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Learn what lethality really does in League of Legends


What is lethality in League of Legends, and why is it so important?

League of Legends is a complex game, and dozens of factors can make or break a winning game. One such stat that often confuses new players is lethality. Most other stats, such as attack speed, damage, and armor, are relatively straightforward. However, lethality doesn’t make sense until the player puts it to use. Even then, the only visible indicator that it does anything is higher damage, though the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining how it helps. Lethality is not a flat boost to damage, but instead a modifier to damage dealt that allows it to punch through armor.

What does Lethality do in League of Legends?

Lethality is a physical damage boost that dictates how much armor a champion can ignore in League of Legends.

For example, say an enemy champion has 40 armor. If the player equips Duskblade of Draktharr, which grants 18 lethality, the enemy champion effectively only has 22 armor, as lethality will ignore 18 points of that armor. Lethality also stacks, so the more lethality items a player equips, the more armor they can ignore. Assassin champions like Qiyana, Zed, and Miss Fortune benefit from stacking lots of lethality thanks to their burst damage potential.

Qiyana League of Legends lethality assassin

How is lethality different from armor penetration in League of Legends?

Lethality is a flat reduction of armor in League of Legends while armor penetration is percentage-based.

The simple mathematical difference means lethality and AP builds are not interchangeable. As a general rule of thumb, AP builds are better against tanks while lethality builds work best against low armor targets.

At 100 armor, a champion will only take around 50% damage. With 20 lethality, that’s down to 80, meaning the champion takes 56% damage. A 6% damage increase isn’t that great. In contrast, at 50 armor, champions take 67% of the damage. With 20 lethality, that goes down to 30 armor, and now the champion takes 77% of the damage, a 10% increase in damage output. The lower the armor rating, the higher the returns on damage output.

Lethality builds are popular amongst players who want to rack up kills early when armor levels are still quite low. It won’t have the same punch in the endgame, so if a player builds around lethality, they also commit to a snowball strategy,

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