All You Need to Know About Iceborn Gauntlet
Sun 30th Dec 2012 - 12:34pm
+40 Ability Power
+15% Cooldown Reduction
Unique Passive -- Spellblade: After using an ability, your next basic attack deals bonus physical damage equal to 125% of your base Attack Damage to surrounding enemies and creates a field for 3 seconds that slows enemies inside by 35% (2 second cooldown).
Cost: 3,400g (640g combine cost from Sheen and Glacial Shroud)
Iceborn Gauntlet is one of the new Season 3 items that has received a lot of attention recently. After seeing players like Michael ‘Imaqtpie’ Santana build it in tournaments on characters like Ezreal, people are starting to wonder why this item is held in such esteem by high level players. And (to the frustration of several) many people are now building the item even though they don’t know exactly why it’s good and end up in situations where they really shouldn’t have gotten it.
At it’s most basic level, Iceborn Gauntlet is good because it can give any character dependable, low cooldown, area of effect crowd control. Just by itself, this sounds amazing when you really think about it: characters that previously had no crowd control now have access to an item with a high value slow. To give an idea of just how impressive this slow is, one of the old pinnacles of item-granted crowd control is Frozen Mallet.
For an almost equal cost to Iceborn Gauntlet (3,300 gold), Frozen Mallet gives melee attackers a 40% slow for 2.5 seconds or ranged attackers a 30% slow. Iceborn Gauntlet gives a slow that is in the middle of these two values but that lasts a half second longer and is area of effect -- even more impressive when you consider that the item gives the same slow to both melee and ranged characters. It is possible to walk out of the slow area without experiencing the full slow duration, but the trade off is, in my mind, well worth it for the ability to affect multiple targets. Even better, this item gives mana and cooldown reduction to help characters proc the effect both more often and for longer periods of time.
Now things start to make sense: Ezreal has an ability -- his Q, Mystic Shot -- that can proc Iceborn Gauntlet from a staggering 1,100 range. For the uninitiated, that is double Ezreal’s autoattack range of 550, which is average for an AD carry. At level 5, Ezreal’s Mystic Shot has a 4 second cooldown and, when lowered by Iceborn Gauntlet, this ability can be used for an area effect slow every 3.4 seconds. This can make kiting the entire enemy team effortless as well as greatly enhancing chasing ability.
Iceborn Gauntlet also gives tank stats from its armor component. Tanky champions that used to love the extra spamming ability from Glacial Shroud and Frozen Heart can get similar benefits from Iceborn Gauntlet as well as the extra crowd control. A good example of this is Hecarim, whose Q, Rampage, has the same base, 4-second cooldown as Ezreal’s Mystic Shot, giving him plenty of opportunity to use the Gauntlet.
Another popular user of the Gauntlet is Nidalee in both AD and AP form. AD Nidalee uses the Gauntlet similarly to Hecarim and can use the slow to chase (much like she would normally with the Phage component of Trinity Force, her standard main buy). As the player Austin ‘MidLink’ Shin (formerly known as ‘L1Nk115’) has frequently demonstrated with middle lane, AP Nidalee, Iceborn Gauntlet can be a very powerful item to control a lane and works very well with poke compositions since the slow can help to make skillshots -- like the feared Nidalee spear -- easier to hit.
So Iceborn Gauntlet is a good item, but when should you actually buy it? Is it always good? The answer is, of course, no. Iceborn Gauntlet does have several downsides that can make it an item trap for those who don’t know when to use it.
Ezreal is the best example for explaining the downfalls of Iceborn Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is a very expensive item. At only 400 gold cheaper than Infinity Edge, it gives no extra damage to a character like AD Ezreal (other than the small 125% base attack damage proc and the small amount the AP will help his abilities) while Infinity Edge gives more multiplicative benefits than any other AD item (i.e., getting attack speed and armor penetration make the item even better -- it scales into late game amazingly). Getting an Iceborn Gauntlet is a decision to sacrifice damage on your character, and that is not something you can always do when you are playing a carry. One of the reasons AP Nidalee is able to use the Gauntlet a little more effectively than most is that her spear, at max level and range, gives 575 base damage with a 1.625 AP ratio. Those high numbers that come with a skillshot that can be hard to consistently land help to make up for the AP deficit that the Gauntlet introduces.
The particularly well-informed are probably wondering how relevant this article is considering the likely nerfs that Iceborn Gauntlet will receive: on the PBE the item currently has 2 seconds of slow instead of 3, only 20% slow for ranged champions and a smaller area of effect for ranged champions. Of course, these changes are not final, but history shows that they are likely to be close to what we are going to see.
To answer, I bring your attention to a very similar item: Phage. Phage was also nerfed for ranged champions some time ago. It has not, however, disappeared. Phage procs are still highly valued on characters like AD Nidalee and AD Ezreal and the item has remained popular. Similarly, Iceborn Gauntlet will probably still be a good item after the next patch. It might become more of a niche buy, but, by knowing the pros and cons, you’ll know exactly when it can be a powerful pickup.
So, if you haven’t already, go out and try Iceborn Gauntlet. It’s one of the most interesting items to come out of the preseason patch and can turn certain champions into crowd control machines. You definitely won’t be disappointed.