Please, be gentle with me. This is my very first written guide and if I get some good feedback on it I will likely continue writing more guides. Also, I've seen many other guides and I know that often times people down vote them without any reason. If you honestly do not like this guide and feel you need to down vote it, please explain what problems you have with it.
Also, I love constructed criticism and would love to hear how this build works for you and what you think should be different.
I've been playing Poppy for a bit now, experimenting with all the builds for her and have been so impressed by this under-rated champion that I had to write a guide for her. Of all the builds that exist for Poppy, the AP build is by far the most fun and devastating to play. I know many Poppy players swear by their Crit or Tank build, but until you have at least tried the AP build you cannot ignore it.
Poppy has a unique play style compared to other champions. The goal of an anti-carry is to zone in on the threatening targets to your team and terminate them before they can cause any harm. I am speaking about all those squishes out there; Rhyze, Annie, Ashe, Master Yi, Janna, Soraka, etc.
I know what you are thinking, Poppy? Really? You better believe it. Many people will tell you that the best choice for an anti-carry is either Akali or Kassadin, with the ability to phase towards their target for the kill, but I guarantee you that Poppy can get the job done so much better. Not only will Poppy drop the target in mere seconds, but with her ultimate she will do it without becoming damaged and can then focus on other threats with her team. Diplomatic Immunity can arguably be called one of the most OP abilities in the game for just this reason.
One of the highest burst damage combos in the game.
Valiant Fighter makes Poppy tough to bring down.
Diplomatic Immunity prevents interference from other enemies.
Heroic Charge can place you in a bad situation.
Relies on good teamwork in early game.
Valiant Fighter (Passive): Any damage dealt to Poppy that exceeds 10% of her current health is reduced by 50%. This does not reduce damage from structures.
No, this ability will not save you when you find yourself stuck between all 5 enemy champs. What it does do, is that it presents your target from beating you down with high amounts of damage before you can finish your job.
Devastating Blow (Q): Poppy crushes her opponent, dealing attack damage plus a flat amount and 8% of her target's max health as magic damage. The bonus damage cannot exceed a threshold based on rank.
This is the ability that will be producing the majority of your damage. The problem that you will find with it is the rather long cool down, making your damage come in short bursts rather than being a constant stream. We will want to reduce this cool down as much as possible with our runes, masteries and items to about 2-3s by the time we reach lvl18.
Paragon of Demacia (W): (Passive): Upon being hit or attacking an enemy, Poppy's armor and damage are increased for 5 seconds. This effect can stack 10 times. (Active): Poppy gains max stacks of Paragon of Demacia and her movement speed is increased for 5 seconds.
Always take at least one rank in this before you reach lvl6. This ability is great for retreating after a nuke or chasing down a target until you can get into range to charge.
Heroic Charge (E): Poppy charges at an enemy and carries them further. The initial impact deals a small amount of damage, and if they collide with terrain, her target will take a high amount of damage and be stunned.
In my experience, this ability is often poorly used. Part of playing Poppy is to know how to properly setup a charge in order to maximize your damage and stun your target. You do not want to rush your charge, line yourself properly before launching at your target.
Heroic Charge can also be used as a method to retreat from a bad situation. Charging at an enemy minion that is out of range from your enemy is almost as useful as Flash.
Diplomatic Immunity (R): Poppy focuses intently on a single target, dealing increased damage to them. Poppy is immune to any damage and abilities from enemies other than her target.
This ultimate is what makes Poppy the anti-carry that she is. Increasing your damage by 40% will make any squishy poop his pants. On top of that, you cannot be damaged or targeted by other enemies for 6s, more than enough time to get your job done.
This is also a great escape skill as well, and what I most often use it for. Instead of using this on your focus, use it on the enemy with the lowest attack damage, likely a tank, and high tail it out of there after you drop your focus.
Because of my play style, I tend to get the first rank at lvl6 and wait to get the last two ranks at lvl17 and lvl18.
Of all the summoner spells that work well with this build, my personal preference is for Exhaust and Ghost. Exhaust makes sure that your target can't get away if you were unable to kill them with your combo. Ghost is always great to have and I prefer it over Flash, which is also acceptable. Ghost plus Paragon of Demecia makes sure that no one can outrun you.
Ignite (Increased damage if used with Diplomatic Immunity)
RUNES & MASTERIES:
The goal of these rune and masteries are to provide additional health and dodge for early game to survive and reduction of cool downs for late game for the shortest possible time for your cool down of Devastating Blow.
Out of the gate, grab a SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL and 2x HEALTH POTION. Poppy has a rather weak starting mana pool and the SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL helps out a lot to make sure you have enough mana available to Heroic Charge and Devastating Blow when needed in the early levels.
On your first trip back, you will want to have enough gold with you to upgrade your SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL into a SHEEN. The +20 AP on the SHEEN combined with the passive will give your Devastating Blow a noticeable oomph. If you were lucky enough to get an early kill or two, you should also try to buy your BOOTS OF SPEED.
Until now, this is the cookie-cutter of most all Poppy builds. Now, let's start down the path to the AP Poppy.
When choosing your boots, it is sometimes situational but the best choice is to upgrade into SORCERER'S SHOES. The MP on these boots will allow you to do almost true damage with your abilities, depending on the MR your enemies have.
Poppy has a good amount of survivability, and because of this I almost always pick up a MEJAI'S SOULSTEALER next. I like getting this earlier on, because with a good laning partner you can get a good couple of stacks going to beef up your AP for late game. Even if you can only manage to sustain 8-10 stacks, this is definitely worth the buy at only 1235 gold.
At this point in the game, you may find that you are struggling with gold; if that is the case I suggest you try to farm a bit. Poppy does really well with neutral creeps, and I highly suggest you kill them as often as possible. If you are not seeing the amount of gold that you need, though, I suggest the next item you purchase is the KAGE'S LUCKY PICK. You will need this later for the DEATHFIRE GRASP anyways.
At this point, you get to make a decision. You will likely be lvl11-lvl13 now. I usually always upgrade the SHEEN into a LICH BANE. LICH BANE is the bread and butter to this build and the shear amount of burst damage you will cause with your Devastating Blow is amazing. Your other option, which might be better if you had already purchased KAGE'S LUCKY PICK, is to make a DEATHFIRE GRASP. The active on the DEATHFIRE GRASP will become your opening ability when executing your burst combo, and like the LICH BANE, it is one of the primary items for this build.
Once you have both your LICH BANE and DEATHFIRE GRASP, the rest of the items become more situational. If you enemies are stack MR against you or you are just not making enough gold, grab a VOID STAFF. If you are having trouble with enemy casters, ABYSSAL SCEPTER. Melee DPS giving you trouble? Grab a THORNMAIL ARMOR. Feeling a little risque and some money to spend? Try grabbing a HEXTECH GUNBLADE, which has a great active ability that is nice when Exhaust is still cooling down.
Rarely does a game go on beyond this point, but on those occasions that it does, I tend to look at some of these items.
Eventually, depending on how well I am doing and how much gold I have floating, I tend to try for a ZHONYA'S RING. The shear increase in AP from the ZHONYA'S RING will absolutely make your enemies cry when they see you at end game, easily bringing your AP total well over 500.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
As mentioned before, your job as anti-carry is to drop threats quickly during a team fight. You will often find that you will need to initiated the fights, drop Diplomatic Immunity onto your target and then rush at them with the following combo DFG > Q > E. Most squishies will drop with just that but you may need to follow it up with an additional Q. I personally set my Devastating Blow up before I Heroic Charge, but that is up to you. Either way, the blow will happen after the charge.
Remember! If you are using Diplomatic Immunity on your focus for the increased damage, always use it BEFORE you fire your DFG. DI increases the damage from DFG, which is nice on targets with a larger health pool.