Does Archangel’s Staff need a buff?

Does Archangel’s Staff need a buff?

Today's article is a remake of the first article I ever wrote for A DIFFerent View, originally published on January 11, 2012.  Since most of Reign of Gaming's audience hasn't been following us since we started theorycrafting, I’m going back to the basics of A DIFFerent View -- item theorycrafting -- to show the efficiency of Tear of the Goddess and its recipe upgrades.  From this, I conclude that Archangel’s Staff is simply an inferior item for the current metagame especially when compared to its base item Tear of the Goddess and its sister upgrade Manamune given the other options available for AP carries.

Revised ADV statistic efficiency numbers

The metrics of gold efficiency are derived and calculated from my Item Efficiency Spreadsheet, which has been a top item mathcrafting tool for more than 2 years.  The original version of this article was calculated using DiffTheEnder's original item efficiency numbers which we have internally determined to be less accurate than the numbers that I use.

Tear of the Goddess

Most players will agree that if a tear is maxed out, it’s one of the most gold efficient items in the game. But why is that? With 0 bonus mana, you are already receive 95 more gold of stats than you paid for.

(2 gold/mana * 350 mana) + (57.86 gold/MP5 * 7MP5) - 995 gold base cost = +95 gold efficiency just from Tear.

If you reach the maximum bonus mana from the item without upgrading it, you get a whopping 1350 mana, which is equal to a 2700 gold value. Add on 490 gold for the value of mana regeneration, and you’re getting 3090 gold’s worth of stats for an item that only costs a measly 995 gold. Even if you don’t factor mana regeneration into the calculations, you end up getting almost three times the price you paid in stats. How cool is that?

With the massive mana boost for the low cost, it's a no-brainer purchase if your champion's build requires the maximization of mana. Even disregarding mana regeneration from Tear of the Goddess, you can get almost 3x as much mana that you paid for, using to the cost efficiency ratio of Sapphire Crystal (400g/200MP).

As if Tear of the Goddess wasn’t good enough, Riot was even nice enough to put into the game two convenient upgrades for that give you attack damage and ability power.


In my analysis of Manamune and Archangel’s Staff, I’m going to show the gold efficiency numbers excluding unique passives before calculating the full efficiency of the item. As calculated in the previous section, the base statistics of MP and MP5 give a gold value of 1090 gold. By adding the value of 20 damage (733 gold) and then 7 bonus damage (257 gold) from Manamune’s unique passive we arrive at a base efficiency of 2080.06 gold

Let’s stress that number again. You get 2080 gold’s worth of stats for a 2110 gold item BEFORE the unique passive is applied. By extension, in order to break even with the base cost of manamune your champion needs to have 50 mana to get your money’s worth out of the item. This leads us to an easy conclusion: anytime you buy a manamune on a champion with mana, the benefits of the item will always be justified by the cost.

But how efficient can a manamune be if used to full potential? On an Ezreal (1045 MP @ 18) with manamune (1350 MP) and trinity force (250 MP) you will end up with a 2645 mana champion. This translates to an extra 53 damage from the unique passive alone, or a total of 73 damage from Manamune. This rivals the amount of damage provided by top-tier damage items like Infinity Edge and Bloodthirster while minimizing cost. In a more extreme example, the pre-rework Ryze with manamune/FH/BV/TF could receive a bonus of 100 AD just from this one item. Not bad, eh?

Disclaimer: In the first edition of this post, manamune Ryze was an optimal build for damage output. This is no longer true with the rework, so you can no longer get +100 AD from manamune without sacrificing damage output on any champion.

Archangel's Staff

If you are one of the rare readers who reads everything in ADV blog posts, you may be able to infer that Archangel’s Staff is also very gold-efficient; however, I believe that while the item is decent on paper, it isn’t quite on the same level of effectiveness as the other two items. Starting with the item’s basic stats:

(2 gold/mana * 400 mana) + (57.86 gold/MP5 * 25 MP5) + (20 gold/AP * 45+12 AP) = 3332.75 gold of stats

Using the calculation that the base stats of Archangel’s Staff give 3333 gold (disregarding champion base mana, we’re already 478 gold ahead when we buy the item from scratch; however, this is a deceiving number in that almost 1400 gold from this figure comes from mana regeneration – in reality, disregarding the significant MP5 benefits you only receive 1700 gold’s worth of stats in effective benefits. While the ratio of non-MP5 stats to the cost is not significantly different from the other two items, AA also costs a lot more – this means that you are losing out on more when buying the item from scratch.

In addition, Archangel’s Staff doesn’t scale quite as well as Tear of the Goddess and Manamune in the late game – refer to the table in the section below.

Is Archangel’s Staff Too Weak?

What I noted above isn’t a core problem with Archangel’s; all tear items scale well into lategame. I see three main problems with the Archangel’s Staff in the current state of the game:

  1. Given a scenario where you have a maxed out Archangel’s and a level 18champion with 1300 base mana, you only receive 81 AP, or the equivalent of a Needlessly Large Rod. This provides around the same AP as most other top-tier AP items; while AD champions have a much smaller pool of effective item choices, there aren’t great reasons for AP champions to upgrade their Tear of the Goddess to a full Archangel’s Staff especially given that there are more viable item choices for damage.
  2. There are simply too many choices right now that give around the same ability power bonus as Archangel’s Staff, the only reason that you should it is for the mana bonus; however, just buying Tear of the Goddess for the mana bonus should satisfy that requirement. Additionally, Rod of Ages is a choice that rivals that MP and AP bonuses for a similar cost. At the same time, mana for AP carries doesn’t scale with game time while the AP bonus does, which means that the effectiveness of the item doesn’t grow exponentially over time like with Manamune.
  3. AP carries usually have a reliable source of mana from blue buff past the 7 minute mark since most junglers now give their blue buff away. There’s no need for the extensive MP5 bonus conferred by Archangel’s, which means that a huge portion of its benefit is rendered useless by the current metagame. This gives a disincentive to buy the item: the only advantage from AA over other items is mana, but this can just easily be replaced with blue buff.

Final Thoughts

TL;DR: Read the entire blog post, not just the table.

No matter how you look at Tear of the Goddess, it's a great item that cannot be beaten in terms of its core gold efficiency -- there is no other item in the game that can give you a better ratio of stats for its cost. Similarly, Manamune is also a great situational item that becomes one of the strongest AD items over the long run. Although some other items may be stronger in overall gold efficiency such as RoA/Rageblade, they require a much greater commitment of resources in order to achieve similar efficiencies.

In the current state of the game, Archangel’s Staff is only a decent last item on most AP carries because it isn’t strictly gold efficient until you’ve maxed out your (mana-based) build, and even then it’s a bit of a “meh” item because it doesn’t give great late-game benefits apart from AP. In the current state of the game with so many powerful AP items to choose from, I believe that Archangel’s Staff is underpowered and needs a slight buff to bring it up to par with other options in the game. Despite the fact that the stats decently strong on paper, it simply does not scale as well as originally designed and there is no longer a great reason to rush the item given the cost-benefit.

In closing, I firmly believe that Archangel’s Staff could be made viable with a slight rework. Keeping the original design of the item in mind, slightly increasing the unique passive bonus (to 3.5%) and decreasing the mana regeneration bonus would give a good incentive to buy the item again.

And finally, I'd like to make a minor announcement: Some of you may have noticed that in the last month or so, I've been using a lot of guest posts; this is because I have been travelling/on vacation since June and exhausted my archive of prewritten blog posts. I'll be coming back to the United States next week and this will allow me to make original content, rather than relying on co-authoring and editing guest posts. This also means that I’ll be able to play LoL again (yeah, I’ve been blogging about a game I haven’t played for 2 months) so I’ll have some fresh ideas inspired by my gameplay. 


Thanks for your continued support in the last few months in making me the 2nd most popular blogger on Reign of Gaming (and the world!), and stay tuned for great OC from me next week.

Due to requests from some readers in PMs and on my Facebook, I injected some of my own opinion into today’s blog rather than maintaining a neutral viewpoint.  I would really appreciate if you commented below and/or message me on Facebook/Twitter on whether you like having opinionated or neutral blog posts from me.

Source of item screenshots: Leaguecraft

For more of my work:

-- Find old posts @ the RoG forums and new posts every Thursday.
-- Find my Item Efficiency Spreadsheet at

-- Feel free to find me in the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom on the NA server.
-- Contact me at [email protected]
-- Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.


rsquo;s Staff in the current state of the game:



  • #22 gouv1

    "Given a scenario where you have a maxed out Archangel’s and a level 18champion with 1300 base mana, you only receive 81 AP"

    You only receive 81AP from the passive +45 flat that makes 126AP in total

  • #21 EuWGasgano

    so after this manamune is pretty op on urgot? i never bought it because i was so busy rushing frozen heart, guardians angel and after that you lack the dmg so you had to build last whisper and maw. should i change something and delay my early power for a better lategame?

  • #20 RisingChaos

    How do you justify ignoring the cost efficiency of the mana regen of these items yet count the flat mana? Except for the purposes of AD/AP conversion from Tear's upgrades, there's no functional difference between the two: they both serve to increase the amount of mana you have with which to cast your spells. If anything, mana regen is more valuable through most of the laning phase. It's still not entirely worthless lategame, as in extended tower sieging or baron stand-off scenarios in addition to freely using spells to push lanes more quickly. It's not like the opponent is going to wait for you to back and recover mana if you run low.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the premise of this article but it's not because of the stat budget AaS ties up in its mana regen. The problem is two-fold. Mana is only useful insofar as you actually spend it. AaS was always a fringe item to begin with, as RoA has always been around and usually gives you "enough" mana while also having gobs of health. Then for the really hungry casters, Grail came and simply fills the mana-overload niche better. The extra 30-50 AP from AaS simply can't compare to Grail's MR and CDR.

    The other problem is that Tear simply makes you very weak in lane, making it a hard sell early yet the build-up mechanic requires it. Chalice will give better mana sustain and has MR. (It also builds into a better endgame item.) Double Dorans is similar mana power but adds health plus 30 AP. Rushing Sorcs gives you generally superior mobility (avoiding ganks, dodging skillshots, aggressive positioning, roaming) and damage against enemy champions probably equivalent to 40-60 AP. Tear... doesn't really do anything until after the next recall when you come back with substantial bonus mana built up. The base level mana/regen is nothing special and it improves neither damage nor survivability. And the kicker? Tear is the most expensive of these options.

    AaS is still your third-highest damage item, behind Deathcap and usually Void Staff. But most AP casters don't have the raw DPS to make building glass cannon desirable on the same level AD carries generally do. Of the few that do, WotA is a bigger necessity for the spell vamp (as BT is to lategame AD carries) and only Cass doesn't need to itemize CDR. That's not even counting a potential Lich Bane. It's just very difficult to ever justify making room for AaS in your build... so yeah, it could probably use a buff to make it more attractive. Too bad increasing the AP is about the only way to do it without stepping on the toes of another item.

    Also, I wish people would get off the blue buff bandwagon as justification for ignoring mana and CDR on items. You only get 60% uptime on your team's jungle buffs, with the mastery. Even assuming it never gets stolen nor do you die with it (and you're the priority buff holder), do you think if you're staring down the enemy team in that other 40% of the time they're just going to wait for it to respawn before engaging a teamfight? Hell no. I think since the mana regen nerf many people have noticed it's just not quite enough by itself anymore, however many players are still too reliant on it for CDR.

  • #23 Dredbr1nger

    "Also, I wish people would get off the blue buff bandwagon as justification for ignoring mana and CDR on items. You only get 60% uptime on your team's jungle buffs, with the mastery."

    Exactly why I love Athene's Unholy Grail.  That, combined with Archangel's Staff, solves all needs for mana and some CDR itemization.  This helps greatly when I play Kassadin.

  • #17 Ykoops

    So the one benefit Archangel's provides over Manamune, the % AP gain is not unique. 

    4x Archangel's + Rabadons = 1000+ AP, just saying. 

  • #18 mrobert5

    Quote from Ykoops »

    So the one benefit Archangel's provides over Manamune, the % AP gain is not unique. 

    4x Archangel's + Rabadons = 1000+ AP, just saying. 

    No one builds shit like that. That's a troll build, through and through.

  • #24 Sheldor73

    It not troll on AP Kog, just saying

  • #25 mrobert5

    One Archangel's on Kog is fine. Four? Who the hell seriously does that?

  • #26 Sheldor73

    Someone with perfect positioning who just wants to optimise damage

  • #27 mrobert5

    Perfect positioning is never going to happen, and that is a reality people need to face and prepare for. Stacking Archangel's is pointless and will end with Kog being instagibbed in the beginning of every team fight. He has no escapes, and, with QuadraAA's, no survivability. The only thing he has is range. But what happens when you get found in the jungle? Instadead, free enemy baron. And every jungle on the face of the planet will stalk your lane.

  • #28 Sheldor73

    So how about 3 AA then? The whole point of AP kog is massive range through his ultimate; does he really need that much survivability?

  • #29 mrobert5

    Ehh... It might be better to take 2 AA and a Rylai's/RoA, because of Kog's natural lack of escapes. Unless you take Cleanse/Flash or Ghost/Flash.

  • #16 clutz1

    Problem with Buffing AA: Ryze.

    Here is what happens if you buff AA's stats (reducing its combine cost would be fine, probably). Ryze goes: Tear>Cata>ROA>Glacial>FH. This is going to be  725 mana on RoA, 1350 mana on Tear, 500 mana on FH. The 3% is worth  77AP, or 30 Damage on Q, 46 on W, and 27 on E. Then that gets worse when you consider his inherent mana, and the inevitable Banshee's Veil...

    Buffing AA would require a Ryze rework, which would ruin Ryze's uniqueness.

  • #12 buckx
    Honestly, I think a lot of the problem is that huge amount of mana stat. It's so over the top for pretty much everybody but Ryze/Karthus/Anivia, but it can't be simply ignored when balancing it. I would love to see them kick up the base mana by 100, drop the tear bonus to 500, drop the cost of tear to 750, and up the scaling to 3.5%. The reduced cost of tear would of course drop the price of AA and MM by a bit. AA could indeed drop some of that regen as well to make up for the scaling buff.
    Last edited by buckx: 8/20/2012 1:06:00 PM
  • #10 Tyranomaster

    I do have a question about this though.  On Ryze, shouldn't you upgrade it about 2/3 of the way through your build.  At 3000+ mana, wouldn't archangels provide enough AP to be cost effective?

  • #13 corallein

    Compared to what though? Finishing AA from Tear is ~1900 gold and will give you about 135 AP. Yes, it's a good chunk of AP, but let's see what else you can get:

    Void Staff is 2300 gold and gives 70 AP and 40% magic pen, which is far more damage for only 400 more. Abyssal Scepter gives 70 AP, 57 MR, and 20 magic shred for about 800 gold more -- roughly the same damage for yourself, more tankiness, helps your team, but slightly more expensive. Finishing a Frozen Heart from Glacial costs only 1200 gold and more than doubles the armor and gives a -AS aura. Or you could save another 700 gold to buy a Guardian Angel.

    So if you only cared about damage, you wouldn't upgrade to AA, you would buy a Void Staff; and if the enemy isn't building any MR, you would buy an Abyssal instead. If you wanted anything else, you definitely wouldn't upgrade to AA.

    And 3000 mana is pretty late, even assuming you get a RoA fully stacked fairly early, have a Glacial Shroud, and have a decent number of stacks on Tear of the Goddess.

  • #14 mrobert5

    Ryze = shitty AP ratios. Finish it last, but all your other mana items first.

  • #15 corallein

    Ryze actually has decent AP ratios now after the most recent changes. Still, AA doesn't offer enough utility to make it worth upgrading before other purchases in most cases.

  • #19 EuWGasgano

    AA is pretty much a must buy for Ryze, together with rod of ages and forzen heart. in best case you would buy rabadons, sorcerer shoes and void staff too. AA is a good choice if you can manage to be that "squieshy".

    edit: i misread your post, you want to upgrade it at the very last of course (or at full mana)

    Last edited by EuWGasgano: 8/17/2012 6:39:12 AM
  • #8 Undune

    Once the Unholy Grail became an option, I just don't see the point in choosing Arch Angels. Am I wrong in assuming the mana regen, and mana on kill, (not even factoring in CDR and AP) is just way better than AA?

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