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News Predicting Item Changes in Season 3

by Alex Ferri on November 5, 2012
With Season Three and its promised item rework fast approaching, it's time to take a look at the most neglected items in the League of Legends item shop. While some of these items might not see changes, their incredibly low rates of purchase could indicate incoming buffs or outright deletion in Season 3.

Least Popular Items (10/23 - 10/30)

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The "Not-Mercury's-Treads" Items
It's not surprising that these items top the charts for least purchased. Riot introduced Moonflair Spellblade, Cloak and Dagger, and Eleisa's Miracle in May 2011. Even then, they suffered from the disadvantage of not being Mercury's Treads.
Mercury's Treads is a more popular item because it doesn't take up an extra item slot. If a player wants tenacity late in the game, Mercury's Treads only fill their slot for level two boots. The other tenacity items take up one of six item spots that could be filled by a much more powerful item late in the game. While these items are strong in the early game, if purchased early on they only delay the purchase of stronger late-game items.
For these items to see play, Riot should consider making them more expensive and more powerful. If these items offered more power than they currently do, even at a higher price, players would be able to justify filling an item slot with one of them.

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The Stacking Items
Leviathan, Sword of the Occult and Mejai's Soulstealer are inherently problematic items to balance. They are incredibly strong if fully stacked, but considerably weaker if undercharged. Because they are such high-risk items, players tend to purchase items that are more reliable instead.
Both Sword of the Occult and Mejai's Soulstealer require five stacks to reach the "break even" point. This means that a champion that buys either item has to rack up two kills and an assist before the item is even worth the stats it gives. Leviathan is an even worse item—it requires 10 stacks to break even, which equates to five kills, 10 assists, or a mix of the two.
Riot may not be able to balance the stacking items. The principle behind them dictates they be underpowered to begin with and overpowered at full stacks. They will most likely never see competitive play. There are essentially two choices for Riot in regards to these items: delete them, or leave them in the game because they are "fun" items, despite not being particularly strong.

Tiamat Tuesday
Tiamat is an item that sounds cool, but doesn't work in practical application. While a five-Tiamat build for Shyvana has the potential to one-shot entire teams, it's not likely such a Shyvana would even reach that point in a game.
Tiamat is actually very cost-efficient for the stats it provides. However, those stats aren't really something a lot of champions desire. While the attack damage is useful, the mana and health regen aren't something most champions want to purchase. Tiamat does give the same amount of damage as a B.F. Sword, meaning all of the additional effects only cost 420 gold. However, it can't be upgraded into a Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge like a B.F. Sword can, resulting in a lackluster late game.
Tiamat is a simple item to fix. Currently, its effective radius is only 92.5 units in length. Most melee champions have an attack range of 125. Tiamat in its current form just doesn't splash to enough targets. If Riot increased its range to match the melee range of most champions, it would be a perfectly decent item to purchase on a champion like Fiora.

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The "Teemo Items" (On-hit, attack speed, AP)
Malady, Guinsoo's Rageblade and Nashor's Tooth all suffer from a similar problem. While they are all very gold-efficient, they don't provide stats that benefit very many champions.
These hybrid items don't see much play because there are very few champions that can use all of the stats they provide. All three items are built for magic-based champions that auto-attack frequently. Few such champions exist. Moreover, even if someone is playing a champion that could benefit from these items, there is often a stronger late-game item that could be purchased instead.
Of the three, Malady is the least in need of a change. It fills a particular niche and does its job very well for those champions. Guinsoo's Rageblade provides a wealth of stats when fully stacked, but it takes some time to reach its full potential in a fight, and it also doesn't have a late-game upgrade..
Nashor's Tooth provides such specific statistics that very few champions would use it, and it's also the most expensive of the three items listed here.

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Even Supports Don't Buy These
Soul Shroud and Morello's Evil Tome are the ugly stepchildren of support items. Players usually neglect them in favor of the more attractive Shurelya's Reverie, Aegis of the Legion or Zeke's Herald.
Riot recently changed Morello's Evil Tome to build out of Kage's Lucky Pick and gave it a healing debuff active ability. Unfortunately, it still hasn't seen much play. It provides stats that most supports just don't want to purchase, and there are usually enough ignites in a game to shut down most healing. Soul Shroud is a situational purchase for poke-oriented teams that require the added mana regen and cooldown. However, most teams would rather have the stat bonuses of an Aegis of the Legion or Shurelya's Reverie.
Both of these items provide stats that most teams don't need. However, that doesn't mean they aren't useful. There should be items like these to cater to specific compositions or champions, even if they aren't purchased very frequently. These items promote differing strategies, and removing them would discourage innovation in League of Legends.
Like this article? Be sure to follow the author on twitter then: @alexferri
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