There are dozens of items in Arena of Valor, each with different stats, effects and uses. But what should you buy at which point in the game? Understanding which stats your Hero converts best and what your team needs to hamper the enemies can grant you massive leads over your opponents. So without further ado, let’s get started with our Arena of Valor Item guide.
Table of Contents
- Stats and Stat caps
- Effective HP
- Item interactions
- The right purchase order
- Item components
Each Hero has a certain amount of base stats that can be boosted by Items throughout the game. In order to understand the optimal Item purchases in each situation, you should know how those Stats work and what they do.
Probably the most basic stat of every character. Once your health drops to 0, your Hero will die and respawn in your team’s base after a period of time. Unlike Armor and Magic Defense Health grants you defensive value against every type of damage (physical, magical, true).
Armor/ Magic Defense
Armor and Magic Defense lower the respective type of damage taken from your enemies. However, stacking Armor without purchasing Health items isn’t efficient even against teams with only one type of damage. Because of the way that Armor Percentage and Effective HP are calculated, you always gain the most survivability by combining those stats rather than stacking only one.
The calculation formula for Armor/ Magic Defense Percentage in Arena of Valor converts defensive stats into the relevant Percentage:
armor / (armor + 600)
With 0 Armor, you’ll have 0% Armor Percentage which means that you would take the full damage from all physical sources. With 300 armor, your Hero can already reduce incoming physical damage by 33%. Now this doesn’t mean that you’ll get 100% physical damage reduction from stacking up 900 armor. Due to the calculation of our formula, you only get 50% Armor Percentage which equals 50% less physical damage taken.
Diminishing returns and Effective HP
Skip this if you aren’t into Math and your head is already spinning from the Armor calculation.
Considering the data above, one could argue that Armor provides diminishing returns, right? Well, let’s clear up this common error in our Arena of Valor Item guide now. In order to do that, we have to take a look at Effective HP at first:
Just like Armor a formula calculates the Effective HP of your Hero. Effective HP indicates the actual amount of damage it takes in order to kill the Hero. They can be calculated as follows:
HP/ (1 – armor/ (armor + 600))
With 300 Armor (33% Armor Percentage) and 1000 HP, your Hero would have 1500 Effective HP so it would take 1500 points of physical damage to kill him. With 600 Armor (50% Armor Percentage) and 1000 HP, your Hero would have 2000 Effective HP.
This means that every 300 Armor grants you 500 additional Effective HP even though it looks like Armor stacking has diminishing returns.
Armor/ Magic Pierce
Armor and Magic Pierce are the respective penetration stats that allow Heroes to cut through the enemy’s defence. There are 2 types of Pierce, flat and percentage.
Flat Pierce reduces the enemy’s defense by a flat amount whereas Percentage Pierce reduces their defense by a certain percentage (the only items granting percentage penetration are Muramasa for physical damage dealers and Staff of Nuul for magic damage dealers).
Keep in mind that percentage Pierce is calculated after flat Pierce. That means that against targets that stack defence (usually tanks), percentage Pierce is usually more valuable, especially later in the game when they got several defensive items.
Resistance is a rare stat that reduces the time your Hero is crowd controlled. Gilded Greaves are often purchased not only by Tanks but even Mages or Marksmen due to the 35% Resistance passive. This means that Airi’s ability Spin will only cause a 0.65 second stun rather than 1 second.
Those stats are rather self-explanatory. Nonetheless, we’ll take a quick look at them for the sake of completeness
- Attack Damage (AD): increases the physical damage of your Hero, most commonly built on Assassins, Warriors and Marksmen
- Attack Speed: increases the frequency of your Auto Attacks (AAs), especially valuable on Heroes that rely on their AAs (mostly Marksmen)
- Critical Chance (Crit): increases the probability of landing a critical strike with your AA; Crits deal 200% Attack Damage by default
- Ability Power (AP): increases the magical damage dealt by your Hero, usually the most relevant stat for Mages to increase their damage
Reduces the cooldowns of your abilities. Especially for Mages Cooldown Reduction (CDR) is very valuable for more consistent damage output, similar to Attack Speed for Marksmen. Most Supports also make great use of CDR for better utility.
Movement Speed (MS) is probably the most underrated stat in Arena of Valor. Having more MS allows you to rotate over the map faster and join fights before your opponent does.
The only way to impact the base Movement Speed is by purchasing boots. All other MS boosts are percentage-based and therefore use the base MS of the Hero for calculation.
Mana/ Mana Regen
Especially but not exclusively relevant for Mages. Since they rely on their abilities, they are the most Mana gated class in Arena of Valor. With a couple of exceptions nearly every Hero in AoV uses Mana as a resource to cast their abilities though.
There are several Items that grant Mana Regen (a certain amount of Mana that gets restored per 5 seconds) or flat amounts of Mana, mostly Magic and Support Items.
Again there are 2 different types of Lifesteal, physical and magical. Since it’s always calculated depending on the damage dealt, it’s best to purchase Lifesteal Items after having a sufficient amount of Offensive Stats. Otherwise the amount of healing will be neglectable.
Physical Lifesteal works solely on Auto-Attacking enemies, Magical Lifesteal only works on Magic Damage dealt. Lifesteal will be denied by shields or other damage blocking sources.
There are certain thresholds that you cannot exceed by buying more items. Therefore you should always keep an eye on your stats to make sure you don’t spend your gold on wasted stats:
- Attack Speed: 200%
- Crit Chance: 100%
- Movement Speed: 800 units/second
- Cooldown Reduction: 40%
- Lifesteal: 100%
- Resistance (time of being controlled by CC): 60%
- Movement Speed Reduction: 100% though capped at 120 units/ second
Aside from stats, our Arena of Valor Item guide will also cover the different Item interactions that can cause some confusion even for experienced players.
This becomes relevant when purchasing the same Item several times (which you shouldn’t do), but also when purchasing items with the same Unique passive. Buying 2 Mantle of Ra, for example, won’t cause the Burn effect to be doubled.
Items with the Elemental Power passive don’t stack although there are 3 different items available. The Items that share this passive are Omni Arms, Apocalypse and Frostcape. If you do happen to purchase more than one, they will be calculated in the following order:
Apocalype > Omni Arms > Frostcape
There are 2 other cases where Items share the same passive despite different names:
- Leviathan and Mantle of Ra: Leviathan is the respective jungle item that also grants defensive stats and the same burn effect passive despite it being called Flame Magic rather than Burn
- Loki’s Curse and Apocalypse: Loki’s Curse grants empowered AA’s after using an ability just like Apocalypse, but is called Curse Power while Apocalypse’ goes by Elemental Power. As of September 2019, Loki’s Curse also no longer stacks with Omni Arms nor Frostcape
Of course, there is an exception to every rule: Spirit Bond is the name of the passives of both Shield of the Lost and The Aegis. The reason for those passives stacking is that they are triggered in different ways (Shield of the Lost triggers on nearby enemies, The Aegis triggers upon receiving damage).
Even though you can buy as many Active Items as you like, you can only use the Active of the first one you purchased since there is only one slot on the display. Also, keep this in mind if you’re using the Mark of Frost Enchantment since it grants you one Arctic Orb Active after 3 minutes.
This isn’t an Item interaction, but an important condition to note: Jungling Items cannot be purchased without equipping the Talent Punish during Champion selection screen.
While this might not sound like a big deal to you, Jungle Items provide additional damage against monsters and bonus experience for killing them.
Support Items are a special case because only one Hero on each team may have one. As soon as one teammate builds the first component of the Support Item (Wind Stone/ Water Stone), nobody else on the team is able to purchase another Stone or completed Support Item.
The Support Items grant both very powerful Active and Passive Effects as well as great stats for utility-based Heroes. When playing Support you should always decide which Item to buy depending on your own team comp and the enemies.
Make sure to get the Tier 1 component (Wind or Water stone) early into the game though; you and your teammates will gain additional gold/ experience (exp) from it. The Tier 2 component of the Wind Stone grants you additional gold and exp for kills. The Tier 2 component of the Water Stone grants bonus Health and Mana regeneration for you and nearby teammates.
Up to the 100% Movement Speed Reduction cap the Slows from Items can stack. Since those Items all have different passives, they won’t interfere with each other.
On the contrary, some Heroes like Sephera make exceptionally good use of those Slow stacking mechanics.
The right purchase order
While there often isn’t a clear right or wrong in many situations, it makes sense to prioritize certain items or stats at the beginning of the game. So after covering the basics, we’ll now take a look at the strategic elements of Itemization in our Arena of Valor Item guide:
There are a couple of stats that are essential for your Hero, depending on his Role. In order to get going, you should prioritize those stats in the early stages of the game. This way you’ll get to your powerspikes the fastest and you maximize the potential of your Hero as soon as possible. Without straying too far from the Arena of Valor Item guide, let’s take a brief look at each Class:
Most Marksmen should build toward Attack Damage in the early game. While Attack Speed is also important, Marksmen have low base Stats and therefore they won’t deal much damage without additional AD. Claves Sanctii is a staple for the majority as it grants AD, Crit and Crit Damage all at once.
While you could assume that Mages need additional Ability Power just like Marksmen need AD, this isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, AP does provide more burst damage and is never a bad Stat to invest into early. However, Mages are gated by Cooldowns and Mana, rendering all additional AP useless if they can only use 2 abilities before running out of Mana.
Assassins want to burst down their targets as fast as possible, therefore they tend to prioritize offensive Itemization. Rankbreaker is one of the staples since it offers flat Pierce and a good amount of AD.
Similar to mages Assassins rely on their abilities so Cooldown Reduction is always a valuable Stat to invest in early.
Since Warriors don’t deal as much frontload damage as Assassins but aren’t as durable as Tanks, they usually need a bit of both damage and defensive Stats.
Commonly built Items are Hercules’ Madness or Spear of Longinus; both provide a healthy mix of offence and defence with very useful passives for potent duelling during laning phase.
Tanks & Supports
Solo laning tanks will usually prioritize Mantle of Ra for the additional waveclear. The Itemization afterwards is highly situational and depending on your Hero and your opponents’ comp.
As for Supports, they should prioritize their Support item for better gold and exp generation. Since their main focus should be to help their teammates around the map, Boots and utility Items are usually their first purchases.
Due to the nature of their kits, CDR is very valuable to add more consistent utility. Items like The Aegis, Tome of the Reaper or Frosty’s Revenge hinder the enemies and can give you the edge in fights.
Apart from the different Classes, there are some Items with stacking mechanics, mainly Orb of the Magi for Mages and the 3 Jungle Items. If you intend on buying them, make sure to get them as early as possible.
Since AoV games are fast-paced and end rather quickly, in order to get sufficient stacks (overtime/ from clearing jungle camps respectively) you should get those Items as your first ones.
Mid – Late Game
Some Items lure you with insane stat boosts such as Fenrir’s tooth. In our Arena of Valor Item guide we’ll clarify why those Items aren’t necessarily the best to rush:
With 200 Attack Damage, Fenrir’s Tooth grants double the amount of the Items following in 2nd place regarding raw AD. If this wasn’t enough, its passive also lets you deal double the amount of damage to targets below 50% HP.
However, everything comes at a price. Fenrir’s Tooth costs 2950 gold whereas the majority of Items only cost about 2000. Therefore many Heroes tend to build it later into the game, after purchasing a couple of other Items to grow stronger.
While Fenrir’s Tooth is a very strong Item, it’s also really expensive. Building it in the early game would mean that the enemy will finish his first item much earlier, leaving you in a weak spot. Also, many Heroes rely on other stats than raw AD.
Late game Fenrir’s Tooth is a great item that grants your Hero much more firepower though. It synergizes really well with most offensive AD items since you will hit even harder and get your opponents below the 50% threshold much faster.
Some other Items also shine later into the game despite being much cheaper:
- Percentage Pierce: Both Muramasa and Staff of Nuul provide Percentage Pierce which becomes more relevant as your enemies stack Defense
- Survivability: Blade of Eternity and Death Sickle are Items you’ll also want to purchase as the game drags on. Both don’t provide a lot of stats (although Blade of Eternity’s 10% damage increase obviously scales with your offensive stats), however, their passives basically grant you a get-out-of-jail-free card since they prevent your death
- Lifesteal: While sustain can be very helpful early game, you rarely want to build Lifesteal items as your 1st or 2nd item. As we already discussed you need sufficient damage to get decent value out of Lifesteal
- Expensive stat-boosting Items: Mainly Holy of Holies and Fenrir’s Tooth; both provide huge stats at the cost of a ton of gold
Now, this is something that you should start thinking about once you mastered the (sufficiently complex) basics of good Itemization. So of course, our Arena of Valor Item guide won’t leave it out.
Obviously we don’t purchase one finished Item at once. Instead, we usually buy smaller parts that we combine to the completed Item once we farm enough gold.
There are 3 Tiers of items with Tier 1 being the basic components (e.g. Ring of Vitality that grants 300 bonus Health for 300 gold). Tier 2 is the most relevant when talking about smart Item purchases here; while applicable to Tier 1 items, Tier 2 items often grant a weaker version of Tier 3 completed Item passive.
Heart of Incubus, a Tier 2 Item component towards Mantle of Ra, already provides the Burn passive. While the burn damage is halved, it’s still very useful to purchase Heart of Incubus first when building Mantle of Ra. This way you gain additional waveclear and fighting power instead of only raw stats.
There are many cases in which you want to opt for particular components when building towards items. The best example is probably Phoenix Tear, a powerful Tier 2 component of Orb of the Magi: It’s passive restores 20% of Mana and Health whenever you level up.
So make yourself familiar with the build paths of your Hero’s items so you get the maximum value out of their components.
Being able to adapt towards whatever the enemy team is throwing at you is the easiest way to massively improve at Arena of Valor. That’s why we are going to take a look at how to adapt in our Arena of Valor Item guide now:
This is very basic, yet even experienced players forget about it sometimes. As soon as you’re in the loading screen you can check your enemy’s team composition. This allows you to think ahead and identify which items you need to prioritize in order to win the game.
A lot of times teams aren’t balanced and you may find a large amount of physical damage on the enemy team. In these games, you are better off neglecting Magic Defense and focusing on a healthy mixture of Armor and HP in order to become invincible.
Even if you’re not a Tank, you may want to consider building a defensive Item with Armor because it massively increases your survivability against teams with only one type of damage.
Healing & Sustain
There is a simple solution to deal with enemy Heroes that have Lifesteal or Healing abilities: Soul Prison
This Item passive reduce’s the target’s HP regeneration by 50% and can be built by both physical and magical damage dealers (Curse of Death for the former, Tome of the Reaper for the latter).
Identifying the biggest threats
Despite the enemy team having a balanced damage profile, sometimes you might want to prefer Armor over Magic Defense or vice versa. Often times there will be one or two opponents with large leads, who pose a much bigger threat than someone who is behind in gold and levels.
Make sure to check the scoreboard regularly to see who is doing well on the enemy team. Build your items accordingly so you don’t get caught off-guard.
That’s it for our Arena of Valor Item guide
If we left any questions unanswered in our Arena of Valor Item guide, please let us know in the comment section below. Make sure to check out our Beginner’s guide if you want to learn more about the game itself.