Back in patch 3.14, Riot introduced three support items into League of Legends: Ancient Coin, Relic Shield, and Spellthief’s Edge. Over time, they all have had their stats and builds changed, but overall they have had similar effects. We are going to take a look at three main things for these items: the comparisons between the items, some mistakes players make with them, and how to best optimize them in your next game. The thing to remember at the current time is that the support items need to gain 500 gold from their passive quests in order to unlock the ability to place wards. First, let’s see what the items do in their current form and what they build into.
Ancient Coin is probably the simplest of the three items. You gain gold passively as well as getting literal coins from enemy minions dying near you. It works well in a very passive lane. The upgraded item, Nomad’s Medallion, gives you 50 gold for each coin dropped but does not increase the mana gained. The important thing to understand is that this item can be taken in both winning and losing lanes and stacks gold well. This will stack gold consistently, as it mainly requires you to be present in a lane.
It scales well into the later part of a match, as clearing minions will be done by carries, and if there are large waves, multiple coins of both types will drop. It mainly provides the movement speed to get from lane to lane, as well as some passive health regeneration that Spellthief’s Edge doesn’t get. If you are unsure about the lane as support, take Ancient Coin and bask as gold falls simply into your pocket. It is handily the safest pick of the three.
Taken mainly by tanks and melee supports, Relic Shield offers the best healing and sustainability in lane. The ability to not only execute minions but also heal yourself and an ally makes this choice good for melee versus melee support matches. The upgraded item, Targon’s Brace, and the final upgrade, Remnant of the Aspect, give more stacks as well as stacks more frequently. Targon’s Brace gives a stack every 30 seconds and holds up to three charges, and Remnant holds four charges, granting a stack every 20 seconds.
The tricky thing with Relic Shield is that the gold you gain is entirely dependent on the minions you kill. Melee minions grant 21 gold, caster minions grant 14, and cannon minions grant at least 60 gold but up to 90 depending on how much time has passed. Later in the game, it can become difficult to grab minions without communicating to your team that YOU HAVE STACKS, but they clear the wave anyway, or subject yourself to poke from the enemy team. If you are a melee support, Relic Shield is usually your go-to choice.
Spellthief’s Edge is good usually for both poking ranged champions and providing ability power for healing and shielding. The upgraded item, Frostfang, doubles the amount of gold you get per stack to 22 gold. This item is dependent on poke damage with auto attacks and spells to generate gold, but it will delay time by killing minions early. Killing a minion while having Spellthief’s Edge delays the ability to get gold for the item by 12 seconds per minion killed. This is also the only support item that works by damaging towers.
Later in the match, this is probably the strongest item to have due to team-fights being a core part of most games. Once the quest is completed, taking minions no longer stops gold generation. Mostly ranged champions will take Spellthief’s Edge for the ability power and the advantage in lane. The ability power works well with other mage support items like Ardent Censor and Redemption.
You may notice in many games that supports don’t always finish their quests quickly, which dramatically lowers the effect a support can have in providing vision. Supports have the most access to wards in game, and not having vision can sacrifice control of the jungle and neutral objectives. So for each of the items, here are some of the mistakes both supports and teams will make with the different items.
Ancient Coin is the most passive support item of the three, so there aren’t a whole lot of mistakes that can be made. Mainly people just need to pick up the coins and make sure to be in lanes in order to get those coins. Getting the upgrade early feels amazing to have an additional 22 gold per coin to finish the quest. It’s important being near the minions with an ally to have access to the coins. From a team perspective, just making sure that the support is able to get the coins will probably be enough.
If you couldn’t tell by the all-caps phrase in the Relic Shield section, it can be annoying to get gold later in the game. This is the main problem with the Relic line, and melee supports need gold to get items and provide crowd control and a front line for their carries. The other main problem is that Relic Shield is the most chaotic way to generate gold for supports. Missing out on cannon minions early and frequently will put you far behind the other two item choices. Upgrading Relic and having more stacks more frequently will help out, so make sure to give the support the cannon minion if they have a stack! Cannon minions increase by 3 gold per 90 seconds, with the max of 90 gold. Even at 60 gold, this puts a melee support more than one tenth closer to their wards.
This seems to me as the hardest to stack in most Elos and seems to have the longest completion time. People generally forget about auto attacking champions for stacks, or they won’t use their stacks on towers. For DA-mage supports like Brand and Lux, long-range poke is how they’ll stack gold and just build more ability power. For shielding supports like Lulu and Janna, Ancient Coin probably works better, as people tend to want to peel their carry and not use spells on the opposing lane. Taking minions, even when alone, only harms the time to get the quest completed.
Spellthief’s Edge has pretty much been the only support item that was taken in other lanes. The need to have an ally nearby to proc the stacks pushed the item back to supports. This item is mostly contingent on what the player will do, so just being by the support will help them generate gold.
Getting to 500 gold to complete the quest is the main goal for supports. Understanding how to best optimize the items, as well as understanding how to create problems for the enemy support, will help you play support better. While it is the least played role of the five, supports provide vision and generally fill whatever niche the team needs.
Getting the first upgrade as early as possible will nearly double the amount of gold you get from coins. Completing the item will only get you that fourth ward, so finishing the item is not a priority early on. Make sure to be in lane with a partner to maximize the amount of coins that drop, and kill minions only if needed. Optimizing this item is all about being in the game around dying minions. If the enemy support takes coin, just keep them away from waves of minions whenever possible to make it difficult to get gold and push their ward timing back.
This takes more coordination with the team to not only get important cannon minions, but also to get minions in the later parts of the game. To optimize Relic Shield, getting the upgrades will help you stack quicker and more effectively. Getting the third and fourth stacks to get minions and the lower refresh time will guarantee quick access to wards. If you see an enemy with Relic Shield, larger trades will force the opposing support to engage fights or take the damage and gold.
You will need to play aggressive and keep the auto attacks up to stack effectively. Upgrading early will help because you’ll be getting twice as much gold per stack. Don’t forget to auto attack towers to get gold as well. Just keep eyes out for jungle ganks, because most of the time, Spellthief’s Edge takers don’t have as much health. If your opponent has a Spellthief’s, make sure to engage often if possible. The longer a lane runs, the more gold that a good Spellthief’s user will receive. Generally, keeping anyone out of lane is the best way to deny gold, but especially for Spellthief’s Edge. If they cannot poke, they won’t generate gold.
Armed with this knowledge of League of Legends support items, you’ll be better positioned than ever to win your next game!
I am a League of Legends writer from New Jersey. Graduated from Rutgers with my Bachelor’s in Journalism. Favorite League champions: Vel’Koz, Sion, Blitzcrank to name a few. I also play Overwatch, Slay the Spire, Stardew Valley, and D&D. Find me on Twitter @JaredWarnke