Friday, November 2, 2012

League Analysis: Tenacity Items (That Are Rarely Used)

In this new series of articles I will analyze key aspects of the game League of Legends. Though this series will primarily focus on items, the series may be expanded to include analysis on champions, runes, masteries, and anything else that ties into the balance of the game.

While the League of Legends meta may be set in stone, that doesn't mean there isn't variance to certain degrees. Even after hundreds of matches as a level 30 summoner I see some new item build that is unorthodox for a certain champion to some certain meta-breaking team composition that can catch players off guard (or fail miserably). However, despite this, I have also noticed some constants, such as items that are never built (or very rarely built). Anecdotal experience aside, sometimes the statistics (such as on LoLKing, which I will draw all my item links from) related to items speak for themselves. Lurking on the League of Legends forums garners even more information about the state of item balance.
From this I have found a few points of item balance that can bring about some interesting suggestions and discussion. The first of this is tenacity items, specifically ones that are almost never used (thus Mercury's Treads will not be discussed in this article).

Explanation Of Current Tenacity Items

The three items for discussion are the Cloak and Dagger, Eleisa's Miracle, and Moonflair Spellblade. They have prices that are somewhat similar to each other. However, despite having the cost of most tier two items, such as Zeal, they do not build into anything after. While this may make a little sense given they have Tenacity, which reduces the duration of most crowd controlling effects, the fact such items are built in under 0.1% of all ranked matches (normals aren't much better) shows that while these items do have Tenacity, they aren't worth a whole item slot that is much better suited for higher tier items.

Fixing Tenacity Items

Given the facts above, it is clear Tenacity items need to go through some sort of revamp. Below are a list of suggestions on how to improve Tenacity items so they may end up being in player's item builds without making them too overpowered.
  • Remove the Cloak and Dagger and Moonflair Spellblade. There are a some reasons for this. For instance, AP carries and AD carries rarely build Tenacity items in general, including Mercury's Treads, favoring min-maxing by using other boots and items. Said carries also have a tendency to die very quickly when focused in comparison to bruiser and tank champions, even when building a little tanky themselves. Balancing the items would also be tough, as it would be a manner of budgeting Tenacity against offensive stats.
  • Improve Eleisa's Miracle to a higher tier item. For example, on top of the item it is built from currently (Philosopher's Stone), add items like Emblem of Valor and Mana Manipulator. The result is an item like the one below.
Eleisa's Miracle (Legendary Tier Item)

Builds fromPhilosopher's Stone, Emblem of Valor, and Mana Manipulator
Total Cost: 2500 Gold (325 Build cost, 2175 Item cost)
Effect(s): 25 Health regen/5 seconds, 20 Mana regen/5 seconds, +35 Tenacity
UNIQUE Aura: Nearby allied champions gain 12 Health regen/5 seconds and 9 Mana Regen/5 seconds.
  • I devised this item for the following reasons:
  • Add another Tenacity item that grants defensive stats like Health. This is to give champions access to another Tenacity item with stats best suited for a top laner or jungler (and some supports). It also gives champions that don't use mana an option that doesn't waste money "paying" for mana regeneration. For instance:
Girdle of Fortitude (Legendary Item)

Builds From: Giant's Belt, Cloth Armor, Null Magic Mantle
Total Cost: 2800 Gold (990 Build Cost, 1810 Item Cost)
Effect(s): +500 Health, +30 Armor, + 30 Magic Resist, +35 Tenacity
Unique Active: Temporarily increases your current health and maximum health by 150 + 15/level for 6 seconds. 60 second cooldown. The loss of the temporary health can never bring you below 1 health.
  • I devised this item for the following reasons:
    • As mentioned before, it is an item for champions that want to get tanky (some supports, top laners, and junglers) and benefit from Tenacity.
    • It also helps grant some resistance to physical and magic damage. Though it is not much, this is intended because I still wanted other items that grant large amounts of Armor and Magic Resist (and to a lesser degree, Health) to be good options.
    • The active effect is to give the item another reason to be built. This item now has a small emergency cooldown that could be the difference between life and death without having a ridiculous impact on how tanky the champion is.
Final Words

That concludes what I have to say about the state of Tenacity items and how to handle it. It also serves as a segue into my next Analysis topic. Because I completely ignored Mercury's Treads in this article, maybe you'll have an idea what will be the topic for discussion next...

(I don't know whether the fact Tenacity items were excluded from the pre-season item rework discussion is good or not.)

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