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.

Manamune

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 bit.ly/mathcraft.

-- 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:

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