Spirit of the Ancient Golem: A Comparative Analysis

Riot has decided to change Spirit of the Ancient Golem (SotAG) in the hopes of adding some viability to tanky junglers. This article analyzes the changes to SotAG, how it compares to the other jungle items, and which champions can benefit from the new SotAG.


What’s changed?
  • 350 Health –> 200 Health
  • Builds from Spirit Stone –> Builds from Quill Coat
What’s been removed?
  • Butcher
  • Tenacity
What’s been added?
  • +25% bonus health
  • +20 armor
  • Sapping Barbs – You gain 60 HP/5 and 45MP/5 for five seconds whenever you take damage from a monster. Additionally, monsters who attack you bleed for 5% of their maximum health over three seconds
  • Hunter’s Ward
  • Conservation Passive – Gold generation when killing big monsters

Health Change

Before the changes, Spirit of the Ancient Golem gave you 350 flat health, a good early power spike for purchasing the item, but after the changes, it now provides 200 flat health and 25% bonus health, which will raise the flat 200 up to 250.

The chart below displays how this difference in health statistics affects total bonus health:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.52.42 AM
As you can tell form the chart, early in the game, the older SotAG gave you more overall bonus health than the new SotAG. On the other hand, the new SotAG scales with bonus health and will provide more health later in the game.

Additional Armor

Another stat the new SotAG provides that benefits tanky junglers is the additional armor. +20 Armor amplifies the effectiveness of health against physical damage. While this armor does not make up for the difference in health early game, armor is a very useful stat as the game goes on. Just another reason why the new SotAG is better late game than the old SotAG.

Spirit Stone vs Quill Coat

The build path of SotAG has also been changed. SotAG is no longer built from spirit stone but is now built from a new item, Quill Coat.

Quill Coat
  • +20 armor
  • Passive: Sapping barbs
  • Passive: Hunter’s Ward

The additional armor is great for tanky junglers who didn’t get a lot of benefit from Spirit Stone. More importantly, is the new passive, Sapping Barbs.

Butcher vs. Sapping Barbs

Butcher: Against monsters, deal 30% bonus damage and restore 6% of damage dealt as health and 3% as mana.

Sapping Barbs: You gain 60 HP/5 and 45 MP/5 for five seconds whenever you take damage from a monster. Additionally, monsters who attack you bleed for 5% of their maximum health over three econds (maximum 150 damage). Sapping Barbs cannot deal lethal damage.

This change improves the jungle clears of tanky junglers because:

  • It doesn’t depend on the amount of damage you do
  • It provides strong sustain independent of the damage you do


One of the biggest changes is the removal of the Tenacity passive. Tenacity reduces the duration of crowd control effects by 35%. This nerf won’t necessarily bother pure tanks, who can just buy Mercury Treads instead and are satisfied just sitting in the middle of a team fight absorbing damage.

This nerf does affect fighter champions – Champions like Lee Sin and Vi need Tenacity to reach the back-line and to get out of the fight when brought.

SotAG vs. SotEL vs. SotSW vs. Wriggle’s Lantern

Two aspects will be analyzed; how well the items do in the jungle, and how well the items do in combat.

Spirit of the Elder Lizard

Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_item vs. Spirit_of_the_Elder_Lizard_item  

Early game, both of these items have similar clear times, although I found that SotAG gives more mana back. Later in the game, SotEL clears faster and gives more health and mana back then SotAG, which is to be expected because Spirit of the Elder Lizard’s passive scales with damage. Outside of the jungle, SotAG doesn’t do much early due the diminshed tank stats. While it gives decent tank stats, SotAG still leaves you squishier than you would think, yet SotAG scales well into late game while SotEL gives you a a better power spike than SotAG.

Spirit of the Spectral Wraith

Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_item vs. Spirit_of_the_Spectral_Wraith_item

Similar to SotEL, SotAG and SotSW have similar clear speeds early in the game, but later in the game, SotSW clears faster and gives back more health and mana.

SotSW gives a solid early power spike and additionally, it scales with large monster kills due to the ability to give a total of 80 ability power. 80 AP and 10% CDR late game is pretty decent, but SotAG gives a huge amount of health late game, considering the current popular tanky build of Banshees Veil and Randuins.

Wriggle’s Lantern

Spirit_of_the_Ancient_Golem_item vs. Wriggle's_Lantern_item

Wriggle’s Lantern has a much faster clear speed than SotAG and gives back more health. The main problem with Wriggle’s in the Jungle is that it doesn’t give back any mana, and because of this, most junglers cannot utilize Wriggles.

Similar to SotAG, Wriggle’s isn’t that strong in combat early in the game, but offers a lot late game. SotAG’s Conservation passive gives considerably more gold than Wriggle’s. Additionally, Wriggle’s forces you to farm the jungle all game and prevents you from making a strong early impact if you want to take full advantage.

With SotAG, while you won’t be strong early game, but you will still make an impact as the game progresses.


The new SotAG helps some the forgotten tank junglers become more relevant. These champions include:

  • Maokai
  • Rammus
  • Malphite
  • Zac
  • Amumu
  • Sejuani
  • Nunu
  • Nautilus
  • Mundo

All of these champions serve as a tank late game and SotAG is one of the best items you can pick up coming out of the jungle as it allows your already limited gold to go further.

An example of a late game build is:




This build offers a lot of bonus health, which is then amplified by SotAG and has a lot of resistances, allowing a champion to tank in the late game. There is a lot of flexibility to this build because of the scaling from the jungle item.

Potential other strong items include:

  • Locket of the Iron Solari
  • Sunfire Cape
  • Spirit Visage
  • Rylais Crystal Scepter

Additionally, the choice of boots is flexible but remember you’ve lost the tenacity from Ancient Golem.


There are some champions that aren’t tanks but can still be built as an off-tank successfully using SotAG. Wukong gets a lot of both armor and magic resistance from his passive, and building SotAG and Warmog’s Armor will allow Wukong to knock up the entire team without having to worry about dying.

Another off-tank that can use SotAG is Elise. Elise used to be one LCS viable jungler that consistently used SotAG. Now with the removal of Tenacity, it is no longer helpful for Elise to build SotAG when building magic penetration, so most Elise players will build SotSW. SotAG is still useful if you decide to go the tank/cooldown reduction route.


After analyzing the data, the New SotAG isn’t exactly a buff overall. It does have great late game potential and helps low damage junglers clear camps but the rework offers a weaker early game.

In comparison to other jungle items, SotAG has comparable jungle clears, but outside of the jungle, SotAG is weaker than the other jungle items in the early game. However, it is a buff for champions that previously brought SotAG, as they tended to go tanky anyways – However, it will make champions like Lee Sin and Rengar, who were able to build Ancient Golem as their only defensive item, a little weaker if they get behind.

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I am currently in my senior year in college finishing up my bachelors in Neuroscience. I started playing League right after Quinn's release, and fell in love instantaneously. I am interested in literally everything, from video games to Broadway shows and everything in between. Follow me on twitter: @THeRuN4W4Y

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