A beginner's guide to LoL: StatsFri 6th Jul 2012 - 9:18pm Category: League of Legends
The journey of legends: a beginner's guide to LoL
Chapter 0: Introduction
Chapter 2: Stats
Chapter 3: Objectives
Chapter 4: Champions
Chapter 5: General setup
Chapter 6: Composing a team
Chapter 7: Summoner spells, runes and masteries
Chapter 8: Warding
Chapter 9: Level 1 gameplay
Chapter 10: Laning
Chapter 11: Jungling
Chapter 12: Supporting
Chapter 13: Ganking
Chapter 14: Invading
Chapter 15: Early game objectives
Chapter 16: Teamfights
Chapter 17: Late game objectives
Chapter 18: Backdooring & splitpushing
Chapter 2: Stats
In this chapter we'll take a closer look at the different types of stats and how they work together. The stats we'll be discussing can be categorized under Offensive, Defensive and Resources. The remaining category - Utility - won't be discussed here since there is not much to talk about. You either run faster or you'll be less CC'd, it's pretty straightforward.
Attack Damage (Offensive)
Attack damage (AD) will be built on champions that mostly deal physical damage. This stat is used both with abilities that scale with AD as well as with autoattacks. Depending on your champion, you will get most of your damage from one or the other. Bruisers like Riven or Lee Sin will get most damage from their abilities, while AD carries like Ashe or Tristana will get more from autoattacks. Some champions like Graves or Corki are called AD casters because they both use a lot of abilities while maximizing their damage output in contrary to Ashe or Tristana.
If you are doing good, the opponent will buy armor to counter you. If such an occassion occurs, you should think about buying Armor Penetration (ArPen). ArPen allows you to deny a portion of the opponents armor and thus raise your damage. More info about what to buy in what situation will follow in the Armor section.
Consider an AD carry. More specifically: Graves. Graves has aoe short range damage (Q), a damaging aoe smokescreen (W), a dash with Attack Speed bonus (E) and aoe long range damage (R).
These are very typical mechanisms for an AD carry: a dash/repositioning and a steroid.
You're going trough laning phase and you're thinking about what path to build. Let's see what stats work together and when you should consider what option.
AD + Attack Speed (AS)
Going for this route means you will buy a Bloodthirster and a Phantom Dancer. The Black Cleaver fits this decription as well but is a lot less used.
By doing this you're focussing more on your abilities rather than your autoattacks. This is done mostly by AD casters like above mentioned Graves or Corki/Ezreal. These champions are focused around their kit (Graves is intended to have burst, Corki has a spammable ult and Ezreal receives additional AS by casting spells). By building plain AD you will shift your damage output from autoattacks to abilities, thus giving you more burst potential but limiting yourself more by cooldowns in comparison to autoattacking.
A bloodthirster gives the most AD one item can give (disregarding Sword of the Occult and Atma's Impaler) and is thus a very favorited item on AD carries.
Phantom Dancer (PD) is almost always a must-have 2nd item because even for AD casters, Attack Speed is a very important stat. If you neglect this item, you will most definitely have problems against any other AD that did buy it (the movement speed is very important too since you'll get focused!). The Crit chance is of less impact but still usefull. The standard crit multiplier is 2 and is a significant increase compared to normal hits (Initial damage * Crit multiplier = total damage).
AD + Crit
This is the most popular route on most ADs and is also the safest. By choosing for Crit chance as your first item, you put your focus on damage from autoattacks and consider abilities more of an extra to throw out between autoattacks.
This route starts with an Infinity Edge and is a typical starting item for Ashe and Tristana. Ashe is a great example for this build due to her Q (Slow applied on autoattack). She is basically forced to constantly autoattack to make sure her target doesn't run away. In such a situation you want your damage to be on those autoattacks you constantly use, rather than abilities you do once every several seconds.
Infinity Edge gives you a bunch of AD, crit chance and most importantly: a 2.5 crit multiplier. Basically this means all your crits will deal 25% more damage than crits with the standard multiplier. In a game as an AD carry you will work towards 6 items several of which will have crit chance. Having a lot of crit chance will be nice, having a bigger multiplier added to that will be even more awesome.
This combo will be a lot more effective with additional items because it grows with every bit of additional AD, Crit chance and AS (aka late game) whereas AD + AS will only gain benefits from additional AD (aka early game).
logically, this item is followed by a PD. This item has both the Crit chance and Attack Speed that scale with crit (as said before) as well as the heavily wanted Movement Speed (MS) to position yourself correctly.
AS + Crit
This is a very tricky combination and is mainly used on one champion: Kog'Maw. This obviously has a specific reason: his W deals % damage of health on hit.
In normal people language, this means that every time Kog'Maw autoattacks someone while his W is activated, they will take additional damage from it. It speaks for itself that this obviously scales with AS.
However, AS isn't an easy to find stat and the most usefull item with AS is PD. Honestly, Crit isn't even part of the picture here: it's all about the AS. Crit scales with AD (the more AD, the bigger the crit) and by buying PD first you will lack a lot AD to justify crit chance. Kog'Maw can do this because his W makes up for it and means he's an excellent tank shredder. Early game, Health is the strongest stat compared to Armor and Magic Resistance. Doing % health damage means you'll be hitting them right where it hurts the most.
There have been attempts to start a game with 2 or 3 Doran's Blades, a Wriggles Lantern and a Phantom Dancer, but it's only decent on Kog'Maw and Vayne. Every other AD carry will benefit more from another opening strategy and thus hasn't really got an incentive to use this.
Vayne deals % health damage as well, but only every 3rd hit. Nevertheless a PD is sometimes rushed on her due to the MS synergy with her passive and ultimate (both MS increases) and the obvious AS synergy. AD Kennen benefits from AS as well due to his charged autoattack that can stun. The more autoattacks he throws, the faster he'll stun.
As you can notice, only champions with a specific synergy with AS will take this. It's a situational item that will set you behind if build on the wrong ADs.
Ability Power (Offensive)
Ability Power (AP) is a stat mainly used by the AP carry, although almost every champion has at least one ability that scales with AP. Unlike AD, AP will not have any effect on your autoattacks which means the synergy possibilities are a lot smaller than with AD.
As we have we seen before, offensive stats scale with other stats (AD scales with crit and AS). AP scales as well, but it uses different stats. When you ask yourself the question: "what limits my AP dealing x-amount of damage ", you will find the answer to what these stats are.
- AP -> The more AP you have, the more damage it will do
- Magic Penetration -> The less effective their defense, the more damage
- HP -> The more HP they have, the longer it will take you to kill
- Cooldowns -> If you have your abilities on cooldown (CD), you can't deal damage
- Resources -> Casting abilities requires sufficient resources
The big difference between AD carry and AP carry is the way they deal damage. An AD carry scales more with items (as we have seen in the previous chapter: he primarily focuses on his autoattacks to deal damage which only scale with items and a very tiny bit with level) while AP carries scale harder with level (They use their abilities who get stronger every time they level up without even buying anything to deal damage).
Knowing this, you can draw to the conclusion that AP carry is more effective early game (each level makes them stronger) while AD carry is more effective late game (They need expensive items to make them stronger). Having said this, you can also come to the next conclusion: When both AP and AD carry have reached an advanced state concerning their power, you can say the AP carry will be limited by cooldowns on his abilities, whereas the AD carry will be limited by his AS.
The time difference between two autoattacks will be a lot less than the time difference between an ability going on cooldown and coming back up, thus meaning that cooldowns will have a huge impact on the damage of an AP carry.
If we take this into consideration, one might say that it could be very benificial by going for that cooldown reduction (CDR) cap of 40% to, basically, deal 40% more damage in a fight. This has been a popular approach in theorycrafting minds and certainly has its pros and cons, but the biggest note to this will be that you are focussing your damage on a prolonged teamfight, rather than a quick burst. AP carries usually have the task to quickly blow up as much as possible, which is the opposite of what CDR would imply.
There are a few specific situations where it is acceptable to build CDR on mages (Ryze has CDR from Frozen Heart and it goes well with his Q passive, Lux might build CDR as well because her ult has such a low CD and such high damage, pulling it off twice in one teamfight can make up for the lack of stronger items which would be benificial in a 10 second burst fight), but most of the time you will want to adress your other limitations because CDR is a very situational stat. You could consider investing in this if you have a poke comp and will actively try to stall fights to make use of that CDR. One ability dealing 100% damage does not outweigh twice that ability dealing 80% damage over a bit longer period. Your entire damage output depends on the length of the battle, which makes it a very risky stat to go for.
For this very same reason is HP considered a counter to mages: it takes a way more significant increase in time for you to kill a 4k HP tank rather than a 2k HP tank. ADs do not have to worry about CDs and can continue dealing damage while you are on CD. More on this in the defenses chapter.
Resources are used to cast abilities and are together with CDs meant to make sure you don't spam your abilities every chance you get.
The different types of resources are:
- Mana (Anivia, Irelia, Graves, ..)
- HP (Vladimir & Mordekaiser)
- Energy (Kennen, Shen, ..)
- Rage (Shyvana & Tryndamere)
- Nothing (Katarina)
As we have seen before: resources provide a limitation to your damage output. Theoretically you could say that taking this limitation away (e.g. Katarina) will mean that this champion doesn't have to build items that provide a stat which counter this limitation and the player shouldnt worry about it either. In other words: OP. Luckily, Riot has balanced this by reducing the champion's strength at other places: Katarina has no CC and her ult is very easy to shut down.
Related to this, you will see champions like Vladimir and Mordekaiser. Both have been the pubstompers in low elo for a long time untill Riot was forced to nerf them hard so they wouldnt dominate low elo like that. But why these two champions?
Exactly, because of their resources. Both champions use their own HP as a mean to deal damage but this can be easily countered by buying early spellvamp (Hextech revolver got nerfed later, are you noticing a pattern?) and basically allowing them to deal damage without any worry about their resource. Once again Riot has given them downsides (None of them have any form of CC except for Vlad's slow) but they were still scarier than Katarina. A lot of Katarina her aoe damage came from her ult but luckily most people have the knowledge to just CC her ASAP, she isn't that scary anymore then. Morde and Vlad however do not rely on this one ability to deal damage and thus require constant CC to render their strength useless. Knowing low elo, chain CC'ing might not be their best side meaning Vlad and Morde can wreck havoc without (much) interruption.
Another aspect why these two were considered very strong is because of their ability to farm: both can shove a minionwave with a few abilities. If you put an AP against that who uses mana when trying to push back, he will burn trough his mana extremely fast which will leave him vulnerable (Resources limit your damage output!) and he will be forced to go back and lose cs.
Additionally, they can easily and quickly take a neutral creep camp and expand their farm far beyond a mana caster without downsides.
All considered we can say that mana is the 'worst' resource to have, but due to the amount of items that make up for it (increase of mana pool, mana regeneration, mana return on kill...) it is still pretty balanced.
There are a few ways to build defensive, and all of them are used for specific situations. This can refer to a certain point in the game, the enemy champions abilities, the opponents build and several other factors. What's coming will attempt to give you the knowledge to decide for yourself when you should go for what build.
First of all: let's see what kind of defenses exist.
- Armor (Reduces physical damage)
- Magic Resistance (Reduces magical damage)
- Health Points (HP) (Requires more damage to be done -> Cooldowns!)
- Attack Speed reduce (Slows incoming autoattack damage)
- Actives (Shield from Locket of the Iron Solari, Stasis from Zhonyas Hourglass, ..)
- Passives (Ninja Tabi reduces incoming autoattack damage by 10%, Maw of Malmortius magic shield, etc)
Armor, Magic Resist and Health
As you can see there are several ways to build defensively and rather often will several types of defense be on the same item. An important aspect to understand is Effective HP (EHP). This is a complex mathematical mechanism which allows you to determine what type of defensive is best fit in a certain situation, but it takes some time to calculate the exact outcome to your specific situation. I do not understand all of it either, but if you get the main idea then you'll be fine.
First important thing about EHP is understanding what it is about. EHP determines your Effective HP, your 'real' HP.
Let's look at an example where the enemy team has 5 AP champions and you have Galio (Galio's passive turns 50% of his Magic Resist into AP, making him a very strong AP counter). Our Galio has bought several items, leaving him with 250 MagRes. He forgot to buy HP however, so now he has 2300 HP.
Does this mean his HP equals 2300? Yes.
Does this mean his EHP equals 2300? No.
The opponent will have to deal a lot more than 2300 damage in order to take him out. When you talk about EHP, you take this extra amount of 250 MagRes into account to determine your true strength as a tank. Since this is a very hard stat to calculate, people don't use EHP but will refer to champions in a describing matter based on their gut (a 3k HP Mundo with 150 Armor and MagRes will be pretty tanky, while a 2k HP Malphite with 250 Armor and 50 MagRes will be vulnerable to AP).
Now that you have a basic understanding of EHP, we can go ahead and conclude that HP is the strongest defensive stat early game.
The reason for this is that it counters both AD and AP (they are both limited by their opponents HP) while Armor and Magic Resist focus on only one type of resistance. In specific situations like 5 AD or 5 AP you can go ahead and rush that Armor/MagRes, but that's not a very common situation. If you would do that early game, your opponent can swap lanes and you will suddenly be faced against an AD while you have invested your money in an early Negatron Cloak.
Another important aspect of EHP is the scaling of Armor and Magic Resist. As you might know, both of these stats do not give one point of damage reduction for each point of Armor you get. 25 Armor will get you approximately 20% damage reduction , 100 Armor would give you around 50% and 150 Armor would be around 60% (give or take a few %). Knowing this you can conclude that at a certain point, stacking Armor will cost a lot while making very few impact.
As a rule of thumb you should try to get both Armor and Magic Resist to 150 while maintaining a solid HP before you buy any more defensive items after that. That is, if the opponents damage is balanced (no extremely fed carries, few ADs and a few APs). If they aren't balanced in damage output then you can focus on one stat in particular to counter the most damage and reach a higher EHP, but generally spoken 150 defense means you have reached a certain point where it becomes more beneficial to look at other stats first.
Attack Speed reduce
This stat is an extremely important defensive stat lategame. As we have seen before, attackspeed is very important for the autoattacking AD carry to deal his damage later in the game. If you take away his speed, he will become a lot less scary due to a low damage output.
The two items you can use for this are Frozen Heart and Randuin's Omen. Frozen Heart will give you an aura that slows Attack Speed of surrounding units, while Randuin's Omen will provide you with an active to slow surrounding enemies their MS and AS while also having a passive component that slows both their MS and AS upon getting hit.
While this stat doesn't seem at straightforward defensive as Armor and MagRes, you can tell it will make a significant defensive boost to you if their AD carry only hits you 3 times instead of 5 because of his slow AS. The MS reduction from Randuin's is also a very devastating component because position means everything for an AD carry in teamfights.
These are particularly good items against champions that scale heavily with AS like Vayne and Kog'Maw. Both counter HP so that's not an option. Kog'Maw deals % magic damage from their health while also dealing heavy autoattack damage, so that would be 3 stats to counter with. Vayne deals % true damage from health meaning there is literally no counter except reducing the AS.
Actives and Passives
These are often combined with standard defensive stats (Armor and MagRes) but provide an additional defensive layer on their own. By shielding yourself (Locket) you negate incoming damage meaning they'll have to deal more damage and thus allowing you to live longer. Same thing applies for stasis: by denying them damage they will have to wait for CDs if they used skillshots on you and thus blocking themselves in their damage output.
Another type of damage reduction is Tenacity. Tenacity reduces the duration of incoming CC. Once again this is not a straightforward defensive stat, but it does help you survive (which is what defense is all about). If you follow this logic then you can also conclude that offensive stats are a type of defensive stats and vice versa. If you kill the opponent before he does, you will have denied potential damage from him and thus defended yourself succesfully. The other way around counts as well: if you can resist his damage, it will give you time to kill him yourself.
All of this comes down to making a balance between your offensive and defensive stats to reach an optimal mix. EHP is an important factor here to decide your defensive stat and should not be treated nicely. From all of this we can also conclude that building 6 damage items will most likely turn out badly for you because of the bad balance between offensive and defensive.
Last but not least, there's is a counter to Armor and MagRes, just to make sure the enemy tanks don't stack resistances and render you useless.
Armor Penetration will be most usefull lategame when the enemy starts buying armor to counter your damage. The best item in almost any situation is a Last Whisper since it gives % Penetration, meaning they can't just stack armor and be done with you.
Usually, people put Armor Penetration in their runes and masteries so they'll counter some of the early armor by opponents (more on this in the runes/masteries chapter). Some bruisers tend to buy a Brutalizer in order to maximize their early game damage, but because this is flat ArPen it will probably fall off later in the game when a percentual Armor decrease will reduce more Armor in numbers than the Flat amount.
The same thing applies for Magic Penetration, but uses Sorcerer's Shoes and Void staff.
There are other sources of 'Penetration' that should be referred to as 'Reduction' like the aura from Abyssal Scepter. The difference between Penetration and Reduction is the order in which the opponents resistance gets calculated if you can reduce his MagRes from several sources.
This was the 2nd article in the series. I hope most aspects of ingame stats are explained well enough for you to understand and make your own decisions in situations based on this knowledge. As always you may leave a comment in case you have any further questions, both here and on reddit.
Next time I will talk about the different objectives in the game (Baron, Dragon, Inhibitors), what they're worth to you, when you should go for what, how you have to prepare, etc.
Hope to see you then!