Ashe Build Guide
A Lot About Ashewritten by Oleoay
Table of Contents
|Masteries and Runes||4|
|As the game loads...||7|
|Common Middle Lane Opponents||8|
|Early Game Tactics||10|
|The first shopping trip||11|
|In a perfect world...||13|
|In a less than perfect world...||14|
|Other items and thoughts||15|
|Upgrade Vampriic Sceptre Sidebar||16|
|When on Safari...||17|
This is the first guide I have written for League of Legends, though I have written guides for other games in the past. As far as my background with Ashe, she was the first character I bought and have played her practically since I started.
For the preseason, I played over 300 games as Ashe and even counting my newbie days, I had a 2 to 1 W-L ratio. During Season 1, I have 15 wins and 10 loss (60%). Average K/D/A for Season 1 are 4.8/7.6/11.6 and my average K/D/A in the preseason (counting my newbie games) was 6/6/10. In those 25 Season 1 games, I have 9 double kills and a triple kill. For Season 1, I experimented with a few other builds besides the ones listed in this guide, the metagame has gotten stronger since the WCG finals, and tougher midlane champions like Miss Fortune make Ashe a bit harder to play.
These days, a typical game for me is either a near even or slightly positive K/D ratio with twice to three times as many assists as kills (ex. 5/3/15). Sometimes there's a more op game (14/2/15). Tough long games with a talented enemy team usually end up around 10/8/20. My max champion kills, at the time of this writing, is 24, max deaths is 15 and my max assists (from memory) is 32.
9x Greater Mark of Desolation
9x Greater Seal of Evasion
9x Greater Glyph of Clarity
3x Greater Quintessence of Evasion
Flash and Teleport for normal games.
Flash/ Cleanse/ Ghost for ranked games depending on enemy team composition.
Boots of Speed - 2x Health Potion - Mana Potion
Doran's Blade - Health Potion if enemy team has a lot of burst or tower-diving gankers.
In a perfect world...
In a less than perfect world...
(Please note that the dodge percentages seem incorrect.)
- Very friendly to new players, since none of her skills require her to be near her target and all are easy to use compared to other champion's skill shots.
- Can be built as carry DPS or support DPS and so, tends to shine more late game.
- Good at pushing towers and clearing creeps so she can solo a lane and farm well.
- Ashe's slow from her Frost Shot + Volley and her stun and slow from Enchanted Crystal Arrow can either aid teammates in killing the enemy, or save those teammates from getting killed.
- Good recon ability with Hawkshot.
- Low health, armor and magic resist make her a frost cannon, easy to kill.
- Early to mid game mana problems if using Volley a lot.
- Can be vulnerable mid-game (levels 7-13) as enemy champions wander from their lanes and target her for a gank while her damage output is still low.
- Tends to attract fire because of her high damage, low survivability reputation.
- Very item dependent. Needs armor penetration mid-game or loses her effectiveness.
- Certain heroes with silences/stuns/snares/shields cause her real problems.
- Has problems killing heroes with blinking or cleansing effects.
- Since she tends to shine more late game, middle-lane tanks can cause her problems early to mid game because they can outregenerate her damage.
- Though she can gank certain heroes one-on-one, if she is alone, she'll most likely get ganked by the reinforcements.
Focus This skill gives you an increased chance of a critical hit the longer you have remained out of combat. I "notice" this skill most at the early levels, avoiding autoattacking minions until I can potshot the enemy, followed up with a Volley hopefully. With the enhanced critical strike chance, you can potshot people at their tower and run away before the tower locks on and fires on you.
Here is a link to a good video on how to let Focus build up and then last-hit minions with Ashe. Note how often the Ashe player gets a critical hit.
Frost Shot This skill slows your opponent a percentage based on your level in the skill. The effect is also applied to Volley. For this reason, I max Frost Shot before Volley because it allows me to escape ganks faster and slow fleeing champions easier at early levels.
Early game, you don't do enough damage and the slow percentage is rarely good enough to guarantee an early kill. It shines most in mid game and late game scenarios as a followup to Enchanted Crystal Arrow to keep your opponent from retreating into tower range. The skill does eat through your mana very fast, so make sure you only use it to hit champions. You can tell Frost Shot is turned on because the arrow's animation turns blue.
Note that Frost Shot and Volley applies a slowing ice effect in terms of the double damage effect of Anivia's Frostbite.
Volley This skill fires seven arrows in an arc that deal your attack damage plus bonus damage depending on your level in this skill. Volley also applies your current level in Frost Shot to any hit targets.
Since patch 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52, it has been a bit nerfed where it fires less arrows, has a smaller hit arc, and no longer has the penetration effect that allowed an enemy champion hiding behind minions to be attacked.
Note that firing Volley does not count as an attack for Focus purposes so a quick combination of a Volley and an autoattack buffed by Focus can cause some surprising early game damage.
Its utility changes as the game progresses but it is always useful to farm minions. Early and midgame, it is best used for additional damage on a champion assuming the minions have been cleared out of the way. Try to aim your Volley so that you hit a few minions at the same time as hitting the enemy champion. Though the mana cost for Volley is relatively cheap, if you spam it too much, you'll run out of mana so try to make each shot count.
Volley is also a great tool for escaping single gankers or entire teams. A Volley with a maxed Frost Shot can buy you enough time to escape anyone who is too close. It can also be used to slow down and intimidate heroes that are trying to charge into you.
Late game, it is best used to scout bushes for enemies, fire around/over jungle corners to damage and slow fleeing champions, and to take potshots at groups of heroes sitting at their tower once you have stacked damage items. With enough stacked damage, you can also take out the wraith camps while remaining in your middle lane.
While called Ashe's bread and butter skill, the changes since 184.108.40.206 make it less useful, though still a valuable skill. Getting it at level one is almost mandatory. However, each extra level just decreases cooldown and adds 10 damage. The decreased cooldown is useful if you find yourself a gank target often, but overusing it leads to mana problems. So, I tend not to add extra levels in this skill until later.
Note that the range on Volley is slightly less than Ashe's auto attack, so while chasing a fleeing hero, it is best to apply a Frost Shot instead of a Volley.
Also note that Frost Shot and Volley applies a slowing ice effect in terms of the double damage effect of Anivia's Frostbite.
This video clip shows some good use of Volley in a variety of situations. Note how Volley is used to create space between Ashe and Evelynn/Akali and later on with Mordekaiser. Volley is also used to fire over jungle walls. I realize the Ashe in the video is fed, but he does a good job of positioning throughout this montage, towerdiving and retreating, running away while using Volley, baiting Sona away from her fountain, etc.
You can use practice games to work on your Enchanted Crystal Arrow aiming. Select enemy champions that the bots tend to move around a lot and survive well like Alistair, Nunu and Master Yi. Take just two champions for your team so that the bottom lane is open and you can farm quickly. Set your masteries up for maximum cooldown and buy a Kindlegem and a Glacial Shroud. Then, practice hitting enemy champions from your nexus, from middle lane, your lizard camp, etc. With max cooldown, you'll be firing arrows every 24 seconds so you can get quite a few shots off, though note that the bots obviously don't move as well as a human player.
Hawkshot This skill has a passive effect where you gain extra gold per minion kill. The active effect turns off the passive effect and sends a hawk in a direction of your choice. This skill will reveal heroes, Heimerdinger's turrets, voidlings etc. even if they are "hiding" in bushes assuming they don't have an invisibility effect.
Patch 220.127.116.11 introduced the Hawkshot active effect to the previously weak Plentiful Bounty skill. The gold bonus isn't all that much considering that a normal Ashe player will kill about 100-150 minions a game, meaning that the gold benefit they would receive would be in the 300-400 range.
However, the active effect makes this skill a godsend regardless of what lane you are in. Besides the obvious ability to avoid ganks and ambushes from people hiding in bushes, it can be used to track fleeing heroes or to plan escape routes. You can also use this to expose heroes that are going into bushes so that you can keep firing on them.
The current metagame in Season One involves a jungler for each team. Thus, Hawkshot becomes invaluable, especially from the middle lane, to find the enemy jungler or to protect your jungler from ganks. You can also use Hawkshot in conjunction with Enchanted Crystal Arrow to kill enemy junglers or the major creeps they are trying to kill like Baron Nashor, Dragon, the golem and the lizard.
By late game, the range on Hawkshot is so huge that you can scout Baron Nashor from the wall inside of your base. You can also use this skill in conjunction with Enchanted Crystal Arrow to kill jungling champions like Warwick, Udyr, etc. Please note the skill does not see invisible heroes. I always make sure I have one level of this skill (but no more) by the time I hit level 6.
Enchanted Crystal Arrow This skill fires a large arrow with global range in a direction. If it hits an enemy champion, it will deal damage and stun that champion. In addition, if it hits an enemy champion, it will slow and deal damage to any other champions as well as minions, voidlings etc. that are in the immediate vicinity. The stun length is determined by your distance from the point of impact, so when you use this in team fights, try to be three quarters of a screen or more away from the target.
As I head to my lane, I say over chat "at=arrow top, ab=arrow bot, am=arrow mid". Then, when I fire off the arrow to the lane, I'll then say "at","ab" or "am". I rarely ping an enemy hero when I fire my arrow because I rarely aim exactly at a hero. I try to judge by the progression of the creep wave where the enemy will end up, and aim at that spot. If I follow the trajectory and it looks like a hit will happen, then I start double or triple-pinging the hero. Also, if I fire the arrow into the fog of war and hear a "thunk", I ping that area indicating a hit.
Note that spells such as Morgana's Black Shield and Sivir's Spell Shield will absorb the arrow, as well as Banshee's Veil. Also, debuff effects like Gangplank's Remove Scurvy, Olaf's Ragnarok, and the summoner spell Cleanse can negate the stun or slow. So if you try to initiate a team fight with the arrow, be careful who you aim for because your team might rush in just to find out that the arrow didn't stun anyone. In general, when firing the arrow, try to position yourself so that you have a good angle, aiming not necessarily for the closest enemy but for the best target.
As mentioned in the Hawkshot section, you can use Enchanted Crystal Arrow to kill enemy junglers or use the AOE damage of the arrow to kill major minions such as Baron Nashor, Dragon, the golem and the lizard.
The Enchanted Crystal Arrow can be used defensively as well as offensively. The stun is useful for breaking channeling spells like Fiddlesticks, Nunu, Warwick and Katarina's ultimate. The stun and slow can also buy you enough time to escape a team trying to chase you down. If one of my teammates is in trouble and is fleeing through the river or jungle, I'll fire an arrow along the escape path to buy my teammate some more time.
If it is late game, I'm at my nexus, and the enemy heroes are fighting minions at their nexus or inhibitors, I'll fire an arrow at them. The AOE damage will clear out some of their minions and my team's minions (and maybe super minions) can hit hard enough to kill that hero off.
A very common trick is to fire a Enchanted Crystal Arrow at an enemy champion then Teleport onto your tower, a friendly minion or ward. When you do so, try to position your Teleport and your movement after the Teleport in such a way that if the enemy champion flees, they flee into the path of the incoming arrow. Be advised, since this is a very common trick, higher level players won't be tricked by it.
This is a video of an Enchanted Crystal Arrow shot to the top lane while teleporting to a minion. Note how the Ashe player delays a few seconds before casting Teleport so that she arrives at the same time as her arrow. Also note that she stops firing on Warwick once it's guaranteed he'll be dead and starts applying Frost Shot to the other enemy champion.
Another example of a Enchanted Crystal Arrow shot with a Teleport. Notice how HotshotGG uses Volley after he arrives from the Teleport to clear out the minion wave so that the tower fires on the stunned enemy Ashe.
This is a video of a good Enchanted Crystal Arrow shot while teleporting to a placed ward.
Also note that Enchanted Crystal Arrow has a smaller hit box than it used to, and sometimes even glitches. I've fired it at people right next to me and missed, and there are occurrences when it passes through people. You can watch one example of this below where the arrow literally passes through Tristana, and in the old days, would've hit Garen anyway. I have no rule of thumb yet on how/why this occurs, but I "thread the needle" between two heroes occasionally when I never used to.
You can use practice games to work on your Enchanted Crystal Arrow aiming. Pick enemy champions that the bots tend to move well and have a bit of survivability like Alistair, Nunu and Master Yi. Have two bots on your team so that you can solo the bottom lane. Set your masteries/runes for maximum and buy a Kindlegem and Glacial Shroud once you've farmed it for maximum cooldown. You'll be firing an arrow every 24 seconds and with a 5v3 situation, there should be a lot of targets. Try taking shots from different "common" areas like your Nexus, the middle lane, the lizard camp, etc., aiming at different lanes with each shot. You can also practice using your arrow defensively because bots like Yi and Alistair will rush at you. You can also practice breaking Nunu's ultimate as well.
In almost all situations, I go W/E/Q/Q/Q/R/Q/W/Q(max)/W/W/W(max)/E/E/R(max)/E/E(max). For a priority list, it's Enchanted Crystal Arrow>Frost Shot>Volley>Hawkshot. However, if I am not getting rushed by enemy ganks a lot, I may max Hawkshot over Volley. Remember, the biggest reason to max Volley is no longer the damage, but the cooldown reduction.
In very rare situations, if I'm sharing a lane with a really good player or if I leave mid to help one of the side lanes get a first blood, I might go with Frost Shot for level 1 and wait on Volley until Level 2, hoping I can slow my target enough for my partner to kill him. However this strategy is risky, very mana draining and requires very special circumstances. Generally those circumstances include being paired with an ally capable of some burst damage at level 1 with a stun/slow, no enemy healers, and only one or maybe two stunners on their entire team. Even if you get the first blood, though, usually you've run through so much mana and health that you might have to recall to base and Teleport back out. That means that, though you got first blood, you lost the opportunity to keep earning xp and gold and had to use your Teleport early.
Usually, it is a better tactic as Ashe (with Boots of Speed as a starting item and Frost Shot as a skill) to come down from the middle lane to join a side lane gank than to try to do it 2v2. The biggest problem with coming down from mid as Ashe is you might not have visibility in the bushes so you can't use your Frost Shot. Volley might be a better skill then, when coming down from mid. Other problems in helping with an early side gank is that you can fall behind the experience and gold curve if you wait too long, especially if your team doesn't get the first blood. Also, the experience in the lane is being split between you and your two allies so that lane in general gets slowed down a bit. Meanwhile, your opponent in the middle lane is farming for free...
Masteries and Runes
For the Masteries, I put 21 points in the Offensive Tree and 9 points in the Utility Tree. I put a point in Archaic Knowledge to give a bit of extra damage to my Enchanted Crystal Arrow. I also max Sunder and Lethality while putting only a point in Brute Force. I feel the armor penetration from Sunder is vital for Ashe to handle the middle game better and the 10% Critical Strike damage scales better late game than Brute Force. On the Utility side, maxing Perseverance and putting a point in Meditation helps my mana management. I do put a point in Spatial Accuracy. Though the cooldown reduction is negligible, your channel for Teleport is faster which means if you are being chased, you can hide in a bush and Teleport back to base faster. If you don't use Spatial Accuracy, put the extra point in Good Hands or Haste. I can see an argument for putting a point in Utility Mastery for the monster duration increase, but I find that other team members can use the golem or lizard buff more than I can... and I tend to spend time with my team instead of jungling. Some people think Greed is a good idea, but over the course of the game, it is only worth about 400 gold. I feel with the point in Meditation, I get just a bit more mana which might save myself from a return trip to base... which means I can farm up gold quicker.
Instead of the Utility tree, you could also put 9 points in the Defensive tree. In that scenario, I would put 3 points in Resistance, 1 point in Hardness, 4 points in Evasion and 1 point in Nimbleness. Just keep in mind, your mana will be harder to manage and you will level slower since you no longer have points in Awareness. The flipside is you get extra survivability.
For runes, I go with:
9x Greater Mark of Desolation
9x Greater Seal of Evasion
9x Greater Glyph of Clarity
3x Greater Quintessence of Evasion
This gives you +18 armor penetration, 11.25% dodge and 13 mana regeneration per 5 at level 18. For Marks, if you don't have armor penetration, critical hit chance would be a second choice and attack speed would be a third choice. Dodge is immensely helpful on Ashe, so I would stack as many Seals of that as you can. You can swap in a few cooldown reduction or magic resist Glyphs if you are managing your mana fine. For Quintessences, you can also use hit point regeneration or flat hit points runes if needed.
Preferred Summoner Skills:
Teleport: As mentioned, Enchanted Crystal Arrow + Teleport is a great trick combination but works less the higher caliber of players that you are facing. It also helps in mid to late game farming to help save a tower surrounded by a ton of enemy creeps or to rejoin a team fight after a quick heal and shopping trip. Sometimes, I put a point in it in the Utility Mastery tree. The cooldown reduction is negligible but the decreased channeling time can be a lifesaver when escaping an incoming enemy gank while hiding in a bush. However, the Teleport trick is less likely to work in ranked games so if you do get it, use it to return to the lane quickly to farm or to escape an enemy gank.
Flash: Flash has been nerfed a bit over the last few months, with an increased cooldown time and a shorter range. More people have been switching to Ghost. There are just some situations where Flash works better, such as avoiding a hero like Warwick diving towards you, flashing to the other side of creeps to avoid a stun or snare, or Blitzcrank grabbing you. You can also escape by flashing behind the enemy into another bush during a team fight. Flash is also useful for an early game middle lane 1v1 gank after firing off an Enchanted Crystal Arrow to get you that smidgen closer to an enemy for a few extra Frost Shot attacks and/or a Volley. Flash and Cleanse work great in combination to retreat from being focus fired on in a team fight and to position yourself to fire an Enchanted Crystal Arrow.
Cleanse: Viable, though easier to select if you are playing in Ranked mode since you can see what enemy stunners the other team has. If they have a lot of stunners, especially AOE stunners or slowers like Annie or Anivia or Galio, I'm more likely to take Cleanse and Flash. Mercury's Treads should still be a priority in many situations. Where Cleanse really shines is in one on one matchups which aside from early game mid-lane or Enchanted Crystal Arrow/Teleport combos, shouldn't happen much. Note that Cleanse no longer gets rid of Ignite or various poison effects from Twitch, Teemo or Tristana or surpression effects such as Warwick's, Urgot's and Malzahar's ultimate.
Ghost: Where Flash lets you escape situations you are already close to, Ghost is more effective at escaping if there is some space between you and your opponents. It also has no prerequisites on the Utility Masteries tree so it is easy to spec to. Ghost is also better at pursuing fleeing champions through the jungle, though unlike Flash, it doesn't work as well for tower diving. Ghost is also more useful against ministunners like Xin Zhao and Udyr than Cleanse or Flash. Perhaps the choice between Flash and Ghost comes down to play style but either one can help keep Ashe alive or get a kill on a fleeing champion if used correctly.
Other Summoner Skills:
Exhaust: You already have a slow and getting this close to the enemy won't stop him from hitting you back or flashing away. However, with the offensive masteries tree specced, it might be worth putting a point there instead of ability power just for the extra armor reduction and as an extra snare in team fights.
Clarity: By level 13 or so, you shouldn't be having mana problems. Before level 12, a mana potion and your inevitable shopping and healing trips should suffice. Basically, I like it when I see an opposing Ashe with Clarity because it means that player has problems managing their mana.
Heal: Newbie skill. Sure, you and your allies and your creeps get some health back, but it doesn't save you in critical situations that a Flash can, nor help you rejoin a fight. One late-game hit will do more damage than Heal would have restored.
Ignite: Should you really want to be close enough to the enemy to use this? Besides by late game, a single normal attack from Ashe should deal the same amount of damage, if not more unless you're building her wrong.
Clairvoyance: A good skill for at least one person on your team to have, but Ashe is so fragile that it is better to add survivability summoner abilities like Flash and Ghost. On the other hand, Clairvoyance and Hawkshot gives you unparalleled map control.
Smite: If you spec your masteries for it, then the extra gold helps, but that extra gold is the only thing about this skill that helps you stay alive. Early game you can farm well enough with Volley and you really shouldn't be jungling much...
[spell=Rally]: Since [spell_text=Rally] doesn't heal anymore, this skill is less viable. Fights tend to be mobile enough where you run out of the range of [spell_text=Rally]. You'd also have to sacrifice something in the offensive tree to get it buffed and I'm not sure if reducing armor reduction or losing an extra point of damage makes it worthwhile. Speccing its improvement does help its duration, but the AP bonus is only good for your Enchanted Crystal Arrow and ideally, you'd be firing it from your base a quarter of the time anyway. So unless you like a flag on your fountain, there's no reason to take it.
[spell=Fortify]: Useful-ish early game, but doesn't really help Ashe stay alive and speccing deep into the defense tree to improve it doesn't help her kill anything either. Still, I tend to wander between lanes after level 10 so [spell_text=Fortify] can be useful for keeping your undefended middle tower safe.
Revive: Revive has received some buffs, particularly an increased movement speed in the last few patches. It actually might not be a horrible idea since people lately empahsize early-game elixirs for more survivability. The problem is that if you're a bad Ashe (or having a bad game) then you'll be reentering situations that you can not survive anyway. Perhaps Revive and Teleport would be a good idea, but then you have no escape mechanisms. I'd skip it unless you're on an arranged team.
So to summarize, I tend to go with Flash and Teleport in normal games. Lately in ranked games, Teleport is a bit too predictable for enemy teams so I use Flash, Cleanse and/or Ghost depending on the enemy team composition.
My starting build:
Boots of Speed, 2x Health Potion and a Mana Potion:
With my Runes and Masteries, I'm able to be very active in the middle lane (without going crazy), yet still have mana for a Enchanted Crystal Arrow and a Volley once I hit level 6. Remember, just having enough mana for Enchanted Crystal Arrow and a Frost Shot or two is usually not enough to kill a hero, so remember to budget mana for Volley. The Boots of Speed give me a bit of extra speed to escape the early gank attempt that inevitably comes to the middle lane and allows me to run to one of the side lanes for an early first blood or if things are looking hairy. The other reason I go with this build is it lets me get Mercury's Treads early if the opposing team is caster-heavy. If I tried going the Catalyst the Protector route, it'd take a lot more gold to get some basic magic resist and movement speed and the snare/slow/stun reduction from the Mercury's Treads can be a life saver.
I'm going to run through a few other common early-game builds for Ashe that you may see opposing you in the middle lane and add some commentary on what they mean.
Doran's Blade or Doran's Shield and Health Potion:
Since the WCG matchups, Doran's items have gained a lot in popularity so pretty much everyone starts with them in ranked games these days. Doran's items provide the best bang for the buck with some health, and in the case of Doran's Blade some damage and lifesteal. Similar to flat stat runes, they help a bit with the early game. I am more likely to start with a Doran's Blade than Boots of Speed if there are no tower diver-type champions like Warwick or Xin Zhao but more burst damage champions like Miss Fortune or Kog'maw. An Ashe with one can be a bit more work to handle early game but they are usually nonfactors by the time I hit level 6 or do my first shopping trip. Since the Doran's items don't upgrade to anything, they have problems surviving the middle game since they don't have boots, don't regenerate mana quickly and are behind in upgrading their damage. Two Doran's Blade and an elixir or two can help rough midgames for those games where a Banshee's Veil or a Hexdrinker isn't appropriate for better survivability.
Sapphire Crystal and 2x Health Potion:
Generally, this Ashe player is going for an early Catalyst the Protector which will be turned into a Banshee's Veil or in rarer cases a Sheen. While this kind of build adds some mid-game staying power and gives them a better (though not a great) chance of having the mana for a Enchanted Crystal Arrow at level 6, they'll fall behind the damage curve. I'll admit that I used this build a fair amount when I was a newer player and it is viable, especially against caster-heavy opponents. Also, be careful if they get a Catalyst the Protector and then alter their playstyle by trying to rush you... that means they are close to levelling and are counting on the Catalyst buff to heal them.
[item=Meki Pendant] and 2x Health Potion or a Regrowth Pendant:
This will often get changed into a Philosopher's Stone or a Manamune. Against this kind of build, expect the opposing Ashe with the [item_text=Meki Pendant] to have enough mana to send a Enchanted Crystal Arrow, most likely at you. The key here is to keep track of who is leveling faster. If the other Ashe is leveling faster than you, then you should play defensive and hug your tower so that you have some protection in case the enemy Ashe sends an Enchanted Crystal Arrow your way. This build might remain behind the damage curve unless they go for a Manamune but has decent midgame staying power. However it will tend to be weaker late game without the HP/MP boost from the Catalyst the Protector/Banshee's Veil. I used this build starting out but as I got better, found the Philosopher's Stone a bit superfluous by late midgame. Manamune has some uses, but the way I have my runes and masteries set up and by conserving my Volley, I find I don't need the mana regeneration as much. Of particular note is if you see any champion with a Regrowth Pendant, you are unlikely able to gank them solo early game but you can damage them enough where they have to withdraw from the creep line and are denied XP. These Ashe players will sometimes build a Warmog's Armor in an attempt to be more tanky.
I think this is an outright mistake. Those Ashe players run through their mana too quick and do so little damage that the lifesteal doesn't help. Since their mana is deprived, I usually have little problem whittling away their life and forcing them away from the creeps, denying them of XP.
Long Sword and a Health Potion or Mana Potion:
These players tend to be very good or very bad and the easy way to tell is how patient they are. If they run forward a few steps just to fire a single arrow at you, then retreat behind their creep line until Focus charges back up or are real good at last hitting and using their Volley to hit you and your creeps, you have to play pretty cautiously. Expect these players to go for a Last Whisper, Sword of the Occult, Hexdrinker or The Brutalizer quickly.
I see some Ashe players stack Avarice Blade like they are going out of style. For those 5/10 gold items, you need to hold them for 25 minutes to break even. Most games end in 30-40 minutes. I used to be against Avarice Blade but with the changes to Ashe, they do help her get a bit more gold. I wouldn't build it immediately by starting the game with a Brawler's Gloves, but I now pick it up during my first shopping trip, especially if I can get a Long Sword at the same time. But I wouldn't start with it, nor stack multiples.
As the game loads...
As the game loads, it is _very_ important to note what champions you are facing and what summoner abilities they are using. For example, if I see an enemy Ashe and a bunch of melee champions, I'll most likely expect Ashe to face me in the middle lane. If I see a Warwick, I'll keep in mind he might be jungling and may come to the middle lane when I hit level 6 or so and try to gank me. If I see a Twitch, Shaco or Evelynn, I'll most likely buy a Vision Ward or two on my first shopping trip and I'll try not to extend too far in the middle lane. After the game loads, I'll also note which lane each hero is in and make sure not to push too far if a hero seems to be missing even if no one on my team called a MIA.
Their summoner abilities can also give you hints about their playstyle. If they have Flash and Ignite or Exhaust, then I'll expect them to play very offensively and to counter that, I won't push the lane as hard. Likewise if they have Heal and they are an opponent I will likely face in the middle lane, I won't get overconfident trying to kill them if I've seen they are out of potions early-game. If there are any champions with Cleanse or cleansing/spell immunity effects, I'll keep in mind that they probably won't be stunned for long by my Enchanted Crystal Arrow, the slow from Frost Shot will have less effect and my Enchanted Crystal Arrow + Teleport combination won't work on them. I'll also make note of enemy champions with global-range damage dealing like Gangplank, Karthus and Ezreal and global-range teleports/heals like Twisted Fate, Shen and Soraka.
Common Middle Lane Opponents
The champion you are facing in the opposing lane plays a big factor in your early game strategy. At times, some of these champions can even force you to change your item build. Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of champions you might see in most situations in the middle lane.
Annie: A good Annie can be real tough to deal with early game. Generally, she has some combination of Flash, Exhaust or Ignite. Her main strategy is to try to ministun and deal damage to you until level 6. Then when Pyromania is charged up, she will Flash right on top of you and Summon: Tibbers for an instant kill. She looks squishy but unless you've damaged her earlier, it is very hard to kill her off by the time she comes out of the stun from Enchanted Crystal Arrow. It's best to play defensive and try not to overextend yourself in trying to kill her until you get Mercury's Treads for some magic resist. Also, if she starts moving directly at you, make sure to back off or her combo will own you.
Ashe: Hopefully by the time you get done reading this guide, you'll have a better understanding of how to play Ashe, and similarly, a better idea of what kinds of tactics she will use against you. Note her starting items and use those to get an idea of her early game strengths and weaknesses. Notice her summoner skills and keep track of her cooldowns for those skills and for her Enchanted Crystal Arrow so you have an idea of when she will try to make her move. Judge by the frequency of her Volley and whether she is able to get around your creeps to get you in her arc of fire or not. Watch her mana level and if it is over 150, then be ready for the Enchanted Crystal Arrow. Since Ashe is a carry, it is a good idea to keep a tab on what items the enemy Ashe buys throughout the game and compare them to your own to see if you are ahead of the damage curve or not. Oh, and don't fall for the Teleport/Enchanted Crystal Arrow trick. If you see an enemy teleporting in to one of their creeps, retreat at a diagonal (or even sideways) and not directly backwards.
Cho'gath: Cho'gath heals too quickly with Carnivore, usually in conjunction with some healing or regeneration item, for you to take him out early. Thankfully, the only spell you're scared about from long-range, Rupture can be pretty easy to dodge. Just stay at the extreme edges of your attack range and run away a few steps if you hear a rumbling sound. Similar to Karthus, change the direction that you run away at so he's less likely to place his spell i your area of retreat. However, using this tactic means that you want to keep the fighting away from your tower so that you don't walk into a Rupture while trying to save your tower from the enemy's minions. Also remember that Ashe is squishy and Cho'gath likes to eat her out... with Feast.
Ezreal: Ezreal is a skillshot character, so a lot depends on the skill of your opponent. Usually, Ezrael can Arcane Shift away from a gank attempt since they usually can get back to their tower by the time you can apply enough damage. He can also do a surprising amount of damage quickly, especially if he drank an Elixir of Fortitude. Similar to Karthus, you want to keep moving when facing Ezrael so that you don't get hit by Mystic Shot (which has greater range than your Volley, nor his Essence Flux. You also want to stay behind your creeps to soak up his skillshot damage. You can usually tell if he's going to try to gank you because he'll run a wide route around his and your creeps. Ezrael is so mana dependent though that if you keep him busy, eventually he'll have to retreat to base. Still, be careful of his Trueshot Barrage, especially if he has Teleport. A decent Ezrael can pick off a low-health hero standing by their tower or running back to base just like a decent Ashe can with a Enchanted Crystal Arrow.
Fiddlesticks: Friggin' Fiddle, might as well pick your poison. He can silence you with Dark Wind. If you move in to try to kill him, he can Drain you faster than you can damage him. Most annoying, he can Terrify you so that you zig zag back and forth in front of him, maybe taking damage from Crowstorm, or maybe one of his other abilities... it's his pick after all. Get Mercury's Treads immediately, maybe even a Banshee's Veil if he's a good player, then pray for rain. Once you hit level 14 or so and are able to start stacking damage after buying all the magic resist stuff, his Crowstorm won't hurt as bad and with a Last Whisper, you just might be able to take him out. As an additional note, if he lands his Crowstorm into your team but you are out of range of its effects, start firing on him immediately. You might be able to take him out before he eats your tanks. You can also use an Enchanted Crystal Arrow to interrupt his Crowstorm channel, or after he casts it so that he is unable to move after Crowstorm fires off. As a general pointer, the less often you see Fiddlesticks alone on the minimap after he hits level 6, the better the player is. Expect an ambush.
Gangplank: Gangplank's Parrrley hits hard and the Grog Soaked Blade can sap away your life. His Remove Scurvy negates the stun from your Enchanted Crystal Arrow and heals him. Usually, after an early game of harassing, he will seem to have a low enough health that you think you can gank him right when both of you hit Level 6. Well, you shouldn't try it. At that stage of the game and assuming you haven't done a shopping trip, you won't be able to kill him faster than he can get off a Cannon Barrage. I tend to get Mercury's Treads for him just so I am not slowed as much by his barrage. Thankfully, he becomes easier to handle mid-to-late game unless you've been feeding his Parrrley too much...
Galio: Galio runs through mana like crazy with his ranged spells, so sometimes it's helpful to give him a chance to skill shot you while he's at low level just so he has less mana available for when his spells level up. He can heal a bit and has just enough armor where it'll be hard to kill him before level 6 and your first shopping trip. However, you can keep harassing him with autoattacks without worrying too much since he doesn't do a ton of damage. Later game, though, he can be very hard to kill and he'll often get a Thornmail specifically to deter you. Still, he isn't too much to worry about if you don't let him get close to you. Remember to stay at a healthy range so that if he uses his ultimate on your team, you can break it with a Enchanted Crystal Arrow.
Heimerdinger: Heimerdinger can be rough because of his turrets and his stun potential. Before minions spawn, I'll stay just outside of his tower's visibility range just to make sure that if he places any guns, they're near his own turret. Thankfully, there is a slight delay between going into the range of his guns and the time they start firing on you. Because of this delay, you can move until his turret is at the extreme edge of your normal autoattack range, fire a single shot at his turret, then run out before getting shot back. Also remember that if Heimerdinger dies, his turrets die too, so try to hit him as well as his turrets with Volley. Keep an eye on Heimerdinger's mana... if you are working your butt off and he's still not running out of mana, ask for a help or for a lane change. It is also a good idea to prioritize Volley over Frost Shot just so you can take down his turrets quicker.
Katarina: A good Katarina can chew Ashe up, especially with Shunpo. She'll try to dive in once she hits level 6 and fire off her ultimate. Meanwhile, she'll keep trying to whittle your life away. Try to use your range and time her cooldowns so you can weaken her before she gets too daring. Also remember that your Enchanted Crystal Arrow stops her ultimate, so save your arrow for teamfights.
Kennen: Kennen is a bit of a problem for Ashe. His main plan is to try to stun you, and he'll do whatever it takes to put a mark on you. The range on his Thundering Shuriken is longer than your autoattack and Volley. Always try to keep your minions between you and him. If he goes into a Lightning Rush back off, and if he gets a Mark of the Storm on you, retreat from the minion line until it wears off. Fortunately, he is pretty squishy so if you are able to whittle off a bit of his life, you could kill him with an Enchanted Crystal Arrow combo.
Karthus: Karthus can be handled if you don't overextend yourself. Karthus's Lay Waste is a great spell, but the range is shorter than your Volley. It is easy to see when he is about to cast it because he starts moving toward you. If you run at or away from him, he'll often cast Lay Waste where you are running to, so don't be predictable. Try to stay by your creeps so that if a Lay Waste hits you, the damage will be distributed among you and your creeps meaning you take less damage. Never stay still, always keep moving and vary the direction you move at so he has a harder time hitting you with Lay Waste. Hopefully you can burn off enough of his mana early game that it'll slow down his casts. Also note that Karthus has very slow movement speed in general and usually only has a single Health Potion and no summoner spells that help with long-distance movement like Ghost or Teleport so if you can force him back, it can take a long time for him to return. This is another hero that I'll get a Mercury's Treads for early and might even get a Banshee's Veil.
Kassadin: Congratulations, you're neutered. Kassadin can silence you so you can't Flash away. Even if you slow him with Frost Shot or stun him with Enchanted Crystal Arrow, he can Riftwalk away before you can finish him off. Oh, he also drains your mana with Nether Blade and can slow you withForce Pulse. Then, toss in his summoner abilities and there's a good chance you're either dead or fighting from near your tower. All you can really do when faced with a good Kassadin player is play conservative, focus on farming, and perhaps force him to return to base to heal if he happens to get caught in a few volleys.
Kog'maw: Kog'maw is not dangerous, per se, until he hits level 6. His best chance to kill you is to hit you with a Void Ooze then turn on Bio-Arcane Barrage to whittle you down as you try to run away. The best way to counter him is to avoid his Void Ooze because then you can get out of Bio-Arcane Barrage range easily. Once he hits Level 6, Living Artillery will punish you if you don't remain moving. At this point, watch for the little droplet and run away from it, similar to avoiding Karthus's Lay Waste. However, be careful about dodging by running closer because a Void Ooze will slow you down. Also note that you need to be very careful trying to combo him with Enchanted Crystal Arrow, especially in tower range, because his passive ability after death might detonate and finish you off. However, Kog'maw doesn't have great burst damage (unless you are close to him), so play smart and you can stay safe.
Malzahar: Malzahar might farm the middle lane like crazy, but he really isn't a threat to Ashe until he hits level 6 and can get you in a Nether Grasp. Before he is Level 6, just keep moving so you don't get caught in any of his damage over time spells and retreat from the creep line if Malefic Visions is on your last minion.
Miss Fortune: Miss Fortune is a very difficult character for Ashe to handle. Her Double Up, usually in conjunction with a Doran's Blade means she will outheal you while dealing more early game damage than you. When facing her, you have to avoid the ricochet of her Double Up. This can be done either by remaining in the middle of your caster minions, at an angle parallel to your caster minions, or far enough behind the minions. Of course, being behind the minions makes it harder for you to last hit minions to farm gold. Keep an eye on when she dashes toward the minions because that is usually when she goes for the Double Up. If she tries running around the minions, she's trying to get a good angle to hit you with the ricochet, so fire a Volley to dissuade her and slow her down. She may also try to Flash for positioning. Early game, you can escape her ultimate easily enough but she'll get more and more dangerous as she stacks damage in the midgame. Usually in teamfights, you'll be her prime target and she'll be yours so keep an eye on her always.
Mordekaiser: If Mordekaiser starts the game with a Regrowth Pendant then you can give up trying to kill him early. His base hit points plus his shield are too big for you to take him out and you can burn through a lot of mana trying to do so. One tactic that is effective is to wait for him to start running towards the creep line. Usually when he does this, he is casting Siphon of Destruction followed by a Mace of Spades. You can often attack and critical hit him a second or two before he gets in range for his spells to hit the creep line. That way, you apply damage to his actual health before his shield is up. As soon as you fire, though, back away so his spell effect(s) don't hit you. Also, be very careful if he has Ghost, especially with Ignite or Exhaust. When he hits Level 6 and uses Children of the Grave on you with those summoner abilities, it is almost a guaranteed kill on a squishy hero like Ashe unless you're playing very conservatively. Even tower-hugging isn't safe against that combo if you're at 3/4ths of your life. This is a hero that I'll get a Mercury's Treads for early just for the magic resist boots. You really don't have a good chance at killing Mordekaiser until you have a Last Whisper circa level 13-14.
Morgana: As long as you remain behind your creeps to prevent her from hitting you with Dark Binding, Morgana won't give you too much of a problem in the middle lane. The thing is, it'll be hard to kill her with her Black Shield even if you send a Enchanted Crystal Arrow her way. She'll also cast Black Shield on her teammates, saving them from your incoming Enchanted Crystal Arrow or removing the stun after the arrow had hit. So, though she's hard to kill, she doesn't exactly threaten you unless you goof up or she has help.
Sivir: Sivir is an annoyance for Ashe. Dodging her Boomerang Blade is easy enough with a bit of practice and you know it is coming when you hear her yell. The problem is her Ricochet whittles away your life, she dodges your attacks often with Fleet of Foot and her Spell Shield negates the stun _and_ damage from Enchanted Crystal Arrow. She gets even tougher if she is packing a health regeneration item and/or offensive summoner abilities like Ignite or Exhaust. In other words, she has a pretty significant advantage in the early game. Thankfully, unless you goof up, she won't kill you either. You don't need to change your item build for her unless her player is very talented. If so, buy a Phage. Either way, expect to return to base a bit earlier than usual and don't push your lane too hard. Also, never stand toe-to-toe exchanging shots if you can help it. She is not as squishy as she looks.
Teemo: Teemo is not a huge problem in most cases as long as you don't get careless. The hard part is that Ashe is so squishy that a few applications of Toxic Shot can kill Ashe off pretty quickly. Blinding Dart also makes it harder to kill Teemo off, though you can still hit him with Volley. If Teemo stops in one place, make sure to hit him with an auto-attack or a Volley so that if he is trying to Camouflage, he isn't doing it near enough to the creep line to gain experience. You also need to be cautious when you return to your lane after your first shopping trip since there is a good chance that Teemo went Camouflage and will hit you with increased attack speed once your creeps push the lane too far. AP Teemo is easier to handle than AD Teemo, especially early game, but expect painful mushrooms and Blinding Dart.
Tristana: Tristana can take down towers quick... which means she can take you down quicker. With Rapid Fire she can outDPS you early game and with Rocket Jump, either damage and slow you before you can get back to your tower, or escape from you as you try to kill her. Her Explosive Shot can also kill you off early game if you aren't careful, even if you have 200 hit points left. Thankfully, all of her combos revolve around Rocket Jump and she's pretty mana intensive. You can tell if she's coming to gank you if she starts running at you, or if she spins around as she activates Rapid Fire. So, just play it safe and you will be fine. Keep near the rear of your creeps when she has mana and be ready to Flash away if she tries to Rocket Jump on you or use Cleanse if she uses Explosive Shot. If she did a Rocket Jump and missed, or cast it to escape, or if she has low mana, then feel free to fire normal attacks and/or Volley her. Once she hits Level 6, Buster Shot is a very real threat as she tries to Rocket Jump over you then Buster Shot you into her tower. Also note that because she can deal damage quickly, you need to make your shopping trips very brief or your tower won't be there by the time you get back.
Twisted Fate: Twisted Fate, obviously like a lot of heroes, can be a problem in the hands of a skilled player. You want to keep an eye of the color of the card over his head as he uses his Pick A Card. Most Twisted Fates will try to hit you with the gold card to stun you. However, some very good Twisted Fates know you are waiting to avoid the gold card and will surprise you with the AOE and slow of the gold card, usually combined with a Exhaust or Ignite. Twisted Fate also likes using Destiny on Ashe at any stage of the game, especially if Ashe is at low health since a gold card or red card and a few auto attacks could kill her. The best way to counter that is to either hug your tower or send a Enchanted Crystal Arrow at the spawning point of his Destiny.
Twitch: The important part to countering Twitch is to keep an eye on him, even if he is backing away from the creep line, to see if he is going invisible. Similar to Teemo, Twitch's Deadly Venom add up quick especially when combined with Expunge and a summoner ability like Ignite or spell_text=Exhaust]. So, Twitch will often walk out of your line of sight, go invisible, then creep up behind you and attempt a gank. So if you see him going invisible, then back up from the creep line so that you are closer to your tower. Again, make sure you don't push your creeps too far and make sure to Flash away if Twitch comes out of invisibility right next to you. If you don't see Twitch but you hear the sound from him going invisible, also make sure to back up. If you hang back from the line long enough, eventually his invisibility will wear out. Starting items on Twitch are important to notice. If he has a Vampiric Scepter, then you want to lower his life enough where he is almost forced to go invisible, but can't come out of it because he is regenerating health so slowly. It's a good idea to buy a Vision Ward on your first shopping trip, even at the cost of one of the steps in your item build, just to force him to play cautiously and/or change lanes. Hopefully Twitch doesn't get fed too much by you (or your teammates) so he remains pretty squishy throughout the game, making it easier to take him out as you start stacking damage.
Urgot: He really doesn't do a ton of damage, but he's sneaky in a Malzahar way minus the stun. If he dashes forward, he's probably going to Noxian Corrosive Charge you, so if he does, just back off. If you dodge the Noxian Corrosive Charge, you'll be fine. He's also very mana intensive so he can't keep up a heavy rate of fire. I'm more worried if he uses a Flash to get close and throw his Terror Capacitor up to slow you. Once he hits level 6, just stay out of range of his Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser, or if not, don't let him swap you into his tower. If you're far from his tower, though, instead of running away from him, run sideways into a bush preferably out of range of his autoattack.
Vladimir: At the early levels, Vladimir will outheal pretty much any damage that you can do to him. He's also fond of avoiding your Enchanted Crystal Arrow with Sanguine Pool. Take notice of his summoner spells since he may try to dive you with a Flash or Ghost but the best way to deter that is to hit him with a Frost Shot as soon as he runs at you since your range is greater than his. He doesn't do a ton of damage and he won't be able to snare you, but he heals enough and is evasive enough where you shouldn't overextend yourself trying to kill him either. He is very item dependent so try to stop him from farming as much as you can or your team will pay for it later.
Zilean: Zilean's the bomb and he has plenty of them to spare for you. As he gets to level 4 or so, he can double Time Bomb you which can kill you at best, or force you to retreat from the creep line which denies you gold and experience. He also can speed himself up or slow you down with Time Warp and once he hits Level 6, can be impossible to kill with Chrono Shift. He will use Chrono Shift and Time Warp on himself to dive at you, even if you are at your tower, to place a double Time Bomb and maybe even add in an Ignite kicker. Stack magic resist, getting a Mercury's Treads and maybe even a Banshee's Veil. As you get past level 12-13 or so, you're less likely to die from his bombs but he'll still be hard to kill. The best way to deal with him is to send an Enchanted Crystal Arrow his way and try to kill him off before he comes out of the stun.
Heroes most likely to kill Ashe 1v1 early game(Levels 1-7): Zilean, Twitch, Kassadin, Mordekaiser, Tristana, Fiddlesticks, Annie, Miss Fortune, Gangplank
Heroes most likely to kill Ashe 1v1 mid game(Levels 8-13): Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Mordekaiser, Karthus, Twitch, Tristana, Twisted Fate, Miss Fortune, Annie
Heroes most likely to kill Ashe 1v1 late game(Levels 14-18): Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Twisted Fate, Twitch, Miss Fortune, Ezreal, Tristana, Karthus
Also note that around level 7-10, either Warwick will come out of the jungle and try to eat you, Rammus will ball you, Jax will jump in and bang you, or an invisible hero like Shaco or Evelynn or Twitch will try to flank and gank you. So watch your arse... or use Hawkshot and Volley liberally.
Generally speaking, you want to team with a lane partner that is a bit of a healer/tank and has a stun/slow/snare or can move quickly via either invisibility or a leap like Jax. Basically, you want someone who can either keep you alive, can hold the enemy in place, or is threatening enough to prevent the other team from focusing fire on you. Invisible partners help you to check the bushes and allow your teammate to get in position to capitalize on your Frost Shot. Also, since Ashe can handle a lane solo, it allows the invisible partner the opportunity to leave the lane and help a middle lane gank. I will also pair with someone who has a Clarity. Bad laning partners for Ashe are those item-dependent champions with AOE damage since they prevent Ashe from farming, or something squishy without a stun or snare.
Good laning partners include (in no particular order): Shen, Alistair, Taric, Kayle, Rammus, Evelynn, Galio
Bad laning partners include (in no particular order): Mordekaiser, Fiddlesticks, Soraka, Ezrael
I'm not saying that the bad laning partners will get you ganked, but they'll either farm so much that you are item-deprived or they might not be able to help you get away from a burst damage enemy gank. Also, in the case of bad laning partners, there are often other champions that they would combine better with, so there's little reason to have them partner with you.
Early Game Tactics
Ashe excels at soloing a lane, almost to a fault, because her Volley thins out the creeps quickly. I say "to a fault" because it is too easy for Ashe to push a lane too hard, overextending herself to where an enemy hero can switch lanes and slip behind her for a gank. However, Hawkshot also gives her decent map control so she can detect incoming ganks. Depending on who your lane opponent is and the composition of the enemy team (stunners? invisible heroes?) sometimes it is best just to save your Volley for later and focus on last hitting. Ashe is also good with a lane partner, where she can use her Volley to hit enemies while they hide in bushes. However, if Ashe is in the top or bottom lane, it becomes much harder to assist other lanes with Enchanted Crystal Arrow.
Middle Lane Solo Tactics:
Before minions spawn, if it is a normal game, I generally run within vision range of the enemy tower (without being shot at) to see who my opponent is and what items they are carrying. The type of champion and what they are carrying will affect what I do early game. In ranked games, this is harder to pull off since the enemy team is probably protecting their junglers and if you run within range of the enemy tower, they'll be able to come behind you and kill you.
Before minions spawn, I'll try to fire a single auto-attack arrow and a Volley at them if I can hit them while remaining out of tower range. I always do an auto-attack first so that I get the benefit from Focus and the extra range. If they are hugging their tower, I'll fire off a Volley. Remember that the tower range is actually circular so you can actually stand at the adjacent corner to the tower in middle lane, against the jungle wall and Volley someone behind their tower.
With my runes and masteries, I'll have my mana back before minions reach my lane so in a normal game, I don't mind an early skirmish. If I take too much damage, I can recall back to base and run back out by the time the creeps get there. Sometimes early damage will scare the enemy into burning a potion, using a summoner ability like Flash or Heal or blue pilling back to base. It also gives me a clue about the enemy player's playstyle and reaction timing. Again, this tactic is not as effective in ranked games due to the presence near the middle lane of enemy champions who are there to protect their junglers.
Try to balance things so that at Level 6, you have 210 mana or so. That will give you enough for an Enchanted Crystal Arrow, an auto-attack or two, a Volley, and then Frost Shot. You won't always kill your opponent, and avoid going toe-to-toe so that you can escape if you need to, but it can force your opponent to blue pill back to base.
Top/Bottom Lane Tactics (Solo or Dual):
Most often if I am Ashe, I will take the middle lane. I will also solo a top if a teammember wants to jungle. I will give up the middle lane if a Karthus, a Twisted Fate, a Kog'Maw or maybe a very op Teemo or Gangplank are on my team depending on what the opponents are. Basically, I will give it up for a hero who can make a huge difference with their map control, especially if invisible heroes are around. Soloing a top lane is much more difficult than soloing a middle lane since there are many enemy champions with enough range to do a stun, snare or slow from the bushes and it is easier for junglers to ambush you from the river. To counter this, use Hawkshot to keep an eye on the bushes and/or the river. Also note that if you reveal an enemy in the bushes and the minions are near the enemy champion but are otherwise unengaged, the minions will go after the enemy champion.
Before minions spawn, it is important to note how fast you got to your lane. Chances are, if you took forever shopping and/or don't have a Boots of Speed then an ambush is waiting for you in the near set of bushes. Even if you get as far as the set of bushes near the enemy tower, it is not wise to stay at the very edge closest to the tower since you lose visibility on gank attempts coming from the river. Also, for enemy champions that can aim projectiles without targeting, like Dr. Mundo's Infected Cleaver, Ezrael's Mystic Shot or Morgana's Dark Binding, standing on the edge of the bushes increases the chances a blind projectile shot hits you. So, keep moving in the bushes and if you are laning with a tank, try to keep the tank between you and the enemy.
Ashe will run through her mana much faster facing two opponents. Similarly, if she has a lane partner, she will level slower and gain gold slower. However, she has a better chance at bringing down a tower if both enemy heroes are forced out of the lane which can help earn her some extra gold.
Minimap awareness, especially with invisible enemy heroes, is very important. It is easy for Ashe to overextend herself and get ganked by a hero approaching from the river. Use Hawkshot to maintain some visibility on the river. You can also use Hawkshot to scout the neutral creep camps for enemy junglers and perhaps even steal a buff with a well-timed Enchanted Crystal Arrow. If there are invisible enemy heroes, it is best to buy a Vision Ward or two on your first shopping trip which will often force the invisible hero to tower hug or switch lanes.
You most likely won't have enough mana at Level 6 to fire a Enchanted Crystal Arrow if you have been busy. If you do, though, you can arrow your own lane, doing so mostly for the burst damage. You can also aim for the middle lane for a longer stun but if the middle lane is in a situation where an arrow can help gank an enemy or save an ally, it is best to blue pill back to base and then fire the shot straight down the lane.
The first shopping trip
I am going to walk through a few common scenarios based on when you first return to base. I tend to make my first return around level 8 or 9, with the amount of gold varying depending on how well my lane is going and whether I've gotten any kills. I try not to head to base until I'm at less then half life and no mana, though I'll head back sooner if I think a gank is coming to middle or if one of the side lanes needs an Enchanted Crystal Arrow badly and I am low on mana. One note... if the enemy tower is not down to half its health at this point and you're getting a lot of pressure, take a more conservative approach when shopping.
These builds assume I started with Boots of Speed, 2x Health Potion and a Mana Potion. If I start with a Doran's Blade, then I'd buy Boots of Speed first.
The thresholds I use for aggressive shopping are 1160gp and 1800gp. My gold status determines which items I end up buying, also affected by the enemy team's composition.
1160gp - Avarice Blade and Long Sword
I grab an Avarice Blade for the extra critical chance, but primarily for the 5 gold every 10 seconds. Eventually, Avarice Blade will become Youmuu's Ghostblade sometime down the road after getting an Last Whisper and Infinity Edge. I buy an Long Sword which will either be used for The Brutalizer or Last Whisper.
1800gp - Avarice Blade and Recurve Bow
I grab an Avarice Blade for the extra critical chance, but primarily for the 5 gold every 10 seconds. Eventually, Avarice Blade will become Youmuu's Ghostblade sometime down the road after getting an Last Whisper and Infinity Edge. I buy an Recurve Bow which will be used for a Last Whisper. Though a B. F. Sword is only 50 gp more and does slightly more damage than Avarice Blade + Recurve Bow, the 5 gold per 10 second is a better early game investment. The attack speed bonus helps you apply Frost Shot quicker and increases your last hit potential coupled with the increased critical hit chance.
If I have to return to base sometime in between 1160gp and 1800gp, I will always get the Avarice Blade and either an Infinity Edge piece like Brawler's Gloves or a Pickaxe, or upgrade my Boots of Speed to either Boots of Swiftness, Mercury's Treads, or Ninja Tabi. I also might get a Vampiric Scepter if I am slowly losing life instead of getting severely nuked.
The threshholds I consider for conservative shopping are 775, 800, 1175 and 1290. Hey when things are going rough, each second might be worse than the previous. Of course even getting to this stage can get rough. The best tip in this is to stop pushing the lane and let the creeps come up to near your tower range, where you can still hit them without needing the tower but can duck back if things get hairy. Also, if you're against an invisible hero, even if he's not in your lane, this is the best time to buy a Vision Ward.
775gp Threshhold - Cloth Armor and Ruby Crystal
Helpful against Sivir, Teemo, Twitch and other types who mix physical damage but still have magical damage or poison to worry about. I will turn this into a [item_text=Heart of Gold]
815gp Threshhold - Long Sword and Null-Magic Mantle
These two items help your survivability in the interim. As the game progresses, you can either build a Mercury's Treads or Hexdrinker.
975gp Threshhold - [item=Heart of Gold]
This will give you some extra survivability and some gold if you're having problems farming. If things start going better after buying the [item_text=Heart of Gold], you can eventually sell it off for some damage items. If not, you're in less than a perfect world and need to keep adding survivability by working on a Catalyst the Protector.
1175gp Threshhold - Cloth Armor and Ruby Crystal and Negatron Cloak
The price of magic resist. Get your Negatron Cloak and a Ruby Crystal and start work on a Catalyst the Protector that you'll turn into Mercury's Treads and a Banshee's Veil. This is a good way to survive better against Mordekaiser too, except you won't be able to damage him at all. If you're at this level but facing physical damage heroes, grab a Ninja Tabi instead.
1290gp Threshhold: If you can get to this stage in a hard lane, these additions can get you back on track. This is the minimum you need for a Negatron Cloak, a Long Sword and a Vampiric Scepter which gives you protection, extra damage and some life steal. You still plan on building Mercury's Treads and a Last Whisper. If I am really getting stunned/snared then I'll just get a Mercury's Treads and Long Sword and skip the Vampiric Scepter. What's the point in lifesteal if I can't stay alive? If I'm against physical DPS, 1290 gives me enough for Cloth Armor instead of the Negatron Cloak with a little extra money left.
Some people don't like Berserker's Greaves. With an Infinity Edge and a Last Whisper, you do an additional 10% of damage which is nice, but if surviving is difficult, Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi can help out more.
When in doubt about survivability, always go with Mercury's Treads. Besides the magic resist, the shorter duration on the stuns and slows can save your life. Besides, when considering Ninja Tabi, you already have some dodge based on the Runes and Masteries I suggested.
Boots of Mobility are an interesting option in lieu of having Teleport. Unfortunately, they don't help much when trying to Volley someone in a jungle (or trying to avoid the other team cycling stuns and slows and damage on you. Still, in conjunction with Flash or Cleanse it might be enough to get away from the enemy team chasing you.
Boots of Swiftness is an aggressive idea in a perfect world, though chances are that the opposing hero you are trying to chase down by your lonesome will either Flash or Ghost away, or lead you to their ambush spot while your own teammates struggle to catch up. My preference is to keep the enemy slowed and if he's that far out where I can't catch him with a Flash and a Frost Shot, then I'll drop the chase to avoid running into an ambush. However, I've rarely found that Boots of Swiftness gave me the speed to get away since one hero on the enemy team usually has a pair themselves and generally that hero also has a stun/slow that can let the rest of his team catch up.
In a perfect world...
In a perfect (i.e. non-caster heavy or didn't die much) world, I should have one of four boots (Swiftness, Greaves, Tabi, Treads) and an Avarice Blade.
My next item is Last Whisper. That extra 40% attack speed, armor penetration and +10 damage along with Ashe's Focus helps take down squishy heroes and towers quicker.
After that, I start building my Infinity Edge. Sure, I could have started earlier, but I wouldn't have the attack speed or armor penetration to use it as well. An interesting observation is that Pickaxe + Cloak of Agility perform the same as the B. F. Sword. So that means you don't have to save up for the entire 1850gp for the B. F. Sword next time you shop, but can buy the Pickaxe if you only have 975gp or the Cloak of Agility if you only have 880gp and get the other item on your next trip.
If I run into difficulties while getting the Last Whisper or Infinity Edge, I'll buy a Vampiric Scepter but I won't upgrade it for a long time. I will try to wait on buying The Brutalizer until after the Infinity Edge is done, but sometimes things don't go that well.
In most cases, the game is done by the time I've gathered around 9k gold and built Infinity Edge.
Thus the core items with Runes and Masteries, for 9582gp, looks something like this (except the Dodge calculations seem wrong... it should be 11.25%)
If the game isn't over, I combine Avarice Blade and The Brutalizer into a Youmuu's Ghostblade. This gives me extra attack and move speed and because it helps clear up inventory space... but I then lose the 5 gold per 10 second benefit. I then buy a Zeal to work towards a Phantom Dancer...
Wait, what about the Vampiric Scepter?!?! If the game is really going on that long, I value the movement speed and critical strike chance of Zeal and the dodge of Phantom Dancer more than what I might upgrade the Vampiric Scepter to. For a discussion on this, see the sidebar at the end of this guide.
Once the Phantom Dancer is done, then I will upgrade the Vampiric Scepter into a The Bloodthirster.
To summarize, in a perfect world, the order I tend to finish items are:
1: Last Whisper
2: Boots of Swiftness or another set of upgraded boots.
3: Infinity Edge
4: Youmuu's Ghostblade
5: Phantom Dancer
6: The Bloodthirster
In a less than perfect world...
In a less than perfect world, you're having problems farming and having problems surviving. So, you will move into more of a survival role. This build doubles your survivability while cutting your attack power by about 40%. Keep in mind, this is an extreme example in a tough game, turning Ashe into more of a slower/stunner than true DPS. There are quite a few middle ground builds that you can use instead of this one.
So, first, you buy a [item_text=Heart of Gold] and a Avarice Blade with a priority
completing the [item_text=Heart of Gold] as soon as possible.
Next, you will work on a Banshee's Veil at some point. Rarely will you run into a team where having a spell shield will not be useful, not to mention the extra hp and magic resist. It's just that stacking damage helps keep the world perfect. When building the Banshee's Veil, I've found that buying the Negatron Cloak helps me survive burst magical damage better than the Catalyst the Protector, so I tend to purchase the Negatron Cloak first.
Most likely, you'll finish your Banshee's Veil after Last Whisper but before the Infinity Edge. Sometimes, the early game and midgame went well but the endgame is being rough. You might have to pass on the Infinity Edge in the short term to start working on your Banshee's Veil. This also means that your damage output will be hurting. Yet you're now in the role of a support DPS instead of a carry DPS. In other words, more than ever, you should never be alone. When in team fights, you should be in the middle of your group. Not the rear, because some op prepubescent teen comes up with the oh so original idea that no one would ever think about a cliched sneak attack from behind. Ideally, somewhere in front of an Soraka/Jaana/Annie type and behind an Alistair/Sion/Shen/Rammus tank. Remain constantly moving and be ready to Flash if someone dives right into you. Rare exceptions to this exist, such as breaking a Fiddlesticks kill streak while his ultimate tries to chew up your party, though a smart Fiddlesticks would've targeted his ultimate on you and terrified you so you couldn't aim anyway.
This is what you look like at 7605gp. Note that your survivability is doubled from the core build for the perfect world, but your damage is reduced.
One option at this point is to do your Infinity Edge. That will help your damage output immensely.
You can also turn your [item_text=Heart of Gold] into a Randuin's Omen and your Youmuu's Ghostblade. One benefit to doing this is you increase your cooldown reduction up to 33%, allowing you to fire Enchanted Crystal Arrow more often. You also slow the movement and attack speeds of anyone who attacks you, and with a armor of 160 and a magic resist of 112, your Randuin's Omen active effect will last even longer.
I remember a saying about how life gain in Magic the Gathering is overrated because gaining life doesn't affect the board or your opponent's ability to take your life down. I take a similar approach to League of Legends. Additional health may help you survive longer, but if you aren't also adding damage or some kind of an effect, then you really haven't helped your situation.
With that in mind, if you are fully in support DPS mode and things have gone so badly that you're basically in team fights to slow or stun your enemies while your teammates gank them, and you can't afford an Infinity Edge for your open item slot... then these items are ones to consider (or dismiss):
Hexdrinker: For almost the price of a B. F. Sword, you get some extra survivability, +35 damage and a little shield that can help you keep alive. The shield seems a bit buggy, not always going off when you would think it would, but coupled with the magic resistance and the damage it can help out a lot. Lean toward this kind of item if they have a lot of burst damage since the shield can help break an enemy combo. This might also be a good option instead of [item_text=Heart of Gold]/Randuin's Omen.
Guardian Angel: Chances are you'll still die a second time and you'll be getting this so late in the game it won't affect things much. However, if you've no longer become the main focus fire of the enemy team when in group fights, it is viable and does add some survivability. Also, sometimes people won't notice that you have a Guardian Angel and the added confusion might be enough to either run away or Flash away, or finish off whatever hero killed you. You can also use this to take a hit or two to save an enemy champion. The best parts about the Guardian Angel, actually, is its low cost and its armor and magic resistance benefits.
Quicksilver Sash: I used to be against this item, but it is viable if the enemy team has supression effects like Warwick's and Malzahar's ultimate. I've never had to buy one as of yet, but I've had games where things went so poorly team-wise that I actually had a few seconds to consider getting it after I already had Banshee's Veil, Mercury's Treads and Guardian Angel. Of course, those few seconds ended as my team's nexus got destroyed...
Wit's End: Much more useful early game, but the magic resist helps all game. Grab this if you are facing some low mana pool tanks as well as some casters. Note that if any of the opposing heroes don't use mana, like Mordekaiser, Shen, Katarina, and Tyndamere then this item is a waste since you lose a valid target for it's special ability.
Phage/ Frozen Mallet: You become a thicker stick of butter, still squishy and lacking armor and resist, but sometimes it's just enough hit points to give you breathing room over enemy casters or invisible enemies. The slow also tacks on after your Frost Shot, aiding in your role as a support DPS champion and you get a bit of damage. Hopefully you can start on that Infinity Edge after you get this item...
Atma's Impaler: Some Ashe players live and die by this. The added armor and critical strike chance is nice, but since Ashe doesn't get a ton of hitpoints anyway, the 2% damage doesn't benefit as much. Besides, if you're dying so much from physical DPS that you need armor, then that +45 armor means you can take an extra 45% of damage... or in the case of most physical damage champions, you can survive for another two hits. I like to think there are better ways to tackle that problem, though you do get a nice hitpoint buff from this "less than perfect world" build.
Warmog's Armor: I've seen some Ashe players buy this as well. I prefer the Frozen Mallet because it gives you damage and an extra slow. Warmog's Armor just makes you a thicker stick of butter, and again, if the game is going this badly, you won't have the damage output to do anything with the few extra seconds this item buys you.
[item=Force of Nature]: I've never bought this item for Ashe, but it might be worth a try. The problem is that, except for the Negatron Cloak, you don't get much benefit from it until after you've completed it.
Sword of the Occult: This used to be part of my normal build until Youmuu's Ghostblade came around. With the nerfing of Frost Shot, Volley and Enchanted Crystal Arrow, it's a little harder to rack up early game assists. However, by late game, it should be much easier and is a cheap way to get some damage. At just 8 stacks, it does the same damage as a B. F. Sword for over 500gp less. Also, since you're in survivability mode, it's much easier for you to keep those stacks.
To summarize, in a less than perfect world, I tend to buy: (in order)
1: Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi
2:[item=Heart of Gold] to make a Randuin's Omen once Last Whisper is done
3: Avarice Blade to make a Youmuu's Ghostblade once Last Whisper is done
4: Negatron Cloak to make a Banshee's Veil
5: Last Whisper
6: Infinity Edge
Other items and thoughts
Manamune: This helps give you a bit of damage and enough mana regeneration so that you can fulfill a slow/support capacity. It's not that the damage from it is bad, but if the game is going well enough to stack damage, there are better items to purchase and with the rune/masteries build I suggested, mana won't be as much of an issue.
[item=Malady] This ends up being less effective for Ashe than it was before the recent changes. If you want to add magic damage to your attack, Wit's End or [item_text=Madred's Bloodrazor] are different (and better) options. The AP Bonus only helps your Enchanted Crystal Arrow and similarly, the magic resistance reduction only helps your Enchanted Crystal Arrow and your teammates.
Trinity Force is a mistake, though it has been buffed lately to become slightly more viable. It procs on Volley and Enchanted Crystal Arrow and Hawkshot but if you need crit chance, you get more benefit out of the Phantom Dancer as well as more attack speed, move speed and dodge at 700gp cheaper. Or if you need survivability and had to go the Phage route, a Frozen Mallet or a Banshee's Veil is a better option. Trinity Force is a jack of all trades, master of none but for an auto attack champion like Ashe, it just doesn't proc enough.
Wriggle's Lantern is a decent option, especially if you are in the middle lane and can use the ward to help keep you safe. I might get this instead of the Vampiric Scepter.
[item=Madred's Bloodrazor] is an option against tank-heavy teams... but usually too expensive to get sooner than better items like Infinity Edge and Last Whisper. I might get this instead of Phantom Dancer or The Bloodthirster and the main determination is the composition and item status of the enemy team. If they are lopsided with armor or have a lot of tanks, this becomes more viable.
The Black Cleaver is another option against tank-heavy teams... but Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade combined with your runes and masteries gives you plenty of armor penetration... for you at least, though not for your team.
For a discussion of lifesteal items, check out the "Upgrade Vampiric Scepter Sidebar" section.
Wards are happy things. Vision Ward is a must on the first shopping trip if there is an invisible hero on the map. Plant it in the middle lane a quarter screen away from your tower range. Don't feel too comfy and overextend though because an invisible hero can still get to you by the time you get back to the tower. Usually a Flash towards your tower will be enough to discourage them. Also, you should always plant Sight Ward in the bushes adjacent to the middle lane, or along the river on a top or bottm lane. This will give you visibility along each side of the river. In addition, you can use these as Teleport targets, perhaps in combination with an Enchanted Crystal Arrow, to appear behind an enemy that is pushing your tower.
As a general note, though AP greatly helps your Enchanted Crystal Arrow, it doesn't help your other abilities. So, I tend to avoid AP items. Cooldown also helps your Enchanted Crystal Arrow, but since Ashe is a bit mana shy combined with the quick cooldown on Volley means cooldown reduction doesn't help much. Still, I'll pop a golem every now and then to get the aura and the xp/gold.
As you can tell from this build and my comments, I generally use dodge to deal with DPS heroes and need magic resist. As much as I seem to worry about magic resist, though, it is easier to scale up than armor. I try to rely on my tanks and hope they get focus fired. I try not to initiate groups of heroes though I will pick off lone heroes early to mid game. I also try to be constantly moving, firing blind volleys off into brushes or into the fog of war if I need to check for possible ganks or to whittle down creep waves before they rush a tower.
Upgrade Vampriic Sceptre Sidebar
Warning: More Math Content Below!
So, let's talk about that. Why shouldn't we upgrade the Scepter instead of going for the Phantom Dancer? What can we upgrade the Vampiric Scepter to? We basically have three options.
[item_text=Stark's Fervor] is a great item. The attack speed and armor reduction is nice and the lifesteal helps, but this late in the game, it won't help your survivability much. Let the tanks carry it.
Executioner's Calling is a situational upgrade to Vampiric Scepter, against healer or lifesteal heavy teams, but I'm not a big fan of it since you need more damage, penetration, or some other kind of effect in the late game. The problem becomes that an enemy healer tank like Alistair is so big that even with the reduction in healing, it might take more than the 7 seconds of the Executioner's Calling effect before he dies.
The last choice for upgrading the Vampiric Scepter is The Bloodthirster. With Infinity Edge, A Sword of the Occult (8 stacks) and Last Whisper, A fully stacked The Bloodthirster deals 3347 over the previously mentioned 6.46 attacks. Phantom Dancer, which doesn't need stacks, deals 3797 over that same 5 second time frame, packing in 7.945 attacks. That extra damage (not to mention the survivbility and movement speed) costs just 195 more gold than The Bloodthirster. Meanwhile, you'll still be getting the 15% lifesteal from the Vampiric Scepter.
The moral of the story is I do not upgrade the Vampiric Scepter until I get a Phantom Dancer.
Warning: Math Content Mostly Over With!
When on Safari...
Ashe is not much of a jungling champion and since she farms lanes pretty well, it's usually best if someone else jungles. In addition, the buffs don't really help her all that much. Sure, the red lizard buff helps a bit with damage and gives her a free slow, but she still has Frost Shot when one of her teammates might need the buff more. Similarly, the mana regeneration and cooldown reduction of the blue golem buff can help, but the only reason she really needs cooldown is for her Enchanted Crystal Arrow and she'll only burn through her mana if she's spamming Frost Shot or Volley. Besides, unlike other champions, Ashe is still effective when she autoattacks so if she has no mana, it isn't as extreme an issue as it would be for someone like Karthus. I'll take the red buff if no one else needs it, purely for the damage, but I'll never take the blue buff unless it's the enemy's golem and it's to deny them a buff.
That being said, Ashe should be "on Safari". Basically, as she changes lanes to help assist in teamfights, she should fire a Volley or two to clear out the wraith or wolf camps. From the middle lane, if she has enough damage, she can also Volley over the ridge to hit the wraith camp for some extra experience and gold. Keep in mind if it is early to mid game (level 10 or earlier) that you should ask your jungler first if you can clear out the wraith camp since the jungler needs that xp and gold and if you take it, it might throw off their own game.
When on safari, she can also use the opportunity to drop off a few wards or send out a Hawkshot along the way to see who is around. Ashe can solo the dragon (depending on her items) around level 12, but that risks the chance of getting ganked (since the Dragon is usually warded) or losing the tower in your lane.
Don't take too long on safari, especially when teamfights are going on. Ashe needs protection and if she shows up late to a fight, she'll often be focus fired. Also, no matter how well your lane is going, if you leave it to help another lane and it's level 8 or later, your rival in the lane might destroy your tower by the time you get back. So, go quickly to top or bottom just for the gank then get back to your middle lane. Only assist in pushing the top/bottom tower if the creep wave is far from your tower and even then, do it quickly.
If you like this guide, please feel free to give constructive criticism and grade it.
07.25.10 - Guide Published.
08.13.10 - Added Katarina, Galio and Vladimir as common midlane opponents.
08.29.10 - Added Urgot, replaced Avarice Blade discussion with Brawler's Gloves under starting items, other minor fixes.
11.01.10 - Updated pretty much every section along with some video links and added Miss Fortune to the midlane opponents.
11.06.10 - Updated "Other Items and Thoughts" on Malady, Trinity Force. Added "When on Safari" section.
11.23.10 - Added Hexdrinker. Updated Crystal Arrow section.
This video is a bit dated, but shows some a good game replay with Ashe. Note how she leads her targets with the Enchanted Crystal Arrow and uses Volley to keep opponents slow. She's also very good at getting behind her tanks once a team fight starts.
Submitted by Oleoay
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