Annie Build Guide by Iannnnn
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.
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.
Chapter 1 : Introduction
Reliable (and potentially AoE) stun
A HUGE nuke combo burst
One of the best (if not, the best) AP carries
Easy last hitting due to Disintegrate
A **********ing bear on fire
Pretty squishy early game without hp quints or Doran's Ring
Squishy/Mana dependent until Rod of Ages or Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Takes a bit of a learning curve for her skill rotation and stun
Easily focused down by enemy team
Chapter 2 : Skills and Skill Sequence
PYROMANIA: After casting 5 spells, Annie's next spell will stun the target for 1.75 seconds.
This is her passive. This stun is one of the things that make Annie Annie, and one of the big things that separate the good Annie's from the bad Annie's. After 5 spells you will see a circle around you which means your next attack will stun. This will scare away a lot of your lane enemies LOL. If you drop Tibbers with this stun on the whole enemy team it can and will probably turn the team fight in your favor.
You should always try to have your stacks at at least 3 or 4 (pref. 4 or 5) in case you need a quick stun. With practice you can manage this stun easily and almost naturally, but it requires a little bit of a learning curve to stay aware of it.
If you have this charged up it can also be used to stun someone you are running away from. :P
Or it can also help if one of your team members are being chased by a persistent enemy you could tell your teammate to run to you and you can pop out of nowhere and stun the enemy so they can run and now you are a hero. It works, trust me.
DISINTEGRATE: Annie flings a mana-infused fireball dealing 85/125/165/205/245 (+70% of ability power) magic damage. Disintegrate's mana cost is refunded if it deals a killing blow.
This is a beautiful skill (a single-target point & click fireball nuke) and the skill that makes Annie a last hitting pro. It is a lovely last hitting tool because it will refund you all the mana back if you last hit properly and the cooldown is only 4 seconds, and even less with cooldown reduction. It is also great for harassing. It will pack a punch. It is also great for charging up your passive stun because of it's low cooldown! Hooray.
Also it is a nice set up for your nuke, if you are not amazing at landing Tibbers 100% of the time you can start with a stunning Disintegrate to ensure that you don't miss because if you miss Tibbers... well lol.
INCINERATE: Annie casts a cone of fire dealing 80/130/180/230/280 (+75% of ability power) magic damage to all enemy targets in the area.
This is an AoE cone of fire that in late game, will clear whole minion waves and get you farmed up very quickly. It combos great with Disintegrate. In early game, you can harass by stunning your enemy with Disintegrate and popping Incinerate in their face right after or vice versa. It will hurt. In team fights if you do not have Tibbers off CD you can use this AoE instead and it will still stun the enemy team.
MOLTEN SHIELD: Places a shield around Annie for 15 seconds, increasing her Armor and Magic Resist by 10/20/30/40/50. Deals 20/30/40/50/60 (+20% of ability power) magic damage to enemies who attack Annie with basic attacks.
A lot of Annie's seem to forget this spell during fights. It can save your life if you use it during/before a 1v1 or a team fight. It's like a mini Thornmail since it gives you a decent chunk of armor AND magic resist, and deals magic damage back to people who attack you with basic attacks so it will help against people like Master Yi, Ashe, etc, if they don't have that much lifesteal yet. It can also be used for another step up to your 5 stack stun.
Another tactic is keeping your stacks at 4 to make yourself seem vulnerable, then as your enemy gets too careless and gets too close, pop your shield (which will proc it up to 5) and then drop your nuke. trolololol
Summon Tibbers: Annie wills her bear Tibbers to life, dealing damage to units in the area. Tibbers can attack and also burns enemies that stand near him. Deals 200/325/450 (+70% of ability power) magic damage to units in the target area and summons Annie's bear, Tibbers, to destroy her enemies. Tibbers lasts 45 seconds and continually deals 35 (+20% of ability power) magic damage to surrounding enemies. In Addition, Tibbers gains additional Health, Armor, Magic Resist, and Attack Damage for each rank.
Tibbers is so amazing he's hard to describe, but this guide does it well: "This is a **********ing bear which is on fire which is held within a toy bear by a child who spits fire from her hands."
He is the most powerful part of your nuke and can do around 900~1k+ damage if you have been fed/farmed well/earned enough gold for a full item build (and your enemies are too stupid to get mresist). That much damage is like over half of a squishy AD carry's health, who is the person you should be aiming for. Your role as an AP carry is ultimately to take out the AD carry before he/she rips your team into shreds. However keep in mind you should not weave right into the middle of the enemy team to take him, don't be stupid.
You can control him with Alt + right click, so you can make him attack someone who is recalling near their tower while you stay a safe distance out of tower range for example, get him to check bushes for you, get him to tank towers for you, etc. He has an aura that deals damage every second to nearby enemies which does lots of damage when comboed with ignite.
If you are tower diving and there are none of your minions around it, you can control Tibbers to grab the tower while you skip past all cutesy and innocently towards your enemy (who is crying and bookin' it to the next tower.. too bad he won't make it alive anyway) to land your finishing Disintegrate.
My skill sequence usually looks something like this -
You can get Molten Shield on level 3 or 4 instead of 5 if you find yourself needing to charge your stun faster at very low levels for some reason. Grab a point in Summon: Tibbers every level you can. Some people like to prioritize maxing Incinerate rather than Disintegrate (I do both at the same time) because Incinerate does a bit more damage but it is your preference. If you find yourself just barely getting killed a lot in team fights or against a bunch of auto attackers you might want to level your shield a little earlier.
However: If your team wants to start a level 1 team fight, your first point should be in Incinerate because you can charge it up on the spawn pool (aka you don't need a target like Disintegrate). Once you have 5 charges you have an AoE stun that will probably win you your level 1 team fight. **** yeah.
Chapter 3 : Aaaand Skill Rotation
(This is my preference and what I believe is easiest because of Disintegrate's low cooldown, you can rearrange your skills just keep your stacks consistent and land your AoE stun Tibbers in the right spot!!)
You should always have your stun at 4 or 5 stacks before a fight. If you're at 4 just pop your shield and you'll have a stun ready. If it's on cooldown you can hit Disintegrate first on the squishy and then unleash your AoE stun Tibbers.
Once you have your stun ready you can either start with an AoE stun Incinerate or an AoE stun Summon: Tibbers. I prefer Tibbers because he will do massive damage to whoever he sits his *** on and stun the entire enemy team if they're grouped up.
Use Disintegrate first because it is on a shorter cooldown and does a surprising amount of damage. While they are all stunned by Tibbers and how bad his *** hurts you pop this on the squishiest enemy. Your passive should be at 2 stacks now.
Incinerate should come RIGHT after Disintegrate, by now they will probably be moving again or about to so do not hesitate. Try to strategically place the cone where it will hit everyone for maximum potential damage; pyromania is now at 3 stacks.
This baby is already off cooldown now so lob another fireball in their face. Ouch. Pyromania should be at 4 now.
After that you can go nuts. Now if you pop your shield (if it's on cooldown) or another Incinerate your next attack will be a stun already. Do whatever you can to finish them off - pop an Ignite, Flash to get that runaway kill, etc etc. If you do it right you can pull off two stuns in a very short blink-of-the-eye fight probably.
1v1's follow roughly the same rotation. Your stacks should still be at 4 or 5. Pop a shield or something if it's at 4.
For 1v1's I like to pop my stun with Disintegrate rather than Summon: Tibbers just so I know I won't miss. So lob your fireball in their face, that's 1 stack.
Then drop Tibbers on their head. 2 stacks.
Blast 'em with some more fire. 3 stacks!
Already off cooldown? Yup! Throw another one their way. 4 stacks.
By now they are probably running away from you (or trying) crying and screaming to their teammates for help. Do anything for the last stack and then flash in or Ignite them or chase them enough to get in range for the last stunning Disintegrate (and if that doesn't finish them off at least they're stunned so you can get in range for another attack ^_^)
Chapter 4 : Items
1. This is what I usually go with. Two health potions for lane sustainability, one mana potion so I can harass frequently without worrying about mana too much, and Boots of Speed so if the enemy tries to run with 15 hp left after my nuke I can catch up to get in range for a finishing Disintegrate. And so I can run around and avoid skill shots if they have any. However you could get 3 health pots instead if you like, or you have several other options -
2. Amplifying Tome is the highest AP item you can get off the spawn pool so with this your early level harassing will hurt more. However this leaves you with only one hp pot and you are still very squishy. However it could mean a secured kill instead of a trollface 3 hp runaway to a tower. I don't get these two because if you are not building it into a Mejai's Soulstealer (which I am not a huge fan of) I feel like it is a little wasted. However if you want a Soulstealer you can get this first, it also helps you last hit better.
3. Doran's Ring is also a common starting item, costs 475 and leaves room for no pots or anything, however it does give you a nice chunk of health which will make you feel a lot less squishier and has some mana regen too plus some AP. This is a good item to start with too, it is just my preference that I would rather have speed and pots. Some people stack this for early game domination and sell it later.
Sorcerer's Shoes are standard for every AP caster. Magic penetration is always good. Even if the enemy did not stack magic resist yet, every champion has base magic resist and lol you can do true damage if they don't. Plus it gives you more movespeed.
I like to rush a Rabadon's Deathcap (after Sorcerer's Shoes) just because Annie has amazing potential to dominate early-mid game and getting a deathcap early will make your burst amazingly strong early on and scare the enemy team, especially the squishies. Instead of saving up for it though you can also stack Doran's Rings instead and sell them later. I don't like doing that because I feel like it wastes money but it will give you even more potential to dominate a little earlier if you haven't farmed well enough for 1.6k gold for a Needlessly Large Rod. (Sometimes if I am doing AMAZINGLY well in a game and not being focused at all/my tank is doing a very good job of protecting I will get a second Rabadon right after my first just to rape face even more lol but this will only work in low elo normals.) However if you decide to rush a Rabadon's Deathcap keep in mind that this sacrifices a lot of hp and you will be extremely squishy until Rod of Ages or Rylai's Crystal Scepter. If you feel too unsafe you can get those first.
Then I get Rod of Ages for the nice hp and mp boost. Sometimes I will get this first if I feel like I am almost dying/am dying too quickly because of lack of health, or because I am constantly out of mana and consequently miss a few kills. Usually though I will save up for Needlessly Large Rod to build into a fast Rabadon's Deathcap. I know people might tell me to get it earlier because of it's stacking hp/mana/ap/etc by the time I get this it's 25~30 minutes in and my games usually go on for 40~1 hour which is enough time for it to max itself out. I just like getting Rabadon's Deathcap early. :P Rod of Ages will suddenly make you look MUCH less squishier, give you a nice mana pool at last, and a good chunk of AP too. However Rylai's Crystal Scepter is an equally nice replacement for Rod of Ages with a yummy slow on top of it all that procs with your skills although I don't like the lack of mana.
This section is more like listing viable items for Annie depending on the situation. You can figure out which one you prefer and which one is best for YOU out of this list
If you are playing NORMAL games and you are a good Annie and like Soulstealer, go for it. Get those stacks asap. Otherwise if you're not sure what you're doing or playing ranked this is a waste of money. It's also a HUGE alert to your enemy team that practically screams FOCUS ME FOCUS ME! If you are doing well and the enemy team is smart, they will start to get magic resist. If they have more AP casters than AD, you should get Abyssal Scepter for the bonus magic resist along with the aura that reduces your enemy's magic resist. If they do not have many AP casters just get a Void Staff because it has a sexy +40% magic penetration that will pierce right through their magic resistance. I usually don't get both, I get one or the other.
If you and your team are being destroyed by people such as Caitlyn, Master Yi, or anyone else who uses auto attacks most, you should buy a Thornmail for defense. It is very good for shutting down Master Yi - one time I foolishly engaged in a 1v1 with a Yi and changed my mind halfway, started running away, he caught up, slashed me a few times ... and died from the magic damage being reflected back from my Thornmail while I ran back to base with a 100 hp. trololololol
If your team is being shut down by someone with AP, you have several choices - Abyssal Scepter like stated above, Banshee's Veil with a potentially life-saving passive, or Force of Nature with a big chunk of magic resist. Abyssal Scepter is best if you need some more AP, Banshee's Veil is best if they have a lot of annoying skills like Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, and Force of Nature is best if you are honestly just being ripped apart by one AP on their team.
Lots of people like Rylai's Crystal Scepter on Annie because of the HP and AP bonus plus a slow that procs with your Q and your R. I am not a fan of it, I'd rather get more AP (another Rabadon's Deathcap or Zhonya's Hourglass because I am an AP ***** like that) but I get it if I find myself needing more health to survive fights, or if people keep JUST escaping from me/my team. The slow procs with your Q and your Tibbers, not sure about your Incinerate but this will help you kite and chase and run. Rylai's Crystal Scepter is also a worthy replacement of Rod of Ages. However if you get both this and Rod of Ages you will have almost 3k hp which will make the enemy team uneasy about fighting you and probably go for your squishy Twitch instead. Plus you can tower dive now lol.
Other viable options for defense are Guardian Angel and Zhonya's Hourglass (if you find yourself always in the middle of a team fight (which you shouldn't be) or always being targeted first, or find yourself being focused down by the enemy team who had finally realized that the little girl was the one to be afraid of). Zhonya's is my favorite because of the sexy golden active AND the huge +100 AP bonus however the other defensive items will work too.
A Deathfire Grasp is nice to shut down health stackers like Vladimir's passive Crimson Pact, and its active is a nice boost to the beginning of your nuke (pretty much adds yet another nuke to the already nukey Annie). If you buy it, use it BEFORE your nuke because it factors their current health, not their max health. It also gives you cooldown reduction which is always lovely.
I'm not a fan of Archangel's Staff either because I would have to get an early Tear of the Goddess first to max the potential and I think although that would help very much with early game mana problems, I'm just too impatient. However you could get this if you are a fan of it; building multiple Tear of the Goddess and stacking multiple Archangel's Staff gives you a CRAZY amount of AP later on (although I've only seen it on an Anivia (with crazy results) and never an Annie but hey you could try!)
These are to counter heavy CC teams. QSS is brilliant and will probably save your life a few times. Moonflair's Spellblade provides a reasonable amount of AP on top of tenacity, and Banshee's Veil is always wonderful because of the health, mana, and passive. Sorcerer's Shoes will help you more in early game, so sell them later and buy Mercury's Treads if you really need help with CC.
And if you have a full build and the game is still dragging on and you have extra gold lying around, get the Elixir of Brilliance every time you can. And if you have enough money to burn you can buy all three Elixirs at a time.
Chapter 5: Runes
Greater Seal of Replenishment
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are flat magic penetration runes, pretty much standard for any AP caster out there. Most champions already have some base magic resist so with these marks you have more potential to do more damage early game and scare your lane enemy a little. Plus magic penetration is good to have late game too, so this is ideal.
Greater Seal of Replenishment give you mana per 5 seconds, which will keep you in lane longer since you won't have to recall because of mana problems. The most depressing feeling in the world is when your team member comes to gank your lane enemy.. who manages to run safely to his tower because you didn't have enough mana for another Disintegrate. Last hitting with Disintegrate refunds you all your mana back, but harassing does not, so if you are the type to constantly harass, mp5 is a good choice.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration is an alternative mp5 option too, however this scales into late game more than early game and by then you will probably have your Rod of Ages or Archangel's Staff which grants you enough mana to go around and spam your spells to your heart's content.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power gives you some AP per level, with a nice 27~ ish AP bonus by level 18, which doesn't sound like a lot but it can help. If you haven't farmed well and didn't manage to get too many AP items yet, you will still have your reliable AP from these runes and still scale well with everyone else in the game.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power are flat AP quints which give you 15 flat AP; helps you do a lot more damage in the early laning phase and soften the lack of AP if you get Boots of Speed + Health Potion instead of Amplifying Tome + Health Potion, or Doran's Ring.
However early game Annie is very squishy with only about 424 hp without a Doran's Ring, so if you feel too squishy you can use Greater Quintessence of Health instead which give you around an extra 78~ hp in the beginning and get your hp to over 500+ even without a Doran's. WITH a Doran's Ring you'd look like a tanky level 1 lol.
Chapter 6 : Masteries
Annie does best with the standard 9/0/21 build for masteries, going far enough in the Offense tree for magic penetration. However there are a few masteries I would like to explain -
Burning Embers VS. Archaic Knowledge
10 AP does not really make as much of a difference later in the game as 15% magic pen, and also you can only count on the extra 10 AP when Ignite is on cooldown whereas you will always have 15% magic pen. Also percentages are always better in my opinion.
Good Hands VS. Perseverance
This is mostly just preference. I feel like Perseverance barely helps with my hp/mp regen and the waiting time to come back after death (esp. in later levels) is just so long I would rather go with that because I'm pretty impatient. With Perseverance, for each 25 health or mana regen per 5 you get one more. It also affects potions, so you get 8 more points for a health potion and 4 more for a mana potion. aka it doesn't really do much. However it does help with heals too, so instead of a 375 heal you would get 390. I would only get Perseverance if my champion actually regen'd health, like Dr. Mundo's Sadism or a support with a heal or something of that nature, but it's your choice.
WHY I DIDN'T TAKE Expanded Mind
Expanded Mind works off your base mana, which is pretty low. You will need around 2000 mana to get an extra +100, which is almost nothing, maybe one or two Disintegrates. Also Annie doesn't even get base 2000 mana so I believe this mastery is useless, but if you want you can take a few points into it (not at the expense of Awareness though, take points off Swiftness instead if you are going to put them into Expanded Mind .)
WHY I DID TAKE Utility Mastery
The blue golem buff will help you with mana if you haven't got your Rod of Ages or a Tear of the Goddess (--> Archangel's Staff) yet, and will also shorten your cooldowns and so the longer you have it, the better. If you have a jungler he should start giving away the buffs to the rest of the team later in the game.
Chapter 7 : Summoner Spells
Ignite + Flash are the most common summoner spells and my favorite combination on Annie. Ignite puts more damage on top of Annie's already huge burst nuke and will probably save you some kills that would have been a 10 hp getaway otherwise. Plus I like it because it's fire and... Annie uses fire. LOL. Flash is almost a must-have on any character - it helps you reposition yourself, escape, and chase. However Flash has another use on Annie: once you hit level 6, your lane enemy will probably have the brains to stay out of range from you in case you stun with Disintegrate and unleash your nuke. However with Flash you can flash INTO range and stun him before he reacts and tada! You have slain an enemy.
Ghost is also another viable replacement for Flash. Since Annie does not really have any escape mechanisms (unless you charge a stun with your shield while you are running away and stun your enemies behind you which does not always happen so conveniently) you should really have one or the other, Ghost or Flash. I prefer Flash because it gives you the element of surprise when you flash in, gets you out of range of enemy abilities quicker when you are running away, flash over walls, flash out of tower range when you dive, get you out of ganks quicker, get you out of things like Jarvan IV's Cataclysm and all in all works better for repositioning. However Ghost can also help you chase down enemies and run away, and there are several times that I've wished I had it. You can take both Ghost + Flash, but then you will not have an offensive summoner spell and not having Ignite could lose you a few kills-that-would-have-been.
Exhaust is a nice summoner spell, both offensive and defensive, that can also be very useful for shutting down enemy carries, winning 1v1's, exhausting tower divers, or slowing down someone chasing after you. You could also pop this on your enemy after your nuke is done so they can't run. I love Exhaust on many other characters like Caitlyn or Katarina but on Annie people will look at you and be like "..wat."
These are more of the "eh" spells. Clarity and Heal will help you lane longer and heal could let you win early game 1v1's or **** a tower diver over but in late game they are pretty useless. Cleanse can save your life... but it pales in comparison with the other much more viable options, plus you can just get a Quicksilver Sash which is a much better item if you are contantly dying from heavy CC. If you have mana problems you can just buy a Tear of the Goddess and get an Archangel's Staff instead, or ask for blue buff. Don't get Clarity. Really.
Teleport: Saves you a few seconds of running to your lane or running to a team fight. Let someone else on your team have it, you don't need it and you're better off with something else.
Rally: hahahahahahhahaaahahhahahaahahahahahhahhahaahahaha no.
Revive: If you revive yourself from a death caused by your lack of Ghost or Flash because you had Revive instead... well.
Smite: Annie's not a jungler. Although I do think a troll Annie jungle would be priceless.
Clairvoyance: Very good summoner spell, just not for Annie. Leave it to the supports.
Fortify: And leave this one to the tanks.
Chapter 8 : Gameplay & Team Fights
Annie's are usually assumed to take mid and usually do best in mid but it's not the end of the world if someone claims it first. In early levels you should just focus on farming.
When you harass, to minimize the chance of you being harassed back you should harass with a stun on top of your Q + W ( Disintegrate + Incinerate) combo. With Boots of Speed you can run back before the stun lifts. If you have your stun up most enemies will keep their distance, if you're cheeky and know what to do you can try zoning them out for a bit. If they try zoning you out, just charge up your stun and throw a combo down in their face the next time they do it. They won't do it again. Muahahahaha
If you haven't killed them by level 6, just keep harassing consistently (not nonstop, you need to be aware of your mana) and slowly whittling them down until you have Tibbers. They will back off from you when you hit 6, but you can just flash in, stun, Tibbers, boom. However don't get carried away your main focus is not to kill but to farm and last hit well enough for your items later, although if you know you can score a kill why not.
If you are pushing your lane successfully, you should help gank the other lanes. With your stun you are a scary ganker.
By mid and late game you should have several towers, several kills, and engaged in several team fights or mini team fights. Now you can farm minion waves very well with your W which will take them all out. Golldddd.
Annie is an AP carry. Her role, YOUR role, is to eliminate the AD carry or whoever is carrying before s/he rips apart your team. You target the squishies and burst them down. Do not go ape**** on a tank... please. However don't be stupid either if the enemy Ashe is not fed at all but their Katarina is, don't unleash your whole nuke on the Ashe when your Q+W would have taken her out and let Katarina destroy your whole team meanwhile.
I already addressed a general team fight skill rotation in the earlier section, mainly you should drop Tibbers *** (with a stun) on the enemy team when they are all grouped together to stun their whole team so you and your team can rip them to shreds while they stand there dazed by your amazing bear. Meanwhile you let your own pretty little nuke play out. Team fights have the potential to be abso****inglutely beautiful with Tibbers.
However keep in mind do not walk deep into the enemy team to reach the heavily protected carry, you'll die before you do any significant damage. Annie becomes more utility in late game with her AoE stun, so if you can't reach the carry you should focus on stunning as much of the enemy team as possible. Your stun Tibbers can be used as a form of initation but to be that close is dangerous and you are better off letting your tank/offtank jump in while you stun the enemy team right after while they are distracted. And once the fight starts, remember your focus is the squishies!
Chapter 9 : Mistakes
Chapter 10 : Summary
Thanks for taking the time to read my guide for Annie! She is my best and favorite character; I have a lot of fun with her because she is such a crazy damage AP caster and I hope this guide will help you kick some *** too. Again this guide is not something you have to stick to, you can change around a few things and experiment! Find what's best for YOU. Annie is so amazing with just so much potential and such a beautiful sexy burst.
Here is some proof with my friend's recent games with Annie:
I'd love to hear some of your good games/scores with this guide too :P Constructive criticism would be nice too as this is my first guide and I'd like to get better.