Armor Penetration vs Flat Attack Damage – Explained

Armor Penetration vs Flat Attack Damage - Explained in League of Legends

League of Legends is the most popular MOBA and one of the biggest esports games of all time. Naturally, there are tons of mechanics in the game that you have to understand if you want to be good at the game. However, if you are a new player, you might be overwhelmed and not understand some of the important things because the game does not do the best job explaining some of the mechanics. That is why this guide will take a look at the difference between armor penetration vs flat attack damage.

Armor penetration is when your champion ignores a percentage of the enemy target’s armor while dealing physical damage. On the other hand, flat attack damage is how much physical damage your champion deals before getting reduced by the enemy’s armor. 

If you want to know more about these mechanics and want to know when to build armor penetration, continue reading to find out. Since both of these effects are used by attack damage champions, it is important to understand them if you want to play ADCs or other AD champions. With that said, let’s dive right in and take a look at the difference between armor penetration vs flat attack damage.

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Armor Penetration

Armor Penetration explained League of Legends

As aforementioned, armor penetration is when your attacks will ignore the target’s armor and deal increased amounts of damage to them. There are tons of items that give your champions armor penetration alongside various abilities as well.

Also, keep in mind that the cap is at 0 armor. This means that if someone has 0 armor (which is impossible) or you have more armor penetration than their overall armor (the likely case), you will not damage them below 0 armor. Otherwise, most squishy champions would instantly die from a few auto attacks.

This mechanic is often called percentage armor penetration. That is why it is more effective on targets with high armor rather than those with low armor. For instance, with 40% armor penetration, a target with 200 armor will be considered as having 80 less while a target with only 50 armor will be considered as having 20 less.

So, if you have 40% armor penetration, you will deal about 36% more damage to targets with 200 or higher armor. While this doesn’t sound like a lot, it makes a massive difference. If you build armor penetration on ADCs, you will have a lot of damage per second, allowing you to kill the tanks relatively easily. On the other hand, if you do not build any armor penetration items, you will take a longer time to kill the enemy tanks since they will block most of your damage.

Also, there is a mechanic called Lethality as well which we will briefly talk about. It is essentially known as flat armor penetration instead of percentage. For example, if you have 20 lethality, you will flat out ignore 20 armor from a target. If they have 30 total armor, it will be as if they only have 10 armor against you.

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Good Armor Penetration Items

Good Armor Penetration Items explained League of Legends

Now that we know how armor penetration works, let’s take a look at some of the best items that allow you to deal additional damage to enemies by ignoring their armor. As of right now, the only real armor penetration item in the game is Lord Dominik’s Regards. It costs 3000 gold and consists of the Last Whisper and Cloak of Agility.

Lord Dominik’s Regards offers you 30 attack damage, 20% critical strike chance, and 30% armor penetration. Plus, you deal 0%-15% additional physical attack damage on enemies with great maximum health than you. If the enemy team has a few tanks that have a lot of armor, you should always build this item to deal more damage.

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Flat Attack Damage

Flat Attack Damage explained League of Legends

Now that we have talked about armor penetration items and how it works, let us dive in to see what flat attack damage is and some of the best items for it. Flat attack damage is physical damage dealt by AD champions. Depending on how much attack damage your champion has, you will deal that much damage.

However, this is taken into account before reducing your damage depending on how much armor the enemy has. For example, if the enemy has armor that reduces 60% of attack damage, and you have 560 total AD, you will only deal about 336 damage. That is why ADCs need to build armor penetration items to deal bonus damage to tanks to make it easier to kill them.

Otherwise, if you only rely on flat damage, you will take a long time to kill the tank. Chances are that they will wipe your team till then. That is why you not only make armor penetration items but also critical strike items.

Critical strike works based on your attack damage and how much crit chance you have. It deals 175% additional damage every time you crit. There are tons of items and abilities that allow you to critically strike. The higher chance you have to crit, the more likely your champion will deal additional damage.

Strong Flat AD Items

Strong Flat AD Items explained League of Legends

Now that we’ve talked about what flat AD is and how it works, let us take a look at some of the best items that not only give you flat AD but also critical strike chance as well. This will help you deal more damage without having to buy armor penetration until the enemy gets a lot of armor.

The best flat AD item that you can get is Infinity Edge. It not only grants you flat AD but also allows your champion to have a 20% crit chance. However, you should buy this item as your third or fourth option as an ADC. This is due to the fact that its passive allows you to gain +35% bonus crit damage (on top of the 175%) if you have at least a 60% critical strike chance.

Another great flat AD item is the Bloodthirster. It gives you 55 attack damage, 20% crit chance, and +18% lifesteal as well. Lifesteal allows you to heal yourself after every auto attack. This is extremely useful to help you sustain and live in fights where you would normally die.

Finally, another great item that you should buy when making flat AD is the Collector. It is a relatively cheap item that offers you a lot of stats. It gives you AD, crit chance, and lethality as well.

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