Crunching the Numbers: Season 4 Offensive Masteries, Part 2


s4-offensive-masteries-part2

With Season 4’s drastic changes to the masteries, Cloth5 is here to break down the changes and impact of each new mastery and what it means for your gameplay in League of Legends. I’m Eph289 and this is the second piece of a series covering the Offense mastery tree. Which ones are excellent and which ones fail to deliver on their value? In this article, I’ll examine the higher-tier offensive masteries and evaluate them based on their gold values.

Analysis Methods

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 Attack Damage, a Long Sword costs 360 gold and yields +10 Attack Damage, so we derive a value of 36 gold per point of AD. We can derive a value of 21.75 gold per point of AP using the cost-to-AP ratio of the Amplifying Tome. Some of the masteries are less gold efficient per point than others, and we’ll consider this when we make our comparison.

If you missed part one of this series, you can find that here.

Executioner

Executioner_mastery_s4

Executioner increases damage dealt to champions under 20/35/50% by 5%. This is definitely a mastery that you want to take all of the points in if you’re going over nine in offense.

Here are four graphs that explain the gold value of Executioner (assuming you can proc it by getting someone that low in the first place). The higher your damage, the more value you get out of Executioner. With equal damage, a lower-ratio champion will get more gold value out of Executioner (due to not scaling as well) than a higher-ratio champion, but the biggest driver of how much value you get out of Executioner is how much damage your champion inflicts.

Executioner1

Executioner1.5

Executioner2

Executioner2

Executioner3

However, even at the low end of the curve (500 damage), you’re getting over 150 gold value in AP and 300 gold value in AD. Over three mastery points, that’s not terribly efficient, but when you consider the lategame potential (over 200 gold value per point), then Executioner looks a lot better. This is undoubtedly a lategame mastery and it’s a very good one. Of course, it’s dependent on being able to either hit a low-health champion or bringing them below 50% health, but chances are, if you’re taking Executioner, you’re playing the type of champion who can do so.

Verdict: Very good.

Blade Weaving

Blade_Weaving_mastery_s4

Blade Weaving causes every spell that damages an enemy to increase auto-attack damage by 1%, stacking up to three times. This mastery is the counterpart to Spell Weaving and so we’ll use a similar comparison as in the previous article where Spell Weaving was covered to discuss its efficiacy.

This mastery is, like any % increase, better lategame. Also, it’s only valuable on certain champions—chiefly those who mix both auto-attacks and spells into their attack patterns.

In the early game, where your auto-attacks are hitting for around 100, Blade Weaving at full stacks is worth about 100 gold, which is okay, but that only applies at full stacks. Below that, it’s only worth about 40 gold, which is mediocre.

Now, lategame, with 300 AD auto-attacks, Blade Weaving will add 108 gold value at one stack, and a very nice 324 gold value at three stacks. It’s very nearly a Long Sword worth in AP. This can also be very useful for champions who use AP ratios on their auto-attacks, such as Kayle or Teemo. There’s a full listing of champions who can make good use of the mastery here:

Verdict: Good on AD champions that also use spells (e.g. Corki, Talon, Graves), or on AP on-hit champions (Kayle, Teemo, Twisted Fate)

Warlord

Warlord_mastery_s4

Warlord increases bonus attack damage by 2/3.5/5%. Once again, this is a lategame mastery. Early game, when you have say 30 bonus AD, this is worth barely 50 gold—and that’s for three mastery points. In the midgame, with 100 bonus AD, you get 180 gold value out of three points, which is better, but not fantastic.

If you can get up to 220 bonus AD (Bloodthirster, Last Whisper, Infinity Edge, along with runes and masteries), Warlord really comes into its own, giving nearly 400 gold value at a rate of about 130 per mastery point.

Verdict: Good on champions who will be buying lots of AD

Archmage

Archmage_mastery_s4

Archmage increases bonus ability power by 2/3.5/5%. Similarly to Warlord, this is a lategame-oriented mastery, with a couple differences. The first is that most champions both start with and acquire higher AP values than AD. The second is that AP is worth less.

Early game, with 40 AP, Archmage yields a 44 gold for three mastery points—terrible! However, it’s a percentage increase and that means lategame. At 150 AP, it’s worth 163 gold for all three points. At 300 AP, you’re getting over 100 gold value for each point, and at a lategame 500 AP setup, Archmage’s three points get you 550 gold, which is an excellent return.

Verdict: Good on any champion who will be buying lots of AP

Dangerous Game

Weapon_Expertise_mastery_s3

Dangerous Game is similar to Feast in that you get a bounty for killing something—namely a champion. This mastery returns 5% missing health and mana upon killing a champion. This mastery is hard to evaluate for a number of reasons. First of all, your missing health and mana will fluctuate between every champion kill. Second, Dangerous Game only works on kills, not assists. Lastly, the Dangerous Game healing is subject to the Grievous Wounds restriction, which means it will return less health if you’re Ignited.

I’ll just say this: if you’re missing 1000 HP and you kill a champion, you get 50 HP back (if not Ignited). That’s one third of a health potion. If you’re missing 500 mana and you kill a champion, you get 25 mana back, or one quarter of a mana potion.

In terms of gold value, this mastery will be hard to weigh given the variation in missing health, but let’s give Dangerous Game its best-normal case (e.g. you’re not playing 20-Mejai-stack Fizz and two-shotting everyone). Let’s say you’re playing a champion who gets very low and uses a lot of mana (1000 missing HP average and 500 missing mana) and scores 8 kills a game. The champion is never Ignited when it kills someone. Dangerous Game returns 400 HP and 200 mana over the course of the game. In terms of potions, that’s 2.67 health potions (93 gold value) and two mana potions (70 gold value), for a best case of 163 gold value.

Now, that’s a good scenario. What if you’re Ignited for half of those kills? Then the gold value drops to 112, which is much worse. What if you only get four kills? The gold value drops to 82. What if you don’t have mana? Then even in the 8-kill, lots of missing health, and no-Ignite case, you only get 93 gold out of it.

It’s all well and good to discuss gold values in a vacuum, but the reality is that the value of Dangerous Game will depend on how dangerously you live. Aggressive players who can get kills at the cost of taking damage will get more value out of this mastery, and if it keeps you alive at least once per game, it’s arguably worth it since you’re not giving the enemy gold for the kill. On the flip side, if you play more conservatively, don’t get a lot of kills, or simply get shut down, then the mastery is much less valuable.

Verdict: Dangerous Game, moreso than perhaps any other mastery, will come down to playstyle. If you get a lot of kills (10+) on average and tend to get very low doing so, then this mastery is for you. If you’re more conservative, you’re better off skipping it, as it won’t help you as much.  

Frenzy

Frenzy_mastery_s4

Frenzy gives 5/10/15% bonus attack speed for three seconds upon landing a critical strike (stacking up to three times). Since attack speed is worth 33.3 gold per 1%, just landing a crit and then using the first stack makes it worth 167 gold, which is fantastic. If you can somehow get up to 3 stacks, the mastery is worth 500 gold in attack speed. Of course, this is a lategame mastery and getting that wonderful gold value is dependent on landing a lot of crits—which requires a specific subset of champion and a specific item build.

Verdict: Extremely good on champions who will be investing in crit.

Devastating Strikes

Devastating_Strikes_mastery_s4

Devastating Strikes yields 2/4/6% armor and magic penetration. Since % penetration as a stat is only obtainable through two items: Void Staff and Last Whisper and those items come with other stats, we only have a rough value on the % penetration stats.

Assuming Last Whisper and Void Staff are only gold efficient and not underpriced for the stats they give, then you get 150 gold worth of % armor penetration and 132 gold worth of % magic penetration.

Even if you only used one of those stats, that would be quite good. Moreover, since armor/magic penetration scales multiplicatively, taking this mastery will get you to 38% armor/magic penetration depending on which % penetration item you buy.

Lastly, let’s be honest here. Since % penetration is one of the hardest stats to acquire and is in limited supply, you want every bit you can get.

Verdict: If you’re going this deep in offense, take this mastery.

Arcane Blade

Arcane_Blade_mastery_s4

Arcane Blade is the old Spell Sword mastery from Season 3 repackaged. Arcane Blade adds 5% of your AP to your auto-attacks as magic damage. This is something that will only be useful on a certain subset of AP characters and can be thought of thus: Do you buy Nashor’s Tooth or Lich Bane?
If yes, you want this mastery. At 100 AP, this mastery essentially adds 109 gold worth of your AP to every auto-attack. At 300 AP, the mastery gives you 327 gold worth of AP on-hit. At 500 AP, you’re getting 540 gold worth of AP on your auto-attacks.

Verdict: On the champions who can benefit from this mastery (Kayle, Teemo, Fizz, Twisted Fate, Akali, etc.), Arcane Blade has incredible value and is a must-have.

Havoc

Lethality_mastery_s3

Havoc is a 3% damage increase across the board. Similarly to what I did for Executioner, I’ve posted graphs on how the damage increase weighs out in terms of AP and AP. Higher damage values will earn more value out of Havoc, both in damage and gold. For champions that have lower ratios, they’ll get more gold value out of Havoc (assuming equal base/item damage) than a champion who scales better.

Havoc1

Havoc1.5

Havoc2

Havoc3

Still, even at only 500 damage in a 1.5 scaling rotation (a non-ultimate rotation in the midgame for most offensive champions), you’re getting 218 gold of AP or 360 gold worth of AD. The numbers pretty much get better from there.

Verdict: Havoc has excellent gold value and should be taken if you’re going 21 in offense.

Conclusion

The upper-tiers of the offensive tree are pretty much all solid choices for the champions who would want them. Crit-build champions will love Frenzy, while auto-attacking AP characters like Kayle get great value out of Arcane Blade. AD and AP champs alike appreciate Devastating Strikes, Executioner, and Havoc, while Warlord and Archmage both have their place. Most of the masteries in the upper tier for offense are lategame-centric percentage boosts, so if your champion isn’t going to be building lots of offensive items, don’t look to the offensive tree to make up for it.

The only mastery of dubious value is Dangerous Game, and that one will come down to playstyle choice. The innate volatility of the mastery makes it an unreliable choice, but there are those who will like it for that one time it saved their life. For less aggressive players or those who don’t get lots of kills, it’s inefficient.

TL;DR

  • Double-Edged Sword: Good on assassins/burst mages/siege casters, bad on everyone else.
  • Fury: Good on auto-attackers, bad on everyone else
  • Sorcery: Good on casters, okay on everyone else
  • Butcher: Inefficient at best.
  • Expose Weakness: Good on supports, spell-oriented AD carries, utility mages, tanky tops, and junglers
  • Brute Force: Good on AD-scaling champions
  • Mental Force: Good on AP-scaling champions
  • Feast: Efficient on mana-users, but requires an awkward mastery path. Skip.
  • Spell Weaving: Potentially very useful in a heavy offense build on champions who use a mix of spells and basic attacks, particularly paired with Blade Weaving. Not worth the gold if you’re just going 9-points.
  • Martial Mastery: Nerfed, still decent on AD champions
  • Arcane Mastery: Nerfed, still decent on AP champions
  • Executioner: Excellent on everyone
  • Blade Weaving: Good on champions who use spells and auto-attacks but emphasize AD or have an AP ratio on their auto-attacks.
  • Warlord: Good on AD champions
  • Archmage: Good on AP champions
  • Dangerous Game: Playstyle-dependent. Personally would skip in favor of better masteries. Much less efficient on non-mana users.
  • Frenzy: Good on anyone building heavy crit.
  • Devastating Strikes: Excellent on everyone.
  • Arcane Blade: Niche mastery for those who build Lich Bane or Nashor’s Tooth.
  • Havoc: Good on everyone.

Defensive Masteries

Defensive masteries


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Eph289

Eph289 has been playing and writing about League of Legends for years. Formerly a Reign of Gaming guest contributor, he went by 'Sudunem' for his first few Cloth5 pieces until he fully transitioned over to Cloth5. He uses his mastery of the wizard arts of math, statistics, and theorycrafting to illuminate and explain the mysteries of League of Legends.

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