AN INTRODUCTION TO MASTERIES SYSTEM
Houdini’s at it again. This time on Houdini’s “Cornucopia of Extremely Helpful Guides” we’ll do a comprehensive run-through of mastery pages for each and every role. Anyone who’s played on an account below level thirty knows that masteries can make or break a game. The benefit a good mastery page can give not only allows a champion to accomplish goals and tasks, but do it with efficiency. Beginning to understand the meta in LoL starts with a good grasp of game knowledge outside of the Summoner’s Rift battleground. This is especially important in season 6 as Riot balances the new keystones more diversification of mastery pages will appear. Keystones can be the difference between a kill or a grueling death, luckily for you, I, Houdini, hold a key to opening these stones.
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A FORWARD TO MASTERY CHOICES IN LoL
Before one even begins to make a mastery page, know that the mastery choices and efficiency can be heavily influenced by pre-planned choices in-game. In short, looking at keystones specifically, each plays a different role for certain aspects of the game. Knowing the strengths of your keystone choice is vital in making good choices and using masteries to their fullest effect. If you’re late to season 6 and don’t quite know the purpose of keystones, here’s a short explanation of what each keystone does for you.
EFFECTS OF KEYSTONES:
Warlord’s Bloodlust: Lifesteal and Sustain
Fervor of Battle: Damage to Champions
Death-fire Grasp: Harass and increased Damage to Champions
Stormraider’s Surge: Chasing and escaping
Thunderlord’s Decree: Burst through combos
Windspeaker’s Blessing: Shielding and resistances
Grasp of the Undying: % based sustain
Strength of the Ages: Permanent health gain over time
Bond of Stone: Damage Reduction, redirects damage to user from allies.
Now that you’re caught up on the purpose of each keystone, we’ll look at standard pages for each role and explain the strengths and weaknesses of those pages as well as other options.
MASTERY PAGES IN LoL META
Lets consider popular mastery pages for each position in current LoL meta.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP MID LANER
This is the standard meta mid-lane page. If you are uncertain in what you want to run, this page should do the trick. Keep in mind we want to analyze the standard meta mastery choices from a mid-laner’s perspective. This page is standard for champions such as Le Blanc and Lulu as well as a plethora of others.
FEROCITY TREE FOR AP MID LANERS
Sorcery is preferable to Fury: Most damage from mid-laners comes from abilities.
Dangerous Game vs. Feast vs. Expose Weakness: In a general sense, for most hypothetical situations, feast will provide more sustain. This means that you’ll be able to stay in lane longer, and get more CS and levels. For ranged champions, dangerous game is generally not worth the risk. Mid-lane is often trading 1v1, so expose weakness is only good in certain situations, not all situations.
Vampirism vs Natural Talent: Natural Talent may seem like a small amount, but it all adds up. CSing becomes easier, and your champion’s kill ceiling rises. It’s true Vampirism can be effective on champions like Morgana, for sustain purposes but if you’re planning on taking damage just to spam spells to heal it, mid-lane might not be for you.
Bounty Hunter vs Oppressor: The likelihood of getting at least three unique kills in a game is high. That means that you’ll receive a 3% damage buff on all abilities. Oppressor is a flat 2.5% for the entirety of the game, if and only if the target you are damaging is CC’d. If you happen to choose a champion without easy crowd control application, you’ll find yourself losing trades.
CUNNING TREE FOR AP MID LANERS
Runic Affinity vs Secret Stash vs Assassin: This comes down to general usability. Secret stash is always effective. Assassin and Runic Affinity could potentially be useless. You may not receive any buffs from your jungler, as a mid-laner it’s important to be independent. Do not rely on the jungler giving blue buff over. Assassin can be useful on champions such as Le Blanc or Ahri who often go for picks, but with team-fighting meta on rise it’s not a great idea to be roaming alone just to “use assassin properly“.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP MID POKE CHAMPIONS
The only noticeable difference about a page like this compared to a AP Burst mid-laner page is runic affinity and Piercing Thoughts with Deathfire Touch. Champions that want to run Deathfire Touch often find themselves spamming spells, and blue buff becomes a necessity. Champions like Brand / Cassiopeia become effective because the incessant amount of spells that they can sling.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP MELEE MID LANERS
The reason another page is used for an AP Melee Mid Laner is generally due to the fact that double-edged sword can be very rewarding. On melee mid-laners that build tanky, the standard AP mid-laner page is recommended and this page should not be used. Champions such as Kassadin and Ekko, while melee and AP should not take this page.
Double Edged Sword: Champions that are AP and melee will benefit heavily from this mastery, Fizz is a great example of one of those champions.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AD MID LANERS
Double Edged Sword vs Feast vs Expose Weakness: In this case, expose weakness can be a great boon. Champions that run Deathfire Touch find it hard to surprise enemies to get solo kills, so team-fighting becomes a priority, however, feast is still a more appropriate option for surviving and sustaining lane in most cases.
The AD Assassin mid strives on the 1v1. The standard AD Mid Laner page reflects that. Champions such as Zed and Talon are huge benefactors of this type of page.
FEROCITY TREE FOR AP MID LANERS
Dangerous Game: Champions such as Zed and Talon can use double-edged sword more effectively, since they are melee.
Vampirism: AD Champions cannot use the AP from natural talent, so Vampirism becomes a better option.
CUNNING TREE FOR AD MID LANERS
Assassin: As previously stated, AD Assassins assassinate. The mastery is even named after them. You’d be a fool not to take this. Remember that in-game you must be alone to receive these benefits. This does not mean you should avoid grouping and team-fighting, simply know that going for the solo kills will be more effective.
Precision: Although generally AD champions don’t benefit all that much from magic penetration, the armor penetration is very valuable.
MASTERY PAGE FOR ADC MARKSMAN
FEROCITY TREE FOR ADC MARKSMAN
Double-Edged Sword vs Feast vs Expose Weakness: As a damage dealer, similar to midlane, ADC wants to pump out as much damage. However, safety is more important, a dead ADC can’t do damage to anything. In a meta filled with assassins and gap-closers, it’s simply too risky to run Dangerous Game on an ADC, and the reward is not worth the risk. Feast for lane sustain is taken instead. Remember that being closer to higher-health is better for all-in situations then a small amount of more % damage early on in the game.
Fervor: As previously stated, those that take Fervor want to output more damage to champions. In this case, as Warlord’s Bloodlust offers no additional damage and Deathfire Touch scales off of AP, Fervor is the appropriate choice. That is, unless you are C9 Sneaky playing Jhin. In that case you definitely want Deathfire Touch. This page is most effective on champions that have many auto attacks, or often build attack speed such as Caitlyn, and Lucian.
CUNNING TREE FOR ADC MARKSMAN
Precision vs Intelligence vs the alternative in the Ferocity Tree Battering Blows or Piercing Thoughts: ADC Casters like Corki don’t benefit all that much from fervor’s auto attack damage, but rather spells. In this case, Corki can use the Magic Pen and Armor Pen that Precision provides. Pairing that with Thunderlord’s Decree, it’s clear to see that Corki, and other ADC Casters benefit more from Thunderlord’s and Precision then what could be gotten in the Ferocity tree.
MASTERY PAGE FOR TANKY SUPPORT
The support tank page has a clear focus on choosing any mastery that gives one more tanking ability. The support tank will be in the front-lines, soaking up as much damage as possible for the back-line to do their job. This page is most effective on any tank-building support champ like Leona, Alistar, Braum, and can be used on Thresh as well.
Merciless vs Meditation: This one is obvious, supports like Alistar and Braum benefit more from mana regeneration then doing slightly more than their base zero damage.
Dangerous Game vs Bandit: Especially with tank supports, I prefer to take dangerous game for the combat effectiveness. If you’re going to be participating in kills at all, especially as a tank support, Dangerous Game can heal up to 25% of your health and mana over the course of a team-fight. Bandit provides gold, which is useful, but gold-in-pocket provides no combat stats.
Explorer vs Tough Skin: A support with a focus on roaming may opt to take explorer over tough skin. In general, however, tough skin is the better overall choice. Negating as little as 10 damage in an early game trade can be the difference between life or death. Explorer is simply not worth trading less effectively.
Legendary Guardian vs Swiftness: To begin with, Swiftness Boots are very effective in patch 6.6. If your build includes swiftness boots, you do not need Swiftness. It all comes down to providing more tank stats, and legendary guardian is catered to team-fighting, just as Braum and Alistar are.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP SUSTAIN SUPPORT
The support savior focuses on staying in the backline and providing peel, shields, and healing. Every mastery choice intends to assist in that process. Taking 18 in cunning for Windspeaker’s is the most important portion of this mastery page.
RESOLVE TREE FOR AP SUSTAIN SUPPORT
Explorer vs. Tough Skin: As a support savior, you do not plan on taking heavy amounts of damage. Champions like Janna, Nami, and Sona should not be in the front-lines and therefore can use Explorer more effectively than Tough Skin.
Runic Armor vs. Veteran’s Scars: While it appears that champions such as Janna would benefit from runic armor’s increased shielding on oneself’s, read the text carefully. In this case, Janna must shield her self to receive the buff. Simply put, Janna should be shielding her ADC, my Janna guide can elaborate on the intricacies of trading, but most cases you will be shielding or healing another target then yourself. This means that Runic Armor’s effectiveness is limited, while Veteran’s Scar’s is consistent.
Bandit vs. Dangerous Game: While I’ve previously said Dangerous Game offers more combat stats then gold-in-pocket, the meta revolves more so-around bandit due to the fact that savior supports should not be the ones primarily taking damage. If you never get low, Dangerous Game is useless. Bandit, however, has some effect regardless of situation. This is a matter of play-style, not efficiency.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP HARRAS SUPPORT
The support mage page is all about providing more damage. Forget tanking or shielding or healing, and focus on the maximum amount of damage you can deal. This page is for champions like Zyra, Brand, and Vel’koz support.
Meditation vs Merciless: This is one of the choices that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense looking at our goals to do more damage. The reason meditation is taken over other options is due to that fact that the Support Mage wants to focus landing crowd control and follow-up damage to peel enemies off of the ADC. Since mana potions are gone, the value of mana regeneration has gone up exponentially, having more mana means more spells.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AP JUNGLER
This page is usually not optimal and not preferred compared to the strength of ages equivalent as that scales better however this can work if you want to snowball on your champion and don’t mind losing a bit of scaling gold value on your mastery page. This page is basically an extremely early high damage page so you want to use it on AP junglers who can early gank relatively easily and do a lot of specifically base damage. On this page you can see that double-edged sword is taken over feast. This is to increase your damage output on the early gank and in most cases feast isn’t needed on the junglers who take this page as they usually have tons of sustain. A prominent example of a champion who could use a page like this is Elise or Evelyn.
Bounty hunter vs Oppressor: This choice is debatable as oppressor can be taken just for the early gank so you can maybe do a bit more damage. But in my opinion taking Bounty Hunter usually outscales oppressor. If a gank heavy play style is adopted, which is should be with this page, Bounty Hunter should out-scale. The rest of the masteries shown are standard and should not be changed just because they are MUCH better than the other mastery options available.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AD CASTER JUNGLER
This page is again usually not taken in favor of the strength of ages option however it can be used in a gank heavy play-style to snowball for the same reasons as above. Champions that can potentially use this page are Vi, Hecarim, and Jax.
MASTERY PAGE FOR AD ASSASSIN JUNGLER
This page is definitely standard on high sustain, high damage output junglers. Usually this page is extremely high scaling and wouldn’t be able to be run unless the jungler using it has a sustain ability or extremely fast clear and benefits immensely from fervor that is why really only Yi, Xin, and Kindred take it. For kindred however instead of Double-Edged Sword, Feast is a better mastery. The only other debatable mastery is Assassin vs Runic Affinity. In most cases assassin scales much better along with the play-style of these champs but if you would rather power farm then Runic Affinity might be slightly better option.
MASTERY PAGE FOR TANKY JUNGLER
This page is the most standard page for junglers and can be run on everyone with some small changes. For some junglers the ferocity tree might be taken instead of cunning but the resolve path is relatively standard except maybe recovery might be taken in place of unyielding in the case a tank a jungler isn’t being played, runic armor in place of veteran’s scars for lifesteal building or higher sustain champions, and swiftness in place of legendary guardian again if you aren’t playing an actual tank jungler.
MASTERY PAGE AP TOP LANE
This page is standard for champions like Nautilus, Poppy, and Sion. Some people like to put 12 into the cunning tree but the increased damage in my opinion isn’t as good as the increased sustain from the ferocity tree. And undying grasp is standard on tanks right now as it is what is keeping them extremely strong in the meta, it helps them sustain while also doing tons of damage. Also sometimes unyielding maybe taken for more scaling instead of recovery if there is an easy lane match up.
MASTERY PAGE AD TOP LANE
This page is often used for champions like Fiora and Olaf who need extra sustain in lane and go somewhat pseudo-tanky. The undying grasp provides amazing dueling potential and also increases sustain into bad match-ups if you need to play passive. Double-Edged sword may be taken in easier match-ups to bully harder and runic armor can be taken instead of veterans scars if you believe you don’t need the extra health in the laning phase (pre-10 minutes).
MASTERIES IN SEASON 6 GUIDE: CONCLUSION
Well, that ties up basic mastery choices for season 6, patch 6.6. To date, these fundamentals should allow you to prepare yourself for any role, but if the meta changes heavily, don’t hesitate to find a better source for mastery page decision making. Or, perhaps, I’ll have an updated guide for you all appear out of my hat. As always, if you’d like coaching by a master player to extend your mastery of the mastery pages, I’m available for coaching.
Until next time,
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