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LoLU Lesson 6: Initial Items

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Lord Tolkien:
One of the biggest problems newbies haven't picked up on are generally an unwillingness to buy health pots. Long ago, I was the same (and didn't start doing it until level 15-20ish), however nowadays, I know better and keep a slot full of health pots (2-5, depending on lane, gold, and time into the game) at all times, up until deep into the midgame.

Agreed. There's a reason every build I put up had health pots in them.

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Hmm alot of times I feel that something like a doran ring gives way more stats for certain champs early game then those three. For example master yi, Kayle, or even gangplank. With the ring you get powerful heals for each and the mana regen to spam it so that your sustain is amazing. What say you to this? (Also the mana regen lets you spam abilities that allows you to dominate early)

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Senior Member


A regrowth pendent + pot start is also viable on several junglers for a rushed philo stone and jungle sustain. Additionally there are junglers who can safely start with a dorans as well, though it is a riskier and gank oriented path (similarly pots 3 on alot of junglers is the agressive start). The amount of dorans you can afford to buy really depends of the hero you're playing, if you're playing an early-midgame monster like pantheon then stacking 3 dorans is almost required for the extreamly cost effective stats to abuse your early game dominance. If you are playing a ranged carry though stacking too many dorans can put you noticably behind for mid game where you should be getting you first major item (1Dorans+Zerkers+IE >3 Dorans + Zerkers + BF Sword + pickax).

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Senior Member


The way I like to think of items in general is this: Cheap items are good for the money, but take up a lot of item slots, legendary items are great for the item slots, but relatively bad for the money. To use the Dorans vs BF sword example used earlier, A BF sword costs 1650 and gives 45 AD 3 Dorans cost 1425 and give 30 AD, 240HP and 9% lifesteal it also leaves 225 gold for health potions, mana potions, or wards, ad 25 gold more could let you grab an elixer to try and turn your lane quckly and safely, meanwhile, what will 25 gold on top of a BF sword buy you? Nothing. That being said, should you buy six Doran's items? No, unless you're getting forced out of lane so quickly that you only have about 475 gold each time you go back, you should not be buying too many Doran's items, for 3 reasons.

Reason 1) Doran's items do not build into anything, which means their value doesn't get paid forwards towards something bigger

Reason 2) You only have six item slots, which means once you have six, you can't itemize further unless you sell, which leads onto...

Reason 3) Doran's items only sell back for half what you bought them for, this means half your gold spent on Doran's are lost forever, where most items sell back for 75%, or 100% of their value can be put forward towards an item they build into.

For this reason, Doran's items should be used for getting a quick pay-off, either in gold for your team, or negative gold for the enemy team. So unless you plan on using your Doran's item to try to push your enemy out of lane, push down a tower, get a kill, or keep up in a situation where you'll fall behind without the great per-gold value of a Doran's, it's probably better to pick up something else, as something else will scale better into the late game, where a Doran's is what it is now, and will be less later.

I do feel, however, that there are many better choices for item builds, and seeing boots+3 on my entire team is usually very painful for me. Seeing it on the enemy team usually makes me very happy. Boots+3 pots provides you with some minor regeneration, and vital move-speed, but it leaves a serious gap in terms of stats or real sustain. I find 4 things to be vital in the very beginning of laning phase, those three things are effective farming, denying your opponent's farm, staying in lane and, by extension of 3, avoiding death. Boots help you avoid death, and can be marginally helpful for farming, denying farm, and staying in lane, but only marginally, and not in any way that learning good positioning won't. When I play, for example, an AP Mid, I take a Meki Pendant and 2 potions, either HP or MP or one of each depending on my champion (ex. 2 mana pots with Fiddlesticks, 2 health pots with Annie). The Meki Pendant means I'll almost never have to leave lane because I'm out of mana, and allows me to be more aggressive as a result (my opponent will never get a break to go farm freely because I'm low on mana, as long as I don't waste it on nothing), and the potions allow me the sustain I need to stay in lane Hp wise. This setup helps with denying farm, because you have mana with which to remain a threat, helps farm effectively, because you get more frequent skill uses to farm, and the zoning makes you safer, helps with staying in lane because of the mana sustain, and helps you avoid dying because you have skills available that you might not have had if you didn't have the mana regen from a pendant. While Meki+2 is less effective then boots+3 with direct help in surviving ganks, positioning and map awareness can keep you very safe in lane.

While I am aware this is a guide for newer players, I feel that taking boots+3 too frequently negatively impacts your play because it allows you to slack on map awareness and positioning, and I feel that being ready to go without boots until your laning opponent is forced to go back to base is a great learning experience just as much as it is an advantage in lane.

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Excellent post. However, I have one question for you. Would you admit that starting off with Doran's ring for AP Carry Mid is quite viable and maybe even optimal because the distance is shorter from the tower. Thus, rendering movement speed negligible early on. Also allowing for additional damage to harrass?