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League of Legends Builds: How Every Item Can Make a Difference

Richard Heimer

13 th  October 2016

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Infinity Edge or Blade of the Ruined King?

A common question most people ask themselves while playing ADC but why does it matter so much? It’s only 1 item!

The items you buy and the build you go for can have massive consequences in game. Although there is no 1 build for every scenario, having the ability to adjust your build to your game and play style is vital if you want to win.

If you’re blindly using the same build every game then you’re probably not playing your champion to its full potential.

If you really want to dominate in game then you need to know what items your enemies are building and how to counter them. If Teemo is going for AD then you’ll want to stack up on armour and pick different items compared to if he was building AP.

Builds aren’t just limited to items though, they also include masteries, runes and summoner spells. Depending what role you are playing runes and masteries can also have a massive impact on your game.

So which build should you go for exactly and when should you deviate from your standard build? All these questions are super important and learning to adjust your builds will make you a better player overall. Let’s look at the most important things you need to understand when choosing a League of Legends build.

Learn The Meta

League of Legends Meta

The first thing you want to ask yourself when deciding what build to use is what is the meta?

Meta is a word you’ll hear a lot when playing League of Legends but many people don’t actually know what it means. Meta stands for the most effective tactic available and can change over time depending on game updates and changes.

At any given time there will be a meta for every lane and role. If there’s just been a new champion released and he’s really overpowered then the meta would be to play him in that lane. If you know everyone will be playing the same champion in a specific role then you can learn how to counter them. A handy website to find the best champions after an update is NerfPlz.com. They offer a handy tier list that orders champions from most powerful to weakest. Depending what lane you play, expect the strong champions at the top of the list to show up in your lane more often.

By knowing what champions players are likely to pick gives you another huge advantage.

There is also a meta for individual champions and their item builds. If you ever want to find the meta for a specific champion then be sure to check out LoLClass and LoLNexus.

These websites show you recent build for certain champions in League of Legends. If everyone happens to be using the same build or item over and over again then you’ve probably found the meta.

But remember, the meta changes over time.

A few years ago the meta for ADC’s was to use the summoner spells Ignite and Flash. The Ignite spell helped deal extra damage and secure kills during the early stages of the game which was very powerful. Flash has been part of the meta for every champion for years and it's very unusual that you’ll see a professional playing without it.

Recently the meta for ADC’s has changed from Ignite and Flash to Heal and Flash. Now every single ADC in game uses those 2 summoner spells, if you don’t then you’re probably at a disadvantage.

So what caused the change?

In patch version 4.5 heal was reworked which caused it to become a better choice than Ignite. Not only does it heal you and a teammate but it also gives you both a speed boost which can be vital for securing a kill.

Keep Up To Date With Changes

League of Legends Patch Notes

As mentioned before, the meta constantly changes. Sometimes items and champions get buffed, sometimes they get nerfed. These changes make certain items and champions more viable and some suddenly useless.

If you read our previous blog post on League of Legends Removed Items, then you’ll know that the popular Deathfire Grasp item was removed in patch 5.2. Before the item was removed it was an essential item for many assassins builds and was a great way to initiate team fights.

That meant for a short period the meta changed as the item was not available and therefore a new item needed to be used instead. It was only in patch 5.5 that the replacement Luden’s Echo was introduced which became a solid replacement and therefore the new meta.

If you look at a lot of burst assassins builds today they will all include this item. By keeping up to date with changes in League of Legends you can identify when the meta for a certain champion or role is changing.

Case Study: Jinx

Jinx Splash Art

Obviously there are hundreds of champions in League of Legends (132 to be exact!) and we can't cover individual builds for each champion, but here is a helpful case study on Jinx.

Since her release, Jinx has been considered a strong champion by many and is always a favourite pick. Her attack speed and abilities make it easy to chase down enemies and to secure kills.

In this case study we’ll walk through a full build for Jinx and the important things to look out for. The champion itself in this study is irrelevant and the same process can be used on any champion to produce a good build. Using the resources mentioned earlier you should be able to make a great build that fits in with the meta.

First up: Summoner spells!

Summoner Spells

League of Legends Summoner Spells

Since Jinx is an ADC and playing in the bottom lane then you’ll definitely want to pick Flash and Heal. Heal is a great spell that gives you a speed bonus and can save you from tricky situations. Flash is an all-round brilliant spell and it can be used to escape from enemies, dodge skill shots or even catch people.

The chances are for every other lane you’ll want to pick flash as well as its generally accepted as the best summoner spell. The other spell will depend on what lane you are playing and how it fits in with your build. If you’re playing jungle then you probably want to use smite. Whereas if you’re playing the top lane then you’ll probably want ignite or teleport.

Now we’ve got the summoner spells out of the way let’s talk about runes.


League of Legends Runes

If you’re playing Jinx then you probably want to boost your attack damage, attack speed and defences for later on in the game. In this case a good build would be:

● 9 x +0.95 Great Mark of Attack Damage

● 9 x +1.34 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

● 9 x +1 Greater Seal of Armor

● 1 x +1.7 Greater Mark of Attack Speed

● 9 x +0.16 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

● 3 x +4.5 Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

If you add all of these up they’ll grant you an extra +8.55 attack damage, +14% attack speed and +9 armor at the start of the game. By level 18 you’ll also have a total of 27 magic resist. These numbers might seem small but they all add up.

So why these runes? Well the build in this case is to have as much attack speed as possible in the early game as it helps increase your damage output. The attack damage runes also increase your starting attack damage which makes it easier to last hit minions and cause more damage to your enemies.


League of Legends Jinx Masteries

Masteries also help increase the damage and survivability of your champion even more. The 3 main categories ferocity, cunning and resolve all help buff your champion.

Since we’re doing a build for Jinx we want to focus on damage output and survivability. For this reason we will be putting 18 points in ferocity and 12 in cunning. The masteries build is as follows:

18 Ferocity

● 5 x Fury +4% Attack Speed

● Feast - Killing a unit restores 20 health (30 second cooldown)

● 5 x Vampirism +2% Lifesteal and Spellvamp

● Bounty Hunter - Deal 1% increased damage for each unique enemy champion you’ve killed

● 5 x Battering Blows +7 Armor Penetration

● Fervor of Battle - Hitting champions with attacks and abilities generates a Fervor stack. Your basic attacks deal 1-14 bonus physical damage to champions for each stack.

12 Cunning

● 5 x Savagery - Single target attacks and spells deal 1 bonus damage to minions and monsters

● Secret stash - Potions are replaced with Biscuits that restore 15 health and mana instantly on use

● 5 Merciless - Deal 5% increased damage to champions below 40% health

● Dangerous Game - Champion kills and assists restore 5% of your missing health and mana

As you can tell by the masteries build, most of the points go into Ferocity for increased damage and attack speed. Taking Feast instead of Double Edged Sword means you can survive in lane for a lot longer.

You might want to experiment with changing the masteries to see if you prefer a certain one to the other. Maybe you want to go for more damage instead of survivability and have a more defensive build in game.


When playing your champion in game, the order in which you level up your abilities can also have a major impact. The best way to level your skills is how you are doing in game and which enemy you are playing against.

Take Jinx for example, if you’re playing against an ADC with longer range than you like Ashe or Caitlyn, then you probably want to level up Zap! first. This gives you the ability to hit your enemy more often and trade blows as Zap has a much larger range than your auto attack range.

Another example would be if you are up against an aggressive support like Leona then you’ll probably be wanting to level up your chompers instead. This means you can root them in place every time they try to dive you and can help you survive in lane.

As you can tell by now, making the best build is all about understanding the scenario you are in and how you can counter your opponent. Following the same build every time is a bad choice.


Items are the most important part of the build and can have the biggest impact on the match. If you’re doing well in a match then you probably want to be more aggressive and focus on more damage. If you’re struggling and keep dying in lane

Starting Items

The first thing when you start is to work out who you are up against in lane. If you’re against an aggressive ADC and you’re going to get hit a lot then maybe you should build more defensive. This would mean taking more potions instead of Doran's blade, you might have less damage and less HP but with the health potions you’ll be able to stay in lane longer.

The normal start would be something like Doran’s Blade and 1 potion.

Once the game has started and you’re in the early stages you’ll be looking at building your first items. For Jinx these items would be things such as B.F Sword, Zeal and Boots. If you’re struggling for money or keep dying in lane then switch your build and buy another Doran’s blade. This gives you more survivability and slightly increases your damage.

Core Items

During the game you’ll want to progress to your core items which will be the main part of your build. These will be big ticket items such as The Bloodthirster and Infinity Edge. By this point in the game you should be able to work out if you are doing well or bad.

If you are doing well then normally its best to go for a more aggressive build to try and increase your advantage. This means buying more damage items as opposed to survivability items.

On the other hand if you are getting absolutely rekt then you’ll want to focus on staying alive long enough to make an impact on the game.

In this Jinx build we suggest buying items such as the Infinity Edge, Bloodthirster, Rapid Firecannon and Runaan’s Hurricane. These items give Jinx incredible amounts of damage while also increasing her attack speed and critical chance.

Situational Items

If you think that the standard build is not going to work in your game then you need to think about situational items. These items are used in certain scenarios where everything is not going to plan and you need to deviate from your initial build.

For example if you keep getting stunned by a certain champion then you might want to consider switching one of your items for the Mercurial Scimitar. This item allows you to remove stuns allowing you to dodge skill shots and unleash your full damage onto your enemies.

There are other examples of situational items such as Sterak’s Gage, Spirit Visage and Randuin’s Omen. All these items can have a massive impact on your game and can easily turn a losing game into a winner.

Now you’ve had a walk through on how to build a guide for a champion you can try it yourself on any champion of your choice. The main thing to ask yourself is how can you counter your opponent? If they choose certain champion, find their counter and play that. If they follow a certain item build then counter them and build something that will make their life hard.

By actively changing your build during every game you instantly increase your chances of winning. For more awesome League of Legends tips and tricks be sure to visit the rest of our blog.

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Richard Heimer

Content Writer
Richard is our resident League of Legends player. He knows everything.

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