Serpent’s Fang is a situational item that isn’t included in assassins’ core builds, and has received much less attention compared to other lethality items. Originally released in preseason patch 10.23, Riot claims that it has been “a powerful but underwhelming and confusing item.”
While it has always been powerful, the original Shield Reaver effect was definitely not confusing. Previously, Serpent’s Fang boosted the basic attack and abilities of champions to shielded targets, with an additional 40% bonus AD.
Champions like Zed, Talon, and other members of the assassin family tree should already be building Serpent’s Fang against enchanter team compositions. No longer dealing flat out additional damage, Riot Games modified Shield Reaver’s effect in patch 11.15:
- (Updated) Shield Reaver: Dealing damage to an enemy champion reduces any shields they gain by 50% for melee champions and 25% for ranged champions for the next three seconds. When you damage an enemy who is unaffected by Shield Reaver, reduce all shields on them by 50% for melee champions and 25% for ranged champions.
A buff to the item, Riot wants players to conceptualize Serpent’s Fang as “Grievous Wounds for shields, but with extra profits”. It now has more value in team fights, for it reduces the effect of shields in two all encompassing scenarios — one, to champions who are already shielded, and two, to champions who receive a shield after being damaged.
Against the likes of Seraphine, Lulu, and Karma especially, assassin mains should definitely start purchasing Serpent’s Fang after completing your Mythic core.
Read the full patch 11.5 notes here.