The Value of Sorcerer’s Shoes
When do you buy Sorcerer’s Shoes? How valuable are they compared to simply buying more ability power? Do I get more damage out of AP or Sorcerer’s Shoes? I’m Eph289, one of the theorycrafters here at Cloth5, and today I’m going to break down the comparison between buying Sorcerer’s Shoes versus acquiring more ability power.
Sorcerer’s Shoes cost 1100 gold, and the upgrade from Boots of Speed costs 775 gold. Sorcerer’s Shoes provide +45 movement speed (an increase of 20 over Boots of Speed) and 15 magic penetration.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t line up well with the pricing of AP items. Amplifying Tome costs 435 gold and gives 20 AP. Blasting Wand costs 860 gold and gives 40 AP. In other words, a straight or equivalent gold comparison isn’t truly accurate since there’s about a 100 gold difference no matter how you look at it.
Making a comparison
We’ll consider four different cases for our targets: 30 MR, 43 MR, 53 MR, and 70 MR. These four cases approximately represent some of the more common MR numbers: base MR, MR with magic resist runes, flat with a Null-Magic Mantle/melee with level 9 and MR runes, and MR runes and a Null-Magic Mantle. This is the closest comparison in terms of gold investment between magic penetration and ability power. Since there’s two possible ways to compare Sorcerer’s Shoes (versus an Amplifying Tome or a Blasting Wand), we’ll make two comparisons.
Before somebody makes the point, it’s not usually as simple as “whatever you have the gold for.”
When I construct the analysis, I’m going to assume a couple things. First, I assume you’re starting with at least 26 AP (quints and masteries) and the 8% magic penetration mastery, along with eight magic penetration from runes. If you’re running magic penetration quintessences, the results will be slanted more towards Sorcerer’s Shoes. If you’re running movement speed or any another kind of quintessence, the results will be slanted more towards AP.
Comparison 1: Sorcerer’s Shoes vs Amplifying Tome
This comparison considers the fact that the magic penetration is worth 515 gold and Amplifying Tome costs 435 gold. We’ll consider four different cases for our targets: 30 MR, 43 MR, 53 MR, and 70 MR. The numbers represent the difference between buying AP and buying Sorcerer’s Shoes. A positive number favors AP and a negative number favors Sorcerer’s Shoes.
Since I know most of you aren’t statisticians, engineers, or analysts, and largely don’t care about the exact numbers, I have color-coded the graphs so even your solo-queue teammates should be able to understand the results. Gold areas are where AP yields more damage and a blue graph means that Sorcerer’s Shoes yield more damage. If you get confused, just think about what the colors of Sorcerer’s Shoes, Blasting Wand, and Amplifying Tome. The red box is where most non-ultimate damaging abilities fall. In other words, look at the color of the cells inside the red box.
Comparison 2: Sorcerer’s Shoes vs Blasting Wand
This comparison considers the cost of the Sorcerer’s Shoes upgrade (775) against the nearest ability power equivalent, a Blasting Wand (860). We’ll again consider our four cases: 30 MR, 43 MR, 53 MR, and 70 MR. Remember, look at the red box. This is the closest comparison in terms of equivalent item purchase.
If you were looking at those red boxes, you probably saw a lot of blue on the first set of graphs, and a bit more gold on the second set. What that means is that when you compare the item purchase, Blasting Wand looks a bit better in terms of damage (though clearly, it’s within 20 damage either way in most cases) compared to Sorcerer’s Shoes. However, you miss out on the movement speed, so Sorcerer’s Shoes give you about as much damage as a Blasting Wand against champions, but also provide the 20 extra movement speed. Of course, ability power is far superior against minions.
The graphs show that when you compare buying Sorcerer’s Shoes versus buying a Blasting Wand or an Amplifying Tome, Sorcerer’s Shoes ends up being the better buy against most opponents in terms of doing damage. Roaming or aggressive mids such as Ahri are generally better off grabbing a fairly early Sorcerer’s Shoes to speed up their roam or allow greater engagement windows on the opposing champion.
What if you’re going completely bootless? I did this math as well, but for length’s sake decided not to include the graphs. Suffice to say it’s better to have the extra ability power. Now, when would you want to go bootless and/or get extra ability power? When you’re not going anywhere in lane. You want to farm your lane like Season 2 Froggen and have no intentions of leaving or attacking your opponent. Boots and Sorcerer’s Shoes don’t help when farming minions before the 20 minute mark due to minions having lower than eight magic resist, so bootless and ability power are definitely for the more passive laners who want to scale up and farm—for example, Karthus. The other reason to go ability power would be if you were rushing a Rod of Ages, because getting that item early is important.
For most of my AP mids, I want to complete an early mana item, such as a Chalice of Harmony, a Tear of the Goddess, or a couple of Doran’s Rings, or possibly I just want Seeker’s Armguard. I usually have those and basic boots by the time I have my ultimate, which means I think strongly about either trying to kill my laning opponent if the matchup is favorable and I have good map vision, or I need to consider roaming. By level nine, I’ve maxed my primary nuke and I definitely want to roam to impact the game, whether that’s a jungle invasion, a dragon fight, or just ganking lanes. For that reason, I usually try to purchase Sorcerer’s Shoes on my second buy on any aggressive or roaming mid, unless for some reason I was in lane for a long time and never went back the first time! As the math shows, the shoes are a good deal, and for roam-heavy play-styles, it’s the best buy for that point in the game. For more passive farming experiences, ability power ends up giving more damage to minions.
- Roaming and aggressive AP mids: Sorcerer’s Shoes > AP
- Farming or Rod of Ages-rushing mids: AP > Sorcerer’s Shoes (note that this will deal less damage to champions)