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Season 4: Utility Masteries – Part II


To finish out our series on Season 4 masteries, Cloth5 will complete the gold-value analysis of each of the upper-tier utility masteries to help understand their relative strength. I’m Eph289, and for this final installment, I will examine the higher-tier utility masteries and explain their gold value to help determine their relative strength.

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 example – 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 comparisons.

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 into consideration.

Gold-value analysis provides a framework to understand the mastery’s strength, but except for the flat bonus masteries (such as +10% CDR), it does not 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.

Scavenger

Scavenger_mastery_s4Gains 1 gold every time an allied champion kills a minion

The gold-value analysis of this mastery is pretty easy to determine but it is variable. For a support, if your AD carry is farming 70 CS by about ten minutes (or throughout the laning phase), then you receive 70 gold, assuming you’re in close proximity to his CS’ing efforts. By the end of the game, it’s reasonable to expect around 100 gold from the mastery, at least in a game that’s not going horribly. It’s a strong mastery with solid gold value.

Wealth

Wealth_mastery_s4

Wealth gives 40 starting gold

This one’s even more straightforward to analyze by gold value. It’s worth 40 gold. The main value of this mastery is that it allows you to start with an extra potion. It’s a reasonable mastery for supports, if not stratospheric in gold value. Also, it’s worth noting that Wealth unlocks Bandit, which can be a very valuable mastery.

Expanded Mind

Expanded_Mind_mastery_s4

Increases max mana by 2/3.5/5%

Expanded Mind’s gold value varies depending on how much mana you have. The gold value for this mastery is displayed as below:

ExpandedMind

That’s all well and good, but this mastery is buried in the utility tree, where only supports will be heavily investing. When was the last time that supports outside of Blitzcrank were buying a large amount of flat mana? This mastery seems like it’s more suited for a utility-heavy Singed or Ryze mastery loadout, but . . . that would require going heavily into utility. It’s a very good mastery in terms of gold-value for mana-buyers, but far too deep in this tree.

Inspiration

Inspiration_mastery_s4

Inspiration grants 5/10 experience whenever your champion is near a higher-ranked allied champion

This mastery, like several others in the utility tree, can’t be analyzed via gold-value analysis—There’s no way to buy an “experience” stat. However, while gold-value analysis cannot tell us anything about Inspiration, it’s worth noting that after a brief survey of highly-regarded support players like Madlife and PoohManDu, none of them use Inspiration.

Bandit

Bandit_mastery_s4

15 bonus gold for melees upon kill/assist, 3 bonus gold for attacking a champion (only triggers every 5 seconds) for ranged champions

Here are two tables that break down the gold value of these masteries for melee and ranged champions respectively:

Melee

MeleeBandit

Ranged

RangedBandit

The gold value of Bandit for melee’s depends on your score. If you’ve played a decent number of ranked games, go look up your average KDA on a given support champion. Take your kills and assists, add them together, and multiply the number by 15. That’ll give an approximation of how much your Leona or Braum can expect to pull out of Bandit.

For ranged champions, the value of Bandit is entirely contingent on landing auto-attacks in laning phase. Since most ranged supports are fragile, this mastery falls off fairly hard. High-harass-centered supports like Zyra, Nami, Lulu, and Sona will get far more out of this mastery, particularly in lanes that are less focused on aggression.

Whatever the value of Bandit, giving up a kill to that Leona/Draven lane is going to completely eclipse that (pun intended). As such, Bandit can have very good gold value for ranged champions, but it’s highly variable.

Intelligence

Intelligence_mastery_s4

Grants 2/3.5/5% CDR, and activatable item cooldown lowered by 4/7/10%

Intelligence can’t really be analyzed by gold value due to the power of the activate effects item cooldown. The CDR value can be described as such:

  • 1 Point: 63.34 gold worth of CDR
  • 2 Points: 110.85 gold worth of CDR
  • 3 points: 158.35 gold worth of CDR

However, the true power of the mastery is in lowering the cooldown of active items, which is crucial for supports in a season where active items like Talisman of Ascension, Face of the Mountain, Frost Queen’s Claim, Mikael’s Crucible, and Locket of the Iron Solari are very common buys. Once again, checking across with prominent professional support players’ mastery pages, it’s apparent that Intelligence is highly-valued among pro-players, and rightly so.

Wanderer

Wanderer_mastery_s4

Grants 5% MS out of combat

The gold value of this mastery is dependent on your champion’s base movement speed. This table illustrates the exact values:

Wanderer

The gold value of Wanderer is phenomenal—probably one of the best in the utility tree aside from Strength of Spirit. On the other hand, it is also conditional—the bonus speed applies only out of combat. For a support who needs to be roaming the map and controlling vision, this is an excellent way to cap off the utility tree.

Conclusion

The utility mastery tree’s higher levels are an odd mish-mash of options. Many of them (Wanderer, Intelligence, and Bandit) have very high value, but unlike, say, the defensive tree, where almost all of the higher-tier options are good choices, or the offense tree where there’s a clearly defined path for AP versus AD characters, the utility tree just has good choices and weak choices.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the utility tree:

  • 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.
  • Scavenger: High gold value for supports
  • Wealth: Reasonable gold value, not amazing, but it unlocks Bandit
  • Expanded Mind: Would be great if champions who bought large amounts of mana such as Ryze, Singed, or Anivia actually wanted to go deep in utility. Since they don’t, it’s mediocre.
  • Inspiration: Can’t be evaluated via gold analysis; not used by professional mids or supports.
  • Bandit: Very high potential gold value for both melee and ranged supports.
  • Intelligence: Hard to completely evaluate this based on gold value, but it is popular among supports
  • Wanderer: Very high gold value, admittedly for out-of-combat stats.

Offensive Masteries

s4-offensive-masteries


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Eph289

Eph289 is a Platinum-ranked mid and support on NA and has been playing and writing about League of Legends since 2010. 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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