League of Legends is full of hundreds of items accumulated over the past 13 years. Many have come and gone, but Riot always seems to find new ways of innovating in the Item sphere.
The Itemization system has never been the same for long. Being fans of change, Riot always pushes for novelties and updates to their game. The Itemization system has gone through a few instances throughout these years, each bearing its own burdens.
Perhaps the most significant change of all was the Season 11 Itemization update. It changed so much of the already existing infrastructure while bringing in as much new stuff. This severely impacted the game and resulted in some substantial meta shifts.
These meta shifts naturally caused some Items to be extremely popular or near obsolete. We’ve gone over the most popular Items in League of Legends in a separate article that you should check out.
In this list, we’re doing the opposite. We’ll be overviewing and detailing the 10 least popular Items that have been obsoleted for one reason or another. These aren’t the worst Items by any means, and that will also be our point of discussion.
Things always are subject to change in a live environment, such as League’s, and Items are no exception.
So, with everything out of the way, let’s begin with our list!
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9. Archangel’s Staff
- Pick Rate: 0.1%
- Stats: +60 AP, +200 HP, +500 Mana
- Unique Passive – Awe: Grants ability haste equal to 0.5% bonus mana.
- Unique Passive – Mana Charge: Grants a charge every 8 seconds, up to 4 charges. Affecting an enemy or ally with an ability consumes a charge and grants 3 bonus mana, increased to 6 if it’s a champion, up to a maximum of 360 bonus mana.
This was likely the most disappointing discovery during my research. I love this Item, and it used to be so robust and efficient that I usually ranked it among the most powerful. The keyword there is used to, and let me explain what I mean.
Riot recently decided to update Archangel’s Staff, changing its Awe passive. Previously, it granted extra AP based on bonus Mana, and now it’s Ability Haste instead. Honestly, that completely bricked the Item and caused it to fall out of use.
Ability Haste is excellent, and the amount you can gain from this Item is insane. However, the AP it provided before was much more potent and valuable in a general sense. Champions like Kassadin could evaporate enemies in a single combo with Archangel’s. They can cast spells faster, but they won’t be much more robust.
This is a prime example of Riot’s poor handling of Item changes. They either make something blatantly OP or destroy its viability. It kinda reflects their approach to balance in general, and it’s something that really has to change ASAP. Let’s hope the community pressures them enough for that.
8. Relic Shield
- Pick Rate: 0.1%
- Stats: +5 AP, +30 HP, +25% Base HP Regeneration, +2 Gold per 10 Seconds
- Unique Passive – Spoils of War: Grants a charge every 35 seconds, up to 3 charges. Basic attacks can consume a charge to execute minions. Basic attacks execute minions below (50% / 30%) of their maximum health. Killing a minion by any means with a charge grants you and the nearest allied Champion kill gold. These effects require an allied champion to be nearby. Receive diminishing gold from excessive minion kills.
- Unique Passive – Quest: Earn 500 gold using this Item to upgrade to Targon’s Buckler, gaining the WARDING active with 3 wards in stock.
Since a few Support / Starter Items have a meager pick rate, I’ve decided only to include one. There’s a particular reason for my doing so – the declining rate of Tanks being played in League. I wanted to speak on the note, and thus we have this entry.
The insanely low pick rate of the usual Tank Support Starter Item shows us how poorly Tanks are doing in Season 12. After years of domination, the Tank Meta is finally coming to a close, and that’s not a good thing. Tank and Bruiser players have only had so much time to enjoy viability and Meta presence. Now, they have to resort to other, less fun options.
I think that Riot has severely been mistreating the Tank and Bruiser players. They are being forced to play Champions that fit the meta for no reason. The people should have maximum options available to them. If Riot wants to dictate what should and shouldn’t be played, they can just say so.
They artificially influence the Meta with changes and updates that force people out of specific roles and classes. This is not a good practice and will eventually result in a diminishing player count (and this has happened before). Mishandling the game causes frustration and anger among the player base.
If you want to have an angry player base that will eventually abandon the game altogether, then be my guest. Riot, if you’re reading this, get your act straight. Make the game available to all sorts of players, don’t gatekeep the Meta, and prevent people from just enjoying their preferred class and role.
7. Silvermere Dawn
- Pick Rate: 0.1%
- Stats: +40 AD, +300 HP, +35 Magic Resistance
- Unique Active – Quicksilver: Removes all crowd control debuffs (except Airborne) from your champion and grants 40% tenacity, 40% slow resist, and ghosting for 3 seconds (90-second cooldown).
Silvermere Dawn is an Item that I so rarely see that I was actually wondering if it even was a Summoner’s Rift Item. Honestly, this is the case with some of the others on the list, and that just speaks volumes on how poorly marketed they are. People are often unaware of the very existence of some of these Items that get quietly added to the game with no real purpose.
Silvermere Dawn is a peculiar example, however. It offers some quite nice stats and the QSS active. It is mind-boggling that absolutely no one is purchasing this Item. The other QSS Item – Mercurial Scimitar, is also on the list. This brings me to the conclusion that QSS as an effect has lost its popularity, which is difficult to believe since I am so used to ADCs buying it.
At any rate, the stats are there to show an accurate picture. QSS Items are unpopular and rarely purchased, despite being incredibly useful. We will actively track the popularity of these items due to their peculiarity and will update the list thus if any positive changes happen. It’s a shame that some good items fall under the radar due to poor popularity or Riot’s abrupt meta shifts.
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6. Abyssal Mask
- Pick Rate: 0.1%
- Stats: +10 Ability Haste, +450 HP, +30 Magic Resistance
- Unique Passive – Unmake: Enemy champions within 550 units (center-to-edge) of you become cursed, reducing their magic resistance by 5 (+ 1% bonus health), capped at a reduction of 20 magic resistance. Gain 7 bonus magic resistance per cursed enemy. Champions can only be afflicted by one curse at a time, prioritizing the most potent curse.
This was perhaps the most shocking discovery I’ve made while researching this article. As someone who’s been around League of Legends since 2012, I remember the viability, popularity, and presence of the Abyssal Scepter. The Abyssal Scepter was this Item’s previous iteration before being reworked a couple of Seasons ago.
It was an Item that worked on so many different Champions and builds that only made the discovery even more shocking. That only 0.1% of players purchase the Abyssal Mask is something that I never thought would be the case. However, this just goes to show how much impact Riot’s meta changes have had on particular Items.
Even though it might be popular and viable at one point, it can become utterly obsolete at another. The Abyssal Mask is not a bad item by any means. In fact, it’s one of the better anti-tank Items out there for Mages. The lack of extra AP or some other stats may have contributed to its loss of popularity since it used to have those attached.
Riot never really mastered the rework side of things. They always push for the extremes, changing stuff either towards total OP or obscurity. I hope they are learning from recent experiences, and it seems like they are. How that will sit with the big heads above remains to be seen. The community needs to increase its presence and strengthen its voice against such practices in the future.
5. Mercurial Scimitar
- Pick Rate: 0.3%
- Stats: +40 AD, +20% Critical Strike Chance, +30 Magic Resistance
- Unique Active – Quicksilver: Removes all crowd control debuffs (except Airborne) from your Champion and grants 50% bonus total movement speed and ghosting for 1 second (90-second cooldown).
This Item might come as a surprise to some, and it definitely is to me. There are scarcely any items in the game that might provide the player with as much utility as Scimitar. However, some aspects of the Item and the Meta itself have deterred players from picking it up. I believe there might be various factors involved here. I can’t pinpoint all of them precisely, but let me speak on some.
The overall shift into direct defense rather than having some situational and active Item has had a considerable impact on items of this kind. People would rather have some extra Armor, Magic Resist, and passive protections than something like QSS. It has also proven more efficient, with passive Items providing insane protection against all kinds of damage.
Off the top of my mind, I can name Immortal Shieldblow, Sterak’s Gage, and others. These Items provide enough protection, shielding, and even regeneration. To put it simply, situational and active protection isn’t a necessity anymore. How that will change in the future remains to be seen.
I would love to see a resurgence in the QSS items. But if the Meta continues on its way, I doubt that will happen.
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4. Anathema’s Chains
- Pick Rate: 0.4%
- Stats: +20 Ability Haste, +650 HP
- Unique Active – Vow: Designate the target enemy champion as your Nemesis and gain 1 stack of Vendetta every 2 seconds over 60 seconds, up to 30 stacks, resetting upon selecting a new Nemesis. Cannot be cast for 15 seconds while in combat with champions and having a Nemesis (90-second cooldown; Global range).
- Unique Passive – Vendetta: Take 1% reduced damage per stack of Vendetta from your Nemesis, up to 30% reduced damage.
- Unique Passive – Vengeance: At maximum stacks, your Nemesis has 20% reduced tenacity while they are within 700 units of you.
Here’s an Item that I thought was from ARAM or some other quirky game mode. Like seriously, I’ve never heard of this Item up until today while I was researching the article. It’s incredible how many Items just fly under the radar like this, even for people who play this game for hours every day.
This seems like an excellent Tank item, but I cannot deduce anything due to the lack of my experience against or with it. The sheer unpopularity this Item gets is incredible. I gather this is a good item that has simply not gained the attention it deserves. Its functionality goes similarly to Stoneplate and is good against high DPS enemies.
I love how this game has so many things hiding in plain sight. This article will make me explore every nook and cranny of League of Legends to try and find something I’ve missed. You never expect what this game might have in store next, even within what’s already released.
- Pick Rate: 0.5%
- Stats: +35 AD, +15 Ability Haste, +500 Mana
- Unique Passive – Awe: Grants bonus attack damage equal to 2.5% maximum mana.
- Unique Passive – Mana Charge: Grants a charge every 8 seconds, up to 4 charges. Consumes a charge on-hit and whenever affecting an enemy or ally with an ability to grant 3 bonus mana, increased to 6 for champion targets, up to maximum of 360 bonus mana.
Manamune is an interesting entry to this list. It’s not unpopular due to any inherent flaw within it. The reason for its low purchase rate is likely due to the low Champion pool it’s viable on. I mean, how many AD Casters / Control Mages do you know?
I can name like 3 maximum – Ezreal, Kai’Sa, and Gangplank. Even if there are some in between, that’s still a tiny Champion pool. However, the sheer purchase level even with these few Champions is kind of impressive, honestly.
This shows that there are people still playing the Champions named above and that their popularity might even increase. Manamune is the AD counterpart to Archangel’s Staff and has retained its damage-enhancing abilities. The same cannot be said for the former, unfortunately.
Due to this Item’s simplicity, I cannot say much else about it. It enhances damage quite a bit, and I cannot make the mistake of not recommending it. Everyone should at least give it a try on someone like Gangplank, who can have some pretty exciting games with it.
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2. Warmog’s Armor
- Pick Rate: 0.5%
- Stats: +10 Ability Haste, +800 HP, +200% base HP regeneration
- Unique Passive: Grants WARMOG’S HEART if you have at least 1100 bonus health.
- Unique Passive – Warmog’s Heart: Regenerate 2.5% maximum health every 0.5 seconds if damage has not been taken in the last 6 seconds (3 seconds for damage from non-champions).
Next up on our list is one of the oldest and most popular items in League of Legends. Popular at least nominally as everyone in the community has heard of Warmog’s. It’s the staple Tank item in League of Legends and is certainly something no one likes to see. Warmog’s can turn even the squishiest Champion into a full-blown Bruiser, which makes me wonder why it’s so low on the list.
The low pick rate can be due to HP’s poor defense return on its own. HP is nothing more than a paper tiger without extra armor or Magic Resist to complement it. The extra HP does nothing if you’re up against a fed Katarina who can do thousands of damage in seconds. You need Magic Resist and Armor in those situations.
We’ve gone over the calculations on how Armor and MR work, and we’ve shown there that they make each point of HP worth more. That is why Warmog’s might be low on the list, apart from one more thing.
The Tank Meta in League of Legends is slowly dwindling. Tanks are nowhere near as powerful in Season 12 as in S11, where they weren’t even half as strong as in Season 10. The Tanks are slowly losing ground, and their core items like Warmog clearly show that. There are some more Tank items on this list that I will connect to this story as well.
As someone who often plays Bruisers and Tanks, it’s honestly disappointing how Riot has been treating them for the past few Seasons. The same problem as with everything is present – nerf it into the ground instead of balancing. I genuinely hope that Riot will shift away entirely from this practice in the nearest future.
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1. Maw of Malmortius
- Pick Rate: 0.5%
- Stats: +55 AD, +20 Ability Haste, +50 Magic Resistance
- Unique Passive – Lifeline: If you would take magic damage that would reduce you below 30% of your maximum health, you first gain a shield that absorbs (200 / 150) (+ (225% / 168.75%) bonus AD) magic damage for 5 seconds (60-second cooldown).
- Unique Passive: Triggering Lifeline also grants 12% omnivamp for 5 seconds. After 2 seconds into the duration, taking or dealing damage refreshes this effect to 3 seconds.
Maw of Malmortious has me scratching my head while writing this article. Honestly, I never thought to find this Item on a list like this one. Being Sterak’s MR counterpart, I was confident that it would have a much greater pick rate than merely 0.5%. I think that there might be a good reason for this, however.
You see, Maw of Malmortius is Sterak’s counterpart. It will prevent you from purchasing any other Lifeline Item, including Immortal Shieldblow – a trendy mythic Item. You see, it’s not something that would be worth the trade-off, and that example alone is self-explanatory.
Plus, Maw’s lifeline only grants a shield against Magic Damage, while the others grant a proper shield that will protect you from AD and AP damage alike—having alternatives that are just way better will negatively affect any Item. However, Maw uses champions who don’t build into Immortal Shieldblow or Sterak.
It can find its place on some AD Champion that just wishes some extra anti-AP protection. This might be the like of Zed, who can usually be seen carrying one for safe measure. Graves also comes to mind, but that would be a rarer case.
As we can see, the League of Legends meta has caused some Items to lose their viability. There might be various reasons for an Item’s loss of popularity, and the entries above speak volumes.
Riot Games needs to get their act straight and start balancing things much better than they have so far. Causing things to either be OP or obsolete is not a good development cycle, and the community has spoken on the issue. It seems that Riot has finally begun to listen, and let’s hope that our complaints haven’t been futile.
I hope you’ve found this list informative and fun to read, and I wish you all the best on the Summoner’s Rift.
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