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Gold efficiency is the comparison of an item's purchase price in the in-game shop to the amount of gold that item is actually worth, based on the stats it provides. This is a form of theory-crafting within the game, but it does follow a set of guidelines that allows it to hold merit in usage within the community, and is in fact acknowledged by Riot Games Inc. as a lever for game balance.

Calculating Gold Efficiency

The gold efficiency of an item can be determined by comparing its purchase price to its theoretical price, which is the combined gold value of all the stats bonuses it provides. The value of individual bonuses is determined from reference items. Reference items are basic items whith just one effect that provides a bonus to a single stat. They provide a baseline to determine the gold value of the stat they improve.

The theoretical price of an item seldom takes into account any passive or active effects. However, if an item's passive is "Gain a fraction of stat X as stat Y", and the item itself gives stat X, it is customary to include the bonus to stat Y from the item's passive working on its own stats to calculate its theoretical price (for example, the Manamune).

The gold efficiency of an item is the theoretical price divided by its actual price. An item is gold efficient if its gold efficiency is greater than or equal to 100%. Items which are not gold efficient have a gold deficit, which is the difference between their purchase price and their theoretical price. The gold deficit helps in determining whether it's worth buying an item. It is worth buying the item if its passive and/or active abilities are considered to be worth more than their gold deficit.

The gold values assigned to stats are not measures of the effectiveness of those stats. They are simply base prices meant to be used in determining the theoretical prices of higher-tier items. The goal of this page is to provide a valuation of items by comparing the bonuses they provide to the bonuses provided by a combination of base items with the same total price. For example, comparing a singular item which provides +20 AD and +20 Armor to a sum total of items which provide +20 AD and +20 Armor.

An external tabular analysis of the gold efficiencies of items can be found here. (Outdated)

Base Statistic Prices

One way of deriving a stat's gold value is from the least expensive basic item that provides only that stat.

Champion Statistic Base Item Item Cost Stat Raised Gold / Stat Bonus
Attack damage  350 10 AD  35
Ability power  435 20 AP  21.75
Armor  300 15 Armor  20
Magic resistance  450 25 MR  18
Health  400 150 HP 0 2.6
Mana  350 250 MP 0 1.4
Health regeneration  150 50% HP5 0 3
Mana regeneration  125 25% MP5 0 5
Critical strike chance  400 10% Crit  40
Attack speed  300 12% AS  25
Flat movement speed  300 25 MS  12

Life steal, Lethality, magic penetration, on-hit damage, cooldown reduction, and percent movement speed are not found alone on any item, so their gold values are calculated using the least gold efficient, lowest-tier items available: , , , , and has been generally accepted to be a fair gold value for life steal, armor penetration, magic penetration, on-hit damage, cooldown reduction, and percent movement speed respectively. Spell vamp (on an item) is currently only found on the non-static passive Lifegrip on , making its gold value incalculable.

Champion Statistic Base Item Item Cost Stat Raised Gold / Stat Bonus
Life steal  900 10% LS
37.5
35
Lethality  1100 10 Lethal
22.5
35
Magic penetration  1100 18 MC Pen
45 MS
31.1
12
On-hit damage  1000 15 OH Dmg
25% AS
25
25
Cooldown reduction  800 10% CDR
200 HP
26.6
2.6
Percent movement speed  850 5% MS
30 AP
39.5
21.75
Heal and shield power  800 8% HS Power
50% Base MP5
10% CDR
35.416
5
26.6

Item Statistics

Basic Tier Items

350 10 35 N/A
875 25 35 0% Greater Efficiency
1300 40 32.5 7.69% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost AP Value Gold / AP Equivalence
435 20 21.75 N/A
850 40 21.25 2.35% Greater Efficiency
1250 60 20.833∞ 4.4% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost Armor Value Gold / Armor Equivalence
300 15 20 N/A
800 40 20 0% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost MR Value Gold / MR Equivalence
450 25 18 N/A
720 40 18 0% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost HP Value Gold / HP Equivalence
400 150 2.666∞ N/A
1000 380 2.63 1.46% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost MP Value Gold / MP Equivalence
350 250 1.4 N/A

Base Item Item Cost Hp5 Value Gold / Hp5 Equivalence
150 50% 3 N/A

Base Item Item Cost Mp5 Value Gold / Mp5 Equivalence
125 25% 5 N/A

Base Item Item Cost Crit Value Gold / Crit Equivalence
400 10% 40 N/A
800 20% 40 0% Greater Efficiency

Base Item Item Cost AS Value Gold / % AS Equivalence
300 12% 25 N/A

Doran's items are meant to be powerful early game, but lose effectiveness in the later stages of the game, as they do not build into the higher-tier items found in the late game. In terms of gold per statistics, however, these are among the most cost efficient items in the shop. provides 7 Attack damage, heals 3 life on hit, and grants 1 extra gold per minion kill. Reaching 100 minion kills gives 350 gold and disables the passive

• 3 Life on hit =  ??
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of a is  245, making it 54.44% gold efficient. Once 100 minions have been killed, becomes 154.44% gold efficient. provides 8 Attack damage, 80 Health, and 3% Life steal.
• 80 HP × 2.666∞ gold per HP =  213.333∞
• 3% LS × 37.5 gold per LS =  112.5
Using the Basic Item Statistics, a is worth  605.833∞, making it 134.63% gold efficient. provides 15 Ability power, 60 Health, 50% Mana regeneration, and recovers 4 Mana each time you get a kill.
• 15 AP × 21.75 gold per AP =  326.25
• 60 HP × 2.666∞ gold per HP =  160
• 50% MP5 × 5 gold per % MP5 =  250
• 4 MP per kill =  ??
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of a is  736.25, making it 184.06% gold efficient excluding the passive. Doran's Ring is the most cost-efficient of the Doran's items. provides 80 Health, 6 Health regeneration, +5 damage to minions on-hit, and 20 health over 10 seconds after taking damage from an enemy champion.
• 80 HP × 2.666∞ gold per HP =  213.333∞
• 6 HP5 × ?? gold per HP5 =  ??
• Basic attacks deal +5 damage to minions on-hit =  ??
• Regain 20 health over 10 seconds after taking damage from an enemy champion =  ??
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of a is  213.333∞, making it 47.41% gold efficient excluding the passives. provides 15 Ability power, 100 Mana, +25% increased healing from potions, and the unique passive Do or Die and Dread, which grants bonus Ability power upon killing or assisting kills, but losing 12 Ability power upon dying.
• 15 AP × 21.75 gold per AP =  326.25
• 100 MP × 1.4 gold per MP =  140
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of is  466.25, making it 133.21% gold efficient excluding the passives. can reach a gold efficiency of 319.64% at maximum stack of Glory.

Gold-generating items are items that, while being moderately inefficient to start out, boost the gold income of the user independently of obtaining last hits, thus potentially allowing any of them to become gold efficient given enough time. Unlike the Doran's items, these items all have intermediate and legendary-tier upgrades. provides 25% Mana regeneration, 5% Cooldown reduction and the unique passive Favor, which grants 4 gold and heals for 5 health whenever a nearby minion dies that the user did not kill.

• 25% MP5 × 5 gold per MP5 =  125
• 5% CDR × 26.666∞ gold per CDR =  133.33
• Unique Passive – Favor: Grants  4 and restores 5 health each time a nearby enemy minion dies that you didn't kill (1400 range).
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of is  258.33, without counting the passive, making it 73.81% gold efficient. By counting the passive, you get  4 for every minion death, making the gold efficient after generating  91.67 (~23 minion deaths). provides 75 Health, 2 gold per 10 seconds, and the unique passive Spoils of War, which grants the user charges which cause melee attacks to execute minions below 195 + (5*level) health, healing you and the nearest allied champion for 40 health and grants them gold equal to the kill.
• 75 HP × 2.666∞ gold per HP =  200
• 2 Gp10 = +2 gold every 10 seconds
• Unique Passive – Spoils of War: Melee auto-attacks execute minions below 195 + (5*level) health. Killing a minion by any means heals you and the nearest allied champion for 15 health and grants them kill gold. These effects require a nearby allied champion and consume a charge. Recharges every 60 seconds. Max 2 charges.
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of is  200, without counting the passive, making it 57.14% gold efficient. The becomes gold efficient after granting  150 to allies utilizing the Spoils of War passive. provides 5 Ability power, 25% Mana regeneration, 2 gold per 10 seconds and the unique passive Tribute, which deal 10 additional damage and grant 8 gold whenever the wielder damages an enemy champion or structure.
• 5 AP × 21.75 gold per AP =  108.75
• 25% MP5 × 5 gold per MP5 =  125
• 2 Gp10 = +2 gold every 10 seconds
• Unique Passive – Tribute: Spells and basic attacks against champions or buildings deal 10 additional damage and grant  8. This can occur up to 3 times every 30 seconds. Killing a minion disables this passive for 12 seconds.
Using the Basic Items Statistics, the actual value of is  233.75, without counting the passives, making it 66.79% gold efficient. By counting the passives, you get 2 additional gold every 10 seconds and 8 additional gold after attacking an enemy champion or structure. The becomes gold efficient after generating  116.25.

Trivia

• Spell vamp used be a statistic available on items. It was valued at  27.5 per percentage point before it was removed from . It is still available through runes, masteries, and .
• The former values for Mp5 and Hp5 were  60and  36 respectively. Even though flat Mp5 is nonexistent on the Rift, flat Hp5 is still available on certain items like and .
• An affecting all five champions on a team was (before V5.16) the most gold efficient item that all champions can be said to make at least some use of, with a theoretical price of  4954; 450.36% of its purchase price.
• With the maximum amount of ability power, a grants about 424 ability power, with a theoretical price of  9222; 280% of its purchase price.
• The snowball item begins with a very low gold efficiency, but upon reaching maximum stacks has one of the best possible in the game.
• has a theoretical price of  4390 when fully stacked; 313.57% of its purchase price.
• has no gold efficiency cap with because it infinitely increases his health, which will scale Health regeneration.
• A also has no gold efficiency cap with or .
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