How do you build?

As I’ve gotten more serious with the game, I’ve discovered I’m having trouble building mechanical skill rather than just memory when it comes to builds. I’m not sure in what order to buy things, or why buy those things over others. A lot of this comes with experience, and knowing which items do what, but I’m already pretty familiar with this, and I’m still having trouble. I’ve found that this translates to similar games like LoL as well.

For a while I was coasting on the recommended builds, but the more the heroes shift since they updated the builds, the more I realize that I’m missing possibly the most crucial skill of MOBAs. I have no clue how to build for different heroes or roles. I’m very familiar with situational things (Ex. In this situation, you need this and that T3 item to succeed) but I’ve no idea how to get there from level 1 on my own.

If I know I need AC, should I start by buying Crystal Bit or Swift Shooter first? Which will be more important to have early? Should I skip those now and buy boots or some defense first? How about when I get more gold, what’s the most important thing to upgrade? What about other damage items, when do those come into play? Should I buy one T2 item or two T1 items?

These questions seems simple, but I don’t know how to begin answering them. Studying pros, reading guides, watching the order in which the auto builds work; they all don’t give any reasoning behind their choices. It’s an unspoken common sense in MOBAs, but for someone who doesn’t know, it’s very hard to learn. I’m not a fan of trial and error, and neither are my teammates frustrated by the one person who is level 6 and has hardly bought anything useful.

Anything helps, thank you if you’ve read this far.


I’ll give you a better reply later but I just wanted let you know I moved this out of Help!, as it’s again a subjective discussion and not exactly an issue solved by one answer.


Thank you, I read “technical and game help” as “technical skills and help with the game” but that’s probably bugs now that I think about it…

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It’s best to buy starting items that’ll benefit you the most earlygame, whether it be for reasons such as better farm clear, earlier access to your first T3 item, or support for allies (in the case of buying a contract as a roam), among others. For example, with CP lane Reza (or most other CP laners, especially melees), he should be trying to rush AS, so you’d want to start with CB and HG to hit his powerspike asap, but buying a BoE over HG (even if it doesn’t build into any CP items) may be a better choice because it provides him with important sustain.
As for actually building up T3 items, you should just focus on building each T3 item one at a time, while also not neglecting to buy other items, such as defense and boots, as needed. Additionally, you should buy T1/2 items based on how they’ll benefit you the most. For example, if you’re going for SB, buying 2 WBs early is a better choice than upgrading one WB into Six Sins because it provides the exact same benefits for slightly less gold.


It all really begins with a hero…
Different hero starts out differently…
Yes you can play around a bit but make sure you those build ready by certain level.

For example, if you are a carry, a wp carry like vox. You will buy wp and book thing to sustain and keep you alive till you reach level 3 or so you can buy more stuff. Boot isn’t important in level 1 but once you teleport to base after clearing waves, get them. As you progress to level 6 , you have boots, a SB ready or BS etc and also reflex block… all this by level 6

As you progress to level 9 and 12 you have everything. You slowly build them.

As for cp carry like celeste, crystal bit and battery to sustain early game and energy. I wouldn’t suggest fighting early game if you are cp but you poke here and there… and by level 6 you should have tier 2 boots, reflex block and crystal build etc.

For jungle, same but you can build with one weapon or crystal and an armour to sustain or 2 crystal or weapon to early damage. That’s up to you. As long you have the important things by level 6.

For captain, you can buy contract though I won’t. You can buy boots and or mine traps. As for captain you need crucible and fountain by level 6 and of cus a flare/scout for vision and tier 2 boots.

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first, i look at my hero, my team comp, the enemy team comp, and then what my team needs.

at gamestart, i look at my lane opponent if i’m laning. do i need sustain/defense? or can i go with two offensive items and push them out?
if i’m jungling, what benefits my clear more? in most cases, double crystal bit or weapon blade will be ghe answer. will i have serious energy problems? maybe treants can remedy this, because a battery is lower damage.
if i’m roaming, will the enemy be harassing my laner early on? will i need vision? will i myself be tanky enough? if they harass or we invade their jungle early, protector’s is good. flare for vision, oakheart for tank.

when i’m building towards an item when i have limited slots, i think which component benefits me more alone? for example, when i build bp on gwen or tt on kestrel, i go for the swift shooter to blazing salvo if i have no other slots, because it helps ke stutterstep better and it improves my perk or ability.

when i think about building defense, i look at the scoreboard and think “which enemy/ies are the threats?” maybe one or two enemy wp carries aren’t doing so good, so they won’t be that much of a threat in a fight, so maybe prioritize against cp carries. in most cases, an aegis is definitely a need, and in some cases, you’ll need a reflex block by midgame if your enemy has cc (thank god i play gwen)

i don’t think of a solid full build when i go into the game. maybe instead of going for tyrants monocle on gwen, i’ll need a poison shiv, maybe as a cp hero, i’ll need spellfire. am i running out of mana a lot as a wp hero? halcyon chargers’ll be my boots.
it’s all about what i need throughout the game.

in your AC question, if you’re going vox/varya who takes this as a first item usually, the swift shooter is prioritized because more attacks means more bounces/chain lightnings. sure they wont be as painful hitting, but you get more hits in your enemy if possible, and your abilities don’t scale with small amounts of cp well as cp vox, varya i’m not sure.

i’m sleepy and i tend to ramble when i post long so if you don’t understand anything feel free to ask and i’l just answer like 10 hrs later after i wake up, what i wrote was more of a “how do i build” rather than “how to build”

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@DIMTI It seems like I shouldn’t be afraid of buying items for early game I intend on scrapping (selling) entirely for something else late game. Is that right?

And focusing 1 at a time for items, while buying other things as needed. Is there a certain level, time, or gold amount that you find yourself buying boots or defense? Or does it depend more on match, hero, enemy etc?

@ANGERY That was helpful, thank you. Little question, do you have a base build that you aim for (you like Gwen) so do you have a standard for her, and switch it up as you need it? Or do you decide from scratch when the game starts?

Yes, but it’s really only worth doing it with BoE and the contracts, otherwise it’s kinda a waste of gold.

It’s mostly situational, but I almost always buy boots/def after finishing my first T3 item just for safety. The only time I don’t really bother with buying either is when I’m using assassins or I’m really fed early one, as they wouldn’t be that necessary.


I’m replying to this straight out of your post itself, I haven’t skimmed through the rest of the comments yet so I apologize if this has already been mentioned in passing.

Each of us will have our preferences, and there is obviously a line of which “good” and “bad” can be drawn, though it’s blurred, it’s obvious there are some builds on some heroes you just don’t do - going from very obvious to “I should have really thought about this one”.

Everything from this line onward is how dream plays, so take it with a grain of salt, and take what you want from it.

Firstly, it all comes down to the role I play. Obviously hero decision is a factor of specifically which item I start with, so I won’t delve into the absolute nitty-gritty of that.

For my playstyle, I’m someone who likes to be where the action is as soon as it’s happening. I’m the kind of person that focuses movement speed early game, and I’m a fan of chase potential. This is great for me in every role I play, in particular captain - I do not like not being able to tend to my teammates as soon as its viable.

After basic early-game damage output, I focus on items that are of benefit of my role’s primary function, so, AD or AP? Sustain, burst? Things to consider early. As soon as you’ve built around the idea of your primary function, the rest is counter building. That is something I cannot stress enough - a majority of the work your build outputs is solely based on how you’re countering the enemy.

Building roam is easy, in my opinion, but playing roam isn’t exactly a walk in the park for all. Building utility for the sake of utility, and building utility as a counter/counter to utility is straightforward. Performing as roam requires a fairly intimate knowledge of how each hero works as and against.

Continuing on from movement speed - I’m a fan of repositioning and zone control. I see a lot of people who are good at sustain, who can just kind of stand in one place and tear away enemies. I’ve never been good at this. My ability to roam well stems from my ability to play carry well - the same nuances in my reflex/thought process of kiting, repositioning, and so on are reflected.

I know this thread is about builds in particular, but I think a lot of achieving a heightened greatness in your gameplay is to find where your strengths, preferences and comforts are.

That being said, break out of those as often as you can and master everything to your ability. Regardless of how well you play with every hero, you’ll always have some of which you play infinitely better.

Your build can be reflective of your playstyle, to a degree, but obviously you’re not going to build certain things on certain heroes. Try to work with your hero and yourself when building.


i would say build damage over speed. but that’s due to my playstyle. if you find yourself dancing back n forth, trading shots, then attack speed is useless.

if you find yourself diving in constantly, then get attack speed. if you can’t survive a fight, get defense. if you find yourself struggling to find the gold, you’re simply not farming fast enough and not getting those all important last hits.

You don’t really need to have a set plan for how to rotate through lane or jungle, as long as you’re map aware and keep looking at those dots. Always be moving. always be attacking something and you’ll find you won’t fall behind too much.

you already said you know how to counterbuild, so keep that up. One tip I can say is, if you’re the one being focused down, then just aim to survive the fight. Take notice of who’s killing you, because they’re going to do it again, and again, and again. The least you can do is give them a hard time trying.

Even when you said you don’t like trial and error, it is IMHO, the best way to analyse your own playstyle and what will work for you. if it’s the build that’s the problem, or if it’s just your own mechanical skill, positioning, etc.

Compare yourself, test yourself. How well do you do compared to pro’s? Can you land a Celeste stun on a invisible Taka? or a dashing Reza? Etc. When i watch video’s of pro’s, I’m always trying to predict their next move and if I predict wrong, I ask myself: I would’ve done that differently, would that of been a better or worse decision? if your answer is worse, then you got something to work on.

Let me just say, analyse yourself on the go. anyone can replay a scene over and over to see what went wrong. you need to be able to make snap decisions with confidence that you’re making the right choice. So if it’s a youtube video that you’ve seen before, it’s useless to analyse.

Don’t be afraid to experiment on what works for YOU. there is a recipe for success that pro’s follow… but first get yourself to that level, then you can follow that recipe.


i do have a standard build for gwen and other heroes, if i don’t really know what i need or if i don’t need to make any changes, my standard build for gwen is tb sb bp tm aegis journey boots.
if i can’t see what exactly i need to build for my team and against the enemy, i just think what items benefit this hero and my playstyle? for example, i build high damage for gwen along with bp because the first attack with perk and tb can usually deal high damage so it’s easy to stack.
for me, i have labels on items, e.g. sg and sb are if i need straight up damage or need high cp immediately (baron and idris for example), de and bp if i’ll be able to last long in a fight to stack, ps and sf if i need mortal wounds, tb if only 1 non roam enemy has high armor, and bs otherwise, ssw if i really need energy and cdr (glaive could use it), clockwork if i have spammable skills to lower my other skills’ cooldowns. for boots, journey boots if i’m less mobile than my enemy, war treads if i need more health, and halcyon chargers if i need more energy, though i honestly barely use halcyon since journey boots and war treads offer a lot of utility. i think wp kes would benefit from it.