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Mastering Masteries: Picking the Right Keystone
BY IAm Vangel - April 03, 2016

So far, season 6 has been one heck of a wild season: we have had really cool champion teasers and trailers, we’ve seen marksmen get new toys with the champion and item updates, and a mutated purple scuttle crab has appeared to make top lane more interesting (better known as the Rift Herald). However, what I will be talking about today is something that some of you may or may not have taken for granted. Along with the cool new stuff mentioned above, season 6 also introduced us to the brand-new mastery tree and, more importantly, the keystone masteries.

 

Keystone masteries are the masteries that are found at the very bottom of each mastery tree. These keystone masteries will have a big impact on your champion in terms of your damage output, survivability and utility you will bring to your team, so it is important to choose the right keystone to increase your chances of winning the game. Today, I am going to talk about each keystone mastery, which will include a brief description of what they do, and on who should you use them. We have 9 different keystone masteries to talk about, so without further ado, let’s start with the keystones from the Ferocity tree.

 

Ferocity Tree

 Warrior’s Bloodlust - this keystone provides you bonus lifesteal after each auto-attack (AA), and this lifesteal is increased depending on your missing health. You would want to use this on champions that rely on auto-attacks as their main damage output and champions that needs to survive in team fights (basically bruisers and some tanks)

Candidates: Master Yi, Aatrox, Olaf, Shyvana, Xin Zhao, Tryndamere

Fervor of Battle - each time you damage an enemy champion with an AA or basic ability, you gain stacks of this mastery (up to 8). Each stack adds a certain amount of physical damage to your AA’s which is also based on your champion level. This is the go-to mastery for most marksmen, but can also be used by melee bruisers who want to sacrifice survivability for more damage.

Candidates: champs mentioned above, Kalista, Jinx, Vayne, Tristana

 • Deathfire Touch - dealing damage to enemy champs with your abilities applies a damage-over-time (DoT) effect to them. This damage depends on the type of ability used (single target, AoE, DoT spells, etc.). This keystone is used mostly by control mages who have damage-over-time and AoE spells, as there is a better keystone for burst-type mages/assassins (will be discussed later).

Candidates: Malzahar, Brand, Viktor, Orianna, Azir, Cassiopeia

 

Cunning Tree

• Stormraider’s Surge ­- dealing a huge burst of damage to a champion within a period of 2 seconds grants you a burst of movement speed and resistance to slow effects. This effect has a cooldown of 10 seconds. Not widely used due to its effect not contributing any form of damage, but can be used against a CC-heavy team, or by champions that have no form of mobility. 

Candidates: Twisted Fate, Xerath, Lux, Mordekaiser, Hecarim

 • Thunderlord’s Decree - dealing a combination of three AA’s and/or spell damage to an enemy champion will result in them receiving extra damage based on your AP and AD. The go-to mastery for assassins and basically any champion that has the potential to do a lot of burst damage. But really, it can be used by anyone. When in doubt, get Thunderlord’s.

Candidates: Zed, Leblanc, Ahri, Fizz, Lucian, Ezreal, Jhin

 Windspeaker’s Blessing - your shields are much more effective at shielding and your heals are much more effective at healing. Also, healing or shielding an ally will increase their armor and magic resistance for 3 seconds. This keystone is made for support champions with a lot of healing and shields in their kit, but the keystone can still be proc’ed with items such as Solari.

Candidates: Soraka, Janna, Lulu, Karma, Nami, Sona

 

Resolve Tree

Grasp of the Undying if you are in combat (have dealt or received damage) for the last 4 seconds, auto-attacking an enemy champion will heal you for a percentage of your max health and also deal magic damage for the same amount. This is the go-to mastery for pure tanks who just need to survive teamfights and CC the enemy team for the longest time possible.

Candidates: Garen, Nautilus, Volibear, Maokai, Malphite, Shen

 

Strength of the Ages - you gain permanent health whenever a large monster or siege minion dies in the vicinity, which stacks up to a cap. Upon reaching this cap, further large monster or siege minion takedowns will instead heal you for a percent of your maximum health. This mastery is best used by junglers, as they can stack the health pretty quickly from the monsters in the jungle.

Candidates: Dr. Mundo, Lee Sin, Rek’sai, Gragas, Sejuani, Zac

 • Bond of Stone - this mastery grants you reduction from incoming damage. Additionally, a percentage of the damage dealt to the nearest allied champion is directed to you instead, but this effect does not occur if you are on very low health. This mastery is mostly seen on the bot lane, which is used by tanky support champions to help reduce the damage taken by their marksmen.

Candidates: Thresh, Alistar, Braum, Leona, Blitzcrank

And that covers all of the keystone masteries! I hope that after reading this article, I have helped you get a better grasp (of the undying *wink*) of how these keystone masteries work, and maybe even taught you a new thing or two. Always remember though that this is merely a guide, and you can experiment with your own keystone masteries and see what fits you and your playstyle best. In the future I might write a more in-depth article about these keystone masteries (such as the “Deathfire Touch vs. Thunderlord’s Decree” debate, or when to get Strength of the Ages vs. Grasp of the Undying on a top laner/jungler), so stay tuned for that. For now, go forth and use your new-found knowledge in the Rift, and may your choice of keystone masteries be the “key” to your victory.

 

(all images were taken from the LoL Wiki page: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_of_Legends_Wiki)