When first introduced, Mikael’s Crucible was almost never, ever purchased. It had an awkward build path for a support item that didn’t involve gold-over-time and had, of all things, flat mana. However, Riot has since refined the build path to include Philosopher’s Stone and improved the active travel time and heal. With those updates, the item began to see niche competitive play, particularly in Europe, on ranged mana-hungry supports like Sona. I’m Eph289, and I’m here to break down why Mikael’s is now a much more appealing buy in those games where the support player has gold left over after boots, wards, sightstone, and oracles.
Mikael’s Crucible gives 7 health regeneration/5 seconds, 40 magic resist, and 18 mana regeneration. Additionally, it has the Mana Font passive, which increases your mana regen rate over five seconds (mp/5) by 1% per 1% mana you are missing. The item costs 2500 gold.
What does that mean? Let’s say you have a level 13 Sona with a Philosopher’s Stone (9 mp/5) and a Chalice of Harmony (7 mp5). Sona has a total of 31 mp/5. At 50% mana, the Mana Font passive boosts Sona’s mana regeneration rate to 47 per second. At 25% mana, Sona’s mana goes up to 54 mp/5, which is a total of 24 mp/5 added by the Mana Font passive. This is nice, and it helps in those long fights, pokes, or chases when Sona (or any other spammy support) really wants to apply more spells. In short fights, only the 40 magic resist is a useful raw stat, particularly against AOE or double-AP compositions.
Mikael’s Crucible also has an active, which is basically the main reason you buy the item. The Mikael’s active removes all stuns, roots, taunts, fears, silences, and slows from an ally and heals them for 150+10% of the target’s maximum health. This active has a 180 second cooldown, so it’s quite an investment.
How good is that active? I mean, a heal sounds nice and all, and so does a cleanse effect, but how does that translate compared to other heals? Glad you asked.
When we’re talking about the burst-healing case, Mikael’s Crucible provides more single-target heal than any non-ultimate healing spell except a lategame AP Nidalee’s Primal Surge. Now, some of you are thinking—but what about sustain? Sona’s Aria of Perseverance and Nami’s Ebb and Flow look pretty bad when you don’t consider cooldowns, even though they’re good spells.
That is true, but you don’t buy Mikael’s Crucible for sustain. You buy it for clutch burst cleanses/heals, and so that’s why I only look at the burst-healing case for an ally, and not at sustain-over-time. Compared to some of the common ally-castable shields in the game:
Mikael’s Crucible’s active ends up comparing favorably with virtually all non-ultimate support shields just in terms of the raw heal. Of course, since it is a heal, it can be reduced by Grievous Wounds (usually from Ignite). When reduced by 50%, the active heal ends up being good for about 160 on a carry—which isn’t that great.
This does beg the question—since most of the time you’re going to be using it on an ignited target—what’s the point?
The second part of the active is its cleanse effect. This is very similar to the summoner spell Cleanse, except that it does not have the 65% bonus Tenacity over the next seconds, nor does it cleanse Ignite or blind. Most importantly, you can use Cleanse if you are hit by a stun. You cannot use Mikael’s Crucible while stunned. Cleanse is also on a longer cooldown (30 seconds innately, 36 seconds if both summoner spell CDR and active item CDR masteries are taken).
When you compare Mikael’s Crucible’s active against the summoner spells Heal and Cleanse, you’ll see that it doesn’t quite add up to either one individually, but has enough aspects from both to basically give your target a third summoner spell. How much do we pay for that?
The gold value of the magic resist, mana regeneration, and the health regeneration is 2132 gold, meaning that you’re paying 368 gold for the mana font passive and the active. Under 300 gold for a third summoner spell on the target? That’s ludicrously cost-efficient.
So what we’re seeing is an item that situationally has a pretty good heal and situationally has a pretty good cleanse, but with very high cost-efficiency. With that in mind, what are the situations where Mikael’s Crucible is good, and not so good?
Mikael’s Crucible is a situationally useful pick when your main support build (Sightstone, Boots, Wards, Oracles, possibly a gold/10 item for season 3) is completed and you still have some funds left over.
The item shines against long-duration crowd control spells that can be cleansed, such as Fiddlesticks’ 3-second Terrify, Ashe’s up-to 3.5 second Enchanted Crystal Arrow or Rammus’s 3-second Puncturing Taunt. Other champions with potent CC-chain combos like Lissandra, Morgana, Sejuani, or Leona can be countered with Mikael’s Crucible’s active–but you’ll need to avoid being hit by the AOE in some of those cases. Mikaels’ Crucible can also help deal with Nasus’s Wither, one of the most painful spells for an AD carry. Lastly, Nocturne’s dream job (pun intended) is to dive deep onto an enemy target, fear them for two seconds, and then cut them to pieces with Umbra Blades and Duskbringer. Since many supports cannot effectively stop Nocturne from at least reaching the target, why not have Mikael’s Crucible in case he gets a successful fear tether off? Note that it will not cleanse the channel, just the fear. Also, since Nocturne rarely brings Ignite, the heal will have full effectiveness on a target dueling Nocturne 1v1.
However, Mikael’s Crucible is a situational buy and there are scenarios, even if your core support build is finished, that don’t commend themselves to the item. Fizz, Ahri, Zed, Kha’Zix, and Poppy almost always pack Ignite and have some big damage source that can’t be cleansed with the Mikael’s Crucible active, be it Deathfire Grasp, Diplomatic Immunity, Ruthless Predator, Chum the Waters, or Death Mark. If you want to use Mikael’s Crucible against Ahri to cleanse the Charm, that’s not terrible, but it’s still a 150 second cooldown for a 20 second cooldown. Other champions like Katarina or Akali pack Ignite and depend on getting resets, any resets, and supports are particularly delicious targets. They also have no major CC to cleanse. Your better bet is a Locket of the Iron Solari to help stop that from happening.
Mikael’s Crucible looks nice against burst mages, but they all pack Ignite and can usually unload their combo very quickly, so you would need very good reflexes to make that item prevent the insta-gib against Annie, Diana, Gragas, LeBlanc, Lux, Orianna, Syndra, Talon, Viktor, or Veigar. Other champions such as Brand or Swain take longer to get their combos off. However, if they have ignited the target, a squishy ally will get about 170 worth of healing. Locket will shield for more damage, and the bonus 20 magic resist will provide more effective HP in drawn out fights.
Against heavy AOE teams, Locket is much more essential if you have the gold to get another item and your team doesn’t have it. Still, if your team already has Locket of the Iron Solari, then Crucible can help get a high-value target out of an Amumu or Galio ultimate.
Crucible also isn’t ideal against poke teams. Mikael’s Crucible is best as a clutch heal in a full-on brawl. It’s not good in sustained sieges aside from the mana regen and meager HP regen. The active is largely wasted here—healing off a Nidalee spear is nice, but there’s just going to be another one flying your direction in under ten seconds. Shurelya’s Reverie would be better to help force an engage, or Locket of the Iron Solari for the defensive aura.
The active of Mikael’s Crucible doesn’t remotely faze knock-up or displacement based initiations such as Vi’s Assault and Battery, Malphite’s Unstoppable Force, Xin Zhao’s Crescent Sweep and Three Talon Strike, Blitzcrank’s Rocket Grab, Zac’s Elastic Slingshot, Wukong’s Cyclone, or Nautilus’s Depth Charge or Dredge Line. Lastly, Mikael’s Crucible will not interrupt or cleanse suppressions (Nether Grasp, Impale, Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser, or Infinite Duress). It only provides a bit of healing to counteract the damage.
Mikael’s Crucible is ludicrously gold-efficient, given that you’re paying 368 gold for the cleanse/heal active AND the mana font passive. The heal compares very favorably with non-ultimate support heals, although like all heals, it’s reduced by Ignite. While it’s not an always-buy item like Sightstone, it can be situationally very powerful, as it effectively gives the person you use it on a third summoner spell.
In particular, Mikael’s is a good buy against teams with three-second CCs (Ashe, Rammus, Fiddlesticks, Morgana, and Lissandra), and against heavy damage dive junglers such as Nasus, Master Yi, or Nocturne that don’t usually bring Ignite. It’s less effective against AOE, poke, quick-burst mages, or heavy knock-up/displacement teams, or against assassins who don’t have a cleanseable hard-CC, most of whom are better countered by Locket in terms of support items.
Still, if you already have Locket of the Iron Solari on your team, Mikael’s is a good defensive buy for your team, and it helps keep you, the support, alive a little longer against the enemy’s magic damage. You’ll have to weigh its value against buying Twin Shadows or Shurelya’s Reverie, but against a dive composition, Mikael’s tremendous gold efficiency may prove useful. Just remember to coordinate its timer with your team so they don’t fight without it!