • Increases Health Regen per 5 seconds by 4/7/10% of maximum Mana.

This is somewhat of a missed mastery. In the old masteries it was much lower and in the defense tree, making it a mastery most people wanted. Now it involves a deep investment in the Utility tree, but it is still a very strong mastery on champions that plan on having a high mana pool. It gives an equal amount of health regen to a Regrowth Pendant once you have 1500 mana, something most champions can reach with just 1 mana item.

Intelligence
 

  • +2/4/6% Cooldown Reduction

Every tree offers cooldown reduction. This 6% is slightly better than a full set of Greater Glyphs of Focus (Flat CDR), and almost as strong as Enlightenment at level 18. The champions that are likely planning on going into Utility will also likely be building cooldown reduction, so make sure that you won't exceed the 40% maximum or at least not by more than a few percent. 

Mastermind

  • Reduces the cooldown of your Summoner Spells by 15%.

Mastermind is the final point in the Utility Tree, which first requires 20 points in Utility. First of all, let me say that I believe you should never invest in a mastery tree because of its final point. Choose masteries based on what your champion can use, but Mastermind does have a very unique effect that nothing else in the game can change. It reduces the cooldowns of your summoner spells by 15%. Because summoner spells have different cooldowns, here is a chart showing the difference in cooldowns that this mastery makes:

An important note is that certain masteries can reduce the cooldown of Barrier and Flash, these masteries are taken into account before Masterimind, if you combine these masteries, Barrier with have a cooldown of 89.25 seconds and Flash will have a cooldown of 212.5 seconds. 

As we can see, mastermind makes some nice changes to the cooldowns of your summoner spells. Most notably Flash with both Mastermind and Summoner's Insight will be up 52.5 seconds sooner that without. Also because I think that 21 in Utility is underrated on certain junglers, Smite being up 10-11 seconds earlier means that you can do wolves, Smite blue, do wraiths, then use Smite on red. All around a lower cooldown Smite can give you certain advantages over other junglers. The other final masteries give things that can be bought in game. Executioner gives damage which can be itemized, and Juggernaut gives health and a similar effect to Tenacity which can both be purchased. But lowering the cooldowns of your Summoner Spells is something unique to Mastermind. 

Being Comfortable with Your Champion


Something that I noticed is about the Utility Tree is it seems to be used by people that are very experienced with a certain champion. Ego Ignaxio goes 9-0-21 on Kennen, and InvertedComposer goes 1-10-19 on Singed, both of these players have over 3,500 games as their champion. Even if these may not always be the most ideal masteries on those champions in every game, I believe these players do so because they are comfortable with their champion. They know how much damage they can take or deal with these champions, and the Utility masteries became appealing to them because they wanted well, more Utility. 

The other important note is that unlike runes, masteries can be changed in Champion Select. Many people do not do this, and just have premade mastery pages they select. When in draft mode, take in consideration your enemy team, and what masteries could give you an advantage. Something like Indomitable can be very strong against damage over time, the earlier level 6 from Awareness may allow you to win lane, or perhaps the 3% lifesteal from Vampirism could be necessary additional sustain to stack with Doran's Blade. You have the opportunity to change your masteries based on match-ups, and yet many people don't do so. 

Conclusion


As I said before, I don't think that the Utility tree is some super strong tree that everyone should invest points in, but it should be used more often than it is now. Personally I've been enjoying going into the Utility tree on certain junglers and solo top bruisers, such as 0-9-21 on jungle Trundle or solo top Yorick. And also remember that there is no restriction to take 21 points in a certain tree, you can split up your masteries, I know that 1-15-14 is a common set up for tank supports. I hope this helps you in your future games and thanks for reading, I would appreciate it if you could upvote this below so more people can read it.

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