The utility mastery tree in Season 4 is probably the least prevalent of the three mastery trees. Cloth5 is going to finish out the series on the masteries by analyzing the gold value of each of the choices to help understand their relative strength. I’m Eph289 and for this installment, I’ll examine the lower-tier utility masteries and their gold value.
Every statistic in League of Legends has a gold value based on how much it would cost you to buy that stat in an item. Usually, the lowest-denomination of that item is used to determine the value of the stat. For armor, a Cloth Armor costs 300 gold and yields +15 Armor, so we derive a value of 20 gold per point of armor. We can derive a value of 20 gold per point of MR using the cost-to-MR ratio of the Null-Magic Mantle. Some of the masteries are less gold efficient per point than others, and we’ll consider this when we make our comparison.
Some masteries will have variable or conditional activation that affects the gold value. Some masteries won’t have a gold value—you can’t buy a stat that lowers recall time.
It’s also worth noting that gold efficiency is NOT the only metric to evaluate masteries. Butcher in the offense tree only gives 72 gold worth of AD against minions BUT any last-hits that would’ve been missed without it should also be added to the consideration. Gold-value analysis gives a framework to understand the mastery’s strength; but except for the flat bonus masteries (such as +1 mana regen/5 seconds), it can’t fully evaluate the mastery due to the conditional nature of the bonuses (e.g. bonus gold from kills/assists). Also note that when I give a gold value for some of those masteries, it represents an approximate average value, as sometimes there is no exact value.
Reduces Recall Time by 1 second
As stated above, there’s no way to evaluate the strength of this mastery using gold-value analysis. “Recall Time Reduction” is not a purchasable stat. Looking at the mastery pages of top Korean mid players like Faker, Ambition, and Dade, they all seem to take this mastery point when they run 9 in utility, though at the professional level, recall timings are more important to pros than to your average or even gold+ solo queue player. This mastery does allow you to get back to base faster, but gold-value analysis can’t tell you anything about its worth.
Fleet of Foot
Grants 0.5/1/1.5% movement speed.
Based on Boots of Speed giving 25 MS for 325 gold, we know that movement speed is valued at 13 gold per point. The following table will give you the relative value of the mastery (1 point) based on your movement speed without the mastery:
Meditation gives 1/2/3 mana regen per 5 seconds.
This is one of the most straight-forward masteries to evaluate. Based on the price of the Faerie Charm (3 mp5 for 180 gold), we know that each point of mp5 is worth 60 gold. Therefore Meditation is worth 60 gold per point, to 180 gold at 3 points.
Scout increases the cast range of trinkets by 15%.
This is another mastery that defies gold-value analysis. Again, consulting OGN mastery pages for support players like PoohManDu and Madlife, it seems to be a pretty commonly-chosen mastery. This mastery does allow for more safety when placing wards/sweepers/scrying orbs, though it’s not as likely that small positional differences are as likely to be recognized and punished in lower-levels of solo queue compared to Korean professional gaming. Gold-value analysis can’t tell anything about the value of this mastery.
Reduces the cooldown of Summoner Spells by 4/7/10%
This is another mastery that doesn’t have a gold-value. Korean OGN players tend to take this one (in particular on supports and 9-utility midlaners), but the amount of points they use varies. Not to take the easy way out, but summoner spell cooldowns, while important and useful to reduce, simply can’t be analyzed by gold value.
Strength of Spirit
Ah, the old “Strength of Singed” from Season 2. Strength of Spirit grants HP regeneration (hp5) equal to 0.3% of your maximum mana. A Rejuvenation Bead is 180 gold for 5 hp/5, so this yields a value of 36 gold per point of hp5.
As you can see, for any champion who will buy a lot of flat mana (Ryze, Kassadin, Singed, Anivia, etc.), this single mastery is worth quite a bit of gold. It’s less valuable on champions who will not buy flat mana, and the item primarily provides laning stats. Unless you’re Singed, hp5 based off of mana isn’t a great combat stat.
Alchemist increases the duration of potions and elixirs by 10%. A health potion will restore 15 more HP. A mana potion will restore 10 more mana. A drink from the Crystalline Flask will yield 12 more HP and 6 more mana. An Elixir will last 18 more seconds, while on alternate maps, Ichors last 24 more seconds and Oracles last 30 more seconds.
In terms of gold value, this mastery can be evaluated based on the number of potions you buy and adding 10% gold value for each potion:
As you can see, unless you’re really buying a lot of potions, this mastery has decent gold value compared to some of the other masteries, but it isn’t Strength of Spirit.
Greed grants 0.5/1/1.5 gold per 10 seconds.
The value of this mastery depends on how long the game continues. Looking at just one point in the mastery, the following table gives you a conversion rate for gold based on the game length.
90 gold per point for a 30-minute average game is pretty good gold value and that makes Greed a solid mastery in terms of gold value for champions opting into higher utility specs—primarily supports. The problem with it remains that due to its increase in value as the game goes on, this mastery is worth considerably less than other masteries during the laning phase.
This mastery increases shrine/relic/neutral buff duration by 10%.
There’s no way to place a gold value on this mastery, except to point out that buying Blue Buff’s stats alone would cost hundreds of gold, and Red Buff’s passive is a combination of the Spirit of the Elder Lizard burn and an on-hit slow from Frozen Mallet, both of which are worth lots of gold. If you’re playing a champion who will be frequently holding neutral buffs (so not Top or Support) and opting at least 9 into utility, this should be your 9th point.
Vampirism grants 1/2/3% spellvamp and lifesteal.
Lifesteal is worth 44 gold per % of lifesteal (derived from Vampiric Scepter) and Spellvamp is worth 27.5 gold per % of spellvamp (derived from Hextech Revolver). Thus each point of Vampirism is worth 71.5 gold. The difficulty of course is finding a champion who values the stats of Vampirism who is willing to spec that heavily into utility. This mastery seems very oddly-placed deep in the utility tree where most of its potential users can’t access it.
Health potions grant an additional 20 extra HP and 10 mana.
The legacy of gaming personality “TotalBiscuit” in League of Legends, this mastery’s gold value, like that of Alchemist, depends on how many potions you plan on using.
While gold-value analysis isn’t the only way to evaluate the relative strength of a mastery (and it can’t evaluate all of them), it can provide valuable insight to evaluate the strength of the masteries. Here’s a breakdown based on the results:
- Phasewalker: Can’t be evaluated via gold analysis; popular among Korean pros
- Fleet of Foot: Reasonable gold value, not amazing
- Meditation: High gold value for a low-tier mastery. Mana-users only
- Scout: Can’t be evaluated via gold analysis; popular among Korean pros
- Summoner’s Insight: Can’t be evaluated via gold analysis; popular among Korean pros
- Strength of Spirit: Very high gold value. Mana-users (esp. flat mana purchasers) only
- Alchemist: Reasonable gold value, not amazing, depending on how many potions you buy
- Greed: High gold value per point
- Runic Affinity: Can’t be evaluated via gold analysis; important for mids, ADCs, and junglers who spec into utility and will be holding neutral buffs
- Vampirism: High gold value per point, but most damage roles aren’t speccing this deep into utility
- Culinary Mastery: High gold value assuming at least 10 potions purchased.