What is Lethality in League of Legends?
Plain and simple, lethality is a statistic in League of Legends that grants flat armor penetration using a formula. Back in 2013 however, it was part of a mastery tree, and in this article we will go through what lethality has been to the League of Legends community.
In 2011, Lethality was part of the tier 5 Offense mastery tree. Any champion that dealt physical damage could benefit from Lethality, which back then increased critical strike damage by 3.33/6.66/10%. Lethality was changed the next year, and now its effect per rank was an additional 10% critical strike damage. Players were required to have 12 points in offense and 4 points in Deadliness in order to have the mastery. By this time, champions that had Infinity Edge as part of their builds benefited from the passive. Infinity Edge's passive stacked lethality for a 260% total critical strike damage.
You might have looked at that number and questioned the sanity of the developers, but do not fret, Lethality was nerfed in 2013. Well, more like tweaked. The critical strike damage of ranged champions could increase by 2.5/5% whereas melee champions got a 5/10% bonus. Players had to have 12 points in offense in order for Lethality to be a part of their attack damage mastery builds.
Just by searching "Lethality League of Legends" you will find plenty of people either posting videos of their junglers killing enemy squishies in one shot, or of players complaining about how broken lethality is. And, with the right build, it kind of was.
So Riot Games got rid of it, for the most part.
Lethality became a statistic that represents armor penetration. With what little math knowledge I have, the best way to describe lethality is as follows:
FLAT ARMOR PENETRATION = LETHALITY x (0.6+0.4xlevel÷18)
It's quite confusing, but at the end of the day, it is a form of armor penetration. The more lethality you have, the more damage your champion deals. Some items that increase lethality, in case you are interested, are Draktharr's Shadowcarver, Duskblade, Eclipse, Syzygy, Edge of Night, Prowler's Claw, Sanguine Blade, Serpent's Fang, Serrated Dirk, The Collector, Umbral Glaive and the infamous Youmuu's Ghostblade.
Lethality was, for a long time, a very strong statistic to have and champions like Pyke and Aphelios incorporate it in their kits now. Players are seeing a return in lethality, even if it is not in their mastery tree. As to whether pros will incorporate it in the competitive scene again, that remains to be seen.