This one is gonna be short because this is more of an opinion and suggestion for everyone. Look, melee champions tank all the damage. Why? They're freaking MELEE. They go in first. They're in the front line. They're physically closer to the opponent. What does that mean for melee? It means they're going to die. So they're going to take a lot of damage, which brings me to my point here. Building damage on bruisers has just become an outdated concept because it don't work. When something don't work you don't do it, so as such I've decided to just stop doing it. And it works, it works hella good. HELLA GOOD.
Well hell if you don't build damage what DO you do?
Sunfire, Trinity, Wit's end, Frozen heart. All 4 of them offer defensive boosts, and offensive boosts. It's no secret that bruisers tend to have better abilities (well unless you started playing yesterday) and it's never been a well kept secret that CDR makes bruisers get a lot of damage quickly. As such, Frozen heart offers really good damage. Sunfire offers a chunk of protection on top of an aura that can't be turned off. Wit's end gives a massive chunk of magic damage on top of attack speed that makes your sustained damage fly up. Basically, the entire idea here is BUMRUSH sunfire -> wit's end -> trinity/FH -> then get the other one -> maybe get an Omen instead of them.
You'll notice, very quickly, that you're damned hard to kill yet still outputting enough damage to kill people. This is nothing new actually, this is what bruisers used to be 1.5 years ago. What's changed? Nothing. People have just realized "hey remember what we did that worked really well? Why did we stop doing that?" And why DID people stop doing that? Because Riot offered promises of high AD ratios and tons of damage for not building tank. The problem? The promises were a lie.
The promises were a lie? What DO you mean?
All those AD ratios? The high damage? It means nothing. Take for example sunfire. If I'm playing Renekton vs. another Renekton who do you think will win. The Renekton who went BT, or the Renekton who went sunfire? The sunfire Renekton. Who will be more useful in teamfights? Sunfire Renekton. Why? Because A. he lives longer. B. Spending 3000 gold for a 500 increase in damage isn't a good purchase. Gunblade is 3600 and gives a 300 damage direct nuke. Basically, it's simply just not worth it. People have been trying damage bruisers forever and they just fail next to tank bruisers because the item worth simply isn't there. What's more, it detracts from your main job which is tying people up in melee and staying alive to use your innate sustained damage.
AD itemization just sucks for bruisers.
Some people like hexdrinker, it's an okay item. But Maw BLOOOOWS. That leaves one single 1400 gold item to carry an entire specc. Yeah. Doesn't make much sense does it? How do you expect hexdrinker to carry an entire damage bruiser archtype? What the hell is Renekton gonna do after that? Hope the game ends real quick? Compare this to AP bruisers. They can go for MR: Abyssal, Lichbane, Athene's. What's worse, all 3 of those options include very real boosts to things that aren't just "tank or damage." All AD itemization is limited to tank or damage. Abyssal provides an aura to help teammates kill targets. Lichbane makes you move quicker, and helps scale your AP even harder. Athene's effectively removes mana.
BUT WAIT Maw gives more damage if you're lower on health! Yeah. Flat damage. And not very much of it. Unlike, say, AP items it doesn't scale with anything causing the tiny amount of damage you gain to be insignificant real quick. And going back to my point earlier, if you can output 5.0 AD on a target that's a good job. If you get 20 damage from being low on HP from maw that means you might get 100 more damage on a target. Whoopdeyfreakingdoo. It doesn't alter your playstyle or make you scale harder much like deathfire grasp or lichbane might. And on that topic...
AD itemization offers no multiplicative scaling, no end game.
There's no end goal of getting AD. If I'm an AP bruiser I'll pick up either DFG, or deathcap, or lichbane. Hell I'll probably get 2 of them. If I go AD I can get: .... or .... or even ... there's no end goal here. By end game if I go with the BT/LW/Maw/trinity build I'll pretty much be outputting meh damage and dying quicker than roses in my garden. (I'm a terrible florist!) So what do you do? You maybe get 2 dorans, a brutalizer, trinity, then GA. Then Omen. Then FH. Notice something here? You just went with the build I said earlier, except you used flat AD which doesn't scale well in to end game. What's more, you're far too squishy to be of use in early team fights.
If I'm playing Renekton and I've had a HELL of a game and I'm 10-2 with BT, and LW, and a GA I'll be going HELL YEAH I'M A BEAST. Except I'm not. And I can only maybe kill one target. And probably not if they went tanky. However that same Renekton with Sunfire/Wit's end/GA (which is cheaper too mind you) can still kill people but he's also good in team fights too. He's very hard to kill and all of a sudden Renekton isn't sucking so hard mid/late game. Note that trinity, a suggested item, continues to scale with base damage which you get from leveling so it's actually pretty brutal late game.
So what makes trinity/wit's end/sunfire/CDR so good?
Two reasons. A. They're tanky. B. They enhance sustained damage. Oh and a third reason, they add magic damage which makes you hard to build against. (I have all this armor now I can tank Xin's... sunfire and wit's end... huh...) What are bruisers known for? Light burst, heavy sustained, heavy tanking. What do these items do? Exactly what bruisers want. They play exactly in to their strengths and enhance them even more. Trinity gives a ton of utility and is pretty much your damage! item. Get trinity later for damage! but for damage get your sunfire/wit's end.
Basically, these items just make it so much easier to win with bruisers because you start to whack on people as a big tanky damage doing tons of sustained damage. What do they do? Turn to fight and try to kill a tanky and eventually run out of damage as you continue to just have infinite pain? You've just built yourself to do your job better.
So what do I expect to come from this?
A dropping of the failed experiment that was buying damage on bruisers. A return to the tanky/tank builds for bruisers and relying on their innate damage. No more silly dorans dorans brutalizer BT builds from bruisers, but rather dorans sunfire wit's end trinity. I expect people to stop trying to build bruisers like AD carry lite, and more like actual bruisers. With bruiser items. Items that enhance tankiness and sustained damage. What's more, I expect top laners to actually start noticing "wait... I can do things late game, suddenly I am empowered!" Champions like Xin Zhao and Olaf go from "yeah they're alright" to "dude he's dominating this team fight!"
So really, stop building damage and start building tank.
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