I'm trying to choose my own items instead of just following a guide, but keep struggling with understanding when to use Blood Thirster or Blade of the Ruined King (or vice versa) on Marksmen champions. Since they are ranged, at least Ravenous Hydra is not an option (though, it would be great if answers included how to pick between all 3 for melee ADCs).

I tend to go for BotRK on champs with on-hit stacking effects like Varus, Twitch etc. and lean towards BT for those with good AS steroid like Jinx. For Lucian I was going BotRK as it synergizes with his ult, then I see a guide and its recommending BT (then I realized, its probably to get higher damage for his passive double AAs?)

I am not looking for a list of recommendations on what to build for each champion - rather, hoping to get explanations on what kind of thought process to use when itemizing. e.g. I've heard Vayne has different builds where you choose one or the other depending on skill order.

  • 2
    gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/100092/… its old but...
    – Brian
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 23:05
  • 1
    @Brian: Wow I read that few weeks back and forgot all about it :). Its really similar, but seems to focus more on 'get BotRK for tanks' whereas I believe champion kits should factor into the decision as well and hoping to figure out how they correlate.
    – Alok
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 23:13
  • I really don't consider this question a duplicate.... with how many changes happen in LoL, asking the same question a year later is definitely relevant.
    – dphil
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 15:22
  • @NanoCarp Yeah I explained the nuances of why its different in the above comment, but at least 5 people disagreed. Less competition for upvotes for you, only Yuki can improve his answer ;)
    – Alok
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:50
  • I petition for the question to be re-opened. Firstly, the question that this is supposedly a duplicate of asks about the situation of the game, and does not take into account the champions using the items. Secondly, League of Legends is an ever evolving game, and major changes can happen in a single patch, so even if it were the same question, the answer may change within even less than a one year time period.
    – NanoCarp
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


I remember when this was a big question for me as well. The idea here, is to look at how the carry in question does their damage. Let me break it down a bit.

Ravenous Hydra

Firstly, you mentioned Ravenous Hydra. This is a no go. There are NO Melee ADCs, as part of the requirement to be an ADC is that they are ranged. I have tried to ADC with champions such as Gangplank, with poor results. So while Ravenous Hydra is an amazing item on Melee AD champions such as Talon, Riven, and Gangplank, we can't use it with ADC's.


Let's look at champions who deal major damage naturally, and have high AD Ratios. Some examples of champions like this are Caitlyn and Lucian. Either is viable in this case, but the large damage increase from a Bloodthirster is usually much more effective. Champions that scale well with AD benefit more from both the +70 AD Base stat, as well as the stacking passive that allows for up to an additional +30 AD. This leaves you with a potential +100 AD from a single item. This grants your champion both 100 damage on basic attacks, but also those 100 points of AD with which to make their abilities stronger.

Lucian's Piercing Light Q, for example, scales with at minimum 60% of his bonus AD at rank one, and 120% at rank five. That's between 60 and 120 extra damage on the ability from one single item. As well, his Ardent Blaze W scales with 60% of his bonus AD, granting that ability an additional In order to qualify as scaling well with AD, a champion should have at least a 50% AD or 60% Bonus AD Ratio on 2 abilities.

Basically, if the champion gets a high impact out of AD statistic, beyond the basic attacks, you want Bloodthirster for sure. These champions tend to be the ones that you don't just basic attack the enemies to death with. They make up for the lower attack speed, by having high impact abilities as well. Adding a supplemental Blade of the Ruined King, though, is not a bad idea if you have the inventory space for one, or if the situation calls for one.

Blade of the Ruined King

Champions that are about putting as many rounds down range as fast as possible, and champions that don't scale well, or at all, with AD will prefer the Blade of Ruined King. Some big examples are Vayne, Kog'maw, and Twitch. These champs like to get as close to that 2.5 attack speed cap as possible, so every item should help achieve that goal. Blade of the Ruined King, focuses on that with a buff of +40% attack speed, and the +25 AD, plus the passive, makes sure that your basic attacks still in fact hurt.

Champions that are focused simply on putting rounds downrange, usually apply some sort of de-buff on hit. Examples such as Vayne's Silver Bolts W and Twitch's Deadly Venom passive. These champions care less about the damage that each shot does, and more about getting that de-buff on the enemy and triggering it. Another case is a champion such as Kog'Maw, who's Bio-Arcane Barrage W deals a percentage of the enemy's health per basic attack. This synergies very well with Blade of the Ruined King's passive, which deals a percentage of the enemy's health in physical damage, in addition to the extra attack speed.

Lastly, there's the champions who just don't have good AD ratios. These champs generally focus on a sort of hybrid build between attack speed and damage, which again, the Blade of the Ruined King's +40% Attack Speed and +25 Attack Damage lends itself nicely to. These champions include champions like Tristana (Who has all AP ratios) and Quinn.

Then there's the situational buys. When the enemy team has a lot of beefy champions with a lot of Health, it's time to consider adding a Blade of the Ruined King to your build, even if you aren't using a champion that falls into one of these categories. That passive which takes 5% of the target's current health and turns it into bonus physical damage really helps against those beefy opponents. And for those times when you need that extra edge to get away from the guy you can't kill, it's active allows you to steal 30% of the target's move speed, and 15% of their maximum health.

Pro tip: Don't use a BotRK to deal with an opposing Dr. Mundo, as he'll just heal the damage right back. Instead, consider an Executioner's Calling.

  • Great answer, thanks - this is what I was looking for, how to reason the build based on champion abilities :). Glad it went through before the question was locked! Oh, and by melee ADC I was referring to any champion like Renekton, Irelia etc. not just bot lane carry.
    – Alok
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 21:34

Bloodthirster is stronger on carries with good AD scaling, such as Caitlyn or Graves. For carries with little to no AD scaling, such as Tristana, Blade of the Ruined King is a far superior choice.

Essentially, you want to look at what's important to your champion: straight damage or attack speed. Carries that boast a high attack speed such as Tristana and Kog'Maw synergize incredibly well with Blade of the Ruined King while carries with heavy reliance on their abilities benefit from the added AD gained from Bloodthirster.

Additionally, you'll want to take your enemies' team composition into account. Do they have a lot of tanky champions? You'll want BotRK since the passive helps you deal with high health champions. Are they just a bunch of squishies going for burst damage? Bloodthirster not only will help you kill them faster but keep you alive with life steal, also allowing you to quickly recover from multiple engages.

  • Wait, so BotRK is the better choice for champs with AS steroid like Trist? Wouldn't I just end up bumping into max AS limit in such a case?
    – Alok
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 23:16
  • Yes, if you stack AS items. However, for champions with AS steroids like Tristana, typically BotRK and maybe one AS item (preferably Phantom Dancers or Static Shiv) is all you need when it comes to attack speed.
    – Yuuki
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 23:16
  • @Alok Max AS is surprisingly hard to hit if you're not building purely to reach it. You can let go of PD or SS if you build a BotRK. The reason BotRK is so good with them is the on-hit damage; that scales incredibly well with AD when the champions themselves don't.
    – Schism
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 3:32

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