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### Math Help - Attack damage runs vs Armor pen?

godbuu

Senior Member

Hey,

Assuming a standard auto attacking hero with no buffs to damage or speed, such as Ashe or Nidalee or somesuch, when do runes that add armor pen become better than runes that do attack damage? I'm assuming at the beginning the attack damage is better, but maybe it's never better? Does it depend on how much armor the enemy hero has? I assume armor pen scales better into the late game?

KPloggz

Senior Member

From my own mental math, AD is better than ArmorPen early game, however I've been told that's incorrect; it's a safe bet that overall ArmorPen is the better choice.

Exitusx

Senior Member

Armor Pen is multiplicative. AD is additive. This means that later game as you get more and more damage on top of your flat attack damage, it starts to make less of a difference.

But the more armor pen you get to match your damage, the better it gets.

Here's a hypothetical yet reasonable situation. You do 200 damage, which isn't unreasonable late game. Now say the enemy you are attacking has 100 armor, which is about the average including items. That is almost exactly 50% protection from physical attacks, leaving you at 100. Now from marks alone I can only see about an extra 10 damage happening (maybe a little less), so your total damage goes up to 105 on that target. But say you switch those damage marks out for armor pen, which with the talent is like 21 armor pen. That leaves them at 80 armor, which is closer to about 40% (maybe a tiny bit more) damage protection. That 100 is now 120. Armor can also be negative to an opponent, which is multiplicative as well. Think reversed protection. 100 armor is 50% protection, so -100 armor (or armor pen and reduction totaling up to 100) is 50% extra damage from physical attacks (of course armor will NEVER go this low, but it's just a hypothetical).

Of course you are asking for a hypothetical in which the character has no buffs from items. Early game, armor pen is stil a better choice. Main reason, if you are Ashe as you pointed out, that volley adds damage to her attack, dealing even more than your auto attack. At the same time, the starting armor for most champs is at or lower than 20, which is close to or less than 20% protection. This makes the 50ish damage Ashe does at level 1 turn to 40 damage, or 48 if u have 10 damage from damage marks. The 21 armor pen just keeps it right at 50ish.

Sophyne

Senior Member

You can't get much AD from runes to make it worth it early (least with just marks, never tried all AD), so Armor Pen would be better since it scales better late game.

malphismia

Senior Member

I've tried AD and all ArPen runes. Honestly, it doesn't make a difference, it just depends on your item build.

If I use my AD runeset, I get Last Whisper (40% ArPen).

If I use my flat ArPen runeset, I get items like Brutalizer/Youmuu's, Starks.

The different item builds are more suited for different roles, where I find LW is for carries, and Brutalizer/Youmuu/Starks is for melee tanky DPS.

Crazyflames

Senior Member

You also have to remember, after their armor gets to a certain point the flat pen will become less useful if you get last whisper, 150 armor is probably the point when flat really isn't that good, it really depends on the sistuation.

Nikorai

Senior Member

Armor pen is by far the better pick

Prometheius

Senior Member

Armor Pen early on also helps get minion kills down more exactly.

Yeah, AD makes it easier, but ARPen makes it nearly true damage, so the number you see on your champ is what you get, no large variables like a 10% reduction from 20 armor.

Darth Chill

Junior Member

Armor pen seems like a better choice for champions who rely on physical attacks. AD marks seems to be a better choice for champions who deal magic damage utilizing their attack damage stats, such as akali and kat. I believe most people use magic pen marks for kat, but having ad marks for akali would be more beneficial. Same with Twisted fate and his red card, Jax, and Kayle.