How to Properly Adapt Your Build
A guide on how to adapt and build in every role.
In depth guide on item building for all situations and roles, Written by: Epsilam
Figuring out your role
Determining your role is one of the major factors in building your champion. Are you an AD Carry, AP Carry, Tank, Bruiser, or Support? Are you going to peel for your carry, or are you an assassin? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself while you are picking a champion and making a strong team composition. Once your role is determined, the next part that comes is the build.
The ADC: If you are an ADC you do not rush items that give health, armor or magic resistance like a Giant's belt, Chain Vest, or Negatron cloak. Your job is to do as much damage as possible while staying alive so the items that you need to look for would be ones that allow you to hyper carry such as an Infinity Edge, Statikk Shiv/Phantom Dancer, last whisper, Blood Thirster, Blade of the Ruined King, and berserker grieves. These items will allow you to do the most damage possible in any situation. The order in which these items need to built will depend on the champion you are playing and the champions you are playing against. If their team is building armor early, rushing a last whisper as a second major item would be a good option. If they are stacking health, then a blade of the ruined king as a first major item is excellent because of its % health damage and high attack speed. Of course there are exceptions to these guidelines for example. Rushing a Blade of the Ruined King on Caitlyn is not as optimal as building an Infinity edge as a first item because of her passive which can proc with the Infinity Edge. This will result in far more damage being done. The same principle can apply to Vayne in which she will gain more benefit from blade of the ruined king which will synergize with her silver bolts from the attack speed and % health damage. It's important to analyze what your champion's strengths and weaknesses are in order to make a proper build. The last thing about knowing champion strengths and weaknesses is determining if they are an AD Caster like Graves, Ezreal, Urgot, and etc or a raw AD auto-attacker like Caitlyn, Tristana, Vayne, and etc. Casters reap more benefits from pure damage than attack speed (not to say that building a Phantom Dancer is bad, but getting a Blood Thirster first might be more ideal). What remains universal for items is the last whisper, this item is a must as a third major item even if the enemy is not building any armor because it will make your auto attacks ignore most of their armor and do almost true damage, not to mention it will keep scaling as the game goes on and they start building armor.
Offensive items are not the only things you should build on an ADC, there are two defensive items in which one or both should be built at least. They are the Guardian Angel and Mercurial Scimitar. The Mercurial Scimitar is both an offensive and defensive item with its active cleanse, AD, and MR stats which makes it useful against a team that has an exhaust and/or a lot of CC and AP. The Guardian Angel is perfect against a team that has Assassins since it will result in all of their abilities going down and you surviving. For example, if there is a Zed on the other team, a Guardian Angel is a must since it will guarantee you will not just die due to his ultimate and all of his abilities will be down leading to a possible kill.
Lastly, there is always the decision between the Statikk Shiv and the Phantom Dancer. Both of them give similar stats with the exception of their unique passives. The Shiv is 300 gold cheaper and provides 10% less attack speed and critical chance than the Phantom dancer but it's passive will proc a chain lightning on a unit on an auto-attack every 100 stacks dealing 100 damage to 4 units in which can critically strike up to 200 magic damage (does not ignore resistances). This is an appropriate item to grab with a marksman that has a long ranged auto attack like Caitlyn or a champion like Ezreal that has an ability (mystic shot) that will apply on hit effects. It is also important to note that if your team has a lot of AP already, then the Statikk Shyv will not be as great since it is likely that the enemy has build magic resistance. The Phantom Dancer is good in all situations since it gives the highest stats between the two. It is important to know that the passive that it grants (no collision with units) is best suited on short ranged AD carries since it is more likely that creeps will be getting in the way.
The AP Carry: The AP Carry has more build paths than ADC but it is not the role with the most. Just like the ADC, it's important to look at the other team and what their composition contains. If the other team is stacking health, then a Liandry's is a possible item to grab. If it's magic resistance they are stacking, then a void staff is a must. Picking up an Abyssal Sceptre is also a possibility if they have a lot of AP on their team and you are playing a caster like Ryze or Fiddlesticks who needs to get into very close range to do damage. Zhonya's is also another strong buy, it should be built on ALMOST every caster, not all, since its active gives the ability to dodge all possible incoming damage which could mean enemy ultimates can be burned. Sorcerer's Shoes should be built most of the time. The times where other boots would be built would be if the other team had a lot of AD and Ninja Tabi could be beneficial or if they have a lot of cc, then mercury treads would be optimal. The adaption in boots is more prominent in short ranged casters due to a higher chance of being focused. Champions like Xerath would rarely take anything besides Sorcerer's Shoes since his long range places him in the back of fights and out of the way of incoming damage. A majority of AP carries will build differently due to their unique skill sets and stats, so building every single caster the same is not ideal and will not maximize your champion's potential.
The Deathfire Grasp is another item that can be taken into consideration when building your AP carry. It gives 120 AP, which is the second highest AP item in the game and also gives 10% cool down reduction. It's active is what makes it very attractive for AP Casters to grab since it does 15% of an enemy's maximum health in magic damage and makes all magic damage dealt to the same target amplified by 20%. The type of AP Carries that benefit the most from the DFG are bursters. Sustained fighters do not yield as much benefit from the DFG because it's debuff only lasts 4 seconds and sustained mages benefit from different items. Leblanc, Ahri, and Veigar all benefit greatly from the Deathfire Grasp since they have some of the highest burst potential out of any AP casters and it is highly suggested to pick this up as one of your first items if you are playing this type of champion.
Rabadon's Deathcap, this item should be built on every single AP carry, no excuses. However, this should not be the first item to pick up for a couple of reasons. One main reason is that its passive will not give a whole lot of AP yet since it is the only major AP item that you would currently have. The last reason is that it is the most expensive AP item in the game so saving up for it takes longer to get. It would best be suited to build an Athene's Holy Grail, Lichbane, or Deathfire as a first major item since they provide more practical stats for the early game and provide sustain or the power to snowball. Therefore Rabadon's would be best suited to be picked up as a second or third major item.
Lichbane is just like the Deathfire Grasp in that only certain types of champions should build it. Short ranged AP Carries will be the type of champion to pick this item up; Twisted Fate, Diana, etc. Fizz is a prime example of an AP Carry who will benefit tremendously from its passive because of his Q which applies on hit affects and will therefore proc lichbane's passive. Fizz's W will also scale along with it since it does damage on every auto attack. There are a few others that benefit from lichbane due to their abilities and ease of auto attacks.
Liandry's is another item that is better on certain champions than others. These types of champions are ones that have Damage over Time (DoT), % Health AP Damage, or abilities on short cooldown. Elise fits the requirement with having two abilities dealing % health damage making Liandry's very powerful on her. Brand is also another champion that Liandry's will be purposeful on. We also can't forget our favorite champion in League, Teemo. His poison darts will activate the passive on Liandryâ€™s on every auto-attack and his mushrooms will also be a nuisance to the enemy.
Another big item to take note of is Athene's Holy Grail, it gives all the stats that a majority of AP Carries crave. It has magic resists to give you more durability in lane (if the enemy laner is not AD), a passive in which gives you base mana regeneration and a % mana regeneration based upon missing mana, a decent 60 ability power, and finally 20% cooldown reduction all for 2,600 gold. Orianna, Xerath, Gragas, Ziggs, Lux, etc... all benefit from the stats greatly. This should be one of the first items you pick up if you are going to get it at all during the game, especially if you are finding yourself mana hungry. It's not recommended to pick this up going against an AD mid like Kha'Zix or Zed since the magic resistance will be useless and a Seeker's Armguard into a Zhonya's would be a better option.
There are a few that I will not go into as in-depth about since they are not the greatest items or for the most part only certain champions will pick them up due to unique stat combinations. The Rageblade, Nashor's Tooth, Hextech Gunblade, Mejai's Soul Stealer, Morellonomicon, Rod of Ages, Ohmwrecker, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Will of the Ancients, and Twin Shadows. These items aren't bad, but for the most part, champion dependant. This is where it will be important to know exactly what kind of stats that help your champion excel since just because an item may be great on others, does not mean it is the best pick for you champion.
The Tank: It goes without saying that the tank's build is to get as much armor, health, and magic resistance in order to absorb damage for your team. As a tank, your roll can be peeling for your ADC or initiating onto the enemy team and keeping them locked down, burning their abilities. Building as a tank can be really simple, it's all about analyzing what their team composition is and who exactly is getting fed on their team. If their team is all AD except their mid, let's use Akali for example. It would be safe to assume to buy one magic resistance item and the rest health and armor, this is not the case 100% of the time though because Akali could be 10/0 while the rest of her team could all be negative. It would be more beneficial to grab more than one item for magic resistance since that is where most of the damage is coming from. The same idea applies to a team consisting of 4 AP and 1 AD. If everyone on their team of both AD and AP are equally fed, try to build your resistances in a ratio. If there are 3 AD's and 2 APs, then try to build armor and magic resistance to a 3:2 ratio while also grabbing health. An important thing to note is that ALWAYS finish your items before you go onto building the next one. It is more cost effective that way and you will have better stats more quickly.
It's time to go into specifics now, Randuin's is a great item for all tanks, it counters any auto-attacking champion by reducing attack and movement speed while providing you with 500 health and 70 armor. If their ADC is getting fed, this should be one of your first items to pick up. Sunfire Cape is also a good choice against an AD heavy team, especially if you see that they are building no magic resistance. You'll be able to survive in the fight for a decent amount of time due to the armor and health that you have which allows for the Cape's passive to deal more damage than most people would expect. Thornmail is one of those items that is extremely situational depending on the enemy team. It provides 100 armor (the most out of any item in the game) and has a passive that will punish any ADC from focusing you. This should be picked up as one of your last items if the enemy has a lot of Auto-Attacking power. Graves is a AD Caster so a Thornmail would not be as effective (although it's not necessarily bad to pick up) as it would be against a Caitlyn. Frozen Heart is in a similar situation that Thornmail is in. It provides great stats, but it is only effective on certain champions and against certain team compositions leading to it being picked up less often. Some tanks in League do not use mana such as Shen and Mundo, but Ryze (yes, he's a mid) and Nasus will utilize the stats that it gives. Leona and Taric can pick it up, but they are picked as supports (a majority of the time) who turn into tanks as the game progresses which means that their itemizations must be as effective as possible and in return means that a Frozen Heart will be skipped out on. This doesn't mean to never buy Frozen Heart though, if the other team has a lot of Auto-Attacking power it is a reasonable purchase, just make sure your champion can utilize all of its stats.
There are 3 magic resistance items that every tank should be considering to purchase. They are the Banshee's Veil, Spirit Visage, and Guardian Angel. The passive on Banshee's Veil makes it a prime purchase if the enemy has a big ability that needs to be blocked. This should be picked up almost every single game as a tank unless the other team has no AP champions since avoiding damage from one ability, or avoid getting hooked by Thresh or Blitzcrank can save your life. Banshee's also provides a decent amount of health and magic resistance which is perfect against any AP champion. The second item is the Spirit Visage. If there are any healers on your team like Soraka, Sona, or Taric, or if you have high health regeneration, or Lifesteal/Spell Vamp, this item must be picked up. The only time Spirit Visage would not be picked up is if there were no AP champions on the other team and there were no healers on yours. Spirit Visage can be picked up at any time, if an AP on the other team is getting fed, then it should be built as fast as possible unless getting a Banshee's would be more beneficial, it's up for you to decide. The last item is the Guardian Angel. It gives both armor and magic resistance which is perfect for a tank. The most important thing about this item is that it has the potential to reverse a fight. It gives you a second chance to peel for your team if you die early during the fight and could end up with your team ahead. The Guardian Angel should be picked up as a 5th or 6th item as it's passive will scale with HP meaning that if you have 2,000 health you'd revive with 400 health, but if you had 3,000 health, you'd come back with 600 which is significantly more. This should be picked up on every tank every game due to it giving both forms of resistance and it's reviving passive.
As for what boots to pick up, Mercury treads should be picked up a majority of the time because as a front-liner you will be getting hit by the most CC so the tenacity will be invaluable to pick up. The other possible boot option is Ninja Tabi and this should be picked up against low CC and high AD teams.
As long as you pay attention to the enemy team's main source of damage and damage type, building against them will be easy and help you survive which will make your job easier.
The Bruiser: There are many different kinds of bruisers and their roles can change throughout the game. They can peel, initiate, and also go for critical targets. Almost every bruiser builds differently too, Jax will not build like Riven, and Darius will not build like Lee Sin. For this part, it's not going to be as detailed due to the very complicated nature and various builds that bruisers will make. Most bruisers will be played in the top lane against other bruisers, of course this is not always the case which means your build on your particular bruiser should not be the same every game. There are three general guidelines to follow in order to properly build.
Rule #1: Never build damage if you are losing your lane. Building damage when you are behind is one of the worst ways to come back and be useful for your team. Here is why, if the enemy laner comes back to lane with a Phage and Doran's blade because you gave up first blood, and you only have two Doran's blades. The enemy laner will have more damage than you which will mean for a majority of the time that you will always lose trades and keep dying. It is the principle that fighting while you are behind is pointless because it will never yield a kill 1v1, if your jungler comes and ganks, that's a different story. What you should be doing when you're behind is just focusing on Creep Scoring (CS'ing) under your tower and waiting for help from your mid or jungler. Building health and resistances will allow you to stay in lane longer which in turn means you miss out on less experience and gold. It also means that when it comes to team fighting you are able to peel for your carry since you'll be tanky instead of getting melted as soon as you enter the fight to only do a little bit of damage.
Rule #2: When ahead, abuse your advantage. If you are winning your lane, build damage and use it to your advantage in lane. You'll always out damage someone who has less stats than you. If top is pushed and they are farming under tower, start roaming and snowball other lanes, there's no point in building damage if you aren't doing anything with it. Just make sure that you ward properly and talk with your jungler so that your chances of getting a kill are increased. Also building damage will allow you to kill the other team's carry if there is a proper initiation. It is also important to build tanky as a bruiser so you are able to get in close and get kills without getting lit up. So what should happen is that you win your lane top and get one damage item, then start working on something to help your survive. You do not need many items with damage in order to get kills since a majority of bruisers have abilities that already deal "tons of damage".
Rule #3: Do not get overconfident. If you are fed and carrying the game, do not think that you are invincible because that will lead to your death and leave your team down 4v5, missing their most fed person. Also, being too aggressive in lane can be punishing, top is the easiest lane in the game to gank due to it being the longest lane (along with bot) and the many different ways junglers can get past wards. Make sure to pay attention to your map as well, even if you are warding well. Getting tunnel vision because you are focused on getting a kill can allow the enemy jungler to walk past your ward without you even knowing and lead to burned summoners, death, or both.
Before going into ranked and playing a new bruiser top, make sure you have that champion studied and play with them in normals because learning your limitations and what items are most effective on your champion will be the biggest part in giving you the ability to adapt and win your games.
The Assassins: The assassin is similar to the AD Carry in some ways but there are key differences in builds and play styles that should be accounted for. There are 3 items in which 1 of them should be your first major item, they'll be known as the big 3. The Bloodthirster is the first a favorite among most assassins due to it giving the most AD out of any item in the game (with its passive) and providing 12% lifesteal without any stacks and 18% with full stacks. This is one of the first items that an assassin, who deals the most damage from abilities rather than auto attacks, should fully complete as it provides early sustain and damage which is what most assassins will thrive off of. The second is the Ravenous Hydra which is better for pushing lanes and deals more damage overall in a team fight but will bring a bit less damage on a single target since it is 25 AD weaker than the Blood Thirster. It can also be picked up as a first item just like the Blood Thirster, and is better suited for auto attacking based assassins. It is up to you to decide which one will be better to build on your particular assassin. It is acceptable to build both of these items in the same game, however, they should not be built right after each other. Blade of the Ruined King (BotRK) is the third and also a prime choice for assassins since it removes the kiting potential of your target. The stats that the BotRK give also are beneficial for assassins since it gives them more sustain, attack speed, damage, and a % health damage bonus on top of it all. This is the last of the Big 3 first items that you should build since it is cheaper than the Hydra and the same price as the Blood Thirster. It also makes ganking another lane easier since it has a slow active which will most likely result in an enemy's burned summoners or death.
For the most part, assassins generally do not build any armor or health since their goal is to get the most damage as possible and kill the enemy carry. The only defensive item that an assassin should pick up is the Guardian Angel. Just as mentioned in the Tank section, it will give you another chance to kill the enemy carry. If you did accomplish your goal, then it allows for you to come back and possibly get another kill. The Guardian Angel should be built as a 4th or 5th major item since damage is the most important thing to grab first.
The Last Whisper is also a key item for every assassin. As before mentioned in the AD Carry section, it provides armor penetration that will scale throughout the game since it is % based and will amplify your damage. It should be built as a third or fourth major item. The alternative to grabbing a Last Whisper is the Black Cleaver. For the most part, this should be your second or third major item as an assassin. Most assassins have abilities that will activate its passive and will benefit from the bonus health, flat armor penetration, and cool down reduction. Building both the Last Whisper and Black Cleaver can be devastating to the enemy team if they are stacking armor. If they are not, then one of them should be built and not both since the stats they will be giving will not be utilized to their full potential. In order to figure out which one to grab, determine what if your champion mainly uses abilities to deal damage, if he/she does, then the Black Cleaver would be better to pick up since it provides cool down reduction and its passive will get activated more quickly. Pick up the Last whisper if your champion is mainly an auto-attacker. A situational item is Maw of Malmortius, it should be picked up against an AP heavy team since it provides magic resistance and a fair amount of AD, it can be picked up as a 3rd, 4th, or 5th major item depending on the situation.
As for boots, there are several options. One is Ninja Tabi if you are laning against an AD champion, it will give your survivability which will give you the ability to stay longer. Mercury treads is a possibility if the other team has a lot of cc to lock you down and make you useless, however, it can be skipped if you play wisely and don't allow yourself to get caught. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are another option since it will allow your abilities to come off cool down more quickly and increase your damage output. The last boots that are recommended are the boots of mobility. They allow you to roam with ease once your lane is pushed and makes your ganks difficult to escape. Each has their own strengths and it will be up to you in game to determine what would be the most beneficial for your situation.
An example build on Zed against a team with a lot of AD and building pure armor would be Ninja Tabi, Blade of the Ruined King, Ravenous Hydra, Last Whisper, Black Cleaver, and Guardian Angel.
The Jungler The jungler can fulfill several different roles in the game and their job can change as the game goes on. This will mean that different builds will occur and it is important to pay attention to how the game is flowing. The first item that you should pick up as a jungler is one of the three spirit items. Each have the same passive of "Butcher" and "Conservation" but they all have different stats and one different unique ability among them. The Spirit of the Spectral Wraith should be built on AP Junglers, it provides a up to a maximum of 80 Ability Power and grants cool down reduction which is useful for any caster. Some AP Casters can opt of of the Spirit of the Spectral Wraith and go for the Spirit of the Ancient Golem (for example, Cho'Gath) which will make you tankier and grants you cooldown reduction and tenacity. This should be picked up if your team is lacking a tank and can be built by both with most AD and some AP junglers. The Spirit of the Elder Lizard is a perfect item for junglers that are carrying the game by themselves. It provides AD and true damage as a passive in which will allow your ganks to be stronger and more threatening. If you are falling behind in the jungle as an AD champion, it is smarter to build Spirit of the Ancient Golem since it will make you more useful.
Which boots to buy is also an important itemization decision as a jungler. Boots of Mobility should be built on almost every jungler because it will grant you the power to get from camp A to camp B faster and allows for faster, stronger, and more ganks. A majority of junglers should pick them up over any others. Boots of Swiftness is an alternative to Mobility Boots since they also provide movement speed, but more consistently. AP based junglers can choose to skip out of Mobility Boots and go for Sorcerer's Shoes if they are quick and have hard cc, but if not, it would be better to pick up the extra speed. Mercury treads can be a great purchase against a team that has CC, just make that if you are planning to grab the Spirit of the Ancient Golem to skip out on Mercury Treads since they both give tenacity and will not stack together. The last option is Ninja Tabi and can be picked up if the other team is AD heavy.
As for the rest of the build as a jungler, each champion will build differently since different situations and different abilities will mean different items will be needed. So what needs to happen is that once your role in the jungle is identified (tank, peeler, bruiser, etc) you need to build accordingly to those roles. Refer to the Tank and Bruiser sections for how to properly build for those roles.
The Support In the current state of Season 4, the support is in a complicated position. There are AP carries making their way into bot lane such as Annie and there are traditional supports like Taric and Thresh. This can make building as a support tricky since there is a lot of variable to take into account. There are a few items that supports should generally take for utility and to best aid their team. It's not devastating you don't pick up all of them, but at minimum one support item should be build.
The Ruby Sightstone is a support's dream come true, it provides 5 free stealth wards in which only 3 can be placed on the map at any given time. Placing about 20 wards will pay off the sightstone and from there it is free gold (in wards). It is also important that warding will help keep you safe in lane and possibly lead to kills or objectives like Baron or Dragon, (for more information on warding click Here). Locket of the Iron Solari is also a strong support item and should be picked up against any team that has a fed AP Carry or has multiple AP champions. It's passive AoE (area of affect) increases your team's magic resistance by 20 and has an active shield which can protect for 230 damage, enough to determine whether or not your allies survive or die. Talisman of Ascension is the third universal support item that any support can pick up. It allows for disengage and engaging with its movement speed steroid. The stats also provide utility for your champion and can synergize well if your overall goal is peeling for your carry.
There are a few other items that are optional to grab as a support and those are the Face of the Mountain and the Frostqueen's Claim. Both provide utility for the team, however they are champion specific instead of being universal. Face of the Mountain is better suited on tanky mele champions like Leona and Taric since its active will benefit the most and also it's passive, Spoils of War, is easier to proc. The Frost Queen's claim is best suited for AP based supports like Soraka, and Sona since it provides Ability Power and an active that can help focus a main target in a fight. Past these items, the supports should build for what their team needs, for example, Leona is naturally tanky and should have the same building mindset of a normal tank after she is finished getting her main support items. Knowing what your champion thrives off of is also key so you are able to provide the most help to your team.
This ends the guide, I hope you learned something and start seeing an improvement in your score.
Written by: Epsilam
you need to Login
to post a comment