Build Guide by DocSmoothJew
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.
The most important aspect of an introduction in a champion guide is why this guide was made and why you should be interested in this guide over all the heaps of others that exist for any champ that's been released for more than a few weeks. So, why do I think my guide to Teemo is worth the read among all the rest?
I haven't to date spoken with anyone who views Teemo's skills and the champion as a whole the way I do. That isn't to say that I view my method as the best way, but I view it as a very superior method of playing Teemo as a physical DPSer. That said, I view Teemo strictly as a physical DPSer; I acknowledge that in some levels of play Teemo can work as an AP carry, but I think that based on his skills he is best as a physical DPSer. I mean "physical DPS" in the sense that his damage output is based around his auto-attack rather than that one should build Teemo strictly with AD items. My item build is based on AS and appending extra magic damage to Teemo's auto-attacks. As plenty of other guide writers will tell you there is no one item-path for you to follow for any champion really.
Teemo's skills all really seem to lend themselves to massacring either a) entire enemy teams or b) at least the enemy physical DPSers. Which option really depends on how ******edly farmed you get. You have your 'q' for disabling anyone who tries to focus you with auto-attacks, your 'w' for engaging or retreating, your 'e' is self-explanatory and 'r' for so many reasons which I'll go into later.
Using this method I have intentionally focused farmed tanks who were up front just because I knew I could and just afterwards handled the carries with little trouble. Of course you shouldn't really focus a tank unless you know you can afford to, but the point is that the items I like to get on Teemo make it so you can shred a tank if they happen to be the primary threat.
Overall, I like playing all my DPS champs the same. The best example of how I like to do it is the smart way to play Twitch. The reason so many Twitchs fail is because they fail to play with my mentality. You're a paper piece of ****, if you engage (in the case of Twitch it's breaking stealth; in the case of Teemo, Vayne, Caitlyn, etc. it's simply running in) before your tank is in or at least someone else in your team is getting the focus you're quite obviously going to get focused, so don't just jump in like a kill-hungry Rambotard.
I simply want to expand on what I went into a bit at the end of my introduction in this section. As I firmly believe players should handle any papery, physical DPSer I definitely believe this goes just as much for Teemo. You can't take focus, so why rush in and get your face melted just because you're worried about allies yelling that you didn't do anything? Let them yell at you as long as your team aces the enemy team and you (and whoever else lived) at least push the lane out if not get a tower and/or inhibitor.
The only ways to avoid focus when you're squishy and do lots of damage are positioning and timing. To simplify the positioning aspect for folks not very familiar with the genre: not getting caught before the fight starts because you're standing in the wrong place (i.e too far forward of your team or off to the side of your team in the forest hoping the enemy hasn't dropped a ward in the brush you're in). The main idea is you want to stay with your team but spread out so that enemy AoE spells don't prove too effective and you don't want to end up too far ahead of your tank(s).
Pretty sure this is one of the major differences between my guide and other, well, physical DPS champ guides in general. I view runes as a tool for gaining the upper-hand early on and items as the tool for converting that "hand" into a profitable mid and late game. For this reason I use the lessons I learned from Win10Cent's Ezreal guide on LeagueCraft to do my runes. I view Seals and Glyphs as pretty flexible but my Marks and Quintessences I keep to pretty strictly: 6 armor pen. Marks and 3 flat damage Marks with three flat damage Quints. I believe the reason that most people don't consider this viable is because it hurts your late game damage because that's when people have slapped on some armor items and now you're not hitting your full potential for damage output. I disagree because, as stated earlier, runes are for an early advantage and items complement those runes for a mid and late game advantage.
In the case of Teemo, I feel my argument is even stronger simply because Teemo is less based around his actual attack damage and more around the bonus magic damage (items and the poison) on his auto-attack. I use the bit of armor pen. and damage to simply buff my auto attack so the poison hits that much harder. The great part of this whole scheme is that it wastes AP carries AND physical DPSers you might face. The AP carries are squishy and the physical DPSers whose HP might have matched up to you now have to back down because you hit harder (that is unless this catches on). If you take a Doran's Blade you way out-damage a physical DPS opponent at middle and if you are for some reason worried about their DPS based on abilities of theirs such as maybe Caitlyn, Ezreal or Vayne you can take a Doran's Shield and still out-damage them but now you even have more HP than them and the armor will help you as well. It's sorta the reverse of "the best defense is a good offense". You get some defense and thusly you can be more aggressive.
This is why I also recommend defensive Seals and Glyphs. I often use HP per level Seals, but if you know you're against physical DPS then take armor or dodge Seals. Magic Resist obviously never hurts, because the odds of being against a team with ZERO magic damage are so slim you're better off betting on a pony winning a horse race. What you could vary up in your Glyphs is flat MR (if you predict laning mid/solo against a caster) or MR per level (if you just want to have that extra MR late game and aren't worried about too much magic damage early).
There's very little worth mentioning relative to my mastery build. I like taking the MR % reduction because this build is based on adding magic damage to your auto-attack and 15% is a nice boost. As for the Defense tree, I'm flexible with it. Sometimes I like dropping a couple points out of the MR and putting it into 1.5% dodge and sometimes I like just sticking with the 3-3-1. The bit of HP regen from the percentage of your total mana can't hurt and .5% chance to dodge is pretty absurdly low. Obviously this depends on which runes you plan on taking, so just plan accordingly.
NOTE: The items listed at the beginning of this guide are purely some possible choices.
Now for the meat and potatoes. As mentioned earlier, the item build is pretty flexible. My core these days is Malady, Sword of the Divine (highest AS item boost there is), Bloodrazor, and Wit's End. The change to Wit's End is pretty great as it makes going head-to-head with a caster really easy. Beyond this core I like to go with a defensive item depending on the enemy team's make up: if I'm going 1v1 against physical DPSers a bit I like Warmog and if I'm handling lots of casters or some annoying teamfight-ending stuns I like Banshee's or if I'm having little problem with anyone in specific I like Frozen Mallet because that's basically offense and defense in one package.
So, why do I choose these core items? I'll explain it one by one. Malady I really love because it makes all the other items and my poison hurt more. Bloodrazor I love because it's so much in one package (if you're familiar with DotA it kinda feels like buying Manta Style) and the main selling point is the awesome bonus magic damage based on their max HP. Sword of the Divine is just a brilliant item because it's relatively cheap and gives so much. The 30 armor pen just made up for my lack of armor pen runes (and then some), so when I get around to focusing the tank he's that much easier. It also doesn't hurt to have an easy counter to Jax or an enemy Teemo. The Wit's End is more attack speed and more bonus magic damage on my auto-attack; as mentioned earlier it also makes toe to toe battles with casters easier.
Finally, boots; I generally like Swiftness if I'm not running into too much trouble and if I am I'll pick either of the defensive boots, Tabi or Mercury. The reason I like Swiftness is that with 'w' this gives you some seriously pimp move speed to get in and out of battle safely if you micro properly. It's important to remember so many aspects of this game are personal preference. You should always stick to what works best for you or is most comfortable for you if you don't like how it goes when you try my recommendation.
I feel pretty strongly about Teemo's skill build. I don't think there's too much debate among Teemo lovers about this. For my build especially maxing poison first is the most logical as I build AS and bonus magic damage items to make the poison that much more painful and to apply it that much more often.
I'll be very brief about summoner spells. I used to do heal and flash like a scared little Teemo and then I learned that aggressive play is really the best way to win a lane. Scare that fool into submission early on. It's pretty hard to fight a Teemo with exhaust and ignite because you can't heal very effectively and the only way to really run is by flashing, but then you've wasted flash and you're pretty low on HP, so you can't feel very safe until flash is back up. I definitely recommend exhaust and ignite for middle because exhaust has defensive and offensive capabilities and ignite gives you that bit of extra damage you won't be receiving from an ally to get the kill.
However, I do feel like side-lane Teemo could use ghost and flash as you will likely be under more pressure and might need more flexibility which ghost and flash provide. In other words, two flexible spells (ghost and flash) are better than one flexible spell and another rather inflexible spell (ignite can maybe stop a healer from diving you but that seems too situational to actually label ignite a "flexible" spell).
Dammit, I hit a 'shroom
Oh, the dreaded mushroom. As anyone who has played Teemo can guess there are several ways to use shrooms: farming minions, warding, or even 1v1ing enemies (assuming they're not very smart). I don't see much point to delving into how to drop a shroom on someone's feet in a 1v1 or how to drop a shroom on a minion wave so I'll focus on the second method: warding.
My favorite use for shrooms is warding/counter-ganking. I love dropping them in a perimeter around my lane so I can either use them to counter-gank or so I can see the enemy coming to gank me and know to back up. The most important thing when placing shrooms is to decide why you're placing the shroom and a close second is thinking about how you would move through an area if you were going through it. What I mean by "why" is, are you placing this shroom hoping they'll run it over or are you hoping they won't run it over? I realize that seems strange, but there are advantages to either one. If you can see them without them hitting a shroom that's incredibly valuable as now you know they're there and they don't know you know which they would know if they had blown up a shroom. You can now call in your jungler or someone else to come surround this guy and wreck him; you might even draw in your lane opponent and kill him too.
One of the other big things I like doing is putting myself in the shoes of another player who's actually smart. If you're smart and you think about the Teemo on the other team you often know where it is and isn't safe to walk against a Teemo. I use this knowledge against them. I'll think of what I do to avoid Teemo shrooms (which often works for me against a Teemo by the way) and then I'll place my shrooms in those spots instead; this is what really leads to the "Dammit, I hit a 'shroom" effect. No one likes feeling like they were being smart or crafty and then realizing that they got outsmarted.
My primary example for shroom placement is thinking about an enemy rounding a corner. Take mid lane for example, enemy shows up to gank and misses the shroom in the brush for whatever reason. That makes me happy since now he doesn't even know I've seen him. What he hasn't counted on is that I've placed a shroom right where I know he needs to run to get to me and in the spot next to that shroom too in case he thinks he's smart and will avoid my shroom. The way this really frequently plays out is I spot him coming via ward or shroom and then go forward to pretend that I'm going to attack his ally on my lane, then I back up really fast either using 'w' or just by running and then as he thinks he has his opening and runs in he hits a shroom and I turn on him and before he can get out of the slow I've ruined his face and I got a free kill.
My guide won't be for everyone. In the end, the decision between AP or Hybrid/AD Teemo really depends on your playstyle. If you don't like going aggressive and would rather rely on shrooms (which I consider relying on luck too much) then you should go AP, but if you like playing aggressive and laughing in their faces as they think they can easily 1v1 the little Bandle City scout then I highly recommend you try my approach to Teemo.
I'd also like to address another major reason I find AP Teemo to be weak as hell: team fights. What can AP Teemo do in a team fight? Drop a shroom and hope they haven't moved away from it, blind someone focusing you or one of your allies or use your now rather mediocre poison (prior to you managing to accrue several hundred AP) to auto-attack an enemy? I really feel like AP Teemo degrades Teemo from a killer in team fights to a support champ in team fights. Don't get me wrong, I've even made AP Teemo work. First time I tried it I managed to mess up the enemy team pretty good, but I haven't tried it since which means it could have just been a fluke. Either way, I definitely did not feel half as useful as I do as Hybrid/AD Teemo.
My final addendum to this guide is a comment about my level of play. I have to date yet to bother entering the Ranked queue and thusly my experience is merely beta and then hundreds of Normal games. The reason for my shying away from Ranked games is because a) I have a mediocre computer I'm not confident will continue running and b) Israeli ISPs are incredibly unreliable and I don't wanna screw over allies by dropping or having a 400ms ping which I can't predict (I range from 85ms pings to anywhere between 200ms and 450ms). I prefer to be very reliable when I know my allies care as much about the game as I do which I'd hope is how folks are in Ranked games, but from what I hear that's not the case 100% of the time. Basically, don't hate me because I haven't played Ranked. In the end, once your on the Rift the game is the same and all you can do is try your best. I would enter the same mindset starting either a Ranked or a Normal game, so I hope you don't hold this against me.