Universal Starting Items in League of Legends

In any League of Legends game, the items that each champion starts the game with is one of the most impactful decisions that every player makes. It is something that can dictate how a lane plays in terms of action, and also plays a big part in the transition from early game to mid game. The items chosen by each summoner at the start are obviously incredibly important when it comes to finishing bigger ones as time goes on, as getting to that critical item before your lane opponent can make or break the lane.

Given all of that, it is difficult sometimes to pick the “right” combination of items to use that 475 gold on, especially considering the massive number of roles and lane matchups possible in a game. However, there are two item combinations that work on essentially any champion, in any game, in any situation: Boots of Speed (okay maybe not in the jungle) and Cloth Armor, each with a combination of health potions and wards. The most common of these are Boots of Speed and 4 potions, or Cloth Armor and 5 potions.


Each of these sets of starting items have their advantages and disadvantages, as well as being more useful on some champions than others. The idea here though is that these combinations are viable no matter what, and are a good direction to go in if you aren’t really sure what to start out with. When comparing the two to determine which is the best in any situation, one must look at several aspects of each combination. This essentially boils down to sustain, durability, and utility. Damage would be an important factor for looking at starting items, but since neither Boots of Speed nor Cloth Armor give anything in the way of damage, it is not included.


Sustain is fairly simple to compare between Boots/4 pots and Cloth/5 pots, as the only extra health regeneration involved comes from the health potions, not from the actual items themselves. Some might argue that the armor gained from Cloth Armor helps with sustain, as it helps you take less damage from physical sources. That falls into the durability realm more though, so I’ll discuss it there. So that makes this category very straightforward, as starting with Cloth Armor allows you to buy 5 health potions, whereas starting Boots of Speed only leaves you with enough gold left over to buy 4. The difference of one health potion means a 150 HP difference in lane or in the jungle, which can potentially mean life or death in a sustained fight.

Advantage: Cloth 5


Durability is an easy comparison as well, given the fact that Cloth Armor gives 15 armor to defend against physical damage… and boots let you run away. You could call that mobility a sort of derived durability, in that it lets you escape from incoming damage in certain situations. That’s all there really is to Boots in a durability discussion, so I’ll talk about why Cloth Armor is such a great item in terms of durability in the early game. The armor that it provides gives you protection against the majority of the damage that most champions will be facing in the early game, which is mostly minion/monster damage and champion autoattacks. Decreasing the relatively large amount of damage that you take from those sources in the early game is incredibly beneficial in winning trades and being able to stay in lane. There are not any other items available that early that can offer that same benefit to you, along with the 5 health potions that you can buy to go with it.

Advantage: Cloth 5


In utility, Boots actually have a fighting chance in a direct comparison. The extra mobility is great for chasing and running away, and of course they build into a wide range of items that all are very useful in the right situation. Unfortunately for Boots, Cloth Armor still has it beat with the wider range of items that it builds into. What makes it even better is that at least one of these items is useful for any champion in any role, serving as a great gateway into mid game. Just as a reminder, the items that Cloth Armor can be built into directly are as follows:

  • Ninja Tabi
  • Madred’s Razors
  • Seeker’s Armguard
  • Warden’s Mail
  • Locket of the Iron Solari
  • Emblem of Valor
  • Thornmail
  • Grez’s Spectral Lantern

Those are some pretty fantastic items, and the majority of them are bought at least once in a given game on Summoner’s Rift. Ninja Tabi are great for those going up against autoattack-heavy champions, or when you just want some cheap armor. Seeker’s Armguard sees a lot of action with AP mids going against the Zeds and Kha’zix’s of the world. Locket of the Iron Solari is a fantastic teamfighting item, and is bought by many junglers and supports in the mid game. Emblem of Valor is another great item, as it gives sustain to your team, eventually building into the powerhouse that is Aegis of the Legion and eventually, Runic Bulwark. Various kinds of boots can’t even compare to the value that the items listed here have.

In Season 3, the Boots start is now less effective than it used to be. All champions have been buffed to have an additional 25 movement speed, with that bonus being subtracted from Boots. Even so, the cost of the item has only decreased by 25 gold; more than ever, Cloth + 5 pots is a superior starting build for summoners who can’t decide between the two items.

Advantage: Cloth 5

So there you have it: it is clear that Cloth Armor + 5 health potions is a fantastic set of starting items that offers incredible sustain, durability and utility no matter your champion or role while on the Fields of Justice. Now it may seem odd to write about Cloth + 5 on a website that goes by the same name, but there is a good reason for that. I can draw an analogy between the two and show you what this website is all about, and why you should keep coming back for more.

An Analogy

Cloth5 is a brand new League of Legends news and blog website headed by DiffTheEnder, dedicated to bringing readers a wide range of well-written League content that you won’t find anywhere else. Given time, the writers of Cloth5 will demonstrate how sustainable the site really is, as Diff has assembled an amazing team of writers that will be bringing you thoughtful and unique articles for the foreseeable future.

As for durability, some of the same things from before apply, more writers means more content and unique viewpoints that may have not been seen before. Since many of the writers haven’t been on a website like this before, you aren’t going to see old, rehashed content from a few months ago. We have experience writing, we know how to create pieces of work that readers will flock to, enjoy, and understand. Not only will you become more knowledgeable from reading Cloth5, but you will likely see improvement in your gameplay decisions.

Utility is also an incredibly important aspect of Cloth5, as all of the writers come from very different backgrounds. Some of us are already well known in the League of Legends community, some are returning to content creation, and yet others are creating content for the first time. We have widely ranging play styles, skill levels, writing styles, opinions, and even locations around the globe, and you can check out a list of launch staff here. What that means is that everyone will find a writer or writers on Cloth5 that they will fall in love with, perhaps one that is a top-tier player, or one that can relate their struggles in Elo hell. As you can see, we believe that Cloth5 takes on the very qualities of the set of items that it was named after, and we think that the site will have a fantastic start.

If you have any questions or suggestions for me, or would just like to get in contact with me, I have a Twitter account, you could send me an email, or talk to me in game on the NA server, I am chickenmoo there. Thanks for reading!

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Best known for his blog Climbing Mt. Elo, Chickenmoo made his name as the very first League of Legends blogger to achieve public recognition in 2010. He returns to the blogging scene with Cloth5 to share the League of Legends wisdom he has accumulated over the years.

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