Here's my winning entry for the Garena Contribution Contest, and the other winner is Kadamode, his winning entry can be found here:Risk-Reward Consideration
Hi everyone, I am Solsticex, and this is article is a little discussion piece on Masteries.
This discussion piece will be divided into 3 sections, namely:
2)What the Masteries in each tree are, and my personal take on each one.
3)What are the common mastery set-ups
Masteries are something that's relevant to everyone playing LoL, whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran, masteries is part of your gameplay. What prompted me to write this, was how during premades with my friends, once they had locked in their champs, I would get my friends asking me "Hey Sols, what should I put for my masteries for this champ ?" "Quick I've only got 30 secs left". So after awhile, it got a little tiring to do this game after game, and I figured writing this would help serve as a reference article for those wishing to know more about a certain mastery, or just how they should choose masteries in general for that new champ they just bought, or even newbies who have just started playing LoL and they want to know how masteries work.
I am not claiming to be an expert or pro at LoL, and this is merely my personal opinion on masteries. I"ll strive to support my opinions with facts and figures best as I can, so that you as the reader, may judge whether what I am suggesting, makes sense or not.
Before we delve deeper into the individual mastery trees, I'll like to give a brief overview on what masteries are.
There are 3 mastery trees in LoL; Offense, Defense and Utility.
Now as their names might suggest, Offense focuses on doing more damage in general, Defense focuses on mitigating damage, and Utility happens to give benefits not directly related to damage.
Each mastery tree is divided into 6 tiers. Masteries get stronger as you progress down the tiers, and you need to invest at least 4 points in the tiers above in order to reach the next tier.
Since you hit a new tier every 4 points after your first, you generally want to place that point in that new tier for the best result, as higher level masteries are almost always better. Also, you want to try and focus on one tree, since the further you go down in one tree, the more bang you get for your buck(points).
Individual Masteries In Each Tree.
Masteries are rated from 1-5 out of 5
Deadliness- Increases your champion's critical strike chance by 0.66% per point(max of 2% at 3 points). Is it good ? It's good for a Tier 1 mastery. 2% crit chance from the start till end of game. As long as your champ relies on a little autoattacking, it's a better choice than Archmage's Savvy. 4/5
Archmage's Savvy- Increases your champion's Ability Power by 0.2 per champion level (max 0.6 per level at 3 points). Is it good ? At level 18, gives 10 AP. By the time you reach level 18, 10 AP honestly isn't going to make a big difference. Also, this mastery spreads out the bonus as you level up, whereas Deadliness gives the bonus right from the start. Take this only if you're an AP based champion. Hybrids or AD characters should definitely take Deadliness. 2.5/5
Cripple- Improves your exhaust spell to also reduce the target's armor and magic resist by 10 for the duration, and increases its duration by 0.5 seconds. Is it good ? Exhaust is a pretty good all rounded spell that helps you to slow an enemy as you chase him down, helps you to run away by slowing your chaser, and shuts down a major portion of a carry's DPS in a teamfight. The reduction in armor and magic resist is definitely a plus. 4/5
Plentiful Bounty- Improves your smite spell to give an additional 5 gold when used and reduces it cooldown by 5 seconds. Is it good ? Situational. Smite is taken for junglers, so if you're jungling, you could get this for a smoother jungling experience. Not as critical to jungling as Awareness though. You could live without it. 3/5
Sorcery- Reduces the cooldown of your champion's abilities by 0.75% per point (max 3% at 4 points). Is it good ? Almost every champion benefits from cooldown reduction. Unless your character benefits greatly from increased attack speed, you probably want to take this over Alacrity. Also a pre-requisite for the best mastery in the Offense Tree. 4/5
Alacrity- Increases your champion's attack speed by 1% per point (max 4% at 4 points) Is it good ? Well its not bad, but compared to Sorcery, it loses out. It's alot easier to gain 4% more attackspeed in terms of in-game gold, as compared to 3% Cooldown Reduction. Therefore 3% CDR is relatively more valuable as a mastery. 3/5
Burning Embers- Gives 10 AP while Ignite is on cooldown. Is it good ? Ignite is usually taken as an extra "combo move" for those who rely on burst to drop foes, and works best early game. Personally I've never found this to be useful, because when I want ignite to finish off my target, it won't give me the AP when I actually need it. 1/5
Archaic Knowledge- Your magic spells penetrate 15% of the target's magic resistance. Is it good ? DAMN, this is good. Hands down the best mastery in the Offense tree, and possibly the best mastery in the game if you're playing an AP champion. 15% magic penetration scales as your opponents get more Magic Resist. A great benefit right from the start that grows significantly as the game goes on. 5/5
Sunder- Your physical attacks pierce 2 of the opponent's armor (max 6 at 3 points) Is it good ? Well it's pretty good since Armor Penetration is one of those harder to get stats ingame. It's slightly poorer than Archaic Knowledge since this requires 3 points to get the full benefit, and its flat penetration which means it doesn't scale. 4/5
Offensive Mastery- Increases the damage dealt to minions by 1(max 2 at 2 points). Is it good ? Admittedly there are better options in this tier level than this, but if you have that one spare point that you need to invest to reach the next tier, you could place it here for better last hitting. 2/5
Brute Force- Increases your champion's attack damage by 1(max 3 at 3points) Is it good ? Well if you're this deep in offense, you don't have another option. It's noticeably weaker than other masteries of the same tier in other trees, Veteran's Scars(12 hp per point) and Quickness(1% movespeed per point). Could help certain champs whose abilities scale with attack damage.(E.g Ezreal, Urgot) or help trigger Akali's passive. 2/5.
Lethality- Increases your champion's critical strike damage by 3.33%(max 10% at 3 points) Is it good ? Note that it is crit damage, and not crit chance. Hence this ability is largely contingent on your ability to get those crits in the first place. Very good on those who have innate crits, like Ashe, Shaco or Tryndamere. Not so good on others. 4/5 or 2/5 depending on champ.
Improved Rally- Improves your Rally Spell to increase ability power by 20-70 and increases its duration by 5 seconds. Is it good ? Rally is hardly a good summoner in the current meta. Teamfights are mobile and Rally stays at a fixed point. Could be useful in sieging towers, but hardly warrants a summoner spell slot given the other choices available. 1/5
Havoc- Increases your total physical and magical damage by 5%. Is it good ? Well given that it now increases both physical and magical damage, both physical and magical based champs can stand to benefit from this. 5/5
Mender's Faith- Reduces the cooldown of your Heal spell by 30 seconds. Is it good ? If you're extremely reliant on your heal spell, yes it'll help. Once you've outgrown heal as a summoner spell though, there's no reason to ever take this. 2/5
Resistance- Increases your champion's Magic Resistance by 2 per point(max 6 at 3 points) Is it good ? Given that most champions have a base 30 magic resist that doesn't increase over the course of the game, this is a very good Tier 1 mastery. Everyone needs some sort of Magic Resist, given how even physical characters like Ashe have magic damage(Enchanted Crystal Arrow). 4.5/5
Preservation- Increases your health by 400 for 120 seconds after casting your Revive spell and reduces its cooldown by 20 seconds. Is it good ? Revive is just bad on almost all champs unless you're playing suicide Karthus. If your team just lost the teamfight, your reviving at your base alone isn't going to change anything. 1/5
Hardiness- Increases your champion's armor by 2 per point(max 6 at 3 points) Is it good ? Given that all champs have a natural armor growth as they level, 6 armor definitely isn't as good as 6 magic resist. It still gives you a decent early game boost though. 3/5
Strength of Spirit- Increases your health regeneration per 5 seconds by 0.33% of your maximum Mana(max 1% at 3 points). Is it good ? Let's say you have 1000 mana. 1% of 1000 is 10. Your health regen per 5 seconds just increased by 10 due to this mastery. The problem with this mastery is that the champs with the largest mana pools are likely to be mages, yet they don't benefit from this much since their max health is low. This mastery is best taken for either tanky mages like Swain and Ryze(built tanky) OR tanks with a mana pool. A very situational mastery depending on the champ. 2.5-4/5, depending on champ.
Evasion- Increases your dodge chance by 0.5% per point(max 2% at 4 points) Is it good ? Well dodge is a hard stat to acquire in game which would suggest this is a valuable mastery to get. Ninja Tabi is the only item that gives dodge, and only 4 champs have dodge within their skillset. Pretty good for a tier 2 mastery. 4/5
Defensive Mastery- Your champion takes one less damage from minions and monsters per point(max 2 less damage at 2 points). Is it good ? This definitely helps when jungling, doing dragon/baron. For non-junglers, it helps a little against minion aggro when harrasing in lane. Weaker than Harden Skin though. 2/5
Nimbleness- Increases your movement speed by 10% for 5 seconds after dodging an attack. Is it good ? This mastery basically gives you a mini ghost effect if you dodge an attack. Decent mastery if you get ninja tabi or if you have dodge within your skillset or if you have dodge runes. Good if you have any 2 of the above. Great if you have all 3. A little pointless without any of the above. 3/5
Harden Skin- Blocks 1 physical damag.(max 2 physical damage at 3 points). Is it good ? It's a better version of Defensive Mastery, since it blocks damage from champions as well. Saves you a little health from lane harrassment. What's bad about this mastery though, is that it scales badly with points, 1>1.5>2. So technically you could put in only 1 point and receive half the full benefit of this mastery. 2.5/5
Veteran's Scars- Increases your champion's health by 12 points(max 48 health at 4 points). Is it good ? This mastery is great. Gives you a boost for those early fights. There are several times where I have found myself walking away with 40hp after a very close fight early on. When this is coupled with Flat Health Quintessences, you will find yourself having alot more hp at the start and you can afford to be more aggressive with your opponent. Also gives a great boost for junglers. 4/5
Willpower- Reduces the recharge time for your Cleanse spell by 20 seconds. Is it good ? Just like every other summoner spell based mastery, this depends on whether you take Cleanse. Cleanse is a viable choice on champs that need to avoid getting locked down by CC. 20 seconds less CD every time is alot of cooldown reduction over the course of the game. 4/5
Ardor- Increases your Ability Power and bonus Attack Speed by 1.33%(max 4% at 3 points) Is it good ? Well its a balanced bonus that helps both physical and magic based characters, and its a percentile bonus which means it scales late game. Not bad at all. 4/5
Reinforce- Your Fortify spell causes turrets to deal 50% splash damage. Is it good ? Fortify is a handy spell to save your towers from across the map when no one's there to defend it. This spell also helps your tower to clear that huge creep wave that's knocking on the door. 3.5/5
Tenacity- Reduces all damage taken by your champ by 4%. Is it good ? Like what I have been saying so far, percentage bonuses help more than flat bonuses, because they scale into late game. If you've come this far in the Defense Tree, there's really no reason not to take this. 5/5
Spatial Accuracy- Reduces the casting time of your Teleport spell by 0.5 seconds and its cooldown by 5 seconds. Is it good ? Well it's kind of average for a Tier 1 mastery. 3/5
Good Hands- Reduces time spent dead by 3.33% per point (max 10% at 3 points). Is it good ? Well I know people think this mastery is bad and they say good players shouldn't be dying often, but think of this spell as insurance. When you have a 70 second death timer ticking, being able to come out 7 seconds earlier could well mean the difference between saving the tower or losing it. 3/5
Perserverance- Increases your total health and mana regeneration by 2%(max 4% at 3 points). Is it good ? Contrary to what people commonly think, this mastery is just bad mathemathically. Assuming you have 10hp/ 5sec regen, this mastery will give you an additional 0.4hp regen over 5 seconds. That is so minute, that its almost not worth considering. In order to gain just 1 hp/5 second regen, you need to have a base of 25hp/5 seconds regen. That is something most non tank champs will hardly reach in the game unless they specifically itemize for it, and even then, it'll come in the mid-late game which will hardly help since you're not laning by then. Added to the fact that you can get half the full bonus with just one point invested, there's no reason to ever put more than one point in this mastery. 1/5
Haste- Increases the movement speed of your Ghost spell by 6% and increases its duration by 1.5 seconds. is it good ? It's solid. If you have ghost, and you are planning on taking the utility tree, this is always worth a point. 4/5
Awareness- Increases the amount of experience your champion gains by 1.25%(max 5% at 4 points). Is it good ? This is definitely a better choice over Expanded Mind, and every champ can benefit from this. It's also a must for junglers. With this, you get to level 2 immediately after clearing blue golem camp at level 1. Without it, you don't. 4/5
Expanded Mind- Increases your champion's mana by 1.25% of your maximum mana(max 5% at 4 points). Is it good ? Honestly this mastery is trash, even with 4 points invested. Why ? The increase in mana is calculated from your base mana, and does not affect mana gained from items, runes and buffs. Let's take Ryze for example, who benefits the most from having max mana. At level 18, Ryze has 1240 mana. This mastery gives him additional 62 mana at level 18. 6 extra damage on his Q at level 18 and 1 damage at level 1. Even with the champ in the game that benefits the most from having higher max mana, Awareness is so much better for Ryze. For any other champ, there's virtually no competition. Awareness is clearly better. 1/5
Greed- Generates 1 gold every 10 seconds. Is it good ? Most people think this is bad when they do the math. 1 gold every 10 seconds translates to 6 gold every minute. Given the average game lasts 40 minutes, this gives you about 240 gold over the course of the game. Yes, 240 gold is nothing to shout about. It can't buy anything except the most basic items. However, these people are forgetting that 240 gold can buy you 3 wards. Would 3 additional wards help your team ? DEFINITELY. This mastery is now basically a mastery that says, "Invest one point and get 3 free wards for your team". 3/5
Meditation- Increases your Mana regeneration per 5 seconds by 1(max 3 per 5 seconds at 3 points). Is it good ? Well there's nothing much to say about this mastery actually. Its okay, and it's worth points if your champ uses mana. 3/5
Utility Mastery- Gives 15% more time on neutral monster buffs per point (max 30% at 2 points). Is it good ? Amazing, if you're a jungler. Even for non junglers, having red buff for 30% longer on your Ashe is quite something. if you need to reach the next level, and your champ doesn't use mana, you should take this. 4/5
Insight- Clarity will now grant the same amount of mana to your allies instead of half. Is it good ? Situational, only good if your team has 4 or more champs requiring mana, and out of these 4, 2 or more are mana hungry champs. 2.5/5
Quickness- Increase your base movement speed by 1%(max 3% at 3 points) Is it good ? Movespeed is always good. Remember that time when you were chasing down an enemy who was just barely outside the range of your stun ? If you had 3% greater movespeed, you probably would have gotten him. That's where this mastery comes in. 4/5
Blink of an Eye- Reduces the cooldown of your Flash spell by 15 seconds. Is it good ? Given that Flash has a rather long CD, this helps. Its minor, but it still helps. 3/5
Intelligence- Reduces your champion's cooldowns by 2% per point (max 6% at 3 points). Is it good ? Just like Sorcery, everyone uses abilities and CDR helps. Combine this with Sorcery to get 9% CDR right from the start. 4/5
Mystical Vision- Increases the duration of your Clairvoyance spell by 4 seconds and reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds. Is it good ? Clairvoyance is a great team spell that every team should be having. Clairvoyance helps to keep tabs on the enemy jungler, scan brushes without actually facechecking them, and prevents an enemy from juking you while you're chasing. With this mastery, Clairvoyance's duration goes up to 10 seconds, and you get to use more clairvoyances throughout the game. 4/5
Presence of the Master- Reduces Summoner Spell Cooldowns by 15%. Is it good ? Well, would you like your Flash, Exhaust, Ignite, Ghost, Teleport to have 15% lower cooldowns ? 5/5
Common Mastery Set-ups
Going heavily into offense, this is usually taken by carries and physical DPS-ers, more so than magic based characters since the Offense tree focuses on physical damage rather than magical. Some Armor and MR in the defense tree helps to keep the squishy alive.
Taken by carries who run ghost as a summoner spell, or junglers who transition into DPS-ers later on(Olaf comes to mind).
Taken by tanky mages or tanks who want a little more poke with their spells. E.g Swain, Ryze, Amumu, Singed
Tanking ability boosted by a little more exp gain and some gold over time. Taken largely by tanks.
Taken largely by supports who want some mana benefits in the Utility Tree and a little more survivability, hence the 9 in Defense.
Most common AP caster set-up. Utility is taken for the mana regen bonuses as well as experience bonus since the faster they level relative to their opponents, the more of an advanage they have. CDR bonuses in both trees help since casters are heavily reliant on their cooldowns. Going into Offense is mainly for the 15% spell penetration given by Archaic Knowledge.
Common jungling set-up. 1 point in Offense for a better smite. 8 points in Utility to get Awareness and 21 down in Defense for more survivability in the early jungle.
Another common jungling set-up, with 2 points in improved neutral buff duration this time. 30% longer buff duration helps immensely as a jungler, whether its ganking with red or sustaining your mana consumption with blue.
The set-ups listed above are by no mean the be-all and end-all to mastery set-ups. There are other viable set-ups such as 16/0/14, 3/6/21 but I have only listed the most common set-ups here for ease. Keep experimenting with your masteries to suit your particular champ's needs
Thank you for reading my article, and if you have queries, comments or suggestions, please do let me know.
Credits to wildfire393 on NA forums for his guide on masteries whose format I have adopted. I disagree with him strongly on some masteries, hence what I have here is essentially my own opinion.