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League of Legends: Life Steal Items’ Cost Effectiveness – StrategyZero
Nov 102011

Life steal (LS) is a prime statistic for carries to stay sustainable and get an edge on opposing carries. It goes extremely well with carries’ need for attack damage (AD) as it scales from it as well as from attack speed (AS).

The table below has all items that provide bonus LS with their cost and cost per LS. The latter value indicates how much is paid for each unit of LS in that item. The lower the cost per LS unit the more cost effective the item is.

Lifesteal Items Table
Name LS Other Bonuses Cost Cost/LS
Bilgewater Cutlass 15 +35 AD, UNIQUE Active: deals 150 MD and slows the target champion by 50% for 3 seconds (400 range, 60 sec. CD) 1825 122
Doran’s Blade 3 +100 Health, +10 AD 475 158
Emblem of Valor 17 UNIQUE Aura: nearby allied champions gain 10 Hp5 800 47
Executioner’s Calling 18 +15% CS, UNIQUE Passive: on hit, you cause 4 damage per sec. for 8 sec., UNIQUE Active: inflicts target enemy champion with Grievous Wound, causing 50% reduced healing and regeneration for 8 sec. (20 sec. CD) 1350 75
Hextech Gunblade 15 +40 AD, +70 AP, UNIQUE Passive: +20% SV, UNIQUE Active: deals 300 MD and slows the target champion by 50% for 3 sec. (700 range, 60 sec. CD) 3625 242
Stark’s Fervor 20 +20% AS, UNIQUE Aura: gives nearby allied champions 20% LS, 20% AS, and 30 Hp5. Reduces the Armor of nearby enemy champions by 20 2550 128
The Bloodthirster 25 +60 AD, +15% LS, Passive: gain an additional 1 AD and 0.25% LS per kill. Maximum of +40 AD and 10% LS. Bonuses are lost upon death 3000 120
Vampiric Scepter 12 450 38
Wriggle’s Lantern 15 +23 AD, +30 Armor, UNIQUE Passive: 20% chance on hitting a minion or monster to deal 500 bonus magic damage. UNIQUE Active: places an invisible ward with 1100 range sight that lasts for 3 min. (3 min. CD) 1600 107

With few exceptions, basic items are the most cost effective; Vampiric Scepter doesn’t deviate from the norm. Going down in cost effectiveness we find Emblem of Valor as a good source of LS. Executioner’s Calling is somewhat cost effective, however in comparison with Vampiric Scepter each unit of LS costs almost twice as much.

Wriggle’s Lantern is a favourite of junglers and the relatively cheap LS bonus is a good part of it. Moreover it is the last item able to provide LS for less than 100 gold per unit. Other items are less cost effective in addition to being more expensive.

A fully stacked The Bloodthirster can be considered a carry’s dream come true. That may be the case in terms of AD but as far as LS is concerned it’s a little disappointing. While it is able to provide the biggest bonus to LS, we are paying three times more for it; with respect to Vampiric Scepter.

Bilgewater Cutlass is not a good example of cost effectiveness. Not only is it a bit expensive in terms of LS but it also is part of another item: Hextech Gunblade. Hextech Gunblade is the worst choice available in terms of LS and should be avoided if the intention is to provide LS to a champion.

Doran’s Blade is a bad option when you base its price on its LS bonus. Overall it can be a good item to increase a carries early game survivability but in terms of LS there are much better options available.

Finally, Stark’s Fervor is the evident progression from Emblem of Valor. It does provide the second biggest LS bonus but its cost becomes inflated by the several additional bonuses. As an overall item it’s very versatile but when it comes to raw LS it’s one of the least cost effective items.

In conclusion, life steal is the prime sustainability stat for carries and a good option for champions that include AD or AS in their builds. There are few but good options for boosting LS and by analysing the cost of each one an informed decision is better made.

– 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
– The Bloodthirster’s bonus lifesteal corresponds to 40 stacks
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