With the release of Athene’s Unholy Grail, there’s been widespread speculation among the League of Legends player base on its viability and which champions it should be built on. The use of new items aren’t always immediately clear to players when they are released, so I’m here today with the Thursday edition of #VVinning/A DIFFerent View to hopefully shed some light upon the Unholy Grail. I won't be stating how or when to buy this item, but I will be expanding on the cost and effects of the item so you can make better in-game purchasing decisions.
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If you look at just the base stats, Athene’s Grail isn’t a great item by itself. By buying this item, you gain 80 AP (1600g), 36 MR (555g), 15 MP5 (836g), and 15% CDR (500g), which means that you get 3336 gold worth’s of base statistics for the price of 2950. If you take mana regeneration out of the picture, you only get 2500 gold of stats for buying this item. This means that champions who buy the item only so they can utilize the stats conferred would probably be better off buying a different combination of items. For example, buying a Blasting Wand, Negatron Cloak, 2 Meki Pendants, and two Blue Elixirs would confer comparable stats to Athene's Holy Grail for 5 minutes for only 2880 gold.
If you disregard the stats of the recipe items as part of the item, we are paying 500 gold to combine the item and gain 30 AP, .5 MP5, 5% CDR, and 6 MR, which is 887 gold worth of stats. In other words, if you already had all three recipe parts it is worth it to upgrade to the Grail; however, it is usually not worth it to buy the item only for its base stats.
As seen in the table above, if you disregard mana regeneration neither of the base items nor the Unholy Grail are effective on gold alone. Even when mana regeneration, the items do not give stats whose worth is significantly stronger than their item's base cost. That being said, if you have already itemized stats that are regarded vital for your champion to have, Athene’s Unholy Grail will be an effective addition to your inventory; however, due to the poor stats conferred by the item it is probably not a great item to rush. The reason most players would buy Athene’s Unholy Grail is probably not for the stats, but for the unique passives given by the item.
The first unique passive of Athene’s Unholy Grail, the one that we are more familiar with, is that it increases your mana regeneration by 1% for every 1% mana that you are missing. In a previous post, TheBirdOfPrey found that at level 9, a Galio with Chalice/Grail will be able to cast 19 Q and E spells instead of 11 before he runs out of mana. The scaling of the mana regeneration passive effectively allows casters similar to Galio to use spells for 50% before needing to regenerate mana. At low levels of mana, the regeneration feature of Chalice/Grail is even more effective than that of the blue buff. Using the Level 9 Galio scenario assuming that the Meditation mastery is being used and equal mana regeneration, having a Chalice/Grail will be even more effective than a blue buff as long as he has less than 30% mana.
The Unholy Grail’s unique passive restores 12% of your mana pool upon a kill or assist. This passive isn’t quite as good as the regeneration passive because most casters will not need extra mana at the conclusion of a teamfight or after killing an enemy. If we continue to use the example of the level 9 Galio, killing an enemy will only give you an extra 80 mana, which is a bonus spell cast. Although it may mean the difference between life and death in some cases, you should not be buying Unholy Grail to utilize this passive; it’s one of those extra effects that are nice, but you will likely not use very often.
Conclusion and Opinions
Athene’s Unholy Grail is not a great item to rush because it doesn’t give that much to your survivability at early levels. For 2950 gold, the stats provided by this item are not justified by its high cost. If you need the mana regeneration and the mana regeneration passive granted by Grail, you will probably be better off buying Chalice of Harmony by itself, and upgrading to Grail later on in your build.
Despite the fact that it is touted somewhat as a defensive AP item, it is deceptive to think that the item will help you survive. Buying a Chalice of Harmony alone provides most of the defensive and sustain stats that Grail does, so upgrading to it will not upgrade your survivability by very much. If you are a champion that rushes Chalice such as Galio, you should get survivability like a Banshee’s Veil after buying your Chalice, rather than upgrading directly to Athene's Unholy Grail.
The extra unique passive that you receive for upgrading to the full Athene’s Unholy Grail (extra mana on assist or kill) is not worth upgrading directly to this item. At most, this is only strong situationally and should NOT be the first item you rush on your champion. It’s a great item, but the effects it gives just aren’t worth it for the cost.
TL;DR: Great situational item. A great addition to any AP caster, but not the best choice to rush on most champions.
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nbsp; By buying this item, you gain 80 AP (1600g), 36 MR (555g), 15 MP5 (836g), and 15% CDR (500g), which means that you get 3336 gold worth