Diana Build Guide by berzrker
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
First off, I ask that if you benefit in any way from this guide and/or appreciate what I have put together please give me an up-vote as it lets me know whether the guide is beneficial or not to people and it is really the only reward I get for my efforts. Also, please only down-vote if you comment giving valid and tested reasons as to why this entire guide is "bad." That way I can make the necessary changes to improve this for all of the community.
Now, I would like to thank you in advance for thoughtfully considering and testing any and all of my suggestions for playing Diana. I would love to hear your feedback as it will help me to refine the guide and my own play style. However, I would also appreciate it if, when you feel so inclined as to respond to the guide, you would do so in a polite and respectful manner. That means actually trying things out in-game before making any determinations, reading the guide in its entirety, and engaging in constructive criticism with humility. Bear in mind also that these builds are for two very different ways to play Diana. The first is the one that is most fun and effective for me with my play style (see the "play style and strategy" section!). THE BUILDS HINGE ENTIRELY ON HOW THEY ARE MEANT TO BE PLAYED--FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING ONLY AT THE ITEM SEQUENCES OF GUIDES AND MAKING PREMATURE DETERMINATIONS AS TO THEIR EFFECTIVENESS. You must account for how the author of a guide intends to play a particular build. Note that this is not intended to be a rigid formula either, as often I will buy items in different orders, or even take different items altogether depending on in-game developments (to be expounded upon in the Items section). It would be best, I think, to approach this guide as a starting point for those interested in playing Diana but have yet to do so.
All that said, let us begin our discussion concerning Diana. Diana is, as of the writing of this guide, the most recent champion to be released by Riot, and she has already taken 2nd on my list of favorite champions. There are a few reasons for this, and keep in mind that these are personal observations.
- First, an often overlooked part to what makes a great champion is the back story from whence his or her individual character and personality is derived. Diana was birthed in the creative minds of Riot's developers from a story they had conceived when they worked on Leona. That story effected everything from Diana's appearance to her gameplay mechanics and abilities. It lends her a strong sense of character.
- Second, without digressing too much, my favorite champion is Fizz. I've had a dilemma because I love Fizz's melee-caster-assassin play style, but there wasn't really a comparable toon to play. Diana has proven to be the answer to my problem. I can play her in solo top or mid lanes much the same way I play Fizz, but with enough difference to make it a unique experience. That "melee-caster-assassin play style" is exactly at the heart of the first build and is the key to success with it.
- Third, I find Diana to be rather aesthetically pleasing. The artwork is emotive and expressive, the in-game model is well done (as with all the newer toons really), and the particles for her abilities are fun.
Pros / Cons
A good place to start some more thorough discussion on Diana is with the general pros and cons associated not only with her mechanics but also with the specific way I play her (like an assassin).
PROS+ high single target burst damage
+ some good aoe damage output
+ good mobility (especially for chasing)
+ excellent harass
+ good in both ranged and melee situations
- easily cc locked
- mana hungry
- Crescent Strike is hard to land when first learning
Fortunately, Diana's cons are easily addressed (though not eliminated) by the above build and practice.
- Unfortunately, squishyness is unavoidable even with Rod of Ages.
- Not being CC locked simply takes practice and smart play ( Mercury's Treads are an option).
- The mana situation is well handled, however, by some early mana pots and later by Rod of Ages and Lich Bane.
- Crescent Strike's unique arc actually becomes an advantage when used well because it can practically be considered aoe the way it slices through groups of enemy minions and champions (more one this in the skills section).
Now for my reasoning in choosing the above masteries.
- First tier:
is an obvious pick for a mage and
works as well since I take Ignite for a summoner spell. Three points in each
are obvious good choices since Diana does happen to be squishy and these make a big difference in the early stages of the game.
- Second tier:
, as explained in the runes section, will give Diana a 10% cooldown reduction right off the bat in concomitance with Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction. I also throw a point in
. The reason for this is Diana's passive ability: Moonsilver Blade. Simply put, the more attacks diana makes, the more her passive procs, the more her passive procs, the more damage she does. The point in
I grab because it gives me the most bang for my buck when I'm pushing a lane so that I can take out a turret and get out of there all that much faster. In the defensive tree I spend three points on
because the returns on it are surprisingly good. It definitely helps keep me in the lane longer after I've traded some blows with an opponent because, when I take Doran's Ring early, I don't have health pots until I recall.
- Third tier:
is the only point spent here because
doesn't yield a big enough return for the three points it would cost and the other abilities in this tier of the offensive tree a really more for AD champions. If you want
points could be dropped along with another point from somewhere (maybe
) to pick it up. The point in
is a point well spent for any caster though.
- Fourth tier: four points in
is another obvious choice (more AP = good). EVERY ability that Diana has scales with AP.
- Fifth tier:
, same as above
- Sixth tier: Executioner is, simply put, awesome.
The masteries for the ASSASSIN build are largely the same as for the FIGHTER build, but I will explain the small differences, which are there because of an expected difference in play style that accompanies this build.
- I only take two points in each Resistance and Hardiness so that I have the required mastery points to max Durability and get Veteran's Scars . This is the tanky build so I don't plan on being aggressive and I will be more focused on staying in lane to farm as much as possible. Veteran's Scars with be useful because with this build I won't have the health bonus from Doran's Ring since I'll get Boots of Speed first.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Let's discuss the above rune selections I've made.
- Quintessences: Diana's abilities, as a caster, scale with Ability Power (AP), so I take Greater Quintessence of Ability Power to ramp up my early game damage output a bit and make me all that much more likely to draw first blood.
- Marks: Next I take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for the magic penetration. This is pretty standard for any mage as it allows that damage increase from the AP to get through an enemy's Magic Resistance (MR)
- Glyphs: Then I take Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction to reduce the cooldown on Crescent Strike. This is important because faster cooldowns translates to more attacks launched, which translates to more effective harassment and damage dealt. In combination with the
I take, this will yield nearly 10% cooldown reduction at level 1--a full second off the cooldown time of Crescent Strike.
- Seals: I use greater seal of replenishment because Diana is so mana hungry. This will keep you in lane longer and give you the ability throw more Q's at your opponent. If I'm using these seals I take Doran's Ring first instead of the Boots of Speed and potions combo. The reason being that the mana regen from the seals plus that of the ring will be sufficient enough not to need Mana Potions right away. Also since your harass is Q and it has a great range you wont need the mobility of boots so badly at level 1 as other champs.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
I get different seals for the FIGHTER build, but everything else stays the same.
- Seals: I take Greater Seal of Armor with the FIGHTER build to mitigate some of the damage my opponent will be dishing out with his/her harass. When going solo top most often I face AD bruisers--hence, I don't take MR but Armor. Also, since this build is meant to be played more conservatively, I won't be throwing out so many harass Q's and won't need quite as much mana regeneration. With this build I'll take Boots of Speed, 2 Health Potions, and 1 Mana Potion first to keep me in lane.
I take Ignite and Flash, the basic mage combo. Ignite is another one of those obvious choices because it often gives you just enough damage to get that kill even after the enemy uses Flash or Ghost to escape. It also reduces incoming heals on the enemy which makes it even better. Many times Ignite will land the last hit on enemies in team fights, nabbing you the kill and some extra gold. On top of that, I take Summoner's Wrath in the offensive mastery tree, which increases the usefulness of Ignite and gives me a bonus while Ignite is on cooldown.
Ever since Flash was nerfed it has taken a hit for being less useful at times than Ghost. In certain cases I agree (such as when your toon has a blink of their own like Renekton), but Flash lets you jump through barriers around the map which puts much more distance between you and a chasing opponent. Diana does have a blink, but hers only functions for chasing normally (I will explain in the skills section how her ultimate can be an escape mechanism), so Flash is still very useful.
Other viable options include
- Exhaust could replace Ignite. It functions well for slowing down enemies that are fleeing or pursuing and drastically saps their damage output.
- Ghost could replace Flash if that's your preference, although I use Flash for the above reasons
- Smite would replace Ignite in a jungling situation, but this is not a jungling guide.
- Heal is useful for staying in lane longer, but I find it infinitely less useful than Flash or Ignite and easily replaced by a couple of health pots.
- Teleport is not an altogether bad spell. It is really useful for jumping across the map for ganks and defending towers, though many people waste it on just trying to get back in lane faster after a recall. It's still not as good as the two I've chosen.
- Clarity is good for staying in lane longer just like Heal, but again it's easily replaced by a couple of mana pots early on, and once Rod of Ages and Lich Bane are completed most of Diana's mana issues are null.
- Surge you could do worse by choosing Revive I suppose. That's not really a reason to choose surge either though. On the other hand the AP boost it gives is good, but still much less effective than the true damage inflicted by Ignite.
Non-viable spells: Revive is a no go, Clairvoyance can be replicated more or less by warding, and Promote no longer exists.
After much in-game testing I've found that the attack speed build is amazing when you are steam rolling your opponents. This is the build with which I've had games like 26-4-13 and 16-2-7. However, I've found that if I don't completely dominate my foes in the lane I have to make some major changes so I don't end up with a game like 5-10-5. Also remember that this build is intended to be played more like an assassin than a fighter. I came up with this based on how I play Fizz, so you'll want to be ganking those squishy opponents as much as possible and you won't want to dive headlong into the center of a team fight. That's why I've introduced a second major build that will be detailed after this one.
Next I grab my Boots of Speed giving me some good mobility to land those Crescent Strikes and get out of dodge. Since tier 1 boots are only 350g I also have some cash to spend on my consumables such as Health Potions, Mana Potions, and sight wards (don't wanna get ganked by that pesky jungler).
Third I try to get Fiendish Codex which has a little of everything I like: AP, mana regen, and cooldown reduction. Sometimes, if the enemy has some MR already or I just need the speed I'll grab my Sorcerer's Shoes at this point instead. Boots are next on the item sequence anyway.
After Sorcerer's Shoes I normally like to finish my Nashor's Tooth because this is really the heart of my build. It makes Diana very lethal and very fast. The attack speed increase from Nashor's Tooth and Malady will put diana's speed over 100 and means Moonsilver Blade is going to proc a lot more, resulting in a significant increase in damage output.
catalyst the protectorOnce Nashor's Tooth is finished, however, I get a lot more flexible with what I build next, adapting to the flow of the game I'm in. Generally though, I need some extra mana and health to get some sustain going, which is why I put catalyst the protector next.
Rod of Ages isn't normally a high priority for me as I want to get my damage output up more than I want to increase my sustain. That's why after I've got catalyst the protector giving me a decent chunk of health and mana I go for Sheen.
Following that I finish Rod of Ages and Lich Bane according to which one I feel I need most: Rod of Ages for survivability or Lich Bane for damage output.
Next is the crown jewel of nearly any dps caster build-- Rabadon's Deathcap. What can I say, AP much? Once I have this I'm hitting hard and fast as all get out (note that Mobafire's stats at the top of the page count a final build of 385 AP which does not include the passive of Rabadon's Deathcap or Rod of Ages). The sequence shows Needlessly Large Rod to demonstrate that, if I can, I grab that rather than Blasting Wand to build Rabadon's Deathcap since it is so expensive and I'm not likely to return with enough gold to build it fully right away.
Finally, I like to grab Malady. For the pricetag it carries Malady is a great buy. The AP isn't much but with the other items I have that won't be an issue and the 50 attack speed increase is going to proc Malady's passive and Moonsilver Blade at lot more. That magic resistance reduction is going to rip right through the enemies Quicksilver Sash.
That's the basic build, but as I've stated several times already, it's not a rigid formula. It's flexible to your needs and play style.
- Fleeing Enemies?: Grab a Rylai's Crystal Scepter instead of Rod of Ages.
- Getting CC'd?: I don't always go for Sorcerer's Shoes and often find myself taking Mercury's Treads when the enemy is a caster or has good cc.
- Too Squishy?: Build Banshee's Veil against tough casters, Frozen Heart against AD heavy teams, or Guardian Angel if you need both MR and Armor in place of Malady
- Still Not Enough Burst?!: In place of Malady, Void Staff has loads of magic penetration (and is a good choice if you forego Sorcerer's Shoes in favor of Mercury's Treads). In fact, grabbing Mercury's Treads and subbing Void Staff for Malady is one of my favorite adjustments.
Also, Deathfire Grasp has a good damage dealing active and will bring your cooldown reduction up to the cap.
- Need Some of Everything?: Abyssal Scepter gives a great amount of AP and magic resistance, not to mention that it reduces the MR of nearby enemies (functioning something like magic penetration). This could also replace Malady.
This build is the result of a considerable amount of testing and is best for when I just can't seem to obliterate my laning opposition like I want to or I'm not getting the ganking opportunities I want. It grants much more survivability, which is not to be overlooked because one of Diana's major cons is being a melee squishy. I tend to be a lot more consistent with this build than the above. The important thing to remember is that this build is intended to give you the durability to get into the center of those team fights and survive. It's not intended to be played as an assassin like the other build. I'll give a major thanks toiplay2wiin for turning me to Frozen Heart in this build.
Second on the list is Mercury's Treads. These boots are awesome for Diana because another of her major cons is that she's terribly easy to CC lock for a kill. The tenacity and MR from Mercury's Treads are invaluable for staying alive longer.
catalyst the protectorNext is catalyst the protector because it gives Diana some much needed health and mana. Again, sustain is the name of the game with this build.
I finish Rod of Ages as fast as I can because it's an amazing item. It will improve the health and mana bonus from catalyst the protector and add 60 AP to help me start hitting harder. Don't forget that an early Rod of Ages means you'll get the full benefit of that passive which builds up health, mana, and AP over time that much sooner.
I like to build Sheen and upgrade it straight away into Lich Bane because with Rod of Ages I've already got some sustain and now I want to increase my damage output. Not to mention Lich Bane gives Diana some valuable mana, MR, and MS, all of which will help with survivability as well.
This point in the build is where I tend to get more flexible with the order I build items based on how things are going so far. As a general rule though I like to build Glacial Shroud first because the armor is awesome, and the cooldown reduction great. Giant's Belt will be much more useful after Glacial Shroud anyway since the armor from Glacial Shroud will already be in place to protect that big health increase.
Again it's flexible as to which comes first but usually I will take Rylai's Crystal Scepter. The reason being that I want the slow and the AP more than I want more armor (this is totally situational though). Frozen Heart will just make you crazy hard to kill and it's a much appreciated addition to the build once you've got it.
The grand finale. Not much to say here except for the obvious: huge amounts of AP. This is great for damage output, as you already know, but it also has some marginal defensive value. Pale Cascade's shield scales with AP like the rest of Diana's abilities, so you should notice an increase in the damage mitigation from this ability after you get the huge boost from Rabadon's Deathcap.
Skills and Tricks/Tips
Moonsilver Blade Diana's passive is definitely one of the better ones. The aoe damage on every third strike will nab you extra creep kills and a very sizeable increase in damage output. Her passive is the very reason I amp up attack speed with
, Nashor's Tooth, and Malady. It seems a waste not to take advantage of such a blessing when there are champions out there with some pretty useless passives.
Crescent Strike Diana's Q is her main source of damage and is arguably the most useful of her abilities. For that reason I'll max it first every time. The range of this ability practically makes Diana play like a ranged caster when it comes to harassing the opposition. The unique arc to this skill shot can make it difficult to land on fleeing or very mobile enemies, but practice should resolve that problem, and, in time, turn it into an advantage. I say an advantage because of the unpredictability it presents since it has more curvature the further away it is cast. It is also an aoe ability of sorts because the trail of the arc deals damage to everything it crosses and the burst at its end has a small area of effect. When you're in team fights or just harassing enemies in lane and killing minions a well-placed Crescent Strike can hit a lot people with both the trail and burst. And wait, there's more too, you're enemies get afflicted with moonlight for several seconds which interacts beautifully with your ultimate Lunar Rush, effectively doubling it!
Pale Cascade Diana's W ability is an offensive shield that scales massively with her AP. It works well to pop it defensively when a harass is incoming or offensively when those melee bruisers get too close. Another thing to do is use this ability after Moonfall or Lunar Rush, which will bring you and your enemy together detonating the spheres for damage and refreshing the shield (highly effective for taking out a mob of creeps quickly as well). I'll max this ability second to give me sustain and damage output.
Moonfall Diana's E ability is nifty crowd control. It sucks in all the nearby enemies with a certain range. Better still, it applies a good slow to all those enemies in order to prevent their escape attempts. Use it to trap that turret diving Fizz or Master Yi. This ability can also backfire when used poorly, however. You might not want to suck in an ulting Fiddlesticks or Renekton.
Lunar Rush Diana's Ultimate R ability is great and functions well with Crescent Strike, as mentioned above. One of the best things about this ability is the short cooldown that makes it usable very frequently without hesitation. It is an excellent chase ability and even has uses for escapes. For example, you've almost killed your enemy and they are a one shot sitting behind a turret. Assuming they are smart enough to be out of easy range for Crescent Strike, pop your Pale Cascade first, then Lunar Rush in, and Flash out for the kill. Or, say they've been afflicted by moonlight from your recent Crescent Strike, pop your Pale Cascade, Lunar Rush in, and Lunar Rush our by targeting a nearby minion. Another method, when fleeing through the jungle, is to use Lunar Rush to blink through trees by targeting a nearby mob of creeps. There are loads of possibilities with this move, be creative.
Naturally I take a point in R at levels 6, 11, and 16.
First I usually take one point in each Q, W, and then E because they combo so well.
Q: Then I max Q because it's how I dominate the early laning phase with excellent harass and cs capability.
W: W gets maxed next because it will increase my defensive and offensive capability.
E: This gets maxed last because the slow is good enough with only the first point I put in it and it's not going to increase my damage or durability--it's mostly just a decent cc.
Play Style and Strategy
The first thing I will say is play aggressive. Don't be dumb, but play aggressive. You don't use the ASSASSIN build to be conservative and defensive: it's all about dishing out as much damage as you can to kill your enemies before they can react. In the very least you want to force your laning opponent to recall so much that their farm is ineffective. Around level 7 or so, I also like to move around the map to start setting up team fights and ganks, covering lanes, and jungling a bit.
Later in the match, when it comes to team fights you'll want to play Diana more like an assassin than a fighter with this build. You simply won't last long otherwise. Basically you're not an initiator with this build, don't try to be. A lot of people are complaining that the Diana guides favor "glass cannon" builds and then they argue that because Diana is a melee mage you've got to have more durability. That is true if you plan on jumping into the heart of a fight. I cannot stress enough how much that is not the thing to do with Diana if you're using this build. As an assassin you're role is a bit more like an anti-carry and you want to be watching for that enemy champ straying away from his/her team. Launch a combo on those squishies and back up until your abilities are off cooldown. Only dive in if your certain you won't be focused.
Just the opposite of the above, you want to play this build more conservatively. The key here is getting a good farm going because the cost of this build is a bit more than the other one. As the match goes on and team fights begin this build will provide you with the durability to be more involved at the heart of the battle than the other. This is not my preferred way to play because, although you're much more durable, you seem to get focused a lot more and let's face it even with this build if you do get focused you have two or three seconds left.
How to Q:
- Crescent Strike is an amazing harass ability in the early laning stages. You want to land the end burst directly on the enemy champion and do it a lot (you've got all the cooldown reduction for a reason). Many champions will have little MR in the early levels so this ability hits hard.
- When you step up to Q them, enemies will usually try to back up, so a good place to aim is just behind them.
- Try to land the end of your Q so that the burst will hit as many enemy champions or minions as possible. Remember that the arc of the shot will damage enemies as well (though considerably less) and if you position well you can hit every enemy in a group. This means you can get creep kills while you harass if you time and place your shots well.
- Use the arc of your Q to land shots around corners that enemies won't suspect. This will catch them off guard and keep a barrier between you and them so that it is harder for them to retaliate.
- Pale Cascade is a shield that deals damage! One way to use it is defensively, popping it when you see an incoming harass or gank attempt.
- Like I've said, it deals damage too, so you'll want to use it when you get in melee range of enemy champions. The damage is good and when all three orbs burst you'll get a shield refresh. This will maximize the usefulness of this ability.
- Cast Moonfall to draw in enemy champions or minions and pop Pale Cascade right away to make sure those orbs burst on them. It will clear out a mob of minions quickly.
- Likewise, pop your W right before or after you use Lunar Rush. This can actually be useful for a turret dive when you know you'll kill the enemy champion quickly. Be smart though, don't dive on an ulting Dr. Mundo.
- Moonfall is your only cc and it's ballsy. Sucking in everyone around you when you are so squishy can be very dangerous.
- My favorite time to use this is when an enemy turns to run. Your E will pull them in and slow them considerably for a couple of seconds.
- Use your E to trap a turret diving enemy.
- Keep in mind that it's on a longer cooldown than any of your other abilities, so using it preemptively would be wasteful.
- Lunar Rush is blink that deals some decent damage and is on a short cooldown. Some ideas for using this ability were mentioned above in the skills section of the guide (I won't repeat them all so as not to be terribly redundant).
- It's a great tool for finishing an opponent that Flashes or pops Ghost to get away as it has a very good range.
- Because the cooldown is so low you don't have to worry about wasting your ultimate.
- Diana's abilities work well together so maximize that aspect. That's why I get a point in each ability first thing (Q>W>E).
- A great ganking combo to use is Q-R-E-W-R!
Closing Remarks and Thanks
Remember my guide is not a systematic formula; rather, it's a guideline for laning, and it admittedly yields a bit of a glass cannon. Make the adjustments you need to accommodate issues that you encounter and feel free to let us all know what works in your experiences. Try my suggestions out before you down them please, and if you do still have a critique please offer it with due respect so that we may all benefit from your astute observations.
Huge thanks to jhoijhoi for her awesome guide for making guides found here!
Thanks to iplay2wiin for great advice and making me think a little harder.
Another big thanks to Rys Aberdeen for his guide on Fizz that taught me how to play that "melee-caster-assassin" style which is the heart of this guide.
14 AUG 2012: added "AP TANKY" build and explanation in "Items" section.
15 AUG 2012: after some testing I revised the masteries and runes of both builds, which have also been renamed "ASSASSIN" and "FIGHTER." The renaming reflects the play style associated with each build as most people seem to be forgetting that builds by themselves mean very little.