Blitzcrank Build Guide

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Blitzcrank, The Team Chef

written by madmick

Blitzcrank Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Welcome to Mad Mick's guide to Blitzcrank, The Team Chef! Blitzcrank is possibly the most unique champion in the League of Legends. He is one of my favorite characters to play, my most played champion, and also my champion with the best win/loss ratio by a large margin.

    Unfortunately Blitz is not for all players or all play styles. He is a misunderstood support hero and among the most complex to master. If you are looking to give Blitz a try for the first time, I recommend starting with some of the excellent guides already available on Leaguecraft. The trinity-grab-punch-zap-profit combo is solid. However, if you are looking to get the most out of Blitzy and make your opponents literally write essays about why he makes them cry, I invite you to read on!

    Note this guide focuses on 5v5 solo matches on Summoner's Rift against players in the 200-1000 win range. Last updated for version v1.0.0.97 (07-26-2010).

  • Pros / Cons

    Pros:
    1. Outstanding initiator
    2. Excellent disruption and fight control
    3. Good burst damage
    4. Good survivability and escape
    5. Good chasing, ganking and map control
    6. Cooks up a feast of squishies for your teammates

    Cons:
    1. Poor DPS and solo pushing
    2. Poor in head-to-head fights
    3. Poor jungling
    4. Poor farming and low income
    5. Poor against tanks and well-coordinated opponents
    6. Rocket Grab takes practice
    7. Rocket Grab will occasionally miss, which can lead to team hate
    8. You rarely get recognized as the team hero

  • Abilities

    Mana Barrier
    Outstanding passive that effectively converts 50% mana to health. Like Singed's passive, it is best used with mana runes and hybrid mana items. Many opponents will forget about the shield, allowing you to steal a last-minute escape or to win a close fight.


    Rocket Grab
    The reason to play Blitz. Also the reason Blitz is hard to play. More on this later.


    Overdrive
    Good speed boost, useful to escape and chase, similar to a poor Ghost with low cooldown. Chasing is especially important as Blitz can easily snag fleeing opponents.


    Power Fist
    Solid physical stun. Best used to interrupt channeling abilities or to stun a carry in a big fight, but useful anywhere.


    Static Field
    Mainly used to add burst damage, it is also useful for farming. The passive is useful in jungle fights, and a short silence is useful to interrupt. Generally a mediocre ultimate with poor AP ratio.


  • The Team Chef

    To get the most out of Blitzcrank you must understand his role on the team. Like any hero, Blitz's skill order, item build, and play style are defined by his role. And like most heroes, Blitz has many options available to him:
    1. DPS carry. Power Fist benefits from physical damage.
    2. AP nuker. Rocket Grab and Static Field scale with AP, and Mana Barrier scales with mana.
    3. Tank. Mana Barrier and stuns to control a fight.
    4. Hybrid. Blitz has multiple abilities to take advantage of hybrid items like Trinity Force.

    I've played Blitz many times using each build and he can do well in any of these four roles. However,
    1. DPS: He is not the best DPS carry or survival DPS. Straight DPS is the worst of his options.
    2. AP: He is not the best nuker by far.
    3. Tank: There are better tanks.
    4. Hybrid: A tempting choice, but he has trouble farming the items needed for a strong hybrid build.

    So what is Blitzcrank's role? He is the initiator. His job is to separate an opponent in a 5v5 fight for your team to devour 5v1. Then your opponents can either engage 5v4 with poor odds or hold back, in which case they soon go down to 5v3. Either way you win.

    Of course, all Blitz needs to initiate is one point in Rocket Grab. So what should Blitz do before the game turns into big fights? What is his secondary role? In the late game he does not need to contribute much beyond a perfect pull, some burst damage, and a well-placed stun. Items are not terribly important for Blitz. So what is a driven robot to do?

    He goes cooking.

    Blitz is an excellent initiator in all stages of the game. 1v1 he pulls into towers, his most effective early-game play. He separates 2v2 lanes for your partner to get kill after kill. With a little Overdrive he can keep any enemy in range of a gank.

    Eventually you will have money in the bank and you will need to decide which items to purchase. The best answer is: give your gold to your teammate. You could buy yourself a shiny Sunfire Cape but you are not a tank. Your team's Rammus can use it better. You are not a DPS and even your team's Shaco can use the Cape more effectively than Blitz. You can't give your teammates gold directly, but you can do the next best thing: get them kills and creeps. Give them your kills. When you pull Twitch and your Malphite jumps on him, let Ryze get the kill. No need to finish Twitch with Static. Your teammates can use the gold better. Let your teammates get the blue buff. Blitzcrank's role in the early game is to get your team fed. Cook them up a feast, and shutting down enemy carries is icing on the cake. By not collecting primary kills you sacrifice 15% of your effectiveness, but you make your teammates 50% stronger.

  • Items

    Sight Ward
    Omg wtf? If you skipped directly to this section of the guide, just buy Trinity Force and stop reading. You'll be fine. But if you followed along so far, the choice of Sight Ward is fairly intuitive. Your team needs to be alive to get fed. Wards save your team from ganks and they identify vulnerable opponents. A sight ward benefits the entire team, and your team is going to need a few of them anyway. There are only three items in League of Legends that you can buy for your teammates. Since they can make better use of their gold purchasing items, a portion of Blitz's cash is best spent on wards and Oracle.

    Boots of Mobility
    Boots of Mobility are generally a good choice. Blitz wants to get in on the action. Getting away is a secondary concern. Defensive boots can be better depending on the matchup. Boots of Swiftness are also a good choice with slightly different chasing capability.

    To use the rest of your gold, recognize that Blitz fills a unique support role. In a team fight he stuns the carries, pull carries away from your teammates, and pulls runners back to your team. He's more useful surviving to control a long fight and to take hits than to deal extra damage. Survival items are the best purchase, and one item in particular stands out:

    Banshee's Veil
    Banshee's Veil adds mana to charge Mana Barrier. It upgrades nicely from Catalyst the Protector. The spell block combined with Mana Barrier and magic resist can make Blitz tough for enemy casters.

    In general items should be chosen as if playing a tank, the selection always depends on the matchup: Aegis of the Legion Doran's Shield [item=Force of Nature] Frozen Heart Glacial Shroud Guardian Angel [item=Heart of Gold] Randuin's Omen [item=Soul Shroud] Spirit Visage Sunfire Cape Thornmail Warmog's Armor

  • Skilling Order


    Rocket Grab is an absolute first pick, and Power First is an absolute second pick. This gives the grab/punch combo that is often deadly near a friendly tower in the early game.

    The remaining choices do not make a huge difference. At level 6 the ultimate gives a nice boost to burst damage. After level 2 I prioritize Static Field > Rocket Grab > Overdrive > Power First. A case can be made to pick Rocket Grab less or Power Fist more. I find that the extra damage from Rocket Grab is more useful than a reduced cooldown on Power First. You only get one grab in most fights, so one stun is usually enough and takes lower priority to early burst damage and escape/chasing ability.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Most abilities are useful on Blitz. Choose abilities that will help your team. I have the most success with:
    Teleport
    Ignite

    Teleport is highly recommended to jump, initiate, and chase in team fights. Teleport is better on Blitz than most characters, see the advanced strategies section for details.

    Ignite gives a nice boost to burst damage on a pull, especially in the absence of damage items. A case can be made for any of the abilities, though, even Smite (Smite can create an opening for a pull, and it helps a little with cash flow).

  • Masteries + Runes

    As with items, Masteries and Runes should be selected to improve survivability or utility and they are a matter of preference.

    For Masteries I find 9/21/0 and 9/0/21 are good choices, going to Archaic Knowledge in the offense tree to improve your poor damage output.

    For runes I build full mana to maximize the Mana Barrier and to keep Rocket Grab available.
    9 x Greater Mark of Knowledge
    9 x Greater Seal of Knowledge
    9 x Greater Glyph of Intellect
    3 x Greater Quintessence of Knowledge

  • General Strategy

    Strategies for Blitz are pretty consistent no matter the play style, and Strategy is where he really shines. He is very versatile on the attack, defense, or in a fight. There are a lot of tricks up his imaginary sleeve.

    Primary importance is the use of Rocket Grab. It takes practice to use well, and I won't go into every detail here. It will pull through trees and walls and friendlies. Use the grab to either separate the target with no easy escape, or to pull them into danger. Youtube has a number of Blitz replays, for example this one shows some basic pulls across obstacles and near towers.



    The Rocket Grab has a small cast delay plus a travel delay. About half a second passes between the cast and connecting to a distant target, so even if you aim well some shots will miss. Especially at close range the enemy movement will cause a large angle change to the cast direction. Your teammates may complain about misses from apparently easy shots. If needed, just assure them that they won't all miss. Don't hesitate to invoke the squelch stick (/ignore) on bullies. Targeting is a lot easier in the late game due to grouping.

    At the start of the game Blitz is a killer. Choose a 2v2 or 2v1 lane. Blitz could hold mid or even 1v2 without much difficulty- your opponent will need to stay back from the tower. However, you can't become the Team Chef cooking alone in the middle. Pick a 2vX lane to feed your partner, and also to let another teammate level quicker in mid. If your lane opponents are aggressive or sloppy you can usually get First Blood.

    Overdrive can be used for chasing and running, same as Ghost. However in the case of Blitz, you can Overdrive to get closer, grab and punch. This often buys the time needed for your teammates to catch up for the kill.

    Power Fist seems like a straightforward ability, generally combined with a grab to stun for a kill. However this ability is less intuitive than it seems, and often should not be combined with Rocket Grab for maximum effectiveness. See the advanced tips section for details.

    Static Field is good for burst damage and to stop a big creep wave. Let the passive zap randomly until you find the ideal moment to ult, either in a big group fight or chasing a runner. The short silence is also useful to interrupt at range, like shutting down Fiddle's ult.

    Early-to-mid game don't be afraid to go ganking, especially if your lane opponents turtle hard. Always attack with a teammate. The Chef can't serve unless he has a customer, so avoid engaging 1v1 in general. Blitz is great for disabling and easily ganks when numbers are in your favor. He is also great near a friendly tower even without numbers in your favor. Most players have a healthy fear of the Rocket Grab, so if you go hiding in bushes or jungling their 'blitz mia' can keep their entire team on the defensive.

    Early game the best counter against Blitz is to always stand behind creeps. If you find your opponent turtling like this and your lane can handle 2v2 without the tower, push out and engage opportunistically. If your lane cannot handle 2v2 away from the tower, there's not much to do but switch lanes or use Rocket Grab to last hit creeps from a distance.

    Late game the best counter against Blitz is a well-coordinated team whose carries stand behind their tanks. This is unusual to see in 5v5 solo games, even at higher levels, but it can happen in a big 5v5 balanced push, especially advancing on the third line of towers. There is little worse than pulling a Rammus with Guardian Angel and two Sunfire Capes into the middle of your team. He's looking to be there anyway. Your team will react before they realize who you got. Your team will waste their nukes and probably get wiped. This rarely happens in reverse- on a 5v5 defense their tanks will lack range to initiate so the group is more spread out, creating more grab opportunities. If you have no shot, don't take it. With your team pushing 5v5 you probably have the the upper hand anyway. Then once things get messy you can always step away from the fight and isolate a carry.

  • Basic Tips

    1. Use Rocket Grab creatively. Blitz is known for his initiating ability, but Rocket Grab is also great for chasing, defending, moving enemies during a fight, and damaging a squishy. It is an ability entirely unique in League of Legends.

    2. On Summoner's Rift there are about 40 locations where pulls across wide obstacles can be especially deadly to the enemy - generally the same places where Flash is commonly used to escape. Experiment with your strategy and react to the enemy locations.

    3. Let your lane opponents push up to your tower. Blitz's most deadly move is pulling a target into tower range. Between Power First, your teammate, and the tower you will usually get the kill. Good opponents will turtle behind creeps and not leave opportunity for a grab, but even good players can get sloppy or greedy.

    3. Don't lane against two tanks if you can avoid it. They will not aggressively push up to your tower, and they will be harder to kill with burst damage. Plus, shutting down the enemy carries early will often seal a win.

    4. In a messy fight where survival is not certain, use Rocket Grab for the damage. It might save you or your teammate.

    5. In a losing fight, run away. Blitz is great at running away. If the enemy chases close to your tower, grab them for the kill.

    6. Always fight with a partner. Be the Chef.

    7. In a lopsided push, such as 3v1, the enemy will often dance back behind the tower in feint defense, hoping to scare you away. If you charge at them they will run, so instead run up to the tower and attack it as if ignoring the enemy. Then when you have a good shot, take it and your teammates will pounce for an easy kill.

    8. Use Power Fist to punch a tower. It is one of the few abilities that can damage a tower, so even if you only have time to hit the tower once, run up and Fist it.

    9. Banshee's Veil and Morgana's Black Shield block Rocket Grab but not Power First. Against Morgana just wait for the shield to expire. The same goes for Zilean's Chronoshift. Wait for it to expire before making the grab.

    10. Rocket Grab ignores your team minions and heroes, so you can safely grab through friendly creeps. It also ignores obstacles. Learn to ignore these when visualizing a grab.

    11. Sometimes a teammate will request to lane with you for a combo, like Pantheon or Ryze. It's not worth fighting over - these heroes can make a killer combo, but you are a killer already. Your lane partner doesn't make a big difference as long as they can deal damage or stun or slow, so just about every hero is a good lane partner except Soraka.

    12. Mana Barrier only activates if your health drops below 20% without death, so big nukes like Feast and Demacian Justice can bypass the shield entirely.

  • Advanced Tips

    1. Rocket Grab + Power Fist is a solid combo, however just about the only time they are used together optimally is when pulling into a tower. Rocket Grab already stuns the target for the duration of the pull, and it will take your target a moment to react after the grab (especially if they expect the Fist). By taking a step or two before stunning again, you get your ally more time to attack the target.

    2. Short-range pulls are generally unnecessary. If your opponent is close and dancing to avoid a grip, just walk up and Fist him. You get all the advantages without wasting a shot. Take a few steps back while he is stunned, let him run away a bit, and then throw your grab to pull a greater distance. This will give your ally a lot more time to attack the target while pulling toward your tower.

    3. Also if you are close to an enemy somewhere in the bushes, don't waste a grab to find him. Just Overdrive into the bushes, Fist them, and then get better positioning for the grab.

    4. Even if your move speed is slower in a chase, you can often catch a runner by using terrain. Fleeing heroes need to run around obstacles that Rocket Grab goes straight through, so you can effectively gain distance by timing the grab after your target runs around an obstacle but before you do. Carefully watch the enemy move speed. Time your grab at a point when the target needs to run around a curve, and then throw your grab leading to the predicted location. In many cases you can catch the target even if they have a decent lead and faster move speed.

    5. In a big fight save your Power Fist and Static Field. Rarely is the first hero you engage the one that you will want to hit. These skills can be used to interrupt a channel like Katarina's blades or Nunu's freeze. Fist will also cause a large disruption to DPS carries like Twitch.

    6. Generally grab at maximum range. This is a tough rule to understand and to master. If your fleeing target is within the grab radius with room to spare, run away from him before taking the shot. Your target ends up at your location after the hit. By running and waiting on the grab, you get your opponent closer to your allies and closer to your towers. You also buy time to cool down other abilities.

    7. The range on Rocket Grab is significantly larger than the ability radius / target arrow. This is one of the most important aspects to understand about Blitzcrank. To be the Chef you need to precisely understand the range of the grab and reliably grab at maximum range. The range is very long, usually longer than either you or your opponents realize. Practice grabs in a number of practice games to understand exactly at what point the grab will hit and when it is out of range. Jumping from the bushes and grabbing before your target reacts will often cause hits that seem impossibly long to the opponent.

    8. Rocket Grab seems to prefer creeps over heroes. Grabbing a hero just in front of a creep or to the side of a creep will often pull you a creep.

    9. If your opponent is turtling behind the creeps you may still have opportunity to connect. Watch very carefully when he runs back to the next wave for protection. If he runs early, you can Overdrive into the creeps and past them to grab before your opponent gets to safety. If he runs late, watch the health on the creeps to predict when enough will die to create an opening, and time the grab to land precisely after the creep falls.

    10. Help your team get the Dragon by pulling him to the edge of his lair. Unless your teammate has a flash/blink, it's safer to attack from outside the den.

    11. Blitz's Rocket Grab extends from his right fist. The ability arrow indicator accounts for this, however the ability circle does not. By standing to the right side of your creeps you can hook a hero from a location that he thinks is safe.

    12. Generally do not activate Static Field until the last possible moment. A grab / delay / fist / delay / static can gain you an extra zap or two on your target compared to the straightforward grab / fist / static combo. The range on Static is quite large, so it can be used even after they start to run. Also, you generally want your teammate to get the kill so only use static if you risk losing the kill.

    13. When your opponent flees with a good lead, it may be faster to catch them by taking a different path, to short cut to a pull location or an enemy Recall point. Choose the closest attack location where you can hit your target through terrain, and then visualize their movement through the fog of war as you move in. Grab across the trees and you can sometimes catch a runner where direct chase would fail.

    14. Use wards in key locations and predict where your enemy will be located. If you can pull an enemy attacking the Dragon onto the ledge, you can get a kill and later get the Dragon.

    15. If you suspect your opponents are getting the Dragon and you cannot stop them in time, grab the Dragon from the ledge to reset his life. The Dragon is normally in the center of his lair and Rocket Grab easily reaches him from the outside.

    16. Heimer's turrets will completely block Rocket Grab. Shaco's jitbs and Teemo's shrooms will get pulled by Rocket Grab, making the three annoying to lane against.

    17. Two opposing Blitzcranks that simultaneously Rocket Grab each other will trade places, rather than meet in the middle. This can be useful to position their Blitz into a tower. Pulling a hero across a stun such as Rammus's powerball will cause an impact and shorten the pull, generally undesired.

    18. Sometimes Rocket Grab will glitch and fire in a random direction. This happens especially when making very quick target acquisition. As far as I can tell, it is caused by ability direction to go random when the mouse pointer is over the HUD rather than the gamefield, so it's better to avoid clicking near the edge of the screen in tense situations.

    19. The direction Blitz is facing will not affect his Rocket Grab. He adjusts his body to fire at a 90-degree angle to the target. So you can stand backwards before taking a shot. This can be useful to bait an enemy into thinking you may run or to make them think you are not paying attention.

    20. Keep an eye on the map and use Teleport to gank, as if playing Twisted Fate or Pantheon. This strategy is not unique to Blitz - any time your opponents engage within your minion line, a hero can teleport in to tip the scales, and the opponents will usually not notice the teleport indicator in the middle of the fight. However unlike TF and Panth and most other heroes, Blitz can chase, pull and stun in addition to his burst damage. He is great at swinging a fight leading to an 0-2 loss into a 2-0 win.

    21. Don't forget you can teleport to wards, shrooms, mini-turrets and jitbs. Always be ready to prepare a dish for your team.

    22. Have fun feeding those hungry allies!



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