Support items have seen radical changes across season 7, with reworks and stat shuffles often yielding an ideal standard for all supports to run with. With the Locket and Redemption combo essentially neglected and Knight's Vow nerfed, teams have turned elsewhere to get the best bang for their buck on support. Enter Ardent Censer.
Ardent Censer has ascended to the highest tier of items in the current state of the game. With hyper carry champions rampaging through competitive and solo queue, the ability to give them extra attack speed and healing in the late game is normally enough to swing fights in your favor. In fact, the item is so good, that some champions are altering their build and style of play specifically to accommodate it into their build.
The gold (efficiency) standard
The gold efficiency of Ardent Censer is massively increased once you apply the buff onto an ally. You grant stats that provide more gold value than a Recurve Bow, while also giving people a lifesteal that increase the gold value of that buff even more.
This makes Ardent Censer incredibly valuable in combat, especially if you can apply the Ardent buff onto multiple targets. With that, you actually give a gold value to your team that collectively eclipses even the most expensive items in the game. With the buff lasting 6 seconds, the item's gold efficiency also has longevity in fights.
That alone makes the item valuable, but the way you can accelerate to purchasing it is the icing on the cake. The immediate impact of Ancient Coin is immense, as the item generates gold at a much higher rate than the other support items. This allows you to have access to the cheap Ardent Censer a lot earlier, as that combined with your Sightstone and boots should cost 3,400 gold.
Have no fear, Stoneborn Pact is here
If you’re worried Ardent Censer is an item that is only worth getting on Enchanter supports, fear not! It’s value is just as high on any support that can bring reasonable amounts of crowd control through the Stoneborn Pact mastery. This mastery, which gives your allies health when they attack, applies Ardent Censer’s buff to targets who attack an enemy who has Stoneborn Pact on them.
This means that certain supports have viability in using Ardent Censer in ways that you wouldn’t expect. For example, Trundle has a lot of crowd control options to trigger the Stoneborn Pact mark, such as his Q which slows and E which slows and displaces. Unicorns of Love’s Hylissang used this to great effect in a recent series win. The same can be said of something more off-meta like Ashe support, who can apply Stoneborn Pact with her arrows, W, and R very easily.
Supports that can build Rylai's Crystal Scepter, such as Zyra, can take Stoneborn Pact as well to make use of the strength of Ardent Censer. This way, they can make use of Ardent’s passive power and the Ability Power and extra stats laden in the item itself. The same can be said for building Righteous Glory to have an extra way to apply the Stoneborn Pact mark for Ardent Censer.
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.