Burn items are a rare sight to see in most League of Legends matches. Unless you have a champion with a Damage Over Time (DoT) kit like Malzahar, Zyra, or Karthus, chances are you won’t be as inclined to use them. It also depends on the matchup at times. You probably wouldn’t take burn items against a bruiser like Mordekaiser because he could just shrug it off as if nothing happened. But in circumstances where they are useful, they can be a nuisance to counter.
The best burn items you will find in the item shop are undoubtedly Demonic Embrace, Liandry’s Anguish, and Sunfire Aegis. These will ticker down your enemy’s health without them even noticing.
Other burn items that are quite formidable to go up against are Imperial Mandate, Bami’s Cinder, and Frostfire Gauntlet. Corrupting Potion is also a great burn item used in the early game to get that edge over your lane opponent.
Once you get these items, it is mostly just about poking your opponent with abilities and watching them scurry around to dodge them. Before they realize they are already under the all-in threshold, you should go in, and sweep up a kill for yourself. So if you are interested in taking up some DoT strategies, read ahead to understand how they work.
Sunfire Aegis might be the most talked about item in the game right now. With it being built on multiple champion types including assassins and bruisers, there is definitely talk about it being overpowered. But what makes it overpowered is the amount of sustain you receive in addition to its Immolate passive.
The Immolate passive is activated when you receive or deal damage. A fiery aura surrounds your champion, dealing 12-30 (+1% bonus health) magic damage per second to nearby enemies for 3 seconds. If you damage enemy champions or objective monsters (e.g drakes or rift herald), you receive an additional stack of Immolate. You can have up to 6 stacks, and each stack increases 10% damage for 5 seconds.
That is not all when it comes to Sunfire Aegis though. In synergy with the Immolate passive, Sunfire Aegis also grants you a Flametouch passive. This allows you to deal per second Immolate damage through your basic attacks for 3 seconds. Flametouch is automatically activated when you have the maximum (6) Immolate stacks. So all you need to do is reach maximum stacks and just railroad anyone who gets in your way.
Sion, Ornn, Amumu, Nautilus, and Shen benefit the most from this item. Their tankiness combined with the passive damage from Sunfire Aegis makes them into undying meatshields.
Although tanks benefit greatly from this item, other champions like Akali and Diana have also been finding great success with this item. This is also due to its mythic passive that grants you 5% tenacity and slow resist, and 50 health for each legendary item you have. You can check it out yourself and see if it fits your playstyle.
The first item that comes to mind when facing annoying, mobile champions is the Frostfire Gauntlet. If you are facing a Vayne or Quinn top as a juggernaut/ tank, chances are you won’t be able to catch them without this item. It provides you a good amount of health and other defensive stats, plus some additional ability haste to get your abilities off more times in a trade.
Frostfire Gauntlet has one of the same passives as Sunfire Aegis, Immolate. Immolate activates as soon as you receive or deal damage, creating an aura that deals magic damage to those around you. This effect is 150% more effective against monsters and stays for 3 seconds (if not reactivated again).
The other passive your champion receives through Frostfire Gauntlet is Snowbind. Every time you attack a target, it will create a slow zone around them. The zone slows everything that moves through it, slowing melee champs by 25% while it slows ranged attackers by 12.5%. The slow zone lingers for 1.5 seconds unless reactivated, and deals bonus magic damage to everything that passes through it. The slow effect can be increased based on champion max health.
Although Sunfire Aegis has gained popularity, Frostfire Gauntlet has been the go-to item for tanks for many years. This is because it helps slow down your target while you auto-attack them to death. Champions that benefit the most from this item are Urgot, Poppy, Dr. Mundo, Shen, and Tahm Kench.
Demonic Embrace is your favorite 2nd item if your main is either Malzahar or Swain. The Prophet of the Void and Noxian Grand General will without fail build this as their second item majorly because of the slow burn it provides. It is even better if you are up against champs with high max health as it does scaling damage.
Demonic Embrace gives you a base increase of +60 ability power and +450 health. The important factor is it’s passive. The first passive, Azakana Gaze, deals ability damage to the target through the DoT burn. This damage is 1.8% for melee and 1% for ranged users max health damage for 4 seconds. This means the higher their health is, the more burn damage they will suffer.
The second passive is also good, but not as crucial. The Dark Pact grants the wielder 2% of their max health as ability power. This can be a great surge of ability power for Swain especially.
If you want to use demonic embrace, ability poke mages would be your best bet. Through long-range abilities, you can easily drain the enemies’ health bar while they stand there, trying to dodge your attacks. Champions like AP Miss Fortune, Swain, Malzahar, Amumu, and Aurelion Sol have the greatest usage for this item and can definitely change the pace of the game.
Our 3rd mythic on the list, Liandry’s Anguish, has been a mage-favorite ever since its release. The passive DoT is insane in most cases as you can chip off a few percent of the enemy’s health bar every time your abilities come off cooldown. Paired with Demonic Embrace, it can become a laner’s worst nightmare.
Liandry’s Anguish gives you a base increase of +80 AP, 600 additional mana, and +20 ability haste. These not only help in dealing more damage and consistently procing your item passives, but the additional mana also helps in sustaining yourself in the lane. Otherwise, you might need to keep visiting the base to refill your mana bar.
The first passive, Agony, allows the user to deal up to 12% bonus magic damage to champions based on their bonus health. This is capped at 1250 bonus health. The second passive, Torment, causes targets to burn for 12.5 (+1% AP) (+1% max health) magic damage whenever they are hit by damaging abilities. This passive stays on for 4 seconds meaning, if used repeatedly, can get your enemy laner’s health bar within one-shot range.
Liandry’s is a great mythic to have for any mage, even burst ones in some scenarios. But the champions that benefit the most from the additional base stats and passives are Karthus, AP Miss Fortune, AP Ashe, Teemo, Morgana, and Ziggs. Their abilities have a large hit radius’ and short cooldowns, meaning they can consistently activate Liandry’s passive.
The mythic passive helps with that as it provides +5% ability haste for each legendary item.
The only tier 2 item on our list today is Bami’s Cinder. Now, we talked about the Immolate passive both Sunfire Aegis and Frostfire Gauntlet have. That passive actually originates from Bami’s Cinder. But since it is not necessary that you upgrade Bami’s Cinder into either of the two, we are considering it as a separate item.
Bami’s Cinder provides the user with 300 additional health. Other than that, it also has the Immolate passive. The Immolate passive activates as soon as damage is done or taken by the user and creates a damaging field around them. This damaging field deals magic damage to the enemy or neutral units around it, for 3 seconds.
There is nothing too special about this item considering it is a tier 2 item and bought to be upgraded. The 3rd path for upgrading Bami’s Cinder is the Turbo Chemtank. But in that path, the Immolate passive is turned into Refuel, unlike the other two mythic items.
There are no best champions for Bami’s Cinder other than those that use Frostfire Gauntlet, Sunfire Aegis, or Turbo Chemtank. Buying it otherwise would be a waste of gold as you will have to sell it off as the game progresses.
Imperial Mandate is the only support mythic we have on our list today. The best way to slow down your enemy’s progression is Imperial Mandate. It provides users with +40 AP, +200 health, +20 ability haste, and +100% base mana regen. As you can see, the item is centered around more sustainability and base mana regen besides outright mana or extra AP.
Imperial Mandate’s passive, Corrupting Fire, is activated only on abilities that slow or immobilize enemy champions. Hence, poke abilities like Swain’s Q will not proc this item’s passive. Immobilizing or slowing abilities deal 45-75 bonus magic damage and mark the target for 4 seconds. Allies can detonate this mark to deal additional magic damage and gain a movement speed boost for 2 seconds.
As the passive is built around the damage of 2 champions, supports are recommended to buy this item. Nami, support Maokai, Renata Glasc, and Janna benefit the most from this item.
The last item on this list is probably the most used out of all. Bought as a starting item, Corrupting Potion is a great option to have in your pocket if you take short trades throughout the game. It has 3 charges and refreshes every time you visit the shop.
When activated/ consumed, it restores 100 health and 75 mana over 12 seconds. During this time, if you attack using basic attacks or abilities, the target is burned for 15 magic damage over 3 seconds. The effect is reduced to 50% when triggered by area of effect abilities.
Now, this might not seem like a lot of damage but when you are constantly dealing these small chunks of damage, you will see a difference in your health bar as compared to your opponent’s.
The best champions to buy Corrupting Potion on are those that struggle with mana throughout the lane. Since this gives you sustain while trading, you will also want to trade favorably when your Corrupting Potion is active. Champions like Tahm Kench, Cassiopea, Illaoi, Malphite, and Nasus gain the greatest benefit out of this item. Most of them are top laners and only need to worry about their opponent laners, so Corrupting Potion increases in usefulness.
Burn items are definitely fun to play with. They can irritate your enemies by making them have to recall every few minutes to regain health. If you are looking to play a DoT strategy, make sure your champions kit synergizes well with it. A combination of the DoT kit plus a few of these items can make your opponents think twice about coming anywhere near you.
Check out this list of the most gold efficient items in League of Legends.