Physical Damage; Blade of the Ruined King and Scaling

I’ve been wondering how we can properly utilise Blade of the Ruined King recently and i’ve started to realise that attack speed itemisation for physical damage dealers is lacking when it comes to on-hit builds. But it might not be a bad thing.

Physical damage has great scaling because you can always buy other stats to increase the value of the stats you already posses, such as making your 1550 gold investment in BF Sword go that little bit further by buying attack speed, crit or armour pen.

Admittedly physical damage isn’t unique here as AP scales off cooldown reduction and magic pen, while health scales off of armour and magic resistance. League of Legends is a game about getting the most out of your gold and as such you should strive for the right item builds.

  • Attack damage scales with Crit, Armour Pen and Attack Speed
  • Attack Speed scales with AD, Crit, Armour Pen and On-hit attacks
  • Crit scales with AD, AS and Armour pen
  • Armour pen scales with AD, AS, Crit and Physical¬†On-hit attacks
  • Physical On-hit attacks scale with Attack speed and Armour pen.

What exactly is scaling and why do we want it? Well let’s look at attack damage first off because it is probably the simplest to imagine.

Attack damage scales with all other physical damage stats except for on-hit effects. If you buy more Attack Speed then the additional attack damage you brought is applied more often. If you buy more Crit then whenever you crit the additional attack damage you bought is doubled. If you buy more Armour Pen then the % of the physical damage you purchased that was reduced by armour is now smaller, so you can apply a larger amount of the AD you brought to the target.

However, as I said before, attack damage doesn’t improve on-hit effects like Blade of the Ruined King’s passive. So in a way, you are ‘wasting’ gold by not purchasing stats that scale off of each other because you could pick up stats that improve those you currently possess. I’m not saying that BotRK into IE is a bad build, because BotRK actually provides a lot of stats that IE can take advantage of with its bonus attack speed and AD for the crit passive, but purchasing IE and PD synergises a lot more.

So in a way you can ‘waste’ scaling, and gold, by buying items that don’t improve the items around you. Now its not strictly wasted, because you can build stats later on that takes advantage of the scaling, but you can potentially end up with this crazy mis-matched build where you’ve brought BotRK, Infinity Edge and you’re now looking to increase your damage but don’t know where to turn. It’s actually a frustratingly common problem at lower ELOs where many builds are just wildly inefficient.

In the previous case, do you purchase more AD to increase the damage from IE but then ignore BotRK’s passive? Do you get armour pen to increase everything? Would more crit be useful because of IE’s crit passive even to the detriment of not improving BotRK?

There are 2 obvious situations you could go for here:

I’ve discussed a little about armour pen in a previous article, though the discussion isn’t directly related to Blade of the Ruined King, but it does show that armour penetration is a very strong stat. So with that in mind we’ll look at attack speed.

Very few complete items give pure attack speed. They’re usually tacked on to some other kind of stat, like an on-hit effect or crit, and that’s not 100% useful in the situation we’re currently in as on-hit effects don’t scale with each other.

Now, in a way, this is actually a good thing. You’ve got a choice to make here and if you make the right one for the right situation you do more damage than someone else who didn’t make the right choice. Item builds breed skill because those who are able to adapt on the fly will get to a higher rating than those who stick to a ‘cookie cutter’ build and never vary anything.

But in terms of getting the most out of Blade of the Ruined King’s passive you ideally want armour pen and attack speed, but there currently isn’t an item that grants you this. So where could you go?

  • Runaan’s Hurricane
  • Zephyr
  • (Phantom Dancer)

Now I know what you’re thinking. I’m crazy if I actually suggest the top 2 items and in a lot of ways you’re right but they are probably the best items in order to get the most out of BotRK’s passive if you want attack speed and not armour pen. Runaan’s has the highest attack speed on an item in the entire game and Zephyr shares second place with Nashor’s Tooth (an AP on-hit item that isn’t worth the gold you’d pay for it if you want to increase BotRK’s damage) and Phantom Dancer.

Runaan’s isn’t actually a bad item. It is almost gold efficient from the attack speed alone without even considering the passive but it isn’t considered a strong item because its attempting to serve a purpose that doesn’t fit with the current meta game. A marksmen’s job (very few other characters will be looking to buy the item outside of Teemo) is usually to get through a tanky front line faster than the other team so you can move on to kill their squishy champions or survive long enough that you can still be relevant in the clean up or post fight pushing.

The problem with Runaan’s is it spreads your damage out over too many characters when it is actually a lot more efficient, and effective, to burn one person down and then look to focus your damage elsewhere. Having 2 characters at half health is much more deadly than one at full health and one dead. As such, don’t buy Runaan’s if you’re a marksmen and want additional attack speed unless you’re attempting to build a team composition around it.

Zephyr, on the other hand, is actually a viable item to buy with BotRK whether you’re playing a marksmen or someone like Jax or Irelia, but it may not be the ideal item to buy at the moment. The only problem I can see is that is that Trinity Force is currently a very strong item and as such the top laners should probably be buying that rather than BotRK and that removes the need for Zephyr unless they want tenacity and can’t acquire it elsewhere.

For Marksmen you’re normally looking to increase your damage at most stages of the game and only purchasing defensive itemisation if you feel that you can’t live the burst from character like Fizz or Zed and this is probably where Zephyr falls down. It doesn’t provide a huge increase in damage, in the same way that Phantom Dancer does, unless you can make good use of cooldown reduction and it doesn’t provide a real increase in defensive utility unless you’re being locked down, and even then it probably won’t solve the problem. For defensive stats you’ll usually want either armour or magic resistance in an attempt to keep yourself alive longer.

As such the best way, at the moment, to build when purchasing BotRK is probably to pick up the attack speed itemisation that most other marksmen usually do or to forgo attack speed all together, aside from Beserker’s Greaves and the AS provided by BotRK, and focus on an armour pen or AD build.

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Esports and Blogs Manager for Cloth5.com. I'm a Plat 5 all around player, I know I should pick a role but it's too much fun playing all of the champions! Add me on Fridgecake or Yawnedeverywhere and i'd be happy to have a game. Currently playing Hearthstone, Gangsters 2, GTA 5 and Football Manager. Follow me on twitter @C5Fridgecake or check out my stream

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