Many mid laners prefer to prioritize to damage items in the early game over Upgraded Boots, but in this case, pro players have a completely different mindset.
As for casual players, core damage items have always been the top option. Conversely, pro mid laners have a somewhat different way of building the item, in fact, they would usually prioritize buying an Upgraded Boot in the early stage. Therefore, what caused that much difference in item building between pros and normal players?
During the match between Invictus Gaming and Funplus Phoenix, both Rookie and Doinb bought Upgraded Boots (in this situation, they both bought Mecury’s Treads) from a very early stage.
Most of the factors that casual players don’t prioritize purchasing Boots as a second item early on is that it doesn’t have any bonus AD or AP stats. This is, though, since average players will always favor bonus damaged items. Nevertheless, purchasing boots can be quite expensive, especially at the early game (you’ll have to spend around 900 to 1100 gold), and won’t get any AD or AP bonus stats compared to other items at an even lower price.
The point is, however, to equate with the valuable statistics it provides, for instance: the 18 magic penetration advantage of the Sorcerer’s Shoes or the tenacity, which reduces the duration of all crowd control effects by 30 percent of the Mercury’s Treads. Compared to the extra stats offered, the price of the Upgraded Boots is pretty profitable as you can’t find any other source for those stats from the boots.
In terms of the value of items, the main purpose for professional players to choose Upgraded Boots is to increase mobility and the opportunity to engage in any early-game combat. Especially for the mid lane, where the distance you would need move to invade the jungles, the rivers or even the side lanes are much shorter than the other lanes. This indicates that mid laner’s ability to intervene early in combats and ganks is become more and more essential, even in professional matches.
As a mid laner, your role is not just to farm, but also to play a part in vision control, sweeping the surrounding area or simply engaging in team fights. This required players to be able to provide a lot of mobility early on, and the best item to have this ability is the Upgraded Boots.
Doinb doesn’t only sit in his lane while he plays mid, but he also has a responsibility to support his teammates sweep the jungle and increase the team’s overall vision control.
If you’re slower than your opponent in roaming, no matter whether your team plays actively or defensively, there’s a really high chance that they’ll be completely defeated. No matter how many AD or AP stats you get, you can’t do much since your teammates have already been crowed by the enemies. Only one person can not carry the whole team out of this kind of circumstance, particularly in higher rankings and competitive matches.
Not to mention that some specific mid-champions in professional tournaments such as Galio (Predator), Pantheon, Sett… would require a lot of movement speed to promote their strengths or to conquer their weaknesses.
Due to the high demand for map control, pros prefer to choose Boots as their second item, it provides players all they need to take the opportunity to help them overcome their opponents. This gameplay obviously demands comparatively high skill from the player, since boots do not raise the stats of pure strength, but the pressure on the map.