Anivia Build Guide by LingLingQi
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Anivia - Sumo Snowball
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY LOADING, AND NEED QUICK TIPS:
1. Aniva has the best siege/poke in the game. Stay safe, bide your time, and KILL MINIONS.
2. Anivia uses mana fast. Take Clarity and you'll get an Archangel's Staff faster.
3. Start with a mana gem. Strange for any build, I know, but the extra mana means more mana REGEN sooner.
4. Anivia is about economy of mana more than any other mage. BUILD MANA FIRST.
5. Max your Flash Frost first, Frostbite second.
6. Only take one point in Glacial Storm until Frostbite and Flash Frost are maxed.
Aniva is my favorite mage to play, hands down. Her burst comes with sudden and intense violence of action, which is a huge psychological hit to the enemy team. Merely being scary is her greatest strength, with incredible AoE burst coming right behind. She has the rare ability to manipulate the map, which makes you the ADC's best friend. This guide will focus on gameplay strategies over build order or other meta-tools, because you really shouldn't bother playing Anivia before you have a solid grasp of what the mechanics of the game really mean, and can build your own characters intuitively.
I know, I know. You want to take Ignite. All your buddies are doing it. Heal has become a fabulous spell. And the people in the lobby are raising hell because you "aren't following the meta." Ask yourself, does Ignite do more damage than a single spell rotation? No. It does not. Clarity will buy you 2-4 rotations early on, and save your entire team from an OOM-wipe later. AVOID THINKING IN TERMS OF YOUR BUILD. THINK IN TERMS OF YOUR TEAM COMP.
Will you be close enough to use Ignite or Exhaust? No. You won't. Will you ever lose HP faster than you lose mana? No. You won't.
I have played game after game with Ignite Heal and Teleport. I wasn't paying attention to kills or assists. I was tracking time-to-build-completion. With Clarity, you will have your Archangel's Staff before 15:00 without a single kill. You'll have your Rabadon's Deathcap between 20:00 and 25:00 with only a couple kills.
When you're thinking about any build or any team composition, its a common fallacy to consider only the attributes of the champion you're playing. However, your numbers are only relevant if you have an opponent to compare them to. If sacrificing a summoner spell-slot gains you tech-superiority, its a very good investment. Even if you go ten minutes in the late game without casting Clarity one time, it will have been worth the investment to have 200 minions in your farm while everyone else has 80-120.
If you're still not convinced of my logic, please take the time to watch the movie Moneyball. As in that film, you're not building for damage; you're not building for kills; you're building for wins.
The Anivia build given above focuses on mana first, AP second. With Glacial Storm, Anivia farms fast without giving up her primary damage spells. This enables you to farm SAFELY.
Any mage can walk up to a group of creeps and gibb them for supper in less than a second, yet they tend to do it with the very same spell they would most want to use against an enemy champion should a fight break out. If Anivia is out farming with Glacial Storm, however, and some unsuspecting fool pops out of the brush, she can twitch off her Q-E combo without hardly thinking about it. If that doesn't kill, it stuns. Either way, she's home free.
Unfortunately, Glacial Storm is incredibly expensive. To that end, I've experimented with various starting builds to generate a mana-pool rapidly enough to overtake the ADC in minion kills by mid-game. Many bothans died to get you this information. (I literally died many times while jotting down information in my research tables.)
Start with a mana gem.This is vital to your success. It nearly doubles your opening mana pool, which you can refill for free with Clarity. While most mages need Ignite to secure their kills, Aniva has enough chase to make Ignite obsolete. But without mana to chase with, even Ignite wouldn't yield a kill. More importantly, this brings the cost of your Tear of the Goddess down to a measly 300.
Go back for your Tear of the Goddess.Don't wait until your health is low and you're pushed out of lane. If you have mana to burn, knock off an extra wave or two so you can come back with health pots. But get your Tear as rapidly as you possibly can - it is the beginning of your snowballing.
Your first order of business is to build your Sorcerer's Shoes and an Archangel's Staff. I usually get Boots of Speed, then my Blasting Wand, then Sorcerer's Shoes, then Archangel's. Remember - Aniva is about kiting and chasing. AP comes later. Play smart, and the extra damage isn't nearly as relevant as speed and adaptability.
Follow up your Archangel's with a Rabadon's Deathcap. Once you've got the Archangel's staff, your mana problems are over. You've still got Clarity, so you don't need regen.
After Deathcap, get a Void Staff. You have a 1.0 AP::Damage ratio on both of your primary spells, so a Void staff becomes efficient to purchase when it will cause you to deal more than 240 extra damage (Given that its item-slot could hold a Zhonya's Hourglass, which would hit twice at 120.) Void staff overtakes AP items when you have at least 370 AP Vs. an opponent with 100 MR. Less, if they have more MR. And because its so cheap, the damage to gold ratio is in its favor. That makes Void Staff best as your fourth item.
Items five and six are your discretion. You will be rich while your opponents are poor, so your options are limitless. Generally, I like Zhonya's Hourglass. I do build that nearly every game. But the last item could be anything.
Anivia's kit is incredibly diverse. She's got great CC, embarrassing damage, and movement control devices that will drive your enemies insane.
You need to remember just one thing in order to play Anivia well:
Anivia is a sumo wrestler.
All of your skills require the correct placement of yourself and your opponent in a ring. You stay within poking range. If you commit to the fight, do it because you have control of their movement.
This is your primary tool to push your snowball down the hill. Early game, use it to kill minions and to zone your opponent. Do this by keeping his minions between you. When you cast Flash Frost, it should travel through minions before hitting your opponent. If they dodge, detonate it over the minions to secure some extra gold. In this way, you will never waste your mana because you cannot possibly miss - you'll merely hit slightly less hard than you would really like.
The range on Flash Frost is longer than that of a tower. Use it to make your lane opponent pay for every minion they kill. Force them to yield kills to their own tower.
Past 6, while you're farming with Glacial Storm, keep Flash Frost ready on a hair-trigger. The stun lasts long enough for you to throw a wall up between you and your attacker, giving time to either eviscerate them or float serenely away. Take your pick.
You'll use this spell in a few ways.
Flight: Always flee into the jungle if you're attacked while farming. Crystallize will block off the entire alley, enabling easy escapes.
Tower Defense: Throwing a wall behind a tower diver commonly results in a kill. Wait until they begin to flee, and you'll maximize the wall's duration in their path.
Glacial Storm Placement: Throwing a wall up forces opponents to approach wherever you want them to. Closing off a lane completely with Crystallize on one side and a Glacial Storm on the other forces your opponents to commit to an attack. Retreat through a Glacial Storm is seldom considered, because even if the damage is minimal, the slow allows your ADC to finish them off at their leisure.
Culling the Herd: Throwing a Crystallize smack in the middle of an enemy formation just before they attack will cause instant retreat. Whomever gets pulled to your team's side is slaughtered like a pig, and that tends to scare the other pigs into a stampede. Follow up a separation-wall with a Flash Frost aimed at the unfortunate schmucks on the opposite side, and you'll stun them just long enough for your team to dispatch those on your side before chasing down the rest.
Penning the Cattle: Throw a Crystallize up behind an enemy formation as your own team attacks, and you'll force engagement on your terms.
Frostbite is nothing but a nuke. Use it as such. There is really only one way to use Frostbite, and that's to throw Glacial Storm down first.
While farming with Glacial Storm, using Frostbite on a cannon-minion is cheaper and faster than letting it die in the storm.
Late-game, always use Deathfire Grasp before Frostbite.
This is your primary means of snowballing Anivia to victory. As soon as you hit 6, seek out opportunities to clear waves. It will be expensive at first. In mid, you'll only get 4-6 waves out of it before you need to head back to base. But that's still 126 gold times 4-6 waves for a total of 504-756 gold. And in the space of only a few minutes. It may seem horrible to spend the first 15 minutes of a game constantly going back for mana, but I've yet to play another character who can get an Archangel's Staff in under 15:00.
Glacial Storm's hidden talent is in area denial. You can disrupt your enemy's maneuvers by throwing down a Glacial Storm, because its loud and scary. The damage honestly isn't that hot - its just a frosty vehicle by which to throw an ice-spike through their heart. But, like Miss Fortune's Make it Rain, the psychological impact is far beyond what the damage would imply.
How to Play to WIN.
During the early game, Aniva's job is to zone. Keep your flash up, and ward ward ward. Your jungler will not ward for you. Killing your opponent helps, but isn't strictly necessary. Again, you are developing technological superiority first. Serial murder comes later.
You are a hatchling - barely able to fly. You drink the food your jungler chews for you. You will lose any sustained fight you get into, so avoid them at all cost.
You can still zone your opponent. Stay on the other side of the minion wave as your opponent, so that your Flash Frost passes through their minions on its way to its target. Poke away any time you think you can get a full rotation in, or take a minion.
120 Mana is a good trade for 20ish gold. If you can't AA every minion, that's fine - use your spells.
Because of your AoE focus, you will push lane rather quickly. Keep your Flash handy to escape their jungler, and stay alert. But do aggressively zone your opponent back to their turret to minimize their ability to farm.
During your tweens, your burst may begin to eclipse that of your opponent's. You can play more aggressively, and spend more mana farming up their minions. But don't count on winning a sustained fight, because their jungler *will* come make an omelette.
Remember, your goal is to widen the gap between your power and theirs. Killing is only one way to do that. Take it, if you can, but KEEP CLEARING WAVES. Avoid chases. Clear their jungle creeps. Go zone their top and clear those waves while your buddy takes the tower. Give your jungler a hand with Dragon. Just do what you must to keep that gravy train rollin'.
This is your feeding phase. You have a Crystallize wide enough to escape from fights that go south, and enough burst to threaten anyone. These are the levels where your rate of growth is the fastest in relation to your opponent's. When you kill someone, they will spawn-and-buy expecting to have a brief window of superiority in which to hit you back. They don't realize that in the time it takes them to find you, you've already cleared four creep waves and another one of their buddies. You'll have at least another Needlessly Large Rod by the time you fight the same person again, and once again they will not be prepared for the violence of your attack. Stay with your friends, give kills to your ADC, and take objectives.
Most importantly, the psychological game is won during this phase. If you've helped your team to take four turrets by the time you're 13, your opponents will be too busy flaming one another to pose any real threat.
Playing Anivia is a lot like playing LeBlanc or Shaco. Its a mind-game. You get your win as much from destroying your opponent's morale as you do by destroying their bodies. So poke a little. If you've killed the same person a couple times, ask after them in all-chat. Cause people to pay attention to that person before you kill them again. If your top or bot lanes are doing well, go gank the poor fools they've pinned and take the tower. But always, always, always taunt while you're doing it. The more you direct your opponent's attention to your victims, the more your victims will be flamed for their impotent display. The other team will never see their ally's death as a boon for you - only ever as evidence of the victim's incompetence. Let them destroy that person for you.
Recruit other people to be provocative on your behalf. If you're the only one in chat, you're the one getting attention. If there is a GROUP in chat, and they're all talking about the same person, its another story: the subject of conversation is getting the attention. So if you need to, use your team chat to organize your verbal interplay and diffuse the responsibility a bit. If flaming their poor "feeder" is a team effort, it'll stick. If you're the only one... Well then you're a jerk and noone wants to play with you anyway.
This is cruel advice, I know. I'm not saying you should be mean - I'm saying you should be socially deliberate. Be sportsman like, and be cunning. Because if you fail to play the psychological game, you run the risk of the enemy rallying in their base. A long game is a bad game. Once you have your sixth item, you're at your peak. Everyone else will continue to grow more powerful, while you're stuck right where you are. Do not let that happen. Take away your opponent's will to resist, and you will win.
As you take advantage of all the items you've farmed, you will want to transition to a support role. During middle levels, you're safe to play as an assassin only because your opponents are still weak *in relation* to you. As the game draws to a close, that ratio begins to slide back in their favor. But if you support your bruiser and ADC, you can still use your formidable burst and infuriating terrain manipulation to take tower after tower.
Because you're so scary, you will be focused. You have your shields from item-actives, and your range. Even so, the enemy will come for you. Use that to your advantage by kiting for your ADC. If you never do more than cast Glacial Storm and run around like your head is already cut off, you'll still "do" more damage by allowing your ADC four extra shots than if you cast a rotation yourself. Obviously that's a rather extreme scenario - you'll always have time to get a rotation off - but the point is that you're now a cog in the machine. Take a deep breath. Let the adrenaline fade. And transition from your tactical mindset into your strategic one.
Your escape mechanisms combine with the aggro you've developed to cause some pretty hysterical chases. You're like the Road-Runner constantly taunting Wile'e'Coyote. He can't HELP but give chase. If you kill an opponent, they will be at their base in less than a minute. If the enemy chases you for a minute, they'll be behind enemy lines at the time they would otherwise be spawning. Remember - killing is only one method of taking someone out of the fight. Peeling them off is often safer AND more effective. Do what you need to do to allow your team to take objectives.
Anivia's peeling is game-changing. If your bruiser is being chased out of their backdoor attempt, and you have a nice bush to hide in, utilize your stealth to place a perfect Crystallize. If you turn that 3v1 into a 1v1, your bruiser will turn on their heel and eat some face. You can ignore the opponent you've isolated and spend your damage rotation on their friends behind your wall. You'll deal enough damage with your Flash Frost to allow your buiser to move from their first meal right into seconds and thirds. Use your Glacial Storm to cut off their escape. Even if these maneuvers mean diving into the middle of the melee, you will come out alive because of your Zhonya's Hourglass. Trust your teammates.
And finally, if you're on defense you still have the incredible minion-clearing power that snowballed you to begin-with. If you lose all your inhibitors, your team can still 4v5 to their heart's content so long as you stay in base. Kite, use your wall, and you can hold entire teams at bay for those few precious seconds it takes for backup to arrive.
What you should take away from this guide is that Anivia is about investment. She's a beastly lane-bully, and will gather kills at an embarrassing rate if the enemy is stupid. But you can't count on other people. You *can* count on minions continually throwing themselves at you, and by spending your time obliging them of their death-wishes you'll outpace any other player in income. Your pushing power is matched only by your ability to escape. You can force or prevent engagements at will. You can defend your base against an entire team if need be.
Anivia can go an entire game without a single kill and still have the greatest impact on the match of anyone on the field. Anivia is a member of a team. A force multiplier. Play smart and win.