League of Legends revolves around items. After you select your runes, masteries, and summoner spells, your primary method of getting stronger is buying items at the shop. Located in the fountain of your base, the shop offers a wide selection of purchases that can influence the course of the game. Every player has 6 item slots and 1 trinket slot, so getting the right combination of items is vital to your victory.
If you ever want to get rid of an item, you can sell it back at the shop for 70% of the total gold value. Certain purchases like Doran items, gold generation items, consumables, and Guardian Angel sell for 40% of their cost.
In the beginning of the match, every player gets 500 gold that can be used to buy basic items for laning or jungling. As the game goes on, players earn more gold by last-hitting minions, killing enemy champions, and securing objectives, which opens up stronger itemization options. Since items directly affect champions’ stats and power levels, a team with more gold on its side will almost always have more tools to close out the game.
Most purchases in League of Legends don’t stand on their own and can be combined into other items. You can do that by buying the necessary components and then assembling them into a stronger item at your shop after paying a small combination cost.
Depending on how they combine, items can be divided into:
- Basic items. Don’t require any other items to be purchased.
- Advanced items. Involve a basic item and a combination
- Legendary items. Include at least one advanced item and a combination
- Mythical items. Include at least one legendary item and a combination
The lower you go down this list, the more powerful the items get. Of course, as long as you have the necessary gold to pay for the components and the combination cost of a mythical item, nothing is stopping you from buying it right away. But since these items are very expensive, it’s usually more convenient to buy them in parts. This approach allows you to invest into stats while also working towards your desired purchase.
Trinkets and Consumables
Trinkets are a special item category. Trinket items occupy their own—seventh—item slot that can’t be used for other purchases. These are minor items that can be acquired free of charge and help you control the vision around the map.
Consumables also stand out from other items. For starters, most consumables can be stacked, meaning that you can carry multiple copies of them in one item slot. You can also use your consumables (for example, drink a Health Potion), which either completely removes them from your inventory or—in specific situations—depletes their charges. In the latter case, the charges act as consumables but the item itself works the same way as a regular purchase.
Item Passives and Actives
In addition to stat boosts, many League of Legends items have passives and actives. These are complex effects that can significantly alter your playstyle. Passives don’t require any player input and are constantly operating. Think of these as permanent buffs to your champion. Notable passives include moment speed bonuses, protective auras, damage mitigation, or even revival upon death.
Actives require players to click on the item icon or press a hotkey to unleash them on the battlefield. These are best compared to spells that players can add to their arsenal. Actives are usually more impactful than passives and can include damaging abilities, crowd control removals, or a short-term invulnerability.
Finally, both passives and actives can be unique. This means that even if you buy a copy of the item with such an effect, you will still only be able to use it once. Due to this concept, buying duplicate items isn’t a very potent strategy, and most LoL players seek to combine strong effects with actives and passives from other items.
Professional players spend hours theorycrafting the best items for every champion. Each item presents options. Options to increase your damage, boost your survivability, or otherwise gain an edge over your opponents. And considering how many items there are in League of Legends, every player can find a build that’s suitable for his playstyle.