Singed: Are Looper and the Pros Wrong? RoA vs Archangel



Sat 19th Oct 2013 - 12:57pm

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?

Singed: Are Looper and the Pros 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)]
HP   450 (650)
Mana 1,000 450 (650)
AP 60 60 (80)
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:


  Seraph's RoA
HP 250 562.5 (812.5)
AP 90 60 (80)
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 Embrace

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.

Your Comments

  • Mon 21st Oct 2013 - 2:49am
    I would just like to defend the item choice as "better" from this perspective (yes even rushed). Also your "mid game" argument I find quite bias as both items have the same value and roughly the same charge time you can buy both at 10 minutes comparing the one un-stacked to a full stacked one is unfair assuming the exact same laning phase happened but anyways. Assuming you get your catalyst at level 4/5 if you take passive into consideration (150 health and 200 mana per level up) the difference in gold value's between tear and catalyst of 500 is paid back with interest of about 500-700 gold assuming you get to level 18 and each level up is worth 1 health pot and 2 mana pots. Also you will have to pay back 400 of the gold difference when you need to combine Seraph's Embrace/ arch angels. Making a catalyst start better early. As you would need the tear fully stacked to regain the health of a catalyst (as stated) but with singed passive taken into account for both items instead of just tear catalyst actually gives more hp than a fully stacked tear which would take 12 minutes and 32 seconds assuming a charge is gained every 4 seconds. which would impede his laning as it would take 2 minutes and 20 seconds for tear to even gain the mana leaving out the health of one level up from catalyst which would contradict the whole reason of picking singed vs shen. Yes cat does cost more but as an end item their gold values (both actual cost and item worth) is even. Therefore on first back which is usually around the 1300 gold mark (assuming you back at 6:30 with a 80% last hit average) buying a catalyst rather than going for a cheaper item (tear) as his lane dominance is critical to his success in the game and as my two points have proved cat is a better start. Now onto RoA vs Seraph's Embrace assuming just the items are taken into account I agree with your numbers (mine showed 40 ap more for arch angels) But assuming you take into account that Seraph's Embrace use is an active not not a permanent and it is 20% of your current mana. You would need to be 100% mana for the 555 (it is 303 at 75%, 202 at 50%) shield and knowing singed that rarely happens also the 555 shield is for only 3 seconds and also has a 2 minute cool down vs the flat constant 562 health which RoA has which makes RoA a more dependable item tankyness wise. Also i feel the ap difference is given a bit too much weight as the difference is very meager in actual reality with a 10 dps more on poison trail with seraphs and 30 damage extra on fling. I also would like to say that RoA has no cost for it to scale where as Arch Angels takes 6 minutes and 16 seconds to stack assuming you do so with poison trail this will cost you a total of 4880 mana yes Arch angel does give you back 726 (i'm actually quite shocked by this number if its wrong please tell me) in that time and you have backs which will restore your mana at an increased level but that is without the cost of fling (140 mana) mega adhesive (110) and ult will pay back at level one (150 mana) and give you only 100 extra mana at level 2 and 275 at level 3, I realize that singed doesn't always have to charge his tear and backing is always an option but it is a bit of a trade off to have to get the full use out of the item. In short I would like to say my numbers on catalyst prove far better than tear, Although i do agree that under a perfect situation Arch angels is better but as far as overall gameplay RoA is stronger.

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