Items are a crucial part of MOBAs as their base stats, unique passives and pricing affect the game’s meta, allowing the uprise of certain roles and the downfall of others. As of recently (August 2020), there have been item changes within the test server in Arena of Valor. Though they may not be the final changes, it is highly likely that said items will shift towards the same direction as their test server counterparts.
In order to predict the meta of August 2020 and to give insight into the direction Arena of Valor is going in, we will discuss the changes on items in the test server and how it will impact and change the meta.
Arena of Valor changes in test server August 2020: Item List
Amulet of Longevity
|Base Stats||+1800 Maximum HP +50 HP regeneration every 5 seconds||+2500 Maximum HP +100 Armor|
|Passive||Restores 2% HP and 1% Mana per second upon exiting combat||Restores 4% HP per second upon exiting combat|
The changes to this item increases its tankiness, ultimately allowing tanks to take more damage as it now provides an extra 700 Maximum HP and a new 100 Armor. Which gives tanks a nice prospect when purchasing this item.
On the other hand, it discourages tanks’ sustainability in battle as the regeneration of HP base stat has been removed, causing in-battle regeneration to be more exclusive to certain tanks whose abilities allow them to do so, such as Taara, Thane and Arduin. This reduction can be interpreted as warding off warriors from this item as warriors who favor sustainability in fights. If champions such as Omen, Allain and Errol can run “Desperate Duel” as their runeset and purchase the buffed Amulet of Longevity with HP regen, they could potentially virtually unkillable within fights and duels by having a constant supply of HP regeneration. Therefore it is a good decision to take away the HP regeneration from their base stats in this case as it makes the item more tank exclusive and doesn’t allow warriors to capitalize on it as much.
However, in order to make up for the reduction of the HP regeneration in it’s base stats, it rewards tanks with increased sustainability within the game but not in fights as the new passive allows double the speed of HP regeneration.
Also, like the changes to its base stats, its passive’s changes once again attempts to exclude other roles from using it. As tanks don’t usually require much mana, the reduction of the mana regeneration won’t affect them much while lowering the incentive of pure supports buying it as pure supports do buy tank items but needs mana to constantly use their abilities to support their team.
With the item arguably buffed, its price increases slightly by 120 gold.
|Base Stats||+150 Armor +150 Magic Resistance +1000 Maximum HP||+180 Armor +180 Magic Resistance +1200 Maximum HP|
|Active||3 seconds after activation, the user will receive a shield equal to 30% of damage received in the last 3 seconds plus 12% of their Maximum HP for the duration of 3 seconds. The user’s damage dealt will be reduced by 70% for 3 seconds after gaining the shield. The active has a 1 minute cooldown||After activation, the user will instantly receive a shield equal to 50% of damage received seconds plus 10% of their Maximum HP. The user’s damage dealt will be reduced by 70% when the shield is up. The active has a 1 minute cooldown|
Without a doubt, the base stats of this item has received a significant buff and allows decent defense stats for all types of damage, making this a win for tanks.
Upon its passive, you no longer need to wait three seconds for the active to take visible effect. Moreover, the amount of shields players will obtain has likely increased when used properly as the ratio taken from damage received being increased by 66.6% but its ratio taken from maximum HP has only reduced by 16.6%. To use this item properly after its change is to use it exactly when you are low as that will allow you to use the increased ratio from damage received to your advantage. The reduction of the “damage received within the next 3 seconds will be accounted to the shield” system also reduces the need for tanks to find the perfect timing for activating the item, making the mechanical aspect of the item much easier as all they need to recognize to use it to its full extent is to use it when their HP is low. Also, as the duration of the shield is no longer 3 seconds, it enables tanks to tank for longer than ever before.
Therefore, the buffs to the Rock Shield is a massive win for tanks and it is believed that it will be one of most frequently used tank items in the game when the change meets the official servers.
Curse of Death
|Base Stats||+100 Attack Damage +10% Lifesteal||+100 Attack Damage +150 Armor +10% Cooldown Reduction|
|Passive||Upon dealing damage, the enemy’s HP regeneration will be reduced by 50%. If triggered by an auto attack, the effect will be extended for 3 seconds||Unchanged|
The Curse of Death is an item designed to counter champions with abilities to regenerate HP or to lifesteal. As the most well known HP regenerating champions often reside within the top lane with meta champions such as Lubu and Kil Groth or the most well known HP regenerating champion- Taara, the Curse of Death is an item that is usually picked up by warriors to reduce their opponents lifestealling edge within duels. However, the base stats the item provided were rather awkward and unneeded, therefore many players chose not to purchase this item even if their opponents had high HP regenerating capabilities, shifting the responsibility of having an anti heal item to their midlaner or support.
The change in the base stats provides armor for in-lane duels and a mildly useful cooldown that can be stacked with other cooldown reducing items, making Curse of Death a really good item to be bought by warriors as it has both armor and attack damage, reminiscent of the Mantle of Ra before its base stats many patches ago, before they were utterly changed into that of a tank’s item. And of course, its price increases accordingly to its buff by 200 gold.
The buff of this item’s base stats into that of more attractive and useful ones in terms of dueling can be explained by the two new, up and coming heroes- Sinestrea and Dextera. Both heroes with ultimates that can allow them to regenerate HP at rapid paces and amounts while having HP based kits, the game foreshadows the dominance they will have over the battlefield and thus buffs Curse of Death to make it more attractive to use and to increase the incentive to use it to more than just to counter HP regenerating champions. By buffing the Curse of Death, the game hopes to make players more willing to use Curse of Death to counter the foreshadowed game breaking duo of Sinestrea and Dextera.
Tome of the Reaper
|Base Stats||+220 Magic Damage +500 Maximum HP +75 Magic Pierce||+220 Magic Damage +300 Maximum HP +10% Cooldown Reduction +20 Mana Regen per 5 seconds|
|Passive||Upon dealing damage, the enemy’s HP regeneration will be reduced by 50%. If triggered by an auto attack, the effect will be extended for 3 seconds||unchanged|
The reduction of the 75% magic pierce and the reduction of 200 maximum HP provided from Tome of the Reaper is a significant nerf and the addition of cooldown reduction and mana regeneration cannot make up for it. Due to this nerf the pricing also decreased accordingly by 110 gold.
This can be seen as a balance to the Tome of the Reaper item as it was overly popular within the last patch as the stats it provided were extremely strong, especially the extra 75 magic pierce. Though it may not be a lot, it acts as a nice bonus to the item, highly raising its value, thus causing many players to purchase it regardless of if the enemy team has an HP regenerating champion.
The nerf can be regarded as a balance and lowering the incentive of the Tome of the Reaper as the game would like players to purchase it only when countering champions with high HP regeneration and instead of purchasing for its sheer base stat value.
Bow of Slaughter
|Base Stats||+90 Attack Damage +15% Crit Chance +10% Lifesteal||+150 Attack Damage +15% Crit Chance +15% Lifesteal|
|Active||Upon activation, the user will gain 90% lifesteal for three seconds but can only be used by ranged heroes. Has a 60 second cooldown.||unchanged|
The most controversial change of the test server items- the Bow of Slaughter. The item’s active ability has allowed ADCs to have increased sustainability and can get out of tight situations easily with the click of a button, lifestealing back all the health their attacker took from them and maybe even their attacker. Many players have been displeased with this item due to its ability to make the ADC role extremely forgiving to play and how it lessens the importance of learning how to position for the ADC role. Therefore, the community in general wants this item to be nerfed.
However if we look at the changes in its base stats, the changes are in contrary to that of the community’s wants as the amount of Attack Damage it provides sky rockets by 60 and into 150, becoming the item with the second most attack damage in the game. The addition of an extra 5% lifesteal is also to contribute to the buff of this item. With this tremendous buff to attack damage and its slightly increased lifesteal the changes to its base stats are certainly a buff. With high attack damage, decent lifesteal and crit chance, this item becomes exponentially more beneficial to marksmen if it wasn’t good enough in the first place. Do note that it could potentially be an assassins’ item as well as the base stats are just too good that the negative that is not being able to utilize its passive could be fully negated.
The Bow of Slaughter is often purchased as the third item after boots of the ADC’s choice and Claves Sancti. By matching the increased pricing of the Blade of Slaughter with its trend of being a middle-late item, we can see that the game wants to push back the stage of the game where ADCs can carry as it costs a hefty 2800 instead of its original 2300, becoming the second most expensive item in the game. As the Blade of Slaughter is often bought as a third item with only Claves Sancti and boots proceeding it, once ADCs finally get to this item they will only have crit, damage and lifesteal. Taking the price of tank items into consideration- which is usually 2000 gold give or take, by the time the enemy marksmen has purchased their Claves Sancti and Bow of Slaughter combo, tanks may already have bought multiple defensive items that provide armor. And without armor piercing items such as Muramasa, Spear of Longinus or Rankbreaker to use, ADCs may struggle to deal damage onto the tanks. Thus allowing tanks and warriors to have a longer period of strength within the game which means more time to suppress the growth of enemy marksmen. However, if ADCs try to play around this and purchase armor pierce items first, they will no longer have the sustainability provided by the Bow of Slaughter in the midgame, causing them to become more vulnerable to assassins during the this time period which means more time for assassins to suppress marksmen’s growth.
The increase in pricing allows more opportunities for assassins and tanks to shut them down before they get to their late game. However, with increased opportunities comes increased risk because if a team isn’t able to shut down the enemy marksman early on and heavily suppress their growth, the marksmen’s dominance in the lategame will become stronger than ever with those disgustingly overpowered base stats from the Bow of Slaughter and their lategame armor pierce item of choice. Not even 5 tanks can stand in the way of an ADCs lategame if these changes come to the official servers.
|Base Stats||+100 Attack Damage +600 Maximum HP||+70 Attack Damage +15% Attack Speed +180 Magic Resistance|
|Passive||When the user’s HP falls below 40%, they will be granted +200 magic defense and a shield that can absorb 500(+100 per level) of magic damage for 5 seconds. The passive has a 75 second cooldown.||When the user’s HP falls below 40%, they will receive 15 points of tenacity and 20% movespeed and a shield that can absorb 500(+100 per level) of magic damage for 5 seconds. The passive has a 75 second cooldown.|
From the current base stats of this item, we can see that it provides tankiness and attack damage from its passive, we can see that it provides magic resistance 200 magic resistance and a shield when its passive is procced. Thus we can see that it currently is, in fact, a warriors item as it mainly provides magic resistance and tankiness in hopes that warriors will keep holding their ground as the item’s passive is triggered, allowing them to soak up the magic damage and charge forwards to defeat their magic using attacker with their newly gained magic resistance and shield.
Why is it under the category of ADC item?
If we look at the changes, we can see that it has newly added attack speed and magic resistance. Without a doubt increased attack speed benefits ADCs. On the other hand, the addition of base magic resistance instead of maximum HP encourages magic resistance rather than tankiness so that when ADCs equip this item they still retain an extremely fragile health bar instead of being tanky, upholding most of their characteristics as an ADC.
Moreover, from its passive changes, we can see that the audience it is aiming for is no longer warriors as it no longer grants magic resistance but movespeed and tenacity, encouraging its wearers to run away from their magic-wielding attacker instead of charing head on towards them while soaking up the damage. However, this “running away” perfectly matches the marksman must-learn skill that is kiting.
Therefore, from analyzing the changes in Uriel’s Brand’s base stats and passives, it is predicted that it will become an ADC item as they gain the most benefit from its changes. However, why is there a need for this item?
To answer this question we have to identify the magic wielders that pose a threat to an ADCs existence. With a basic understanding of the current meta, these threats are easily identified as the two S tier mage-assassins in the game- Keera and Paine. As they have over the top bursts of magic damage and incredible mobility, it is difficult for a marksman to make it our alive under the attack of these two mage assassins, therefore they have a demand for the shield, movespeed and tenacity from Uriel’s Brand’s passive and the magic resistance from its base stats. Thus the changes in Uriel’s Brand is an effective counter item to these meta dominating mage-assassin junglers.
Some ADC players who have a good understanding of the variations in an ADC’s itemization may find the demand of Uriel’s Brand odd as there is already a method for ADCs to equip themselves against these mage-assassins- the Medallion of Troy. Though that is a way to counter it, the game does not like ADCs buying tank items and likes to hold items exclusive to their certain roles as seen in how they attempt to make the Amulet of Longevity a tank-exclusive item. Therefore the game offers increased attack speed and a little damage as an extra incentive for ADCs to go for Uriel’s Brand instead of the Medallion of Troy as most ADCs would favour having more attack speed and attack damage over more maximum HP.
Summing up the item changes in Arena of Valor test server – August 2020
There are a few major takeaways and predictions that can be observed from the changes to items within the test server.
In terms of roles
- Developers are paying more attention to the tank role with their buffs to Rock Shield and the Amulet of Longevity.
- Developers want ADCs to be more fitting to their role’s characteristics by pushing back their late-game by increasing the price of both ADC items mentioned and making ADCs more squishy as they provide a magic resistance option that doesn’t give them more HP.
In terms of hero countering
- Sinestrea and Dexetera’s dominance over the meta is foreshadowed as they buff the Curse of Death and give only minor nerfs to the Tome of the Reaper, keeping both anti regeneration items viable within the meta so to give a choice of itemization against these two heroes with HP regen and a slither of hope in countering them.
- Developers have already noticed the brokenness of Paine and Keera and should already be taking action in countering their ability to one-shot squishes without any time for counter play through better magic resistance items for ADCs.
- The developers want role segregation in terms of items as they make tank items appeal to tanks more and ADC items appeal to ADCs more so there will be no cross usage of items of other roles e.g. Capheny with Medallion of Troy.
Learning to predict the meta through patches is an important skill to play well within the meta of any MOBA. However many people only care about reading the changes in champion stats as they think that is all that matters. Though hero buffs, nerfs and adjustments can say many things about the trend of the meta, the changes in items are still extremely important and many predictions can be derived from it.
As a final note, do remember that the test server changes are not necessarily the final changes that will be coming to the official servers. So, do not look to this article as an item guide as it is more of an interpretation of the trend of Arena of Valor meta through the direction of the changes in items in the test server as the two usually align. Good luck on your meta predictions!
What is your opinion on the August 2020 item changes in the test server of Arena of Valor? Let us know in the comment section below!