roa got buffed
Example Full Build #1
Example Full Build #2
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.
TL;DR - Top lane meta suits her so she can be surprisingly good there
Mid lane Annie has many weaknesses in her kit hence why even though she's a God in soloQ because of the strengths in her kit even at Diamond n ****, her OPness drops off at the highest levels of the ladder and competitive because smart and organised players are able to punish those weaknesses.
When played off-tank top lane she can avoid a lot of those weaknesses. Hence she can be surprisingly good and safe there, and if you're lower than Master/Challenger or some ****, she'll still be a soloQ God.
Furthermore, with the advent of the Rift Herald, having early game team fighting power located top might be quite impactful.
Not saying she should be played top lane instead of mid lane, just that she is playable top lane and has a lot of good matchups.
She along with Morgana are champions I consider strong safe AP picks in either solo-lanes and are ideal picks to master for the roles when playing casually (for example, if ur a adc main, but have to play mid or top), and there are many videos of Annies and Morganas carrying at the highest levels when played either lane even if things like KR Challenger (although they tend to build heavy damage lelz, I suppose because they are more aware of the weaknesses in Annies kit and can adapt their playstyles to that while still being able to abuse her strengths).
AOE stun engage/disengage/murder if they try to ******** you.
CC + Bursty so damage threats won't want to get close to you.
Spammable skills to slow and control with Rylais if they try to avoid you or rush past you to attack your team mates.
Tanky (her e at lv5 gives her 50 free mr and armor) so they can't focus you down without you taking a couple with you or it backfiring given how much control you pack.
Solo-lane so you'll be ahead of the leveling curve, so if you win lane hard you'll be multiple levels ahead of the opposing teams (u get a lot of raw stats from each level, hence why u often see those 1 vs 5 vids of lv 15 top laner vs lv11 enemies).
Maybe most importantly though, has many strong matchups top lane. Difficult to lose hard too if you go for a tanky build and play safe given your stun (i.e. if a Riven flash combos you under tower you can just stun her and thank her for free kill).
Why Annie top lane?
Annie has many things in her kit that you would want if you tried to create a strong and well rounded team comp. Hence why she's one of the SoloQ God tiers and is such a versatile pick that she's even regularly run as support even at the highest levels (including competitive) even though she's mainly considered a mid laner.
- Easy to land CC to shut down heavy threats (point and click stun with q).
- Hard engage/Disengage (flash tibbers) to force or avoid fights.
When built with damage, good engages will win team fights by itself.
However, there's also many reasons why mid lane Annie's playrate and win rate drops higher elo and at competitive play.
When played mid and played with her common builds, her kit can struggle against the best players because they're well aware of some of her major weaknesses, and certain champions or comps shut her down by default.
Against poke mid laners or poke teams, or just champions that outrange her, such as Vel'Koz or Lux, she can often get poked out of lane or teamfights without being able to get close enough to 100-0 AOE burst.
Against the more brusiery sustain champions like Swain or Cho'Gath, she won't have the damage to be able to burst them down while they can outsustain her and punish her while her skills are on cooldown.
Even then, given her immobility and her often having to rely on flash to engage, it's easy for well organised or just good players in general to punish her easily.
Junglers can punish you easily in lane, and if you get caught out while roaming or whatever, you can easily get killed if they group on you (one of the main problems with support annie, gets caught out while warding a lot).
This is also not helped by the fact that since you'll be playing her mid she's required to build a decent amount of damage because most team comps are built on the basis that mid laners will be damage carries.
All in all, this basically means unlike some safer champions (i.e. those that have mobility skills) such as Ahri, it's very easy for smart players to punish you for picking her and shut you down hence again why her OPness drops off at higher levels of play.
When played top lane however she can end up avoiding a lot of negatives.
1) When played mid she is forced to build a decent amount of damage, because again she's mid and mid laners tend to require certain functions to be considered strong (main reason is given where they're located they're able to roam fastest to where your team needs them | and also that they'll usually provide a lot of AOE damage during team fights (and for wave clearing) cus most other lanes won't run champs like that (top is too risky etc etc)).
When played top however, she'll have the option of running more versatile tanky builds without your team suffering from lack of AOE damage.
2) When played top she'll more often than not out-range her opponents. Long range poke champions usually can't survive top lane because they're built heavily damage and are easy ganks, and also they suck against tankier matchups who can just build resists against them and facetank the poke while killing them.
The few ranged-esque champs you'll find top lane tend to actually be wrecked by Annie in the first place such as Ryze, Lissandra or Ekko.
Against the carry top laners such as Riven or Fiora, she'll outrange them and punish them early to gain a lead. Against the tanky top laners, she'll at the very least do well since they won't be able to do much to her, meanwhile she'll still have early game to punish them while they're still farming for gold to stack resistences.
You're very unlikely to face overly difficult matchups before you get core items, where then it's usually a matter of who can impact during team fights and such more. And Annie's always one of the best in regards to team fight impact.
Item Discussion + Quick Masteries Discussion
## Almost always get tier
ROA has been buffed so it's an ideal pick top lane. Sustain in lane, mana in lane to poke and whittle down etc etc, and tanky early-mid game.
Rylais is strong on her because of how much extra utility it gives her while giving her a decent amount of health (arguably since her e gives her a decent amount of armor and mr health is a good buy on her).
Sometimes it's even worthwhile to go Rylai's first and not get a ROA if you want more early-game power, for example if you're winning lane hard and your team already has enough tanky champs (e.g. tank jungler, tank support). ROA is just strong in regards to allowing you to consistently do well in lane and later in the game.
##Nice Buys Tier
Seraph's Embrance is a suprisingly efficient item to get on her after ROA. The two combined gives a ton of AP because of Seraph's passive. Seraph's active also gives a shield that can protect you for tons so it's not like you're losing out of effective health.
It's not a bad idea to buy a tear if you're doing well in lane and your teams doing well, as it's easy to stack with Annie's e and low cd q. You can then complete Seperh's later for a mid-game powerspike.
In general also, raw AP is good if you're intending to targest champions that don't stack mr such as of course carries on the enemy team. The respectable amount of AP you get from completing both ROA and Seraph's without sacrificing much tankiness (because again the SE's active is quite OP) will be significant against such targets. And part of the reason why Annie is a soloQ god is because of her ability to shut down such targets.
Dead Man's Plate is the perfect armor item for Annie because of the movement speed boost you can get. 60 movement speed is quite a lot, and it'll allow you to roam faster, and of course, get in range for the 10/10 winning stuns or just punishing the poorly positioned.
It's a great 3rd or 4th item.
Abyssal Scepter is a great purchase against heavy AP teams or maybe even just when you're against an AP top laner.
In the case of facing an AP top laner, it's not a bad idea to get the item 2nd or components of it earlier. One of the most cost efficient items to rush against an AP laner. It's also a great later game tanky item to purchase. i.e. for when you're ahead in the game and want some damage but also want decent bit of tankiness (4th-5th item).
Also the cost was reduced 2 so +++
## Boots + Enchant
CDR is important on Annie especially when she has a high mana pool.
Hence, generally I would reccomend going Lucidity. It's a shame they nerfed the amount of cdr you get from the item, but it's cheaper 10% is still decent. Furthermore since it's so cheap, getting it early and getting the movement speed boost is nice.
However, it's not a bad idea sometimes to go Mobility boots too. Cheese other lanes by appearing and get your other lanes ahead. With the nerfs to teleport I believe this has become an even more OP boot choice. Before you felt you could just use your teleport to snowball other lanes.
Annie has an OP kit for roaming so it's a decent idea to go Boots of Mobility and get the cdr from other sources later on. For example, a Banner of Command.
If you feel safe in lane and feel you can pull of ganks in other lanes without missing out on too much in your lane (for example while your lane is pushing) consider getting defo this.
In regards to the enchant though, Distorion now almost always. Before homeguards + teleport could be considered to have it's own use cases, but since they're going to make it so you get homeguards by default after 20 mins or something, distorion should be the core boot enchant.
Deathfire touch only good on a few mages who can abuse it with synergies in their kit such as Brand or Vel'cox (google it).
Otherwise, the Ferocity tree is kinda ****ty for mages in my opinion especially as you'll be going tanky and that tree is considered the "offesnive tree". (if last season, offensive tree was a lot better in regards to AP power)
Many discussions already about how Thunderlords Decree can be a strong keystone mastery for mages (google it). You also get the 5% extra cdr cap shizz so that's defo nice.
The 15% cooldown reduction on Summoner spells is super good on the likes of Annie 2 as it'll allow her to abuse her flash tibbers more often.
# Early laning phase
1) Decide if you're going to play aggressive early on in lane.
Annie can harass a lot with her autos and stuff, but sometimes it's advisable not to overextend with your aggression because of her immbobility making her easy 2 gank. Furthermore, early on using too many skills will result in mana problems (if u want to play aggresive and had to back early might be decent idea to get 2 dorans rings cus of the mana regen buff).
If you get off good trades early on though, you can freeze n **** and easily win lane against some of the more squishy top laners.
2) Remind your jungler you're usually a very easy lane to gank since your q stun is targeted. As long as it's 2 vs 1 and your enemy laner is low = free kill usually.
3) Maybe look at other lanes for teleports (probably bot though to make it cost-efficient i.e. 2 potential kills), but the nerf to teleport..
4) Maybe look for an easy gank mid lane. Again, your q stun is targeted so there will be games where you can pull of cheese ganks early on.
1) By now you should have a decent amount of mana so it's worthwhile harassing more with skills. Getting them decently low = free kill with burst combo or with the help of a jungler.
2) Look to make teleport plays bot lane if they can occur, especially if your opposing top laner isn't taking teleport.
A tibbers stun can win team fights very easily, so look for opportunities to abuse it. It's easy for you to snowball.
3) Roam down to Dragon or Herald if there looks like there's going to be a team fight.
4) Roam mid if your opposing laner is difficult to burst down or is avoiding all-ins. Towers are a lot more squishy so even if you don't get a kill a decent amount of damage on or just the mid tower can be considered worth (especially as the value of a mid tower is a lot more than top or bot towers).
Don't be overly aggresive too though at least until you get more items completed, as you'll still be decently squishy early on.
1) By now it's likely your outer tower has been taken down just because of how squishy they are. Hence you'll be trading farm with the opposing top laner (by taking turns to push it reasonably deep - unelss either of u snowballed off course).
Hence there'll be even more room for roaming.
Being non-burst and off-tanky, it's important to be aware that unless you are ahead, you can get outdueled by sustain type champs (e.g. ap devouerer xin zhao) or 2 vs 1'd easily so it's important to avoid bad fights also though.
Basically, you should be looking to make team plays and abusing your stuns and slows as a group and punishing the enemies positioning rather than going balls deep just because.
2) Should hang around Baron and mid and look to get a good team fight with your ultimate and maybe flash and do baron afterwards or just push down mid, since towers are so squishy you can get a lot after a good teamfight. (your tibbers can tank baron)
3) Get good at manipulating Tibbers 2 as he can slow (rylais procs of his aoe) and zone with him. He can make teamfights 6 vs 5 if you use him well.
4) In general, it's all about getting good fights and avoiding bad fights with your engages/disengages at this stage.
When you do get that 3000 elo flash-ulti tibbers though it's easily gg, esp since death timers are so long now.