League of Legends runs on a microtransaction model, so it's not always easy to gain the best items in the game without forking over some of that hard-earned cash. Of course, a lot of items come to you through progression and a whole lot of this game’s version of grinding.
Also, shopping for items is a fair challenge in and of itself. There are so many and it's often difficult to ascertain which ones will be the most beneficial to your play style. The difficulty is exacerbated for newcomers, still learning the ropes and the various playstyles LoL has to offer.
Of course, that’s why you have game guides like this one, to help you separate the wheat from the chaff and stop wasting time and finances on items that have little to zero benefits for your champion. Even if you’re playing with a little help, you still want the best for your build.
Buying Items in League of Legends
When you start playing LoL for the first time, you’ll find the store to be pretty confusing, with a recommended build to get started with. That’s perfectly fine and it's a good idea to learn the ins and outs of the game by starting with the recommended build.
There are, of course, several items you should always be on the lookout for, such as mana potions, health potions, and wards. Selecting a champion is already a difficult chore for a newbie, while champion builds and the right items to complement that build are even more so.
Every champion has their own playstyle, even if you take them in different directions, meaning jungler, AD, tank, support, or AP. The in-game currency for League of Legends consists of Riot Points and Blue Essence.
The stuff isn’t infinite, after all, so spend your currency wisely. Your item purchases should be used to facilitate the various playstyles in the game, such as the following:
Keep in mind that with the exception of the first one, those are pretty generic descriptions of the variety of playstyles in LoL. The point is to purchase items that increase your abilities within the constraints of those playstyles.
Which Items are Best for Which Champions?
There are a lot of pretty generic items in LoL, such as the mana and health potions, along with wards. Those items are always a necessity and you should pick them up whenever you can. However, specific builds/champions deserve more specific items.
Split-pushing is the kind of teammate that we would just call an introvert in the real world. This person works with the team while remaining solo or aloof. For the most part, this type of player is a top-lane player—someone that can hold their own but is a quick step away from rejoining the team when necessary.
Hullbreaker is an excellent item for this type of player because the passive ability, which boosts attack damage, health, and health regen, is only activated whenever you’re off on your own and no one else is around.
Boarding Party is another good choice for the split-pushing player type. Again, it’s at its best when you are alone and you gain bonus armor, magic resistance, and a damage bonus against structures in the game.
Both of these items are a waste of time in team fights. There are plenty of champions that possess some type of healing, whether it's an individual or an AoE ability. These kinds of champions will make excellent use of items such as Thornmail, Chemtech Purifier, and Mortal Reminder.
Divine Sunderer and Goredrinker should be at the top of your list early on. It's best for champions who don’t have strenuous, drawn-out cooldowns on their standard, auto-attacks. Trinity Force is another good one, as it boosts your attack speed, AP, AD, critical %, mana, and movement.
However, the argument can be made that Trinity Force is best for non-fighter champions in case they get into a solo vs solo scrap since Trinity Force essentially gives you Fighter abilities for a time.
Rabadon’s Deathcap boosts AP by 120 immediately and it also has a passive ability that adds another 30% boost to AP. Of course, this item is relatively expensive, so it's not something that you’ll be able to snag early in the game.
Galeforce, Immortal Shieldbow, and Kraken Slayer are the big damage boosters for AD players. Galeforce adds dash to your burst damage, Kraken Slayer is the perfect accommodating item for attack speed, and Immortal Shieldbow provides players with life steal.
Iceborn Gauntlet, Locket of the Iron Solari, and Heartsteel are three mythic items that every tank should have. At least, every tank should be working diligently to get one. Heartsteel works best for top-lane tanks. Not only does it significantly boost damage, but it also boosts offense.
The Iceborn Gauntlet will ravage a solo target but it also provides AoE slow as well. Locket of the Iron Solari is a great support item thanks to an AoE shield the entire team can take advantage of.
Emberknife is an effective item for junglers, converting a decent amount of all your physical and magic damage into health. Hailblade is a similar item as well, so you get two for the price of, well, two (they cost the same amount).
Redemption is an item that you will rarely see outside of a support champion probably because it's so useful in the support role. It grants bonus mana and health regen while also dealing slight damage to enemies while providing moderate health to allies.
Umbral Glaive is a highly valuable support item because it grants the entire team the ability to see wards when they walk over them. This allows the entire team to add a high degree of stealth to their overall strategy.
All Things Considered
There are literally thousands of items in LoL and this little guide wasn’t meant to cover them all. However, it does give you an understanding of how certain items facilitate a certain champion and the many different playstyles available in the game.
While you’re hunting items and waiting to get your hands on the latest and greatest, there are many other ways to even the playing field. Save up enough and have some patience and you will get your champion’s accommodation soon enough.