League of Legends beginner guide: items

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Master Yi. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Item actives and passives

Some, but not all, finished items have an active ability, which grants a benefit to its user before going on cooldown, similar to one of your champion’s abilities. You use the active on an item similar to the way you use a consumable item – by pressing the 1-6 keys depending where the item is located in your inventory. Notice that you can move these items around in your inventory by clicking and dragging them to another item slot.

Item actives can do everything from providing you a stasis effect, giving you a speed boost, allowing you to shield an ally, or even do a small amount of area of effect damage. There will be instances where you want to buy an item purely for its active ability, but be careful that you are buying an item that gives stats that will benefit your champion!

On the other hand, an item’s passive ability is much like your champion’s passive. It’s a benefit that is always there, helping you in the background. Passives can be anything from extra cooldown reduction to extra movement speed that gets converted to damage after a while to an aura that gives nearby teammates extra damage.

There are far too many items with different passives or actives to go over, but the biggest key to be aware of is whether an item’s ability is a unique ability. Some items will have actives or passives that are explicitly labeled “UNIQUE” meaning that they can only be gained from one source.

For instance, both the Hexdrinker and Sterak’s Gage will grant the user the “Lifeline” passive, which grants extra healing below a certain health threshold. Since this is labeled as a unique passive, you will only get the passive benefit from one of these items. The effect will not be improved in any way by the second item with the same passive.

Similarly, both Tiamat and the Ravenous Hydra have the “Crescent” active ability, which does damage in an area around them when activated. However, having both items does not give you two cracks at this ability. Instead, they will share the same cooldown and once you use one, you will be unable to use the other.

If a unique passive is not named, however, the passives can stack with each other as long as they are not from the same item. For instance, both the Caufield’s Warhammer and Fiendish Codex grant a passive 10% extra cooldown reduction, so having one of each in your inventory will grant 20% cooldown reduction. However, buying two Fiendish Codexes will only grant 10% cooldown reduction because of the passive restriction.