Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

Shadowflame is a new spell in Heroes of the Storm that deals high amounts of damage over time. Void Staff, on the other hand, gives you increased attack speed and movement ability. To better understand these two spells lets compare their properties side-by-side so players can decide which they would like to use in their games.

In this (very lengthy) article, I’ll present a full comparison of the two items, as well as the MR number at which Void surpasses all Shadowflame penetrations. I’ll put the TL;DR right below this:

Please feel free to follow me or send me a note on MoleculeLOL - Detailed comparison of Shadowflame vs Void Staff



If the adversary has more than 50-65 MR, Void staff is always stronger for damage than Shadowflame, depending on your items/AP total. The MR threshold falls as you earn AP and equipment like Sorcs, making Void the stronger choice at low MR numbers. This implies Shadowflame always deals 20 pen, which is not always the case. So void may be preferable even at 35-40 MR with 3+ things.

If you feel the 200g should be compensated in the comparison, you may cross over. I’m not sure.


Now that we have another source of flat magic penetration, the new item Shadowflame is being manufactured often. We only had sorcs + ludens + rocketbelt before, but now we have a mid-game competition for void staff?

Items Shadowflame Staff of the Void
AP 100 65
HP 200  
Penetration by Magic (Depending on the target’s current health) 10-20 When the target is 1000hp*, the number is 20, and when the target is 2500, the number is 10. 45%
Cost 3000g 2800g

*and/or if a shield has been applied to them in the past 5 seconds.

I’m going to leave the HP value out of the dmg calculations. However, since void staff is 200g cheaper, I’ll provide two sets of numbers: one comparing the items to one another, and the other compensating the 200g cheaper void staff with 200g worth of AP, which is equal to 9.1954 AP. Throughout, this is referred to as ‘Void comp.’

Magic Resistance vs. Magic Penetration

The amount of magic resistance that will be overlooked is referred to as magic penetration. Magic resistance CANNOT go below zero while utilizing just Magic penetration items. As a result, ludens/shadowflame/sorcs will never reduce a target’s MR to zero. If it’s theoretically less than 0, it’ll always be set to 0.

Formula for Magic Resist:


The MR formula The magic pen can’t write anything below 0 MR. Trundle R, Trundle R, Trundle R, Trundle R, Trundle R, Trundle R

We can put the device to the test by changing the MR value and seeing how it functions.

Test 1:

Target has an MR of 100 and an HP of 1000.

How much will things pierce if the damage of a spell is 500 dmg? Shadowflame will disregard 20 MR, whereas Void will disregard 45 MR.

The effective MR (MR that affects the damage value) = MR – Magic Pen = MR – Magic Pen = MR – Magic Pen = MR – Magic Pen = MR – Magic Pen = MR – Magic Pen = MR

Item / MR 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Shadowflame   0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60
Void 5.5 11 16.5 22 27.5 33 38.5

The actual MR number Void overtakes is 44.444 if we believe Shadowflame always did 20 pen.

However, this is only a comparison of the two things’ penetration and does not take into account any of the AP on the items, which is the focus of this discussion.

AP distinction

Shadowflame adds 35 ap to your total. Or little over 25 if the 200g compensatory AP is included in. As the AP = damage, the moment at which Void overtakes Shadowflame varies.

We use the following formula to compute the damage of most spells in the league:

Base Damage + (AP Ratio * AP) = Spell Damage

i.e A spell does 200 basic damage, has a 0.5 ratio, and gives you 100 AP. The total damage from the spell will be 250.

So, let’s say we have two builds, one with Shadowflame and the other with Void. There will be a discrepancy in 35/25AP between the two versions. As a result, the spell damage will vary across builds by:

Difference in damage between the two builds = 35 * AP ratio

The only relevant aspect in most builds is the AP delta. The disparity would alter if we had Deathcap or infernal dragons, which have additive effects on your AP. Shadowflame will become more favorable if any of these multiplicative effects are present.


I’ve tried a few different builds, but I’ll show you a basic season 12 build.

* The 200g AP adjustment is not shown in these builds, but it will be included in the results.

djw6pjp4vb181 - Detailed comparison of Shadowflame vs Void Staff

There is no compensation for the void price in this two-item build.

As a result, the overall AP values are 224 and 189. With 18 Sorcs magic pen bases. We’d get AP values of 353 and 328 if we included a Cosmic Drive Plus its fighting passive as a third item. Because of the diversity of constructions, there is no such thing as an x item = y ap value, but we may use any ap value as long as we keep the right AP to obtain a ballpark estimate, which will be 35 or 25*.

Test 2

Let’s have a look at a spell. I’m going to utilize Orianna q. An AP ratio of 0.5 with a base damage of 180.

Ori q dmg with the 3 builds* and 2 finished items

This damage number may now be plotted against a variety of MR levels.

Orianna q 2 items with sorc damage vs. different MR values

So, as MR grows, the damage decreases, and Void begins to surpass Shadowflame in damage around 55-60 if the victim has 2050 HP and Shadowflame does the maximum pen of 20 at 1000HP (Red line). The two Void structures overtake at an MR of just 40-45MR.

Because the MR is 0 with all the pen of sorcs + shadowflame, 8 values are heading to the same damage value.

We can use algebra to compute the overlap and create an equation. (Each build may vary the equation since it depends on how much pen you have, how many sorcs you have, and so on…)

DMG computation made easy

We then equalize both “Damage,” locate the overlap, and solve for MR at which the post-mitigation damage is the same.

Finding the MR at which both builds/pens produce the same post-mitigation damage is eq 1 and 2.

These might be simpler, but I maintained them as is so that I could keep track of where stuff came from and so on… Feel free to simplify and develop equations that are easier to understand.

So we can solve the overlap MR for all tests for this one using eq (1 & 2).

When it comes to sorcs,

At 60.80 MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 56.03 MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

For those who are curious in the effects of removing sorcs from the overlap.

Sorcs aren’t needed.

At 63.56 MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 57.99 MR, the Void comp surpasses Shadow(20).

Test 3

Why not make a whole combination using the same components as test 2? I chose Orianna qwr, which has a basic damage of 650 and an AP ratio of 2.0. You may believe that this would have the same result, however the overlap moves due to the shifting AP ratios of spells. Shadowflame prefers spells with a high AP ratio, whereas void prefers spells that do base damage. Between basic dmg and ap ratio, there is a ratio to be discovered. We can perform 650/2.0 = 325 for the whole combination. The ratio of q is 180/0.5 = 360. This is a rather close range, and the majority of champions fall inside it. This is the amount of ap necessary to double the spell’s damage before mitigation. You’ll see that we need less AP to double the damage of the QWR combination, therefore the additional AP in the shadowflame build will make this build somewhat more favorable.

NOTE: If you’re a champion like Elise, and your AP percent HP ratio isn’t like 0.5AP, you’ll need to change your AP percent HP ratio. The additional AP then comes in handy. I don’t have specific figures, but it should assist you go beyond the percent requirements.


MR values for Orianna qwr 2 items with sorcs damage

When it comes to sorcs,

At 62.01 MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 56.86 MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

Sorcs aren’t needed.

At 64.98 MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 58.96 MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

As a result, a 1.4 MR change in favor of Shadowflame is preferable.

Important: I’m not going to go into depth about this since you can build unlimited combinations and look at the AP ratios and come up with bizarre scenarios. According to this data, if you just use q on Orianna, you should build Void, and if you only use qwr, you should build Shadowflame.

Test 4

Adding a third item to the AP and revisiting the qwr combo. I indicated before that we can plug and play any AP as long as we keep the same AP, which is merely a guess. Now, when we raise our AP, the difference in AP between the builds stays the same, but the percent difference in AP shrinks. As a result, the fact that our spells are stronger as a result of shadowflame is less essential. As our quantity of things and AP grows, we’ll begin to favor Void more and more.

Build three items with total AP values. 9AP more in the Void Comp.

Orianna qwr 3 items with sorc damage versus different MR values

When it comes to sorcs,

At 57.739 MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 53.93MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

Sorcs aren’t needed.

At 59.99MR, Void surpasses Shadow(20).

At 55.53 MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

As we progressed from 2 to 3 items, the threshold at which Void gets better was decreased by 3-4MR. As we get more AP, this will continue.

We can use an equation to figure out how much AP you’ll need to raise or decrease the crossover. This may be necessary for you to compute the amount of AP required based on particular comps/MR levels. To begin, we must calculate the DMG ratio between the two builds. (eq3-4) Then perform some extra arithmetic to arrive at an AP score.


For the AP exam, you’ll need to answer the following equations.

So we can enter in our desired MR value where we want the overlap to be using equation 3-4. For this three-item construct, let’s use 50. The damage ratio of 0.9778 is used in eqn 6. As a result, we’ll need 782AP to make this AP (void comp) difference in order to bring the MR overlap to 50.

Proof of concept for Shadowflame builds with 782 AP, 747 and 756 for Void builds. There is a 50 MR overlap with the Void comp.

Infernals and Deathcap

As previously indicated, these AP multiplicative effects greatly aid Shadowflame. Let’s start with Dcap, which has a 35 percent gain in AP compared to 4/8/12/16 percent for infernals. As a result, there will always be a lesser impact, but you will see how it works. Let’s pretend we’re on the third floor and have these structures. This is a regular occurrence among many wizards.

With deathcap, you may make a three-item build.

The previously established 35 AP gap between Shadowflame and Void has now been broken. The difference in this build is now 47.25 (35*1.35), whereas the difference in Void comp is 34.836. This indicates a trend toward greater MR levels and a preference for Shadowflame.

Test 5

Damage of Orianna qwr 3 items with dcap and sorcs against. different MR levels

When it comes to sorcs,

At 59.84MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 56.51MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

Sorcs aren’t needed.

At 62.44MR, Void passes Shadow(20).

At 58.55MR, Void comp passes Shadow(20).

When comparing the two 3 item builds, there isn’t much of a difference, but keep in mind that we have a lot more AP, therefore the AP value of the dcap build is comparable to that of a typical 4 item (no dcap) construct. So, if you’re using Deathcap in your build, the shift will be about 2-3MR. However, if you have four items and a comparable ap, the shift favors Shadowflame by around 4-5 MR.



Sorry for the wall of words; I got carried away when researching this and decided to publish the most of what I found.

Large takeouts are available. When (assuming shadowflame always has 20 magic pen, which it doesn’t) depending on items/runes/dragons and your champion’s AP ratios, the transition from which item is superior is anywhere between 50-65MR. If you’re a champion with a lot of AP:Base damage, Shadowflame is an excellent option. Not just due of the 2MR change, but also because you’ll be doing a lot more damage against squishes. This isn’t an article telling you to construct one or the other all the time; every league game is different.

Because you can’t attain negative MR levels with simply pen items, builds that contain both shadowflame and void may be overkill a lot of the time. So, if you want to give them -19 MR, don’t construct sorcs + ludens + shadowflame. It doesn’t work that way.

Orianna QWR has crossed the barrier.

Builds Sorcs No sorcs
2 item 62.01 MR 64.99 MR
2 Item that has a void component 56.86 MR 58.96 MR
3 item 57.74 MR 59.99 MR
3 items with a void condition 53.93 MR 55.54 MR
3 items containing dcap 59.84 MR 62.45 MR
3 items with void comp and dcap 56.51 MR 58.55 MR

Every champion and their combinations will vary these numbers, however this is only to demonstrate how the threshold will evolve as the game progresses.

Shadowflame will be better in most cases if their team has no MR items/runes/masteries or mountains, but not if they have high HP. However, if they have at least one null magic mantle, void is normally preferable, and as your AP rises, void will become more appealing.

Ludens + sorcs + shadowflame is excessive, because at three items, the crossover is still 53-55 MR. Despite dealing almost true DMG to anybody with less than 50 MR. The combination of Void + Sorcs + Ludens achieves the same result.

Building them together is really effective in the mid/late game on a variety of champions, but I believe that other things may be more effective. I’ll double-check the figures later!


Please let me know if you see any errors or would want to discuss anything!

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