The Battlerite System: Learning to Build Your Champion
Updated on October 26, 2017.
When the battlerite system was revamped in Patch 0.14.0.0, it went from Okay to Amazing. It provides a way to customize champion playstyles without any pay-to-win aspects, while being flexible and open-ended enough that it doesn’t force any particular builds. A perfect fit for the kind of game Battlerite wants to be.
A crash course for newbies: Every champion has a total pool of 12-16 battlerites. Each battlerite is an upgrade to an ability or just a general perk. You can select any 5 battlerites in a loadout, with one restriction: a maximum of 2 battlerites per ability (a maximum of 1 for the R and Ultimate abilities). You can create up to 4 loadouts and name them however.
Each battlerite has a category type. There aren’t any official category descriptions, but here’s what they appear to mean:
- Control: Involves disables or knockbacks.
- Mobility: Involves movement around the map.
- Offense: Involves causing damage and pressure.
- Support: Involves aid to your allies.
- Survival: Involves aid for yourself only.
- Utility: Involves cooldown or energy management.
- Mixed: Involves any combination of the above.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Now the real question is, how should battlerites be picked? Well, there are several factors to consider. And while some may say that certain choices are “must-have” battlerites, I rarely think it’s that simple. There are several approaches you can have, and certain approaches fit better with certain champions.
Here are some of the things I consider when choosing battlerites. If you want to learn how to pick rather than just what to pick, this post is for you. If you don’t understand why certain battlerites are good or bad, this post is for you. If you’re looking for champion-specific builds, this is NOT the post for you.
1. Reliable battlerites are generally more valuable. This is probably the most important factor that I consider when I’m picking within a tier. Is this battlerite “reliable”? Will I be able to use it “on demand”? What is its “uptime”? All three questions are different ways the ask the same thing.
For example, Jade’s Evasion (removed in patch 0.8) was powerful for many reasons, but one thing that made it so good was that its usage didn’t depend on external factors. Immaterial was always guaranteed on Stealth. When you needed it, it was there. It was reliable — you could rely on it.
Compare that to the other two battlerites that were in Evasion’s tier: Gunslinger (reduced Stealth cooldown on M1 hits) and Charged Desperado (Disabling Shot reloaded M1 with 12 ammo). Both depended on you landing hits. If you missed a lot of Disabling Shots, Charged Desperado did you absolutely no good. Unreliable.
But Gunslinger was the worst of the three because its “uptime” was so short. It was only active while Stealth was on cooldown. As soon as you used Stealth, you had about 10 seconds to hit as many M1s as you could — and that wasn’t a big window. Once the cooldown reset, you basically had no battlerite until Stealth went on cooldown again. Bad uptime.
Other examples of reliable T1 battlerites: Iva’s U-Turn, Ashka’s Blaze, Poloma’s Joyful Spirits, Shifu’s Swift Feet, and Pearl’s Power of the Deep. Not that you should always pick the most reliable battlerites, but they tend to be much more useful.
2. Look for increases to outplay potential. Outplay potential is a hard-to-define term, but I like to think of it as anything that lets you “do more” on the battlefield. I can think of three ways to do that:
- Extend your kit.
- Increase your kit uptime.
- Increase your survivability.
Jade’s Evasion (removed in patch 0.8) was a good example of extending one’s kit. She didn’t start with immaterial, but she could gain immaterial through the battlerite. Pearl’s Tasty Fish and Varesh’s Wonder extend their kits by providing another heal ability, and Lucie’s Stimulant gives her a buff she didn’t have before. Note that some kit extensions are flat-out better than others.
Basically, you can think of kit extension as any battlerite that lets one ability do multiple things. Pearl’s Power of the Deep is huge because it gives her another way to charge her staff — one that doesn’t require energy or unreliably triggering a counter. Same goes for Rook’s Tenderizer (trigger Eat on Smack). When an ability can do multiple things, you have more actionable options.
Iva’s Stockpile is a good example of increasing one’s kit uptime. Rocket X-67 with 4s cooldown is okay, but gaining an extra charge essentially cuts the cooldown in half, boosting the uptime of Rocket X-67. Oldur’s Time Walker does this too with its cooldown refresh mechanic, increasing how often he has his out available.
Bakko’s Battle Lust, Lucie’s Vampiric Toxic, and Shifu’s Ceremonial Spear are examples of increasing one’s survivability. The longer you can survive, the more pressure you can put out, and if the survivability is intertwined with a DPS ability, even better. It’s not always about healing though — consider Pearl’s Sea Bubble or Ashka’s Fire Ward.
3. Stacking one ability is both risky and rewarding. Freya has a battlerite that improves Storm Mace in each of her first four tiers: Twin Hammers (gain a charge), Thunderbolt (bonus damage), Tempest (haste on hit), and Storm Cloud (area damage on hit).
If she picked all four, she would have an insanely strong Storm Mace — but it’s a risky build because it hinges on your Storm Mace accuracy and usage. If you miss a lot or if you can’t manage Static debuffs very well, it can actually be a hindrance because those battlerites are useless when you miss. This goes back to the first point on reliability.
It’s safer, but not necessarily better, to spread your battlerites across multiple abilities. That way you can still benefit from some of your battlerites at all times instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket. It all depends on how much room for error you want.
But there is one exception: the shorter the cooldown on an ability, the safer it is to stack it. That’s why a four-mace build on Freya isn’t bad at all. Two charges with a 3-second cooldown? You can miss all day long and it wouldn’t matter because you’ll have another mace ready soon. If Storm Mace had an 8-second cooldown, it’d be a completely different story.
You can also build around a certain effect, like Pearl’s Silence. If your aim is consistent, stacking all of the silence-related battlerites can turn you into one of the most annoying champions ever — but again, probably not the best if you miss charged M1s a lot. You also have to sacrifice some survivability for it.
4. Cover your weaknesses or exploit the enemy’s weaknesses. Several champions have weaknesses in their base kits that can be remedied with the right battlerite picks — some so important that they could be considered must-have, but not always.
I like to take Time Walker on Oldur because it semi-reliably grants him another out, which can make up for his lack of mobility. Instead of always saving Shifting Sands as an escape, you can use it aggressively and then get it reset if the enemy tries to pressure you.
Poloma’s Affection is another cover-a-weakness battlerite, allowing her a way to heal when no allies are nearby. And don’t forget Freya’s option to pick up three shielding battlerites in her first three tiers.
But more often than not, it’s better to build around your matchup against the enemy champions. If you’re Varesh up against heavy melee pressure, Break might be a better T1 battlerite than Return, while Return might be better against ranged pressure.
Lucie’s Potency is handy against champions designed around debuff-tagging (e.g. Ashka, Freya, Varesh), turning Clarity Potion into a free heal and allowing her to save charges for her teammate. And Taya’s Vortex is ace against no-teleport champions.
5. Consider building for bigger and badder combos. This last point is getting into more intermediate territory — you need to at least know the ins-and-outs of your champion’s basic kit, your “role” on the battlefield, and how to play nicely with your teammate.
For example, Sand Tomb gives Oldur a 1.5s Root. Not only does this help him execute his own combo (M1 > Quicksand > M1 > EX-M1), it can also be used to set up big burst from a teammate, like Jade’s Snipe, or an even bigger disable, like Rook’s Smack. This obviously requires a teammate who will take advantage of your setups, so Sand Tomb’s value is cheapened in solo queue.
Because of the way recovery health works, a well-time burst of damage is always more valuable than sustained damage, especially against healers.
It may not seem like much, but boosting your damage combo by even 10 points can have a significant impact. Think about it: your combo is probably available once every 10–15 seconds, which means you can pull off about 8–12 of them in a full 2-minute round. Assuming you land half of them, that’s an extra 40 to 60 damage for the round, and that could be the difference between netting a kill or losing by an inch.
For example, Rook’s basic combo is Rush > Smack > Boulder Toss > Meat Bolt, which deals a minimum of 12 + 12 + 18 + 24 = 66 damage. Grabbing the Crumble battlerite increases this to 12 + 12 + 22 + 29 = 75 damage. Eight of these combos over one round will amount to an extra 8 x 9 = 72 damage.
Taya is even better. Normally she might Wind Strike > Wind Bomb > M2 > M1 for 10 + 34 + 20 = 64 damage if all hits are perfect. With the Cyclone and Cross Cut battlerites, she can inflict 20 + 42 + 20 = 82 damage. That’s a whopping increase of 18 damage per combo.
Not every champion has combo potential in their battlerites, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially with newer champions on the horizon.
It’s getting long, so let’s wind it down here. I hope this post helped you in some way. Thanks for reading!
Which of these methods do you think work best for your main champion? What other things do you consider when picking battlerites? And which battlerite do you think is the most interesting?