Annie Build Guide by Adovid
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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 purpose of this build is to reach 300 ap with a Rabadon's Deathcap and Deathfire Grasp as fast as possible so Annie can spike her way into dominance before her opponents can get the survivability they need to even the playing field. This means Annie will be relying on movement speed and summoner spells for survivability rather than hp early on so that she can be the dark child of the ganking phase with her Deathfire Grasp in hand when everything is said and done.
DeathFire Grasp Hotkey
Deathfire Grasp's active as part of Annie's spike damage is what this build is made around and having to click the item to use the ability just isn't going to cut it.
You can escape to menu and go to "key bindings". I like to set the third item slot key binding to the 'T' key instead of the number keys because it's right next to 'R' so I can use Deathfire Grasp and Tibbers almost instantly.
*You can left click drag items if you have to move the Deathfire Grasp into the right item slot for your key binding.
*As far as I can tell key bindings can only be set in game but after they are set you have them for every game.
Magic penetration marks are pretty much the best thing you can get in marks for a spell caster. It increases your damage across magic resistance from 30-100 by an average of some 3% but is closer to 4% against champions that only have 30 magic resist-- that compared to the damage you would deal with AP marks would only barely reach 1% increase in damage(not counting magic resist) through Annie from the AP increase even with Rabadon's Deathcap passive.
At 3.06 ability power at level 18 it's not bad and is even more useful with Rabadon's Deathcap passive bringing you from 27.54 ap to 32.8 ap which will easily make up for the shortcomings of Deathfire Grasp in ap compared to something like Rylai's Crystal Scepter and will give you more freedom to forgo ap if you need some other items.
There is nothing else in seals to increase your spike damage so this is the best option and its not too bad because it's basically the 1% increase in damage you would have got in Marks from the 17ap(22.1 with Rabadon's Deathcap).
This will put your magic penetration with marks to 10 magic penetration so that if you get more flat magic pen/reduction in items(which is usually 20) you will easily go through the 30 magic resist that most champions have by default.
The idea behind these runes and the accompanying Quickness in Mastery is to stretch the effectiveness of Boots of Swiftness for escaping and ganking as much as possible.
Core Items and Farming
The items you get in this build are designed to revolve around farming while ganking at the same time so order is fairly important.
This item should be held on to for mana. Annie shouldn't have problems farming for the items she needs with this build so she shouldn't find herself at a point where she has to sell anything for money. Doran's Ring + Fiendish Codex/ Deathfire Grasp will be the only items supplying Annie with mana regeneration.
Kage's Lucky Pick and
Kage's Lucky Pick should make it easier for you to get your items together if you have it earlier.
As with most casters the first choice is usually Sorcerer's Shoes, and if you know you are going up against a lot of tanky dps that have natural scaling magic resist that can get as high as 50 with no items then I would say go with Sorcerer's Shoes.
It's not so much that using Boots of Swiftness makes you that much faster, it's that using Ghost with Boots of Swiftness will be noticeably different. I have played Annie with these masteries and quints on a Sorcerer's Shoes Annie and I feel that I get more bang for the buck with my utility masteries, runes and summoner spells with Boots of Swiftness for this build.
Having Incinerate maxed with a Needlessly Large Rod this early will make it so you can insta-kill a wave of caster minions or camp of wraiths without forcing you to stay in one place to wait for last hits with Disintegrate making it so you can continue to wander the map farming and ganking without getting behind.
It would seem that you would want to get Deathfire Grasp first but the Rabadon's Deathcap is more important because it will drastically help you with creep kills(something Deathfire Grasp will do little for).
And now you are running Deathfire Annie with the fastest 300 AP you could race for in a reasonable game dealing more spike damage with your additional nuke than an Annie that went something like Rod of Ages and Rabadon's Deathcap.
It's a far cry for most casters but Deathfire Grasp mitigates some of Annie's reliance on AP to drop targets so if I am confident with the damage I am putting out I like to focus on more move speed. It greatly increases my positioning and survivability in team fights as long as I keep moving.
With this build you will only be moving 5 points slower(0.01%) with a Zeal than someone with level 2 boots and a Phantom Dancer.
Usually the goto survivability AP items. Rod of Ages would be a nice option but we won't benefit from it or it's constituents soon enough this late in the game.
I get this if a particularly dangerous opponent has stacked magic resist or people on the opposing team are stacking unnecessary amounts of magic resist.
If I am having trouble with all the crowd control and nukes.
If I had more money in one place than I knew what to do with I would get this item so I have an extra nuke and move slightly better. I don't usually try to get this item for move speed(as opposed to Zeal) because it just doesn't come fast enough for ganking and doesn't give anything particularly useful on the way up.
It's a great item for a nuker, could be squeezed in place of the Kage's Lucky Pick if you plan to go on some serious kill streaks. I don't usually run snowball items, especially when I run this squishy.
Annie is more team reliant than champions like Tryandamere or Akali who have good survivability in their spells so your approach to winning games with her is even more reliant on a good team that doesn't get shut down.
Dual laning with a nuker is a shame because as spell spikers they really benefit from being ahead in levels compared to other heros-- Ranged ad carries need to farm but they should be with a babysitter rather than getting ahead in levels. Dual laning with this build may be more of a challenge.
Ganking alleviates much of the pressure for your allies who are being pushed to their towers or having a hard time farming in their lane with harassment. You shouldn't blame your allies if their champions just aren't the best solution to the ones they are facing in their lane. Somewhere before or just after you get your Needlessly Large Rod you should be able to get enough damage to bring decisiveness to a 3v2 gank this early in the game.
Nuking isn't just dealing damage it's dealing damage when everyone on the other team least expects it and is in the worst place to receive it so even if you don't get kills your team can go on killing sprees. Usually this means you want to drop one hero on the other team before or while they don't know what's happening, other times you are nuking groups of people who are in a bad spot so your team is likely to score an ace, it all depends on the situation, who on their team is getting the most kills and if you can take them down etc.
Don't be the last to take initiative to put wards when the situations calls for them but you aren't the kind of hero who can afford to use them when the situation doesn't call for it.
Shutting down Tanks
If you don't have to worry about well fed champions then your early game targets should be the tanky ones. Having them shut down before they can get survivability will help your team later in team fights because if your team can outlast the other team your tanks can push in more aggressively in order to win team fights. You should only focus on tanks that you can still do significant damage to.
The AD carries are your targets all game, you shouldn't ignore a chance to gank them but you should really focus exclusively on them in team fights.
You shouldn't focus too(italics) hard on harassing or trying to get your opponent back for killing you early on during the laning phase, that includes devoting too much effort to save your energyzed Pyromania. You also shouldn't worry too much about going back to the fountain when low on health and mana, if you would otherwise be forced to play so passive that you can't even last hit because you have to hug the tower. As soon as you get level 6 with enough mana you should consider using Summon: Tibbers for a kill either in your lane or some other lane. Don't waste it if you only have enough mana for your ult.
The general approach to playing this build is to play like any other nuker. You run in and nuke with everything you got and if things are looking scary at any point in the battle you run away and come back later. That's not to say you should be afraid to mingle without full health, you are a nuker and better at decimating when you have the element of surprise and everyone is weak than you are when you are at full health.
Dealing with Mana Issues
You will be playing tight for mana but as a nuker you shouldn't be too reluctant to go back to base to recharge, it won't put you behind. Killing Ancient Golem for Crest of the Ancient Golem is a good option but you shouldn't devote too much work to it as there is time better spent in team fights getting kills and pushing towers.
Trying to get energyzed for Pyromania is important but you shouldn't spam Incinerate just to get energyzed. You should go over to a minion wave or monster camp and get energyzed by last hitting with Disintegrate. Early in the game you can also use Molten Shield for getting energyzed as it is really cheap on mana, late game you should save Molten Shield for team fights because 25 seconds is a long time to wait and it can make the difference between being dead and being alive.
Tactics for a Squishy Hero
Map awareness is important. It was mentioned that you should be able to wander for ganks but this doesn't mean you should wander the map freely the entire game without knowing where your opponents are. It is more specifically speaking about when everyone is still laning and you are ready to gank. You should get good at watching the map and making good judgements about how long it takes the enemy to get around the map. It's pretty easy to tell when the other team is wandering around for a gank because none of them will be visible on the map.
Use bushes, tree tops and other large champions on your team to obstruct the vision of your champion during team fights. Annie is one of the best champs for using this tactic to become less conspicuous because of her size.
Sometimes you just need to give up on the effectiveness you have as a primary damage dealer and just sit back a little bit and let the tanks and the assassins do the work and wait for things to get mixed up before going in.
Pros / Cons
--A build that has good momentum with your capacity to one shot creeps with incinerate and move quickly around the map.
--You are Annie and you are even more scary than usual with an extra nuke and fast 300 ap.
--You have some freedom to adapt for team play with an extra nuke.
--You are squishy but not necessarily a glass cannon like Karthas because you have molten shield.
--Mana will be tight.
--Late game tankiness and healing will still be an issue you will not be able to overcome without your team.
--The bane of this build is lots of lockdown with gap closing ability such as Warwick, Jax, Tryndamere, Maokai, Malphite etc. should they decide to pick on you.