Ninja Tabi were defensive boots that were eventually replaced by Plated Steelcaps. Although removed from the Summoner’s Rift map, it is still utilized on Wild Rift. Aside from the standard speed boost, it would also provide you with extra armor and damage reduction.
Ninja Tabi was commonly bought on tanks and certain fighters who would benefit from extra armor. They were a good option when the enemy teams were focusing on physical damage, and you wouldn’t benefit as much from Mercury Threads or Berserker Greaves.
In this Ninja Tabi guide, I will analyze the item, the history of changes, and why they were ultimately replaced.
Key Info Up Front
Ninja Tabi was tailor-made for tanks. You could even buy them on brawlers in situations where they would benefit more from defense than Berserker’s Greaves’ offense.
Ninja Tabi Basic Info
Ninja Tabi was categorized as a boots item. In other words, they were almost a default on many characters. The main reason for purchasing them was to increase the movement speed but also gain a minor boost to the defense.
Although a very straightforward item that cannot be further upgraded, they weren’t very cost-efficient. You would get an 85.45% return on your investment, which was pretty low. However, it’s unique passive would somewhat remedy the situation.
The item cost 1,100 gold, and you could sell it back for 770 gold. To assemble Ninja Tabi, you required Cloth Armor for 300 gold, Boots of Speed for 300 gold, and a 500 gold Ninja Tabi recipe. If you bought boots just for mobility, you could simply stay with Boots of Speed and start building into other items that would provide more defensive stats.
Ninja Tabi Stats and Uniques
These boots would give you a generic 45 movement speed and 20 armor. Although they seemed pretty simple, they had a unique passive that reduced the damage from auto-attacks by 12%. This is a very rare feature in League of Legends but also a very beneficial one.
At a certain point in the late game, the damage reduction would be more valuable than stacking additional armor. The only issue with this feature is that it couldn’t protect you against turret shots. So, you would be able to exploit it for turret-diving.
Although this was a default pickup for tanks, you could also consider other options. For example, Mercury Threads would provide the same movement speed while giving you 25 magic resistance instead of the armor component. Its passive would give you 30% tenacity, making them a much better choice against crowd-controlling mages.
How Did Ninja Tabi Work?
Ninja Tabi’s unique ability would provide a source of multiplicative stacking. In other words, it would provide extra protection together with other damage reduction items and total armor. For example, if you had a 50% damage reduction from armor and added Ninja Tabi to your inventory, you would have a total of 62% reduction.
Keep in mind that this damage reduction wouldn’t work on all effects. It couldn’t protect you against abilities that work like auto-attacks such as Pick a Card, Mystic Shot, or Lunge. The 12% damage reduction also didn’t work against bonus damage effects and on-hit abilities.
So, as the item description implies, it would mainly help you with the basic damage that comes from normal hitting. The only exception to the rule were the modifiers and abilities that are classified as auto-attacks (for example, Steel Tempest, HyperCharge, Colossal Smash, Aflamed, etc.
Learning more about the champions, their on-hit effects, and modifiers would help you make a choice as to which boots to purchase. Sometimes, Ninja Tabi would seem like a good choice, only for you to discover that they didn’t help against specific champions.
Considering both the armor and the passive, the item would effectively increase your health pool by approximately 13.5%
Ninja Tabi History of Changes
Like all other boots in League of Legends, Ninja Tabi was among the first items introduced in the game. The first iteration of the boots would provide a dodge chance, which is why it was named “Ninja Tabi” in the first place. The item gave the users 10% dodge and 20 armor.
The first update came on May 15th, 2009. Riot would slightly alter its base stats, increasing the dodge rate from 10% to 11% and boosting the armor from 20 to 23. The item was one against buffed in patch 126.96.36.199, raising its dodge chance from 11% to 12% while also increasing the armor from 23 to 25.
Patch 188.8.131.52 Changes
Ninja Tabi hasn’t experienced many changes during its life. One of the bigger updates came with the 184.108.40.206 version. The dodge feature was completely eliminated, and a new passive was introduced. From this point onward, Ninja Tabi would reduce all the damage from auto-attacks by 10% (excluding turret shots).
Patch 220.127.116.11 introduced numerous updates to items, and Ninja Tabi was also affected. Previously, the item gave a solid 70 movement speed, which was now reduced to 45. Before this patch, the boots would reduce damage from all auto-attacks, and after the patch, the feature became champion-exclusive. The patch also increased the item cost from 850 gold to 1,000 gold.
Riot decided to restore previous passive that would reduce damage from all incoming auto-attacks (except for turret shots). In version 3.8, they slightly changed the combined cost going from 350 gold to 375 gold.
Patch 5.22 and Onward
After the 5.22 update, the item cost 1,100 gold and would provide 30 armor instead of the previous 1,000 gold and 25 armor. In patch 6.13, the developers fixed a bug that prevented Ninja Tabi from properly affecting empowered strikes. For example, these boots wouldn’t work against effects and abilities such as Ashe’s Ranger’s Focus.
After patch 7.11, the item’s passive would give champions a 10% damage reduction. In 7.23, the developers fixed a bug that messed up the item’s tooltip and would also limit the number of boots to one.
The last change to the item occurred in patch 8.7. The armor gain was nerfed from 30 to 20, while the passive was boosted from 10% to 12%. Ninja Tabi lasted until patch 10.23 when they were replaced by Plated Steelcaps.
Why were Ninja Tabi Removed?
The removal of Ninja Tabi was more of an esthetic decision. As mentioned previously, the item got its name because of the dodge chance. It was envisioned as a magical object that would be ideal for assassins but also certain fighters.
However, as the dodge component was removed and the focus was placed on armor and damage reduction, there was nothing sneaky about the boots. So, Riot simply changed its name to Plated Steelcaps to refer to its high protective features.
Although this name change makes sense, it also deprives us of an item that was an important piece of League of Legends history. As for the stat differences, Plated Steelcaps and Ninja Tabi are completely the same. All the differences are purely esthetic.
Ninja Tabi Optimal Builds and Users
Given the nature of the item, you would almost never see it on mages or assassins. It was tailor-made for frontliners, whether they were tanks or even melee ADCs. Ninja Tabi was a common pickup on champions such as Amumu, Alistar, Rammus, Galio, Sion, Garen, etc.
Sometimes, you would build the item situationally. For example, if the enemies had a lot of physical characters who relied on basic hits to be effective, Ninja Tabi would be much more efficient than the other purchases. Occasionally, you would even see it on champions who are not common users.
The item was especially potent on champions that have percentage damage reduction themselves. For example, when used on Garen (Courage active provides 30% damage reduction) or Alistar (Unbreakable Will provides 75% damage reduction), Ninja Tabi would make a champion almost unkillable.
The same can be said for certain items. Randuin’s Omen and Adaptive Helm would make you especially resilient. The overall reduction becomes even better if you have high armor values.
How Did Ninja Tabi Compare to Other Boots?
The choice of boots is one of the things where League of Legends excels compared to its predecessor, Dota. A player has a lot of choices allowing you to make a decision during the game. In fact, given that boots are usually purchased for the movement speed component, you can even leave them in their form.
Ninja Tabi was ideal in situations where, after initiation, you have to hold the line. In such cases, mobility is not that important, but instead, a champion benefits more from having extra defense.
Nevertheless, there are lots of instances where tanks would buy some other boots instead of Ninja Tabi. For example, Boots of Mobility were a very popular pickup on Alistar, as this champion already had a good source of damage reduction through its ability kit.
Sometimes, you would purchase Mercury Threads or Boots of Swiftness instead of Ninja Tabi. These two items were great against heavy crowd control, which could sometimes stifle tanks into reaching their optimal positioning.
Anyway, when it comes to boots, we usually don’t have a clear choice, but instead, we need to make the decision on the fly, according to the enemy composition.
Interesting Facts About Ninja Tabi
As one of the older items in the game, there are lots of interesting tidbits surrounding Ninja Tabi. As mentioned, they were one of the rare items that provided percentage physical damage reduction, which made them a really good purchase if you wished to buff up a champion beyond armor.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about the item:
· The developers were pretty lazy when creating Ninja Tabi. In terms of their visuals, they are nothing more than a palette swap of Mercury’s Threads. Among others, Riot did this to categorize both boots as defensive items.
· When talking about tabis, they are traditional Japanese footwear that is very similar to western socks. Aside from ninjas, they were used by all other citizens of the country.
· Although the item would provide lots of defensive benefits, it couldn’t help you with true damage. So, even if you managed to stack lots of damage reduction, you would still be vulnerable to certain champions and lineups.
Question: What is Ninja Tabi in League of Legends?
Answer: Ninja Tabi is a mobility item that focuses on defense. To be precise, they are boots meant to increase your movement speed by 45 and armor by 20. They also have a nifty passive that will reduce the incoming damage from basic attacks by 12%. Keep in mind that this effect doesn’t work for turret shots.
Question: Why was Ninja Tabi removed?
Answer: Ninja Tabi wasn’t the most gold efficient item, but they were regarded as very balanced boots. The first version gave champions dodge a chance, which is why it was named Ninja Tabi. However, as the dodge chance was removed, it no longer made sense to call them tabi. Instead, they were renamed Plated Steelcaps to refer to the armor and damage reduction features
Question: Does Ninja Tabi block true damage?
Answer: This item focuses on physical damage and, in particular, damage from basic hits. The armor stats, as well as the passive, will help you deal with these attacks. Unfortunately, the boots won’t do anything against true damage.