League of Legends has undergone major changes with the introduction of patch 12.22. The 2023 pre-season has come to the game to stay, and one of its more curious effects has been the rise in popularity of stamina and HP-based characters. Both in the top lane and in the jungle, tanks have become more popular . Even those who had never been seduced by this type of champions found a certain attraction in them after the last adjustments or, at least, wanted to try some of the new features offered by the patch.
An item that tricks League of Legends players
Riot Games has been able to attract the attention of the community with the novelties. Especially with the SteelHeart . Although it can provide exceptional amounts of HP in the late game, it is more of a situational item. It can allow certain champions to shine, but on others who nevertheless belong to the same archetype, it is rather banal or even downright suboptimal.
Looking at the League of Legends item winrate data, it appears that the SteelHeart is the second lowest winrate item by percentage. Only the Rod of Ages , which seems to need a rework by Riot Games, ranks below. Of course, these figures must be taken with restraint, as several factors come into play:
- these are mythical objects, which are therefore built quite quickly unlike other objects which are rather made in third or fourth position, when the game is well underway
- they're both "new" items, so it takes a bit of time to figure out the optimal builds to go with them, as well as the champions who need the builds.
A problem that goes beyond mathematics
The real problem with this item and its stats is that they create an imbalance in champions. Health is the weakest defensive stat in League of Legends, unless we're up against champions with a high amount of true damage (except Vayne, who deals a percentage of true damage). This is due to several factors, but there are two very important ones that are also easy to understand.
- League of Legends has a large number of mechanics that deal damage to champions based on their max health. Examples of this can be found in widely used items (BotRK, Divine Slayer, Demonic Embrace, Liandry…) and also directly in the character kit (Kog'Maw, Lillia, Sett…). Armor and magic resistance are the only way to counter this damage.
- Heals rarely scale based on the max health of the character receiving them. The increase in our armor and our magic resistance makes each point of life more effective, since the character will take hits better.
Of course, in the game there are also mechanics that can attack the armor and magic resistance of champions or reduce them significantly. However, they are much less common and popular. The BotrK is the most used item in League of Legends, while the Black Cleaver only appears in 4% of games. Also, reducing resistances usually doesn't work in percentages , but in fixed amounts. This means that buying more is the appropriate response to counter this mechanic.
How does damage work in League of Legends?
Everything that has been said so far does not imply that hit points are a stat to ignore in your next games, but rather that you have to manage to maintain a certain balance. From a mathematical point of view, the perfect amount of armor and magic resistance (added, do not take into account the natural armor and RM of the champion) to buy on a tank is equivalent to 15% . the champion's max health (this may vary on a case-by-case basis, it's a global stat) . These resistance points should also be distributed as similar as possible to the damage distribution of the enemy team (more RM if 2+ big AP champions, more armor if a lot of physical damage).
However, stacking only resistances is not a solution, because the more armor or RM you buy, the less effective it is. That's why you always have to be careful to maintain a certain balance , in the same way that an AD carry divides his stats between AD and attack speed, or a mage between AP, mana and haste. The figure of 15% previously mentioned takes into account the popularity of objects inflicting damage according to your maximum life , but in a meta where these would be less strong, the ideal figure would be rather around 10/12% .
It happens that certain circles intersect in completely unexpected ways. This is what happened recently on Twitch, where football fans were able to watch a high level ranked on League of Legends.