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League of Legends S3 Mastery Guide: A Guide To LoL Masteries

Updated on October 18, 2014

League of Legends Mastery Guide: How To Build Great Mastery Pages

Are you looking for a League of Legends mastery guide for Season 3? Struggling to figure out which masteries to choose for each champion?

This mastery guide aims to help League of Legends players choose masteries for each champion type (AD, AP, Tank, Support and Jungle).

Masteries allow you to customise the champions available in League of Legends to suit your own play style. Mastery choices generally impact mostly on your early game but some provide powerful benefits throughout the whole game. Masteries in League of Legends are split into three different trees; Offense, Defense and Utility.

Masteries are a great way to cover a champion's weaknesses, your own weaknesses as a player or focus on making champion strengths even stronger. Deciding which masteries to use can be a very tough decision for new and old players alike due to the many options available. This mastery guide aims to make this process easier by providing an overview of each mastery tree and specific mastery pages for each champion type.

Be aware that this mastery guide only offers guidelines about which masteries to take. Ultimately your mastery choice should reflect your playstyle and preferences. I also recommend watching this Season 3 Mastery Guide Video.

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Images on this page are sourced from the official League of Legends website and the game client. They are used for review, commentary and educational purposes.

League of Legends Mastery Guide

A Guide To Masteries

Offense Tree - The Offensive Mastery Tree In League of Legends (Season 3)

league-of-legends-offense-mastery-tree-season-3
league-of-legends-offense-mastery-tree-season-3

Offense Tree Mastery Breakdown - Bottom Tier To Top Tier (Left To Right)

Below is a breakdown of each individual mastery available in the Offense tree. You can click on the name to learn more about the individual mastery. Numbers in brackets represent the maximum level for that mastery.

The Offense tree is often favored by AD Carries, AP champions and some aggressive top lane champions. It focuses on providing increased attack damage, ability power, armor/magic penetration and overall increases to damage output (% based and flat).

  • Summoner's Wrath (1): Improves your summoner spells. This mastery is a must take if you run Exhaust, Ignite, Surge or Ghost.
  • Fury (4): A nice small attack speed boost which should be considered a standard AD mastery as it is needed to move into the tier 2 masteries.
  • Sorcery (4): Offers a small amount of cooldown reduction and is a standard AP mastery as it is needed to unlock the tier 2 masteries.
  • Butcher (2): A very helpful mastery for new players (or players who struggle to last hit) and junglers. This only applies to minions but the extra 4 damage can definitely net you some extra gold from minion kills. AD Champions are better with Brute Force (as it effects champions and minions) but AP champions can invest in this skill and only lose 1 or 2 Ability Power points (which at the end of the day has little impact).
  • Deadliness (4): Provides some extra Attack Damage every level, another core mastery for AD champions as it is needed to unlock the armor penetration mastery.
  • Blast (4): Gives a boost to Ability Power (per level) and such is a core mastery for AP champions.
  • Destruction (1): A % increase to damage against towers, this can be very effective on pushing champions. This mastery is generally not taken by default but can be used well in a team strategy.
  • Havoc (3): Havoc offers a small % boost to damage (both magical and physical), it is generally taken to move down the offense tree.
  • Weapon Expertise (1): A core AD champion mastery that offers % armor penetration.
  • Arcane Knowledge (1): This mastery is a core AP mastery due to the % magic penetration it offers.
  • Lethality (2): Offers a nice boost to critical damage and is generally a core mastery on AD champions as it combines well with Phantom Dancer and Infinity Edge (often core items).
  • Brute Force (2): Provides a nice small boost to your Attack Damage, great to help early game last-hitting and can add up to a reasonable amount of increased damage against an opponent over the course of the laning phase.
  • Mental Force (3): A flat increase to Ability Power that can help secure early game kills.
  • Spellsword (1): A very strong mastery on Ability Power champions to boost their damage output. As the damage is magical it also scales with any magic penetration that you build.
  • Frenzy (1): A great late game mastery for AD carries, as it provides a small attack damage boost every time you land a critical strike. Late game you can potentially keep this mastery active during all fights.
  • Sunder (3): Sunder is a flat boost to armor penetration, helping AD damage output throughout the game making it an important mastery for all AD champions (AD carry, bruiser and even jungle).
  • Archmage (4): One of the AP masteries found deep in the Offense tree, this mastery is very powerful as it provides a % boost (thus it really adds up late game).
  • Executioner (1): The final mastery in the Offense tree. If you've come this far you definitely want to pick it up. Executioner gives you a little bit of extra damage that might be the difference between scoring a kill and having an enemy walk away with low health (works with both skills and auto-attacks).

Defense Tree - The Defensive Mastery Tree In League of Legends (Season 3)

league-of-legends-defense-mastery-tree-season-3
league-of-legends-defense-mastery-tree-season-3

Defense Tree Mastery Breakdown - Bottom Tier To Top Tier (Left To Right)

Below is a breakdown of each individual mastery available in the Defense tree. You can click on the name to learn more about the individual mastery. Numbers in brackets represent the maximum level for that mastery.

The Defense tree is often favored by top and jungle champions with supports also committing mastery points into this tree to boost their early game defenses. It focuses on improving defenses by increasing armor, magic resistance, health and reduced damage (% based). It also offers some great utility through health regeneration, reduced death timers, damage reflection and reduced disable duration.

  • Summoner's Resolve (1): Improves a number of summoner spells most notably Smite (jungling), Heal and Cleanse.
  • Perseverance (3): A weak mastery as it required you to low health to get the full benefit, can be good on some passive laners but your points are based spent elsewhere.
  • Durability (4): A boost to your health per level, dropping 4 points in here is very common as it also allows you to grab Veteran's Scars.
  • Tough Skin (2): A strong mastery for junglers to reduce damage they take in the jungle, over a full jungle clear this is a serious health difference.This mastery is also needed to unlock Bladed Armor. Note that it only works on monsters and not minions.
  • Hardiness (3): Gives you an armor boost which can help reduce damage early game from AD champions, minions and auto-attacks. Always a good mastery if you are investing points in the defense tree.
  • Resistance (3): Boosts your magic resistance, this small amount is enough to offset some decent damage early game making it a great option if you are laning against an AP champion.
  • Bladed Armor (1): A great mastery for junglers to improve their jungle speed.
  • Unyielding (2): While 2 damage might not seem like much over the course of a laning phase it can make the difference between a kill.
  • Relentless (2): A good mastery if the enemy has lots of slows, particularly good on champions that are weak to kiting.
  • Veteran's Scars (1): A strong flat increase to health to make you more durable early game, If you are putting 9 points into the Defense tree this is definitely the mastery to grab.
  • Safeguard (1): An interesting mastery which is good on champions (or players) that like to tower dive a lot.
  • Block (1): A strong mastery that can add up to a lot of damage over the course of a laning phase, it is not effective against champions that rely on skills though.
  • Tenacious (3): A great default mastery in the defense tree to help you survive against crowd control.
  • Juggernaut (3): A decent mastery on champions that build a lot of health but generally not worth it, your points are better spent elsewhere.
  • Defender (1): A weak mastery that is only useful in All Random All Mid (ARAM).
  • Legendary Armor (3): A great percentage increase to both armor and magic resistance. Definitely worth considering.
  • Good Hands (1): Only useful late game and most games do not go late enough to be considered a core mastery.
  • Reinforced Armor (1): A great tank mastery to beef you up late game against the enemy AD carry.
  • Honor Guard (3): A nice % damage decrease from all sources,if you've come this far you definitely want to grab this mastery.

Utility Tree - The Utility Mastery Tree In League of Legends (Season 3)

league-of-legends-utility-mastery-tree-season-3
league-of-legends-utility-mastery-tree-season-3

Utility Tree Mastery Breakdown - Bottom Tier To Top Tier (Left To Right)

Below is a breakdown of each individual mastery available in the Utility tree. You can click on the name to learn more about the individual mastery. Numbers in brackets represent the maximum level for that mastery.

The Utility tree is used by some support champions and sparingly by most other champions (they rarely venture past 9 points). It offers a wide variety of benefits from increased mana, mana regeneration, movement speed, increased ward range, increased buff duration, spell vamp and cooldown reduction along with some gold and experience based masteries (great for support champions).

  • Summoner's Insight (1): Definitely a very powerful mastery, mostly due to the fact that it reduces the cooldown of Flash which is considered a core summoner spell on nearly all champions. Over the course of game this can mean a few extra uses of Flash which is extremely powerful to have up your sleeve.
  • Wanderer (3): A strong mastery that is great for roaming champions as it allows you to leave your lane and return just alittle bit faster.
  • Meditation (3): Gives a good boost to mana regeneration that can be enough to maintain your early game needs until you get a Blue Golem Buff or a mana related item. Great for players that have problems with mana regeneration.
  • Improved Recall (1): Helps you get back to lane that much quicker, if for some reason you aren't taking a summoner spell covered by Summoner's Insight you can place a point here to unlock tier 2 utility masteries.
  • Scout (1): A mastery generally taken by supports, it adds a extra range to wards when they are originally placed. Can be good in certain situations but is definitely not a core mastery.
  • Mastermind (3): A very strong mastery which you can use to reduce your summoner spell cooldown allowing you to use them more often.
  • Expanded Mind (3): A mastery that will boost your mana pool, generally you are better off with Mastermind unless you struggle to manage your mana.
  • Artificer (1): A very strong mastery if you build a lot of items that have active effects (such as a support champion).
  • Greed (4): Makes an appearance in most support mastery builds, this is going to help you get your items up and buy wards for your team during the entire game. It's definitely not game breaking and don't feel you have to work towards this.
  • Runic Affinity (1): One of the strongest masteries in the utility tree and is the main reason people run 9 points in this tree. It's great for junglers, AP champions and AD carries as they all regularly grab buffs. This mastery provides an extra 30 seconds on Blue/Red Buff allowing you to have less buff downtime. It also works with speed shrines on Dominion and Twisted Treeline.
  • Vampirism (3): A very powerful mastery on the right champion, especially those that benefit from lifesteal and spellvamp.
  • Biscuiteer (1): Gives you a free potion type item that regenerates health and mana. Can be used to give you that extra amount of lane sustain, also needed to unlock Explorer.
  • Wealth (2): This mastery requires 4 points in Greed to unlock and is a pretty poor mastery. It does open up some creative starting item options thanks to extra gold but its not a mastery you should be striving for.
  • Awareness (4): A decent mastery for supports as it allows them to keep up on levels and also allows them to give more experience to their AD carry without gimping themselves. It is also okay on junglers but is too far down the tree to make it worth aiming towards.
  • Strength of Spirit (3): A unique mastery that is very champion specific, it's a nice way to get some extra lane sustain but doesn't offer anything game breaking. It's something to consider taking on champions like Ryze, Blitzcrank or Singed as they get other benefits from building mana as well.
  • Explorer (3): A free ward to start off the game which can be used to scout out the enemy or protect from a potential invasion, very strong when used correctly.
  • Pickpocket (3): A strong mastery on ranged supports, allows you to generate some extra wealth.
  • Intelligence (3): If you've made it this far in the utility mastery tree and you aren't one of the champions listed above under Strength of Spirit then this is where you want to place your points.
  • Mastermind (1): The final mastery in this tree which if you've come this far you definitely want to pick up. It gives some extra movement speed to stay out of harms way but definitely isn't overly strong.

League of Legends Masteries

League of Legends Masteries
League of Legends Masteries

AD Masteries

AD Masteries Overview

AD Masteries are one of the easiest as your choice revolves around 9 points in the utility or defense tree. This is because the offense masteries offer too many benefits to pass up.

AD Masteries 1 - 21/9/0 - Standard Defense Based AD Masteries Setup

season-3-ad-masteries-defense
season-3-ad-masteries-defense

This AD masteries page is generally considered your standard season 3 AD mastery page. It focuses on the defense tree at the cost of the utility tree. This investment in the defense tree allows you to trade better early game but comes at the cost of mana related masteries, Flash cooldown and buff duration.

As an AD Champion you are basically grabbing everything on the left hand side of the tree, also known as the 'AD side'. This offers improved summoner spells through Summoner's Wrath (usually Ignite or Exhaust). While the large number of damage focused masteries offer attack damage, attack speed, armor penetration and critical strike damage, which are needed to boost your damage output (as that is your role).

Meanwhile the defense tree offers improved armor (to reduce damage from minions and your AD lane opponent), combined with Health masteries to make you just that bit more durable.

This is the sort of AD mastery page that you want to run on less mana dependant champions, weak early game laners who play on the defensive side or if you are laning with a Soraka (as she can give you mana).

AD Masteries 2 - 21/0/9 - Utility Based AD Masteries Setup

season-3-ad-masteries-utility
season-3-ad-masteries-utility

This is generally an alternative to the above option. The offensive tree simply cannot be ignored with all the benefits it offers in terms of damage output and so is again taken.

The offense tree setup is the exact same as the above and is used for the same reasons as the AD masteries page 1.

While the utility tree offers a boost to your mana regeneration, reduces the cooldown of Flash and gives increased buff duration. Grabbing Summoner's Insight for the reduced cooldown can add up over the length of a game allowing you to use Flash a few extra times. The increased mana regeneration is needed to keep your mana levels high enough to harass your lane opponent especially since AD champions rune Armor runes (taking away the opportunity for mana regeneration runes in a primary slot).

This is combined with a point in Wanderer to unlock tier 3 which offers increased buff duration, giving you more time to use the Red Lizard Buff (very deadly on AD champions).

This Season 3 AD mastery page is more situational and you should generally make the first AD mastery page listed here your default choice.

AP Masteries

AP Masteries Overview

AP Masteries are similar to your AD masteries in that you only have a single simple choice to make (which is generally based on if your champion has mana or not). Your job is to deal maximum damage and burst down the enemy which is what the offense tree allows you to achieve.

AP Masteries 1 - 21/0/9 - The First Option For Your AP Masteries

season-3-ap-masteries-standard
season-3-ap-masteries-standard

The Season 3 Offense tree is very strong for AP champions at increasing their burst damage output allowing them to do their job even better. The offense tree for casters is pretty straight forward but you can move a few points around (more on that later).

Summoner's Wrath is an important mastery for AP Champions as they generally run Ignite, as you become a better player you will try to limit the amount of time Ignite is available (as whenever it is up you will look to use it for a kill) and as such the extra AP and AD you gain when it is on cooldown is really strong. While the picture shown takes Sorcery for the added Cooldown Reduction if you struggle at last-hitting you can move points into Butcher.

Moving further down the offense tree all the mastery choices are fairly obvious, focusing on picking up the all important magic penetration from Arcane Knowledge and the ability power and general damage boosting masteries. These masteries support your role as an AP champion which is to deal as much burst damage as possible.

Moving across to the utility tree you want to grab the Summoner's Insight mastery to reduce your Flash cooldown while also grabbing some extra mana regeneration to unlock tier 2. From here you can grab summoner to further reduce your cooldowns while also placing a single point in Wanderer to unlock the extra buff duration.

Similar to the AD masteries you want to finish off your 9 points in the utility tree with increased buff duration as it gives you extra duration out of the Blue Golem buff for the whole game which is simply too huge a benefit to pass up.

AP Masteries 2 - 21/9/0 - AP Masteries For AP Champions Without Mana

season-3-ap-masteries-non-mana
season-3-ap-masteries-non-mana

This AP Masteries setup is used for AP champions that don't use mana (such as Vladimir or Katarina) or for weaker early game mages that are looking to boost their survivability. The offense tree is exactly the same as the first AP mastery page featured.

You want to go down the defense tree on champions without mana as the best tier 1 mastery offers increased mana regeneration and which is wasted on these champions. This allows you to also be more durable during the laning phase.

The defense tree offers increased magic resistance to reduce incoming damage and some extra health to make you alittle bit harder to burst down. If you are laning against an AD champion consider taking the extra armor over magic resistance.

Support Masteries

Support Masteries Overview

Support Masteries are possibly the most versatile masteries in League of Legends. There are many options available which can change based on the support champion you are playing, your summoner spell choice, your lane partner and the enemy lane setup.

Support Masteries 1 - 1/21/8 - The Standard Defensive Support Mastery Setup

season-3-support-masteries-defense
season-3-support-masteries-defense

This support mastery setup should be your standard option when playing a support champion (especially melee supports like Taric or Leona). Your goals with a support mastery setup is to give you some survivability so you aren't giving away easy kills to the enemy team while also making sure you have some mana regeneration and reduced summoner spells.

The single point in Summoner's Wrath offers improved Exhaust which can make the difference in those early game exchanges (and remains a vital point throughout all the support masteries shown here).

By going deep in the defense tree it makes you durable enough to not be an easy target during the laning phase which is even more important for a non healing support. Armor, health, tenacity and reduced damage through block are very important masteries.

Moving further down the defense tree you want to look towards Enlightenment for the cooldown reduction (potentially allowing you to get maximum cooldown reduction with items quite easily) which overall just leads to more healing, shielding or crowd control (depending on the support you are playing). On this mastery line you also want to look at Initiator, this is another strong mastery for supports as often getting caught of position means death, which generally always means your above the health threshold (or dead) so you've always got the movement speed boost up your sleeve (helps you avoid danger or ward). Of course since you've made it this far you want to grab the final defense tree mastery.

To finish off this support mastery build we look towards the utility tree to provide improved Flash which will have you flashing away from opponents more often (and dying less). This is combined with mane regeneration to help you keep up with your supporting duties.

Support Masteries 2 - 1/15/14 - A Balance Based Approach To Support Masteries

season-3-support-masteries
season-3-support-masteries

This support mastery setup focuses on the utility tree as opposed to solely the defensive tree. While the defensive setup should definitely be your default choice due to the durability it offers early game, the utility tree does offer some good stats that can work on a passive support champion (or just a passive bottom lane in general).

As with the other support mastery builds you want to grab the single point in the offense tree for improved Exhaust. While the defense tree gives some extra armor, magic resistance, block and health to give you some durability.

Moving into the utility tree you want to grab Summoner's Insight and Mastermind to reduce your Flash cooldown while also giving you some mana regeneration, gold generation, biscuiteer and explorer.

Top Lane/Bruiser Masteries

Top Lane/Bruiser Masteries Overview

Top masteries have some flexibility but generally you'll be making the simple decision of offensive or defensive orientated masteries. This choice is generally based on the champion you are playing and can also change based on your lane opponent (if you are playing ranked and know your matchup).

Top Masteries 1 - 9/21/0 - A Defensive Top Lane Mastery Setup

season-3-top-masteries-defense
season-3-top-masteries-defense

These top masteries will generally be your standard top lane mastery choice as most top champions are bruisers who not only benefit from being durable early game but also need the extra durability throughout the game to absorb some punishment from the enemy team.

Your main goal in the offense tree is to pick up the armor penetration to increase your damage output. To get there you want to pick up some extra attack speed and attack damage along with improved summoner spells (Ignite generally but it also helps Exhaust if you take that). If for some reason you aren't using a summoner spell that gets a benefit from Summoner's Wrath you'll want to move this point into bonus minion damage (helps last-hitting).

From here your focus shifts to the defense mastery tree to boost your defenses. Armor and health are key early areas that will greatly increase your survivability (if you know you are laning against an AP based champion then move points into the magic resistance mastery). Further down you can reduce harassment from enemy champions with Unyielding and Block while also weakening crowd control with effects with Relentless and Tenacious.

While you want to finish off this tree with Legendary Armor and Honor Guard.

Top Masteries 2 - 21/9/0 - An Offensive Top Lane Mastery Setup

season-3-top-masteries-offense
season-3-top-masteries-offense

This top lane masteries page is for your aggressive top laners that want to use aggression to get kills and then snowball into the mid-late game. It is important to note that if your champion does not build an item with critical chance (Infinity Edge, Atma's, Trinity Force, Phantom Dancer or others) you'll want to move points out of Lethality and Frenzy as the masteries will not be worth it.

The first half of the offense tree is very similar to the first top mastery page. The extras you get out of committing 21 points into this tree are more attack damage and armor penetration along with more damage to lower health targets.

As you've only got 9 points left to spend in the defense tree you want to focus on the the mastery options that will give you the best result, which is focusing on armor and health.

Jungle Masteries

Jungle Masteries Overview

Jungle masteries are also flexible as it will depend on the champion you are playing and if you want to focus on ganking, jungling or invading.

The jungle mastery pages here offer good guides as to possible jungle masteries and are a great choice if you play a number of junglers. If you wish to specialise in 1 or 2 junglers I recommend checking out Stonewall008's Overview of the Season 3 materies for a comprehensive collection of season 3 jungle masteries.

Jungle Masteries 1 - 21/9/0 - Jungle Masteries For Aggressive Junglers

season-3-jungle-masteries-offense
season-3-jungle-masteries-offense

This jungle mastery page is for your AD aggressive junglers like Nocturne and Gangplank. By focusing on the offense tree you get strong jungle clear times and that extra touch of damage for ganks.

You want to be grabbing everything in the offense tree that boosts your damage output, especially the Butcher mastery (similar to an AD mastery page).

Moving across to the defensive tree you want to grab health, armor and the reduced minion damage to unlock the damage reflection to boost jungle speeds further.

Jungle Masteries 2 - 0/21/9 - Jungle Masteries For Tanky Junglers

season-3-jungle-masteries-defense
season-3-jungle-masteries-defense

These jungle masteries are best used on your tanky junglers such as Amumu and Maokai. It offers good defensive stats too boost their tanking abilities to make up for the reduced income of the jungle. It also provides buff duration to help pull off ganks for the team.

Your defense masteries are all pretty obvious choices, focusing on health, armor and reduced minion damage to keep you healthy in the jungle. You also will want to look at reducing the effects of crowd control with reduced slow effectiveness and tenacity, this will help you mid-late game when you have to tank it up for your team.

Looking at the utility tree it is fairly obvious that as a jungler your goal here is to grab the improved buff duration in tier 3. The best way to do this is to pick up the increased mana regeneration, Summoner's Insight, Mastermind and a single point in Wanderer.

Was This Season 3 Mastery Guide Helpful? - What Is Your Favourite Mastery Setup?

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    • profile image

      FifaULTimateGuider 4 years ago

      very useful thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for this guide. It's definitely useful to a new player such as myself as a guideline for planning out your masteries for various champions!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @SimilarSam: Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 4 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Glad it was useful!

      I plan to give it a week or two to 'let the dust settle' as they will probably make some changes after implementing them. But once I feel they are locked in I will redo this guide and make it a Season 3 mastery guide.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for this awesome article!

      Will you update this page with the new masteries?

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This is such an excellent resource. Great job.