Hullbreaker in League of Legends: Why Are Players Prioritizing the Item?
The top lane in Season 12 of League of Legends has been teetering with Riot Games constantly modifying gameplay and item builds. The recent Teleport rework changed the way the game is played and essentially forced top laners to stick to their respective lanes until the 14th minute. The teleport rework coupled with the objective bounty system paved the way for the rise of the Enchanter top meta, which became a menace.
As a means to counter these changes, the top laners, given that the champion is attack damage (AD) based, have turned to Hullbreaker as their item of choice. Hullbreaker has been playing a key role in helping players win duels and push turrets on their own - an effective split-push strategy.
In the past few weeks, there has been an increase in the number of top laners rushing Hullbreaker as a first or second item in their build paths. This item’s prioritization has also skyrocketed in the esports scene, especially in the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK).
What makes the item so oppressive is that it can be bought for 2,800 gold and it offers 50 attack damage (AD), 400 health, and 150% base health regeneration.
What is Hullbreaker
Hullbreaker is classified as a legendary item in League of Legends. The recipe to build Hullbreaker is purchasing Phage for 1,100 gold and Pickaxe for 875 gold, and then the item can be completed with an extra 825 gold. The item can be bought in both Summoners’ Rift and Howling Abyss.
Build path -> Phage + Pickaxe = Hullbreaker
Hullbreaker is overpowered in the current meta due to the split-push opportunity it presents, thanks to its passive.
Passive - Boarding Party: While no allied champions are within 1400 units, gain 20−60 bonus armor and bonus magic resistance and deal 20% bonus damage against structures (depending on level). Nearby allied siege minions and super minions gain 60−180 bonus armor and bonus magic resistance and deal 200% bonus damage against structures (depending on level).
Bonus resistances decay over 3 seconds while allied champions are nearby.
As a result, Hullbreaker automatically becomes an extremely powerful item choice for champions who don’t have a good Mythic item.
At max level, the item is 198% gold efficient which is balanced out by the fact that it can only be fully utilized when the top laner is alone. Amidst Riot’s recent changes to fighter items, Hullbreaker was left untouched, and now the item offers higher resistances along with durability towards turrets than any other mythic or legendary item and is very cost efficient.
Hullbreaker prioritized in pro play
Pro players have been buying Hullbreaker as their first or second item to maximize their advantages on the side lanes. While it is usually picked up by the top-laners, in the recent best-of-three (BO3) series between KT Rolster and T1 on 18th Feb, KT’s jungler Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan bought Hullbreaker as the first item while playing Rek’Sai.
League of Legends European Championship (LEC) caster and broadcast talent Marc “Caedrel” Lamont wrote on Twitter, “Hullbreaker Reksai jungle in LCK. That should say enough about this item.”
Following this itemization in the LCK, even LEC top-laners have taken to the trend. In the match between Excel Esports and Misfits Gaming, Misfit’s top-laner, who was on Graves, rushed Hullbreaker around the 18-minute mark.
No penalty for ranged champions
A Reddit thread pointed out how there is no penalty for a ranged champion for building this item which was meant to be bought by melee top-laners.
Hullbreaker is not just bought on champions like Sion, Graves, or Urgot; players have been buying this on Vayne, Jayce, and Akshan, as well.
Given that the item has risen to fame following the enchanter top meta and that players are building it on pretty much most of the AD top-laners, it will be interesting to see how Riot deals with it in the upcoming patches.
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