The natural upgrade to both Arcane Boots and Mekansm has plenty of appeal—but should you buy it as soon as possible? Read on to find out about this great item.
A step up
Guardian Greaves is the only upgrade to both Arcane Boots and Mekansm, at least when both items as fully-completed recipes are concerned. It is, therefore, the logical next step for a lot of support heroes, especially those that tend to purchase both components on the regular. It checks off a lot of boxes: it combines both components into one, makes both their active effects come from the same place, and most importantly, it opens up an entire inventory slot.
The latter point is essential because of how limited item slots can get during deep late game scenarios. Between having to keep a movement speed item on hand while still having room for utility pickups like Scythe of Vyse or Eul’s Scepter of Divinity, the opportunity cost of being six-slotted with inefficient gear cannot be overstated.
Kicks that clean
What most people aren’t aware of, however, is the fact that Guardian Greaves actually has a built-in basic dispel upon activation of its ability. That’s right—you get the added functionality of Diffusal Blade’s active ability (and the side-effect of Manta Style’s own), all while healing your teammates and restoring their mana.
This is especially useful when you find yourself constantly targeted by heroes with abilities that aren’t necessarily stuns or disables—which is honestly quite often considering that supports are high-value targets in teamfights and gank attempts. Being able to purge off slows, damage amplifiers, and even silence effects is pretty amazing, and can mean the difference between turning a fight around and succumbing to your opponents in an engagement.
It’s a very underrated part of the item, and should be kept in mind more often than not. If you or one of your supports already has the components for Guardian Greaves and is being focused down with slows and whatnot, consider upgrading to the item or kindly suggest that they do. It could very well turn the tide of the game, if used properly.
Timing is key
Despite its obvious advantages, though, Guardian Greaves requires a bit of decision-making to make the most out of. While it does immediately open up an inventory slot, it’s not necessarily a good idea to pick it up as soon as possible. After all, sinking an additional 1,700 gold into an item that only adds a purge and an item slot is hard to justify, especially for supports that are already cash-strapped to begin with.
This makes it important to read the flow of the game and plan the upgrade accordingly. It is often better to simply hold on to both Mekansm and Arcane Boots in the mid to late game, particularly when building other core support items or buying wards and other consumables. Only when the need to free up an inventory slot should the upgrade be purchased, and when one of the two supports can shoulder the cost of buying consumables in the meantime should it even be considered.
Try not to fall into the trap of buying Guardian Greaves right away. While it is great on paper, purchasing it too early can gimp your potential as a support in the mid game, which can significantly harm your team.
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