I mainly play DotA, but a number of my friends play league and at this moment I abhor DotA's meta/balancing. As I did when I started learning DotA, I tend to use build guides (in this case, on a recommendation fro ma friend, champion.gg). Ever since I started, I've liked Kindred's playstyle. However, the builds never get a defensive item until 6th item. Comparatively, you tend to build a defensive item in DotA as a 3rd/4th item (usually an anti-spell or hp item). Important note, the site only shows completed builds, and as such any game where you wouldn't get 6 slotted doesn't show up.

League's fights, compared to DotA, end much much quicker. As such, I tend to feel like I'm missing a defensive item when I get instagibbed. Is it purely down to positioning/initiation, or should I be building things like maw/gage? For example, if I'm doing alright, but my opponent's ADC is starting to ball heavily (let's say they got a number of kills & good cs, and ganks aren't working), do I build something to slow down my death? Or just try to build more damage to kill her before she kills me?

  • There are two camps on this: 1. To build only damage items on carries and 2. To build/start building defensive when you're behind. If you're getting instagibbed, either your team or your positioning is terrible, or both.
    – Yuu
    Jan 22, 2019 at 5:58
  • I'm of the "play to your champion's strengths" camp. For example, I play a lot of shaco. If I'm getting stomped I do not buy defensive items, I buy even more damage in an attempt to be able to do my job, assassinate their DPS. Buying defensive items on a DPS/Assassin when far behind is like laying down in the grave the enemy has dug for you. Defensive items aren't effective on DPS so buying inefficient items when already behind is nonsense.
    – Shelby115
    Jan 23, 2019 at 13:53

2 Answers 2


Building defensive items is highly dependent on the game state and the champion you're playing so there's no hard and fast rule when it comes to when you should build defensive items. But let's help you with Kindred.

Kindred is an ADC, so they should be focusing on maximizing your damage. Kindred also has several tools to help keep them alive in teamfights. Their Q allows them to dance around the fight, improving their ability to dodge skillshots when used properly and their ultimate ability literally prevents them from dying. As a result, you shouldn't be building too many defensive items as Kindred or you won't be able to do damage, which is your primary role as an ADC.

But in the case that the enemy team is way ahead of you and you're getting steamrolled in teamfights, here's what you can consider:

  • Blade of the Ruined King - This should be part of your core build anyways as Kindred but it does provide you with a small amount of survivability from the lifesteal it provides along with the movement speed steal active that will allow you to keep distance from bruiser threats.
  • Guardian Angel - The premier defensive item for ADC, Guardian Angel gives you a little bit of armor and a unique resurrection passive while not completely halting your damage progression.
  • Bloodthirster - Perhaps the most offensive defense item on this list, Bloodthirster provides a lot of attack damage but it does also give you significant amounts of lifesteal to keep you alive as well as an overshield to protect you from pokes and the opening moves of a teamfight.
  • Death's Dance - This item is very similar to Bloodthirster in that it gives a lot of damage and its defensive capabilities lie entirely in its lifestealing capabilities and its unique passive. Unlike Bloodthirster or Blade of the Ruined King, Death's Dance provides an omni-lifesteal, healing you for all damage dealt not just damage from basic attacks. This makes Death's Dance a more attractive option for champions who rely on abilities to deal the bulk of their damage such as Vayne (from her Silver Bolts). Kindred does appreciate this item because of their Mounting Dread (E), but unlike Vayne's Silver Bolts, Kindred often only procs Mounting Dread once per teamfight.
  • Black Cleaver - This is a very handy item for bruisers, as it gives them everything they want: health, cooldown reduction, some attack damage, and a movement speed boost as well as that very attractive armor shred passive. It can also be useful to ADCs though for the same reason. However, its meager 40 attack damage means that, like Guardian Angel, it should be avoided until you get enough damage from the other items in your build path.
  • Frozen Mallet - This item has the lowest attack damage on this list, which makes it incredibly situational. You should avoid building this item except in very specific situations. While it does very well in keeping alive with its 700 health and movement slow passive, you lose out on a lot of potential damage in return. You should really only consider this item when you're at least three or four items into your build and you are facing a team that has no gap-closing options (dashes, blinks, etc.).
  • Quicksilver Sash/Mercurial Scimitar - Another situational item, Quicksilver Sash (or QSS) is very useful when facing a champion with a fight-changing crowd control ability like Malzahar or Annie. When playing against these champions, you'll want to pick up QSS early. At 50 attack damage, 10% lifesteal, and 35 magic resist, however, the lion's share of Mercurial Scimitar's power and value is in the unique active that it inherits from QSS. So while you might want to pick up QSS early when it's situationally useful, avoid upgrading it until the rest of your build is complete.
  • This list is missing qss/mercurial scimitar. Jan 21, 2019 at 8:46
  • Iceborn Gauntlet is situationally okay as well. It's a pretty great item on Ezreal.
    – Mage Xy
    Jan 22, 2019 at 23:09
  • "you're getting steamrolled in teamfights, here's what you can consider" -> "Guardian Angel", I wouldn't recommend GA when super behind, it's more of a tip-the-scale sort of item. Whenever I see people buy this when they're being steamrolled they just die, revive, and die again with little effect to the enemy team other than delaying them killing you.
    – Shelby115
    Jan 23, 2019 at 13:49

Defensive items as a carry in League are very situational. Since there are a lot of skill shots, the general trend is to think that you should simply position correctly and avoid damage. There are some exceptions, and it's against those exceptions that you should pick up a defensive item in your third slot:

If you're playing against Syndra, Katarina, Le Blanc or any other heavy AP damage champion that will probably deal damage to you if you get close, build an hexdrinker third. As Kindred, since you have your ult to help you survive burst and are heavily attack speed based, it might be a good idea to pick up a Wit's End as an alternative counter to magic damage (it gives a lot of magic resist and the passive heals significantly when you're low HP, which you'll be when forced to use your ult.)

If you're playing against point and click CC you'll need to out play, or a lot of skill shot CC's, buy a QSS third. This let's you clean out of the CC and is often unexpected.

Unlike the most widespread narrative, if you're behind on a carry you should never build defensively, as you won't deal any damage and the defensive options aren't enough to counter the stats you lose from the level difference. Offensive stats are often not as reliant on levels and thus should be prioritized when you've fallen far behind. You'll just need to position better and wait out the enemy skills that can kill you.

If you're FAR AHEAD. As in, you're one-two levels ahead of the solo laners with an extra item, you should always make that item defensive. As you're already on pair with the curve in offensive items, an extra defensive item will make you unkillable, protecting your bounty and making it easier to snowball. Often when you're far ahead, killing you is the only way the enemy team can win, and thus countering their only chance to survive is the optimal move. Finishing a second item Guardian Angel while the enemy jungler has just finished his warrior enchantment makes the enemy team REALLY sad and lets you go for crazier plays to compeltely snowball the game.

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