With other 4 cost carries going down in power, Aphelios has more room to breathe and reach his full potential.
Sample Level 8 Comp:
This comp plays to the standard Level 8 Comp leveling if you are playing for Karma.
- Level 4 => 2-1 if you hit a strong board early game; if you have not, wait until 2-2 at the earliest to level up.
- Level 5 => 2-5 with 10 gold or on 3-1 if loss streaking.
- Level 6 => 3-2 with 30+ gold, and roll to stabilize if you lost stage 2.
- Level 7 => 4-1 and then roll if needed to stabilize your board; this comp prefers to roll at lvl 8 in order to find key 5 cost units.
- Level 8 => 4-5 with 30+ gold. Otherwise, you can level up on 5-1. If you leveled on 4-5 and have a weak board, you can choose to roll down here; otherwise, it will be best to either transition on PVE or on 5-1 if you rolled a lot of gold at 4-1.
- Level 9 => Once you two star your primary carries and only have synergy units or 5 cost units left to roll for, you can look to save econ for level 9.
- Very high cap
- Can adapt to counter AD/AP very well
- Reliant on getting to level 8 and hitting high cost units
Notes on Shadow Items
Shadow items have an [S] in front for clarity in this guide. Exercise caution when taking Shadow Components without having a Shadow item you can immediately complete because they are less flexible than the normal components.
Shadow Items to consider taking:
- Shadow Bow
- Shadow Belt
- Shadow Glove
- Shadow Sword
- Deathblade | [S] Caustic Deathblade [Sword + Sword]: This item brings a lot of raw damage to Aphelios, applying both to his auto attacks and his ultimate. More importantly, the raw AD gained from this item helps to reduce the gap between Aphelios 1 and Aphelios 2.
- Runaan’s Hurricane | [S] Runaan’s Untamed Hurricane [Bow + Cloak]: Hurricane pairs extremely well with Deathblade, enabling Aphelios to hit multiple targets with his increased AD and stack Deathblade faster by hitting multiple targets.
- Guinsoo’s Rageblade [Bow + Rod]: Good offensive item on Aphelios, and a strong early game item.
- [S] Evil Giant Slayer | Giant Slayer [Sword + Bow]: With the changes to Giant Slayer, it now takes effect on Rell and Taric, making the item proc on the majority of two-star frontliners and more versatile overall. However, this item is still weak in the early game, making it a good 3rd item, depending on the lobby. In general, the Shadow version is more versatile, but the normal one can be much more effective in certain lobbies.
- Infinity Edge | [S] Sacrificial Infinity Edge [Sword + Glove]: Following the Crit Change, Infinity Edge is no longer a premier slammable item. However, IE can still serve as a good 3rd item once you have some other damage itemizations.
- Last Whisper | [S] Final Whisper [Bow + Glove]: This item helps Aphelios get through high armor frontlines, such as Redeemed, Shadow Locket, and Ironclad. If you get a Darius early or have high econ to find a Darius later, you will not need this item.
- [S] Hand of Vengeance | Hand of Justice [Tear + Glove]: Extra damage and healing are both welcome on Aphelios, making this item a permissible 3rd item choice. In general, the Shadow version is stronger.
- Bloodthirster | [S] Riskthirster [Sword + Cloak]: Giving Aphelios lifesteal and a Shield (in its normal form, increased lifesteal and attack speed in its shadow form), BT is a more situational item but very strong into AP comps, where Aphelios will get hit by splash damage.
- [S] Warmog’s Sacrificial Armor | Warmog’s Armor [Belt + Belt]: Gives a large chunk of flat HP. Very good frontline item in general.
- [S] Fallen Guardian Angel | Guardian Angel [Sword + Chain]: Versatile item on both frontline and backliner. Especially good on Morgana, essentially guaranteeing her ult to go off.
- [S] Gargoyle Stoneplate of Immortality | Gargoyle Stoneplate [Cloak + Chain]: Gives good early game tankiness if you have an upgraded frontline unit. Synergizes well with Knights. Good use of early Cloak and Chain.
- [S] Sacrificial Redemption | Redemption [Cloak + Chain]: The AOE damage reduction of Redemption is very powerful in the late game. In the early game, the heals from redemption are good as well. Best use of a Tear in this comp.
- Titan’s Resolve [Bow + Chain]: If you have too many Bows and need more frontline, this item can suffice. However, it is not optimal.
- ZZrot Portal [Belt + Bow]: The voiding provides another frontline unit. Uses rather flexible items in Belt and Bow so only make if needed.
- [S] Sacrificial Sunfire Cape | Sunfire Cape [Belt + Chain]: If you can upgrade frontline stage 2 and can make this item, it is good; otherwise, you may want to look to make better use of the components.
- [S] Mor-evil-lonomicon | Morellonomicon [Rod + Belt]: Morgana is a passable holder of this item if you need to make this for a win streak. Decent use of a Rod.
- Bramble Vest [Chain, Chain] | [S] Refracted Dragon Claw [Cloak, Cloak]: Lobby Specific Items. Make these if you are in a crit heavy lobby.
- Dragon Claw [Cloak, Cloak] | [S] Refracted Bramble Vest [Chain, Chain]: Lobby Specific Items. Make these items if you need the Extra MR or Armor or are stuck with too many of their respective components.
- Zeke’s Herald [Sword + Belt]: If you have an excess of Swords and frontline items, Zeke’s is a decent support item.
These positioning-reliant items should be taken off of later carousels or built from the last components you get after your core carry items are built.
- Zephyr [Tear + Cloak]: Disables the unit mirrored from the holder of the item from the fight for 5 seconds. [ignores QSS].
- Shroud of Stillness [Glove + Chain]: Increases the mana of the first cast by 35% of enemies in a two-hex line from the holder.
- [S] Banshee’s Claw [Belt + Glove]: This item allows your Karma to block one spell. Helpful in the Mirror Matchup or against Heimerdinger compositions.
This comp does not use Spats particularly well; however, here are:
- [S] Nightbringer Spat [Spat + Belt]: Allows you to activate and possibly fit in 4 Nightbringers.
- Ironclad Spat [Spat + Chain]: Good tech into AD heavy lobbies.
Sword > Bow > Belt > Chain > Glove > Cloak > Tear > Rod
Sword, Bow, Chain and Belt are all good starts for this comp, building into either Aphelios itemizations or frontline itemizations.
Glove and Cloak are acceptable starts. Glove and Cloak can be turned into items on Aphelios; however, in general, the Glove and Cloak items are not very strong in the early and mid-game.
Rod and Tear are Components that are not used in Core itemizations to the Comp, and if you get more than one copy of these Components, it will be hard to utilize them effectively.
Early Game (Stage 1 and 2)
Since this Composition wants to reach level 8 whenever possible, you will want to be playing the strongest Board you can field for the majority of the Early and Mid-game.
Some openers you could run include but are not limited to the following.
Hellions (Kled Centric)
Two Starring your Hellion units are important to this start. So, if you have paired Hellions, you will likely not want to prelevel on 1-4.
Rangers are very flexible about what frontline you run. You can either play around Forgotten units and stack Vayne or Redeemed and stack Varus. In both cases, on your level 5, you will likely be adding a Knight unit. However, the Redeemed board will lend an easier transition later on.
If you get the following 3 cost units, you can also look to play around them and fill in the rest of your board with some form of frontline units.
Legionaries: Yasuo or Riven
Remember, your early game is very flexible to what you find.
Mid Game (Stage 3 and 4)
Level 6 [Stage 3-2]:
If you find a Rell, Taric, or a Sejuani, Forgotten buff does not matter. It is merely a bonus. You can also run a 4 Knight setup or 3 Cavalier setup on level 6 as well.
Here is what a Ranger board played around Forgotten could look like on level 6.
If you were playing around redeemed, your board could look like this with Vayne being interchangeable with Ashe.
Ranger boards will likely give you the easiest pivot into Aphelios, with Hellions being acceptable by pivoting around the knight units and Cheap cost. You can continue to run other boards as well; however, they are more reliant on finding 3 cost units to item hold early on and may be more complex to pivot.
If you do not find Aphelios 2 and you have two-starred your item holder, the unit you have been using to item hold is likely stronger. You can roll a bit here on 4-1 if you have important pairs of units to hit or are very low HP and cannot afford to sacrifice more HP; otherwise, it will likely be better to simply roll on level 8.
Example level 7 boards:
You will want to hold Ranger units on your bench to pivot around.
Natural Rangers or Rolldown board:
Be sure to hold onto an extra Varus if you can, so you can transfer items to Aphelios later on. If you do not find Rell, you can play around 4 Knights or 3 Mystics as well.
This board will also be the board you will be looking for with Aphelios over Ashe if 1 star or over Varus if two starred, if you are forced to roll a lot on level 7.
Late Game (Stage 5 and beyond)
Level 8 Rolldown: [5-1]
If everything went well, you did your main rolldown here. Some sample Boards are as follows.
This is the Standard board you will run giving mixed Armor and Mystic defenses. If you do not have Last Whisperer, you can substitute one of the Knights for Darius.
4 Ranger 4 Mystic:
You can also lose both of the Knights for a 4 mystic board with a stacked Morgana as your frontline, preferably with GA. This board is especially strong into mystic lobbies.
2 Ranger 4 Knight Board:
You can play this board in heavy AD lobbies or when you do not find Kindred, using Lulu and Rageblade to supplement for the missing attack speed from 4 Ranger. You can substitute Ashe for Kindred, or Lulu for 3 Ironclad if needed. You can also Substitute 2 Knights for mystic units if needed.
This is a sample Level 9 board running the highest value units; however, you can mix and match synergies as needed for the lobby.
- Thresh/Katarina: Always look to have Cornered units to serve as fodder against Thresh and Katarinas. If you see no Threshes, you can corner Aphelios and get more Verdant Value.
- Karmas/Teemo: Look to spread your units out as much as possible to reduce the AOE effect.
- Draven: Be careful if they have Veigo. Look to position the opposite side of the Draven because Draven has higher single target DPS, meaning you will want to delay Draven reaching your Aphelios as long as possible.
- Vel’Koz: Make sure to be on the same side as the Vel’koz player. You usually will not have cc that can reach the Vel’koz, so you want to be able to dodge the Vel’koz laser and place your Aphelios closer to the Vel’koz so his ult will reach Vel’koz faster.
- Assassins: If you have Rell+ Lux and Kindred, this matchup is a lot easier because these units can buy enough time through Shielding and CC for Aphelios to kill the Assassins.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Re;Chaos, a NA player who has played on other servers and has been challenger every set since Set 3.
I love to think about builds and the reasoning behind why and how units/comps became/are strong.
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