Orb of Winter: A Detailed Analysis

Contributors to this article include:

  • Art by Danderlyon
  • Text by OneManArmy77 and cGuy
  • Visuals/Video by Trampoline Tales (LoL Math) and Shakarez (LoLVods, LCSReporter)


Orb of Winter

Total Gold Cost: 2080 (combine cost: 1180)

Item Efficiency

With the most recent live Patch 3.9, Riot has implemented a whole host of changes across the board. They nerfed and buffed some champions, reworked wards and even the loading screen. Perhaps one of the biggest changes, however, is to ARAMs with the addition of the new item “Orb of Winter.” The Orb has been said by Riot to help mitigate the ubiquitous poke comps always found around the field to give the less fortunate team a fighting chance. Without further ado, lets get right into stats and information.

Before we jump into the effectiveness of the unique passive shield, let’s look at the base stats of Orb of Winter. Using Negatron Cloak as the cost effectiveness per point of magic resistance and rejuvenation bead for health regeneration, we come up with the following table.

  • The total gold cost is 2080
  • Cost of 70 MR is 18*70=1260
  • Cost of 20 HP5 is 36*20=720

The total gold’s worth of Orb of Winter, based on stats alone, is 1980 gold with a cost of 2080 gold. This gives us a gold differential of -100 gold or negative gold efficiency if you complete the item. Once you factor in other factors, however, you can see a different story.

There are a couple things to remember; the first is that many end-tier items are not cost efficient because they are more slot efficient. What that means is you pay a premium for less inventory space used. As such, many other end tier items are also not entirely gold efficient, especially based only base stats alone. This list includes items like Guardian’s Angel, Randuin’s Omen, Last Whisper, and many more assuming you don’t factor in the passive.

As such, you could still look at the item’s base stats and reason yourself into buying it. If you calculate percentage item efficiency, or how much do you get out of the item based on stats divided by the price of the item, you get an item efficiency of about 95%. Roughly speaking, that means that for every 100 gold you invest into the item, you get 95 gold in stats which is not bad at all.

Desirability of Stats

On Summoner’s Rift, you wouldn’t buy critical chance on an AP mid. Similarly, you wouldn’t buy AP on a AD carry. On Howling Abyss, poke comps and champs abound. Due to champs like Nidalee, Lux, Xerath, Gragas and Lulu, champions scramble for magic resist. In addition, health regen becomes more prized than on Summoner’s Rift because of the lack of availability of healing. What this culminates in is a large demand for MR and a good demand for health regen. You also have to factor in the prevalence of other good health regen options, but a deficit of high magic resist helps overall the desirability of Orb of Winter in the ARAM scene. In comparison to other popular options to shield a champion, the Orb of Winter can easily be proven to be a superior option.

Unique: Grants a shield that absorbs up to 30 + (10 * level) damage. This shield refreshes after no damage is taken from enemy champions for 9 seconds.

Locket of the Iron Solari

Now, it is important to remember that the locket can shield up to 5 champions. At the ARAM starting level of 3, and if the active hits the entire team, the locket will provide 1042 gold worth of HP. If activated at level 18, it will provide a whopping 3024 gold’s worth of stats. This shield can easily be compared to Orb of Winter’s shield because of its mechanical similarity.

In terms of gold efficiency, it comes out to 157.8g at level 3 and a whopping 552.3 gold at level 18. The locket’s shield is more cost effective, but there are some notable downsides as well, as follows:

  1. You must personally activate the shield. The second is that the shield on Locket lasts for 5 seconds, while the Orb’s shield lasts until it is popped.
  2. Popping the locket shield would require anticipating the situation where you would want to use it, as opposed to having it active all the time. This makes it more effective in a map like the Howling Abyss.
  3. Cooldown on the shields: While the locket’s shield will activate and shield a larger amount, under constant damage (enough to pop the shield), Orb’s shield will refresh almost 7 times in the time it takes the Locket’s shield to do the same. Over a 60 second time period, you can theoretically mitigate 3682 gold’s worth of health with Orb of Winter compared to 3024g with Locket.

orbofwinter efficiency

Overall, the shield wont help your team very much, but is many times better at shielding you from damage, assuming you would take it over time. It gets stronger over time, which helps in terms of both gold efficiency and shielding your champion from large amounts of damage.

banshee's veilBanshee’s Veil

Another notable point of  comparison for Orb is Banshee’s Veil. Both items fit the niche of anti poke items to help mitigate spells. Banshee’s Veil gives 2556 gold worth of statistics for an item cost of 2520 gold, while its unique passive negates a spell every 25 seconds.

Comparably speaking, Orb gives 25 more MR and 20 more HP5 while Banshee’s gives 400 more health and 300 more mana, but costs 440 more gold. The shield on Banshee’s is also popped by all spells while the shield on Orb can sustain multiple hits, as long as they don’t exceed the total left on the shield. The spell shield, assuming it doesn’t get popped on a weaker spell, is better against a large nuke, while Orb’s shield is better against sustained damage and lighter, but more prevalent poke. The stats given on Orb however, are definitely more desirable. The extra MR and health regen are very desirable while health is good and mana is very mediocre. Overall, you should consider building both given different circumstances, but Orb wins in situations where the enemy has lots of poke. While it would be great to have both items, in a scenario where you only can build one defensive MR item, Orb should take precedence against comps that have multiple forms of poke.


In all respects, Orb of Winter is a great item to buy on the Howling Abyss. It’s strength lies not only in that it is cost-efficient, but because the magic resistance and replenishing shield given are highly prized in the poke-centric metagame of ARAM. When compared to similar items such as Banshee’s Veil and Locket of the Iron Solari, Orb of Winter shows itself as a clear buy choice for those interested in winning. Without a doubt, the team at Cloth5 predict that Orb of Winter will cement itself as a must buy item against the heavy poke teams that plague the Howling Abyss currently. With this item, even a Sona will make herself look like a tanky Malphite on the Fields of Justice.

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I am a pretty big video game fan. I got my start with Pokemon and Zelda, but also ended up transitioning to Call of Duty and, eventually, League of Legends. I am currently unranked due mainly to ladder anxiety, however I like to think that my knowledge is a little better than my game ability. I got started writing on the League subreddit writing sale stories, and now put my effort into writing a mixture of articles and my novel, A Fable of Legends. My good friend and partner Kirry, who is known for her Diana comic, helps me to illustrate and direct the flow of the story.

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