League of Legends Tip of the Day: The Power of Haunting Guise
by James Bates
Item builds are one of the least static things in the game if you're a mid lane player, as what is and isn't an ideal build changes as the popular champions change. What might be good today might end up being tragically terrible tomorrow. A recent example would be Luden's Echo, which went from the instant second item on everyone from Orianna to Ahri to being completely replaced by Liandry's Torment almost entirely in the span of a couple weeks. Oftentimes such changes aren't even born from meta shifts at all, but instead originate from a single professional player finding results with a different build, one that analysts can break apart and justify as better than the existing meta, as in the Luden's Echo case.
Thus, it's continued to befuddle me as I look at both solo queue item build and the international stage how one of the most important trends at the end of the LCK season hasn't caught on across the world. As Korea's season came to a close, we started to see a new build emerge thanks, mostly, to the efforts of Samsung Galaxy's mid laner, Crown, who started to eschew the traditional Morellonomicon rush in favor of instead only finishing the Lost Chapter before transitioning into pure penetration in the form of Sorceror's Shoes and Haunting Guise. Now, while Sorc shoes are obviously quite popular amongst mid laners from Bronze up to Challenger, Haunting Guise hasn't caught on in nearly the same way.
So what are the advantages of this unorthodox build? Well if you're playing a champion with high base damages, like the Taliyah and Syndra that Crown was absolutely spamming at the end of the season, then this build give you just about the strongest mid game possible without much of a sacrifice. In most cases, you were already planning on picking up your shoes and Liandry's down the line, you're just shifting the order about a bit in order to accommodate this build. Now, there definitely are come competitive games where the tradeoff between the penetration's all-in power and the consistent strength of Morellonomicon isn't worth it, but I would argue that isn't the case in solo queue, where skirmishes tend to break out around the map nonstop after the ten minute mark, right when this build turns on. If you're playing Syndra, Taliyah, or even Orianna and you hit a non-tank champion with all of your spells with this build around the fifteen minute mark, there's no longer an enemy champion there. Your damage will have already utterly deleted them. That is the power of this penetration focused build.
So, for all of you roam heavy mid laners out there that like to play some of the mages that already itemize along the Morellonomicon into Liandry's route, try this build out. If you manage to make your way out of lane and start some fights with the enemy team, you definitely won't regret it. Do note, however, that Ahri doesn't benefit nearly as much from this build as the other mid laners at the moment do, so it's not recommended that you try it on her, since so much of her damage in the early game isn't even magic damage to begin with. On anyone else, though, this build will get you a ton more damage at just the point where you need it the most.