General Guide by Pheyniex
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Usual Build of Mine
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.
... and, please, stop complaining already. I know, it might not be too smart looking for a Nami guide (oh wait, this is not a Nami guide), especially ARAM, on last notice but it may have a purpose. It has my take on the game mode and on the "support" role in a generalistic specter for the Howling Abyss. It is, and please remember, my opinion, my options and my playstyle. I'm not contesting excellency of build nor "one recipe fits all" philosophy. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the read and find some usefull advice.
Some abreviations are used in this guide:
- LoL: League of Legends (different from lol)
- ARAM: All Random, All Mid
- SR: Summoner's Rift
- HA: Howling Abyss
- CC: Crowd Control
- AoE: Area of Effect
- Pb: Point-Blank
- AA: Auto-Attack
- CD: Cooldown
- Dot: Damage over time
- SX: LoL Season X
- GP10: Gold per 10
- WIP: Work In Progress
ARAM in Howling Abyss
5v5, whoever gets the enemy's nexus first, wins. In other words, one lane, jungle-less Summoner's Rift. Absence of Jungle, buffs and additional lanes forces you to pay attention mainly to one thing: the champions right in front of you. Some people instinctively get a fearsome urge to dive and kill anything in sight.
More than anything, in ARAM you should:
- be patient.
- focus on the high damage threat*
- learn to play with minion waves
- get some degree of tankiness**
- aim at being with you teammates at all time.*
Surely, you can not have an impressive map awareness since the map is reduced. Keep in mind, however, there is always the possibility of a sneaky backdoor.
Also, there is no access to wards and this is very important, since the corridor has bushes. Setting up traps will be easy, especially if packed with CC chains. Be carefull with facechecking. Avoid it with skills like Lucent Singularity, Command: Attack and Sapling Toss, or items such as Hextech Sweeper and The Lightbringer.
*Also very important on SR.
**HA focus on teamfighting, i.e., the duel between two fronts. It is of your interest to survive so you can deal as much damage as possible. Honorable exceptions if you can keep distance and still deal all your damage.
You should also remember the basic roles from each champion hardly change from SR to HA, therefore the following list will match what you see in a normal SR game.
Champion Roles and Team Strategy
You will notice that certain champions are looking forward to doing certain things. Such things dictate a certain playstyle that I will fit into each of 3 categories: Poke, Sustain and Engage. Furthermore, some champions can easily fit into more than one, especially ones that have flexibility due to thair kit, or are impaired due to specific champions on the enemy team. I tried to organize the following list regarding only the champion's kit. Shields can be considered a sustain component but will only work effectively if used to prevent damage. With the existence of a timing variable, I disregarded said component. As an example, Lux would be "Poke/Sustain".
As else, take it with a grain of salt, since this is no dogma.
Jacks of All Trades
Notice how most carries (AD and AP) are cathegorized as "poke", and most tanks are as "engage". Oddbodies are highly dependant on level, build, or even if brush is dominated by it's team.
Summoner Spells of Choice
Here I expose my perspectives for the Summoner Spells you can use at HA. I take Exhaust+ Barrier most of the time, especially because the teammates bring nothing more than Barrier and Flash. If you know your positioning, you will never need Flash, mainly because it now has a huge CD.
|An interesting fact about Flash is that it allows instantaneous repositioning. Usually as a means to escape, this can be more.
I almost never take Flash with the honorable exeption of Galio (and others), since it is detrimental to setting up plays early. Otherwise, you are probably picking it to flee from a sticky situation, that you shouldn't have put yourself into, in the first place. By all means, if you need it, take it.
|In dire need of chasing power... like, no engage, no poke, need to run in as fast as possible and refuse to buy Guardian's Horn. Otherwise, get lost.|
|A very popular choice, with good reason, since it allows tanks to soak a bit more damage, and maybe negate that Ace in the Hole or even Requiem. Lets you set up plays by baiting or if you simply need that edge for a dive/all in.|
|I understand that you may enjoy taking this spell on a mana intensive champion, especially when you can poke all day, everyday. However you should reconsider since a double Doran's Ring start is very good overall and easily negates mana issue, besides a need to use your spells carefully. Also, this will fill a space you will need late game for damage or defence, and this provides neither.|
|You can easily pick this one. It gives you a better edge on damage, while hurting regenration effects. Very good to aid in your busrt, especially if there isn't a possibility to poke often and trades often result in kills or near kills (meaning, full team engages). I have other preferences, though, and I often get Morellonomicon against champions that have a lot of healing effects.|
|My summoner spell of choice, unless I get Urgot, maybe Sona (and even then, i'll thing twice). Lets you chase, run away (a bit of a waste here, though), win trades and battles, nullify burst and AoE champions, mainly with Dot. Awesome if you can Exhaust that Crowstorm or that Pantheon jumping to someone on your team. You will be decieving someone about their burst potential, or simply their damage output, and this should be taken advantage of.|
|I remember taking Barrier+ Heal was the name of the game, until people started to learn how to play the poke/disengage game effectively. It is usually decent to have one in your team, unless everyone goes Barrier+ Flash for some silly reason. Fairly decent if you rely on engages and need to survive a bit longer. Remember that if you already have Barrier you are losing an offensive trait that could ensure you a better way to deal with disengage teams.|
|Hardly there will be a way for you to know the CC package of the enemy team before picking the spell but usually this is a good pick. However, risky, since you can end up with a useless slot. Quicksilver Sash is available at the HA store if you are a ranged champion, but this is probably way better on melee champions like Akali, that rely on being in your face as much as possible.|
Items of Utility and Exclusive Choices
In this chapter I will explain the usefullness of some item, not necessarily for their raw power, but their general usefulness.
|When is it good? Preferably when your team is composed by a lot of magic damage dealers and noone else in your team has one.|
|If you are a tank or a buiser in ARAM, Aegis into Runic Bulwark can't usually be wrong. Again, be aware of aura conflicts as the ones from Aegis and Bulwark are the same. You will provide your team and yourself with decent defensive stats, so that your carries can focus on damage.|
|Against Dr. Mundo, Trundle, AD Sion (if he is working as AD it's because you screwed up) or that ADC already has an hefty amount of lifesteal? Get this, please. It exists for a reason and that reason is not of aesthetics. Also take a look at Morellonomicon.|
|Its upgrade, The Lightbringer is also very nice and appealing, but this lantern is a good aim against stealthy champions, or simply if you need to check bushes and lacking a mechanism for it (more on this later). Usually a must against Teemo and Shaco due to their nasty traps. Also take a look at Hextech Sweeper.|
|Stats are not impressive because it doesn't offer an HP upgrade from Ruby Crystal. However, this can serve a double purpose, helped by its low CD active ability: engage and retreat. Also keep in mind that the regen value is more than double than Rejuvenation Bead and will have a very interesting impact early on, so you can sustain better until later.|
|Hextech Sweeper||The Lightbringer's counterpart for AP people. Better served, in my opinion, since HP is slightly more usefull than armor and you can never say no to CDR. Again, no reason to pick this up if there is no stealth entities against you. However, still ok if you find hard to contest bushes. Keep in mind all it's stats are not exceptional, since the most important features are the passives and active.|
|Fairly expensive, but bear with me: this works well in on-hit builds and possibly mess up someone that relies on a bunch of hp. Adding Blade of the Ruined King you will easily peel any tank. Unless you are Teemo or maybe Kayle, this will be a very late buy, since you probably lack range to use it. Remember, this provides no defensive stats.|
|I do like CDR and I usually find myself rushing this and Athene's Unholy Grail so I can max it ASAP. Why is this here and not the grail? Because this one provides a way of counterplay for ranged casters (40MR is silly, btw). Getting that Dr. Mundo a permafrown when he uses his ultimate is something you should be proud of, always, and this applies to other basterds that can heal themselves a lot. Remember to take this as necessary. I've lost plenty of games because whoever should, didn't buy this item.|
|Is one of the Queens of Poke playing against you? Please look no further. Albeit the shield being unimpressive, imo, this item can help you negete some poke damage. Rather useless against the likes of Mr.Annoyance, Jayce, but can help you well against champions like Nidalee and Fiddlesticks.|
|We all remember when you'd get this from Heart of Gold and also the days (early S3) when four members on the team would buy this. Why this item? May I present you with your frontline annoyance item, Randuin's Omen. If you are against any AD character that enjoys AA's, look no further. Don't forget the active, it is of UBER-importance.|
|Shurelya's Reverie||Your engage/disengage item of choice. Has lost some popularity amongst the playerbase since GP10 items have lost a impact ingame. Also ARAM is a rather fast paced game, where you really won't have much to farm and will have to keep damage and resistance coming, otherwise setting yourself behind.|
|Decently profitable if amongst mostly AP champions, if not all of the team can benefit from AP. It is costly considering the stats it provides to a single champion, therefore leaving it as a Hextech Revolver until late is usually the best choice.|
Map Layout, Poros and Bushes
A chapter dedicated to the map! Yes, because most players ignore the danger of facechecking and the mechanics involved in certain details of HA. I shall start with the basic layout of the battlefield.
As you have already figured out yourself, HA is composed of a single corridor, harboring two opposite sides. Each side has a nexus, 2 nexus turrets, 1 inhibitor, 1 inhibitor turret, 1 outer turret, 2 relics and a couple of bushes. The aim, of course, is to destroy the enemy nexus. Getting turrets is, therefore, your top priority.
Said corridor will sometimes feel narrow since there will be no jungle to flee to. If you want to flee, you will, most of the time, run to your nearest turret, otherwise known as going backwards. Regard this as both a problem and a benefit: noone will aproach you from the side (also known as ganking), and your escape path will be very predictable.
|Relics have a detrimental role to this game. They are in a delayed spawn timer, so you have to calculate well your first engage. If you noticeably lose it, your team will imediately be relegated to a single relic, just behind your outer turret. Hopefully, you will be able to contest the enemy's zoning potential and fight over a fairly good prize.||
You should do your best to claim relics, avoiding getting killed for it: taking a 90º detour straight to a relic while runing away from a full HP carry, when yourself at very low, maybe you are better off ignoring it, especially if you are the last one standing to defend. (Stating the obvious fact that you shouldn't suicide for a relic)
There is no map without some, so you should know their importance: suppose you facecheck a bush and Garen (mere example) is or isn't in the bush. Your champion can now be alive and dead. This is also know as Schrödinger's Garen.
The deal is that you can never really know if there is something in there. In SR there is an easy solution: get the place warded. However, there are no available wards in HA so you will have to resort to other mechanisms. Next, a list of some tools that give you vision at a distance:
||Other abilites may indicate the presence of enemies in places that offer no vision due to specific mechanics (sounds, missile path, animations). Also notice all the skills that potentially provide vision might not be listed above.
You can strategize plenty if you have control of bushes, since the enemy can't see what you'll be up to. No one will see the activation of a Rocket Grab or Javelin Toss, making both much harder to dodge. The same thought aplies when you have no idea (have no vision) of the enemy team so it is crutial to check a bush before moving past it.
Even though you might not be visible, some abilities can very safely sweep through a bush for a poke from time to time, especially if you keep yourself still. Do your best to avoid such threats, maybe consider poking you head out if need be (or retaliating if possible), to avoid all the damage you can.
As you will read next, two creatures inhabit the center bushes, one for each side. They will not be visible while inside one but their movement will tell you a lot!
*If enemies are hit, they will be visible.
^If enemies are below 50%HP.
'Can imply risky positioning.
¨Probably too much of an investment for only vision
||Quite adorable, are they not? Currently exclusive to HA, these creatures have a specific behavior that takes a rather interesting role in this map.
As a general rule, Poros will avoid champions, moving always directly away, keeping a distance of about 650~700 ingame units (not sure on this distance but I don't think it is too wrong). If you imagine your champion as the center of a circumference, the poro will move in the radial direction. As an example, if you are walking between the relic line and the centerline of the map, while a poro is resting at the centerline, as you progress he will start walking diagonaly. If you are still in his range, he will start to move at a bigger angle until he starts moving perpendicularly to your path. This idea is ilustrated with the following poro-less image:
A very important consequence of its basic mechanics brings us to the very starting moments of the game (20~40 seconds into the game). When you reach the center bush in time (otherwise you will be waiting to be instagibbed), you will notice there is a poro on the center edge. You can stay at the tip of your side and this won't startle him. However, if you move any further, he will move as well. It's movement will alert the enemy team of your presence. As with anything, you have two choices: either stay back to verify if a poro comes your away. If so, enemies are very near the center of the map. Also, you can rush to the other side, as the poro is not faster than you (beware of going alone!) and make a surprise or simply claim the opposit bush.
However, this can all be shred to bits if a poro is fed a biscuit from Explorer . In HA this is replaced with a biscuit that you can't use, unless near poros. Poros will love you to bits and no longer will run away from you.
Queens and Queers of ARAM
This chapter is dedicated to some champions that can easily make a game turn in their way, usually from the start, otherwise known to perfectly fit the game or simply be a very safe champion with fairly decent performance. Not all champions will be listed, but the ones that will make the most impact throughout the game.
||Early levels might be strange but he can easily turn a game around, as long as his team responds. Even early he can do a decent share of work. From the start of the game, Bandage Toss can provide a first blood. Keep in mind that any tank starts always rather squishy, but Amumu can provide a good deal of AoE damage, especially if he is allowed to keep himself in melee range unscathed.
His real power comes from lvl6, normaly starting to overthrow poke teams, if his own hasn't been dealt too much damage. Amumu is a standard example of how to beat poke teams: hard engage as soon as you can.
||From start to finish, Rocket Grab has the potential to make an ARAM game very onesided and rather unfair. However, his team must have a good deal of early damage, for a kill, and a good reaction, otherwise it is potentially a wasted grab. Also remember: a Rocket Grab is a very big investment, being costly and running on a considerable CD. If you miss one you will be prone to being engaged on. If the enemy team has hard engage you should have a preference for a pull if the engager has been poked a lot and/or you and your team can guarantee instantaneous burst onto the grabbed opponent.|
||Annoying, irritating, unexpected, frustrating and possibly very hard to deal with. Also one of the greatest abusers of bush vision, regardless of map. Being a surprise Terrify for Drain in 1v1 (or 1v2, even), or being a Crowstorm that your whole team forgot about. Pay attention to a Fiddlesticks' movement and you can easily counteract him, namely when you lose sight of him. Whenever you see one being sneaky and enterin a bush he will probably channel his ultimate. I either reach him to interrupt/ Exhaust or run away, pinging like a madman. Even though he is packed with CC, he is very vulnerable to any kind of hard CC. He also doesn't enjoy others to get on his face, so take advantage of it.|
||Usually known as a support with a rather high skillcap, in ARAM she has the potential to singlehandedly control the game. Her power comes not from burst but from denial and control. Her primary strategy is poke and waveclear but her Monsoon can have a double role: negate engages and providing sustain to her whole team. There is also the possibility to completely deny engages, especially if reliant on a single champion. Very efficient at protecting his friends, especially with a shield that enjoys every bit of AP, while easily pressuring the enemy turret.|
||Well, if there has to be a coward in ARAM, this is one. Just stay back and throw balls of sparkly stuff, dealing damage probably for free. Are you at low HP now? Take an hammer to the face, please. In my opinion, very annoying, especially if you need to wait for lvl6 to engage him. Most often than not, he will be able to fustrate you due to his uncanny ability to disengage, teamwide style.|
||He loves narrow spaces and ARAM is rather narrow. Add a silly untergetability and regeneration with tankiness... ta da(!), here is your primary ARAM annoyance. Not only that, also a CD reset and instant wave clears make him a total nightmare. Regardless, he can be dealt with, requiring some CC and decent timing on your skills. All you should really need is Mres and CC so he will be caught with his pants down when using his Meditate to soak up a lot of damage. If played well and you simply don't have waveclear, he will pressure your turrets so hard you will most likely lose.|
||It is rather easy to fall against a good Nidalee, especially if you take no effort to dodge Javelin Toss. In this game mode, the "spear" is her main damage source. Dodging it is top priority. Keep in mind, most of the time she is rather squishy since building AP is the best way for her poke dominance. She enables any win in a poke war since she also has decent sustain, added to the fact that most focus on securing mana regen really early. Hard engaging is the only way to beat her. However, she has a very disturbing ability to survive, even though the rest of her team is wiped, due to her passive, Prowl. Good Nidalees know when to enter cougar form to clean up, keeping their distance until the majority of her enemies are too low to engage. Remember: keep dodging!|
||Albeit quite hard to master, whatever applies to her laning in SR will apply here. She can zone hard, poke and control/check bushes. Not only a very good duelist, she can decieve you into finish her off and surprise with a Command: Protect that will throw all your bloodthirsty plans to the gutter. An Orianna with a decent amount oh AP and CDR is a imposing force and you will have to play smart, taking into account a shield with 400 points and a knockback for ~600 damage. Keep your focus and patience and, hopefully, you can be rewarded with a win against her. She can keep her safe distance from you and will have a surprise if you manage to get onto her face.|
||As soon as he gets his AP going he can be the most annoying thing around. If you let him lay his Noxious Traps at his will and you have no means of stealth detection, you will be putting yourself in a tough spot, since he relies on those to kite you and deal all the damage he needs.|
||Another lady built on zoning potential. However, Zyra is slighly easier to play, comparing to Orianna, even though her damage can be more sustained. Another great difference to the metallic balerina is that she has no shield, but more CC. Regardless of what makes her better or worse than the Lady of Clockwork, Zyra can easily check bushes and control them, either with a surprise snare or a simple ranged defense. If you can, i.e., if you have enough damage and resiliance, each plant of hers yields five gold. Cal help you if you don't let yourself get damaged while aiming for it. 5 gold is not worth 10% (or even more) of your hp. Either way, she usually hater having people up her face.|
ARAM and Nami (the dedicated chapter)
In ARAM every bit of damage counts. There is no jungle/baron/drake to control, no side lanes to push. It's only your team and an enemy team. Therefore I take the philosophy that even supports have to build heavily on damage (not quit ALL damage, but at least a considerable ammount). As you can see, less things to do, less roles to take.
No wards to place. Supports are more usefull than that, though: still have abilities and interesting stats or traits. Main example here will be Nami but I will try to introduce other supports if necessary.
Nami is very backline oriented. She is best at sustaining and managing teamfights. Her poke is not impressive, albeit rather interesting, since it lets you trade favorably, especially if it is just an instantaneous trade. Regardless, you will be very squishy at all times so, before you get yourself killed, you should put your abilities to good use. As Nami this should be fairly simple: buff a teammate, that likes to AA, with Tidecaller's Blessing and heal with Ebb and Flow. The latter allows you to keep your distance with ease. As for Aqua Prison, consider the following: it is a 1.5second stun on a 13second (most of the time) CD so you should weigh well when to use it. Maybe save it to protect your carry (AD or AP, or BOTH) or as an iniciatin method. Bear in mind, Aqua Prison is not of trivial usage since it can be dodged without much effort, especially if not taking pathings in consideration.
Help the Poke
Control the Fights
Protect the Team
Spray and Pray
ARAM and Others (the chapter for some overall insight)
As you have read previously, the Howling Abyss promotes a very poke oriented style. With this in consideration, and with a few games in my pocket this chapter will have some advice for champions that may not have such straightforward building paths and playstyle: (In any case, you might be interesting in starting boots against heavy poke/skillshot based teams)
Don't forget you can help with brush control using Twilight Shroud.
Suggested Item Starts:
- 3x Amplifying Tome+2x Health Potion (If not dead until 3 charges on Shadow Dance and going balls deep)
- Boots of Speed+ Ruby Crystal+ Amplifying Tome+3x Health Potion (Very good opener. Fast penetration build or revolver+cowl)
- Doran's Shield in case you predict heavy siege until you can engage.
Recomended Item Starts:
- Ruby Crystal+ Doran's Shield+ Null-Magic Mantle (For a fast Aegis of the Legion)
- 3x Doran's Ring (Very good mana sustain and overall stats. Might need Boots of Speed to take advantage of your CC, though)
Recommended Item Starts:
- Tear of the Goddess+ Boots of Speed (If you are 90 - 100% sure you can use your skills whenever you want)
- Catalyst the Protector+5x Health Potions (My preferred choice for a fast Rod of Ages)
- 3x Doran's Ring+5x Health Potion (possible but maybe not the best)