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FallenAsylum

By FallenAsylum

Andreas Peppel

Evolving Technology: The Evolution of Mid Lane

Wed 26th Dec 2012 - 4:03pm Category: League of Legends

syndra

It came as no surprise to anyone that with the season 3 item changes, many different champions were going to pop up in many different roles. The most striking example of this is the middle lane, where attack damage casters have been dominated a role that was previously dominated by ability power carries.

The fact that AD casters have a much needed upgrade to a core item (Brutalizer upgrades to Black Cleaver) propelled them to the height of popularity. The reworked version of Black Cleaver and new attack damage items, such as Mercurial Scimitar and Ravenous Hydra, addressed the core issue of why AD casters were unpopular for a long time; the poor item variety of AD casters.

Personally, I feel that this trend is transitioning over to ability power casters, but in a different way. At the moment, AP casters are weaker (at least in gold value) than their AD counterparts because AD casters get more out of their money than AP casters do.

 

 


Doublelift explains this concept more in depth.


To summarize, Doublelift is saying that if you compare the item choices of AP carries with AD casters/bruisers, AD casters/bruisers are going to do more with their items because they invest more gold into their build. This was a common occurrence in season 2 when comparing AP and AD casters, where the only good item choices for AD casters were Brutalizer, Bloodthirster, Last Whisper, and occasionally Trinity Force.

Compare that to the brand new AD caster/bruiser items that are now available, such as the upgraded Black Cleaver (3000 gold), Ravenous Hydra (3500), Mercurial Scimitar (3810), and niche items such as Muramana (upgraded from Manamune (2100)), Sword of the Divine (2200), Blade of the Ruined King (2900), and Iceborn Gauntlet (3400). You can see that the item variety has upgraded immensely. Every single item, with the exception of Sword of the Divine and Muramana, costs 2900 gold or more (BotRK costs the least at 2900). Compare this to new AP carry items such as Seraph’s Embrace (2700), Liandry’s Torment (2900), and Twin Shadow (1900), both the cost and item variety is lacking.

I’m going to give a couple examples to show what I mean. Let’s take 3 of my favorite AP mid lane and 3 of my favorite mid lane AD caster/bruiser champs: Viktor, Syndra, and Twisted Fate for AP carries and Zed, Urgot, and Pantheon for AD Casters. Gold cost is after the name of the item.



Typical item build for Viktor
:
Sorcerer’s Shoes with Furor enchantment (1750)
Augment: Death (1000)
Abyssal Scepter (2650)
Rabadon’s Deathcap (3200)
Zhonya’s Hourglass (3100)
Void Staff (2295)
Total: 13995 gold



Typical item build for Syndra:

Sorcerer’s Shoes with Furor enchantment (1750)
Athene’s Unholy Grail (2800)
Deathfire Grasp (3000)
Rabadon’s Deathcap (3200)
Zhonya’s Hourglass (3100)
Void Staff (2295)
Total: 16145 gold



Typical item build for Twisted Fate:
Sorcerer’s Shoes with Furor enchantment (1750)
Lich Bane (3000)
Deathfire Grasp (3000)
Rabadon’s Deathcap (3200)
Zhonya’s Hourglass (3100)
Void Staff (2295)
Total: 16345 gold

Average total for AP caster: 15495 gold

 






Typical item build for Zed:
Mercury’s Treads with Furor enchantment (1850)
Black Cleaver (3000)
The Bloodthirster (3000)
Last Whisper (2135)
Ravenous Hydra (3500)
Mercurial Scimitar (3810)
Total: 17295 gold

 



Typical item build for Urgot:

Mercury’s Treads with Furor enchantment (1850)
Black Cleaver (3000)
Muramana (2100)
Warmog’s Armor (2650)
Frozen Heart (3100)
Last Whisper (2135)
Total: 14835 gold





Typical item build for Pantheon:
Mercury’s Treads with Furor enchantment (1850)
Black Cleaver (3000)
The Bloodthirster (3000)
Last Whisper (2135)
Warmog’s Armor (2650)
Mercurial Scimitar (3810).
Total: 16445 gold

Average total for AD carry/bruiser: 16195 gold
Average difference: 700 gold

*Because of Viktor’s passive, Augment: Death takes up one item slot at a very low cost

As an example between these 6 champions, the AD casters average 700 more gold into their final build. That’s 700 more gold that is invested towards stats and upgrades over their AP counterparts.  Note that this doesn't include consumables such as wards, health/mana potions, and Crystalline Flask, which can easily cost around 500 gold or so over the course of a game

Now, some of you might be saying, “But you took Viktor into account. He’s going to get to his final build faster because he has only 5 true items slots because of his Augment which costs a lot less than another AP item.” True enough. However to make my point more clear, let’s find the most expensive, but logically viable, AD Caster vs. AP Caster build on the market today.

 

Most expensive AP caster build:

Mercury’s Treads with Furor enchantment (1850)
Rabadon’s Deathcap (3200)
Zhonya’s Hourglass (3100)
Deathfire Grasp (3000)
Lich Bane (3000)
Final item: Can be anywhere from Liandry's Torment (2900) to Void Staff (2295)

Total (least - most expensive): 16445 - 17050 gold


Most expensive AD caster build:

Mercury’s Treads with Furor enchantment (1850)
Mercurial Scimitar (3810)
Infinity Edge (3800)
Ravenous Hydra (3500)
The Bloodthirster (3000)
Final Item: Can be anywhere from Last Whisper (2135) to Trinity Force (4200)
Total (least - most expensive): 18095 - 20160 gold

Total difference: 1650 - 3110 gold

Between 1650 and 3110 gold. That puts AP casters anywhere from half to a  full item’s worth in gold behind AD casters/bruisers late game.

Note that I didn't even take into account the hidden values of scaling that AP vs. AD casters have.  Because of stats such as crit and the amount of armor penetration that teams can stack, AD casters, along with AD carries and bruisers, are naturally going to scale better into the late game then AP casters will. 

So what can be done about this? Personally, I feel that only one thing needs to happen. My idea would be to change some of the current items. There are items such as Abyssal Scepter or Will of the Ancients that could be buffed a bit in stats, and in return, they get raised in cost. For instance, Abyssal Scepter could be changed to include an Amplifying Tome, increasing the ability power a tiny bit. My idea for a changed Abyssal Scepter would be to up the AP and Magic resistance to 80 and 50 respectively (from the current 70 and 45 respectively), and in return, increase the final cost to 3000 gold.

Another item under consideration would be Athene’s Unholy Grail. It got nerfed pretty hard (deservedly so) with the season 3 update, having its ability power reduced to 60 from 90. My idea of a change would be to up the AP to 80 and increase the cost to 3000 gold. This way, Athene’s will be a good item to rush for the AP champions that need it, but won’t be so cheap that you’re wasting gold potential late game.

Both of these suggestions to Abyssal and Athene’s would ensure that they are the high powered late game that they were intended to be, while also allowing for their price to be appropriate for the quality of the items.  In short, add or change some high end AP items.

 

Final thoughts:
Dispite what I've written, I don’t think that AP carries will phase out of the metagame. However, there is a large gap between AP carries and AD casters/bruisers, especially when it comes to mid lane. With the rise of AD casters with awesome new items, there is much less of an incentive to pick an AP carry. Teams can now choose to go for a heavy AD/Armor Penetration mid lane for their team composition over the standard AP carry in mid lane.

We’re beginning to see this trend a lot more with champions such as Talon and Pantheon in solo queue and champions like Lee Sin and Jarvan IV in competitive play. AD casters have gotten a lot of hate in the past. Now that they are shining brightly, I hope that they don’t completely push out AP casters. Hopefully, the new season shows great promise for both the new brand of AD casters, as well as the stars of old.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

Fan art

Some awesome Viktor Fan art I found. Credit goes to FarahBoom.

Your Comments

  • riotpolice

    riotpolice
    Thu 27th Dec 2012 - 6:03am

    Despite the recent shift in competitive play from AP casters to AD caster, I believe AP carries are still very viable and strong. They simply dominate mid-game, capable of bursting any other champions. In addition, ap carries with aoe damage capabilities are a very beneficial part of any team comp. i recently got zed from leagueoflegendgiveaway.com and his combo is quite impressive and fun, so i welcome the mid ad casters such as himself as well.

  • Xyltin

    Xyltin
    Thu 27th Dec 2012 - 3:06pm

    Some things that are missing in the top calculations: Mercirual Scimatar is way overpriced. It is only good if you need QSS and then as a last item only. AD casters and bruisers scale differently from ADC. They use AD and ArPen. CDR is also a stat for them to scale. ADC scale with ArPen, AD, Crit, AS and Crit dmg. AP champs scale with AP, MPen, CDR and also Rabadons/DFG (20% AP boost is something no AD bruiser or caster has; 20% more magical dmg is something that BC can provide, but Abyssal does something similar). And one very important thing: MR is lower than Armor mid and late game. For a physical DD to stay relevant, he needs to spend more gold into his stats (worth around 20-30 ArPen) to be at the same lvl as AP champs. Also you most expensive items: Hydra is not really good. Mercurial is not really a high priority item and it is actually weaker than a lot of other choices (that's probably why you don't see one even against CC comps) before 50 minutes. IE is not good for most bruisers and AD casters. It is a 99% ADC item. Another thing that is important here is the range. Most AD casters and bruisers have a low range. AP champs are normally ranged. 600-1300 range skills means that they are pretty safe when they are doing their stuff. And then BT: People seem to think it is BC, while you actually see BT on way more winning teams. BT is better for ADC. Always good on AD casters/assassins. Stacking BT is also possible. What we saw till now in OGN was actually more of a Brutalizer rush and then stacking 2 BT and upgrading Brutalizer to BC. You can see that even with the pre BC nerfs and Brutalizer nerf they are actually more focusing onto 1 BC per Assassin/bruiser, but around 2 per Assassin and 1 per ADC. What makes AD casters so good in mid lane? Their counters are not too popular. K'Z can get heavily beaten by Annie or Brand. He is predictable, but most common AP champs don't have the burst or CC to stop his moves long enough. Brand and Annie have a high amount of Burst and a decent CD stun that allows them to burst him down if he is only a bit too slow. A Malz may lose to a Talon. But if Malz knows when Talon uses his E (not hard to predict), he can cast Q onto himself. From there on Talon is silenced longer than Malz and Talon will probably be dead. Malz also has the way better lvl 1-5 trades. But who plays such AP champs these days? They were out of favor for a very long time and the short time in what BC was OP, a lot of people jumped onto the AD mid lane band wagon instead of trying to think about countering these champs. Is there no way to format this?

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