What is the Moonstaff Build?
With the Season 11 League of Legends meta game in full swing, players know what Mythic items and Champions work well together in the emerging meta. The likes of Galeforce, Goredrinker and more are such items we see a lot of. But there is a new build that is seeing some play across solo queue and professional leagues. The new Mythic build is the Moonstone and Staff of Flowing Waters support build, aka the Moonstaff build, except in non-support roles.
What is the Moonstaff Build?
The Moonstaff build is the shortened name for the Moonstone Renewer Mythic item and the Epic item, Staff of Flowing Water. The Moonstone heals the closest allied champion in range, with it increasing in potency the more the user stays in combat. Combine this with Staff of Flowing Waters, the wielder gets increased healing or shielding power, and grants an ally they heal or shield 20-40 ability power and 15% bonus movement speed for three seconds. The AP the item grants is equivalent to an Amplifying Tome at the early ranks, but later gets just as strong as a Blasting Wand. Therefore, the Staff of Flowing Water benefits the Moonstone’s healing amplification while giving off 435g – 850g worth of temporary AP to allies.
Typically, enchanter support champions like Lulu, Soraka, Nami, etc in the bot lane use the Moonstaff build. However, more and more people are taking the build elsewhere. The build outside of the support role was made famous by T1’s Nick “LS” De Cesare, who brought up this build and then later coached Tim “Nemesis“ Lipovšek with the build on January 17.
Although, the first player to ever build this unconventional build path in the public eye was Gen.G’s Jungler, Kim “Clid” Tae-min, who played Moonstaff Lillia on January 15. T1’s Choi “Ellim” El-lim followed suit in his series later in the evening, meaning the build path was theory crafted well in advance in the LCK. Over in the LPL, Lê “SofM” Quang Duy built Moonstone Renewer on Lilla on January 9, but never built the extra healing from Staff of Flowing Water or other support-based items.
Who benefits from the Moonstaff build?
The Moonstone Renewer item benefits greatly from having allies in range while the wielder remains in combat. The Moonstone Renewer’s healing effect occurs every two seconds, meaning it can proc quite often, and only gets stronger every two seconds up to a cap. Champions with powerful healing abilities or can stay in combat and spam abilities for eight seconds benefit the most from this. Hence, Lillia is the perfect example of the non-conventional build, with her extended combat playstyle through her passive.
Over in the LEC, G2’s Martin “Wunder” Nordahl Hansen and XL’s Felix “Kryze” Hellström played Ivern toplane in week one of the 2021 LEC Spring Split. Kryze went even further opting for Lulu top as well. The build works because these supportive champions can generate income through the top lane farm very quickly. They then join their team, where the build begins to ramp up in the mid to late game objectives.
As for the LCS Lock-in tournament, the Moonstaff build is found more in the jungle. FlyQuest’s Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas has the only win on Lillia in the LEC lock-in tournament, where he used the Moonstaff build. Dignitas’ Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen opted for it on Nidalee. It is decent on junglers as the build is relatively cheap to make. Furthermore, junglers tend to set the pace for objectives and gank lanes, meaning they have more opportunities for Moonstone Renewer and the Staff of Flowing Water passives to work.
Ideal Moonstaff Champions
Any Champion with healing or capable of staying in combat with enemy champions benefits a lot from the Moonstaff build. Some examples are:
There are plenty of other champions that scale greatly with these items, so it is not worth listing forever. The only thing to be aware of with this build is that it ideally needs allies with decent AP scalings to make this work. Most champions have at least one AP scaling ability, so it is unlikely the bonus AP won’t go amiss from the Staff of Flowing Water.
Here is an example of a recent Senna ADC Moonstaff build that healed 44k in the 44-minute game, averaging roughly 1000 healing per minute. Senna’s healing scales so incredibly well and using Glacial Augment Runes allows her to keep the Moonstone ramping by auto-attacking enemies who are always in range through the slow effect. Remember it takes at least 15-20 minutes to get both items, meaning the actual healing was much higher in the 30~ minutes it was active.
While the build is powerful at granting bonuses and keeping your allies topped up, it does have its drawbacks. Wunder mentioned the weaknesses of the Moonstaff build in a post-game interview after G2’s victory with Ivern top. Wunder said: ”We would have for sure won easier if I played an actual well standard top laner…”. The build’s healing output is great but placing non-traditional champions with non-traditional builds means the champion sacrifices power or a role to generate teamwide healing. Over in the LCK, Korean junglers reflect this attitude as the build was more common on Lillia in the first few games, but Lillia players now opt for a standard Liandry’s Mythic build.
Either way, the Moonstone build offers teams some variance into builds, that teams can think about in the draft phase. Riot has done well with this build now out there. Players have meaningful choices and strategic diversity with Season 11 itemization.