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Season 8 Starter Items: Mid Edition - Bran's Thoughts

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Forum » Theory Crafting » Season 8 Starter Items: Mid Edition - Bran's Thoughts 5 posts - page 1 of 1
Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » January 12, 2021 2:01pm | Report
Hey everyone,

Next up is the Mid edition of the new S8 starters. You can find my previous writeups here:

Season 8 Starter Items: Carry Edition
Season 8 Starter Items: Support Edition
Season 8 Starter Items: Jungle Edition


Mid Starters


Vampiric Shroud
Main Purpose: Reliable Health / Mana Sustain

Best for: Gods that expect to take some damage and need to get closer to fight, don't have healing in their kits, or don't pick up early lifesteal

Bran's Thoughts: As we've seen with other returning starters, this one is an ol' reliable, providing the expected early health and mana sustain. Also comes with minor phys Jungle gank protection.

This is the only starter that comes with any form of health sustain. All of the Mid starters come with some mana sustain. As such, I see this as being appealing for any god that wants (or needs) some early health sustain, and doesn't plan to go into an early lifesteal item such as Bancroft's Talon.

One note is that this is the most expensive of the Mid starters, with a very significant 150 gold difference between it and Conduit Gem, but it's probably fine due to the health sustain it provides. However, to get any potions, the rest of your start is pretty limited, as Lost Artifact or Tiny Trinket are your only options to also get any potions.

Could see potential use by magical Solos as well.

Expected Starts:

I expect starts moving into Chronos' Pendant or Doom Orb to be much more common than an early Bancroft's Talon for this starter.
Upgrade Options


Blood-Soaked Shroud

Sacrificial Shroud

Blood-Soaked Shroud: I probably expect this to be the more common upgrade, but then again, I try to play things safely and don't take a lot of chances. This is the upgrade path that is mostly an enhanced version of the starter. Fair magical power, decent physical protection, some added health, and decent lifesteal. Probably the safest bet when you expect to be dove on in the backline. Pretty boring though.

Sacrificial Shroud: This is by far the more interesting upgrade, but it's also much riskier. More aggressive offensive stats including better power but less health and phys prots. The big stat is the passive, that trades a bonus to ability damage at the expense of your own health. The health drain is steady, so if you can time your attacks at an opportune time with a big ult (and maybe combine it with the bonus power that Rod of Tahuti provides), it could pay off pretty strongly.

I have questions about the passive.
  1. How is ticking damage handled with regard to that health drain?
  2. Do you lose 5% health per target hit on a single ability use? (If this is a big AOE ult like Poseidon and you hit 4 gods, do you get 20% health drain???)
  3. Do you get health drain even if you don't connect with anything? (similar to Thanatos)
Depending on how that all applies, it can be extremely dangerous in one direction or another. If your god gets this and has healthy lifesteal to offset the health loss, it can just be a nice, steady bonus to your damage output. Not all mages will have this capability; expect Anubis, Hades, or other gods that build something like Bancroft's + Typhon's to balance the health loss best.


Sands of Time
Main Purpose: Cooldown

Best for: Gods that can poke easily from distance, healers

Bran's Thoughts: This is another returning starter with a very clear focus on prolific ability use. It has no health sustain, which can be balanced with Healing Potions or self-healing abilities, though keep in mind the new global anti-heal aura when out of combat (brawling).

This, combined with Shoes of Focus, gives a very nice early 20% CDR, which is more than enough for most early play. This should see decent pickup due to one of the two upgrades.

Expected Starts:
Upgrade Options


Pendulum of Ages

The Alternate Timeline

Pendulum of Ages: I expect this to be the common upgrade. If you are coming into a fight with full mana, your first ability use could see power backed by this of up to 160, which is especially huge for abilities with high scaling. It also retains the CDR and pretty solid MP5 to keep your mana up for that power boost. Likely a common pickup for gods like Scylla.

The Alternate Timeline: Although this is an interesting item, giving you a personal Khepri ult, it has several disadvantages compared to it and the 10 minute CD on it is absolutely a deal-breaker. The rest of the stats have a bruiser feel, with weak power but decent protections. I doubt this gets picked up unless the passive gets a major buff.


Conduit Gem
Main Purpose: Burst Damage

Best for: Gods that rely more on hard-hitting abilities and less on CDR

Bran's Thoughts: Another starter with no health sustain, making it better for gods that wait for the right time to use their high-damage abilities as opposed to spamming abilities with the help of CDR. One benefit of this item is the lower starting cost, allowing for more potions.

Expected Starts:
Upgrade Options


Archmage's Gem

Gem of Focus

Archmage's Gem: This has a similar feel to the Sands upgrade Pendulum of Ages, except the damage boost has more potential but also gets used up in one go. 50% extra magical power at full stacks is pretty big, and again feels like it potentially goes well with Rod of Tahuti. This should be a fairly common upgrade route.

Gem of Focus: This is the utility upgrade, providing a bit of movement speed, damage increase, and damage mitigation. It's stacked in the same way Ra's passive is stacked, which means you don't get any benefit until you start casting. The question ends up being how useful the stats will be compared to Archmage's. And these stacks seem like you want to start building more CDR to maintain those stacks more easily.

The starter here paired with this upgrade path feels a bit disjointed. Has a minor amount of bruiser potential due to the health and small damage mitigation and may be an option for those that like the Vampiric Shroud / Blood-Soaked Shroud bruiser function but like the Conduit start better.

None of these starters feels all that exciting to me. I'm likely drawn to the Sands -> Pendulum pathway more than the others.

Thoughts?
Branmuffin17
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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Kriega1 » January 12, 2021 4:15pm | Report
On PTS,

Blood Soaked Shroud is awful, as well as Alternate Timeline.

Archmage's and Sacrificial are the best upgrades.
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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » January 12, 2021 4:22pm | Report
I would call Alt Time generally awful, but Blood-Soaked, I'd just call very mediocre. The phys defense can help if facing a diving jungler or solo, but yeah, the rest of the stats aren't anything to get excited about. I personally would steer toward Sands / Pendulum or Conduit + either upgrade (leaning toward Arch.
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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Kriega1 » January 12, 2021 4:26pm | Report
Branmuffin17 wrote:

I would call Alt Time generally awful, but Blood-Soaked, I'd just call very mediocre. The phys defense can help if facing a diving jungler or solo, but yeah, the rest of the stats aren't anything to get excited about. I personally would steer toward Sands / Pendulum or Conduit + either upgrade (leaning toward Arch.


I'd just get Sov or Mantle to deal with a phys jungler / solo not waste my vamp shroud upgrade on Blood-Soaked.
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Permalink | Quote | +Rep by Devampi » January 13, 2021 2:15am | Report
If there is one thing I can agree on with bran straight of the bat is that most of these items are quite boring. I honestly expected more.

Vampiric Shroud
Ah, it returned, but now provides physical prot that's gonna be sucky for physical mids. It kinda provides the item with a solo lane focus. Nothing to exciting here other that you're going to sacrifice lane clear against the other 3. This is gonna be the starter for newer players that struggle in lane. Also this is gonna be the first starter that I would recommend to sell instead of upgrade for mid lane.

blood soaked shroud
stat-wise definitely more for solo lane mages but also the less risky pickup of the 2 upgrades. and probably the more boring one. the reason it is more for solo is that the stats and passive suit a "brawling" mage more that requires to get up close and personal. But antiheal does nerf the passive a bit.

Sacrificial Shroud
not to hyped about this one, while more focussed for mid laners it also is a real risky item as I expect it to work like thanathos and since you're a squishy mage it makes you even more squishy. It wouldn't surprise me that in the end you would be better off to just grab another regular item over upgrading towards this one I think you're better of grabbing Rod of Tahuti or Soul Gem.

Sands of Time
nothing new about the starter I expect the choice between this one and Conduit Gem to be a preference of playstyle, late game upgrade or gods (this is gonna be a fun one for Agni. One thing I can say is that this one will be better during laning phase as with the early focus of abilities and likely the better mana sustain. I think people that normally rush Chronos' Pendant might counter the lack of sustain by building Shoes of the Magi as they reach the 30% cdr sweet spot quickly.

Pendulum of Ages
While the mana sustain is normally not an issue the passive strengthens itself because of it. And honestly, the passive is strong providing between Spear of Desolation and Rod of Tahuti lvls of power. This item is the best upgrade of the 2 and for me the best of all 6 upgrades as it is more reliable than Archmage's Gem.

The Alternate Timeline
Or should I say Nerfed LoL guardian angel. Because that is all it is. The thing that ruins it mostly is the 10 minute CD on the item the only thing that is better than LoL version is the stasis time and that it provides split prot instead of only one. The other misstep they made is that it's LoL counterpath was mostly seen on "duelists" or (mostly snowballing) mid lane assassins, these solo laners usually regained enough resources to pose a threat on respawn as they had the capability to kill before they could be killed again. Same story for the mid lane assassins, although they could also use it to retreat because of their mobility. All in all I expect this item to be picked up less than it's LoL counterpart that is already not used often.

Conduit Gem
interesting passive that for me feels more aimed at mid game as during laning phase I fear your stacks get eaten by wave clearing and you also lose them if you miss. Slightly risky but it will be the strongest starter of the 3 because of it being cheaper and providing the strongest wave clear with the extra true damage.

Archmage's Gem
This one is going to be great for your mages that rely on 2-shotting you as late game you have plenty of people that can wave clear so you can safe it. I think for most mages or players this will be the second option with Pendulum of Ages.

Gem of Focus
This item feels boring. And it is likely hard to use it's full potential unless you are also ulting as fights can be decided before your second rotation. The only thing it has going for it is that it makes you more tanky faster. better for utility mages.

All in all I expect the chronos rushers to end up with pendulum and the double pen builders to go for archmages. vampiric isn't really that appealing to me for mid lane at least until I get to test it. It might be that I am judging the healthdrain for damage wrongly as I haven't seen it in action. but I still expect the other 2 more for most experienced players cause of the starters themselves.
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