Starting Items Comparison <Season 8>
Last Updated: July 1st 2018

Welcome to Season 8 Starting items Comparison Article!
The viability of all common starting items are to be discussed here.

Analysis Summary:

Starting Items
PotionsAP ItemsAD ItemsDefense Items
HP Potions are simply inferior to Refillable PotionCorrupting Potion shows superiority over other starting items since the leftover Gold that would be spent on Health Potions for the other starting items are permanently lost upon use. Doran's Blade is better than Cull until you are out of item slots and have to sell it. Longsword is the best choice for Melee Champions.Corrupting Potion is usually the best choice unless your champion is manaless in which case you should get Boots + Refillable instead
Corrupting PotionYesCorrupting PotionYesDoran's BladeHealth PotionYesCorrupting PotionYes
Refillable PotionYesDark SealRefillable PotionYesLong SwordRefillable PotionYesBoots of SpeedRefillable PotionYes
Health Potion NoDoran's Ring NoCullHealth PotionYesDoran's ShieldDoran's ShieldRefillable Potion Yes
Biscuit of Rejuvenation NoSapphire Crystal NoLong SwordHealth PotionNoDoran's ShieldHealth PotionNo
Faerie Charm No Cloth ArmorHealth PotionNo

Appropriate Firstback Item Combinations
J/SupportAP ItemsAD ItemsTank Items
Do not ever get health potions on Jungle/Support. You will see the explanation why below. Dark Seal synergizes well with Corrupting Potion and is the only starting item that sells for 70% of its price value rather than 40%. Always buy Refillable Potion over Health Potions. Also if you got Doran's Blade as your starting item, try not to waste more of your item slotsNot Much to say other than get Refillable Potion ASAP if you don't already have Corrupting Potion 
Hunter's MacheteRefillable PotionYesCorrupting PotionDoran's RingYesDoran's BladeLong SwordRefillable PotionYesCorrupting PotionRuby CrystalYes
Hunter's TailsmanRefillable PotionYesCorrupting PotionDark SealDark Seal YesLong SwordLong SwordRefillable PotionYesBoots of SpeedRefillable PotionYes
Relic ShieldRefillable Potion YesCorrupting PotionSapphire CrystalFaerie Charm YesLong SwordLong SwordHealth Potion NoBoots of SpeedHealth Potion No
Relic ShieldBiscuit of Rejuvenation NoCorrupting PotionDoran's RingDoran's Ring NoDoran's BladeDoran's BladeHealth Potion NoRuby CrystalHealth PotionNo
Hunter's TailsmanHealth Potion NoDoran's RingDoran's RingHealth Potion No Doran's BladeCullNo

Refillable Potion vs Health Potion

Keep Value Comparison

Refillable Potion saves 83 gold per recall. It also sells for 60g
Refillable Potion breaks about even in gold efficiency in just 1 recall (143g ~= 150g)
This means if you're going to get 2 or less potions on any instance,  it is always better to get
Refillable Potion
Pro tip: What do you do on your first back when you have 150 gold as left over? Instead of getting
Health Potion you better get Refillable Potioneven on ADC!

Starting Advantage Comparison
Some starting items such as Long Sword leave you with 150g at start allowing you to get either Refillable Potionor 3 x Health Potion 
Refillable Potion: 250 HP (275HP with Secret Stash Mastery)
Health Potionx3: 450HP (545 HP + 30 Mana with Secret Stash Mastery)

Now that is a major starting advantage we cannot simply neglect!
So should the efficiency of
Refillable Potionbe valued more than nearly two times the sustain which 3 x Health Potion bring at start?
A better question to ask is if that advantage is truly worth the cost.
Most players purchase additonal 
Health Potion for the first 2 -3 recalls of the game and as I have mentioned earlier Refillable Potion is superior for that.
So since players should be purchasing 
Refillable Potion anyway the players that started with 3 x Health Potion will be behind 150g on their first recall. (due to 3 x Health Potion not existing anymore)
Don't get the logic? 
Refillable Potion remains in your inventory even when it is all used up while Health Potion doesn't.

Here is a visual representation:
Long SwordRefillable Potion --> Long SwordRefillable Potion <- Refillable Potion (150g)
Long SwordHealth Potion --> Long Sword         <- Nothing Left (0g)

However, it is a different story if you decide to sell Refillable Potion right away though, since then Refillable Potion would be only as good as Health Potion.
In that case Refillable Potion would be similar to starting Long SwordHealth Potionx2 which is kinda awkward so don't do that.


Refillable Potion > Health Potion
This is a pretty big win for Refillable Potion
Refillable Potion already breaks even with Health Potion instantly upon purchase. You can further reap the free 250hp sustain benefits beyond your first recall.
And lastly, for the counter-arguers out there regarding the extra hp potion at start, is the extra 200HP sustain really worth giving up 8 cs (150g)?


Starting Items: Mana

Table of Mana
Dark Seal 100 Mana
Doran's Ring 188 Mana (50% of 8mp5 for 2mins 15s, 20cs)
Corrupting Potion 225 Mana (247.5 with Potion Mastery)
Sapphire Crystal 250 Mana
Faerie Charmx4:  Outclassed by Sapphire Crystal


Doran's Ring vs Corrupting Potion

Keep Value Comparison

Referring to the mana table above: 
Doran's Ring: 15AP, 188 mana, 60 HP
Corrupting Potion: 375 Health and 225 Mana over 36s.  Deals 16 magic damage over 3s @ level 2
Though the stats of these two items seem very different they are actually quite similar in what they do.

Doran's Ring: 15AP
Corrupting Potion: 315 Health and 37 mana over 36s.  Deals 16 magic damage over 3s @ level 2

We can observe that 16 damage over 3s (halved for aoe) is slightly superior than 15AP while 
Corrupting Potion is active

Combat ScenarioDoT DurationAP Ratio (per spell) Required for 15 AP to be better
AOE Spell Single Shot 3s0.53
Single Target Poke3s1.06
2Spells & 2 Autos5s0.89
4 Spells & 3 Autos8s0.71
Autos Only3sInfinite
Even though 15 AP might be slightly superior in damage overall, the damage difference should be considered negligible since  Corrupting Potion's damage will scale with champion level

Hence, there is now a difference of :
Doran's Ring: 38 mana (or 92 mana late game: with base 15mp5 for 2mins15s + 10cs = 242 mana)
Corrupting Potion: 315 Health and 37 mana over 36s
Therefore, Corrupting Potion is more worth keeping

Starting Advantage Comparison
Assuming one takes Secret Stash Mastery:
Doran's RingBiscuit of Rejuvenationx2: 15AP, 188 mana, 60 HP + (30HP + 30 Mana + 330HP over 30s)
Corrupting Potion: 412.5 Health and 247.5 Mana over 36s.  Deals 16 magic damage over 3s @ level 2

Doran's Ring: 7.5 Health
Corrupting Potion: 29.5 Mana over 36s.

Corrupting Potion > Doran's Ring
Not only is Corrupting Potion better than Doran's Ring at start but Corrupting Potion is also more worth keeping
Why wouldn't you want to get Corrupting Potion instead of Doran's RingHealth PotionHealth Potion and save on 100g from not buying Health Potions?

Doran's Ring vs Dark Seal
The key advantage to getting Dark Seal is its resell price.
Dark Seal sells for 70% of it value: 350g - > 245g (105g lost)
Doran's Ring sells for 40% of its value: 400g -> 160g (240g lost)
This is why it's viable to get 2 x 
Dark Seal since it can be sold for a lot less penalty

Keep Value Comparison
Referring to the mana table above: 
Doran's Ring: 15AP, 188 mana, 60 HP
Dark Seal: 15AP, 100 mana, 25% increased healing from potions, +3AP/stack

Hence, difference of : 
Doran's Ring: 88 mana, 60 HP
Dark Seal: 25% increased healing from potions, +3AP/stack

25% Increased healing potions bring
Health Potion: 150 - > 187.5  (37.5)
Refillable Potion: 250 - > 312.5  (62.5)
Corrupting Potion: 375 - > 468.75  (93.75)

Doran's Ring for  Mana
Dark Sealfor HP regen with Corrupting Potion


Doran's Shield  vs Rejuvenation Bead

Doran's Shield is a zero-growth item that gives anywhere from 224 to 464 total hp over 2 minutes.

Keep Value Comparison
Doran's Shield: 80HP, 6 - 16 HP per 5s
Rejuvenation Beadx3: 150% Base HP Regen

Hence difference of :
Doran's Shield: 80HP, 6 - 16 HP per 5s
Rejuvenation Bead: More than 12HP per 5s (An average top laner has base regen of 8 hp5 at level 1)

Therefore, an average top laner would usually have more hp regen with Rejuvenation Bead
Moreover, at level 5, Rejuvenation Beadx3 already gives 16 HP per 5s, which is equivalent to Doran's Shield 's best scenario regen amount 
This means that Doran's Shield's extra 80 HP difference is eventually caught up by Rejuvenation Bead  's HP regeneration rather quickly as game progresses

Starting Advantage Comparison
Doran's Shield: Can hold up to Health Potion x1 [Total Loss: 320g,  (270g sell) (50 x 1 consumed)]
Rejuvenation Beadx3: Can hold up to Health Potion x1 [Total Loss: 50g, (50 x 1 consumed)]
Rejuvenation Beadx2: Can hold up to Health Potion x4 [Total Loss: 200g, (50 x 4 consumed)]
Rejuvenation Beadx2Refillable Potion: As good as Health Potion x1.67, also 50g unused (Highly Recommended)

Depending on your lane difficulty,  you can adjust the number of potions to bring with for
Rejuvenation Bead
Rejuvenation Beadx2Health Potionx4 option surely beats Doran's Shield at start and still has better value as well.

Rejuvenation Bead > Doran's Shield
Rejuvenation Bead scales rapidly with level while Doran's Shield is stagnant
Rejuvenation Bead provides more accumulated health than Doran's Shield even at start
Rejuvenation Bead has better value since Doran's Shield has to be sold at a huge loss
Rejuvenation Bead just wins in all aspects
Wait, but what if your champion has extremely low hp regeneration (e.g. Soraka) or does not utilize 
Rejuvenation Bead in their builds?
Then consider alternatives such as
Corrupting Potion for mana champions, Dark Seal for Mordekaiser or Boots of Speed for AD tanks   


For the other In-depth analysis, I will be ommitting them since I believe that the explanation in the summary at the top is enough.