In patch 7.5, Blade of the Ruined King was buffed, giving it more attack damage, more lifesteal, and less attack speed. The item became more efficient for laning purposes as a result, and saw a surge in use for all kinds of AD carries. As it stands, Blade of the Ruined King should now be your go-to in order to dominate your bottom lane matchups, and your games.
Why did the BotRK changes make it more viable?
Blade of the Ruined King was previously not an item that was useful to rush for a few reasons. Reason number one is that the item was changed to be a better early option. More attack damage early on allows champions to effectively last hit and stay relevant during the laning phase, while its lifesteal actually gives AD carries relevant sustain to stay in lane in comparison to those who rush crit or are forced into Warlord’s Bloodlust to keep up in lane.
The second reason is its gold efficiency. Though the completed item is not fully gold efficient, sitting at just under 90% gold efficiency on stats alone, the percent health damage and active adds to its gold efficiency, pushing it higher than 100% if the enemy sits at a certain level of health. This gold efficiency threshold is incredibly low, ensuring the item will almost always be gold efficient with this on-hit damage.
The third reason is the item path. An earlier back for Bilgewater Cutlass gives you better laning pressure than a B.F. Sword will, and gives you the ability to snowball much earlier and take control of the mid game in comparison to that. The Blade of the Ruined King power spike is also cheaper than it was previously, and cheaper than the major early crit item spike of BF plus a zeal item, which sits at nearly 4,000 gold.
Who is using it now? Who isn't?
As it stands, most champions that want to build crit have transitioned to rushing Blade of the Ruined King because of its midgame power and the above benefits associated with laning and lane pressure, which are important facets of the current meta. Rushing Blade of the Ruined King doesn’t influence or affect the efficacy of a crit build on top of it. Kim "PraY" Jong-in of Longzhu in particular seems to enjoy a transition from Blade of the Ruined King into Runaan's and Phantom Dancer.
However, this build is not as effective on certain champions. In particular, Jhin has been the worst beneficiary of the itemization shift away from not only crit but lethality as well. He doesn’t utilize any aspect of the item effectively, not does it help him scale as well as an immediate specialization towards lethality and crit. The early spike and utility also doesn’t help him as much as the raw attack damage spike of Ghostblade, just because of his slow attacks. Generally, Jhin has been the only champion suffering from this itemization change.
How can you use this to great effect in solo queue?
For your own games, you ought to be rushing Blade of the Ruined King in the AD carry position for basically every champion except Jhin. Even Ezreal likes going for Tear of the Goddess into Blade of the Ruined King instead of the long and aggravating wait for Trinity Force, which does not spike as early.
In doing so, you should build Bilgewater Cutlass first and threaten your lane opponent with the active and its early spike potential. Your extra sustain that is couched within the item also helps you stay in lane longer and win trades by making them and out-sustaining your opponent after the fact.
Once it's completed, the gold efficiency provided by the on-hit effect, which works on minions and monsters as well, allows you to make a meaningful impact in mid game situations outside of the utility of your given kit as an AD carry. In that sense, you’re able to dominate your lane and then do more outside of it when using this strategy of rushing the item.
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.