How Exactly Does Dark Harvest Work and How To Stack It As Fast As Possible?

League Meta changes and evolves. This evolution has always been true, and Riot does a great job mixing things up and keeping things fresh. A few years ago, Riot created new masteries and had reworked them many times since then. It wasn’t that long ago that many champs would default to Electrocute. The Mastery makes a lot of sense. It does extra damage and fits perfectly in the kits of most Champs. 

However, fairly recently, players have discovered a new Mastery that can replace Electrocute in many cases. This Mastery is Dark Harvest, and in this guide, we’re going to get you up to date on what Dark Harvest does and how to use it to its full potential. 

What is Dark Harvest?

Dark Harvest is a Mastery on the Domination Path, meaning it is meant for Champions and players that plan to do a lot of damage. Domination works via Stacks. When Dark Harvest is off of cooldown, it will grant a stack and deal bonus damage whenever the player does damage to an enemy Champion below 50% HP. After proc’ing Dark Harvest, the Mastery will go on cooldown, and you will have to wait 45 seconds before gaining another stack.

These stacks are permanent and last the entire game. Dark Harvest’s bonus damage is adaptive and is determined by the number of stacks that have been accumulated throughout the game. The primary strategy for Dark Harvest is to stack it as high as possible during the laning phase so that your damage is maximized mid to late. 

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How to Stack Dark Harvest?

How to stack Dark Harvest depends on which Champion and role you are playing. ADCs and other ranged Champs will stack the Mastery by poking their lane opponents. If you notice that your enemy laner is below half health, then taking a trade will likely be worth any damage you take due to the stack you will gain. Taking these trades often during lane is a great way to get your stacks early and become a force for the mid-game.  

The other set of Champs that will take Dark Harvest is the Junglers. This Mastery is good on Junglers because they will be ganking low-hp targets most of the game anyway. This allows them to potentially gain some kills and gold and gain stacks and guaranteed bonus damage on their next attempt. To stack Dark Harvest in the Jungle, you will want to look for low HP targets that you can hit with a sneak a cheeky auto or ability.

Even if you cannot get the kill, getting the stack and applying pressure will be worth your time, especially if your Jungle camps are down. Another option is to look for trades on the enemy Jungler. While you might not be able to kill them, most of the time, both of you will end up below half health, meaning you can get a stack every time you trade and slowly build up your damage. 

Dark Harvest or Electrocute?

Many Champs naturally gravitated towards the Electrocute Mastery when the masteries were first reworked. They did this because it applies guaranteed damage after landing three autos or abilities. Landing these abilities is extremely easy for most Champs, and the extra damage synergizes very well with Assassins and Bruisers alike. After a while, many roles found that other trees were better, while Assassins and Junglers kept Electrocute.

The extra damage was too alluring to give up. However, recently many players have discovered that Dark Harvest offers many of the same benefits as Electrocute, but without the downside of falling off late game. So when should you take Dark Harvest over Electrocute? If your Champ needs to win the early game and you will have the chance to proc Electrocute in lane, then Electrocute is what you should take. It has the better early-game damage of the two Masteries, and you will be able to abuse your lane opponent with it and secure the win.

However, if you won’t be able to kill your laner excessively during the early game, or you can kill them without the Electrocute damage, then Dark Harvest is your best bet. The overall damage of Dark Harvest will be more significant than Electrocute, but it will take a little longer to come online. Many Junglers opt to take Dark Harvest due to its late-game potential. Dark Harvest helps prevent Champions like Shaco and Kha’Zix from falling off after the laning phase. 

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Best Dark Harvest Champions 

As discussed above, Dark Harvest will primarily work on Assassins. It is similar to Electrocute in this way. For the most part, the two Key Stones can be used interchangeably depending on various factors in the game. That being said, we have put together a list of Champions that benefit much more from Dark Harvest than they do Electrocute: 

  • Jhin: Only a couple of ADCs will take the Dark Harvest Mastery. This mostly comes down to the fact that many ADCs will benefit much more from some attack speed or utility than pure AD. Jhin, however, only gets four auto attacks before he has to reload, meaning you need to get the most bang for your buck out of every single one of them. Dark Harvest Synergises extremely well with Jhin’s fourth auto, making it irreplaceable as the best Mastery Keystone for Jhin. Stacking Dark Harvest on Jhin is also very easy during the laning phase. Use Jhin’s long-range W to stack your Dark Harvest on low HP targets. You can also use well-placed E’s to stack the Mastery on bush-creeping enemy supports. 
  • Miss Fortune: Miss Fortune is another Champ that can afford to sacrifice the benefits of other masteries to gain some more innate damage. Most of Miss Fortune’s damage will come from her Ultimate and her initial auto-attack. You can stack Dark Harvest on Miss Fortune with her Q and her E. These abilities will let you hit the enemy laners from far away, so you can stack your Dark Harvest in peace until you’re nice and fed. 
  • Shaco: The damage from Electrocute is significant on Shaco, but it is not necessary for most games. If you’re going to get the kill with Shaco, you will likely get the kill whether or not you have the bonus damage from Electrocute. This is where Dark Harvest comes into play. Now all of your early kills and ganks are stacking up your Mastery and preparing you for the late game. A fed Shaco Shaco with many Dark Harvest stacks is one of the scariest and most lethal Assassins in the game. 
  • Kha’Zix: Kha’Zix is not likely to get many kills pre-six, whether he has Electrocute or not. Post-six, he does not need Electrocute to secure kills. So the most logical option is to take Dark Harvest so that Kha can remain relevant throughout the entire game. Stacking Dark Harvest on Kha’Zix early-game is not completely necessary, as you will find most of your stacks after you come online with your evolved Q. However, you can always run in lanes and throw a cheeky W at low target enemies. 
  • Ekko: Ekko is similar to Kha’Zix because he does not come online until later in the game. Ekko needs items to start popping off, and before those items, he does not do a lot of damage. Electrocute is always a viable option on Ekko, but many players prefer Dark Harvest for late-game strength. An Ekko with a ton of Dark Harvest stacks will one-shot most ADCs, which is why it is a favorite Mastery on this Champ. 
  • Graves: Graves with Dark Harvest is not extremely popular, but it is still fun. The same logic that applies to Jhin and Miss Fortune applies to Graves. He does not need the bonus attack speed or utility from other Masteries, so getting bonus damage from Dark Harvest is fantastic. You will stack Dark Harvest on Graves through ganks. Graves ganks a ton early-game and does a lot of damage when he does so. So to stack Dark Harvest, you just have to play the game. 
  • Everyone: The best part about Dark Harvest is that it is just about never a bad Mastery to take. There are better options a lot of the time, but you really cannot go wrong with scaling, infinitely-stacking bonus damage. This damage is especially handy on assassins that may lose damage late-game like Zed or Talon. So just try out the Mastery on your favorite Champ, and maybe you’ll create the new Meta. 

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Dark Harvest & Electrocute Damage Calculator

Now that you know what Dark Harvest is, how to stack it, and which Champs to use it on, let’s talk about the details on the Keystone. We’re going to cover the little intricacies of the Mastery and cover a couple of things that might not be obvious. You do not need to know all of this information to take Dark Harvest and have success, but some of it is nice to know. It will prevent you from questioning specific interactions you may experience and get the most out of this Keystone. 

  • Adaptive Damage: The bonus damage applied from Dark Harvest is adaptive. Adaptive damage means it will deal either magic damage or attack damage, depending on your current stats. If your Champ has more AD, it will deal bonus attack damage. If your Champ has more AP (Ability Power), it will deal magic damage.
  • Cooldown Reset: Dark Harvest has a cooldown of 45 seconds, but if you score a Takedown, it will reset to 1.5 seconds. This is why it is good on Miss Fortune because she can snag a few stacks from one well-placed ultimate. Note that a Takedown means a Kill or an Assist within a specific period. 
  • Turrets: If you happen to get a kill after a turret, minion, or monster scores the killing blow, then you will receive a Dark Harvest stack. You will only get the stack if Dark Harvest is off of cooldown. Most players do not know this, but it is good to know. 
  • Clones & Zombies: Dark Harvest will trigger on clones, like Shaco’s ultimate or LeBlanc’s passive. However, it will not trigger on Zombies such as Sion’s passive or enemies with Chemtech Drake’s soul. 
  • Does Not Apply Dark Harvest: Some abilities and passives will not trigger Dark Harvest even if they deal damage. If an ability does not apply attack or spell effects, it will not apply Dark Harvest. Examples of these include Liandry’s Anguish and Sivir’s Ricochet ability. 

And there it is. Everything you could want to know about Dark Harvest. As said above, feel free to try this Keystone on any Champion you play because odds are it will be pretty fun. Having a ton of Dark Harvest stacks late-game provides unmatched damage, and the infinite-scale potential of the Mastery is very appealing to a lot of Champs. 

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