General Guide by slimshadi12389
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Hey guys! Welcome to my Beginner's guide to assassins. This guide will highlight some of the basics of the assassin's role, as well as tips on how to play them during each phase of the game. This build is recommended for new players because being able to play assassins in ranked takes a lot more character practice than lessons.
Role of an Assassin
Assassins are designed to be really good at killing one or two people very quickly, and making it out alive. They are made to push waves and clear minions quickly, so they can roam to gank and destroy other lanes. Assassins are generally played in either the midlane or jungle because of the freedom to roam in both places. The job of an assassin is to kill a high priority target (generally the Marksman or the Mage) and then get out. This means that assassins are fairly weak without abilities and can be killed within a matter of seconds if locked down. Since assassins are so good at clearing waves, they make good split pushers as well. In short, the job of an assassin is to assist your team by eliminating the high priority target enemy and getting out alive to push.
Types of Assassins
Not every assassin is the same. For example, the obvious difference between damage types (AD or AP), but also, the teamfight potentials between assassins are different. For example, there are single target assassins like Zed, but then there are clean-up assassins like Katarina or Master Yi, who sneak in near the end of the fight and clean up the kills with their AoE damage and resets. I like to call those kinds of assassins the "Pentakill Assassins" because they are very effective at taking out a lot of people in a limited time. This does NOT mean that Zed is incapable of getting a pentakill (ever heard of Bjergsen?) because all assassins have some sort or form of AoE damage.
Picking Assassins for Certain Situations
Since there are so many types of assassins, and each have their own individual utilities and skill sets, it can get a little difficult deciding which one is best for the situation. You have to consider damage types, priority targets, whether you're midlaning or jungling, and all sorts of other things. A really easy list of questions to ask before picking a champion goes as follows:
1. Do we need more AP/AD?
2. Is my lane winable? (Is their mid an anti-assassin? ie. Kayle, Lissandra)
3. Do I blend with the teamfight?
4. Am I comfortable with the champion? (MOST IMPORTANT!)
If you're champion fulfills all of the criteria than you've made a good pick. Some examples of this could be picking Katarina when you have a Morgana support because they have a nice ultimate chain, or picking Talon because they have a Lux mid, or getting Rengar because you need a fighter/assassin to jungle. Make sure you try to consider the synergy when picking your champion.
As we talked about in Chapter 1, the role of an assassin is to eliminate a high-damage enemy target. The reason assassins are so good at this is because their skill set is packed with bursty abilities, and quick maneuvering. Being able to slip in and our of fights is crucial, so you'll find that really good assassin players always choose the right moment to go in, and escape with barely a scratch. Here's how assassins should be played in each individual phase of the game:
Assassins are bullies, but they generally do not hit their power spike until lvl 6. However, most assassins have some sort of ranged poke ability (Damn you Fizz!) that lets you wittle down your target until you can collapse on them with a KO combo and an ignite (generally). However, since you are weak(er) before lvl 6, most mids will try to bully you. Play safe, focus on shoving the wave out and rushing the ultimate. If you have poked down your midlaner a little and you have hit lvl 6 before they have, collapse on them, get your kill, push the wave to the tower, and back up to base and get ready for the lane bullying to commence.
Once you have a lead (hopefully) on your midlane, you can now start roaming! Generally, you will want to roam botlane to keep the adc as weak as possible, so you can focus your attention towards the midlane during teamfights. Make sure that before you gank, you push your midlane as close as you can to the tower so you don't completely lose your midlane while you're roaming. The ganking phase is similar for jungle assassins too. Collect a buff or two and try to burn a summoner or even secure a kill on the enemy botlane. Keeping the adc down is the easiest way to win.
Prepare for total domination. By this stage in the game, you should have hopefully completed your first core item, your burst item (Generally deathfire grasp/brutalizer) and some boots for mobility. This is around the time when you can start 1-shotting people with your combos. One mistake that a lot of low-elo players make is that once they get a couple kills, they get hungry for more, although your main focus should ALWAYS be turrets. Being strong, yes, it allows you to kill people, but it ALSO allows you to split push! Once you're in a situation where you can 1v1 anyone on their team, it means that they have to send a minimum of 2 people to stop your push. As soon as they do that, your team can fight a 4v3 and take an objective like Dragon, Baron, or maybe an Inhibitor.
Late Game Phase:
By this time, the enemy carries will be packing a punch, and chances are it's become a LITTLE more difficult to 1v1 them. Now, you should fight with the team, and wait until the enemy crowd control effects are on cooldown to strike. This is also VERY effective if the enemy carry has blown their escape spell offensively (arcane shift, rocket jump etc.) Once you eliminate the enemy carry, your job isn't finished. You now have 2 options. 1: Stay and put some more damage out before you get focused...or 2: Escape back to your team and wait for your cooldowns to refresh before going in again. Option #1 is a lot riskier but it could allow for some great plays if done correctly.
How to Recover
Now, you know how to play assassins when you do well in lane, but what happens if you lose lane or got counter picked?
Since assassins peak in the midgame, there IS potential to come back, and for junglers its very simple. Ward your jungles, don't invade, and farm up. However for midlaners, it's not that simple. If you've lost lane hard, you probably don't have an outer turret, and your cs probably isn't very good, so farming/pushing the wave is out of the question. The better option would be to stick with your toplane/jungler and move as a unit, shutting down objectives and making picks (assassinating). This puts you into more of a supporting utility role until you have caught up and can bring yourself back into the game
Assassin Item Builds
Assassins are very bursty, yet very squishy, and as the current meta works, it's better to enchance your current strengths, rather than to fill in the gaps. This means that most assassins will generally only have 1 defensive item (in the exception of junglers who generally buy 2). Assassins need items that make them shred through champs at early levels. Some big item types to look out for include:
An example for an AD assassin build:
Guardian Angel, Mobility Boots, Youmuu's Ghostblade, Ravenous Hydra, Last Whisper, Hexdrinker
An example for an AP assassin build:
Zhonya's Hourglass, Sorceror's Shoes, Void Staff, Deathfire Grasp, Rabaddon's Deathcap, Abyssal Sceptre
Keep in mind that all assassins have their own core items so these builds should be used as recommendations, and nothing more :) (eg. Zed gets BotRK, Akali gets Gunblade etc.)
That's all for my guide on how to play assassins! If you enjoyed it, please vote it up and if I get enough votes/views I can start to do champion specific guides for you all too! :) Thanks everyone!