What is Lethality in League of Legends and how is it calculated?

Everything to know about one of League’s most prolific armor-shredding stats.
Man wearing a hood holding a sword in front of his body in League of Legends
Image via Riot Games

League of Legends has plenty of different statistics that you should know before you start climbing the ranked ladder. In the end, the more knowledgeable you are about the game, the more wins you ought to gather. One pivotal stat is Lethality.

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What is Lethality in League of Legends?

Lethality is a statistic in League that is most closely associated with attack damage champions and their ability to burn through enemy champions’ armor. Lethality was introduced to the game in 2017 as a way for players to cut through armor at a flat rate as opposed to a percentage. 

With Lethality, champions will gain more armor penetration at a rate calculated through their build as well as their levels instead of solely through their items.

Zed in the rain and storm rushing forward. Shockblade Zed.
Champions like Zed benefit from lethality. Image via Riot Games

To calculate how much armor penetration you’re going to get via the extra Lethality in your build, there is an internal formula that League uses. You, too, can use this formula on the fly to determine whether you need to build more Lethality against an armor-heavy composition in the middle of your games. 

Armor Penetration = Lethality x (0.6 + 0.4 x level ÷ 18)

With this formula in mind, you’ll have less Lethality in the early stages of the game while ramping up to its full potential as you draw closer to level 18. The idea of Lethality is to allow players’ armor penetration to slowly gain value alongside the pace of the game. Additionally, Lethality is strong against squishy champions since the stat makes it easier to burn through champions’ armor. Enemies with less armor are especially susceptible to being executed by bursty assassins and AD carries. 

All Lethality items in LoL

  • Serrated Dirk (1,100 gold, 10 Lethality)
  • Umbral Glaive (2,300 gold, 50 AD, 13 Lethality, 15 Ability Haste)
  • Serpent’s Fang (2,600 gold, 55 AD, 15 Lethality)
  • Edge of Night (2,900 gold, 50 AD, 10 Lethality, 325 HP)
  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade (3,000 gold, 60 AD, 18 Lethality, 15 Ability Haste)
  • Youmuu’s Wake (3,100 gold, 75 AD, 26 Lethality, 20 Ability Haste)
  • The Collector (3,000 gold, 55 AD, 20 percent Critical Strike chance, 12 Lethality)
  • Axiom Arc (3,000 gold, 55 AD, 18 Lethality, 25 Ability Haste)
  • Duskblade of Draktharr (3,100 gold, 60 AD, 18 Lethality, 15 Ability Haste)
  • Draktharr’s Shadowcarver (3,100 gold, 75 AD, 26 Lethality, 20 Ability Haste)
  • Eclipse (3,100 gold, 60 AD, 12 Lethality, 15 Ability Haste)
  • Syzygy (3,100 gold, 80 AD, 20 Lethality, 20 Ability Haste)
  • Prowler’s Claw (3,100 gold, 60 AD, 18 Lethality, 15 Ability Haste)

Best Lethality items in League 

Qiyana's La Illusion skin in League of Legends
Mobile assassins like Qiyana have Lethality items in their core builds. Image via Riot Games

Duskblade of Draktharr

Duskblade of Draktharr is one of just three Mythic items that give Lethality. The item is loaded with 18 Lethality and gives all other Legendary items in your build bonus ability, haste and movement speed. Additionally, after getting a kill, your champion goes invisible for a brief amount of time, making it a perfect item for slippery assassins like Zed and Master Yi. 

Eclipse

Eclipse is one of the strongest Lethality items in League, largely because of its Mythic passive, which grants bonus armor penetration to your Legendary items. The item grants the strongest amount of raw damage among Lethality items thanks to its active component, Ever Rising Moon, in addition to a bit of survivability through a shield. 

Axiom Arc

Axiom Arc is a unique item introduced to League in the 2022 preseason. The item gives only 10 Lethality but is mainly taken for its passive effect, which causes your ultimate ability’s cooldown to be refunded by 20 percent every time you get a kill or assist within three seconds of damaging an enemy champion. The item is particularly strong on champions like Zed, Miss Fortune, and Pyke, whose ults are particularly devastating in teamfights. 

The Collector

The Collector is largely a situational item since it executes champions below five percent HP with any basic attack or ability that would bring your target below that threshold. For champions like Sivir, Jhin, Senna, and others whose abilities and attacks can chip away at enemies (and whose ultimates are relatively game-changing), The Collector is a solid choice. 

Best champions to build Lethality on

Senna wearing white jacket and black pants and looking at the camera
Senna isn’t an assassin, but she’s very much benefiting from Lethality. Image via Riot Games

While it is more of a situational stat than a surefire baseline one, certain champions will usually benefit from building a bit of extra Lethality to help them scale into the late game. 

Assassins like Zed and Qiyana will usually benefit from items like Duskblade and Eclipse, thanks to their naturally bursty kits. Long-range AD champions who scale well into the late-game, such as Senna and Miss Fortune will also benefit from extra Lethality. Senna, in particular, is a great candidate for a Lethality build since her Piercing Darkness (Q) scales with Lethality. 

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Author
Michael Kelly
Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.
Author
Mateusz Miter
Polish Staff Writer. Mateusz previously worked for numerous outlets and gaming-adjacent companies, including ESL. League of Legends or CS:GO? He loves them both. In fact, he wonders which game he loves more every day. He wanted to go pro years ago, but somewhere along the way decided journalism was the more sensible option—and he was right.