Caitlyn- Last Whisper/Armor Pen synergy

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Chaos Lord29

Senior Member

03-23-2011

With Caitlyn back on the free champion rotation, I've been starting to favor her instead of my usual ranged dps main, Tristana, and while they are similar in role, I've found some key differences in both play style and the prioritizing of items. Some changes in my runes and core items then has raised with me a fundamental question, since Last Whisper's 40% armor reduction is applied after flat armor reduction (from Runes, Brutalizer, Black Cleaver etc.) is it better to stack damage/atk speed runes when using it, or to eschew Whisper in favor of flat armor pen items and runes?

I've found Whisper thus far to be a great starting core item, since I can first purchase a Longsword some health potions and then build it into Last Whisper after I've purchased some boots. However I've had similar good experiences with the Brutalizer since it's also built from a long sword, even though it provides only flat armor pen and cool down reduction.

tl;dr?

Does Last Whisper synergize better with atk speed/dmg runes or is it better to ditch Whisper altogether in favor of armor penetration runes?


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FABIOForever

Senior Member

03-23-2011

I think the point where last whisper becomes worth it is somewhere around 90 armor. More if you have flat penetration.

I always found it better to go flat penetration and avoid LW unless the non-tanks started packing triple digit armor. If they're not armor stacking, then black cleaver is a much better choice.


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Jebbou

Senior Member

03-24-2011

Actually, most heroes get about 70 to 85 armor naturally by level 18, without items. This would roughly translate to about 30 armor penetration through a quite cheap item. If your target has at least one armor item (Such as a guardian angel) and/or is affected by Aegis, they might have about 100 armor or more. At that point, LW will grant you more than 40 armor penetration. And if you need to attack the tank or almost any tanky DPS, they WILL have more than 150 armor. 40% will then translate into more than 60 armor penetration, which is much better than anything you would get for the same price, all packed in a single item.


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DrDragun

Senior Member

03-24-2011

Last Whisper shouldn't be rushed so Armor Pen runes will help your peacemaker and ult damage a lot more in the first half of the game. You can have a lot more efficient items than LW in the first 20-30 minutes of the game.


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Sonith

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Junior Member

03-24-2011

My recommendation would be to get a Black Cleaver first, then LW. Amazing synergy, between BC stacks and LX armor Pen.


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4HMan Thanatos

Senior Member

03-24-2011

Last whisper is nearly useless, as the only purpose I find in it is if you are burst melee (The other pen except brutalizer have wasted stats that bursts doesn't use) or against tanks (the s as in more than 1)


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Jebbou

Senior Member

03-24-2011

@Sonith: No? Even though both are good and have their optimal scenarios. I'd say, get one or the other, but not both unless you are facing a full line of bruisers.

Because percentage Armor Pen is calculated after flat reduction and penetration, you nerf your LW effectiveness if you get both. That is, if you strike a level 18 mage with 75 natural armor, that's 30 armor after three cleaver procs. 40% of 30 armor = 12 armor penetration. Not such a great synergy in my own opinion. If you only had LW, it would penetrate 30 armor by itself on every hit.


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ForeverLaxx

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Senior Member

03-24-2011

The problem with % armor/mr resist penetration, beyond the fact that it's calculated after flat penetration, is that the items exist for the targets you shouldn't be targeting anyway. If the entire enemy team is stacking armor, then go for it, but that means their damage is going to suffer so they're less threatening overall. The squishies you want to be hitting should have base, or maybe slightly more if an Aegis present, armor. Flat penetration will go much further than % in this case and quite often, the items you're picking up anyway come with flat penetration. Ghostblade, Black Cleaver, Starks (not quite the same, but fills a similar role), Sword of the Divine, etc.

And, usually, if you're an auto-attack champion and you're facing tankier teams, you're going to pick up a Madred's instead of a Last Whisper. Last Whisper affecting your skills and not just your auto-attacks is the main draw on it when compared to Madred's. You have to decide if you're using skills for the majority of your damage or not. Caitlyn plays in the LW method early game, but transitions into the Madred's style late-game as her Peacemaker has too much windup time to be effective in a teamfight -- it's still a great poke though.


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Jebbou

Senior Member

03-24-2011

I'm quite sceptical about the "Caitlyn transitions into the Madred's style late-game [especially when facing a tougher team]]".

4% of 4000 HP = 160 magic damage, reduced by almost half since you are targeting a tough enemy with at least 80 magic resistance (assume Negatron + 30 Natural ). This means about 90 extra magic damage per hit for 4000 Gold. That's pretty expensive for the benefits you get.

I'm too lazy to do the whole math, but my impression is that you sacrifice a lot by going down the Madred's road. Caith needs some damage and armor penetration to get the most of her abilities (including her passive). With Madred's, you sacrifice both damage AND armor penetration to get more attack speed and magic damage. It affects her auto-attacks too, since it adds damage that won't crit, won't bypass any resistance and won't be enhanced by her passive. For the same price, you could get an IE, which would probably add more burst damage with abilities, and more DPS damage, especially if you have a Last Whisper or Black Cleaver.


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Morsigil

Senior Member

03-24-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jebbou View Post
I'm quite sceptical about the "Caitlyn transitions into the Madred's style late-game [especially when facing a tougher team]]".

4% of 4000 HP = 160 magic damage, reduced by almost half since you are targeting a tough enemy with at least 80 magic resistance (assume Negatron + 30 Natural ). This means about 90 extra magic damage per hit for 4000 Gold. That's pretty expensive for the benefits you get.
I'm not going to weigh in on the larger argument, but I will ruin your fun by saying that the infinity edge, an item that costs more than madred's, would provide half the damage Madred's does (not including the crit bonus, just as you ignored the attack speed on madred) after reductions in this instance. Consider that.


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