Constructing the Perfect Build - A Guide on Powerful Items in Season 9 of LoL
Tue 9th Apr 2019 - 9:01pm
The Tank Meta. The Feral Flare Jungle Meta. Even throwing it back to the Warmogs/Black Cleaver Meta. The one thing that remains consistent throughout all these periods in League history is that the sauciest items of the time determined which champions you would see picked most commonly. It would be fair to say that your build can be the difference between sealing out a win and letting it slip between your fingers. For that reason, we're going to take a look at the strongest items in the game right now and break down what makes them so powerful.
With the recent rework of Kayle in Patch 9.5, it was inevitable that we would see a resurgence in the popularity of Guinsoo's Rageblade. What was hard to predict was that we would also see it become a core item for some of the strongest champions in League right now. Let's have a look at some of the champions that most commonly build into this item:
- Master Yi
Upon looking at this range, it's clear to see that these are all basic attack-focused champions- so why Guinsoo's?
Well, the strongest feature of Guinsoo's is Guinsoo's Rage. The ability to trigger on-hit effects at a faster rate benefits all of these champions to such a large extent that their biggest spike in DPS often comes after building Guinsoo's. Vayne's Silver Bolts, Kai'Sa's Second Skin and Supercharge cooldown, and Master Yi's Double Strike are just some examples of abilities that are enhanced by Guinsoo's Rage, and items such as Blade of the Ruined King also have their Unique Passives strengthened as well. This begs the question: "Why didn't we see all of these champions build Guinsoo's in the past?" and the answer is in the recent changes to this item's passives.
In Patch 8.23 at the end of 2018, we saw a few major changes to the passive effects granted by Guinsoo's. Before the change, Guinsoo's gave 5 (+10% bonus AD) physical and 5 (+10% AP) magic damage on-hit, and consecutive basic attacks would give Rageblade stacks that granted +2.5% bonus AP and AD, up to a max of +15%.
Now, however, we see that neither of those effects are still in place. The on-hit physical and magic damage bonuses were substituted for a flat +15 magic damage on-hit, and we were given 2 new Unique Passives: Dissolve and Last Whisper, which is where we see the reason for Guinsoo's increased popularity. Granting Armor Penetration and Magic Penetration in favour of the AD and AP bonuses makes this item a considerably more viable pick for carries as they move into the late game, as the damage bonuses of the past could be found in other core items of these characters' builds, while the new armor/magic shred means that those pesky tanks can be handled without having to sacrifice DPS in favour of an Armor Penetration-specific item, such as Lord Dominik's Regards.
Banshee's Veil is an item that is nearly as old as League of Legends itself. However, this does not affect its current status as one of the strongest situational build options for AP-heavy champions looking at countering a crowd control-heavy enemy team.
The base stats of Banshee's alone are strong by any measure - defensively, the +60 Magic Resist gives Banshee's Veil the equal highest Magic Resist of any item available from the shop and offensively, the +75 Ability Power is nothing to scoff at either. The +10% Cooldown Reduction is a nice bonus however the pièce de résistance of Banshee's Veil was, and is, the spell shield granted by its Unique Passive. This alone makes it arguably the best defensive choice for AP champions, particularly when climbing the Ranked Ladder and facing more challenging opponents capable of hitting those insane skillshots that can potentially swing the balance of the game. Whether face-shielding a Thresh hook, Lee Sin Sonic Wave, or soaking up a Karthus Requiem, at the highest levels of competition and the most relaxing matches in casual play, Banshee's Veil stands to be one of the stronger items no matter the meta.
On face value, this item seems comparably weak when considering other Attack Speed/Crit Chance items (Runaan's Hurricane, Phantom Dancer, Statikk Shiv), as it has the equal lowest stats of these three items. So, in order for it to make this list, that must mean that the Passive effects of Rapid Firecannon are strong enough to disregard the stats of these other items, right? Yeah. Pretty much. The Unique Passives of this item are simple to understand- the Energized passive can be seen on Statikk Shiv, and while the 60-140 on-hit Magic Damage isn't particularly powerful the second Unique Passive more than makes up for it. "Energized attacks gain 35% bonus Range" - a straightforward concept with complex and extremely effective application. Building Rapid Firecannon on nearly any ADC grants a variety of advantages:
- Landing an Energized critical strike on a squishy enemy carry can force your team into a favourable fight while still staying in the backline behind your tanks.
- Disengaging from a teamfight while kiting from a safer distance can ensure a clean retreat or create a pick on over-extending opponents
- In laning phase, Rapid Firecannon can zone opponents away from valuable minion gold
- Your siege potential is greatly increased by being able to hit towers from a farther distance
Offensively and defensively, Rapid Firecannon is a powerful choice that makes it an essential part of nearly every ADC's build.
The Black Cleaver
The final item on this list is The Black Cleaver. Transcending metas and lasting through seasons, this item has a plethora of powerful qualities that make it a key component of AD champions across all roles. To best expand on this point, just take a look at this screenshot from the recent North American LCS game between FlyQuest and Golden Guardians:
3 different lanes, 4 different Black Cleavers. The stacking Armor Cleave granted by its Unique Passive is more beneficial to teamfights than Armor Penetration, the health bonus benefits close-range damage dealers and the second Unique Passive - Rage allows for enhanced mobility during encounters with enemies. Bruisers, Assassins and ADCs alike can benefit from the stats of The Black Cleaver and the above image is not an uncommon sight for games across all levels of competition, making The Black Cleaver the perfect item to summarise on.
The next time you're on the Rift, make sure you remember this guide when itemising your favourite champions; while there are plenty of powerful purchases available from the humble shopkeeper, during the foreseeable future in Season 9 you should absolutely take advantage of these solid items in your games. GLHF!
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