Singed: Are Looper and the Pros Wrong? RoA vs Archangel
Sat 19th Oct 2013 - 12:57pm: League of Legends
Throughout the World Championship, we saw a handful of Singed picks. Starting with SSO Looper, the pros kept picking him, usually as an answer to Shen. In every Singed game, the pros rushed a Catalyst into a Rod of Ages (RoA). Singed fans who have watched itemization choices closely this season are probably shocked by this. North American players, in particular, have seen a different trend since we have a number of “only Singed” players who follow the tradition of the famous InvertedComposer. In NA, Singed players rush a Tear into Archangel’s. This choice was quickly deemed to be the “best” not too long after the major S3 item changes hit. So could the pros have it wrong?
Before we get to the stats, why is this choice such a big deal? Tear/Archangel’s and RoA are both stacking items. But, with Tear, you can start stacking early instead of having to finish the full item first like with RoA. You also manually stack Tear instead of having to wait a predetermined time like RoA. Why does this make a big difference? Singed is the best Tear-stacker in League of Legends. Instead of comparing Archangel’s and RoA, at the time of completion you actually have a fully stacked Seraph’s or a base, 0-stack RoA.
Note: This assumes that you know how to manage a Tear (near constant use of poison). If you’re able to hit your first item threshold before finishing your stacks, you’re likely doing very well, making the item choice less important in comparison. Regardless, you will always have a Seraph’s before a fully-stacked RoA unless there is something horribly wrong going on.
Without further ado, here is a stat comparison:
|Seraph's||RoA [Base (Full Stacks)]|
|Passive||3% mana --> AP||Regen on level-up|
|Active||20% current mana + 150 shield|
But, to account for the full effect of both Seraph’s and Singed’s (25% mana -> HP) passives, let’s assume a level 11 Singed. With a base mana of 215 and a gain of 45 per level, a level 11 Singed has 710 mana. This gives us:
|Active Shield||Up to 492|
Here’s what these numbers mean throughout the game:
Early Game: You can buy Tear quicker than Catalyst, which gives you more mana (with regeneration) in lane. This can make laning easier and helps you push your lane so that you can back more often to heal. Catalyst gives you the regeneration passive and 137.5 more HP than a 0-stack Tear (a fully-stacked Tear gives 50 more HP than a Catalyst). Opinions will vary here, but I find that a Tear more actively helps you in lane and is superior. Because you can buy Tear far earlier than Catalyst (700g v. 1,200g), the value of the initially higher HP of a Catalyst is greatly reduced, meaning you’re really only buying it for the level-up regeneration, which isn’t that impressive on a champion who has a level 1 ultimate that regens a similar amount.
Mid Game: With Seraph’s versus an empty RoA, you have the 312.5 HP of RoA versus up to a 492 shield, 51 more AP, mana regen and 550 more mana. Between Seraph’s and Singed’s ultimate, your mana will never be too low (especially heading fresh to an objective fight), so Seraph’s gives more effective HP than an unstacked RoA while also having the other incredible benefits.
Late Game: 562.5 more HP on RoA versus a 555 Seraph’s shield, 31 more AP (calculated for a level 18 Singed) and 350 more mana.The effective HP advantage is different but the numbers are incredibly close with Seraph’s winning everywhere else. Past your first item rush, you’ll get other tank items, so you’re not solely dependent on these. However, it is still worth noting that, unlike in mid game, RoA will likely be giving you a decent amount more effective HP in a fight. But you’re giving up a lot for it. In other words, RoA just can’t reach Seraph’s level of gold efficiency on Singed, no matter what stage of the game you’re in.
Seraph’s provides a bigger initial power spike and far more damage throughout the game at the cost of a variable amount of effective HP that, depending on the situation, is probably not much greater with a RoA. When you’re able to rush a stacking, AP item first on a tank, you’re already acknowledging a tankiness sacrifice. Singed, with his kit and MS augmented by his ult, can escape very easily, making the small HP loss of a Tear opening even more negligible than it already is. In return, the greater offensive capability of a Seraph’s allows Singed to become a force to be reckoned with earlier in the game than he would otherwise, especially within laning phase.
All said, the RoA rush of Looper and other world championship pros appears to be an inferior choice in almost all respects. My caveat is that, as I’m not a pro, that base HP gain might really mean something. But, looking at the numbers, the tradeoffs just seem too large. This is especially true in regular solo queue, where Seraph’s is definitely superior and immensely popular. Seraph’s also perfectly complements Singed’s core gameplay. You already bait entire teams, but the addition of a clutch shield makes running away laughing with almost no HP left that much more satisfying and effective.