Both Death’s Dance and Bloodthirster are revered items on Summoner’s Rift. While one gives insane self-healing, the other minimizes the damage done to a champion to a point they cannot be burst down. If you think they are outright comparable like Frostfire Gauntlet and Sunfire Aegis are, you are gravely mistaken. But there are still some key factors that contribute to giving one of them an edge over the other.
Death’s Dance allows the champion to sustain themselves during an extended fight longer. It gives you additional armor and ability haste to reduce your cooldowns. The passive ‘Ignore Pain’ and ‘Defy’ are better for bruiser champions like Jax and Darius.
Bloodthirster on the other hand depend on self-healing through lifesteal. With increased lifesteal and critical chance, it is a more offensive item and would work better on heal-dependant champions with high attack damage like Samira or Aatrox.
Both items are great in their respective roles. But if you have a champion who can benefit from both and are confused between the two, we will go into more depth to help keep your mind at ease. Read ahead to find out which of the two is the perfect pick for you.
The Items: An In-Depth Look
To understand what situation calls for which item, it is essential to understand what additional stats both items provide your champion.
Users who pick Death’s Dance gain an additional +55 attack damage, +45 armor, and +15 ability haste. +55 attack damage is a significant boost to a champion’s damage output. Auto attack-based champions like Jax greatly benefit from this item because they can do consistent damage without being burst down. The +45 armor reduces damage taken and can help them kill the opponent before them.
The extra ability haste is also amazing for bruiser champions as they mostly have abilities to empower their auto attacks like Darius’s W. Extra ability haste means they can activate their abilities more times throughout a fight, increasing their chances to win out on the trade.
The reason why this is such an overused item is because of its passives. Death’s Dance has two passives. The first is ‘Ignore Pain’. With the Ignore Pain passive, 30% of damage dealt to the champion is dealt over 3 seconds. Coupled with the second passive ‘Defy’, all damage stored in Ignore Pain’s damage pool is cleansed if you get a champion takedown. You also receive a health boost equivalent to 120% Bonus AD over 2 seconds.
Since Death’s Dance gives you additional AD, it fits in perfectly with the Defy passive. The added armor helps you stay alive so the Ignore Pain passive can work effectively. You must remember though that Ignore Pain only mitigates 10% of damage dealt over 3 seconds for ranged champions. This makes it less effective on champions like Urgot who are ranged bruisers.
Where It Works Best
Death’s Dance works best on bruiser champions who can deal consistent damage without being burst down. Some examples are Jax, Darius, Fiora, Camille, Wukong, etc. If you are up against an AP champion like Vladimir or Kennen, Death’s Dance loses some of its effectiveness. Not only does it nullify the armor stat boosts, but these champions rely on bursting the enemy and escaping before you can trade. It will be harder to sustain against their abilities and you might lose more if they kite you out properly.
The Bloodthirster is aimed to drastically boost self-healing by providing the champion with +18% lifesteal. Lifesteal is based on the amount of damage you deal which is why it also gives an additional +55 attack damage and +20% critical chance. These help increase the amount of health a champion regains through their lifesteal and makes sure to hack down the enemy before they have any chance to counter.
The attack damage increase also pairs perfectly with the extra critical chance. Every time a champion lands a critical, they will do increased damage with the additional AD. Champions who are high attack speeds, like Samira, can shred their enemies within seconds with this item, securing a pentakill for herself with ease.
Bloodthirster only has one passive known as ‘Ichorshield’. This passive allows champions to overheal and form a protective shield with 50-320 shielding based on level. The shield will automatically start to decay if the champion has not dealt or taken any damage in the last 25 seconds.
This is a great passive for champions who are consistently healing themselves. As this is based more on how many attacks you can land when fighting rather than mitigating damage taken, ADCs benefit most from this item. Champions like Aphelios, Draven, Kalista, and Vayne can take over games with this item. Yone is another champion that can be flexed into different lanes. With his insane self-heal and high critical damage, he is the perfect candidate to buy Bloodthirster on.
These champions can deal damage and heal themselves in the process meaning if you let them free fire from the backline, your chances of winning the match become minimal.
Where It Works Best
As we mentioned before, champions with high attack speeds can unlock Bloodthirsters’ full potential. But if you are planning to buy Bloodthirster ahead, your mythic should always be either Immortal Shieldbow or Kraken Slayer in rare cases.
The heal from Bloodthirster is useful but it can be enhanced to new levels when paired with Immortal Shieldbow. Immortal Shieldbow provides you with additional attack damage, attack speed, critical chance, and lifesteal. With just these two items alone, any champion can have at least 25% lifesteal.
A rune you should look to utilize with Bloodthirster builds is Revitalize. Revitalize gives you an additional 5% healing and shielding power. When all of them are combined together, you became an unstoppable force, only brought down by heavy crowd control chains.
Can You Go With Either Of Them?
No. Although you may think both of them provide additional AD and sustainability, they cannot be used interchangeably. Death’s Dance is best for champions that have good base health stats. This makes them less prone to getting burst down and lets the Ignore Pain passive come into play. With no extra critical chance, you should look to take longer, extended trades rather than short ones.
Bloodthirster on the other hand is better for champions with greater attack speeds. They can dish out more damage meaning they will heal up more. Due to no ability haste, champions that deal damage primarily through auto attacks are preferred. The lack of armor also means you have lower defensive stats so try to play more offensively.
Exceptions: The Unforgotten And Unforgiven
Yone and Yasuo are the only two exceptions to the above description. Due to their high defensive stats as well as stacking attack speed throughout the game, the Ionian duo can build both Death’s Dance and Bloodthirster together. Due to their flexible builds and good overall stats, they are able to play in both solo and paired lanes.
These two items, coupled with Infinity Edge and Immortal Shieldbow are their usual build paths. Go try it out in a draft pick to see just how much it takes to finally take you down.
Playing around with builds is always a fun activity. There is no perfect build due to the enormous number of variations in the game. From champions, runes, and enemy compositions, League matches are a constantly changing dynamic.
If you do want to try out something else with these items, make sure to know what they do and how they are used to get the most out of their stats and passives. But if you are looking to understand the items better, definitely follow the guide, and do your best!