League of Legends Tip of the Day: Doran's Shield on ADCs?!

by James Bates

Ezreal 9
(Photo: Riot Games)

It's easy to loose track of small changes in the huge novel that is the 7.9 patch notes. Compared to the huge champion reworks, the newly introduced items, and the sweeping changes to the Rift Herald, the changes to Doran's Shield probably barely registered as background noise. After all, the item has been practically useless for years now except for a handful of champions that lack mana. Even the tanks that it was intended for tend to stick to Doran's Ring, so of course it's not worthy paying attention to, right? Well, no. As it turns out, the new Doran's Shield is absolutely amazing, and while it might not be replacing Doran's Ring on the mana-hungry tanks any time in the near future, there is one big place where it will likely see usage: the bottom lane.

I know what you're thinking. Why would a support get a Doran's Shield as their starting item when they could instead pick up a gold generation item? Well, I'm right there with you and agree that would be a terrible choice, which is why I'm not talking about supports buying the item, I'm talking about ADCs buying it.

Yes. You read that right. AD carries with Doran's Shield.

Frankly, it's pretty easy to understand why when you compare it to the other starting item sets that ADCs have access to. While I don't predict that Doran's Blade users will be switching over outside of incredibly harass-heavy lanes, the comparison between Doran's Shield and Long Sword+Three Potions actually comes out pretty favorably for the Shield. While you do miss out on the ten attack damage that Long Sword brings to the table, you do get five of it back from the on-hit proc on Doran's Shield, so for many champions there will be little difference. In exchange, you get fantastic damage mitigation and health regeneration, and the ability to still bring a pair of health potions to the lane. That's a hell of a deal, and there's most certainly a class of champion that will be thrilled to use Doran's Shield to survive early laning without issue.

In fact, the power of the new Doran's Shield may be so great that it warps the bottom lane metagame around itself slightly. Why bother playing Caitlyn when Tristana brings the same late-game power and Doran's Shield makes it so that she doesn't need to sacrifice her early game to do so? For that matter, what about Kog'Maw? Will Ezreal still be kept in his place by Lucian or Caitlyn when he's able to easily invest in such a powerful sustain item? The next couple weeks are going to be interesting ones for that state of the ADC role, and it's all due to an item that I would never have imagined recommending to an ADC.

The TL;DR is this: Don't flame when you get an ADC that starts with the Doran's Shield. He's on to something.

By James Bates

A wanna-be novelist turned coach turned journalist, James is living proof that you never know where you'll end up. He's in love with narrative-heavy games, which he proves by spending his days writing about a game with less lore than Doom. His greatest regret in life is not having his name in the credits of Life is Strange, and it's galvanized him to truly pursue developing games that don't begin in packed taverns and use D20s.