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I've been playing for about a year and a half now and some of my friends would rather not buy potions saying "it's a waste of money and time".

Well, I disagree with this thinking since you can remake all the gold spent in about 2 minions. My logic is that I would rather spend 70 gold of health pots to stay in lane to farm rather than to recall. I've tried showing my friends on how Health Potions can really become a factor on why you win the lane or not. Is there any truth to my intuition, or are my miserly friends right?

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The only way to prove this is to have them watch Pro replays. A very large number of pros will be taking boots +3pot pretty much every game. Point out that nothing else fits in the leftover gold after boots during match start, so you take pots. –  Lawton Jul 5 '12 at 12:59
    
Also, this video of 13 pot mordekaiser, by dyrus, might be convincing. youtube.com/watch?v=R_-7JrHemY0 Note that Dyrus has 30 more CS than his opponent, plus a kill, at the cost of 450 gold. Worth it. –  Lawton Jul 5 '12 at 13:03
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15 Answers 15

Considering the item options you can get at the start of the game, health pots really aren't a bad choice. Depending on what kind of lane you're going to play, champions often choose if they want boots or a bigger item first. If you go boots, you have that extra gold to spend. Why not spend it in a constructive and inexpensive way such as health pots?

Health pots are particularly effective for junglers. It gives that extra health boost they need in order to clear more camps before going back and buying.

The benefit is definitely worth the cost.

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I would agree with this, however my friend would rather not and he blames that the other people are just too good. I've tried telling him this, but it just hasn't been working. He's pretty stubborn. –  Redeem Mar 25 '12 at 19:06
    
Haha, yes. I play a lot of leblanc, though. while the health pots and boots would be nice early on, I just have to buy that doran's ring. The mana regen gets me every time! –  Bunny Mar 26 '12 at 14:23
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Absolutely not - think of it this way, if the health pot allows you to get 2 additional creep kills, it already pays for itself. If you get 3+ creeps, then you're already making a profit.

Health pots are good until a certain point. After awhile, the amount of health you gain is too minimal to be worth the constant purchase. I'd say as long as you're staying in your lane farming, you should continue to buy a pot or two to lengthen your lane sustain.

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+1 for putting it in terms of CS. If 1 potion lets you farm one more wave, it's more than paid for itself. –  Toast Apr 10 '12 at 19:06
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I agree with you 100%. Early game, health potions can be the difference between life and death. I find myself using health potions liberally early game because it allows me to be a bit more aggressive without compromising the length of time I can sustain the lane (Sustaining the lane is the ultimate goal, so whatever helps you achieve that is beneficial).

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The value of health potions largely depends on the champion and their opponent(s) in lane. In general, potions are good when your enemies poke you a lot, but less effective when they do significant damage (1/3+ of your health at a time).

It's common for AD carries (Vayne, Caitlyn, Ashe, etc.) to start with level 1 boots and 3 health potions. This gives them the mobility to poke, and the ability to recover from enemy pokes.

However, it's more common for AP carries (Brand, Annie, etc) to start with a Doran's Ring. They rely more on mana to sustain, but it's not uncommon to start boots/potions. As levels progress, potions quickly lose their effectiveness because of the amount of damage AP carries are capable of.

Potions are less useful if you're up against an enemy that has a healing debuff, like Miss Fortune's Impure Shots.

Champions with health regen, like Fiddlesticks or Garen, have less use for health potions.

As inventory space becomes more limited, potions are usually discarded. By this point in the game, the amount they heal is greatly diminished as well.


tl;dr: Potions are useful early game and fall off late game. They are best on champions that trade damage, instead of ones that nuke. Certain champions can counter the effectiveness of potions, and some champions have alternate healing that makes potions a bad investment.

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With Season 3 changes, boots+3 pots is no longer the de-facto start for AD carries. It's still viable, but other options also exist. –  Toast Mar 4 '13 at 23:07
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Base Status on League of Legends

  • The large health pool is from Gankplank with 495
  • The minor health pool is from Lux 345

One health potion restores 150 health over 15 seconds.

With your start gold(475 gold) you can buy: (This is the usual item brought in the start)

There are others starter items and others combinations even using mana potion for 475 gold, but let's focus on the health potion.

The health potion give to you more sustainability on the lane.

If you got early damage from minions, turret or champions, you can use one potion and depending on your health pool, get almost 50% of your health back.

If you don't brought the health potion you need stay far behind to not lose xp, and you will probably lose score creep (last hit on minions), or even need to recall, losing xp and gold, staying low level in comparison with the opponent in your lane.

35gold can give you the opportunity to get a first blood. or stay in lane for difference or Creep score, while your partner recall for some reason. So it is really worth. Even in the end of the early game where you are at level 6 or 8 (support in particular), is good have 2 or 3 pots on your in.

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It depends if your champion has sustain. For example, Olaf and Warwick both can get health back through their lifesteal. However, a top laner like Riven has a shield and stun which might be a situation where no health pots are needed. However say AP mid Annie might want to go boots and 3 health pots because that would allow her to trade blows, and then with the health pots, come out on top.

No health pots makes you run the risk of losing CS (how many creeps you kill) which makes you get behind in gold and will allow the champion(s) laning against you to zone you out and crush you.

I am assuming since you are asking about health pots, you are new to the game which might mean you will be more risky and reckless, in which case I would support health pots for you.

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Actually I am not, if you saw my first sentence I've been playing LoL for about a year and a half now. Just asking since I'm trying to get my new friend to improve, and he just doesn't buy health pots and gives that excuse mentioned. –  Redeem Mar 24 '12 at 22:24
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Early game, a health potion can recover about a half life bar, and can mean the difference of staying in lane or not if you are taking too much harass. If you want to show your friends the difference it can create, play them 1v1 assuming your skill levels are similar. Harass them a lot in lane, and because of the pots you will win the trades, even if they take something like Doran's Blade. When they are forced back, push the lane to tower and go back. You'll quickly get ahead of them in levels and CS, which is significant for the laning phase of the game.

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I've already tried this method that you have suggested and it hasn't been going so well. He blames the champions I'm playing and just gives no response in a mirror match. You can consider him quite ignorant. –  Redeem Mar 24 '12 at 22:28
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They do fall off a bit lategame, but as the others have said, if you have the choice of "wasting" 70 or so gold on a potion or giving the enemy 300+ gold for a kill, well... I think the choice is obvious.

Trust me, I've lived with less than 10% health more times than I can count thanks to those red sodas.

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I agree with this since that's how I've been saved from a close ignite and staying in lane to farm. –  Redeem Mar 24 '12 at 22:26
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For MOST heroes, health pots are great early game. Even if you have a character with some sort of life steal, the health pots still give you a sustain advantage. Considering each pot costs roughly 2 minion kills, I usually keep them in my inventory until mid game / once team fights start. I never feel like buying pots is slowing my ability to get better items later. in fact its usually quite the opposite.
Out laning your partner is good, but one thing to keep in mind, is that usually when your opponent (in lane) goes back to base, although you are free farming while they are gone, they will be back stronger with better items. Deciding whether to increase your advantage in CS (staying in lane) or whether to go home to get items of your own is an important decision, not to be made lightly. If they will come back and have a significant item advantage, this 30 seconds of free farm, could be outweighed by an item of your own, to ensure your continued dominance of said opponent.

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Health potions are always good if you have leftover money (<100) you dont need immediately (maybe you are "rushing" towards an special item).

They help to sustain in lane, especially if your character (and partner) doesnt have good healing capabilities or the enemy is doing a lot of harassment damage to you.

Its generally good to have some(1-3) with you so you can heal up faster after a (team) fight, or if you manage to handle it you can even pop them while fighting to survive a bit longer, which can (especially at early levels) make a big difference on who is winning the fight.

Its only a waste of money if you have to sell them because you dont have enough money to buy an item or it blocks your inventory space. What generally happens when you buy too much of them, but you get a hold of that by gaining more experience at playing the game.

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I have to agree with Bean, who is slightly against them, but I am most certainly for the use of them as a one time beginning game purchase.

As the game ramps up and levels are accumulated, the potions will certainly prove to be more of a waste of money as it will be taking you away from getting closer to the items you need to actually cause the enemy team some issues.

That said, however, I believe they would be very important on the opening face off. As people have said, the average of 50% life regen from them increases your time farming, which will pay off the potions and bring in profits to get the items you will start building. Survivability is also a factor: if you and the enemy have beaten each other to a pulp, and the enemy goes back to get health, you can pop a pot or two to regain health there while continuing to farm; you might even get a few first swings at the almighty turrets.

While the enemy was at base, what did he get? Nothing. No farm, he has to run back, and you have a mild advantage being ahead on the turret attacks. Only mild, but something is better than nothing!

The game is situational. Sometimes, a potion will be useless and wasteful early game. In a situation where, like Bean said, you're taking risks and possibly getting killed because of them, pots would be useless and wasteful... but if used correctly, they're amazing.

Basically, if you do it right, you do it right. If it helps you play better, last longer, and notice a benefit early on, then go for it.

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I have only been playing for about 2 months and I am already better than my friends that have been playing for about 2 years or so, and they go with the Boots x3 Pot start instead of the Boots x4 Pot start. I told them that since the boots were lowered you can get the extra Pot but they said they would rather "Save the extra gold." They don't understand my reasoning in the extra sustain you get from the 4th pot and it basically pays for itself with a few minion kills. There is nothing wrong with starting Boots and Pots but getting other items is even more viable. I told them that if you get the 3 Pots you might as well get a 4th one... You have to make the most of the starting gold.

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They help you sustain in lane more if you are a squishy champion but they are not as good late game.

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Please be more substantive in your answer. As of now this answer does little to contribute to answering the question other than repeat what other answers have already mentioned –  Private Pansy Mar 26 '12 at 10:56
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It's not a waste of money. It's really good for more lane sustain.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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I agree with your friends. If you don't play aggressive then you won't need potions. Usually potion buyers will tend to play more aggressively so they won't waste their investment. If you can harass them better than they harass you, it is simple to see how they will end up wasting a lot of money just keeping up with you. If you cannot, it is often easy to sit back and CS, knowing that they will eventually take a calculated risk and take more damage than needed, wasting their money. Obviously these cases don't always happen, but as a person who never has purchased a potion, it is what I have noticed.

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-1 You say you have never purchased a potion and still claim to understand whether they have value? Most pro AD carries play very defensively, and still take boots 3pot at game start. –  Lawton Jul 5 '12 at 13:01
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