Starting items can often define the outcome of the entire game. The early game counts a lot like your scaling ability, experience in comparison to your opponent, objective rotation, etc. You will find many experts saying that the early game, also called the laning phase, can make or break a game. Two of the main starting items played for any role (except support) are Doran’s Blade and Long Sword. Both of which are integral to different champion playstyles.
If you are wondering which one is better, the answer is neither. Both Doran’s Blade and Long Sword are good in different situations. While Doran’s Blade allows for more sustainability and self-healing, Long Sword focuses on raw damage output to kill the enemy in the lane. You can sometimes flex them between lanes but Doran’s Blade is primarily taken by solo laners while attack damage carries (ADCs) prefer Long Sword as their starting items.
Both items excel in their own separate areas. How are you going to differentiate which one to pick when there are over 160 champions with different playstyles? That is what we are here to help you with today. Read ahead to understand how they impact the role and which one is better for your selected champion!
Stat check – What Do They Offer
Any additional stats besides a champion’s base stats are incredibly important in the early game. Now if you picked a bruiser class champion such as Darius, you will want Doran’s Blade as it provides +8 attack damage, +80 health, and a warmonger passive. The warmonger passive gives you +2.5% omnivamp which will heal you every time you deal damage to an enemy champion or minion.
Long Sword on the other hand gives you a base increase of +10 attack damage. This is better for ranged champions with long auto attack ranges. They can poke out the enemy with their auto attacks and do not need to heal back as they won’t be taking any significant damage. You will mostly see ADCs such as Kai’Sa and Kalista take this as a starting item in the bottom lane. If someone is playing Quinn in the top lane, they can also opt for the Long Sword start.
Starting Builds – Gold Costs & Its Affects
You might think why anyone would opt for a Long Sword start when they could get +80 health and a warmonger passive by giving out +2 attack damage. Well, that is because the Doran’s Blade costs 450 gold while the Long Sword can be bought for only 350 gold.
At the beginning of every match, each player is given 500 gold to buy items, regardless of their role. This means if you are buying a Doran’s Blade, you will have 50 gold left over which you can buy a health potion with. But if you start with a Long Sword, you will have 150 gold left with which you can get 3 health potions or a refillable potion. These will help you heal up and survive in the lane a little longer.
If you are playing a champ that takes trades often and can heal from the warmonger passive, Doran’s Blade is the way to go. If farming creeps and scaling up is your win condition, the Long Sword would suit you better.
Transitioning Into The Late Game
This is one part of this article where the Long Sword is unequivocally better than the Doran’s Blade. The Long Sword becomes a part of higher-tier attack damage items such as Eclipse and Noonquiver, an essential part of every ADCs mythic item. The Doran’s Blade is a basic starter item and needs to be sold off eventually as it takes up an item slot.
If you want to be more gold efficient and play a fast-paced lane, the Long Sword will help you out more as it builds into a higher-tier item. The Doran’s Blade is better when the laning phase is longer and items can be bought without any significant kills.
We have talked a lot about different aspects of both items, the Long Sword and the Doran’s Blade. Let’s now see which champions should go with which starter item.
Long Sword Or Doran’s Blade – Who Should Get What
The Long Sword is a base attack damage item that costs less and can build into a higher-tier item. This is why ADCs should opt for a Long Sword with a refillable potion. Their lanes are usually action-packed and they need some gradual healing that is provided by the refillable potion. On top of that, they will not need to start their mythic item from scratch as they will already have the first tier 1 component.
The Doran’s Blade provides both, a small increase in attack damage as well as additional health. The downside is it costs more and needs to be sold later on in the game. But there are still instances where you should opt for it over the Long Sword and 3 health potions start.
Champion Base Health
You should have an idea of your champions base health. Champions like Jinx, Kai’Sa, and Draven have high base healths, 630, 670, and 675 respectively. That is why they do not require the additional +80 health as much as ADCs with lower base healths.
ADCs like Senna, Vayne, and Aphelios have very low base healths, 530, 550, and 580 respectively. They are more dependent on the +80 health provided by the Doran’s Blade. Without this, they are likely to get out-traded in lane and will have to take a bad recall or may not be able to play up in lane in fear of getting ganked.
Starting Long Sword is also a better option when facing ability-reliant marksmen like Varus, Ziggs, etc. Since you will not be able to get many hits on to them, your warmonger passive will be useless. But with 3 health potions, or a refillable pot, you can out-sustain them as their mana will not regenerate that fast.
Doran’s Blade requires the opposite. If you see your enemy laner needs some items to get online and start doing damage, go for the Doran’s Blade and harass them throughout the laning phase. You will be able to heal back any damage they do with your warmonger passive and can kill them if they try to all-in.
The ‘Support’ Factor’
Your support also plays a huge role in this decision. If you have a support that can either poke the enemy to make them miss creeps like Brand or Vel’Koz, you should go for the Long Sword. This is because the enemy will not poke you as much. Healing supports like Seraphine and Sona follow suit as they have slight poke that can be very annoying but they simultaneously heal you.
Leona and Nautilus are extremely popular supports and if you are paired with one of them, Doran’s Blade is the way to go. You will likely be going for all-in’s every few minutes and the additional health and omnivamp from Doran’s Blade can help you win those clutch trades. These engage supports have no healing or shielding ability so it is up to you to heal yourself the entire game!
Quinn – The Top Lane’s Exception
We didn’t talk much about any other role except ADCs as all solo laners do not even think about starting Long Sword and health potions. But Quinn is the one exception in top lane. Quinn is a ranged champion that can poke enemies from afar with her auto attacks as well as disengage with her E. This makes her a prime candidate for buying the Long Sword as a starting item.
Not only this, but since her most popular build has Immortal Shieldbow as its mythic, she does not need the constant sustain if she can make it through the first few levels without getting caught out. Kite properly and you will have the enemy laner rage quitting in no time.
Also check: The Mystery Of Doran In League Of Legends
Doran’s Blade and Long Sword are both good picks and in lower elos, you can get away with either. Doran’s Blade is the standard start which is why those without proper item build knowledge will buy it without a second thought. Its pick-rate does see a decline through the higher elos as people do not want to waste the 180 gold while selling it (purchased for 450, sold for 270). This is what gives Long Sword the slight edge over its counterpart. Still, take some time to test both out and see what works for you because in the end, statistics don’t win you games!