I've read quite a bit on the forums about people's ideas about strategies and builds and I've come up with what I feel is a decent list of concepts. Some of these are contrary to what's already been posted and some of it is the same. I do not believe these ideas to be "God's Word" and they are all up to interpretation and debate, hence the question mark in the title. I do not claim to be the best player in the world, nor am I the worst. However, I do claim that my skills lie more in the builds and team fights than in the laning, mid-game farming areas. This is why I choose ARAM. Below is the list:
Barrier: It seems well-established that this is the best summoner, it gives you that extra oomph in the early game fights which seems to make all the difference in winning and losing the early fights, especially if you're already low from pokes/earlier fights.
Heal: I personally choose heal for two reasons. First, it gives you that extra oomph in early team fights just like barrier, albeit less individually. Second, and more importantly, it heals your entire team, which is GREAT for recovering from a fight that you won or healing off harass.
Flash: I never choose to use this because, at the random pug level, proper positioning is more than sufficient to stay alive and/or initiate fights. I constantly see people way out of position and use flash as a crutch. However, at the higher levels of skill, I can imagine that flash would be necessary for some comps to initiate. I might consider using this if a MM'ing system gets implemented where ratings are taken into account.
Chalice: If you have long cooldowns with high mana costs that you want to spam, buy a chalice. Ex. Morgana, Taric, Alistar, etc.
Tear: If your cooldowns are short enough to fully charge a tear, buy a tear. Ex. Urgot, Sona, Singed, Ryze, etc.
Philo Stone: Otherwise, buy a philo stone for one big reason. If you don't benefit from the added effects of the previous two items (Mana for Tear, and Extra Regen from Chalice), then buy a philo stone for the health regen.
Emblem of Valor: If you have enough money and are ever going to need any survivability, buy an emblem. It gives your team bonus health regen, and you get double the benefit if someone else on your team buys it as well. I would argue this it the second best item for ARAM.
Aegis/Bulwark: Everyone that is every going to take significant damage should get an aegis. It is the most cost efficient defensive item in the game, even more so if the enemy team has enough magic dmg to necessitate upgrading to Bulwark. A bulwark costs about 3kg and gives WAY more defensive stats than any other item in the game. The only contenders are Randuin's and Frozen Heart, which only give armor. I think this is the best item for ARAM, by a large margin.
Vamp Scepter: If you are an adc, you should start Vamp Scepter instead. How quickly you build into Sanguine Blade is up to you. However, the early sustain and dmg bonus is necessary. Unless you want to gimp your mid-game and buy an aegis (which I don't recommend)
This is pretty sound advice all around. I have a few personal preferences that differ a bit, though.
I really appreciate your analysis. You seem have a keen understanding of ARAM. I would like to add one thing that I would love to write an article on. However, it would pretty much be a book in-and-of itself. The point of ARAM is not to get kills. Kills are not all that beneficial to your team. They are actually a hindrance in the short term. If you kill someone, all you've done is allow them to buy items and come back with full hp/mp while you are lower than when you started. However, if you let them sit on their turret with no hp, they will be completely unable to stop you from pushing the towers (which is ultimately the goal of the game).
The one thing I really hope for is a rating system (possibly through an MM Implementation). This would allow an actual metagame to develop. It's unlikely that the average joe will learn that he's playing suboptimally if he thinks he plays well and that all of his losses are due to bad team comps (Realistically, these people will always exist). I hope to see you in game at some point.
I personally feel that when it comes to summoner's spells, it's all relative to the individual champion. As stated above, someone like Fiddle, Galio, Amumu, or even Vayne, Alistar, or Poppy can make good use of the spell as it allows them to quickly re-position for their other skills.
As for second spell, heal is always a good option but it's all dependent on the champion you get or what the enemy team has. On melee champions that like to jump right in the middle of things I prefer to take both heal and barrier as not only can you block damage you can heal up and that helps you deal with the inevitable damage you are going to take from being focused. Either of these can be substituted for ignite or exhaust, if they are needed (ignite is situational, exhaust is usually okay since most of the time the enemy team will have an ADC.) I don't like taking any of these on ranged unless there is no other option because chances are if will be difficult to use it properly without being out of position. Even clarity has it's uses, imho, if your team is especially mana hungry. Sure, late game it becomes almost next to useless but being able to sustain your teams mana early on allows for lots of harassment that can give you an edge.
As for items I generally agree with you, OP. If the enemy team has a lot of poke like Nidalee and yi, etc, and you are melee always grab an early negatron cloak and perhaps t1 boots and potions. Alternatively, if they have a lot of AD poke such as Jayce, Caitlyn, or Ashe, etc, you can grab a chain vest instead. If they have a mix of both, I like to start with a giants belt and build from there. As a general rule I also tend to take tank masteries on most melee's in ARAM as the tenacity and damage reduction helps a lot.
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