Morellonomicon, Athene's Unholy Grail, or...Frost Queen’s Claim?
“Only goalies need hockey masks, why would I need one of those gimmicks?”
-Some 1980’s hockey player, moments before losing all of his teeth.
Across high-elo SoloQ and in yesterday’s All-Star matches, the assembly of Frost Queen’s Claim as a core item has extended to both AP mid and top lane champions. Built in the place of Morellonomicon and Athene’s Unholy Grail, Frost Queen’s Claim has served a similar role as its counterparts as a first-buy AP/mana regeneration item. Yesterday we saw the item twice, as Bjergsen built Frost Queen’s Claim on his Syndra against Froggen’s Anivia and as Koro1 opted for Frost Queen’s Claim as Lulu versus a Fiora. Even one quick glance on Probuilds.com shows countless players building Frost Queen’s Claim on numerous champions.
“But it’s a support item! It has gold per 10 as a core statistic!”
Regardless of its established role as an item only for supports, Frost Queen’s Claim is clearly becoming a priority buy for professional players. Because of its utility, gold efficiency, and increased power in shorter games, Frost Queen’s Claim should be at the top of your holiday shopping list too.
Evaluating Frost Queen’s Claim
Note: Passive and active effects are NOT calculated into these gold efficiency numbers and percentages.
Frost Queen’s Claim:
-Passive: UNIQUE – TRIBUTE: Spells and basic attacks against champions or buildings deal 15 additional damage and grant 15 Gold. This can occur up to 3 times every 30 seconds.
-Active: UNIQUE: Summon 2 icy ghosts for 6 seconds that seek out nearby enemy champions. Ghosts reveal enemies on contact and reduce their Movement Speed by 40% for 4 seconds (60 second cooldown.)
-Passive: UNIQUE: Dealing magic damage to an enemy champion below 40% health inflicts “Grievous Wounds” to them for 4 seconds.
Athene’s Unholy Grail:
Passive (1): UNIQUE – MANA FONT: Restores 2% of missing mana every 5 seconds.
Passive (2): UNIQUE: Restores 30% of your maximum mana on kill or assist.
Looking at the basic statistics of these items, it seems fairly clear why Frost Queen’s Claim is the cheapest of the three. Granting significantly less AP than a Morellonomicon while lacking the magic resistance of Athene’s Unholy Grail, the only leg up it has in terms of raw statistics is gold generation, which obviously is not a combat statistic. Frost Queen’s Claim is certainly gold efficient, but then again, so are its competitors.
So what makes Frost Queen’s Claim such a great buy?
Frost Queen’s Claim’s “Tribute” passive gives the user 15 gold every time they land a spell on an opponent or auto attack a champion or turret. This effect can be used thrice every thirty seconds. So if we do the math, how much gold does Frost Queen’s Claim give the user every minute at maximum efficiency?
Minutes (Passive + Gold per 10) = Total Gold Generated
m[2(15 x 3) + (2 x 6)] = Total Gold Generated
102m = Total Gold Generated
That adds up to A LOT of gold over time. After ten minutes of having purchased Frost Queen’s Claim, one has generated 1,020 extra gold if using it at maximum efficiency. For the sake of practicality, let’s say we’re using it at 85% efficiency and calculate how much gold we have at ten minutes.
1020 x 0.85 = Total Gold Generated
867 = Total Gold Generated
Let’s subtract that number from the price of Frost Queen’s Claim and calculate our new gold efficiency after ten minutes of having purchased the item.
2200 – 867 = 1333 gold
2484 / 1333 = 1.86 = 186% efficiency
186% gold efficiency is an absurdly high number. To put this into a more relatable context, say Lulu purchases a Frost Queen’s Claim at 13 minutes into the game. The average masters and challenger games on this patch are lasting about 25 minutes, so hitting those item thresholds as quickly as possible has become more important than ever. The item that Lulu gains her power spike from is Rabadon’s Deathcap, her second item after a Morellonomicon or an Athene’s Unholy Grail. The extra 800+ gold from Frost Queen’s Claim is going to help Lulu buy Rabadon’s Deathcap before the game begins to slip away, and is meanwhile only sacrificing minor stats. Furthermore, if a game lasts longer than normal, Frost Queen’s Claim will only become even more efficient.
Additionally, we must consider the active of Frost Queen’s Claim. The affectionately-nicknamed “spooky ghosts” search out the two closest opponents, and if they reach them, the ghosts reveal them for six seconds and apply a 40% slow for four seconds. Perhaps overlooked, this active is actually incredibly valuable early on because of the removal of Sight Wards. Whereas Sightstone doesn't give mages any useful stats, Frost Queen’s Claim is a way for mid laners to also contribute to the vision game without spending money on non-damage items. While Frost Queen’s Claim is already strong in SoloQ, this vison aspect means that it will be even stronger in competitive games. Furthermore, the 40% slow for four seconds can also be helpful for a jungler ganking a lane.
When should one buy Frost Queen’s Claim?
Prior to Frost Queen’s Claim’s emergence, the typical rule of thumb was to purchase Athene’s Holy Grail if in a tough match-up where one need’s the additional magic resistance, such as playing versus a LeBlanc. For most other circumstances, Morellonomicon would be the wiser purchase, as for only 250 more gold, Morellonomicon grants 30 AP more than Athene’s Holy Grail. With the emergence of Frost Queen’s Claim, Morellonomicon now has a rival. While Athene’s Holy Grail will retain its niche because of its magic resistance, Morellonomicon now has to compete against Frost Queen’s Claim.
Frost Queen’s Claim should be purchased in nearly any situation when an opponent is melee based. The easier it is to poke an opponent, the higher one’s efficiency with Frost Queen’s Claim’s passive will be. A great example of this is how Koro1, in the LPL’s All-Star game versus the LMS yesterday, opted for Frost Queen’s Claim as Lulu versus Fiora. While any Lulu needs to be wary of the all-in potential against a Fiora in lane, Koro1 was easily able to consistently earn the passive gold from Frost Queen’s Claim. Furthermore, on any supportive AP mid or top lane champions, Frost Queen’s Claim serves as a fine replacement for Morellonomicon because the early damage is simply not as high of a priority.
On the other hand, Morellonomicon is still an outstanding and efficient purchase. For champions that are looking to carve out early game advantages, the 80 AP and 20% cooldown reduction is amazing. Yesterday Faker took Morellonomicon as LeBlanc versus Lulu, while Westdoor as Ahri opted for Morellonomicon against Rookie’s Kassadin. When the immediate boost of power is needed in scenarios when an opponent needs to be punished early on, Morellonomicon is still the better purchase than Frost Queen’s Claim. However Bjergsen even opted for Frost Queen’s Claim as Syndra versus Froggen’s famed Anivia, so there's certainly no rule set in stone that one must purchase Morellonomicon in any given situation.
Frost Queen’s Claim is quickly becoming a top-tier item, and this holiday season, it should be near the top of your shopping list.
If you enjoy this content, you can follow Xmeik on Twitter (@lolXmeik) or on Facebook for updates on future articles. For "Xmeik's Wednesday Long Read" series, be sure to check out articles from previous weeks:
December 9th, 2015: A Look at Power Picks and Bold Predictions
November 18th, 2015: IEM San Jose Power Rankings
November 11th, 2015: Kindred in Competitive Play
November 4th, 2015: SKT vs. KOO and the Anatomy of a Lane Swap
October 29th, 2015: Comparing Marin, Smeb, and Ssumday