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Itemization for Maximum Output - Mid

Xintus

Xintus

Fri 6th Apr 2018 - 10:32pm

In the past, many mid laners were all focused on building the same core items. The reason is due to the massive variance in power between certain items compared to others. Recently, Riot Games has wanted has attempted to rework some items in order to put more emphasis on theorycrafting and in-game decision making. The changes will force the laners to adapt to various situations through item building. Furthermore, it will help differentiate players with high mechanical skill as the mid game and end game turnout will be due to the skill of proper itemization.

New Items

Oblivion OrbSpellbinderTwin Shadows

Oblivion Orb: Oblivion Orb is a new item that mages can build in the early game. The item gives bonus AP, health, and magic penetration. By looking at the stats, the item is most likely only built as a component for Morellonomicon, an item that will be discussed later; however, plainly, Lost Chapter is just a better component. First, it's very cost efficient, the item is 400 gold less than Oblivion Orb. Second, the item has bonus CDR, which is a major benefit in terms of 1v1s. Often, the opponent wins a fight due to an ability not coming up in time. Finally, it gives the same amount of bonus AP as Oblivion Orb. Considering Oblivion Orb's benefits are mainly for better damage, Lost Chapter achieves a similar purpose at a lower cost. The bonus health is typically not highly valued either because many mages are scaling to become one of the carries for mid and late game. Therefore, it's important to build up at a lower cost. 

Spellbinder: At first glance, the item clearly has massive amounts of burst damage. The unique active of Spellbinder gives a burst of damage and movement speed. The item would be most effective on assassins and burst mages. The effect stacks with the passive on allied and enemy spellcasts, so it's most effective on champions that have low cooldowns, having the capability to spam abilities. The item also gives bonus AP and movement speed. Sometimes, the item may not be best situationally, especially when behind. During these times, items that give crowd control to close the gap during team fights. The item is recommended for champions such as Katarina or Fizz.

Twin Shadows: Twin Shadows is a returning item that was removed two years ago. Unfortunately, as of now, the item doesn't have great potential. The bonus types are mostly the same as Spellbinder, just at a lower price. The issue comes from the quantity of the bonuses. The movement speed and AP increase are both lower by a relatively large amount. Because the item is in the completed form, in terms of late game scaling, the 400 gold differential would be worth the cost. Also, the item's active is to reveal enemy champions. Standardly used by supports, the item doesn't offer much value to mages.

 

Item Modifications

Archangel;s StaffHextech GLP-800Liandry;s Torment

Image Courtesy of League of Legends Wiki

Archangel's Staff: Archangel's staff now gives much more mana regeneration and a bonus CDR of 20% for less AP. This item is a huge buff for mages that use mana consistently such as Ryze. Before, several items were necessary to obtain the bonuses desired. Now, one item is able to satisfy all of the requirements. This will allow champions to reach their power spike much earlier in the game. Not only does this item give a strong initial output, the scaling passive allows champions to have a longer impact in the game. Finally, Archangel's Staff transforms into Seraph's embrace. Archangel's Staff already gives a base +650 mana that scales up easily to the +750 requirement for Seraph's. The item then reaches a massive increase in stats. Many champions that weren't in the meta before may come back due to the changes made. 

Hextech GPL-800: Unfortunately, the changes in this item are detrimental to the champions who used to build it. At first glance, there is a loss of bonus stats. The only changes that seem to have changed for the better are the increased range and slower decay percentage. Compared to the lower damage, scaling, and slow potency, most mages are likely to switch to other items with similar effects but with better stats. Overall, it's best just to stay away from this item. 

Liandry's Torment: Liandry's Torment is a decent item. Given that the item deals more damage progressively, the item is great against tanks. The struggle here is being able to consistently output damage. In drafting, it may be good to have champions that have good crowd control in order to create a window of opportunity to deal damage. Having tanks on the team will help as well. Tanks on the front line will enable the backline to focus on their duty. The other passive is the % health burn, which seems to build on the target of tanks. Another potential benefit is being able to finish off an enemy, but usually, a slight health decrease won't affect the outcome that much. 

Sample Builds

Image result for league mages
Image Courtesy of nibblesmekibbles.deviantart.com

In this section, I'll try to go through the process of building items per specified role on the team. 

As most champions do, it is often best to go with the starting items listed. There isn't much variation that would be better in the game for the champion. There is limited gold with limited affordable items. The game typically provides the best choice. 

For mages, who often excel at teamfights, they need to have a large amount of AoE damage. On the first back, they will typically buy Lost Chapter. Lost Chapter will enable them to deal more damage during laning phase, and it is an item that most control mages are able to afford on their first back. Typical items that should be focused on during the mid-game include Sorcerer's Shoes, which can help position during team fights or avoid incoming ganks. Damage items would include Morellonomicon, which would help in team fights, or Rabadon's Deathcap, which gives massive AP. Late game, focus on items survival items, including Zhonya's Hourglass. 

For assassins, champions that are great at 1v1s, bursting enemies, and split pushing, items that give AP are the focus throughout the game. If you are extremely ahead, Mejai's Soulstealer is a great option for the first back. The item stacks based on kill/assists, but stacks are easily lost when behind, so when dominating the opponent, the item offers massive scaling options for an early peak. For a safer laning phase, pick up Lost Chapter. The main differentiation comes in mid game. Most of these burst mages will take Hextech Gunblade and Luden's Echo. Hextech Gunblade's active is the primary reason for taking the item. Lightning Bolt deals a percent of damage based on AP with an additional 40% slow on the targeted champion. The slow will enable champions such as LeBlanc to hit the full combo, which typically leads to a kill. Luden's Echo helps really well with clearing. When ahead, the faster clear will help split push to take down turrets or objectives. 

The final category is for Tear abusers. There is a very high chance these champions will be building up a pool of mana in the early game. Otherwise, they will be building up items that scale. The primary focus of the first couple of backs includes Rod of Ages and Tear of Goddess. Rod of Ages gives Health, Mana (which are converted to damage) and Ability Power. It's the main reason why these champions are tanky but deal a lot of damage at the same time. Tear of Goddess is an item extremely important to champions like Anivia and Cassiopeia. Either it's because of high mana consumption or the low CDR yet low damage of certain abilities that require the extra bit of mana in stock. The item will alleviate the need to back extremely often only to lose lots of gold and experience. 

Conclusion

It's definitely clear that the performance of the mid lane is going to have a lot of impact on the outcome of the game. It will be extremely beneficial to take time to learn about the passive and actives of certain items to have a better idea as to how to make critical decisions situationally. Hopefully, this article was able to provide beneficial guidance to individual gameplay. 

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