For this I will use Vayne as an example as I am playing her a lot recently, but the question I think it does apply to any ad/ap carries or even assassins.
My first two major items are offensive items (
Phantom Dancer or
The third item could be either another offensive one (
Bloodthirster) or a defensive one (mostly
Lets say that by the time I have to make the choice we are (partially) out of the laning phase and skirmishes are happening over the map with full 5v5 teamfights soon to come.
If I am behind then I choose based on whether or not I am being focused in teamfights and the ability of my team to protect me. If I am ahead and my whole team is ahead then I chose damage, as there is little risk involved.
My question is what to do when I am ahead but my team is behind (I am fed, but most of the kills in my team are mine and the enemy team has 2-3 fed champions).
- As I am the only one at this state of the game that does real damage in my team I could choose damage, as it will scale exponentially with what I already have. This way I think we stand a chance of winning if I manage to deal my damage but any little mistake (getting caught, being focused etc) will pretty much cost us the game since if I die my team loses any advantage or leverage it had.
- If I choose a defensive item I can survive a little longer to deal my damage, I can take bolder risks, I can escape some situations where I would have been otherwise dead. However I feel like I won't have enough damage. Also if I get caught most of the time won't matter what defensive items I have, I am dead anyway.
So what is the smart choice here? Should I risk it all and get more damage and hope I kill them before they kill me, or play safe and hope we can last longer and win (maybe they throw, maybe we get a few lucky kills/objectives)?
Please note that is only about the 3rd item choice, not about if I should go glass cannon all the way. Even if I choose damage, there will be be eventually a defensive item (maybe the next item, maybe the last).
Also the question I have is about the route: offensive or defensive, not which items specifically. Once I made my choice, I know what items to take depending on the game.
If it matters, I am Silver.