Season 4 Support Item Analysis



Mon 18th Nov 2013 - 7:53pm

With the upcoming Season 4 changes, Riot has promised they intend to give more gold to supports. Well call me skeptical but this isn't the first time Riot has promised to do it, and I decided I would do an analysis to find out for myself, by comparing these new items to the support items of Season 3.

 This information is based on PBE Data, and is subject to change before it reaches live servers.

Replacing Philsopher Stone are a new line of support items inspired by a Shurima Desert theme. They're efficient items, and reward sustained presence in lane by giving regen stats and rewarding the support for being in lane as minions die. 

The new Kage's for Supports has a Freljord themed set. The new Ability Power based support item rewards aggression and constant poke of the enemy, and the remade Shard of True Ice active is awesome for the support that loves wrecking havoc in team fights.

And apperently there were some changes during its time on the PBE, but we believe it'll keep the passive at the ability to proc once per target every 10 seconds, so if you're particularly aggresive you will be able to proc the Tribute passive often.

 For the purposes of this article, I round down this item's average gold generation, but if you are in constant team fighs, or if this item makes it into ARAM, the potential gold generation greatly increases the more targets you have. 


The new Mount Targon themed support set is perfect for tanks. The passive is great because your passive will be up once per minion wave, giving gold and health to your carry, but it also stacks up when you're away from lane, which makes this new passive arguably the easiest to utilize to its fullest. The new Shielding Active will be great for supports focusing on protecting a carry, or amplifying the power of another tank.


Season 4: Limit of one Gold Generation Item

With all these new fun items you may be thinking how you want them all. Well if you were I have some bad news, for the new S4 Support Items, and a few of the Jungle Items that now give bonus gold, you are limited to one Gold Generating item per champion. 


So you may be reading this and the new mechanics certainly sound fun, but with these new mechanics it's hard to really tell at a glance, will these items really be giving supports more gold? Well the answer simply put is "yes". Let me show you.

In these graphs I compare the S3 items to the Tier 2 support items. I choose to use the upgraded Tier 2 items because those items cost roughly the same price (700-800g) and make for the straightest comparison.

This graph shows an approximation of the amount of gold gain on the new S4 items compared to the GP10 on the S3 Support items. As you can see the S4 support items give a huge amount more gold. But remember these numbers are approximations. In actual games they may fall a little lower if you end up roaming or unable to utilize the item to the maximum. The new Philosopher Stone and Tank Item should have no problem generating a lot of gold, while the Kage's Pick seems to be balanced around the fact that the aggressive supports may be focusing on getting kills and bullying their enemies with poke rather than slowly stockpiling their gold.  


This graph represents the amount of time it takes for the item to pay for itself. So for example on the live servers Philosopher Stone costs 700 gold and gives 5 gold per 10 seconds, so it takes around 23 minutes to earn you back that 700 gold. The Season 4 items do noticibly better, paying for themselves roughly twice as fast, allowing your gold investment to pay off much sooner so you can start spending money on other items.

Gold Needed for Passive to Become Cost Effective

This graph shows the cost of the stats on the items without their passives. It basically shows how much that gold you're spending to get that passive. The Season 4 items completely blow away the competition when it comes to stat values. So if you still don't follow exactly what I'm trying to show and why it makes the S4 items so great, I'll explain with Kage's as an example.

Kage's Lucky Pick is an item that gives +25 AP for 765 gold. If you compare it to an average AP item, it's just an awful price, an item giving that much AP should only cost around 550 gold. But you're buying it for its gold generation. So Kage's is an investment as you're paying a lot of gold now for a weaker item, with the intent to earn that gold back over time. So Kage's becomes cost effective once it has earned you around 200 gold (7 minutes), so as you can see it's on the graph at 200 gold.

When we look at the new Support Items for Season 4, we see them all pretty much at or below 0. This means that we don't need this item to start earning gold before it was worth it's price. Unless there is a massive stat value overhaul coming these items are insanely cost effective and powerful. Mathmatically, an item giving this much power would be good without any gold generation on it at all. 


So Riot set out to give Supports more gold and make them more powerful in Season 4, and these new support items are going to make them much stronger, and have more gold on top of that.

With all these changes, how will this effect the meta in the coming Season? Which support champions will come out on top?