League of Legends

How to fundamentally fix AP itemization.

LeagueofLegends12 - How to fundamentally fix AP itemization.

AP items have a problem. There is the non-fundamental problem of specific numbers balance, but that applies to every set of items and isn't what I want to talk about here.

What I want to discuss is the homogenization of AP items in league compared to other kinds of items.

There are 4 fundumentally different types of AP champions in league, however there are only 3 sets of AP mythics and 2 sets of AP legendaries, compared to AD champions which have 3 sets of mythics, 3 sets of legendries and 3 different categories with some flexing into tank under appropriate scenario's.

The 4 catagories are:

  • Mages
  • AP assassins
  • AP bruisers/fighters
  • Enchanters

Of these, enchanters are properly segregated into their own set of items, while the other 3 categories of champions all share legendries.

In particular, it is notoriously difficult to develop AP bruiser/fighter items because AP assassins can poach them. Why is this this a problem for AP bruisers but not AD bruisers? Because AD assassins are bound much harder to their secondary stats and have stronger item synergies with their intended items.

Basically, AP assassin items aren't synergistic enough, so they can flex into AP bruiser items without losing much.

To prove the point, lets ask the following question: Why does Kha'zix not buy Deaths Dance? 55 AD is certainly competitive compared to the other items he builds, the passives are hardly useless for a champion that wants to one shot someone and dip and who doesn't want some extra ability haste and armor?

Maybe it's because he already has so much escape and doesn't need it. Ok, so what about Samira then. Why doesn't she build deaths dance? She wants to go in, kill targets and then bounce between the Survivors. Shouldn't the healing passive and armor make a huge difference in making that successful?

Not really, because while a bit of defense is nice, these champions REALLY want lethality and crit respectively to the point where an item that doesn't give that is almost not even worth considering unless the passive is so insanely good that you don't even care about the stats (like with GA).

Some champions are more bound to their core stats than others, but the point is that they are bound to a stat other then AD in the first place.

With enchanters and bruisers this is relatively easy.

Enchanters need AH, mana regen and Heal power while Bruisers need AH and defensive stats. Both of them need some AP on top of this of course, but an item that gives a ton of AP and not much else won't interest them very much.


For the record, I'm not considering passives yet, Bruisers of course want things like max HP shred passives, ramping damage etc while Enchanters want active buffs and empower boosting passives. I'm just talking about the raw stats here.

But what about Mages and AP assassins?

Mages want mana, AH and AP while AP assassins want AP and AH. If we remove the AP for being too basic we are just left with a shit ton of AH, which is also the stat bruisers want. No wonder they can steal bruiser items, they all want the same stats so there's nothing to stop item theft.

However, there is a stat that has proven able to fix this problem in the past that I haven't mentioned yet: Magic pen.

Currently there is like, 3 items in the entire game that give flat magic pen, and of these 2 of them are mythics of which one is a mage item and the 3rd is sorc boots.

If we made a ton of flat magic pen items with AP assassin synergy and then rebalance AP assassin numbers around the existence of these items, then suddenly an item like demonic embrace is a much harder item to justify buying. Exactly like how deaths dance or really bruiser items in general are almost never a real consideration for AD assassins.

Then once we have a good ecosystem of AP assassin items that the class is hardbound to, we can develop proper AP bruiser items that don't give the magic pen AP assassins now need.

Once we do that, since AP bruisers and assassins now have their own dedicated items, mages can have mana spread out among most of their items again like they used to be since they don't have to share just like enchanters already do.

So we have another 3 AP mythics to account for this additional binding (possibly making only 1 new AP assassin mythic since rocketbelt and night harvester are perfectly fine assassin items), adding flat pen on AP assassin legendries, adding a few more of those legendries, add the AP bruiser items now that poaching them no longer works, re-specialize mage items and then just tweak the appropriate kit numbers for balance and call it a day.

Heck, we could even do things like adding mana to zhonya's so AP assassins like Akali can't build it as easily.

This was part of what I was expecting them to do in the first place with the S11 item rework, but they kinda just never did.

TLDR: Adding more flat magic pen fixes everything.

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