Lethality in League of Legends [What, When, & How to Use It]


With numerous stats to worry about in League of Legends, you may be unsure of how each one works and which are important to increase. 

Lethality is one of the most important stats in League of Legends to improve when possible, especially if you play champions that focus on Attack Damage (AD). 

After reading this article, you’ll know what Lethality does, the formula for lethality calculation, and the items that can improve it during gameplay! 

What is LoL Lethality?

Introduced in 2017, lethality is a bonus stat that replaced the previous stat of flat armor penetration. 

When you attack an opponent with AD, lethality will decrease the opponent’s armor, allowing you to deal more physical damage.

However, lethality armor reduction is flat armor reduction, meaning that your allies do not benefit from any reduction in armor that your lethality deals to the enemy team.

Additionally, any opponent ability that uses the armor stat will not be affected. So while lethality is an important stat for AD champions, it does have limitations.

Notice that an enemy’s armor can’t be reduced below zero, so there’s no such thing as negative armor.

How do you calculate the amount of lethality in League?

To calculate how much lethality you currently have, use the formula: Flat Armor Reduction = Lethality * (0.6 + 0.4 * level/18)

Starting at level 1, you will only get around 60% of your total lethality as flat armor penetration, but when you reach level 18, you will receive the full amount. 

Armor Reduction and Penetration

In League of Legends, while armor reduction and penetration get thrown around a lot, there is more than one type of armor penetration you should know about.

While lethality is flat armor penetration, it functions similarly to fixed armor reduction, as both reduce an opponent’s armor by a certain amount. 

However, fixed armor reduction also applies to your allies, allowing your entire team to attack and slaughter weaker opponents.

It is only effective against squishy champions, though, as tanks typically have too much armor to make the reduction very noticeable. 

Next is percentage armor reduction, which reduces a target’s armor for you and your team by the percentage shown on the item or ability.

However, the problem with this type of armor reduction is that it stacks multiplicatively rather than additively, like fixed armor reduction. 

This means if your opponent has 300 armor, and you have two items, both with 30% armor reduction, your opponent’s armor would be reduced by (300 * 30%) + (210 * 30%) = 147 total armor afterward. 

If that were fixed armor reduction, it would be (300 * 60%) which would equal 120 total armor afterward. So you see the fixed or flat amount of armor penetration

The final type to know about is percentage armor penetration, which functions like percentage armor reduction, except it increases how much damage you deal (you could call it a bonus armor penetration). 

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It is best used on Attack Damage champions and provides the most benefit against tanks, as squishy characters will only have their armor reduced by a small amount. 

Items That Improve Lethality

While some abilities can increase lethality, you typically want to get items during the game to get extra lethality.

All the items in League of Legends that improve your lethality are listed below, though this is subject to change in future Riot Games updates. 

  • Axiom Arc: 11.2 – 18 Lethality depending on level
  • Duskblade of Draktharr: 11.2 – 18 Lethality depending on level
  • Eclipse: 7.47 – 12 Lethality depending on level
  • Edge of Night: 6.22 – 10 Lethality depending on level
  • Prowler’s Claw: 11.2 – 18 Lethality depending on level
  • Serpent’s Fang: 7.47 – 12 Lethality depending on level
  • Serrated Dirk: 6.22 – 10 Lethality depending on level
  • The Collector: 7:47 – 12 Lethality depending on level
  • Umbral Glaive: 6.22 – 10 Lethality depending on level
  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade: 11.2 – 18 Lethality depending on level


League of Legends lethality is one of the most important bonus stats to improve in League of Legends matches, especially as an AD champion, as it will allow you to dish out some heavy damage to an enemy’s armor and one-shot squishy characters.

If you found this article helpful, check out Adaptive Force in League of Legends.

Until next time, happy gaming!


Does Lethality Stack?

Yes, lethality scales additively as you purchase items that increase the stat.

So, let’s say you have an item with 10 lethality, another with 18, and one with 7.

That means you will have a total lethality of 35, reducing any opponent’s armor by 35 when you attack them. 

How Are Percentage Armor Reduction and Penetration Calculated?

To calculate the percentage armor reduction, use the following formula: Total enemy armor – percentage = armor after reduction. 

For example, if an opponent has 200 armor, and you have 24% armor reduction, they would have 152 armor afterward. 

Percentage armor penetration is calculated similarly to percentage armor reduction, except it only applies to the champion with the armor penetration. 

Is Armor Penetration or Lethality Better?

While lethality works well against squishy champions with low armor, armor penetration offers the most effective reduction when taking on tanks and champions who are mainlining armor and shrugging off hits. 

So, how do you know which one you should go with?

If you are an assassin, lethality is a great stat as it will help dish out enough damage to take out squishy champions in a single hit and turn the tide of battle in your team’s favor. 

On the other hand, if your whole job is to take on tanks with a lot of armor and whittle down their health, focus on armor penetration, as it will have a much higher effect against them. 

So while lethality is good, getting armor penetration is much better when facing opponents with high armor values.

When Should I Buy Lethality Items?

Lethality is not often as useful in the later game, as armor levels can get massive, and a 25 flat armor reduction will not make a dent in 500 armor. 

If you want to end games early, getting a couple of lethality items can help give you the necessary edge over your opponents.

Otherwise, assassins are the only ones who benefit from additional lethality. Especially as most assassins rely on their high damage abilities like Zed or Talon, where lethality can mean the difference between an enemy escaping or killing them in a single combo hit.

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Jan has played video games since the early 1980s. He loves getting immersed in video games as a way to take his mind off stuff when the outside world gets too scary. A lifelong gamer, the big interest led to a job as a lecturer on game sound at the University of Copenhagen and several written articles on video games for magazines.

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