Annie Build Guide

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In-depth guide to Annie

written by Niegen

Annie Build

Starting items

Core Build

Late Game / Luxury Items

Situational Items

  • OR
  • OR
  • OR

Skill Order

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • Pyromania
  • Disintegrate
  • Incinerate
  • Molten Shield
  • Summon: Tibbers

Runes for Annie


Masteries for Annie



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    REMEMBER TO RATE THE GUIDE, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Thank you!

     

    Disclaimer - 5th July 2012 

     

     

    Message of the day - 26th March 2012 


    Message of the day - 8th August 2011 (regarding the changes from patch 1.122)



    Message of the day - 24th May 2011 (patch 1.118b)


    Shortly after the beginning of season 1, I realized Annie had been my main champion for a while, and the one I was having the most success with. In order to understand the reasons of that success, I decided to write down everything I knew about the character. This "essay" proved to be quite long, and I realized that sharing the knowledge could prove very useful to others. This is how this guide went to be.

    This guide is an extensive walkthrough to the character. If you can think of one aspect of the game, it probably is covered in here somewhere. For that reason, you probably won't need to read the whole thing, because I not only cover Annie, but also a lot of the game's common knowledge. I encourage you to use the table of contents, or the "search" functionnality of your browser, especially if you are interested in a specific matchup: search for "[name_of_champion]" including the brackets.

    I describe my playstyle in great details, but it does not mean I am always right, especially because I mostly play normal games. I try to be as "newbie friendly" as possible, taking care not to use obscure terminology if I can avoid it. Let me know if some area is not clear enough. I encourage you to discuss the guide in the comments. If you ask a question, I will answer. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

    I hope this guide will help make you a better Annie player. It won't make you "pro" or anything (because I am not!), but if you want to main Annie, I believe you are in the right place!

    League of Legends is a living game. The meta-game changes every week with the buffs, nerfs, new items & champions... Although Annie has remained mostly unchanged since the beta, I still update this guide regularly, and I will continue until I lose interest in the game, which I don't see happening anytime soon. Also, I mostly play Summoner's Rift, so strategies are particularly geared towards that map.

    Please, remember to rate the guide if you like it, or even if you don't. That being said, I'm really interested in constructive criticism, so please drop a comment explaining why you don't like the guide. Thanks.

    Welcome to Niegen's Annie guide!

  • Abilities

    Pyromania
    This is one of the best passives in the game. It is not a cute bonus that you can forget about, it defines Annie. You MUST learn to make the best use of this. Cast spells at fountain to raise your counter if needed, or while moving around the map with the blue buff, or even if you're trying to join a teamfight that is raging and you have some spare mana. When you have 5 stacks and a stun is ready, you are "Energized". You can tell in 3 ways:
    1. Annie will giggle when you cast the spell that gives you the 5th stack
    2. A white whirl will engulf Annie, kinda hard to see if Molten Shield is up
    3. Also, the Pyromania Icon buff above your Health and Mana bars at the bottom of the UI will be red, instead of grey.
    If you go from a full combo, starting with Summon: Tibbers, you will be left at 3 stacks. With 2 additional Disintegrates, you will be fully energized again, so you can have another stun ready for Incinerate in about 7 or 8 seconds after the first.

    Note that enemies with 35 Tenacity (any Tenacity to this day) will suffer a 1.14 second stun instead of 1.75 second.


    Disintegrate
    Base Cooldown: 4s
    Cooldown with recommended setup (~4%): 3.84s
    Cooldown with recommended setup & Ionian Boots of Lucidity (~19%): 3.24s
    Cooldown with full CDR (40%): 2.4s

    Your main farming skill and harassment tool. If you are soloing a lane, you should be able, once you get the timing and the proper cooldown reduction to last-hit almost every creep wave in its entirety, or close to it.
    It does not mean you must neglect using your auto-attack to get last hits that way too though. More on that in the Farming section.
    Please note that this spell has a short cast (channel) time, meaning you will stop walking if you were on the move, and the projectile must then travel to its target.
    Also, the Pyromania stack will be received or applied on HIT. There is some subtlety to this: If you are at 5 stacks, and quickly cast Disintegrate into Incinerate for instance, if Incinerate hits BEFORE Disintegrate reaches its target, then Incinerate will be the spell to stun, meaning you could waste your stacks you didn't aim properly.


    Incinerate
    Base Cooldown: 8s
    Cooldown with recommended setup (~4%): 7.68s
    Cooldown with recommended setup & Ionian Boots of Lucidity (~19%): 6.48s
    Cooldown with full CDR (40%): 4.8s

    Your first Area Of Effect (AOE) nuke, also very effective at clearing amassed minion waves or caster minions if you have enough AP. Does more damage at higher levels than Disintegrate, so don't neglect it. Very good at stunning groups when you don't have Summon: Tibbers up.
    Refrain from spamming it, especially early game, as it is quite a mana hog!
    Please note that this spell has a short cast (channel) time, meaning you will stop walking if you were on the move, but once it's done the damage is instant in the whole area it covers.


    Molten Shield
    Base Cooldown: 30s
    Cooldown with recommended setup (~4%): 25.5s
    Cooldown with recommended setup & Ionian Boots of Lucidity (~19%): 21s
    Cooldown with full CDR (40%): 18s

    When you are getting focused or comboed out (Ryze comes to mind), this will probably be a lifesaver. The armor & magic resistance are nothing to scoff at. You are far from being unkillable, but with some HP from items, you can be beefy enough to get away... or tank the damage to kill them all which happens quite often!
    Also very good at helping you tanking golem, or countering the effects of DOTs after they have been applied -well, except Ignite.
    Please note that this spell has no cast (channel) time, meaning you will not stop walking if you were on the move.


    Summon: Tibbers
    Base Cooldown: 120s
    Cooldown with recommended setup (~4%): 115.2s
    Cooldown with recommended setup & Ionian Boots of Lucidity (~19%): 97.2s
    Cooldown with full CDR (40%): 72s

    Another nuke, your most damaging one actually, with an AoE. Broken when used on groups with Pyromania. Coordinate with your teammates so they know they must engage when you drop this. I usually quickly say "ustun" in chat to let my teammates know about it.
    The fact that a flaming bear from hell will fight for you is just icing on the cake. Use Alt+Left click to control his movements.
    Tibbers will follow you and engage ennemies automatically, until you issue him an order. From that point on, he will no longer acquire targets on his own, so don't forget to tell him what to do. However, if you wander too far from each other, he will teleport next to you and reset to his automatic behaviour.
    If you are being chased through the jungle, and Tibbers is out, try to send him on another path: As Tibbers is quite slow, he will try to follow you, which would, if not addressed, tell your chaser where you went, so try and lure them off your tail.
    Summon: Tibbersrange is actually a bit larger than displayed in game, since you have to add half the AoE circle to the cast range. Because of that, it is you longest ranged spell, and this is one way to initiate a combo on an unsuspecting opponent who feels safe outside the range from Disintegrate/Incinerate.
    Please note that this spell has a short cast (channel) time, meaning you will stop walking if you were on the move, but once it's done the damage is instant in the whole area it covers.


  • Why play Annie

    Annie is free to play quite often, so you will be able to pick her up quite a bit, even if you don't buy her. And then, she costs 450IP, meaning ANY player should own her past level 15. That's about 3 games worth of IP. Buying her with RP feels like a waste to me, although Riot certainly deserves the money.?She's an extremely easy character to pick up, despite being a bit challenging to master, and she's probably the best choice to start learning mage/burst characters.

    She's straight to the point: She burns stuff, with a slight twist (stuns).?She also excels mid, so she is a very good pick for those solo queues. She simply can fit any team, as long as the AP carry role slot isn't taken yet.

    Areas where you should improve simply by playing Annie:

    . Last hit
    . Positionning
    . Pet control
    . Flash use
    . Basic combo
    . Burst
    . Initiation
    . Patience

  • - Pros / Cons

    Pros:

    Easy to learn
    Very high burst damage
    Among highest auto-attack range in the game
    . only Tristana (with her passive) and Caitlyn have greater ranges
    Excellent mid character
    Powerful, damaging stun
    Teaches you to last hit

    Cons:

    Quite squishy, however, my item build tries to alleviate that
    Vulnerable while abilities are on cooldown
    No escape mechanism
    Relies somewhat on a level advantage to shine
    Rather costly spells
    Stun can be a bit unreliable if you don't keep track
    Very short ranged spells

  • - Synopsis

    Underestanding the pros & cons of Annie brings me to focus on the following statistic when building:

    Offense: Magic penetration & cooldown reduction, in particular, achieving 0 magic resistance on most enemies that buy no magic resistance is crucial.
    Defense: Buying health is the most effective way to improve survivability early game. Later on, focusing on Magic resistance and/or armor might be necessary.
    Utility: Annie is a damage dealer, however, if for some reason we are not fed enough, and can't secure enough gold early game, some team-oriented items might be suitable to improve the late game.

  • Revisions

    17 August 2010: Unpublished beta version
    03 September 2010: v1.0
    06 September 2010: v1.01 (Spelling & typos, updated runes section, added Morderkaiser matchup, added matchup summary, added Dealing with human nature section)
    10 September 2010: v1.02 (Added Exhaust to the Summoner Abilities section)
    13 September 2010: v1.03 (Updated Skilling Order & Combos sections)
    19 September 2010: v1.04 (Added Miss Fortune matchup, updated item section, misc small updates here and there)
    21 September 2010: v1.05 (Added Pushing section)
    29 September 2010: v1.06 (Added Quick Reference section)
    30 September 2010: v1.07 (Added Native Magic Resistance to Specific Matchups)
    04 October 2010: v1.08 (Updated Runes section with link to AP/Magic resistance & damage Google Spreadsheet)
    11 October 2010: v1.09 (Updated Quick Reference section with recommended starting items & item build order, added info on Miss Fortune ultimate)
    19 October 2010: v1.10 (Added Initiating section)
    25 October 2010: v1.11 (Added Items not to buy section)
    29 October 2010: v1.12 (Update Masteries section, Added References section, Added Starting Items section, added alternative items and summoner spells for lower level summoners, rewrote Why play Annie, Pros / Cons, Who should read this guide, Who should NOT read this guide sections that were lost due to a save bug!?)
    09 November 2010: v1.13 (Revamped Masteries section, updated Tips & Tricks section, update Dealing with humane nature section)
    15 November 2010: v1.14 (Added Swain & Kog'Maw to the Matchup info, Added Warding section)
    22 November 2010: v1.15 (Added LeBlanc & Fiddlesticks to Matchup info, Updated Kennen specific matchup info, fixed a few things here and there because recent changes were lost after a backup had to be restored, switched Archangel's Staff out for a second Rod of Ages for lower level summoners)
    24 November 2010: v1.16 (Added cooldown information to the Abilities section, Added Uses of Flash section)
    02 December 2010: v1.17 (Tweaked Matchup info for Morgana & Zilean, Added cooldown information to the Summoner Spells section)
    09 December 2010: v1.18 (Misc minor updates)
    14 December 2010: v1.19 (Updated for patch v1.0.0.107, yay for the Improved Leaver Buster, let's hope it works!)
    15 December 2010: v1.20 (Updated info on Blue Buff, updated Combos section)
    05 January 2011: v1.21 (Updated for patch v1.0.0.108, updated item information since Zhonya's Ring was split into Zhonya's Hourglass & Rabadon's Deathcap)
    18 January 2011: v1.22 (Rewrote most of Item related sections, added Akali to worst enemies sections)
    02 February 2011: v1.23 (Updated for patch v1.0.0.110, updated Runes section)
    07 February 2011: v1.24 (Updated LeBlanc Matchup info, plus some other minor tweaks)
    10 February 2011: v1.25 (Updated the Glossary section)
    14 February 2011: v1.25 (Added Lux to the Matchup info, added 2Own3D recordings where I lane against Lux & Vlad)
    25 February 2011: v1.26 ("Updated" Matchup info section with latest Tencent Artworks, tweaked a few things, Update References section)
    28 February 2011: v1.27 (Update Items section, introduced new core build)
    01 March 2011: v1.28 (Tweaked a few Matchup info, plus some other minor tweaks, Updated MR info for some matchups)
    02 March 2011: v1.29 (Rewrote introduction)
    03 March 2011: v1.30 (Added Clairvoyance & Teleport to Summoner's spells section)
    07 March 2011: v1.31 (Updated References section, new asian client art is available, Hello gorgeous!)
    09 March 2011: v1.32 (Updated AP/Magic resistance & damage Google Spreadsheet with damage chart)
    12 March 2011: v1.33 (Added Recording & Replays to the references section)
    13 March 2011: v1.34 (Added Map awareness subsection to Improving your play section)
    01 April 2011: v1.35 (105.000 single views!!! Otherwise, some very minor tweaks, nothing new really, move along)
    06 April 2011: v1.36 (Tweaks...)
    06 April 2011: v1.37 (Added new Experimental rune setup, also, I started splitting the ... bear with me, it's tedious, I'm not finished)
    13 May 2011: v1.38 (Finished splitting the match-up information into individual sections, added Going for the kill & Baiting to the Improving your play section)
    16 May 2011: v1.39 (Reorganized the guide a bit as it was getting a bit messy... At long last, the Pyromania icon is no longer ambiguous!)
    23 May 2011: v1.40 (Added Brand & Vayne Matchup info)
    26 May 2011: v1.41 (Updated for patch 1.118b, AKA Annie day!)
    30 May 2011: v1.42 (Reorganized the Runes section, added new Max Magic Penetration runepage (Experimental))
    01 June 2011: v1.43 (Added info on how to farm at tower to the Laning>Solo-lane Farming section)
    27 June 2011: v1.44 (Added 9 different builds, added as as many sections, still a WIP. Description & Objective subsections updated for each of them)
    9 July 2011: v1.45 (Finished the new different builds section)
    8 August 2011: v1.46 (Tweaks...)
    12 August 2011: v1.47 (200.000 views! Added Dealing with Banshee's Veil section, plus some minor tweaks)
    06 October 2011: v1.49 (A backup from August 18 has been restored thanks to Dave. However, lost about one month of tweaks, including what I had written about Dominion. Bear with me while I update again.)
    11 October 2011: v1.50 (Updated Burner Setup with my latest tweaks)
    26 October 2011: v1.51 (Updated Glass canon Setup with my latest tweaks. Updated runes setups IP costs)
    2 November 2011: v1.52 (Added Gragas Matchup info. Added missing banners to some champions that were missing them.)
    15 November 2011: v1.53 (Updated for season 2, massively updated all masteries related informations)
    24 November 2011: v1.54 (Remade the Combos section)
    30 November 2011: v1.55 (Remade the Optionnal items section, and made some tweaks here and there)

    26 March 2012: v1.56 (Added Ahri Matchup info, updated a few links)

    05 July 2012: v1.57 (Added another message of the day. That's it. Go read it!)

  • Glossary

    AoE: Area Of Effect, usually a spell that does damage in an area instead of a single target.
    Skillshots: A skillshot is an ability that you cast with no target, "hoping" to hit an opponent. Ezreal only has skillshots, Annie has 2: Incinerate & Summon: Tibbers
    CC: Crowd Control, any ability that prevents from doing what he wants to do. Silencing, Stunning, Slowing, Snaring, Knocking-back, Blinding... are all Crowd Control effects.
    DOT: Damage Over Time, like Morgana's Tormented Soil or Teemo's Toxic Shot for instance

    DPS: Damage Per Second with basic attacks, the higher the better. By extension, categorizes any hero that is supposed to kill his foes using auto attacks. (Master Yi)
    Burst: Categorizes any hero that rely on chaining his abilities quickly to inflict high damage. (Annie)
    Tank: Action of taking the blunt of the damage while you fight back. By extension, categorizes any hero that is supposed to focus the enemy's attention on him while his teammates provides the damage. (Shen)
    Support: Action of helping a teammate. By extension, categorizes any hero that mainly supports his team, be it with heals, support spells, crowd control, etc... (Soraka)
    Combo: Short for "Combination", from fighting game linguo (Street Fighter & the like). Quick succession of abilities (and sometimes attacks) that synergizes together to provide good damage and/or additional effects.
    Carry: Hero which need to developp his efficiency so that he can "carry" his team to victory in the end-game. Annie is NOT a carry, as she lacks efficiency in the late game.
    Feed: Action of giving someone repeated hero kills, so that he gets extra experience and gold. Carries are usually VERY dangerous when fed. You want to feed your carry mostly, and avoid feeding the opponent.

    Gank: Short for Gang-Kill, when several heroes team up to dispatch an inferior number of ennemy heroes. Annie is a very good Ganker.
    MIA (or sometimes SS): Missing In Action, usually followed by the name of a champion or the lane involved, meaning a hero's whereabouts are unknown, and might be on their way to gank someone, somewhere. The first habit of teamplay that you should train. Don't always count on your partners on that though, especially in solo-queues. Also, don't expect to see "MIA TF" (Twisted Fate) often, as he can teleport around the map very quickly.
    Last Hit: Slaying Minions & Monster grants gold to its killer, but ONLY for the killing blow, refered as a "Last Hit". In the laning phase you hence want to only last hit enemy minions.
    Denying: Preventing an opponent from getting gold and/or experience.
    Zoning: The act of forcing an opponent to stay out of range of your attacks and/or abilities from fear of getting disabled or heavily damaged. By effectively zoning an opponent out of experience Range, you are effectively denying him experience and gold, since he cannot last hit either.

  • Smartcasting

    What is smart casting, you may ask. It is a different way of casting spells (both skills and summoner spells).
    By default, you press the key for the spell you want to use, then specify a target by left-clicking it.
    With smart casting, you hover your target with your mouse, and press the key for the spell. Only one key press instead of two.

    Smart casting can be enabled in the key binding option screen. It is setup on a per-spell basis.

    One very important aspect of my OWN playstyle is that I ONLY use smart casting.
    You will need a few games to adjust to smartcasting, but the benefits are well worth it. I'll give you an example:

    A full Flash > Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite > Disintegrate combo takes 11 key/mouse button presses without smartcasting, and you have to accomplish that in about 4 seconds.

    It takes 6 button presses (and no mouse clicks) with smartcasting. It also reduces the risk messing up.


    Now, smartcasting has two weaknesses:

    1) You don't see the range of your spells (except when hovering the spell's icon on the GUI). So you might want to first learn the ranges for your spells before you enable it.

    2) You should be very careful when using chat to communicate so that you don't accidentaly cast Tibbers ^^; Happened quite a few times to me! You could enable smartcasting for other spells, but not for Summon: Tibbers to avoid this problem.

  • Runes

    Understanding Rune Classes:

    Runes will be covered extensively later in the guide in the "Full Setups" section. Here I will explain a few facts about runes that some people still ignores while they are very important to grasp in order to build an effective rune page.
    As you probably know, marks are offense-oriented in nature, while seals are defense-oriented and glyphs are utility-oriented. In each of those classes, there are runes are either primary (they give the best bonus of all non-quintessence runes) or secondary (they give a smaller bonus).
    So there are 2 ways of thinking when choosing runes:

    1) The first way is to choose mostly primary runes
    2) The second is to focus on one stat that you will boost with all types of runes

    Now, I believe 2) is not worth it, at least, not on Annie, as there is no particular aim beside improving damage/survivability. A full critical chance rune page might be viable on a critical champion like Tryndamere, for instance, but there is no such combo available to Annie, only synergy.

    With that out of the way, the possible choices are as follow, listing only runes that make sense on a caster:
    Marks:
    Seals:
    Glyphs:
    Quintessences:

    Good read:

    Visit the Competitive Rune Analysis / Ranking guide by Roku @ Runeterra, an unvaluable mine of information when it comes to picking runes.

  • Masteries

    Annie can be built with Offense or Utility in mind, so you can go either 21/0/9 or 9/0/21. Since she's such an agressive caster, I believe 21/0/9 should be prefered, though that is probably to your personnal preference. She doesn't play differently either way.

    Focus on Offense:



    . You should only put a point in [mastery_text=Summoner's Wrath] if you use one of the supported summoner's spell.
    Otherwise, put the extra point in Mental Force.
    . The rest of the offense tree is very straightforward. You're an AP caster.
    . Again, only put a point in Summoner's Insight if you use one of the supported summoner's spell. If you don't, [mastery_text=Expanded Mind] or [mastery_text=Improved Recall] will do.
    . I've never been a fan of [mastery_text=Expanded Mind], although the one from season 2 is a huge improvement over the former one. However, [mastery_text=Good Hands] translate into saving a lot of death time, and is clearly superior in my opinion. This is up to debate though, and you should feel free to change it if you prefer the bonus mana.
    . Meditation & Swiftness are both excellent. Since I use [mastery_text=Good Hands], I am "forced" to use Swiftness, but both are excellent and I would pick both if I could.
    . [mastery_text=Transmutation] is a great mastery, but you probably need 3 points there for it to do any good. So Runic Affinity it is. Better make that Blue buff lasts as long as possible.

    Focus on Utility:



    . You should only put a point in [mastery_text=Summoner's Wrath] if you use one of the supported summoner's spell.
    Otherwise, put the extra point in Mental Force.
    . [mastery_text=Arcane Knowledge] is vastly superior to a single point in Havoc.
    . We are still not playing "support Annie", so Greed is out of the equation.
    . [mastery_text=Sage] seems superior to a single point in Perseverance

  • Summoner Spells

    Flash - Mandatory
    Base Cooldown: 265s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind] & Summoner's Insight: 212.5s
    Flash, the best summoner spell out there is AMAZING on Annie, so much that I believe it defines Annie pretty much in the same way than Pyromania. It's a great escape tool, but you already know that. However, used offensively to drop a Tibbers stun just at the right place, or to combo an unsuspecting opponent during the laning phase, the applications are many. I still discover tricks with Flash regularly, I'll be very sad when it will be removed. I agree it is too powerful though, so I won't whine about it... Be careful though, since patch v1.0.0.107, Flash can no longer be used to "dodge" (pop) an incoming spell or attack.
    I consider Flash to be a part of Annie's arsenal. If you are not using Flash, you are not using Annie at her fullest potential!

    Ignite
    Base Cooldown: 180s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 153s
    Ignite is very good in the laning phase to ensure a kill. Its usefulness drops significantly in the later stages of the game, but can still net you a kill sometimes. It's also very good at countering health gain when focusing certain champions (think Sadism). I especially like the associated mastery, which grants 10AP while Ignite's on cooldown, but it is actually hardly noticeable. At level 6, it deals 200 unresistable damage, and cuts healing in half. Considering my combo of choice at level 6 deals 438 damage with no items nor auto-attacks (470 if I started with an Amplifying Tome), you will realize that Ignite can push your burst damage to almost 700.

    Cleanse
    Base Cooldown: 150s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 127.5s
    Cleanse is an excellent spell that will save you many times, however, sometimes it is not needed at all, and I feel like I wasted my summoner's spell slot, so I tend to prefer Ignite, and rely on buying Quicksilver Sash if I feel I need a similar effect. Now that some spells have suppression, Cleanse lost a lot of its usefulness.

    Exhaust
    Base Cooldown: 210s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 178.5s
    Exhaust is something I am currently experimenting. I found that I was often dying to the same champions, mostly Xin & Olaf. You are bound to face at least 3 physical champions, a single Exhaust can really save you when in a tight situation. It can also be very useful at slowing and shutting down you mid-opponent in the early game when going for the kill. A 3 seconds slow when your Disintegrate is on a 3.4s cooldown can go a long way to secure a kill! Just make sure you Exhaust your opponent after your stun ended.

    Ghost
    Base Cooldown: 210s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 178.5s
    Ghost is a viable option for those who don't like or don't have Flash. It does not offer the same tricks you can pull off with Flash; as an offensive tool, it it better than Flash if your burst won't kill your target outright and you need to chase a little bit. If you can combo & kill in one go, Flash surprise factor is better. As an escape tool, Ghost is better in the open, while you can Flash over a pack of trees, for instance.

    Clairvoyance
    Base Cooldown: 70s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 59.5s
    On a few very rare occasions I used this spell, and that was before I worked on my map awareness. I tend to think this spell is the final evolution of a master Annie, when you no longer need anything but Clairvoyance (remember, Flash is mandatory). It's very good to use in the first 15s of a match to see who buy what and who goes where. Obviously, it is very good to protect yourself from incoming ganks when you're mid, so you can check those side brushes before committing. It's amazing to check brushes when travelling around the map and of course to check dragon/baron without needing to move there. It's also useful to disrupt opponents that brush-dance. Considering its low cool-down, I think this spell is overpowered, but only if you can use it properly, which takes a lot of practice, all things considered (and I personally am not there yet). It is also very useful in teamfights when the enemy team is trying to use the brushes to their advantage: Nunu, Fiddlestick, Katarina to name a few have devastating ultimates that can be channeled in the brushes for improved surprise effect and to prevent CC, Clairvoyance can save the day here.
    Another reason I like Clairvoyance is because of the "team player" aspect of the spell: Picking a summoner spell that benefits the team, and not just yourself tends to send a very positive message to the rest of the team in champion select.
    Finally, let's not forget that Annie has no brush checking ability outside of sending Tibbers, so Clairvoyance is a good way to cover that weakness.

    Teleport
    Base Cooldown: 240s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 199s
    With Annie's great staying power, thanks to Disintegrate, being able to recall then get back in lane without losing any experience can very interesting, especially solo-top, so that you don't leave the turret open to attacks. It's also invaluable in order to prevent back-dooring, which does happen quite often.

    Clarity
    Base Cooldown: 180s
    Cooldown with [mastery_text=Mastermind]: 153s
    Clarity can be useful to lower level summoners, especially if they don't master last hitting with Disintegrate yet. I suggest you do ASAP so you can pick a more useful spell. I personnaly prefer to adapt my runes, masteries & item build to address the mana pool problem.


    My choice

    I always take Flash, it defines Annie, even with all the nerfs it received in the past. The second is up to personnal preference. I guess you'll choose Ignite if you prefer an agressive stance and Cleanse/Exhaust otherwise. Don't get me wrong though, even with a somewhat defensive summoner spell, Annie IS meant to be agressive. If there is one truth about Annie's "best" playstyle, it is that she's supposed to be played aggressively.
    Finally, in a full pre-made, Clairvoyance cannot be a bad option if no one else is taking it.

  • Skilling

    Basically, you should prioritize your skills like this: Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Molten Shield, throwing in a single level of Molten Shield before level 8 to have an extra spell for adding counters to Pyromania

    In the somewhat rare event that you are going for a level 1 teamfight, you should take Incinerate at level 1 and farm a stun by repeatdly casting it at fountain. Stuns are the game's best weapon at level 1 teamfights.

    Here is the skilling order I mostly use when soloing-mid, where I want to max-out my burst damage at level 6:


    Sometimes I delay Molten Shield a bit more if I can't leave mid to go ganking for some reason. Now some people might disagree, saying having 4 Pyromania stacks, then casting Molten Shield to jump to 5 in order to launch a Flash+Tibbers combo without the enemy knowing you are energized. In theory, it could be useful, however, if my opponent is afraid of that combo so much that he keeps his distance with me, I might as well take advantage of that fact and push him out of Exp range. So Molten Shield is useless anyway and I prefer to raise my burst at level 6 if he gets careless.

    When laning with a partner though, I tend to prefer the usual build you are more likely to find in other guides:


    Reason being that stuns are obviously more effective when working with partner(s), so you want to be able to cycle through your spells quickly.

    Do remember however (I often tend to forget myself) that Molten Shield is not intended only to add a counter to Pyromania, it is an amazing defensive spells, and sometimes you might want to invest a couple level in it when facing some particular champion (Ryze comes to mind). More on that in the Mid-Matchups section.

    Now remember that when you reach levels 6 or 11, your damage output raises dramatically. With the level advantage that going mid gives you (at least 2 levels, ideally 3 or more), you are way more powerful than most other side-laners. It does not mean you can take them all, but you can really bring the pain.
    As you can see in the AP/Magic resistance & damage Google Spreadsheet Damage @ Level chart, Annie is in particular very strong at level 13 This mean this is the best time to wreak havoc your opponents.

  • Full Setups

    Those are generic builds. They do not require 6 slots and leave room for extra items for countering the opposing team. Check the Optional Items section for more information on that matter.

    I strongly advise against jumping to the more advanced builds before trying the introductory ones. "Do not try to bite off more than one can chew".

    Read each description & objectives paragraph, and try to find the one that honnestly describe you. In particular, despite being very tempting from its name & purpose, the Glass Canon Setup is probably a recipe for disaster to anyone who is not very competent at the game already...

  • - Disciple Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's levels 1-11. This mostly assumes 3 things: you don't have Flash yet, you are lacking rune & mastery wise and you probably are still a bit new to the game.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for a balance of health & firepower while also trying to compensate for a relative lack of mobility potential mana issues.

    3) Runes
    Lesser Mark of Insight
    Lesser Seal of Clarity
    Lesser Glyph of Focus
    Quintessence of Fortitude
    I recommmend you use those very cheap runes until your reach level 20, where you will be able to swap in Greater runes of the same category (See the Balanced build)

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    highly recommended
    nice until you get the hang of last hitting with Disintegrate
    good choice to secure a kill, but also as a defensive choice

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x2
    . Alternate Starting Items
    or or +
    . Early Game
    +
    . Mid Game
    + or or
    . End Game
    #2

  • - Padawan Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's levels 12-19. You have Flash, but are still a bit lacking rune & mastery wise. You are developping a good "feel" with the game.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for a balance of health & firepower while also trying to compensate for a relative lack of mobility potential mana issues.

    3) Runes
    Lesser Mark of Insight
    Lesser Seal of Clarity
    Lesser Glyph of Focus
    Quintessence of Fortitude
    I recommmend you use those very cheap runes until your reach level 20, where you will be able to swap in Greater runes of the same category (See the Balanced build)

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash
    nice until you get the hang of last hitting with Disintegrate
    good choice to secure a kill, but also as a defensive choice
    good choice

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x2
    . Alternate Starting Items
    or or +
    . Early Game
    +
    . Mid Game
    + or or
    . End Game

  • - Standard Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's levels 20+. Your runes & masteries are nearly completion or completed.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for a balance of health & firepower, however, you do not intend to "specialize" in Annie, you only want to be able to pick her up sometimes and do good.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight
    Greater Seal of Clarity
    Greater Glyph of Focus
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
    You can now upgrade the lesser runes to their greater equivalent counterpart.

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash
    nice until you get the hang of last hitting with Disintegrate
    good choice to secure a kill, but also as a defensive choice

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x2
    . Early Game
    . Alternate Starting Items
    Doran's Ring or Amplifying Tome +
    +
    Optional
    . Mid Game
    + or or
    Do not pick Sorcerer's Shoes if you picked Haunting Guise before.
    . End Game

  • - Balanced Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's levels 20+. Your runes & masteries are nearly completion or completed.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for a balance of health & firepower. Your objective is to achieve a near-complete mastery of the champion.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Clarity x9
    Greater Glyph of Focus x9
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3
    This is a pretty standard rune page that can be used with any mana based mage.
    This setup costs 19065 IP.

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash
    can be viable, but only if no one else gets it

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x2
    . Alternate Starting Items
    or +
    . Early Game
    +
    Optional
    . Mid Game
    + or or
    . End Game

  • - Burner Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's level 30 that have mostly mastered Annie.
    This is by far my favourite setup for both Summoner's Rift & Twisted Treeline.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for 0 Magic Resistance on most non-tank enemies to optimize damage.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Vitality x9
    Greater Glyph of Force x9
    Greater Quintessence of Swiftness x2 Greater Quintessence of Insight x1

    This build is very similar to the Balanced build, but achieves 10 native Magic penetration. Coupled with a single flat Magic penetration item like Haunting Guise or Sorcerer's Shoes, you will achieve true damage on opponents with base magic resistance.
    This setup costs 16195IP.

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash
    can be viable, but only if no one else gets it

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x3
    . Early Game
    or
    optional or
    . Mid Game

    . End Game

    if a lot of poking is going on
    or if you need magic resist
    in replacement of Haunting Guise if necessary

  • - Pyromaniac Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's level 30 that have mostly mastered Annie.

    2) Objectives
    This build aims for achieving maximum non-percent based magic penetration through runes in order to focus on AP ASAP (pun intended).

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Vitality x9
    Greater Glyph of Insight x9
    Greater Quintessence of Insight x3
    This build gets as much magic penetration as possible from runes in order to completely skip flat Magic Penetration items like Haunting Guise or Sorcerer's Shoes.
    This setup costs 14145 IP.

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash
    can be viable, but only if no one else gets it

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x3
    . Alternate Starting Items

    . Early Game
    + Any combination of up to 2 or preferably 3 and
    . Mid Game

    . End Game

  • - Glass Canon Setup

    1) Description
    This build is targeted to sumonner's level 30 that have mostly mastered Annie. It is also strongly advised to only use this build in premades, as you will be pretty fragile for solo-queues.
    2) Objectives
    This build aims for maximum firepower at the cost of health. You will deal deceiptively higher damage than "regular" Annie at lower levels.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Potency x9
    Greater Glyph of Potency x9
    Greater Quintessence of Potency x3
    This build gets a lot of Magic Penetration & AP from runes in order to maximize damage.
    This setup costs 14145 IP.

    4) Masteries




    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    since you sacrifice almost everything for damage, this allows you to hop back into lane quickly after recalling
    probably your best bet as you want to maximize damage, however, you can function without it
    alternative to Flash
    can be viable, but only if no one else gets it

    6) Items
    . Starting Items

    . Alternate Starting Items #1
    +
    . Early Game
    +
    . Mid Game

    . End Game

    Optional: Up to 3 total

  • - Classic Setup

    1) Description
    This build was targeted to sumonner's level 20-30 before the introduction of Rabadon's Deathcap & Zhonya's Hourglass. It was the "community approved" best way of building Annie.

    2) Objectives
    This build aimed for a balance of health & firepower.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Clarity x9
    Greater Glyph of Focus x9
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3
    This used the standard rune page that could be used with any mana based mage.
    This setup costs 19065 IP.

    4) Masteries
    External Image
    (These are season 1 masteries)

    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x2
    . Alternate Starting Items

    . Early Game
    +
    . Mid Game
    + or
    . End Game

  • - Niegen's Classic Setup

    1) Description
    This build was targeted to sumonner's level 20-30 before the introduction of Rabadon's Deathcap & Zhonya's Hourglass. It was my own way of building Annie back then, when I started this guide. As far as I am concerned, I felt it was superior to the "Classic build" above.

    2) Objectives
    This build aimed for a balance of health & firepower.

    3) Runes
    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Greater Seal of Clarity x9
    Greater Glyph of Focus x9
    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3
    This used the standard rune page that could be used with any mana based mage.
    This setup costs 19065 IP.

    4) Masteries
    External Image
    (These are season 1 masteries)

    5) Summoner Spells
    mandatory
    good choice
    alternative to Flash

    6) Items
    . Starting Items
    + x3
    . Early Game
    +
    . Mid Game

    . End Game

  • Items

    Building Philosophy

    The only rule you need to know is that there is no "set" item build for any characters. You should have an idea on the orientation you want for you character when you start the game (AP/AD/Hybrid). That's what my generic builds above are all about. However, you must be ready to fork at any point to adapt and counter the opponent's strategy.

  • - Starting Items

    I consider there are 6 viable choices as first item, whatever the situation (not counting potions):




    Solo-laning

    When soloing, I almost always start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions.
    The reason I like the boots is that they really improve my harassing game mid, considering my auto-attack range, allows for better positioning and helps avoiding skillshots.

    The 600 from the pots is also very valuable, providing a very comfortable health cushion as long as I don't get cocky. I don't let anyone burst me down without retaliation, which means I (usually) can't be comboed without the time to use my pots. Don't get me wrong though, my objective with the potions is not to counter the harass I'm going to take, it is to heal after I bursted someone a bit so that they will be low enough for me to kill next time without putting myself in danger (so I heal while I'm building up another stun)

    Now an important thing though: DO NOT BUY BOOTS FIRST WHEN YOU ARE STILL LEARNING THE ROPES WITH ANNIE! You need to know the range of your attacks and spells, the amount of damage you can deal and sustain at a given level. You don't have a huge margin of error, and boots first is not for newbie Annie.

    My recommended starting item for a Newbie Annie depends if you are skilled at last hitting with Disintegrate.
    If you are, take your pick of Doran's Shield or Amplifying Tome, depending if you want a starter item or prefer to start itemizing right away.
    If you aren't, I would recommend a Doran's Ring or a Sapphire Crystal, again depending if you want a starter item or prefer to start itemizing right away.

    Complete your starting package with as many as Health Potions as you can get. No Mana Potion. Ever. They are expensive compared to Health Potions, and provide about 1 spell worth of mana.


    Dual-laning

    When I'm dual-laning, I tend to prefer a Sapphire Crystal though, since I won't be able to be as conservative with my mana as if I were to solo.


    Special cases

    On rare occasions, if the enemy team is composed of over 3 AP champions, one probably being my mid-opponent, I might start with a Null-Magic Mantle to upgrade into Mercury's Treads later on. Very useful especially when I'll be facing Anivia mid.


    Junglers

    In the case of a Boots of Speed start, when I feel the enemy jungler might be able to acquire Dragon early, I shift my starting package to Boots of Speed, 1xHealth Potion and 1xSight Ward.


    Wrong choice

    NEVER, ever, start with Ruby Crystal. On ANY character! It might look good on paper, but it only provides you 180 extra HP, while a SINGLE Health Potion will heal you for MORE, given you have time to use it! My personal opinion is that Ruby Crystal should cost 480 gold so you CANNOT buy it as a first item!
    I also recommend against [item_text=Meki Pendant] as a starter item, as it doesn't build into anything from my core build.

  • - Item Guidelines

    Please note that I recently heavily updated this section. So much that I archived the former version: you can still find it near the bottom of this guide.


    Early Game (Levels 1 to 6/8)

    optional

    After my initial Boots of Speed, I try and build a Haunting Guise, which gives me a little of everything I need. If I started with a Sapphire Crystal, I'll build a Catalyst the Protector first. I'll grab the boots & the other item after.
    I am not a strong advocate of an early Catalyst the Protector in all situation that a lot of other guides suggest. I agree that it has its merits, but I really believe Haunting Guise is a superior choice most of the time, because the "heal on level-up" of catalyst is not stellar to me. Useful, certainly, but often not needed or not sufficient. I play aggressively, I want to get in, kill, get out.
    That being said, it is perfectly viable to rush the Catalyst the Protector, THEN build Haunting Guise, it's a matter of preference. I suggest you try both ways if you have the time.

    If I am given a few early kills, I might grab a Mejai's Soulstealer, even before Haunting Guise, but I need to have a feeling I'll do good with it. Check the section dedicated to this item below.

    Next I'll need to upgrade my Boots of Speed to Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Mercury's Treads, depending of the prevalence of CC effect on the other team.

    At this point, I consider my core build to be complete:
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity Movespeed & Cooldown Reduction
    Haunting Guise AP, Health & Magic penetration
    Catalyst the Protector Health & Mana

    [builder=Annie/c5dfb8fbfd36fe1d6c1e718d9fe3b651]


    Mid Game (Levels 6/8 to 12/14)


    From there, most of the time I'll upgrade the Catalyst the Protector to a Rod of Ages or sometimes a Banshee's Veil, depending of the prevalence of AP oriented characters. My rule of thumb: I count the AP characters on the opposing team, counting the mid-character twice, so I'll get a score ranging from 0 to 6. If I get 0 to 2, I'll build Rod of Ages first, if I get 3, I use my judgement, 4 or more I'll get Banshee's Veil first automatically.

    If I built Rod of Ages first, I'll assess if Banshee's Veil is still necessary. If it is, I'll build it, else, you got it, I'll skip it.

    If I built Banshee's Veil first, I'll build the Rod of Ages now, unless it's past the 25-30 minutes mark. Judgement call again.

    [builder=Annie/9d95cdf89414df35da567b3d7fdd2737]


    Late Game (Levels 12/14 and higher)


    Next I'll grab a Needlessly Large Rod, that will be upgraded to either a Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap. Which one I get depends of the situation again. I like to get both at some point, but obviously that does not happen every game. I do not recommend getting Rabadon's Deathcap if you didn't get another AP item beforehand (not counting Haunting Guise), as the 30% bonus AP is kinda "wasted".

    [builder=Annie/9185d6627b04e55b520f7d9df6a8a6a1]

    If the opposing team starts stacking magic resist, at some point, sell Haunting Guise for Void Staff, keeping both is mostly a waste of space. Also, you might also want to trade your Ionian Boots of Lucidity for Mercury's Treads. Those really depend of how the game is going. You should not see the fact you have to sell them as a gold loss. More like an investment.

    [builder=Annie/c79d4581fb7455b18f96457e165949f7]

    Optional items
    Offensive:


    Defensive:



    Will of the Ancients is an excellent way to keep yourself healthy by spamming free Disintegrate, but should only be bought when there is at least another caster on your team with whom to share the aura.

    Abyssal Scepter is blantantly OP if you already have Haunting Guise and the enemy team has not bought any magic resist, as it will drop the other team MR in the negative, leading to INCREASED damage. With a full build, you should almost be able to kill ranged carries with 2 spells.

    Deathfire Grasp is invaluable in a tanky metagame, just remember to use it first in a combo for maximum effectiveness.

    Quicksilver Sash is an underused but still broken item. It is the ONLY way to break suppression by yourself, making it superior to Cleanse. Very good against CC heavy teams, even more when that CC includes suppression. Some champions are useless against you when you have the active (Malzahar & Swain for instance).

    Guardian Angel helps your protect your Mejai's Soulstealer's stacks, but only if you reach at least the 15 stacks mark. Since it raises both Armor & Magic resist, with your already huge health pool, you should gain a LOT of survivability!

    Thornmail is amazing against auto attackers who try to focus you.


    Potions

    If I have to get back to fountain prior to level 6, I try to always have 2 or 3 Health Potions, because if I had to get to fountain in the first place, it is because I was harassed successfully, so better safe than sorry. I never, ever, buy Mana Potions. Too expensive price for too little effect.


    Wards

    Wards are a necessary purchase you have to make regularly, if you want to improve. Knowledge of incoming ganks, buffs, dragon & baron attempts and the like is game changing. Check the appropriate section for placement. Every single time you back, you should buy at least one ward.


    Elixirs

    When you reach the very late game, it may be beneficial to consider investing in an Elixir of Brilliance and/or an Elixir of Fortitude can really increasing your efficiency even more. The best moment to choose to do so would be when you have cash to buy a component for a pricey item, but you are pretty sure you won't be able to complete it because the game might end soon. You might find them useful earlier, but what I'm really trying to say is, don't disregard them because they only last 4 minutes, they are well worth their prize.

  • - Item Counters

    Here I will tell you which items should help with specific opponents, however, it does not mean you should always buy them. They will help you when a specific opponent is giving you trouble.

    This list will grow in the future.

    Thornmail: Carry, especially melee (Master Yi, Tryndamere, Garen...)
    Frozen Heart: Carry, especially ranged (Ashe, Tristana, Ezreal, Miss Fortune...)
    Banshee's Veil: Harasser (Nunu), Burst (Annie, Veigar, Ryze...)
    Deathfire Grasp: Tank heavy TEAM
    Void Staff: Magic Resistance stacking TEAM
    Quicksilver Sash: Enemy team with multiple stuns & suppression effects: like Warwick (Infinite Duress), Malzahar (Nether Grasp), Urgot (Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser). Malzahar is HELPLESS 1v1 if you have the active up! Swain is also heavily countered by this item.

  • - Mejai's Soulstealer

    A note on Mejai's Soulstealer: It can make or break your game, so you need to aware of a few facts.

    This item becomes cost-effective past the 5 stacks mark, so this must be your objective: get to 5 stacks or more AND REMAINS THERE, considering you lose 1/3 of your stacks if you die.

    As long as you keep yourself above the 5 stacks mark, and you have inventory room, you should keep it, however, if you can't get more than 4 stacks, there is a point where you should give up on it and sell it for something more efficient. Below 5 stacks, Mejai's Soulstealer is not cost effective, so don't be sentimental and sell it if you are not maintaining 5+ stacks.

    Now, staying above 5 stacks is not incredibly difficult, you don't need to be very good: basically, you need to at least balance your kills and deaths. Balancing should keep you at 5 or 6 stacks. Being slightly ahead on kills should give you a few stacks and you should be able to snowball from there.

    Please note that this reasonning applies to any character, not only Annie. Also, the cost-efficiency breakpoint is at 4 stacks instead of 5 for Vladimir, because of his passive Crimson Pact, so it is even easier for him to maintain.

    Despite that reasoning, I tend to be shy and stay away from it, although when I buy it, I usually tend to snowball very fast.

  • - Items not to buy

    You probably have noticed by now, Archangel's Staff is not suggested in the build above. I'd like to elaborate a little bit, because this is probably another reason for dispute.

    Archangel's Staff IS an amazing item, however, despite providing a buttload of AP and mana, it lacks one thing items you should buy definitely need: survivability related abilities. Boots provide move speed, Rod of Ages provides HP. It is true for most items from my core build.
    If I need a true AP item, I prefer to go for Rabadon's Deathcap. Sure, it doesn't provide Mana, but Rod of Ages & Banshee's Veil should get that point covered.

    The main reason for not getting Archangel's Staff though is that when teamfights occur, it can prove difficult to build its mana pool component, as you are probably waiting for an opportunity to drop an energized Summon: Tibbers for a long time...

    Now, Archangel's Staff is amazing on some OTHER casters, like Ryze, Veigar & Karthus. In the case of Ryze, he's now more a "mana champion" than an "AP" champion, as 2 of his abilites scale of mana.

    If you still have mana issues with the core build, I would suggest buying a second Rod of Ages.

  • Laning

    Harassing

    With Annie, I am a heavy harasser early game, especially with my auto-attack. It does not deal much damage per attack, but those do add up, and they are not that many characters that can just ignore them (Cho'gath, Malphite, Sion... some Xins and some Warwick...).

    You need to know what your attack range is. You then move around the creeps so that you are mostly safe from your opponent's attacks/spells (ie, behind your creeps so that Ashe's Volley doesn't hit you, looking for last hits.

    Then, right after you cast a Disintegrate at a minion, you cancel the spell recovery animation with an attack on your enemy. Then you cancel that attack recovery animation by moving a bit backward - just a little bt, so that he can't retaliate.

    You won't usually be able to attack more than once at a time, especially since the enemy creeps will shift their focus to you, so you need to move so that they shift their focus elsewhere again.

    When you attack a hero, sometimes, he will step forward. Depending of his timing, the result might differ :
    If he stepped forward BEFORE your attack left your hand, you probably are going to exchange damage. I would suggest you combo your attack into a Disintegrate to deal more damage than him.
    If he stepped forward AFTER your attack left your hand, you should probably back-off. If he cannot attack you, he will back-off himself, which should give you the opportunity to land another attack.

    One thing though, I do not recommend harassing with Disintegrate before you are at least level 3, the damage is plain ridiculous before this point.

    As you read above, I usually buy Boots of Speed as my first item. One of the reason I really like it is that when I have a stun up, if I start to walk toward my opponent with that stun plain visible, he will start to back-off, HOWEVER I'll be faster than him and usually be able to land an auto-attack in his back. Free harass for me. Plus I'm zoning him out.


    Solo-laning

    No matter who you're facing mid (or even in a sidelane), you should first check their summoner's spell. Now, if you are very good at harassing your lane opponent, sometimes, he will be too afraid of coming close. What you should do then is try to keep him out of Experience Gain range (which is about half a screen. If you stand between the enemy and his creeps, he won't receive any experience for that wave, and you should be able to farm at your leisure (only last hits, as always). Denying 2 or 3 creep waves's worth of experience that way can be a huge advantage, and I am not mentionning the demoralizing side-effect. Plus they aren't getting any gold to top it off. Be careful to not expose yourself to a gank though. Mind the minimap.

    If you manage to push to the tower after a kill, and that no enemy minions are available for you to gain gold & exp from, you should try to go and farm the wraith camp for bonus gold/exp. If you have a jungler on your team, ask him if that's okay first though...


    Solo-lane Farming

    Having no one to mess with your timing will help you last hit tremendously. Usually, I refrain from auto-attacking the creeps so I don't push the lane too much, however, I don't want my tower to sustain early damage, so if the opponent is pushing like crazy I'll start to do the same to somewhat compensate.

    The best area for farming would be when you and your creeps are inside your tower's zone of influence, but the enemy creeps are outside of it, so the tower won't push either. That way, the opponent will be at a disadvantage if he tries to harass you (he still can though, be aware). Try to maintain this position and refrain to cross the river, unless you have creeps with you. The most important part is to be in range of experience gain.

    If you see your creep wave will be decimated and won't kill any opposing creeps, begin to back-off.

    Now, at levels 1-2, your Disintegrate does pitiful damage, so unless you have exceptionnal timing and godlike ping, I suggest this mini-farming-combo: Throw an attack at a melee creep that is around 1/3 or 2/5 or at a ranged creep slightly under 1/2 of its total health, then as soon as the projectile is in the air, throw your Disintegrate at it. You should get the last hit. Rince and repeat. Don't try to harass your opponent yet, unless he is very agressive, as your spells are no threat yet.

    At levels 3/4, your Disintegrate should deal a bit more damage, so you can now begin harrassing the enemy with your spells, and not mostly with your attack. You can still execute the mini-farming-combo, but sometimes you will throw the auto-attack at the enemy to harass him (or even Disintegrateif you are energized, which you can then follow up with Incinerate). Try to keep him off balance, so that he's afraid of you, somewhat, but not too scared either. Don't be predictable, mix-up your attacks.

    You can even auto attack one creep and Disintegrate another to get 2 last hits in quick succession.

    At level 5, if I didn't do too well and wasted a lot of mana, I'll enter an "extra-conservative" mode where I no longer harass but only last hit when I am 100% I won't miss and "lose" mana, so that my mana climbs up to at least 340, which is the "magic number" for my basic level 6 combo. The more mana the better, but 340 when I get level 6 is the target.

    Farming AT your tower can be somewhat challenging at first, if you don't know how to do it, and especially if you want to keep your Pyromania stacks. To do it properly, you need to "prepare" the minions to be last hitted.
    A full life Melee minion will take 3 tower hit to get killed. You need to attack it once before the tower damages it, and you will be perfectly set to last hit once the tower dealt damage to it twice.
    The same rule applies to a full life Ranged minion, except it will die on the second tower hit. Hit it once before the tower, and once after.


    Dual-laning

    Make sure your lanemate's know that the white whirl around you means you have a stun ready, and that you will ping your stun target when you are about to stun someone so he's ready to engage.

    If you are on ventrilo or teamspeak, it is easy to coordonate your attacks. If not, here's my suggestion: tell you teammate that you will try to engage a pinged target 3 seconds after the ping. If you did not engage, it means it was aborted and should wait another ping. Yes that means you should only engage when you have a stun ready (or close to it). Refrain engaging an enemy with Flash though, as you lanemate will probably be unable to catchup in time before the stun ends.

    You should pick an harassment target that you will both focus whenever given the chance, preferably the one with less HP and/or less HP regeneration. It does not mean you shouldn't harass the other, especially if he's showing signs of aggressiveness, just that you should favor him.

    If your lanemate also has a crowd control spell, make sure you don't use them at the same time, but in sequence, so that the target does not have the time to retaliate between them. In the best case scenario, you should know your lanemate's CC duration and use your own stun when they expire. Annie's stun is 1.75s at any time, so if you are the initiator, make sure your lanemate knows that he should wait 1.5s after you engage before using his own stun.


    Dual-lane Farming

    Usually you want to apply the same tricks than when solo-laning, while keeping a rule like "I don't mess with my lane-mate creep target and he doesn't mess with mind". However, if your lane-mate has trouble getting last hit, you should start trying to "steal" his minions because otherwise that's gold wasted.


    Solo vs Duo Laning

    This should happen when you have a jungler on your team.

    They will probably be very aggressive, be very careful, even more if they have any kind of disables. They will try to keep you out of experience range, you should probably pack potions so you don't have to leave your lane to heal too often.

    When you have to go back to heal, ask your jungler to come defend. He should also initiate ganks when your opponents are pushing. If he keeps jungling whatever happens, find the right words to tell him to come and gank in a courteous speech.


    Duo vs Solo Laning

    This should happen when the opposing's team have a jungler.

    Well, this should be a walk in the park for you, Annie's already one of the best 1v1 champion in the game, 2v1 should obviously be completely unfair.

    First, be careful to only last hit. ONLY LAST HIT. Both of you. If your lanemate is not last hitting, tell him to stop. Your opponent is outnumbered, that's good, however, he's receiving twice as much experience than you, so you want to limit his ability to gain experience. Here is how.

    1) Killing him! Sounds obvious, but while he's dead, your opponent isn't receiving any experience.
    2) Scare him away, deal enough damage to him by harassing/bursting so he has no choice but to go back to heal.
    3) Keep him out of experience range. Best accomplished by having one of you standing between the creeps and him, which means you can't do it at his tower (that's why you want to keep pushing at a minimum). The other should be free to last hit.
    4) Gangplank's Raise Morale is the only skill in the game that allows you to kill one of your own creeps, denying in effect the amount of experience the enemy would otherwise gather.

    You should pay attention to the laner's missing lanemate who might come to gank you at anytime. Buy wards if you can afford it, and you should since you are doing a great job at denying.


    Mid-game & Late-game farming

    I usually no longer use the mini-farming-combo at this point as farming with Disintegrate alone is usually sufficient. Throwing an Incinerate at the 3 (and sometimes more) ranged creeps when they are close together usually drops them to a point where one or two auto attacks will kill them, so I'll Incinerate, Disintegrate the first, auto-attack the next one to death and Disintegrate again the last one. However, if you get your AP high enough, the Incinerate might suffice.

    Also, when moving around ganking, if you have the blue buff, it is almost always beneficial to destroy any small creep camps on your way, it will help you with gold and experience.
    Also, Dragon might be a very good source of income, so whenever you get the chance it is very interesting to gather a couple of teammate and quickly dispatch him, especially after a successful gank.

  • - Your weaknesses

    You must understand that there are several weaknesses in Annie's typical attack pattern that smart opponents will try to take advantage of.

    First, and most importantly, you are vulnerable right after you cast a Disintegrate. This is, and I mean it, your biggest weakness early game. So you should try to make sure that your opponent is never in range of you to combo you with his spells if you cast Disintegrate at a creep to last hit. You might say that you still have Incinerate, but remember that this spell is not mana efficient until late game. It does solid damage, don't get me wrong, but it is not as good as Disintegrate when it comes to harassing.
    Too make things even worse, you are even more vulnerable after you cast an energized Disintegrate, since your Pyromania stacks have reset. If someone is waiting for an opportunity to gank you, it is the best moment.
    Also, Annie's spells have quite low range, and some enemies can really exploit that.

    Next, since you are a pure caster, items with both health and magic resist are very effective against you: Aegis of the Legion, Spirit Visage and especially Banshee's Veil. Enemies stacking those stats should be watched out for, and may require you to invest in Void Staff to replace Haunting Guise.

    Finally, regarding your burst potential, there is one big giveaway: Tibbers himself. When he's out, it means Summon: Tibbers is on cooldown. Sometimes, I will sacrifice Tibbers so that I can hide the fact that this spell isn't ready.
    I am aware that those might be used against you (non-Annie players read Annie guides too!), but those are important concepts to grasp to be successful at NOT failing with Annie!

  • Matchups

    The following chapters describe laning 1v1 against a number of possible characters. This information can also apply in other situation, although obviously it will be more complicated.

    Please note that I am only covering viable mids. If you ever face Master Yi mid, well, let's just say that you should farm him instead of the creeps...
    I will complete this list in the future, as I'll need more material for that.
    Remember this is based upon my experience. Those are mere suggestions that usually do work for me.

    To be added: Orianna, Urgot, Xerath, Ziggs
    You don't encounter them every day, and I can't write anything pertinent in one single encounter...

  • - [Ahri], The Nine Tails Fox

    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/"Taunt"
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 4/5 All over the place
    Difficulty: 4/5 Hard Disgusting hard to lane against


    Make sure you keep pushing to a minimum, you don't want to overextend against Ahri, especially once she gets Spirit Rush. Don't be greedy, if you need to go heal, just do it, because she really can punish you for staying too long. If your jungler does not come to help you, focus on last hitting, don't try and harass her, you'll probably end on the bad side of the trade. Luckily, if you are good at reading her moves, you can dodge her Charm rather easily, and bully her out of experience range with a stored Pyromania stun. Don't get overconfident though, and stay extremely focused, as her combo can quickly be lethal.

  • - [Anivia], The Cryophoenix

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Stun/Slow
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Rare, almost always mid when met in game
    Difficulty: 4/5 Hard, now that your mana costs have been lowered (patch v1.118b), killing her twice is actually achievable

    A good Anivia is currently my worst match up mid, and most of them are good! Even a semi-competent Anivia can be a nightmare! Her spells hurt, especially if she can combo for the bonus damage to Frostbite, and she can temper with your movements with Crystallize. Always be on the move, be unpredictable, move at a 90 degree angle when she casts Flash Frost in your direction, even if she's closing in on you. Avoiding Flash Frost is your most important objective past level 2. Buy boots ASAP if you know you will face her, even as a starter item. Last, but not least, and this is probably the main reason I simply hate Anivia: Rebirth. She's already freaking difficult to kill, this censored of a passive surely doesn't help! One tiny of info about it: it has a 4 minutes cooldown! Assess her remaining mana pool before you commit to try and kill her, as she WILL throw everything at you once she's back!
    I noticed holding a stun usually can be sufficient in keeping Anivia at bay, so you might want to do that and farm with attacks. If you manage to farm enough, rushing an Abyssal Scepter might be a great way to counter Anivia.
    Finally, an interesting fact regarding Glacial Storm, it is interrupted if you stun Anivia. Although this might not always be helpful in the case of an Anivia going Flash Frost with stun into the rest of her combo, most newbie Anivia tend to start their combo with Glacial Storm, to put her chill effect on you in order to get the double damage bonus with Frostbite. The weakness here is that since you aren't stunned yourself, you can drop a stun on Anivia and it WILL stop Glacial Storm, greatly reducing the damage you take in that burst exchange.

  • - [Annie], The Dark Child

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Rare, often mid when met in game
    Difficulty: 3/5 Medium

    Be aware if this Annie has either Flash as your strategy will be affected if she does. See the Weaknesses subsection above and exploit them.

  • - [Ashe], The Frost Archer (Bowmaster)

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Slow/Stun/Global
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5 Very rare, used to be all over the place, but not anymore
    Difficulty: 2/5 Easy

    When you join the lane, or whenever Ashe ports back home, pay attention to her first attack, as it will be a guaranteed crit thanks to Focus. Try to stay behind your minions at all times to avoid getting harrassed with Volley. When she hit level 6, she WILL try to Enchanted Crystal Arrow you. I usually see it coming from a mile away, most Ashe are quite predictable, so it should be easy to dodge when it happens, just remember to move sideways. You won't avoid them all, but show Ashe that you know what she's capable of. Other than that, Ashe's squishiness should help you harass her quite easily, then going for the kill.
    One thing I managed to pull out a couple of time is to Flash in when you see her cast that Enchanted Crystal Arrow at you so that you avoid it, get Ashe in range and unleash your combo when she less expect it and is wide open. You'll need a good ping for that, don't try this at more than 250ms.

  • - [Brand], the Burning Vengeance

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 3/5 Quite common, although he was recently introduced
    Difficulty: 4/5 Hard

    The issue with Brand early is Pillar of Flame: its casting delay is so short that it's basically instant cast, and is very difficult to avoid if you are in range, even with Boots of Speed. My advice would be to keep your distances, staying a few steps away from your minions as to avoid getting hit by Blaze, bouncing of a minion because of . However the problem is that Brand will then try to zone you out if he understand you are scared. The best bet in my opinion is to farm a stun to use as a dissuasion, and farm mostly with auto-attacks.
    As Brand encourages very aggressive play, I would suggest using counter-attacking combos. Stunning him in tower range will spell his doom if he gets too cocky, especially because Blaze will raise the chances he aggroes the tower. Remember that he remains very squishy, & Sear is easily avoided as it is quite a slow moving projectile. If he tries to burst you, but misses his 2 skill shots, you have a few seconds of total impunity to make him pay for his mistake.

  • - [Caitlyn], The Sheriff of Piltover

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Stun/Slow
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 3/5 Average
    Difficulty: 4/5 Stupid range & traps!

    If you suspect she will be mid, rush there ASAP to prevent her from laying her?Yordle Snap Traps at your tower. Combined with her high range, this would really make your early game difficult. Watch her attack pattern, remain outside her range and try to get in to unleash a quick Disintegrate into?Incinerate combo when she doesn't expect it. Whatever you do, don't try to harass her with your autoattacks, because that means you are in range of hers! Keep your farm going.Watch her?Headshot buff, and make sure she has to waste it on something that isn't you. Despite its high damage,?Piltover Peacemaker shouldn't be an issue as it is rather easy to dodge.

  • - [Cassiopeia], The Serpent's Embrace

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    Profile: Caster/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Average
    Difficulty: 2/5

    This matchup plays a lot like Karthus' (which I wrote a long time ago, scroll below). Stay sharp as to avoid her?Noxious Blast & Miasma. As long as you can avoid them, you shouldn't have any problem, your Boots of Speed are your best insurance here.

  • - [Corki], The Daring Bombardier

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Nuke
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5
    Difficulty: 2/5

    The problem with Corki isn't really fighting him. He should know that you are a force to be reckoned with. What he does best though is farm, so your objective is to prevent him farming his very expensive items (as most Corki should build Trinity Force. Remember that Corki is an AD Carry that plays like an AP Carry early. Like with most of them, throw an auto attack at him from time to time, try to seize the initiative so as forcing him back or zoning him out. Your Pyromania's stacks should be very dissuasive.Past level 6, you should stay close (but not too close) to your minions to be able to hide behind them. Reading Corki's Missile Barrage and dodging them is most of the time not very difficult and will really reduce the damage he can dish out.

  • - [Ezreal], The Prodigal Explorer

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    Profile: Caster/Ranged DPS/Carry
    Build: AD/AP/Hybrid
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Rare, used to be all over the place, but not anymore
    Difficulty: 2/5 Easy

    There are 2 problems to circumvent when facing Ezreal. First, he can stay at extremely long range and still remain a threat, and his Arcane Shift (along possibly Flash) gives him a lot of escape options.
    He can be quite dangerous in the very early game, so keep your guard up, even at level 1, don't let him land a single shot if you can.
    I do not recommend you use the Flash>Tibbers opening combo against Ezreal, save Flash for chasing if needed. That being said, when you engage for the kill, you should try to keep your stun for the end of your combo, instead of the beginning. If you do, try to stun with Disintegrate so that you can't "miss" the stun, event if Ezreal flash out, as you could miss with Incinerate or Summon: Tibbers.

  • - [Fiddlesticks], The Harbinger of Doom

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    Profile: Caster/Silence/Fear/Jungler
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5 Very Rare, usually met as Jungler
    Difficulty: 2/5 Easy

    Fiddlestick is especially known for having great staying power because of Drain. However, he's quite helpless while he channels it, if it's not on you. My strategy is to harass him with normal attacks as much as possible, while farming with Disintegrate. Once he's getting low, he will try to use Drain. You want to force him to use it on a creep, usually, it will be a siege creep. When he does, get in and combo him asap, preferably with a stun so to interrupt his channelling completely. Then resume your harassing pattern. Now you want to avoid his Terrify into Drain combo at all cost, however, it has rather short range, so as long as you don't forget about it and keep your distance, you should be okay.
    Past level 6, you should really pay attention to what he is doing. If you see him channel Crowstorm, get the hell out if your spells aren't ready. However, this is also a great opportunity for a Flash>Summon: Tibbers stun combo.

  • - [Gangplank], The Saltwater Scourge (Pirate)

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    Profile: Melee DPS/Nuker/Global
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 + 1.25/level
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5 Very Rare
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 3/5 Easy to Medium

    He will try to harass you with Parrrley. Be ready for it, and make sure you hurt him more than he did hurt you. The key here is to not let him out harass you. if he uses it to last hit a creep, make him pay by taking advantage of its 6 seconds cooldown. You will probably want extra Health Potions when you get the chance to port back home. He is one of the better harrasser, so be careful, don't hesitate to back off and come back with full health and renewed Health Potion inventory stock. Also, watch out for Remove Scurvy, it will cleanse your stun. You probably want to harass him so that he uses Remove Scurvy for the healing, than go in for the kill while it's on cooldown, as it's quite long.

  • - [Gragas], the Cask Master

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    Profile: Melee DPS/Caster/Nuker
    Build: AP mostly
    Base Magic Resist: 30
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5 Very Rare
    Difficulty: 1/5 to 4/5 Very Easy to Hard

    Gragas is very rarely seen mid, for many reasons, however, in the right hands, he can give you a run for your money. A good Gragas will be very good with his Barrel Rolls, harassing you with great accuracy. He will probably set you up with Body Slams to reduce the barrel's travel distance. However, he's very susceptible to your auto-attacks, as he can't farm well early (he'll need at least a Needlessly Large Rod to one-shot the ranged minions), despite being able to heal some damage back thanks to Happy Hour.
    Try to understand his Barrel Roll's patterns to dodge them. Moving forward when he throws one usually make it very difficult for him to land them correctly, pretty much the same deal than Anivia's Flash Frost, except that you are allowed to walk straight forward.
    Unless he builds tanky (and I mean, not only health), he will still be very susceptible to your burst at level 6. Try to zone him out a bit to gain an edge experience wise, so that he won't have his Explosive Cask when you hit your ultimate.

  • - [Heimerdinger], The Revered Inventor

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Support/Pusher
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills: [spell_icon=CH-1 Concussion Grenade]
    Frequence: 1/5 Very Rare, used to be all over the place, but not anymore
    Difficulty: 3/5 Medium, you probably shouldn't die to him too often, but the real issue is protecting your tower!

    First things first, your auto-attack has a greater range than his turrets, so if Heimer thought he could lay a turret in the middle of the map before minions spawn, well, auto-attack and destroy it. Heimer will probably try and come defend it, if he does, harass him with Disintegrate + auto-attack, then continue dealing with the turret. Later on, you want to get rid of every turret he drops asap, and he will try to defend them, so keep the harrasment coming. Do not auto-attack turrets, attack them once, move a little, attack them again, move again, etc. With no turrets, and at such early levels, Heimer poses almost no threat if you keep moving. Mind his Hextech Micro-Rockets though. If you see Heimer moving forward when you only have 3 minions in front of you, one being on the verge of dying, he's trying to set this spell up, so get out of range.

  • - [Karthus], The Deathsinger (Lich)

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Pusher/Global
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 4/5 Common, almost always mid when met in game
    Difficulty: 4/5 Hard

    Watch your steps, litteraly, don't let him harass you with Lay Waste, being unpredictable helps a lot, and again, keep moving. Warn your teammates when he's about to reach level 6. Watch him using Requiem when he reaches level 6, I've see my fair share of Karthus not falling back to cast it and falling to a full combo before the channel completes! Now a good Karthus can be very difficult to handle, almost on par with Anivia. You best bet is probably to farm and let him come to you, don't be the aggressive one. Call for a gank when possible, saving your stun for that. Pre-level 6 is better so he can't Requiem after you killed him because of Death Defied. An early game defense agaisnst Requiem is to cast Molten Shield as you see it casting, it will greatly mitigate the damage. Also, Zhonya's Hourglass active will completely protect you, make sure you don't use it too soon though, as it lasts only 2 seconds while the channeling is at 3 seconds.

  • - [Katarina], The Sinister Blade

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker
    Build: AD/AP/Hybrid
    Base Magic Resist: 30 + 1.25 per level
    Skills: [spell_icon=Killer Instincts]
    Frequence: 3/5 Uncommon
    Difficulty: 2/5 Easy

    Watch for Shunpo, Katarina will probably try to harass you when your spells are on cooldown, so time your spells so that she thinks twice about closing in. You will probably have to bring the fight to her. An early level in Molten Shield is probably a good idea, so that if she goes all-in for the kill with Shunpo+Death Lotus at level 6, you can interrupt her with Molten Shield+Summon: Tibbers while being at 4 Pyromania stacks, and out-combo her.

  • - [Kennen], The Heart of the Tempest

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    Profile: Caster/Burst/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5, I think I just have no luck facing him though...
    Difficulty: 2/5 easy, biased by the fact I've only met mediocre Kennens

    Haven't faced a good Kennen mid so far, I know he's an excellent mid, but no luck so far. If you can keep him from putting more than 1 Mark of the Storm, you should do ok. Bait Thundering Shuriken and dodge them, or simply always have a minion between Kennen and you. Remember that he has good burst damage though, almost on par with yours, even at level 6 and more.

  • - [Kog'Maw], The Mouth of the Abyss

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Nuke/Carry
    Build: AD/AP/Hybrid
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5, he's so rare mid it's not funny
    Difficulty: 2/5 easy

    Pre-level 6, Kog is not much of a threat, although he can be difficult to harass, thanks to Bio-Arcane Barrage activation when you try to get closer. However, if he uses it to farm minions, wait for its 6 seconds to pass before getting agressive. Once Living Artillery is live, you should probably be on the defense until you can unleash a full combo that will kill him. As with most Carries, Kog is very squishy, though, so he better be very careful around you.

  • - [Leblanc], The Deceiver

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Silence/Slow/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Luckily she's not too common
    Difficulty: 4/5 to 5/5 hard to very hard, 1v1, she's plain better than Annie

    Another rather annoying champion to face. You need to keep your distances from her, which is pretty difficult with Sigil of Silence's huge range (700)!
    As she gains extra damage if she combos you, you want to make sure she can't. I agree, it's difficult with Distortion! To make things worst, her passive Mirror Image is a combo breaker, so she is a burst character with a powerful combo (including a silence!), a combo breaker for her opponent's combo AND an escape move in Distortion! That's a lot to deal with, so you WILL meet her often mid.
    Her basic combo should be Sigil of Silence>Distortion>Ethereal Chains (optional)/Mimic (optional)>Cancel Distortion. It is mostly single target, however, it does silence your for two seconds then slows you then roots you! Basically, you are helpless.
    I wouldn't be ashamed of asking for a lane swap if the opposing player is competent.
    I position myself just a bit behind my caster minions, so that Distortion can't be used to get close to me, as the minion will shift their focus to her if she does, and it won't kill the minions as I am not too close to them. Next I try to farm mostly with my normal attacks, and refrain from using my spells until she tries to get in. Whatever you do, do not auto-attack her. It's not worth it.
    I think the key to beating her 1v1 mid is to take advantage of your minions, as she's not a very effective farmer early game. Try to lure her among your minions, so that she will get focused if she attacks you. If you stun her in that position, she will take a beating that hopefully should at least force her to review her strategy and/or go back to base.
    She has a severe weakness though, but it's hard to take advantage of it: her non-ultimate spells all have
    rather long cooldowns, meaning that she REALLY is mostly helpless once she finished unleashing a combo of her own (which is why she usually Distortion away as fast as possible). This isn't much, but it is a window of opportunity.
    Also, despite being a very strong solo, LeBlanc is not meant to deal with multiple opponents, so a well coordinated gank can do wonder against her if you can bait a Distortion before engaging.

  • - [Lux], The Lady of Luminosity

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Root/Slow/Shield
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills: [spell_icon=Finales Funkeln]
    Frequence: 2/5
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 4/5 From easy to hard, really depends on the player
    Laning example: with shoryu-flash

    First, Lux plays a lot like Morgana except you are a bit less safe if you stand behind a minion because Light Binding can still hit you. Although her spell have very long range, they are all skillshots, meaning she needs to predict your actions for best effect. The thing is, you usually can lure her into spending her mana by baiting her spells, like moving in a straight line toward her then taking a straight turn when she tries to bind you, or simply standing still next to your minion line, then moving behind them when she cast something.
    Good Lux can be recognized by their quick combo of Light Binding into Lucent Singularity, which is indeed very damaging, however, this combination also make her very susceptible to your "Shoryu-flash", as she will only have Finales Funkeln left available as a damage spell (she has short cooldowns, but not as short as yours!)
    If you have to retreat, remember she has [spell_text=Finales Funkeln] so don't walk in a straight line, and don't stand near a tower with 4HP left (pretty much the same deal than with Ezreal)!

  • - [Malzahar], The Prophet of the Void

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Silence/Suppression
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5
    Difficulty: 3/5 to 4/5 Medium to Hard, depends if you can get to level 6 before him

    Very annoying at level 6 since he has a combo that can kill you easily, cannot be Cleansed out of and he has more HP than you! If you want to have a chance, you need to take the initiative.
    Stay clear from your minions, try to farm from the sides, even if that means you need to ward a brush for safety.
    However, Mal's a prime gank target, as he has trouble dealing with 2 opponents at the same time. Watch for Flash if he has it. Also, consider getting Quicksilver Sash as it negates 3/4 of his full combo!

  • - [Miss Fortune], The Bounty Hunter

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Slow
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 4/5 Common
    Difficulty: 3/5 Medium, the problem is, you need to prevent her from farming

    The good news first, she's VERY squishy, so if you manage to get in range for your 3-hit combo, she's probably toast. The bad news is, she's extremly mobile with her passive Strut, and she's an excellent harasser and farmer. I think I found a way to counter her somewhat though, but it really depends on the opponent. In essence, she wants you near your creeps, or behind them. If you're too close to your creeps, she will use Make It Rain to both harass you and weaken/farm the creeps. If you're behind your creeps, she will Double Up the furthest creep so that the rebound hits you. So the "proper" position is to be roughly on the same line than your creeps, but not right next to them. If you can throw an auto-attack at her from that position, you will reset her Strut, exposing her to more harassment from your spells. Now there is a problem with your positionning if you do that, you will usually leave your back open to a patch of brush, so I would recommend warding it if you need to resort to that technique.
    Now, a note about MF's ultimate, Bullet Time. It is devastating, especially in teamfights if correctly positionned. However, it has one HUGE flaw: MF has to actually channel the spell, so she's EXTREMELY VULNERABLE at that time if you can get out of the cone. Flash in and (out of the ult's area) and combo!

  • - [Mordekaiser], The Master of Metal

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    Profile: AP/Tank/Nuke
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 + 1.25 per level
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5 Used to be much more, before he got nerfed
    Difficulty: 3/5 Used to be 4/5

    Here's a problematic match-up. And if that was not enough, he got buffed recently! He's the typical hero you will need to play a couple of times to understand what he can do. I'll still give you a few pointers. Under his health bar, where usually champion's have either a mana or an energy bar, you will see a white bar. This is his shield. When Morderkaiser uses an ability, he has to pay a small amount of his health, and it will fill his shield bar along providing him the ability's effect. Now, this shield absorbs damage, so you might be tempted to get rid of it by damaging him when its filled. But you must not: this shield decays over time, and Morderkaiser has trouble building it when there are no creeps around (especially your creeps). To harass him, you have to do so when he has no shield, or almost no shield, because he has to pay for his shield with a small amount of health. Now, a good Morderkaiser know that, so he will back off when his shield is empty. If you see that, forget about harassing him. Farm, and only farm, taking care not to be harassed either. If he gets confident you won't harass him, don't hesitate to throw a couple spells at his face if you see an opening in his shield, so he understands you know how to hurt him. Once you reach level 6-9 and have a good level advantage over the side lanes, ask for a lane swap (preferably with the carry, Ashe is quite good at keeping Morderkaiser at bay), because you can't leave your lane undefended. Then go gank the other lanes.

  • - [Morgana], Fallen Angel

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Root/Slow/Shield
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5 Very rare, usually seen baby-sitting a carry
    Difficulty: 3/5, nothing too special

    The most annoying part about facing Morgana is her Black Shield. You will usually need to bait for her to use it so that you can unleash your spells when it's down. The shield last 5 seconds, and has a cooldown of 17 seconds, so you have 12 seconds to unleash your spells at her if she has no cooldown reduction. With max cooldown reduction, the cooldown will be brought to slightly above 10 seconds, so at worst you still have 5 seconds between each shield, however, this won't happen early in the game. Never forget that not only does Black Shield absorb magic damage, it will also prevent the stun to occur if you were energized. So try and keep track of that cooldown.
    Considering her other abilities, stay close to your minions and she will have a lot of trouble landing them. Refrain from walking straight to her in order to avoid getting yourself binded.
    Note that my previous comment (see Ashe's matchup) on dodging a stun/snare with Flash then unleashing your combo applies to Morgana's Dark Binding. Morgana is quite rare mid though so I never had the occasion to pull it off. Be my guest and try!

  • - [Ryze], The Rogue Mage

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Root
    Build: AP*
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 4/5, he's a favorite
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 3/5, his remake is better than old Ryze

    New Ryze is quite different to play, however, the fact his Rune Prison is only a snare really puts him at a disadvantage against Annie, since his range is similar to hers: if he snares, they both exchange damage, while when Annie stuns him, she will outburst him. It does not mean you can be careless, but IMO, Annie has the advantage. Don't let him harass you with Overload and you should be fine. If he uses it to farm, you can use the short window it gives you to harass him.
    The only issue I see with Ryze is that Banshee's Veil is very good on him, and any good Ryze will build one at some point in the game. So shutting him down so that he will take a long time to build is important. Be prepared for when he finally completes it, you'll need at least one MPen item by this time.

  • - [Sivir], The Battle Mistress

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Pusher
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5, was flavor of the month at some point
    Difficulty: 2/5 Easy, play a baiting game and you will be ok

    Pay attention to Boomerang Blade, and try to be unpredictable when harassing so that she wastes Spell Shield. Other than that, Sivir should be a pretty easy matchup for you. Most Sivir only get one level of Spell Shield early, so the cooldown is pretty long and you should be able to squeeze some damage between casts.

  • - [Swain], The Master Tactician

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Root/Slow
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5, I must have faced him 4 or 5 times
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 3/5, easy to medium

    Going Boots of Speed as a first item is never a bad thing against Swain. You biggest concern should be Nevermove, you don't want to get caught in it. There are 2 ways to play around it. You can either try to always be on the move, so that Swain has to guess and anticipate where you will be, or you can lure Swain by standing still and moving when you see him cast something. I prefer the later, but it really depends on the opponent.
    As with Malzahar, consider getting a Quicksilver Sash, as it will negate 3/4 of his spells.

  • - [Teemo], The Swift Scout

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Pusher/Blind/Slow
    Build: Hybrid
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 4/5, amazingly popular, which is a good thing for you
    Difficulty: 1/5, he's so squishy...

    He should not be soloing mid, especially against Annie! Watch out for his poison though. At the beginning of the game, if you suspect he might be mid, and that he's nowhere to be seen, he probably Camouflaged himself, hoping to surprise you. He will probably try to use Blinding Dart, which only act as some kind of nuke against you. When he does, make sure you out-nuke him. Once you reach level 6, prepare your combo and eat him alive.

  • - [Tristana], The Megling Gunner

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Slow
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 2/5, Used to be all over the place
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 3/5 Easy to medium, she has good burst, so be careful

    Tristana is one of the 2 only hero in the game with an attack range greater than you, but not at the beginning! So for those first few levels, you can still harass with her with auto-attack, and your spells as needed. I found that baiting Rocket Jump is usually very worth it, as Tristana is wasting her escape spell to engage you, which also allows you to engage her. Unleashing your combo and flashing in if she gets too far trying to escape usually ensures the kill, but be careful if you do not stun her in the process, her own combo+attacks are also quite damaging.

  • - [Twisted Fate], The Card Master

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Backdoor/Stun/Slow/Teleport
    Build: Hybrid
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills: [spell_icon=Second Sight]
    Frequence: 1/5, haven't seen him mid in months
    Difficulty: 2/5, he's among the squishiest characters in the game, just stay clear of his stun

    Watch for Gold Cards (he has a Yellow/Gold Tarot card above his head) and Stacked Deck (he's surrounded by a ring of floating cards, happens every 4th attack), as they can be very damaging, especially when combined. You should also learn to dodge Wild Cards, it's quite easy to do usually, just avoid the cards trajectories and you should be fine. Go for your combo of choice when his abilities are on cooldown and/or he just used a stacked attack.

  • - [Twitch], The Plague Rat

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Slow/Stealth
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills: [spell_icon=Debilitating Poison]
    Frequence: 1/5, he's no longer the powerhouse he used to be, so he rarely get mid
    Difficulty: 1/5, eat him for breakfast

    Twitch mid against Annie is probably a bad idea, but the opposing team might not have a choice. Basically, you should try to always be at 3+ Pyromania stacks if Twitch Ambush, so that you can combo him if he tries something silly. Your whole combo should probably kill him, especially if he's not at 100% health when engaging. You can be pretty aggressive against a solo Twitch, there is not much he can do I am aware of to counter you, all by himself.

  • - [Vayne], the Night Hunter

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    Profile: Ranged DPS/Carry/Stealth
    Build: AD
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 5/5, basically seen in every other game
    Difficulty: 3/5, medium, however I'm not settled yet. I still haven't figured everything about her.

    She's extremely popular right now, which, considering she was just released, is not very surprising. The most important aspect of laning against her is to position yourself properly. You want to make sure that she can't use either Tumble (or even Condemn) profitably, so that if she uses it to get in range she will draw minion aggro. Comboing her at that point will profit you more than her if you can stun before she unleash her own burst, her big weakness being she has very short range. Going boots first against her will definitely help you counter Night Hunter, but as I stated before, you must know your spells & attack ranges.

  • - [Veigar], The Tiny Master of Evil

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Stun
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5, he's too weak early so he's usually seen side-laning
    Difficulty: 2/5 to 3/5, he's not "very easy" because he's very good against you if fed

    He will be very dangerous to you late game, so my opinion is you HAVE to shut him down early so he can't developp. Harass him the hell out, mess with him, try to deny him as much gold and AP from Baleful Strike as possible. Also, like with Ryze, you should probably take an early level in Molten Shield for when he goes for his combo. Watch his farming patterns: when one of your creeps is getting low, you might notice Veigar stepping forward to Baleful Strike it. You have a window of opportunity here to deal good damage to him.

  • - [Vladimir], The Crimson Reaper

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Burst/Slow/Tanky
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 5/5, so popular it's annoying
    Difficulty: 3/5 to 4/5 Medium to hard, he's very weak early, and becomes impossible to harass later

    Laning example: 1v1

    Transfusion is Vlad's main farming tool, pretty much like Disintegrate is yours: spammable, single target and free to use. However, Vlad's burst is not comparable to yours, and Transfusion's cooldown is not as good at lower ranks. You have a window of opportunity to harass him while Transfusion is on cooldown, so I usually immediately step forward to attack/Disintegrate each time he uses it. Be wary of Sanguine Pool though. This spell will allow him to avoid ALL damage for 2 seconds, if you were trying to combo, you just wasted your mana. HOWEVER, if you only miss one spell, but stop comboing thereafter, Sanguine Pool is not cost effective at all, since it costs 20% of Vladimir's current health, so he probably hurt himself quite a bit (even though there is a Spell Vamp component to it).

  • - [Zilean], The Chronokeeper

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    Profile: Caster/Nuker/Slow/Haste/Revive
    Build: AP
    Base Magic Resist: 30 at all levels
    Skills:
    Frequence: 1/5, extremely rare at my level of play, however, probably seen at higher level of play
    Difficulty: 4/5, hard, only 1 nuke, but damn, does it hurt

    He's a pain. His Time Bomb hurts, however they have 2 interesting weaknesses. First, you can cast Molten Shield to weaken the detonation, but that's obvious. Second, as it is an AOE, it will damage your creeps if it detonates when you are right next to them, which is EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE HAPPEN, as it will pull your lane!!! So when Zilean puts a bomb on you, don't run around like a madman, go next to your creeps (especially the caster creeps) and blow them off! Try to avoid killing the creeps right off the bat though, as it will give Zilean gold.
    You will probably have to keep your stuns for the end of your combo past his level 6, or Chrono Shift will resurrect him easily. Don't over commit on this guy, he's too hard to kill. As with most casters, invest in an early level of Molten Shield that you will cast after he put a Time Bomb on you. Once you hit level 6, ask for a gank on him or have someone take your lane and go ganking someone else.

  • Jungling

    As you probably know already, Annie is not supposed to be jungling (thank you Mr Obvious). However, as with most mages/casters, she really benefits from the blue buff (Golem). When I am mid, I usually try to get it at level 6, right after I succeeded at killing my lane's opponent, so that Tibbers can help me take the golem down.

    Also, although pure jungling is not a good idea with Annie, she can still benefits from clearing some camps while traveling the map. Building Pyromania stacks this way is a neat little benefit.

  • - The Blue Buff

    Several scenarii are possible.

    Level 6-9, I strongly suggest you engage the fight with Tibbers carrying over from a mid-kill. However, since his timer has been reduced by 15s in patch 1.118b, it is a bit more difficult than before. You must leave mid immediately after the kill (while before you could complete the current minion wave for gold and hiding the fact you were going to get blue). You might have to cast Tibbers if he's not out already. Might sound like a waste of a cooldown, but the buff is so valuable that I believe it is still worth it.

    Have Tibbers engage. You'll need Tibbers or a teammate to help you under level 10-11. Then throw an Incinerate so that it hits the Golem of course, but also his 2 minions, then cycle through your attack spells and auto-attack. Molten Shield can help too since the Golem's attack is melee, plus the two lesser minions will kill themselves by attacking you.
    It might sound stupid, but when I feel like I might be short on health/mana to kill the golem, if I have Ignite, I do not hesitate to use it to wear it down a bit faster. Does not happen too often, I don't think I have ever missed Ignite so much that I missed a kill because of it, however, remember that if you went to the trouble to get golem, and have to give up the process (or worse, die), then keeping that Ignite WILL sound silly!

    It used to be tricky because the golem would reset upon deaggroing, but it's now very easy to have Tibbers tank the golem for you:
    Have Tibbers engage, while staying outside at the far, opposite end of the brush. The golem and his minions will start moving toward you. At some point, the golem will decide you are out of range and start bashing Tibbers, while the minions being ranged will keep attacking you. That's okay. Watch Tibbers' timer so that if he's about to expire, you move to the far end of the brush that is closest to Golem spawning point. That way the Golem won't try to return to his spawn point (and heal on the way) and begins attacking you.

    Once you have the buff, you can go nuts through your spells, forget about being conservative. When moving around the map with it, if you have above about one third of your mana pool, cast spells (especially Incinerate) to charge your Pyromania stacks.

    If you are level 6, you should probably Recall home right away and go back to your lane, your lane opponent should be back around the same time as you. Harass him all the way.

    Little bit of trivia, but useful nonetheless, the blue buff grants 16+(0.5*your level) cooldown reduction. So it starts at 16.5% at level 1 and reaches 25% at level 18.


    Now that the question of acquiring the blue buff is out the way, let's talk about NOT having it. The reasons can be multiple: someone on your team might need it a lot (like a jungler). Or it is constantly being stolen by an opponent. Or the jungle might be unsafe to travel through because of multiple MIAs on the opposing team... you must learn to be effective without it. The buff is a bonus, not having it is NOT a malus. I read many guides suggesting they needed their buff to be effective, that they were not viable without it. Remove that crap from your head. The buff grants interesting properties, I agree, but nothing too critical either, your burst damage is the same without it, so don't make a wuss about not having it and move on.

  • - The Red Buff

    Simply put, you don't need it. Ping any DPS character nearby so that he gets it instead.

  • Ganking

    Ganking is fine and if you are successful at ganking, it should help your team to win. However, you do not win the game by killing the enemy. You want to initiate some kind of momentum that will, in the long run, give you victory. So let's review what the real purposes of ganking are, in order of importance:


    Shut down the enemy carry

    Carries get strong with items, which means they need money. The carry(ies) should be your primary target whenever possible. If both you and the enemy carry are both mid, it does not mean you cannot leave your lane, but remember to keep him pressured as often as possible.


    Feed your carry

    Logically, you want your carries to get their Infinity Edge and The Brutalizer as fast as possible, and feeding them kills is a great way to do that. However, make sure that they do build attack damage!!! I've seen my fair share of Berserker's Greaves / Philosopher's Stone / Phantom Dancer / [item_text=Malady] / Banshee's Veil Ashes!!! Let them know the carry MUST buy attack damage ASAP!!!


    Give your allies room for pushing and to a lesser extent farming

    Too often after I gank a lane, my teammates in that lane withdraw, thinking they have time to shop/heal. While needing to heal might be a good excuse, having the opportunity to push and eventually down a tower and not taking it is an error 95% of the time. An empty lane should be taken advantage of.
    Now I HATE seeing a Master Yi or a Teemo farming like crazy when they already have decent items while they should be pushing. Remind your teammates that farming is fine but is not the purpose of the game.

  • - How to Gank

    If you were mid, once your early laning is over, if you did good, you should have a level advantage over the side laners. It should happen around level 6-9. Your mileage may vary.

    You should leave mid when you see that an enemy is overextending into your territory. Don't leave the lane without telling first, so that your teammates are aware you are on your way, and that someone may even take mid to defend and farm, especially if that teammate is the carry. That way you are completely free to roam and gank.
    Also, if you see your teammates suddenly pushing while you're on your way, tell them to not push too much so the ganking area will remain on your territory as much as possible.

    When ganking, you should keep a number of points in mind.
    1) You should charge your stun prior to engaging. Having the blue buff will help you a lot, keeping your mana up and saving you quite a few trips back.
    2) You must plan some kind of escape route / plan B for yourself if your teammates are in bad condition and won't be able to support you.
    3) You must mind the opponent's escape route, pinching the opponent between your teammates/tower and yourself is usually a good way. Be aware of incoming creep waves that may reveal your position.
    4) Remember that you are supposed to intercept your enemies. Move to where you think they will be when you arrive, not where they are right now.
    5) Target carries/squishies first and try to ignore tanks when possible.
    6) Be alert, watch the minimap, your enemies should know you're coming as their teammates should have called mias.
    7) If an enemy tries to escape using the brushes, casting Summon: Tibbers at their supposed location in the brush will grant you vision inside the brush.
    8) You should chase your prey to an extent, but don't be greedy. Again, mind the mini-map.

  • Enemies

    This is a list of champions you should refrain from facing 1v1, they are very effective at killing you:

    The one thing they have in common is a strong combo opener.

    Akali: Very good at killing you 1v1, remember that despite being what looks like a melee character, she actually uses AP, so the best way to counter her is to stack some magic resistance. Be very careful because her ultimate really means she can be on you in a heartbeat. Also, if she starts targeting you in a team fight, the only way to escape is to Flash over terrain where she has no vision, do not try anything else, it won't work. Just stay and fight.

    Garen: Has a lot of magic resist, a combo that can kill you on the spot. Keep him at a distance, use stuns if you have to. Whatever you do against him, NEVER follow him in a brush!
    Decisive Strike, his opener, grants him a speed increase to try and catch you, but he's still melee. Keep your distance and don't forget to buy and upgrade your boots. He has been nerfed to the ground though, so he's not as fearsome as before. Be wary of the Flash into Demacian Justice combo!

    Kassadin: Designed as an anti-mage. His combo includes a silence (Null Sphere) with a range greater that all your spells, a gap closer/escape (Riftwalk) and a slow (Force Pulse). Just stay away past level 6, and ask for some ally support to take him down repeatedly. Multiple disables might be necessary.

    Malzahar: Best 1v1 mage in the game past level 6. You should always fight him at least 2v1. Nether Grasp is extremely dangerous because of the suppression. Always check if he has Flash as a summoner's spell.

    Talon: Gap closer, silence, high burst damage... and let's not forget he's very durable for an "Assassin", Talon is your worst nightmare made flesh. Stay away if you know what's good for you. Having stealth vision can help a lot in teamfights, but that's probably your support's job.

    Xin Zao: Can combo you from full life to none in a heartbeat. Audacious Charge is a very good gap closer and opener, be very wary. Fight him with teammates, but do not stay cluttered so that Crescent Sweep does not hit all of you.

  • Towerdiving

    Tower diving, either when laning or ganking, is a risky business, I'll try to give you a few do and don't.

    1st, mind Tibbers. If you know how Tower aggro works, you know that the tower will immediately target you if you are in range and that you damage an enemy champion. This includes Tibbers' fire aura, so pay attention to that.

    However, if your minions are currently under the tower's zone of influence, as long as you don't draw the tower's aggro, you are free to move and close in your opponent. Once he is in range, you can quickly unleash your combo of choice, then quickly exit the tower's zone of influence, Flashing out if necessary. You can also use Flash to close the gap to your opponent if needed (but mind the second turret!).

    You can also tower dive with Tibbers out. Basically, you must chase your opponent while letting Tibbers enter the tower's zone of influence first and tank the tower's damage for you. It is tricky to pull off, but can be very rewarding. When Tibbers exit the zone of influence, Flash into your enemy and combo him out.

  • - Countering Towerdiving

    Now, obviously the opponent can do the same to you. However, there is something you can do defensively: you should try to remain as close to your tower as possible, holding a stun, and keeping the tower between you and your opponent, so he has to get close. Then, as soon as the opponent has thrown anything at you (and drawn the tower's aggro), STUN HIM, then unleash your own combo, then eventually Flash out.
    I got many kills myself that way from over-confident opponents that thought they got me cornered. The one problem is you have to be able to tank the opponent's first hit.

    The second type of tower diving, which is way more dangerous to the person performing it is to chase an opponent past the turret's zone of influence without minion support. It is very risky for non-tank characters, so you will probably have to bait for it. Once the enemy is inside the zone of influence and past the tower itself, you Flash in the OPPOSITE direction to where you were fleeing, so that the enemy now cross the tower's zone of influence in the opposite direction, which, coupled with most people hesitation, should net you a kill.

    The first time I pulled this trick off, completely by accident I must say, as I was panicking :), well, let's just say that Ryze never tried to get close to me again for the whole game.

    Also, some characters can excel at tower diving with the proper skill set. Katarina for example can Flash+Shunpo or Shunpo+Flash to quickly deal the killing blow and get out. There are more examples, I can't think of all of them, so use your brain.

  • Gameplay

    In the next few sections, I'm giving techniques & strategies on how to PLAY Annie. Until now, I was giving some general advice, however now I'll talk about the core of Annie's gameplay.

  • - Combos

    One-two:
    Disintegrate > Incinerate works even better with a stun.
    This is your basic harrassing combo. You should cast Disintegrate before Incinerate because you will be sure that the enemy is in range for both spells. Optionally, you can add a couple auto attacks while the enemy attempts to flee afterwards.
    Note this combo is your best counter to hit-and-run, harrassing enemies with built-in silences (Kassadin, Leblanc...), because you can unleash your spell before the silence hits you. You'll need smart-cast for that though.

    One-two-one:
    With 4 or 5 Pyromania stacks, perform a 1-2 as above, then start moving in the direction the enemy will most likely attempt to retreat to and cast a second Disintegrate. Again, you can add a couple auto attacks afterwards, and maybe seal the deal with Ignite.
    This can easily prove lethal to enemies under 50% health, but obviously, use your judgement.

    Flash Tibbers:
    With 5 Pyromania stacks, Flash > Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite
    Annie's bread and butter combo. If any opponent has Flash or any form of escape mechanism, he WILL use it afterwards, so make the combo count. This combo is very effective against a single target, but also against cluttered enemies. Use this combo on the enemy DPS(es) after your team initiation.
    Be careful with Summon: Tibbers though as you can easily miss your target against some very mobile opponents, and you don't want that (ie: Lee Sin).

    Flash Combo:
    With 5 Pyromania stacks, Flash > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Summon: Tibbers > Ignite
    If the opponent has Flash or any form of escape mechanism, he WILL use it afterwards, so make the combo count.
    This combo is slightly inferior to Flash Tibbers above damage wise (Tibbers being casted early has more time to deal damage with both his aura & auto-attacks), however, it is less suscpetible to failure as you cannot miss your stun, as it is targeted.

  • - Bag of tricks

    Annie's attack range is very high, greater than her spells. Be sure to learn how far Annie must walk forward after auto-attacking from max range to land a Disintegrate.

    You can't miss a targeted spell like Disintegrate because your opponent flashed out of it with a spell like Arcane Shift, the spell will home onto the enemy wherever he is.

    As of v1.0.0.107, Flash no longer allows one to dodge ("pop") a spell or attack so don't try.

    There is ONE combat spell that still dodges spells, it is Vladimir's Sanguine Pool. Note that you won't lose your Pyromania's stacks if he dodges Disintegrate!
    Also, Recall & Teleport will also miss if the channeling was complete.

    Being a good Annie does not mean playing only Annie. It is really important you take the time to play every other heroes a couple of time (practice games might be enough, but real games are better) so that you understand what they are capable of. In the past, I had problems dealing with 2 heroes in particular, Xin & Olaf. It might not be the only reason, but I think it had to do with the fact that I never had played them at the time, so I didn't know what they were capable of. Knowing your opponents is as important as knowing yourself. (I hate when a new hero comes out, because I don't know what they can do, as I usually don't buy heroes until I'm sure I'll like them).

    I like to announce I have a tibbers' stun ready for teamfights by quickly typing "ustun" (for ultimate stun) in chat.

    When you revive, remember to quickly cast Incinerate & Molten Shield before leaving the fountain for the 2 extra charges to Pyromania.

    When you recall, remember to quickly cast Molten Shield for an extra charge to Pyromania. If the counter at the bottom shows a number, you can then cast Incinerate for another charge.

    As Tibbers as a limited lifespan, a lot of opponent do not like to "waste" mana-abilities to fight him. You can use this to your advantage by sending him to zone them out of experience range.

    Use Tibbers to block skill shots: Mystic Shot, Rocket Grab, Dark Binding, Volley, Bullet Time, the list is long... You can also have Tibbers check brushes for Noxious Trap You can even use Tibbers as your personal Mushroom deminer with the proper micro-management. In particular, you can defuse traps layed in front of a tower so that your melee allies can bash it.

    When attempting to push as a team, having Tibbers on the front line can really help soaking up damage.
    You can also use Tibbers to scout patch of brushes, or to make sure it is safe to venture into the jungle. Be careful that it might reveal your position though, as Tibbers can't be more than about 1.5 screens from you.

    Pay attention to which enemies have channeled spells, especially ultimates, so that you can interrupt their casting with a well-placed stun (any stun will do): Ezreal (Trueshot Barrage), Fiddlesticks (Drain/Crowstorm), Galio (Idol of Durand), Karthus (Requiem)Katarina (Death Lotus), Nunu (Absolute Zero), Urgot (Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser), Warwick (Infinite Duress)

    Just because Lizard is of (almost) no use to you does not mean you cannot initiate it. If a carry of mine is nearby, I'll start weakening it for the carry to get.

    When recalling, do NOT let Tibbers stand idle right next to you, especially if you are in a brush and he is not! You are being too obvious!

    While laning 1v1, I usually "dance" forward and backward a lot, trying to throw an attack in and there, so that my opponent is afraid of me. Usually, at some point, the opponent will begin to move "in rythm" with me, backing off when I move forward, then advancing as I retreat.
    When I "catch" my opponent in this pattern, I like to initiate my dance once more, step backward as if retreating, and as soon as I see him step forward, go for my combo of choice, usually 3).

    Last hitting with Tibbers is possible, although tricky.

  • - Tools of the trade

    If you find yourself in a situation where you have no creeps and the opponent's creep will push to your tower, you can tank the creep's damage so that they are delayed until your next creep wave arrives, preventing your tower from pushing & stealing last hit from you. Don't do that in your opponent's presence though.

    Learn brush dancing: Stay in the brush, watching the opponent. When he gets in range, step out of the brush, cast some spells and/or auto-attack, then step back into the brush: you will stealth immediately.

    Be aware of global abilities, or those with a very long range, like Gangplank's Cannon Barrage, Ezreal's Trueshot Barrage, Pantheon's Grand Skyfall, Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Lux's [spell_text=Finales Funkeln] or Twisted Fate's Destiny when retreating past your tower to recall. It might be beneficial to go into the jungle instead of standing by a tower for instance. Use your judgement.

    Do not hesitate, ever. Commit to what you do, but know when you must fall back.

    Learn the jungle layout! When you begin to play this game, the jungle feels like some kind of maze. You should be able to quickly navigate there as to reach your destination in the shortest time. Don't rely on the game pathing to choose the best route for you!

  • - Uses of Flash

    Flash-Stun / Flash-Combo
    Read the rest of the guide!

    Brush-Flash
    Flashing while being concealed in a brush for an improved surprise factor, even more potent if the opponent does not know you are in the brush.

    Counter-Flash
    Flashing in the opposite direction you are moving as to disorient your opponent(s). Very useful when fleeing a tower-diving opponent.

    Shoryu-Flash
    When a skillshot is aimed at you, you Flash as to avoid the projectile and close the gap to unleash a combo of your own.

    Flash-Leap
    Mainly used as an escape mechanism, you must be as close as possible to the obstacle you want to "leap" over, which can be a pack of trees, a path separation or the walls of a base. That way, the range of Flash will be improved and you will be moved to the closest legal position. Can also be used offensively.

    Flash-Guard
    Flashing in the way of a skillshot to protect a teammate from a lethal attack, combine with Molten Shield for better results.

    Now, you can't do any of that with Ghost!


    Flash-Dodge (Deprecated)
    Flash had the interesting property of "dodging" incoming targeted spells and attacks, from champions, towers, minions and creeps. With the proper timing, it could save you from a lethal attack. As of patch 1.0.0.107, it no longer works.

  • - Dealing with Banshee's Veil

    If you do especially well, you will find your enemies to build Banshee's Veils.
    Here I'll give you a few tips to deal with those pesky shields:

    . While being at 3 or 4 Pyromania stacks, do a Incinerate > Disintegrate > Summon: Tibbers
    . Have an ally with a spammable AoE spell "drop the shields" for you
    . Let your tank initiate, most shields should drop in a matter of seconds

  • Teamwork

    Your most important job is to stun enemies, preferably the enemy carry or support so that your team (you included) can take them out. Try to not engage the tank to conserve your mana.
    You may, whenever possible try to stun as many enemies as possible so that they are out of the equation while you all focus each of them in the proper order, as possible: Carry, Support, DPS/Burst, Tank. Sometimes, you may need to adapt the order, especially when someone is fed on the opposing team.

    The second role is more subtle. Annie really shines mid-game if played correctly, however, in the long game, she loses a good bunch of efficiency. I really like having a positive Kill/Death ratio, but if my team lose at the end, it was all for nothing. So if my team's carry is in the area, I'll do my best to feed him kills (and gold). Don't be greedy, don't try to kill them all, I know it's tempting when you are on a roll, but you need to see the big picture. If an enemy can't escape his doom, do not throw all your abilities into the battle, back-off a little so that your carry gets the kill. Plus you will save some mana :)
    This is a reason why I like to play with a mate, so that I play Annie while he plays a carry. That way, I solo-mid until level 6-8, then swap with him so I can go gank and he can farm, feeding him a kill when he comes mid if possible. Later in the game, I'll try to assist him to the best of my abilities, so he gets most kills. Even if my midgame is not as good as it could be, assisting him usually is enough to help him carry us through the endgame.

    Another role you should fill in teamfights is protecting your carry. Not protect as a tank, of course, you certainly aren't one, but try & make sure you are intimidating enough, with your spells and big healthbar so that they can't get to you carry before they get through your tank first, then you. Blow Warwick (with a stun) into oblivion if he tries to Infinite Duress your Tristana!

    I'm going to finish this paragraph with a famous quote that pretty much summarizes the way you should play: There is no I in team. And another one: There is no such thing as a KS, remember that Assists share 70% of the value of the kill.

    Also, COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM. Announce when you have a Flash Tibbers combo ready (or even Tibbers alone) before commiting to a team fight. It wins games.

  • - Warding

    Warding is a team effort. At lower level of gameplay, wards aren't really needed (although they don't hurt either), however, it becomes increasingly difficult to deal with specific issues at higher level of plays if you don't place some.

    Passive Warding

    Passive warding refers to warding areas of interest ahead of time: Buffs, choke points, gank paths, gank brushes. The objective is to provide enemy whereabouts to allow your team to react accordingly when an enemy moves through that area.

    External Image

    Those are the different point of interests that should be warded at different stages of the game. I tried to point the exact location where the ward should be. There are other possibilities, especially if an opponent is trying to destroy all your wards, but if he does, you should probably try to gank him.

    Disk: Rare Creep
    Star: Ward location

    Blue: Golem & associated ward, spawns at 1:55 and respawns every 5 minutes
    Red: Lizzard & associated ward, spawns at 1:55 and respawns every 5 minutes
    Yellow: Dragon & associated ward, spawns at 2:30 and respawns in 6 minutes
    Purple: Baron Nashor & associated ward, spawns at 15:00 and respawns in 7 minutes

    Note that other creep camps have a 2 minutes respawn timer.

    You should not ward one of those creeps camps right after someone took them.

    Light Blue: Suggested wards for the laning phase. Especially important if the opposing team has a jungler.
    Green: Suggested wards for the mid & late game.

    Obviously, you should NOT be the only one warding, and you should definitely not have to ward the whole map. I think 3 to 5 wards per player for the whole game is a good start. Your mileage will vary. Currently I usually buy up to 7-8.

    Active Warding

    Active warding refers to warding areas in "emergency" situation. The position of the ward won't usually be optimal as the objective is to benefit from the ward immediately.
    Some examples:

    . Warding baron or dragon from the back of their respective pen
    . Warding mid-lane brushes from the parallels path
    . Sight-warding mid-fight to reveal stealth characters without being too obvious with an Oracle

  • - Initiating

    Annie can be a great initiator, however, it is often very difficult to assert how, when and who you should initiate on. Also, if your team has a tank, he should probably be the one to initiate!

    Obviously, you want to initiate with a stun, so you will have to keep yourself energized, sometimes for a prolonged period of time so that you don't waste your Pyromania charges. It will of course be next to impossible to help your team farm or push while looking for an opening. You might want to try to move around while only being at 4 charges in order to avoid being too obvious. Don't forget to cast Molten Shield into Summon: Tibbers quickly though.

    Next you want to take into account your target. You will probably prefer to initiate on the carry, however it is not always possible, tanks will probably try and prevent you from closing on their more squishy allies. Try to ping your target before engaging so that you can coordinate your offense. Anyone but the tank will do. However, if the tank wanders too far from his teammates, take him out. On the other hand, do NOT, EVER wander alone. Stick together.

    You then want to know your team damage potential, eventually weighted against the enemy's healing potential. You want your target to go down FAST once you engage. Make sure that most of your abilities are up (especially ultimate). This is an area where a voice-chat system can be very useful. In particular, if someone else has a second CC effect for using after your own stun expires, you want that effect to be ready. This is especially important if your target has some kind of escape mechanism.

    If your support can shield you the moment you initiate, this will usually guaranty your success. Black Shield, Bulwark, Intervention, Chrono Shift, Prismatic Barrier or even Crystallize are all very potent at this.

    Patience is key to accomplish this. I know you are not helping much by holding this stun. It is very tempting to use it. It is somewhat frustrating.

    Believe me.

    Just wait for the *right* time. That moment where their tank backs off unexpectedly and that other guy overextend juuuuust a tiny bit.

    After you initiated, you probably want to blow your load fast and back off, as you are probably on the front line and getting focused. Zhonya's Hourglass can be very helpful here to force your opponents to stop focusing you NOW, and of course Flash is amazing to put some distance between you. Once your cooldowns have refreshed, you can jump back into the fray... but stay away from the front line.

  • - Pushing

    There are mainly two aspects of pushing, creeps pushing & tower pushing.

    Annie excels at creeps pushing, although it will strain her mana, so I would recommend pushing with the blue buff, or planning to port back home afterwards.

    However, she's not very effective at tower pushing by herself. As my item build does not include Lich Bane, her basic attack is pretty weak, and even with tibbers out, the damage output is pretty low compared to the health of a tower. That being said, she's very helpful at playing the body guard for another hero, so she can still be very helpful.

    Now, please, if you have a good opportunity, like several opponents being down, the others being across the map, having scored an ace, you either push or kill Baron, but for the love of god STOP FARMING, even if you are like 150 gold away from that Rabadon's Deathcap!

    The objective of this game is not to kill enemies, it is not to buy shiny items, it is to destroy the opponent's nexus, which means you have to destroy at least one inhibitor, which means you have to destroy at least 3 towers in a lane. Keep your eyes on the ball, pushing wins games!

  • - Dealing with Human Nature AKA There is no I in Team

    One thing you need to remember is that League of Legends is a team game. If you read this far, I think you got that covered and understood. However, the other 4 people of your team also need to grasp that. I play a lot of normal games, solo-queues, which usually are not very competitive. A lot of players play selfishly, not really for the team. When it happens, we can still pull a victory not because there is good teamwork, but because someone starts to carry the game, the rest of the team sees that and comes to help.

    So you have to SHOW your team that you are a team player.

    So, if you manage to carry the team for a while, because you managed to pull off a few successful ganks, do not brag about it, continue to do your job, go to the extent of warding key areas as needed (ambush spots, baron, dragon, golem & lizard...) That way, even if there was no cohesion in the team in the beginning, it should help create one.

    When someone helps you get the blue buff, say thanks. And when passing by someone trying to kill either lizard or baron, help them.

    After a successful gank/save/tower kill, type "gj"/"gj all"/"ty" in chat. It matters.

    "Let your actions speak louder than words", and suddenly that annoying brat that has been complaining since the beginning of the game will begin to act as a team player and join the team-fights instead of trying to take the opposing team 1vs5... and will also shut his mouth, which will be good for everyone.

    In short, "force" your team to act like a team, and not like the 5 strangers they are to begin with.

    About Swearing

    [rant]As you probably know if you read the introduction, I am french. I do know my fair share of swear words, both in french & english. It does not mean I punctuate every other phrase with a curse.
    Do yourself a favor, and refrain from cursing every 2 words, whatever the circumstances unless you personally know all involved parties, because, trust me, it is really annoying.
    Some people have accused me of being an hypocrit (I even have that game's replay with all the chat, a real gem) because I made them notice they didn't have to curse every single phrase. Well, I'm sorry, but no, I am not an hypocrit, I am a father.[/rant]

    That being said, never forget that EVERYONE can have a bad game, you included. I don't think there are bad players, there only are bad games. So what if someone feeds on your team? Well, you can't win them all. Learn from it, grow from it. If you feel the need to take the blame on someone, do yourself a favor and don't say a thing.
    Yelling at someone usually does not make them play better, only the opposite. Just because you saw some very high level player uses heavy profanity on his stream does not make it okay.
    If nothing can help to make you feel better, then it's probably time for you to take a break from the game. Get a fresh bowl of air.

  • Improving

    The mechanics

    Everything written in this guide should, I hope, help you improve your gameplay with Annie. However, I stated that I felt that playing every other champion a few times was important so that you know what they are capable of. I'd like to expand on the subject, however, I discovered this guide recently, and a paragraph in particular stands out to me:

    From Guide - Being an "Impact Player":

    Quoted Text:
    If you find yourself not feeding, but still losing the majority of your games, you are NOT an impact player. It seems pretty clear to me that you being in the game basically has no effect on the outcome if you are floating 50% win rate over 200 games (or anything statistically significant). But guess what, trash talking your team and calling people feeders doesn?t win you any games. You can?t be an impact player without being aggressive, and you can?t be aggressive without feeding sometimes. Feeding through overaggression teaches you the limits of what your champion can do. You can?t blame your random pub lane partner who you?ve never played with before if he is a little bit too aggressive and dies. You CAN blame him if he blatantly does something stupid like initiate on a much stronger lane and then dying since it?s clear his mechanics are weak. Plenty of feeding does occur, but calling your teammates trash doesn?t actually improve your play does it? Focus on your play first and foremost. I?ve lost a game as 7/2/11 Sona somehow. I was the tank, support, and the carry. By carry I mean, not a carry at all, since I did zero damage. Did I trash talk my team? Maybe. But I can tell you right now I wasn't too worried about my play. Get your ego out of it, nobody cares about it. Nobody forces you to run in and help your teammate who has chased someone into three people to ?help,? so don?t do it and give up another kill for no reason. Tell your teammate to clean up his play and get some map awareness. It?s not like his team was there and then they all disappeared the next second. He got greedy. If he trash talks YOU for a mistake HE made, ignore him. He is a waste of time.



    As I said, Kill/Death/Assists ratios mean nothing if you are losing the game in the end, even if you blame your partners for that. Grasping ALL the game mechanics behind the somewhat simple pitch of the game (Destroy the Nexus) is very time consuming. It really takes a lot of time to understand the value of all the different aspects of the game... there are too many to list here, as I already wandered quite far from Annie's gameplay already (maybe in a future update), and even listing them would be quite counter productive as I will probably forget a good bunch of them (out of ignorance or memory issues!). This is something I believe you must learn through playing the game, all the guides in the world will never be able to teach you all that, for the same reason that having a math book, for instance, is not enough to learn what's inside, you still need to do exercises, and a teacher to explain, unless you're a genius, but believe me, most of us aren't!. (If you ever told your math teacher "there is a simpler way" and made him speechless after you explained your reasoning, okay, you are a genius).


    Map Awareness

    When you are playing, you tend to focus on what's on your screen, that is what is in your immediate vincinity. Usually, you should have your screen more or less centered on your champion and your opponent(s). However, you need to pay close attention to your minimap.
    For those of you who got their driver license, the minimap is a lot like the rear-view mirror. It occupies a very small part of your field of vision, however, it is essential to safe driving. Pretty much like the rear-view mirror, you should throw a look at it every few seconds, even (and I should say especially) when your opponent changes his behaviour. It is not something you will gain naturally, I personnaly have to force myself into checking it regularly, so you should train that aspect of your gameplay even in games that don't seem to require it.
    I personnaly play on a dual-monitor setup. League of legends does not support it, but sometimes I wish I could play on one monitor while displaying the "minomap" in full screen on the second monitor. This is how important I feel the minimap is. Think "big picture".


    Mindset

    Have you ever noticed that when you lose a game, and play another one immediately right after, you lose again, and this, several times in a row? Some advocate that you need to chill off after a bad game -and I agree-, but I think the reason is not that you are pissed of the previous game, but that you are not focused on the current game.

    I'll make a comparison with Street Fighter: Street Fighter is a game I am personally capable of playing on "auto-pilot" at a very decent level: I have been playing it for 18 years after all! Even if I am distracted, pissed or tired, I can play this game at a (relative) godlike level to many casual gamers.

    Now, Street Fighter is a very complex game with quite a few layers of strategy: your positioning compared to your (lone) opponent, the distance to the corner, you or the other guy having a superbar charged, etc. Now, those elements all relate to each other, but you can still stand your own very well if you are distracted/pissed/tired because it's still easy to go on "auto-pilot" mode, where your reflexes will dictate your action even before you thought of the strategy layers. The more experience you have in the game the better.

    Now in LoL, your reflexes are useful, but the game has MANY more layers of strategy -hell, there are 10 players in the game instead of 2-, and it is not possible to take them all into account if you are not focused, that is, unless you trained yourself to do so. Chances are, if you are reading this, you didn't (I didn't!). I for one think this is one of the things that differentiate what the community likes to call a "Pro" from a "Good" player.

    Sometimes, you lose a game and it's ok. And sometimes, you're pissed.

    My point is, don't play a serious game if you are not in a proper, focused mindset, because you will get trashed! Play in a practice game if you wish, not a normal game. A lot of people don't play ranked because they don't like the competitive side of the game, don't ruin their game.


    Going for the kill

    When playing, there will be key moment where you'll think "this is now!". This is something you'll get through playing. Sometimes, you are right, you made the right decision, and sometimes, you didn't, but didn't get punished in return, and sometimes, you got 5-man ganked (although, if that happens, you can only blame yourself for poor Map Awareness!). This is sadly something you'll learn through playing and that is VERY character dependent. Being in the proper mindset, as described above, and having a strong understanding of the game's mechanics are the best way to quickly assess a "Go for the kill" feeling. Be careful though, as it could be that you are in fact being baited!


    Baiting

    How do you bait, you will ask me. It sounds trivial at first, but it's not that obvious... off the top of my head, here are a few hints:
    1) Conceal information (having Heal or Flash ready, or an incoming teammate to perform a gank...)
    2) Fake sloppy play (bad last hitting, inappropriate use of spell combos, no retaliating when being harassed...)
    3) Give the opponent a "Go for the kill" thrill (see above!)


    The Gray Screen of Death (GSOD)

    What do you do when you die and have to wait for your respawn? I'll tell you what you should do, in order of importance:

    1) Check for MIAs, warn your teammates for incoming ganks (this one is first because it helps your team right now)
    2) Try to reflect on your mistake, because you obviously made one, even if you think a teammate is responsible for your death: "XXX, why didn't help me" is not constructive, if you miss the fact XXX was out of mana, or his spells were on cooldown!
    3) Check your opponents items and buy accordingly, not blindly according to your own item build


    2) & 3) are the most important things to improve your play, 1) "only" helps your team.

    We learn from our mistakes, don't blame yourself too hard if you die, no one can go xx/0/yy every game (and I doubt I ever will, even in my best games, I always died a couple of times)! If you acknowledge a mistake you make and manage to not ever do that mistake again, then you took a great step into becoming a better player.

  • FAQ

    . What is the best item build?

    There is no best item build. They are all situational. The best build is the one that provides the best balance between offense and defense in your current context. And it's different with every team (both your team and the enemy). Knowing the type of damage (physical or magical... or both) each character on the opposing team deals will greatly help you in determining what item you should buy.

    . I am always out of mana. Help!

    As you probably know, Annie has a built-in mechanism designed to last hit in Disintegrate. However, I don't know if you noticed that Disintegrate has a pretty hefty mana cost. Should you miss a last-hit, you will need to recover that mana through mana regen. I think this "issue" has the merit to teach you a valuable lesson: you must manage your ressources, think long-term. Learn to go easy on your spells. Learn to also last-hit with your auto-attack.
    That being said, I suggest you read the Runes & Masteries section.
    Do not solely rely on the blue buff to "resolve" your mana issues.

  • The 7 sins of the League

    Do not succumb to the sins:

    Envy : You shall play a character that fits your team composition.
    Wrath : You shall not rage at your team.
    Greed : You shall not chase or tower-dive more than necessary.
    Gluttony : You shall help feed your carry.
    Pride : You shall ask for help when you need it.
    Sloth : You shall last hit creeps only.
    Lust : You shall... naaaa, forget it, does not apply to LoL!

  • References

    Annie Guides
    . Annie by TheOddOne: One of the best ranked Annie player on US can't write a bad guide! Despite being outdated, it remains a must read.
    . Annie - Be the Boss by Sniperness: Well written, and instills real strategy. Sadly, somewhat outdated too.
    . Annie - The Frostfire Warlock by Alahric: We are both trying to achieve the same thing through our item builds, despite having different runes setup.
    . A competitive guide to Annie by Wararchon: Outdated. I am not a fan of his build, but it will work for some players.


    Gameplay Guides

    . Beej's Guide to Lane Control and the Early Game by Beej: Covers the laning phase in a very clear way, probably the best read for a beginner after the in-game tutorials.
    . Shurelia's Zoning Tutorial Another excellent gameplay tutorial



    Miscellaneous Guides
    . Competitive Rune Analysis / Ranking by Roku
    . Champions, Items and Oddities - The Missing Manual by RobertMeta
    . Champion Counter-Strategy Guide by FailboatHellfire
    . Being an "Impact Player" by dota 5v5 rd lc PROS only (what, really? is that a name?)


    Similar Heroes (Mages), ordered by playing difficulty (my opinion of course)

    . Easy: Annie, Heimerdinger, Ryze
    . Medium: Fiddlestick, Lux, Malzahar
    . Hard: Brand, Karthus, Kennen, LeBlanc, Morgana, Veigar, Vladimir
    . Very Hard: Anivia

  • Tools

    External Tools
    . AutoLoL An application to quickly setup your masteries automatically
    . Yaric A tool to change your in-game recommended items, so that you can save time when coming back to shop. Scrap that Archangel's Staff, I'll never buy it! My setup: 3158 3136 3027 3102 3089 3157
    . LeagueReplays A 3rd party tool to record your games and replay them later. Works surprisingly well. Useful for bragging, reviewing & understanding your mistakes.


    Mods
    . Chinese Client's Loading Screens Bored with the US art? Try this asian art pack! If you're into manga & anime, you should like it.


    Custom skins
    . Teen Annie skin by Trufax: probably the most popular Annie skin
    . Teen Annie by TruFax turned gothic by fumaric: A very nice alternative to the above. Mod from another mod!

  • Replays

    Recording
    . http://www.livestream.com/niegen August 2010 to October 2010
    . http://www.own3d.tv/live/6437/Niegen February 2011


    Replays
    . Annie - Flawless victory 15/0/6
    . Annie - Quadrakill 20/8/14
    . Megaupload directory February 2011 and onwards

  • Classic Item Guidelines (Archived)

    I consider this section outdated, as I no longer build that way. However, this build was still quite effective last time I used it, but the introduction of Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Rabadon's Deathcap & Zhonya's Hourglass called for an update. It took me almost two months, but I finally was able to find a balanced build I like that you will find in the section above.
    Anyway, I don't intend to update this section anymore, however, I'll keep it here, as it can still be useful to some. Feel free to skip it though.


    Building Philosophy

    I say "Items Guidelines" because there is no "set" item build for any characters. You should have an idea on the orientation you want for you character when you start the game, but be ready to fork at any point to adapt and counter the opponent's strategy.
    Annie is a very powerful caster mid-game, especially if she manages to get a level advantage, because she relies more on additional ranks of her spell than extra AP. With my build, I still try to get extra AP, of course AND magic penetration, but also as much survivability as possible too, mostly through HP.
    Mana, Magic resist & Armor, utility are coming next, although I think you will need at least one mana item, otherwise you will always have to get back to base.


    Build order

    After my initial Boots of Speed, I try and build a Haunting Guise, which gives me a little of everything I need. If I started with a Sapphire Crystal, I'll build my Catalyst the Protector. I'll grab the boots & the other item after.
    I am not a strong advocate of an early Catalyst the Protector that a lot of other guides suggest. I agree that it has its merits, but I really believe Haunting Guise is a superior choice most of the time, because the "heal on level-up" of catalyst is not stellar to me. Useful, certainly, but often not needed or not sufficient. I play aggressively, I want to get in, kill, get out.

    If I am given a few early kills, I might grab a Mejai's Soulstealer, but I need to have a feeling I'll do good with it. Check the section dedicated to this item below.

    Next I'll need to upgrade my boots and the catalyst. The catalyst is upgraded to a Rod of Ages 98% of the time, while the boots will be upgraded to either Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Sorcerer's Shoes or Mercury's Treads, depending of the prevalence of CC effect on the other team.

    I'd say that at my level of play, I buy the Mercury's Treads in about 10% of my games, but you must consider YOUR playstyle here. I'm usually very careful with my positioning, so that I don't find myself in a situation where a single CC effect will spell my doom, so I usually can get by without the treads, but it might be different for you, especially in your first games.
    The other boots are mostly a matter of preference. Ionian Boots of Lucidity are amazing, but the Sorcerer's Shoes works really well too, even though with Haunting Guise you already should bring most opponents to 0 Magic Resist with my Runes & Masteries setup.
    Remember that every champion has a base magic resist of at least 30, so you MUST buy AT LEAST one of Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes. It is an absolute necessity, and I even go one step further, get both if you can.

    Quicksilver Sash is an amazing item to counter crowd control. If the enemy team is very AP oriented, getting Mercury's Treads, Quicksilver Sash and/or Banshee's Veil will really make you hard to kill.

    Then I'll build a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, again buying the most expensive components first. If I am not dying at all, however, I might delay the Giant's Belt for the Blasting Wand. I like to hurt people I guess. Do what you feel is best here.
    Now, some people might disagree with Rylai's choice. I confess that, while I consider it is part of my "Core" build, it is the most likely item to be dismissed if I need to change my focus, IE, if I need survivability in another form (Magic Resist most likely), and more Magic Penetration.
    However, Rylai's grants you a slow on every spell. EVERY of your FOUR spells!!! It might seem redundant with your stuns, but believe me, it is not. In teamfight, no one can escape, as long as you keep your spells flowing (especially Incinerate). Crowd Control is the name of the game! It even works with Tibbers Aura, so when he's around, you are slowing everyone that comes into range. A good thing I believe.

    At this point, my core build is complete:
    Sorcerer's Shoes Magic penetration
    Haunting Guise AP, Health and more magic penetration
    Rod of Ages AP, Health and mana
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter AP, Health and a slow effect

    I think you see a pattern here: all the magic penetration I can get, health/mana and AP. You need all of this.

    For lower level summoners though, I suggest replacing the Rylai's Crystal Scepter by a second Rod of Ages, to prevent mana issues.




    Optional items

    Mejai's Soulstealer discussed below

    Will of the Ancients is an excellent way to keep yourself healthy by spamming free Disintegrate, but should only be bought when there are several casters on your team

    Deathfire Grasp is invaluable in a tanky metagame, just remember to use it first in a combo for maximum effectiveness

    Quicksilver Sash is an underused but still broken item. It is the ONLY way to break suppression by yourself, making it superior to Cleanse. Very good against CC heavy teams, even more when that CC includes suppression.

    Rabadon's Deathcap can be an excellent luxury item (although the game does not always last that long), going for the Needlessly Large Rod first for inventory room concerns. Whatever you do, it should never be your first AP item (not including Haunting Guise), because it is not cost effective compared to staking AP only items (Tome, Wand & Rod)

    Zhonya's Hourglass is I feel a good complement to Rabadon's Deathcap, so you get the statis active and a HUGE AP score!

    Guardian Angel might be another option, to protect your Mejai's Soulstealer's stacks, but only if you reach at least the 15 stacks mark. Since it raises both Armor & Magic resist, with your already huge health pool, you should gain a LOT of survivability!

    Void Staff might also help you against people stacking magic resist. However, I found that I usually penetrates enough with my core build, and tend to prefer survivability when I complete it, trying to focus those who didn't stack magic resist. Again, adaptation is the keyword. If you have to buy Void Staff, you should probably sell your Haunting Guise. Because of the way Magic Penetration is applied, you won't really benefit from Haunting Guise's Unique property, so you should sell it to free a slot for something else. Do not worry about "wasting gold" in the process (selling an item does not refund its full cost), it's an illusion, Haunting Guise is way too good early game to pass up.


    Banshee's Veil is amazing all game, especially against casters. In high-level games, you won't live long late game without it, and it should probably integrate your core build (it isn't in mine because, you guessed it, I'm only "decent").

    Frozen Heart is very good in teamfights against physical teams.

    Thornmail is amazing against auto attackers who try to focus you. Got a Twitch to kill himself with it recently.


    Potions

    If I have to get back to fountain prior to level 6, I try to always have 2 or 3 Health Potions, because if I had to get to fountain in the first place, it is because I was harassed successfully, so better safe than sorry.


    Wards

    Wards are a necessary purchase you have to make regularly, if you want to improve. Knowledge of incoming ganks, buffs, dragon & baron attempts and the like is game changing. Check the appropriate section for placement.


    Elixirs

    When you reach the very late game, it may be beneficial to consider investing in an Elixir of Brilliance and/or an Elixir of Fortitude can really increasing your efficiency even more. The best moment to choose to do so would be when you have cash to buy a component for a pricey item, but you are pretty sure you won't be able to complete it because the game might end soon. You might find them useful earlier, but what I'm really trying to say is, don't disregard them because they only last 4 minutes, they are well worth their prize.

  • In Closing

    I hope you enjoyed my guide. Feel free to comment, rate, rant or troll.

    And remember to have fun, this is only a game! Be humble, smart and courteous.

    Oh, and if you play this game a lot, try and support Riot and buy RP points. They deserve the support.

    Thanks to Eagleshadow for his tactical map!

    Special thanks to my pals latourte & Alecto92.

    RIP LoLBase

    Recently I am mostly playing on EU, where I founded a clan, Les Semeurs de Givre. My account there is Arkandt.

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