Magic penetration and ability power are both base stats stacked by ability power champions, primarily mages. Although both of them are stacked in combination with each other, increasing one before the other may be essential according to the game state. Most beginner players do not know the importance of having a build path according to the enemy team’s composition and buy the same items every match. But we will tell you why magic penetration and ability power are worlds apart.
Both are excellent choices in low elo. Whether you build Rabadon’s Deathcap or Void Staff first, they will amplify your abilities, and progress you towards a massive power spike. But if you are looking to be more efficient with your gold spending, magic penetration is effective against high magic resistance champions while ability power is better for champions with low magic resistance.
This could be a bit tricky considering not all champions on the Rift have (or build) magic resistance. That is why whether or not you should build magic penetration or ability power also depends on your role and contribution to the team composition.
If you wish to shine a better light on both of these statistics, make sure to read what I have to say ahead.
Magic Penetration Or Ability Power – The Better Choice
Now whenever you are playing an ability power champion, you will have the choice of either building ability power or emphasizing more on magic penetration.
The basic answer is to build magic penetration if the enemy team has a lot of high magic resistance champions like a tank top and engage support. Sometimes, even the jungler or mid-laner can play a tank-style champion. That is your cue to go magic penetration items such as Void Staff.
For any other instance, you will always go with an ability power-heavy build. This is because enemy champions do not have any magic resistance to cut through. Although you can bypass their base magic resistance that scales with level, it is not worth it in the long run.
If the enemy has no magic resistance, it is best to go with ability power as this statistic will amplify your abilities, making them deal more damage.
There are certain champions that benefit more from either stat. But as ability power covers a wider array of champions, we will talk about those that prefer magic penetration over ability power.
Akali, The Rogue Assassin
Akali is the first champion on the list that will prefer going with magic penetration items over ability power. The common Akali build that is great for beginners is Hextech Rocketbelt into Shadowflame. Both these items grant tons of magic penetration with Shadowflame’s passive and Hextech Rocketbelt’s mythic passive.
Ekko, The Boy Who Shattered Time
If you have ever played the infamous Arcane character, Ekko, you’ll know that his entire build consists of bursting down champions before escaping with his R. His core build is Hextech Rocketbelt into Lichbane, but Void Staff or Shadowflame can be great 3rd item contenders, depending on the situation.
Evelynn, Agony’s Embrace
Luring in enemies with her seductive prowess, Evelynn lands at a spot on our list. With insane 100 to 0 potential, she can kill enemies before they can react properly.
Evelynn mains do not switch their mythic as Hextech Rocketbelt is a solid mythic pickup in every matchup. It helps Evelynn thrive. Coupled with Void Staff or a well-stacked Mejai’s Soulstealer, she can dominate the rift without ever being seen.
Fizz, The Tidal Trickster
Fizz might look cute in his little fish-bunny appearance but that disappears really quickly when he bursts down his enemies. Using his E to dodge skill shots and R-Q combo to gap close, facing an adept Fizz main can be infuriating.
Fizz probably has one of the highest burst potentials in the game due to which he builds Luden’s Tempest into Lichbane. The exceptional magic penetration from Luden’s paired with Lichbane’s passive allows him to get kills at his whim.
Zoe, The Aspect Of Twilight
One of the hardest champions in the game by my standards, Zoe definitely deserves a spot here as all of her build paths prioritize magic penetration. While jumping in and out using R, Zoe can take you down to half health with a single Q.
This is made worse once she has Luden’s Tempest, a stacked Mejai’s Soulstealer, and a Void Staff. Her power spike is nothing to joke around about as it can half health tanks and sometimes even one-shot ADCs.
Each of these champions has one thing in common, their burst potential. Although some champions like Kennen and Veigar might feel left out, the crux is that champions with burst-style kits benefit more from magic penetration while those that deal consistent damage are better off with ability power.
Enemy Team Composition – Tanky Or Bursty?
This should always be your main focus when deciding whether or not you want to go magic penetration over ability power. Tanky champions are difficult to take down with only ability power as they have high amounts of magic resistance. This can pose an issue because if you take too long, their ADCs will finish you off.
Although you cannot always pinpoint whether or not an enemy team composition is tanky, there are certain things you can look out for.
- Engage supports like Rell, Nautilus, Leona, or Braum
- Tank top such as Ornn, Sion, or Tahm Kench
- CC junglers like Sejuani, Rammus, or Amumu
- Damage-soaking champions like Galio or Shen
If the enemy team has 2 or more of these champions, buying magic penetration is a must. It does not always have to be you, it depends on who the damage carry is.
Also, you should pick up some magic penetration if you are facing one of them in the lane as it will help you throughout your laning phase by landing you some kills.
Item Priority – Is It Worth A Spot?
We all know that in every match, you have a total of 6 item slots. Now how you allocate those item slots is entirely up to you but let me give you some advice to help you with it.
If you are looking for cost efficiency, there’s no difference in the cost for mythic purchases. All ability power/ magic penetration mythics are 3200 gold each. The difference arises in legendary items.
If you are going for more magic penetration, you should hit your second item power spike sooner as Void Staff costs 2800 gold in comparison to Rabadon’s Deathcap which costs 3600. This cost disparity can often predict which way the trade will go.
I won’t group Shadowflame with Void Staff as it does not provide a base increase in magic penetration. Although if your opponent utilizes shields often, the passive will definitely help you get through it. But Shadowflame does provide users with a base increase of 100 ability power, which can be an added bonus for burst champions.
Ability power users do gain a slight advantage over magic penetration champions, especially if they spam their spells. Magic penetration champions must buy Sorcerer’s Shoes which cost 1100. Ability power champions have the choice of either going for Sorcerer’s Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity. The Ionian Boots of Lucidity cost 950 meaning they can be bought for 150 less gold.
The Exception – Passive Magic Penetration Gain
Only one champion in the entire League of Legends champion roster gains magic penetration passively as the game progresses. Mordekaiser, The Iron Revenant, gains 5% magic penetration, increasing with level.
Since he already gains magic penetration as he upgrades his E, Mordekaiser is the only ability power champion that does not require any magic penetration items.
Deciding whether to buy magic penetration items, like Void Staff and Sorcerer’s Shoes, or ability power items, like Rabadon’s Deathcap, can be confusing. In the fast-paced environment of the match, you might buy something that you don’t need. That is why the best option is to always think your build through at the loading screen. Although you might need to adapt during the course of the match, seeing all these insane new builds, stick to what you are comfortable with and what works. After all, items do not win you games, skill does!
Also check out this article on Overheal vs Triumph in LoL.