A couple of times I’ve had people ask me about Ravenous Hydra. Why does no one build it? Why is it considered bad? Why do your teammates always groan if you’re building it on anyone that isn’t Gangplank (a champion that isn’t high-tier anyway)?
The first basic reason is that Tiamat costs 100 more gold than Bloodthirster. Let’s take a look. For Bloodthirster, which costs 100 less gold, it just needs just 5 stacks to equal Hydra in damage. A fully stacked Bloodthirster has 25 more damage and 6% more lifesteal, for 100 less gold. In late game teamfights, where it counts, you are dealing with more damage and more lifesteal.
Furthermore, bruisers and melees generally do not have the space for so much money for a damage item. It is better to get an Iceborne Gauntlet, defensive items, or something with better utility like Manamune or Black Cleaver.
But let’s talk about it in terms of Blood Thirster, as that is the most clear opponent of a Ravenous Hydra.
I’d like to talk about a term from the world of Magic: The Gathering, which most of you have heard of. There’s a term used to disparage lots of cards that look cool and that are attractive to less experienced players but that are not actually competitive. Many weak cards that look like strong cards are called “win more” cards.
The concept of “win more” is simple: it doesn’t help you win, it just helps you win more. What is meant by this is that the card is card that gives you a lovely flourish, a fun feeling when you win, but it doesn’t actually help you win. You only won with it because you worked harder than you should have to get the conditions in the first place, or your opponent lost by being bad and not responding correctly. But the card itself is not good, it is just a win more card. If you take twenty turns to cast a card that automatically wins you the game, it is cool to win in such a manner, but not as effective as hitting someone for smaller chunks before twenty turns have elapsed.
What I’m saying is that Ravenous Hydra is a win more item, simply because the stats on Bloodthirster are superior.
Being a win more item, people that are attached to it have a personal and preferential attachment, which is the worst kind. If you like this item, ask yourself: how much of your liking this item is because you “like” the abilities it provides?
So let’s talk about all of the objections.
Objection 1: it provides 15 hp/5, and Bloodthirster has none.
First, this is only good in lane. If you need that much hp / 5, you’re doing laning wrong. It’s better to have high lifesteal or innate sustain abilities in your champion’s kit.
Second, it’s useless in teamfights. Having 25 damage and 6% more lifesteal will matter more. If a fight lasts 20 seconds (and not all do), you’d get 60 health from the hp/5 assuming you get no healing debuffs. To get 60 health in that time, you’d have to deal damage that is equal to the extra 6% lifesteal. That’s 1,000 damage. Can you deal 1,000 damage in 20 seconds when you have an item that gives you +100 damage? Yes, you can.
The health regen is a non-issue and not even the biggest objection in the first place. Next!
Objection 2: Bloodthirster requires stacks.
It does, and it takes a measly 5 to equal Hydra in damage and surpass it in lifesteal. Even if you have, say, 10 stacks (which is not hard to get), that’s 10 more damage and 2% more lifesteal.
Even bad players usually have that many stacks. A minion wave of 6 appears every 30 seconds. You only lose half your stacks.
If you can’t even keep ten stacks all of the time, you have a bigger problem than item build efficiency.
Objection 3: Hydra has a nicer build path.
Not having to buy a B.F. sword is nice but this one is debatable. The Vampiric Scepter is separate from Tiamat, and it’s important to have one of those in lane. The final recipe is only 600 gold. Are you taking the effects and regen or the lifesteal first?
With B.T., you can get the lifesteal and sit on it for a while. If you’re going to build that much damage as a bruiser in the first place (and I’m not saying you should), you should probably be doing well enough to afford a B.F. sword. If you can’t afford a B.F. sword, you probably shouldn’t be building damage!
Objection 4: it has wave clearing and a passive and active to make up for it.
This is the biggest objection and the most difficult to address.
An exercise. Let’s say you have a total of 200 damage and you use the activate. That’s an extra 120 to 200 damage every ten seconds. Don’t forget that it stops you in your place. So, a Bloodthirster has to do an extra 120-200 damage every ten seconds. Three basic attacks in 10 seconds with full stacks is 75 damage. 4 is 100. If you have scaling abilities, such as Renekton, add the extra AD there. Cull the Meek can hit multiple targets and scales with .8 AD or 1.2 AD, depending on whether he has the fury stacks. So, .8 x 25 is 20, and 1.2 of 25 is 30. For each person you hit with a Q, you’d add that on. When it all adds up, you should be having more damage as a result of the Bloodthirster, and you’ll have more lifesteal on the hits as well.
The other thing to consider is “how often will you get to use the passive on this item?” A smart opponent will not let you hit them with the active, at least not much. And they certainly won’t get hit by the passive. Basic-attack champions like, say, Fiora, or ones that get kited and that people don’t want to get in a basic attack fight. You won’t get the chance to just wail on people. You won’t have the passive and active hitting people frequently at close range.
“But if I do,” you object, “then it would deal even more damage!” Right, that’s what makes it a “win more” item. It only makes you win more. It doesn’t make you win. The reason you are winning isn’t because Hydra is awesome—it’s because the opponent is stupid enough to let you do that in the first place, or your teammates set up awesome cc. But those are the real reasons for victory. You’d have a victory with BT also in those circumstances.
In regular play against an opponent that isn’t stupid, the BT will net you more damage.
Riven seems to see Hydra a bit too. This is startling as she’s not even a basic attack champion, and more of a caster. A full set of Broken Wings is 2.1 bonus AD ratio. Her shield and stun have a bonus ratio of 1. Her ult is 6-1.8. Is that active and passive really going to beat 10-25 multiplied by those abilities?
Hydra is supposed to give non-ability based bruisers the ability to have an AOE / casted ability, but it’s better to just select a champion that has good abilities in the first place. It doesn’t compensate for the weak kits of Warwicks, Tryndameres, Master Yi’s, or Fioras. The only advantage Hydra has is at wave-clearing, which you shouldn’t need help with, regen, which is only for the lane, and the fact it does not build out of a BF Sword. It is almost universally worse than Bloodthirster.
The extra lifesteal and damage makes Bloodthirster better for team fights, which what’s most important.
People that buy Hydra tend to be people who want to just win by farming and then backdooring. If that works, the other team was bad in the first place. If the other team’s cheesable and that’s really your only option and you need to clear waves quickly, fine. But when teams are even remotely doing what they should be, the Bloodthirster will prevail.
Source: Reign of Gaming