Is it better to improve the offense or the defence of a champion? There’s no doubt that carries benefit more from improved attack damage than from buying better armour, but do they? If you are tougher to kill then you can deal damage for longer. A good defence can enable a mage to survive for a few critical seconds that allow another round of spells that win a team-fight.
The question is: which statistics are easier or cheaper to improve? All champions need offense but can defence be just as good for a carry or mage? Should tanks build only offense and rely on their innate sustainability? An analysis of the cost of improving each statistic can shed some light on these questions.
We’ll analyse statistics available at the basic tier of items: attack damage, ability power, armor, attack speed, critical strike, health, health regeneration, life steal, mana, mana regeneration, magic resistance and movement speed. Cooldown reduction, spell vamp and gold per ten seconds aren’t provided by any basic items so we’ll look at them another time.
|B. F. Sword||45||AD||1650||37|
|Boots of Speed||50||MS (Enhanced Movement 1)||350||7|
|Cloak of Agility||18||CS||830||46|
|Needlessly Large Rod||80||AP||1600||20|
Clicking on the ‘Cost’ header we can sort the table by gold cost and see some interesting results. Health and mana regeneration are the cheapest stats to improve while health and life steal are the most expensive. Buying armor is cheaper than buying magic resist as well as attack damage being cheaper than attack speed. However, this takes in consideration the cost of the items as a whole not the cost of a statistic. Then, the real question is how much are we paying for each unit of a bonus statistic?
The column ‘Cost/Bonus’ has the answer to that question, now we can compare bonuses’ cost instead of items’ cost. Mana and health are the cheapest stats to improve. Even though a Giant’s Belt is one of the highest priced items, it provides a lot of health for the gold spent. Movements speed is also relatively cheap, which is a good thing as it’s hardly a stat that can be ignored.
Magic resist is a little cheaper in comparison to armor, though not by a significant difference. Ability power seems reasonable priced in comparison to attack speed and attack damage. Therefore, mages can buy AP for less gold than carries spend for their stats.
Continuing with carries’ stats, attack speed is cheaper than attack damage by around 10 gold. Moreover, life steal has almost the same cost as attack damage. Unfortunately, critical strike chance is quite an expensive statistic to rise.
Lastly, health regeneration is somewhat expensive to get and mana regeneration is the single most expensive stat to boost. Buying any kind of regeneration isn’t very cost effective; especially health regeneration in Dominion.
What can we deduce from this all? Buying flat bonuses to health, armor and magic resist are the best ways to increase survivability. Regeneration is expensive and isn’t readily available; you also need time. Mages can make do with less gold than carries so last hits and kills should be provided to carries to make up for the difference in bonuses’ cost.
Attack speed based carries can improve their damage output for less gold than attack damage based ones. Still, it’s interesting to note that life steal, being the prime stat for a sustainable carry, is priced similar to AD; both being an equally good investment. Critical strike disappoints with its cost. If we add the fact that it relies on luck we can conclude that flat bonuses are cheaper and more reliable than bonuses over time.
Finally, are we better off boosting offence or defence? We’ve seen that raising offence is more expensive than improving defence. Besides, defensive bonuses are larger than offensive. Additionally, damage is dealt over many attacks so being resilient does provide for an increased damage output.
In consequence, it would be unreasonable to sacrifice all offence for defence but any champion can easily, cheaply and effectively improve their damage output by investing in defence and avoiding a glass-canon build. Glass-canon builds are better left for assassin-type champions that can easily escape and avoid being focused. Tanks on the other hand, will get more from their gold if they stick to improving their defences.
– Acronyms: AD: attack damage, AP: ability power, AS: attack speed, CD: cooldown, CDR: cooldown reduction, CS: critical strike chance, Gp10: gold per 10 sec., Hp5: health regen per 5 sec., LS: life steal, MD: magic damage, Mp5: mana regen per 5 sec., MR: magic resist, MS: movement speed, PD: physical damage, SV: spell vamp
– You can sort multiple columns by holding shift and clicking on other column headers