There are several different trains of thought when it comes to deciding what wins a game of League of Legends. Beyond the obvious choice of “the players,” you could also look at the champions involved in the game, the items that they purchase, and the strategies that they employ. It could be said that the strategies that teams use to put themselves closer to victory are almost entirely dependent on the champions in the game and the items they have, which would be an incredibly large article or series of articles. Champions and items are much more static by comparison. This is debatable, but I think that items are the most static part of League at this point in time. There are indeed some choices that a champion in each role must make with regard to purchased items during the course of a game, but the “best” choices tend to be very narrow in scope. For example, AD Carries (or Marksmen, whatever) usually have two choices to make in an average game, buying a Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge, and then buying either a Phantom Dancer or Statikk Shiv. This is the most obvious and extreme example, but it’s more of the same for other roles with only a slightly wider scope of “best” items to choose from. For this article, I would like to focus on a relatively seldom used item, usually found on supports: Twin Shadows.
Twin Shadows is an item that was introduced at the start of Season 3 as a mid-level ability power and magic resistance item. It also gives a small amount of Movement Speed, along with providing a very effective active. The specific numbers are as follows:
- 40 Ability Power
- 40 Magic Resistance
- 6% Movement Speed
- UNIQUE Active: Hunt – Summons 2 invulnerable ghosts for 6 seconds to seek the two nearest enemy champions. If they touch an enemy champion, they slow their movement speed by 40% and reveal them for 2.5 seconds. 120 second cooldown.
The item builds out of a Kage’s Lucky Pick (765 gold) and a Null-Magic Mantle (400 gold), and has a combine cost of 735 gold. This brings the total cost to 1900 gold. When using the cheapest item for each stat as a baseline, Twin Shadows is worth 2210 gold, making it gold efficient even without it’s awesome active. The ghosts from the active appear to move at approximately 450 MS for those 6 seconds, making their total range about 2700. For comparison’s sake, this is almost the range of Nami and Nocturne’s ultimates, which are Tidal Wave and Paranoia (level 2) respectively. Also, it is 300 less range than Lux’s ultimate, Final Spark.
It’s hard for me to understand why this item is so under-appreciated, given all the things it provides at such an efficient price. It gives AP and extra GP5, which is something that all supports can use, as well as the majority of mid laners, some top laners and a few junglers. The MR is obviously a stat that everybody likes, particularly against a magic-damage heavy opponent. The MS is universally welcomed as well; it provides more than Phantom Dancer, Zeal, and Lich Bane, and just as much as Statikk Shiv. Finally, the active is a very useful tool in many situations. It can provide long-range initiation for champions that don’t have it, such as Lulu, Evelynn, and Diana. The ghosts can also be used to scout for enemies, as they will move towards the two closest enemies on the map upon activation. This can help to reveal the location of the enemy team when a major objective like Baron or Dragon may be taken. The slow is very useful when it comes to chasing or escaping, as a 40% slow for 2.5 seconds is fairly significant. Given all of that, it’s hard to justify not having at least one Twin Shadows on a team, as it provides many useful stats with gold efficiency, as well as a high utility active. Here I will show you some statistics that I pulled from Elophant, to demonstrate how little Twin Shadows is utilized. Each of these pictures shows usage over the past month, in all regions and across all tiers of play. As you can see, the top 10 used items in the last month consists mostly of AD Carry/Marksmen items, proving the point I made earlier. There is also an item that everyone buys at some point, two AP Carry items, and a support item. Here’s where Twin Shadows sits on that same list, all the way down at number 98 (out of 144). By comparison, The Bloodthirster has been purchased almost 14 times more in the past month than Twin Shadows. However, to truly see the impact that Twin Shadows has on games, we have to look at item win rates. This next image shows the items with the top win rate over the past month. While there may be some silly items on here that are bought only in stomps, it is important to note that there are legitimately useful items in this list as well, such as Zephyr, Runic Bulwark, and Guardian Angel. This information shows that Twin Shadows clearly has an impact on winning games, and should certainly be purchased in more games. It offers stats that a good number of champions find very useful, as well as bringing an active to the table that can serve many purposes, like initiation, gap closing, and escaping. The best part is, it is gold efficient even without the active, so anyone who buys it is getting their money’s worth out of it. There’s very little reason that you shouldn’t be buying this item on most champions that like AP. It is too good to be ignored.