Heimerdinger Build Guide by Pyrox
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Welcome to my second Heimer guide! I'm still revising the first, which is built for people who want to play Heimer in Summoner's Rift. This guide will focus on how to play Heimer in Dominion, in particular for bot lane. You'll find your team wants you bot 99% of the time, and once you've gotten a good number of games in bot, going top is an easy transition.
To introduce myself a bit, I play on the NA server and my summoner name is Pyroxite. I took a break from LoL during season 2, but in season 1 I played around 130 ranked matches as Heimer and had a 69% win-loss ratio. I played the champs everyone said were OP all the way down into ELO hell, and played Heimer up to 1800. Since returning to LoL, I've discovered my love for Dominion and currently have around 85 wins and 65 losses, give or take. Most of those games I played as Heimer. To me, he is the most fun champ to play in the League of Legends, and by far one of the most underrated. Anyways, hopefully I've learned something from all those games, and I'm going to try and impart that to you here.
First of all, if you have not yet read Sauron's guide and tier list for Dominion, I suggest you check those out. The guide is here and the tier list is here.
I'm a little suspicious of the notes options for the champ build, so instead of using those I'll just have chapters for each. Please feel free to both vote and comment, however I do ask that you try the build before downvoting.
As Sauron notes in his guide, stat per level runes tend to be better for Dominion. Most stat/lvl runes catch up to flat stat runes around level 6 or so, which is only a few minutes into the game. Easy choice. I go for armor and magic resist over offensive stats for a few reasons.
1. Armor and Magic Pen runs rampant in Dominion. You have to stack a lot of armor and magic resist to overcome this (and don't even dream about giving up and just not getting resists, unless you enjoy being destroyed by champs you didn't think even had offensive abilities).
2. Offensive stats are relatively less useful, as Heimer's ratios aren't that great, and the health pickups in Dominion allow you to spam skills much more. That makes CDR a great stat, but Heimer gets half of his CDR from his ult by level 16, and the item build I use actually puts me above the cap.
Mana Regen is pretty useless with the health pickups, more frequent backing, and good itemization inherent to Dominion. That being the case, it's safe to go 21/9/0. Spellsword in offense is optional, but I find myself using my wrench quite a bit, particularly in the early game.
Okay, so there is some discretion involved here, but I'll explain how you decide what to build.
When to level turrets first: If you are bot versus a strong pusher, you're going to want a turret build. Examples of this are Yorick and Malzahar. If you are bot versus someone tanky, you're going to want a turret build. Examples of this are Lee Sin and Darius. If you are playing against someone who is very passive, you'll want a turret build. This allows you to push the wave into their node much faster and forces them into combat.
When to level missiles first: If you are bot versus a poker, such as Lux, Teemo, or Nidalee, you should consider leveling missiles first. Your poke is easier to use than most other champs, and the three rockets format allows you to hide behind the creep waves and still poke effectively.
When to level grenade first: This is a rare situation. Xin Zhao and other champs that rely heavily on basic attacks are most vulnerable to your grenade. The stun you get for landing a direct 'nade hit is always 1 second, but the blind goes up to 3 seconds. So basically, a melee champ who is shut down by blind is the only time you'll consider leveling grenade first. Even in that circumstance, you are going to want level 3 of your turrets asap so that you can actually put some damage down while they're blinded, as missiles don't usually cut it versus bruisers.
Revive is a no brainer on Dominion. The only thing I'll add is that just because your revive is up, doesn't mean you have to use it. If you die on bot and the other guy is not going to take your node, save your revive. Likewise, if you're shopping for a couple seconds before dashing back into combat, wait to use revive until after you finish shopping so that you don't waste the sprint.
Barrier is arguable, but in my opinion is the best choice for Heimer. First, he is not a burst champ. You either outpush or zone the enemy, and then cap their tower and dare them to attack you. So ignite is not that useful because you usually cannot chase effectively. Exhaust is another possibility, but I find that as Heimer I have a lot of success getting the enemy team to bring a champ down bot to double team you. That is a good thing because it gives your team a power play up top, but it means you'll be facing uneven odds a lot. Barrier is better than exhaust because generally speaking, every point of it helps you out. Flash is not particularly useful, because when being ganked the enemy usually hsa the run buff. You flash away and they're back on top of you within seconds.
Dominion is great in that itemizing Heimer has never been more pleasant.
First, your choice of boots is between Sorc and Merc treads. If you're up against Fiddle, Jax, etc. you can consider getting merc treads for the tenacity, also there are a few champs who seem to have what I can only call disgusting damage, against these it pays to start stacking magic resist early. Examples of that are Elise, good Syndras, and so on.
Blackfire Torch is your second item 99% of the time. This will change after they nerf it, at which point Wooglet's will probably be the second item, but for now it's BFT. Huge damage, the CDR brings you to 34% at lvl 11... you can't go wrong with this.
Wooglet's is the third item 75% of the time. Heimer synergizes amazingly well with Wooglet's because his turrets keep doing work while he's shielded. The big chunk of AP and armor doesn't hurt either. Remember to put your turrets down, grenade, and ult before using Wooglet's if possible.
After Wooglet's your itemization is much more discretionary, but the items I have on the End Game Items list are all top notch. Normally I'll get Athene's Grail fourth, particularly if the enemy bot is AP. It maxes out your CDR (and then some), gives you excellent mana regen, and gives magic resist.
Both the Abyssal Scepter and the Banner of Command are great Heimer items. The scepter's aura benefits your turrets, whereas normal magic pen does not, and gives magic resist. The banner's aura benefits your turrets as well, the active is on a short cooldown and is quite entertaining to use, since most people never see this item, and of course the Banner has armor on it. If you're fighting someone like Jayce bot, you'll get the Banner directly after Wooglet's.
General Thoughts on Heimer Strat
There are a million little tricks to playing any champ, and I'll get into some of them, but it's better to understand what a champ is. If you understand the champ, the right thing to do will be intuitive instead of memorized.
If you had to distill Heimer down to one word, that word would be: "baiting". The irritating rockets, the slow run speed, the mosquito turrets... Heimer is at his best in a defensive scenario, so a good Heimer spends all of his time trying to look vulnerable. Aside from rockets, you really cannot chase people down. So you have to make them commit to killing you.
When you're against bruisers, that's not really an issue, because they have to commit to do any damage at all. If Xin Zhao charges you, gets beat up a little bit, and decides to run away, you're going to make him pay. Same with Darius, Olaf, whoever. That's one reason why I love fighting bruisers as Heimer. If they just plain out damage me, I might die, but it's not hard to make them fight on my terms.
Fighting against carries is different. Caitlin can one shot your turret with her skillshot, and has very little incentive to ever close with you. If you try to zone her with rockets, she'll eat you alive, and while it's possible to outpush her, it's not easy. Or take Lux, for example. Her E cuts through minion waves like a hot knife through butter, her poke it as least as good as yours, and her ult might as well not had a cooldown. Your turrets are where the real damage per second comes from, and yet against many champs it's hard to get them to close with you and give you a chance to hit them with the one two punch.
This is what separates a great Heimer from everyone else. You have to force the enemy to close with you, to commit to killing you, and then KO them. There are a million ways to do this, but let's talk about two common ones.
1) Bush baiting. This is what it sounds like - you run into a bush. Most champs have shorter CDs on their abilities than Heimer does. Diving into the nearest bush forces them to chase you if they want to use their basic attack or targeted abilities. The double bush in the middle of bot is particularly nice for this. Say that I know a Hecarim is about to come charging down from where the bot health pack is to try and cut my head off. I lay both turrets towards the bottom of the wave, but not in the bush. Hec charges in on me, and as soon as the fear ends, I throw a grenade at my feet and dive into the nearest bush. All my cooldowns are already used, my turrets and hopefully minions are eating away at him, and he has to pursue into the bush to continue beating my face in.
Once he follows me in, I have a couple choices. If you have Wooglet's already, use it. By the time the shield drops your rockets will be up and grenade will have 1-2 seconds left on the CD. Rocket him, toss another grenade on his forehead, ult if you haven't already, and start kiting. You can run to the other bush, you can kite in circles around your turrets, or you can make a run for your node if things look really desperate. Make sure both your turrets are alive and shooting him, and lay another if they're not. If you're making a stand, white hit him. The wrench does make a difference, believe it or not.
Once you practice this, you will start to see that Heimer's damage really adds up rather quickly. The turrets remove 1 armor and magic resist per hit, stacking up to 50. They also get an attack speed buff when you first lay them. None of your abilities (with the exception of rockets against squishies) really has that satisfying crunch of big damage, but they sneak up on people in a big way.
Okay, tactic 2.
2) Kiting using the landscape. The best area for this are the big columns that sit to the left and right of where the health packs spawn by the nodes. The grenade gives vision, your turrets give vision, and of course the minions give vision if they're yours. You can use this pepper people with rockets and force them to choose between chasing you or killing your turrets will you play ring around the rosie. If you've ever gone mushroom crazy as Teemo, this should feel kind of familiar. Any time they catch up to you, you grenade them in the forehead and continue running. I also like to run circles around the crystal in the center of the node, or even run around minion waves.
There are several benefits of this playstyle. First, the item build I have listed makes you much tankier than Heimer would be in Summoner's Rift. You're going to have to take a few hits to make this playstyle work. If it's impossible for them to hit you, they won't try. You want to make a conscious choice to accept your damage because they think they can pin you down and kill you, and then fail in the attempt. If you do not learn to kite, most champs will kill you as Heimer. If you do not learn to bait, then the best you can hope for is out-pushing them. Heimer has one of the highest levels of sustained damage of any AP champ, perhaps the highest. Almost all other AP champs are either support or have some kind of a burst setup. Heimer is wonderful because he has poke, utility, and you absolutely can kill those tanks and bruisers that other AP champs just run from.
If you learn these things, you will develop a deep and abiding love for Heimer. When people play Malphite or Singed, they know that if they screw around too much, that Vayne with the Last Whisper might eat them for breakfast. She's not going to two shot them, but if they're careless they could actually die. What they never dream might happen is that they charge in alone to wreck that wimpy Heimer, and wake up with a headache and a spawn timer.
I've been playing Heimer since season one, and have probably logged somewhere between three and four hundred games with him. When I played him ranked, the best I could hope for was, "Wow, you actually did well Heimer. Maybe that champ isn't so worthless after all". In Dominion, Heimer can be king. In the past week I've had enemy players say everything from "Heimer is so #&^%& OP in Dominion", to "Heimer carried you guys", to "I can't believe they asked me to bot vs Heimer".
I hope that inspires you other Heimer enthusiasts, although it's possible you just think I'm an arrogant idiot. That's fine, but I want you to try my build and my playstyle. You will have fun.
Specific Champ Matchups on Bot
I'll stick with champs I've seen bot fairly often, if you have any requests put it in comments and I'll try to add suggestions for beating that champ.
Lee Sin: Level turrets first, keep your minions/turrets between you and Lee at all times, and push. His aoe is lacking so you can outpush Lee pretty handily, and when he finally gets annoyed and charges through your minions to get to you, you grenade and kite him around while your turrets and minions beat on him. Rockets tickle Lee Sin for most of the game.
Teemo: An easy matchup, if you're careful. AP Teemo is a bit dangerous because his blind is pretty much just as good as your rockets - you have to rocket from the very very end of your range, generally while moving away as he's moving towards you. AS or AD teemo is no threat to Heimer, just zone him with rockets.
Kha'zix: Get the Banner of Command after Wooglet's, and just push through him. Kha'zix is a tough customer, so if he's playing aggressive you'll have to juke into and out of bushes, repeatedly grenade, and otherwise delay your death until your rockets/turrets/minions chase him off.
Akali: If played well, Akali is one of your toughest matchups. She can and will destroy you inside of a couple heartbeats, so forget about zoning her. Keep extreme distance, push with turrets, and build your resistances. Wooglet's evens the odds some, and in general there aren't that many good Akalis in Dominion, but this can be a scary matchup.
Darius: Another on that can be problematic if played well. Darius' big weakness is his lack of a good closer or escape. His move where he pulls you in with his axe is pretty short range, keep your distance and harass him. Check to see if he's running ghost, and if he vanishes into the jungle, it's a safe bet he might be going to grab the run speed buff before coming back to chase after you.
Xin Zhao: An easy matchup for Heimer. Level turrets and grenade, as rockets won't do much to him. Always use grenade after he charges. Xin suffers from chronic underestimation of Heimer, and must be punished for it. I like to set up turrets near the bush, and then duck into it after I grenade him. That's a good tactic against a lot of different champs, really. If your turrets are up and you've used your rocket and grenade cooldowns, break line of sight until they're back up.
Elise: Can be tough, if she builds big damage. Position your turrets above and below waves as usual and try to outpush her. Her spiders make rockets worse than useless, so get turrets to level 5 asap - the aoe takes out those spiders in no time.
Kassadin: Kassadin may rape you, I'm going to be honest. Build lots of MR, and try to have your turrets down before he appears from nowhere to eat your soul, as at least that way you can return fire. A lot of Kassadins build somewhat tanky, so your best bet is normally to level turrets and push him into his node. As with some other matchups, the best option here is to push from (relative) safety and drain his mana by making him clear minion waves.