Blitzcrank Build Guide

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A little fat, a little killy, and wholly terrifying: The Cranktank!

written by Urscythe

Blitzcrank Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction, or "How to make enemies fear you, and teammates adore you."

    Blitzcrank is an interesting hero. He's capable of filling several roles in a team, but in my experience, I feel he fits best as an off-tank sort of hero: a hero that's both tank and fighter in the same package, bringing the ability to initiate and player-herd of a tank, while bringing some of the burst and damage output of a fighter. Normally I'd say a hybrid is just going to end up being equally crappy at both roles, but it actually works quite well for Blitzcrank, and I feel it works better than building him as either a pure tank or a pure fighter.

  • Abilities

    Mana Barrier
    Mana Barrier is one of the reasons I feel Blitzcrank is effective as a semi-tank, and why I feel building him purely as a fighter is a mistake. It's a deceptively powerful passive, and once you get the hang of it, it can allow you to pull off some incredible bait maneuvers. Keep in mind that Mana Barrier works off of your CURRENT mana, not your maximum, so if you know it's going to be activated, minimize your mana use until after it activates to ensure your mana shield is as big as it can be.

    Rocket Grab
    Rocket Grab is pretty much the entire reason to play Blitzcrank. He has plenty of other reasons to play him, but more than any other, Rocket Grab is why you take Blitzcrank. Your usefulness to the team will live and die by this skill. It's a skillshot, and it's one of the easier ones to avoid because it's predictable, but you need to maximize it if you want to be successful.

    Keep in mind that Rocket Grab fires from Blitzcrank's right fist, not his center - once you get the hang of this, you can abuse it to seemingly curve your fist around a line of creeps to hook a hero, to the delight of your teammates and the frustration of your enemies.

    Be patient when you're going in for a hook. Take those extra one or two seconds to make sure your shot will line up. In the early game, you can't afford to waste mana on hooks that miss, and in the late game a missed hook can turn a perfect ambush into a failed ambush. Figure out which way your enemies tend to run and ensure your giant brass fist is there to meet them - lead your targets.

    You can't expect to have perfect accuracy with Rocket Grab, but if you're missing more than half your hooks, something's wrong. Rocket Grab will ignore terrain. You can probably think of some really shitty things to do to people, knowing that. Try hooking the enemy blue or red over the trees just before their jungler can kill it. People will hate you forever when you do that to them.

    Rocket Grab also does a decent amount of magic damage and receives an impressive 80% modifier for Ability Power. You won't be using it for damage so much as player herding, but in the early game and mid game, the damage can be quite noticeable. Late game, not so much.

    Overdrive makes Blitzcrank a great chaser and, with a few AD items, can also turn him into a pretty scary fighter. Better yet, due to the duration and cooldown, Overdrive can approach nearly 70% uptime if you max out your CDR.

    However, Overdrive isn't a good skill in the early game. Because it works off of percentages, and because your base attack damage is actually somewhat poor, it's better off getting it towards the mid-game, which occurs after you've bought your boots, and after you have a higher AD.

    By time late game rolls around, you should really pretty much keep Overdrive up as often as possible.

    Power Fist
    This is the other reason to play Blitzcrank. It's a melee range autoswing ability that causes significant damage and a one second pop-up effect, and with maxed out CDR it's on a 3 second cooldown - that means you will be stunning the enemy's precious carry for one second out of every three seconds. That's scary.

    It gets worse. There's a reason Sheen is considered a must-have item in virtually every Blitzcrank build. See its passive? It doubles your base attack damage (that's BASE attack damage, you illiterate cretin, not total) on your next swing following the use of an ability. Power Fist doubles it again (except it doubles your total AD, not just base.) Yes, you are going to be whopping someone for quadruple damage every time you use Power Fist when your Sheen is available (which should be always, because you won't be spamming abilities.) Oh, and Power Fist can crit. We won't be including crit items or runes in our core build, but it's worth noting that Power Fist can be a ridiculous damage dealer if you really stack up the AD/carry items.

    Practically speaking, though, you'll likely be hooking the enemy carry away from their team, and then keeping them there through item use and constant Power Fist hits. The enemy team doesn't perform too well without their carry being present.

    Static Field
    There's actually not too much to say about Static Field. It's a pretty nice skill, as far as ults go, and it actually has a pretty short cooldown, which makes it handy for wiping out creep waves and jungle camps.

    If the enemy team has a hero that uses an ult that requires channeling (such as Nunu, Fiddlesticks, Katarina, etc), make sure you don't use your ult until they begin using that spell. The silence effect is very brief, only a mere 0.5 seconds, which really makes Static Field function more as an interrupt rather than an actual silence.

    Don't use Static Field at the beginning of a gank or fight, either - it causes more damage over a few seconds through periodic zaps than it will in one big burst. Only pop Static Field if you think they're going to get away, or if you know you're about to die.

    Static Field receives a very nice 100% modifier for your Ability Power. This build doesn't include Ability Power (aside from your Sheen and a possible Trinity Force), however.

  • Skills Which Pay the Bills

    If you didn't zone out while reading the skill breakdown above, the skillbuilder should be self-explanatory. We're maxing out Rocket Grab early because we want the damage it does to be useful while there's still time for it to be useful. In the early game and mid game, where people don't have as much Magic Resistance or health, eating 300 of their 1200 HP while also dragging them to your drooling Tryndamere usually guarantees a kill or at least forces a Flash. By time late game rolls around, the damage generally isn't very noticeable (especially since you have no magic penetration or ability power) and you're using it purely for the displacement.

    As mentioned above, Overdrive is held off until level 8 because you shouldn't be leaving your lane very much until thereabouts - which is when you head home, pick up your Sheen and Boots of Speed and begin roaming/ganking, anyway. Without those boots, Overdrive doesn't provide enough of a boost to justify spending the mana on it. Remember, you won't have a bottomless mana pool in the early and mid game, and you don't want to spend that 75 mana on a weak-at-the-time steroid skill instead of another Rocket Grab or Static Field burst.

  • Masteries + Runes, or "Where did all my IP go?"

    Masteries, I hope, should be mostly self-explanatory. We want the armor and magic resistance out of the Defensive tree, and we definitely want Strength of Spirit since we're gonna have a fat mana pool, anyway. We take Utility as our primary tree instead of Defensive because we aren't a pure tank, and because we benefit more from Utility than Defensive.

    Grab the perks for your preferred Summoner Spells (we'll cover those later, but I pick Teleport, Flash, and Clairvoyance because they are what I use most), make sure to pick up the XP and move speed boosts, and I personally skip the creep buff perk because I feel those buffs are better off given to your teammates. You have Overdrive for chasing, so you don't need red, and while blue is pretty handy, it's a lot better on an Annie or Brand or Veigar so they can spam, spam, spam.

    Runes have a little bit more leeway, but this is how I set them up:

    Greater Mark of Fortitude x9
    Greater Glyph of Celerity x9
    Greater Seal of Fortitude x9
    Greater Quintessence of Celerity x3

    I pick pure HP rather than scaling HP runes because you want that extra HP as early as possible. It's much better to get that extra 80 HP or so right away, rather than 150 HP later. How many times have you scraped by a gank attempt in the early game with less than 50 HP? That extra 80 HP or so can be the difference between you dying and you living while an extra 150 HP in the late game isn't really noticeable in most situations. I also prefer the pure HP over armor, dodge, or magic resistance because, again, an extra 3% armor or MR very likely will not save you in the laning phase, while an extra 80 HP very likely will.

    We're taking CDR glyphs and quints because our item build doesn't include CDR items in its core. With our runes and masteries, you can expect to have 21% CDR by level 18, which is just slightly above half of the cap. If you fit a Frozen Heart into your build somewhere, you can cap out at the 40% max.

  • Items, or "Paying for that weird looking red guy's facial reconstruction surgery."

    Start with Sapphire Crystal and two Healing Potions. The crystal gives you the mana you need to fuel your hook+fist combos and makes Mana Shield more useful. Healing potions should be damned obvious.

    Turn Sapphire Crystal into Sheen and buy Boots of Speed on your first trip back to base. You should be level 8 around the time this happens, so begin roaming and assisting with ganks.

    Return to base and build Philosopher's Stone as soon as you raise the 800 gold for it. It provides useful mana and health regen, and more importantly it provides you some extra income due to the gold per 10. If you're facing a team that has a lot of physical damage, you might want to buy [item=Heart of Gold] instead for 825 gold, since you're going to be making Randuin's Omen later. If you stick with the rock, keep in mind you can turn it into a very nice Shurelya's Reverie later, which will get you very close to the CDR cap while also giving your team a very nice active.

    When you find yourself with the cash, turn your cruddy old boots into Mercury's Treads. I honestly can't justify any other boots these days. The MR comes in handy against pretty much every team (there's always gonna be SOME AP damage flying around, even on an AD-heavy team) and Blitzcrank will die due to chained stuns and slows more than anything else.

    Build yourself a Tear of the Goddess when you get the chance, sooner being better than later. It boosts your mana pool and can be turned into Manamune later.

    At this point, I consider your core build completed. You now have a decent-sized mana pool, some HP and MP regen, your Sheen provides you with a little extra damage output, and your boots help keep you alive against CC rotations, and we've only spent a small amount of gold.

    Now, this is when you reach the "build to counter the enemy" part of the guide, and this is why I build my core the way I do.

    Facing a team with a lot of AD damage? Turn that [item=Heart of Gold] into a Randuin's Omen. It provides you with more HP, more HP regen, a nice chunk of armor, and its activated ability is pretty much Exhaust on a stick.

    Need to boost your magic defenses? Buy a Hexdrinker. This is controversial, but I think it's one of the best MR items for Blitzcrank, particularly the build I advocate. The MR it provides makes both its own shield and Mana Shield scale better, and Blitzcrank can make effective use of the AD as well.

    It's also cheaper than Banshee's Veil and [item=Force of Nature], which is important since Blitzcrank isn't usually a high-income hero (creep waves are usually better left to your carry and your jungler will likely be wiping out your jungle regularly.) If you still need more MR afterwards, pick up a Quicksilver Sash. A lot of people underestimate it, but the ability to break out of stuns/snares/etc whenever you want will save your golden metal ass.

    After you build to counter the enemy team (either an armor or MR item), you should consider turning your Tear of the Goddess into a Manamune. The magicsword provides you both mana and AD, doesn't cost much, and because you can bump its unique passive through attacks as well as spells, it makes it much easier to reach that lovely +1,000 mana than with just abilities alone. Keep in mind that increasing your mana pool directly increases your survivability due to Mana Shield - just make sure you've got some armor or MR (depending on enemy team) first.

    If the game goes long, buy a Guardian Angel if you're dying a lot. If you're surviving well, turn that Sheen into a Trinity Force and go kick some ass.

    It goes without saying, but BUY WARDS. Because you're low income you shouldn't be the only one buying wards, but goddammit there's no excuse to dying to a gank that you didn't see coming because you were too cheap to ward the goddamn bushes.


  • Summoner Abilities, or "God's on my side, bitches."

    There are three main spells I recommend for Blitzcrank, and they are:

    Teleport. Teleport provides amazing map presence (nothing scares people more than a Blitzcrank that pops out of a random bush by teleporting to a ward.) Late game you can quickly bluepill home, wipe out an approaching creep wave, and then hijack a friendly creep back to the battleline. Early game you can quickly port over to another lane to cover it while that lane's dude heads back to base to buy or recharge. It's extremely versatile.

    Clairvoyance. My god, it's a legal maphack. Wondering what's in the bushes? Have Sauron check it out. That little bitchass Tryndamere sprinting away with 3 HP left? Have your buddy Sauron check the bushes for you so you can nab the little bitch when he tries to juke through bushes. Need to check Dragon or Baron and you don't have a ward there (WHY THE FUCK NOT, ASSHOLE!?), no problem, Sauron's on the job. Someone on your team needs to have maphack. Blitzcrank tends to make extensive use out of it, which is why it comes highly recommended, but it's not absolutely critical he be the one carrying it, just so long as someone has it.

    Flash. Flash is a game-changer, seriously. Use it to escape. Use it to chase. Use it to bait. Use it just because. Know what sucks, more than anything, as Blitzcrank? When you get that perfect damn pull and they just casually Flash away. Shit sucks, man. Know what's more satisfying than anything else? Flashing right after that motherfucker and punching them in the kidney with your giant electrified fist.

    Other spells to like:

    Exhaust. The mastery perk is in Offensive, but you can sacrifice the one point. Your team should always be packing at least one of these, and it works well on Blitzcrank. Hook them, punch them, Exhaust them, then punch them again. Sucks to be them, right? It's even sillier if you combo it with Randuin's Omen which is damned near the same thing.

    Ignite. Good finisher, but the mastery is too deep in Offensive for us to get to. Your team should usually have at least one of these around, especially if the enemy team has an annoying healy kind of hero like Taric or Soraka (or one with super-regen, like MundoMundoMundoMundo), but your carries will usually be packing this, so you won't need to.

    [spell=Fortify]. Fortify wins games. Being able to buy 8 seconds of invulnerability when your team's almost back from being wiped at the enemy base WILL win you games. The extra damage against minions is nice for making CS easier during the laning phase, too. Still, the mastery perk is deep in Defensive, and if you have a pure tank on your team, they should be the ones picking this spell up. Still, it's worth having it along even if you can't get the mastery perk for it.

    Spells you should generally avoid:

    Heal. Heal is a terrible spell on damned near everyone. Just don't get it. Ever. And smack anyone else on your team that wants to get it.

    Clarity. Clarity is actually a pretty nice spell, and you can get the mastery, so why is it here? Well, you don't spam spells like some people and it's really a spell designed for pure supports, particularly ones with heals or shields like Taric and Soraka. Since you aren't gonna be spamming spells, the mana regen isn't really that great for you.

    Ghost. You already have Overdrive for moving fast. If Overdrive isn't enough, Ghost isn't going to make much difference. Flash is like Ghost, only better.

    [spell=Rally]. You won't be sitting still long enough to make use out of this one.

    Revive. While you're gonna be getting your big metal face kicked in frequently, you shouldn't be actively encouraging yourself to die. Why die and use Revive when you can use Flash and avoid dying in the first place?

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Submitted by Urscythe

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