Heimerdinger Build Guide by Truekid
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
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.
Welcome to this guide!
This is going to be primarily about my views on an optimal way to use Heimerdinger for your average player. There will also be a heaping helping of general advice, since I think your average player tends to need it.
This guide is very wordy and covers a lot of bases, if there's too much to read, here's a quick rundown of salient points:
- Use your high HP/MP regen (accentuated by items/runes/masteries) to trade harass in lane frequently.
- Place turrets where minions don't attack it much, and where the slow from your ult will let you escape ganks.
- Fight on top of your turrets. Use your ult's slow, grenades' stun/blind, and items' hp to do this solo.
- Encourage fights for objectives to do this with your team. (Get the enemy to engage you, rather than the other way around).
- This game is about accumulating gold and exp so that you have a better chance of killing people, not the other way around.
Detailed conceptual overview:
Heimerdinger is an odd champion in the way he plays. He is very location-centric, and this makes him an exceptionally good laner, but after the laning phase is over, difficulties can set in primarily because YOUR team doesn't know how to best use him to their advantage. Hopefully I can shed some light on how to best use him IN LANE and IN TEAM FIGHTS. I do not recommend learning Heimer as your first major champion, because he plays so differently that you will be better off learning positioning and tactics with a more standard champion.
To start with, let's look at your strengths and weaknesses.
- Inability to chase enemies down (your grenade speed is too slow, and while rockets are your primary "chase" killer, they are often foiled by minions behind you or nearby jungle creeps).
- One of the worst stat lines in the game ( http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Base_champion_statistics )
- Huge sustained DPS
- Good crowd control (Stun on a short timer, Blind, AOE slow)
- Good HP/MP sustain- while your base HP stat looks meh, your passive affects yourself, so in reality you've got some of the best non-mana-dependent HP regen in the game. Your base MP regen is one of your few decent stats, and we're going to play up that strength with this build.
How do we take advantage of this, and how is Heimer even a viable champion if his stat line is so bad?
Because if you and a single opponent walk up to each other, and press all your buttons and auto-attack, and both hit all your skill shots automatically, Heimer wins versus almost everyone.
Consider level 1: they walk up, drop an 80ish damage spell every 8 seconds (on average), and auto-attack. You drop a turret, and they are dead from your turret and auto-attacks before they get anywhere near their second cast of their spell. At level 2, this swings even more in your favor because you add your stun to the mix. The few people he does not win automatically against are generally "solved" by Exhaust. The goal is thus to make this state of affairs realistic throughout the game.
When you are in lane, you are generally 1v1. You most frequently will be mid, but sometimes solo-top. There is very rarely a good reason to share a lane with someone, because you can handle yourself well and you've got good sustain, so a support character rarely does you much good (and in beginner games, your turrets will be hogging most of the creeps anyway, so it's not very beneficial for people to lane with you). The exception to this are people with the ability to move opponents around (Blitzcrank being best, but Nautilus, Volibear, Singed, and Alistar also work). Normally you are very passive. You want to farm and harass, because your chase is so bad. It usually requires them to decide they're going to try to kill you to really open up your opportunity to show them that it's a bad idea. People who get to put opponents up close and personal with your turrets turn a passive lane into a killer lane.
But barring that, you're generally by yourself, and that's fine:
- You will farm creeps. PLEASE, please learn to last-hit creeps so that you get the gold. Yes, your turrets will make this easier, but try and learn timing and damage range on your wrenches to get the most out of your lane.
- You will harass the opponent. Your mana is to lay turrets, and to grenade and missile your opponent. When there are only 2 (or less) opposing creeps, make sure your opponent is in range (pretty easy, they've got huge range) and use missiles. When there are more than 2 creeps, you're using your grenade. Preferably you should aim them so that even if the opponent dodges it, it'll hit creeps. Keeping the opponent softened with harass ensures your victory if they decide to jump you, and it means that when your jungler comes, it's an easy kill. MOST IMPORTANTLY, it means that it's hard for their jungler to gank you. Why is this? because a good gank starts with the laner initiating, and the jungler bursting out of the darkness to seal the deal. If the laner is not in a state to initiate, it tends to look more like the jungler bursting out of the darkness to try to initiate, and you running away before anyone gets on top of you.
- YOU ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO TRADE ROUGHLY EVEN HARASS WITH THE OPPONENT. Them hitting you sounds bad, but because your HP regen is AMAZING because of your passive, you will eventually win the lane by attrition, and they'll be forced to recall while you're still nice and healthy, and you'll take half their tower's health away. If they've got healing potions, you still come out ahead, because they're spending gold to stay in lane and you're not. This is not something evidenced in just a few seconds, but over the course of the laning phase, it will become apparent.
- Your goal in mid is usually to take their tower (or come close) before the laning phase is over. "Over" usually happens somewhere between level 9 and 13, or when 1 or 2 towers fall and people start roaming heavily. It's hard to pinpoint, but it's usually best for YOUR team to essentially choose when it happens (by grouping up and ganking a lane as a team), rather than the opposing team doing so. Aside from that, you want to have gained more gold and exp than the opposing mid player. Mostly from farming creeps, but also from NOT DYING, and perhaps getting kills yourself if they get frisky at the wrong time.
- Your goal when you're on top lane is generally to just get more minion kills than them. You can't push the lane to their tower because the distance back to safety when their jungler comes is ENORMOUS compared to mid. If they don't have a jungler, that probably means you're 1v2 and setting up a stronghold at your tower and farming minions. If you're doing it right this should be fine, however if they have 2 extreme-range characters (like Caitlyn/Kog'maw/Nidalee) you may need to ask for assistance. Generally speaking this isn't a concern, as top is more frequently not high range, and more importantly, it would be an odd team that would put two top (as this would usually mean that one of their other lanes is suffering from range deficiency, and they're already not playing a jungler, so this state of affairs is usually in favor of your team, as long as you avoid dying). In any case, try not to let the tower eat incoming minions; wrench-tower-wrench will get you caster minions, tower-tower-wrench will pick up the melee minions (usually). Since your passive heals your tower slowly, they can't whittle your tower down over time, they have to do it all at once.
In team fights, Heimer has got HUGE sustained damage, meaning his primary source of damage doesn't really worry about cooldowns, scales decently with AP, and damages everybody on the opposing team within a reasonably sized area. Not only that, usually the opposing team is suffering from a perpetual slow from your ult, and individuals are getting stunned/blinded from your (hopefully long distance) grenades every few seconds.
This sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, most fights have motion to them, and people like to chase down opponents, and the fight spreads out or drifts away from your turrets.
How do you solve this problem?
By encouraging the team to do what they should be doing anyway, pursuing objectives: Dragon, Baron, and towers. When you head to grab dragon as a group, for instance, one of two things will happen:
- The enemy will not have a ward up or not notice the missing players, and you will get a free Dragon kill, yay!
- OR the enemy will see you, and THEY will engage you. On top of your already placed turrets. And because you were there first, even if they kill your turrets, you'll usually be able to re-lay them immediately. Good times ensue.
Both of these situations play to your strengths, and all it usually takes is walking towards Dragon/Baron/Tower and pinging it so your teammates will know your intentions. If your team aren't as eager to help with what they should be eager to help with, you may need to type some encouragement in chat.
You can also often force engagements at your opponents' blue/red buffs, which lets you ambush them- literally, with turrets hidden in the bush (if you expect multiple enemy responders), or sometimes dropped the second before your opponent reaches the bush to ensure they're stuck in turret range for longer (for 1v1 fighting).
Another way to use his turrets well when not pushing an objective is to place them where your team is (not in front, otherwise they get picked off), have one or two champions do a "soft engage" and then fall back immediately as if it was a bad choice, to draw the enemy team onto your turrets to continue the team fight. Once they're on top of your turrets, pop ult, and everyone does a hard engage. If it looks like the fight is going bad, the slow from your ult (which lasts WAY longer than most team fights) should allow your team to disengage.
If you can't get your team to behave properly, just try to get in, lay turrets, and get out.
Why do you see other players doing (insert something different than this guide indicates)?
This guide is different from others because it specifically plays to Heimer's STRENGTHS. People build Rabaddon's and max Rockets early on Heimer because they're used to playing other AP characters that are trying for the 1 second kill because their abilities go on cooldown and they essentially "run out of damage" and die if they didn't succeed. Heimer doesn't have that problem because of his turrets. Playing towards his strengths, rather than pretending he's a bad Annie, will win you far more games- because he's NOT an Annie/Veigar style character. He DOESN'T kill you in one second when he presses all his buttons, even with a heavy rockets/AP build.
To summarize: Play to your strengths- use your high HP/MP regen to sustain in lane and trade harass (HP regen recovers you from theirs, MP regen lets you continue yours), encourage your team to push objectives so that the enemy team will be forced to engage you on top of your towers.
The runes I've listed in this build (4x mana regen red, 5x spell pen red, 2x mana regen yellow, 7x armor yellow, 2x mana regen blue, 2x mag resist per lvl blue, 5x flat mag resist blue, 2x mana regen quints, 1x move speed quint) are what has worked best for me, and have undergone lots of tweaking and tuning. Armor, mag resist, and mana regen help with your harass in lane, and to a lesser extent gives you some durability to stay on top of your turrets and not run away from them as much. The move speed quint (combined with the move speed mastery points) boosts me up enough that I can escape when needed.
Feel free to tweak things to suit your play style- in fact, I'd recommend starting with 3 move speed quints and scaling back as you become more comfortable with running away with Heimer in various situations. This sounds weird, but until you're used to using his stun and his ult to run away, you'll want the extra speed. I would not drop his MP regen from runes below 3, if you can help it. This rune build is a generic one for all lanes/uses, on the basis that people often don't want to devote multiple rune pages to a single champ. If you've got the extra rune pages to devote to it, you could move the mana regen over to reds/blues so you have more armor yellows when playing top, or to reds/yellows when you're playing mid so you can have more mag resist blues. Similarly, if you're not max level yet, prioritize the mana regen and the move speed over the rest.
Advice for people with only 2 or 3 rune pages:
If you're playing for free, or mostly free, and only have a couple of rune pages, I would recommend the following:
- Don't buy runes until level 20, when you can get top level runes. It's a waste of IP to buy lower level ones. The rune combiner is not a reasonable way to get runes.
- Make generic pages - One for AP and one for AD characters. Armor yellows, Mag resist blues, and Move speed quints are valid choices on everyone. Your AD page will use armor penetration reds (or flat attack damage reds), Your AP page will use magic penetration reds. Tournament play, beginner play, everywhere, you will see pages and pages of armor yellows, mag resist blues, and penetration reds. There are only a few champions who really want significantly different rune sets, and those champions are still fine with these. Heimer is fine with this too, you just have to watch your mana a bit more in lane.
- If you've got a 3rd rune page, it should be generic support - armor red, mag resist blue, gold per 10 seconds yellows and quints.
As mentioned above, we're playing to Heimer's strengths. We give him some extra durability, HP/MP regen, and ability power. Runic Affinity is for blue buff, which you should grab for yourself whenever you can once you're out of the laning phase. Hopefully your jungler will give it to you during laning phase too, but when solo-queue-ing, you can't always expect this. I say "whenever you can", but this build is actually geared towards not needing it from level 16 and on. Blue provides cooldown reduction and high mana regen, and you'll have enough mana from your rod of ages, and once you've got your ult maxed, if you picked up Lucid boots and the offensive tree cooldown reduction mastery, you'll already be at 39% CDR (CDR caps at 40%).
Summoner's Insight is self explanatory- you're pushing hard, deep in the lane, 1 extra flash per game is pretty good for that.
Most people will advise a heavy offensive tree build, which is generally not necessary, and makes you worse in lane because those bonuses amount to SO little early game that they don't even help your harass much, and you'll get kills if your opponents jump on you in range of your turrets without going that deep into the tree. Stick with the mana regen, hp regen, move speed, and cooldown reduction masteries.
More simply put, mastery build for early game (because you don't have items yet), item build for late game.
If you don't have 30 points to spend yet, prioritize mana regen, then move speed, then hp regen, then cooldown reduction.
Obviously you take your ult whenever possible- as much for the cooldown reduction as anything else. Max your turrets first, then grenades, and rockets last. People are going to cry about your rockets being your best skill, and they're not- they're your worst. Guides that emphasize rockets are basically saying that you can't skill-shot. Ever. Even when your opponents are slow or on top of you. If that's the case, you should choose a champion that doesn't use skillshots (for instance, melee champs).
Hextech Micro-Rockets do less damage than your grenade. You don't get to choose when to harass your opponent in lane with them (you're limited to when there are few creeps or the opponent is being dumb and standing in front of his minions), and if your opponent is good and steps back when there are only a couple of minions left, you may not get to use them at all. Learning to not hit minions with them while chasing opponents is as hard as learning to skill-shot effectively with your grenade. The only time they're "decent" is in team fights, and during team fights your grenades become SUPER EASY to land, so you'd still rather have your grenades maxed first. It's also important to know that if there are less than 3 targets for your missiles, it will only shoot 1 missile per available target. So, for instance, if it's you vs. 1 person, they will only be hit by 1 missile, not 3.
CH-1 Concussion Grenade provides aoe damage, a stun, and a blind. It has a better AP to damage ratio than Rockets. Leveling it increases the damage and blind duration. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE BLIND. The blind means you've got a favorable match-up vs. AD characters, as it makes them miss their auto-attacks for several seconds. At max level, you're blinding for 3 seconds roughly every 5 or 6 seconds. So even if you don't get the stun off, they're still missing their attacks half the time.
How do you hit with your grenade? It IS very slow.
- When using it to harass in lane, aim just behind your enemy. Whether you hit with the stun isn't relevant, you just want the damage to occur, and the area affected by the damage is large enough that it takes very little skill to do this.
- When people are running away from you, if they started right next to you, aim a distance in front of them equal to the distance between you and them.
- When people are running towards you, which happens A LOT in a game where people want to fight, it is easy to hit people. Even if you're not used to the timing yet, you can just wait until they actually get on top of you and then drop the grenade. When it's done at point-blank range, it's automatic, it happens instantly. Treating it like your stun is just melee-range is a viable approach.
- When they are slowed, snared, or stunned, it's also easy to hit. Conveniently, your ult slows people (and to add to this convenience, your grenade gets faster during your ult). Against people who don't try to stand right next to you to hurt you, you can use your ult to remove their mobility and then stun them. In team fights, even if your turrets aren't in the mix, your teammates are invariably slowing, stunning, and snaring opponents for you, making it easy (for example) to land a grenade right as their stun or taunt is ending, or any time during their slow.
- The only really hard time to hit is when you are intersecting a running opponent who is not moving directly toward or away from you. This takes skill, and requires practice. This happens most frequently when you're trying to gank a lane. I recommend not initiating with the grenade in this case, and instead just trying to get to the center of the lane, and then putting yourself between them and their escape, so you can land a point-blank stun, or potentially drop turrets and slow them with your ult, then stun them.
- lobbing grenades from over a wall when your opponent doesn't have sight on you to begin with generally removes their ability to respond in time.
Your grenade also has a very very long range- on paper, it looks like rockets have slightly more range, but they're actually about the same because of the AOE splash on the grenade. This range lets you stay behind your turrets while dropping harass on the enemy. Additionally, it lets you throw grenades at guys who are hugging their tower. The fact that it is slow to reach its target can actually be beneficial here, as the tower won't target you until the grenade actually hits the opponent, by which time you'll be back out of range. Your grenade gives you sight, which means that you can throw it into bushes and if people are there, it will reveal them. Do not use your face to check suspicious bushes! It also means you can check across walls, for instance into Dragon pit from behind it to see if he's there, or enemy champions are there.
Your ult, UPGRADE!!! is a slow. The other things are just perks, view your ult as a slow, and use it accordingly. The Cooldown reduction is good, and is the reason you get more than one rank in this, and is a factor in your overall build. But the slow is what you need to learn to use. When you're running away in lane, you activate your ult to slow your pursuers. If you're running away elsewhere, activate your ult, then drop turrets (with a reasonable gap between turrets) to slow pursuers. If they catch up to you, stun them, drop a turret, and keep running. Sometimes this will continue so long that instead of continuing to run, it will be best to just turn around and fight them on top of your most recent turret. Your ult also heals your turrets to full, this is good for conserving turret charges, or for preventing your turrets from dying if you have no more charges.
H-28G Evolution Turret are your primary source of damage. They are what your play style is based around. Let's cover some important points:
- Your turrets deal only magic damage.
- They are affected by your ability power and your magic penetration, and NOTHING ELSE. You do not get spellvamp from them, that's why you don't build items or take the spellvamp mastery or runes. You do not proc other magic on-hit effects. Ability power and magic pen, that's it.
- They increase in DPS as you level them. You also get other benefits at each level- a stacking armor/magic pen debuff with each hit at level 2, a second turret at level 3, more hp on them at level 4, and 50% splash damage to nearby enemies at level 5. The splash damage will not apply the debuff.
- They choose their targets the same way that towers choose targets, generally speaking. This basically means they'll shoot whatever's closest, unless something attacks you, and then they'll change targets to attack it if possible. Bait your opponent in lane into hitting you with harass while they're in range of a turret, and you get free bonus harass in return.
- When you activate your ult, they will slow their primary target. Cleanse effects don't work well against this, because it will cleanse off, and then be immediately re-applied with the next turret shot. Also when you activate your ult, the turrets will re-assess their targets... which means if an enemy champion is nearby, they will generally target the champion. This is important. If you get hit by a minion right as you activate the ult, however, the turret may go for the minion instead.
- Watch this video:
Why am I showing you someone else's Nidalee video? Because all the spots Nidalee can jump over are also the spots where Heimer can push turrets through. If you have problems dropping it over a particular wall, click the skill to bring up the range template, and then click to place the turret at max range (I'm assuming you use smartcast normally). Even if it looks like you're dropping it in the middle of the wall, if you're positioned correctly, it will pop out on the other side. The most useful function of this is to steal opposing blue buff by shoving turrets through the wall. The turrets give you sight and tank the golem, while you drop attacks, grenades, and missiles over the wall. You should be able to do this easily as soon as you can place 2 turrets (level 5). You can also drop it over your mid-lane opponents wraith wall to steal their wraiths (along with some melee attacks).
Here are pictures illustrating that- you can see the health bars (and vision range) of the turrets I've shoved over the walls, and you can see from the cast template that the turret popped out much farther than it looks like it should be able to go:
- Towers will tend to prioritize your turrets over normal minions. The best thing to do is wait until the tower targets a big (siege) minion, and then drop your turrets, since this will give your turrets lots of shots before they start being killed off. You can also use your turrets as fodder so that your teammates can get more hits in on the tower, after a creep wave has expired.
- Your turrets have slightly lower range than caster minions. This is rarely relevant, because it's a very tiny margin, but it is something to keep an eye out for.
- You can use the summoner spell "teleport" on your turrets, to jump to them from large distances.
- You can use your turrets like wards, they give sight around them for a reasonable area, and also show you anything that's in the same bush as them.
- Placing turrets works on an ammo system. Every 23 seconds or so, Heimer gets a "charge" of turret. He can store 1 charge when his turrets are level 1 or 2, and 2 charges at level 3, 4, and 5. Dropping a turret expends a charge. Dropping a turret takes about half a second, so you can double-tap the button to drop both turrets. If you have your max allowed turrets already in play, your oldest one will die when you place a new one. Cooldown reduction affects your recharge time, so at max level and 39% cooldown reduction, you get a new charge every 14 seconds or so.
- When you place a turret, for the first 6 seconds or so, the turret will shoot much faster than normal. This is very useful. Double-dropping turrets and activating your ult in quick succession while standing next to an opponent can be devastating.
- If you die, your turrets die.
- Your turrets will give you gold if they last-hit things. You will only get exp if you are close enough to the minion yourself.
- When your turrets are level 3, you can drop a couple in creep wave or jungle camp, along with a grenade, and keep walking. The turrets will finish the job. When they're level 4, lay 1 turret, drop a grenade and missiles, and keep walking. When your turrets are level 5, you can Drop 1 turret at a creep wave, or 1 turret and 1 grenade at a jungle camp, and keep walking. You will get the green regen thingy from the camp when the turret finishes the job.
- ability power and turret level is set for a turret when you lay it. Only magic pen that you gain will increase for your turret after it's in play.
- There are 2 types of opponents: those who think the key to beating Heimer is to ignore his turrets, and those that think the key is killing his turrets immediately. Generally speaking, they're both wrong. During laning phase, once a turret is out, it will have done enough damage for it to be worth your mana before your opponent can kill it. Do you think Ahri is mad when her foxfires shoot towards enemies and disappear? No, because she spent the mana, and they did their damage. Same for turrets. If your opponent spends more mana to kill your turret than you did to make it, you came out on top. If your turret damages your opponent at all before they kill it, you came out on top. What you DON'T want is for them to 1-shot your turret. Smite, Nunu's consume, Yi's alpha strike proc, and Madred's razor procs are the only real nuisances of this type early game, and they just mean you back off a bit until you can get another turret out there. Your turrets are on a shorter cooldown than smite or consume, and you generally don't have to deal with Yi or Madred's in the lanes you frequent. However, a smart jungling (i.e. smite-ing) Nunu or Yi is a huge threat for you, and you should play more defensively if the opposing team has that going on. What opposing laners SHOULD do is use auto-attacks to kill your turrets, but not at the cost of giving up other creep kills or taking damage themselves. You should make this as hard as possible for them by dropping spells and your auto-attacks on them whenever they attack your turret. One of the reasons you're so good in lane is that even the "smart" way to play against your turrets isn't in most champions' favor.
Positioning is very important for your turrets. Your first turret in lane is often dead center, and will quickly push the lane towards their tower. Your second turret will generally be just behind where the minions engage each other (your first turret will die when you place this. You won't have both until level 5). This position will be slightly different depending on how hard the opponent pushes, but usually it's about where I've put them in this picture:
If your opponent has an AOE that they use to farm, like Cassiopeia or Mordekaiser, you should put them away from your minions instead, where the red circles are. You do not want the minions doing too much damage to your turrets, otherwise your opponent gets free gold by last-hitting them. If the opponent pushes hard, or is a natural pusher like Mordekaiser, keep in mind that the engage line may be closer to the center of the lane.
Similarly, if your opponent has a skill shot (like Nidalee's spear, Blitzcrank's grab, or Mundo's cleaver), you yourself should hide behind your minions so they intercept it. If their shot goes through minions (like Xeraths beam, or Caitlyn's peacemaker) you should not stand by your minions.
If you are top lane, your first turret goes in the near bush, and your next one goes in the center, where shown. If you are 1v2, your second one will be further back (red circle), because you will be more under your tower for most of the time:
For more on how you're keeping control of the situation in a 1v2 top lane (and the game in general), I recommend this video:
Your turrets increase your zone dramatically, even 1v2.
When you've got all your skills online, a 1v1 engage will be them getting on top of you, you making sure turrets are hitting them, activate ult, stun, step to the other side of your turrets. If they pursue, rinse and repeat. If they fall back, you succeeded. Not dying means you can farm. You farm better than them because of your turrets. Thus not dying = winning.
Your passive gives you, as well as your nearby turrets and towers, very good HP per 5 regen. This means that opponents can't drop just an occasional attack on your turrets, they need to do it in a reasonable time frame. It also means you can heal towers, very slowly. If it's a key tower though, sometimes this is worthwhile.
Flash. Seriously. There's a reason it's far and away the most used summoner spell. It lets you escape, it lets you get closer, it lets you hop over walls, and it's good early and late game. It lets you respond to surprises so much better than anything else. In mid lane, before you have your ult to slow gankers, you're relying on your summoner spells and your stun to get back to your tower, and flash covers the majority of the distance by itself.
Exhaust also helps you escape early by slowing the opponent. It also gives you a second pseudo-stun to try and kill people who engaged you near your turrets or under your tower. It lets you stop runners so that your teammates can catch up or so you can stun them or drop turrets and ult them. It neutralizes heavy-hitters for a brief time during team fights. It's a very good skill.
Ignite is what a lot of people take- I don't care for it much myself. The ability power from the mastery in the offensive tree is the only real argument in favor of ignite, but generally speaking Exhaust will net you the same or more damage (if you exhaust them near your turrets) and has more overall utility (damage prevention, slow, etc). Most notably, Ignite doesn't help you survive ganks, and if you're mid, you're usually pushed up to their tower constantly, so no defensive application = not as good as exhaust.
Heal is actually what I took for a very long time, until they nerfed its base value by 30%. Heal was a good spell for Heimer because it let you fight on top of your turrets for longer, and also healed your turrets. This made heal a better than average spell for Heimer compared to other champions. After the nerf, heal is inadequate for Heimer, and even worse for other champions. Exhaust will now almost invariably save you the same or more HP through its damage reduction, and again, provides more utility. Heal was only better early game because it was worth more HP.
Ghost is a somewhat better escape tool than exhaust. I prefer exhaust because it has offensive utility, and works defensively even if you're snared/slowed, but I'm not going to fault you if you prefer Ghost.
Teleport is something people take because they don't understand how rarely you would actually teleport to your own turrets. Wards are better targets for teleporting to, since they'll be at more relevant locations and don't have the high likelyhood of being killed before you get back to them. (And also because warding is a good practice to be in). Unless you've got a very specific plan involving a split-push with Heimer, This is just a "meh" pick.
Clairvoyance is for support characters, and SOMETIMES for characters with uber-long-range abilities. This is not you.
Clarity is a bad skill, and one that you don't need because we already tweaked your mana regen. If you were playing a support Heimer, you "could" use it (your passive being your pseudo-heal) to help sustain your lane partner, but usually exhaust will be more useful in and out of lane throughout the game.
Surge does give you more ability power, however your turrets have their ability power set when you lay them, so you would have to cast surge, then cast the turret to get the boost. That lowers the usefulness of this to almost nil.
Promote is another bad skill. It has a weird stealth split-push application, where you make a minion big at base and send him into an otherwise empty lane, but this requires very specific circumstances to be worthwhile, and those circumstances don't happen as often as the ones that require exhaust or flash.
Cleanse is a good skill, but is better suited for someone who relies on their mobility. Additionally, your turrets are still doing their job even if you're stunned for the whole fight, so this skill is not for you.
Revive is marginally better than people give it credit for, but it doesn't give you the anti-ganking tools you want level 1 through 5. If your turrets stayed out when you died, I could see an argument for Teleport/revive a la Karthus, but since they don't, this statement is moot.
This item build emphasizes the fact that you are essentially a meat shield for your turrets.
You take Doran's Ring to start. The Mana-per-5 and the extra HP buffer makes your laning plan work better, and the AP is a bonus. Your passive makes pots unnecessary (they're fine, but your plan is attrition, which shouldn't involve you dumping money into pots), and in mid lane your stun, slow, and summoner spells will get you back to tower. If all your summoner spells are down AND you don't have your ult yet, just hang back a bit, play more defensively. Yes, people will be all OMG BOOTS POTS NOOB, but the reality is that Heimer wins early fights by not running, and has enough sustain with his passive that he doesn't need pots. Watch some of the videos in the "Winning Lanes" section later in this guide if you're an ignore-logic sort of doubter.
Your first purchase is Boots of Speed anyway, which you will upgrade into Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the cooldown reduction ASAP. For a long time I rushed Catalyst the protector first, because the HP buffer and added sustain is awesome in lane. This build gives you enough sustain already, and the cooldown reduction means your turrets and stuns will ensure your survivability more than the health will, early on. Your stun being on cooldown at the wrong time can be devastating, and since you use it for harass, you want the early CDR. Similarly, don't empty your mana pool. As a rule of thumb, you should always have enough mana to cast your ult and a stun, and preferably new turrets too. If you're dropping below ult/stun mana, you should consider hanging back more instead. It took me a long time to work out that the Lucid boots helped me survive more than the Catalyst. The only exception to this rule is if you can buy Rod of Ages outright. Lucid boots give you enough CDR along with your Ult's passive and your mastery points, you don't need any more CDR items.
Rod of Ages gives you health to be a meat shield, Ability power for your turrets, and a hefty mana pool to let you stay out in the field longer. (When buying it piecemeal, pick up the Catalyst first). This should alleviate all your mana problems for the remainder of the game.
Zhonya's Hourglass Gives you some armor for a little more defensiveness, a big chunk of AP, and the most important part, a couple seconds worth of invulnerability... during which time your turrets continue doing their job. And your cooldowns are still ticking down, so you can often drop another grenade shortly after unfreezing. It's amazing in teamfights and 1v1.
That's a complete build! Most games will end (or essentially be over) shortly before or shortly after you complete your second big item. People remember the longer games because they're longer, but 30 minute games (or, at least, games where it's obvious who the winner is at 30 minutes) are the norm, not 55 minute games. In fact, you don't want a 55 minute game- when it gets to the point where opposing aoe spells accidentally 1-shot your turrets, your strength drops off dramatically. This doesn't happen generally until everyone has been at level 18 for a while, but it's yet another reason to encourage pushing objectives, because we don't want things to get to that point.
Items after this point are actually situational.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives you more health for meat-shieldiness and AP. It is what I'd suggest for new players in general as your second big item, because new players tend to have problems using activate abilities on items in combat. But if you're not new, Rylai's can be your third item. While Rylai's slow proc doesn't work with your turrets, it's still useful on your other spells (rockets in particular, while chasing or being chased).
Another option over Rylai's is Haunting Guise. It builds faster, but its big problem is that if the game DOES go long, you end up selling it.
If you're super-duper fed early, you can push that advantage by going triple Doran's and Abyssal Scepter/Haunting Guise, and start roaming like an AP Bruiser.
If your opponents are stacking magic resistance, you should pick up Void Staff. If there are only 1 or 2 mag resist items total on the opposing team, you should not.
If you are getting into lots of poke fights and tower sieges, that's when you snag Rabadon's Deathcap. This build is different than a lot of Heimer builds because it emphasizes survivability over Deathcap.
There are a couple of reasons for this- first is that unless you are playing with a pre-made team of people that KNOW how to play with Heimer turrets well, you should assume that you're going to have to step up into moving team fights to re-lay turrets and then get out. You need this health to do so safely. Your turrets are only good as long as you are alive, so be alive longer. Surviving your opponents' first round of spell launches is the big thing here, and in team fights, that can be a lot of spells.
This build is better for most situations, and more importantly works whether or not your team understands how they should be playing with a Heimer. Getting 2-shotted by an AP carry is dumb. Get some HP.
The item I hate seeing more than anything on Heimers is Tear of the Goddess. Catalyst into Rod of Ages handles your mana problems early and late, provides similar AP, and gives you HP which the other options do not. Furthermore, Tear of the Goddess is barely acceptable on people who full-on-spam their spells, like Ryze and Urgot. You do not come anywhere close to their ability to pump up Tear, and you'll not get it maxed until absurdly late game, often well after level 18, when it's not so hot. You would be better off buying mana pots, and you shouldn't buy mana pots. The only time I advocate an Archangel's staff is after you've already got multiple mana items in place and are max level (and thus max base mana), so that the build-up isn't really relevant... and even then, Deathcap is usually the better choice.
Chalice of Harmony/ Athene's Unholy Grail has a lot going for it- defense, AP, huge mana regen. But building it early doesn't allow for as "smooth" of a build overall, and Catalyst into Rod will help you more at all stages of the game. Instead, you could consider building this as a super-late item, when you've got enough gold to sell your Lucid boots and buy Sorc boots.
If your jungler and support aren't warding adequately, you should be. Whenever you recall to buy, if you have enough leftover gold, buy wards. Consider buying pink ones if you're eyeing Dragon or Baron, or if they've got a stealth champion.
There are several different ways you win lanes, but broadly speaking, how ahead you are on gold is a good measure. You get gold from minions, kills, and towers/dragons/barons. If their tower goes down but yours doesn't, your team is ahead 750 gold (plus it opens up the map more for you). If you get a dragon kill, that puts your team ahead almost 1,000 gold. Deaths are acceptable if your gold from other sources outweighs them. If you take baron, and they manage to ace your team immediately and they only lost 1 person in the exchange, you are actually about even on the gold exchanged, and importantly, the opposing team didn't get the Baron. Obviously that's still not optimal, but it's important to keep things in perspective.
(Most of the following vids are made with and require LoLReplay to watch. I highly recommend downloading it- not just to watch these, but to record your own games and watch them later to see what you did wrong)
First, to deal with the people who think you need boots to start, here's me mid vs. Gragas:
Count the number of times Gragas and/or the jungler go in on me. Then, when their Renekton top finally does succeed in getting me, it ends up as a 1 for 2. When the Gragas or jungle Cho go in on me by myself, I stand my ground. And I'm in lane until I can flat buy a Rod of Ages, so no boots still when I return to lane.
Here's a match of me mid vs. Ziggs:
You'll notice I stay ahead of him in minion kills/gold the entire time by making sure my minions get eaten by his turret and not by him. Then his tower falls early because of the pressure on it and a poor choice by the opposing Lee Sin (he should have fallen back under the tower to defend it instead). Lots of roaming and good team fights and pushing objectives commences, plus a Heimer quadra-kill. Several good spots to check out running away/kiting with Heimer and also a couple of flash/ult/turret-drops (or stuns/exhausts) to slow runners.
Another good example of kiting is the Heimer clip in this video (not me, though he builds similarly aside from the boots) at about the 2 minute mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrUy8LMWg20&feature=player_embedded#!
Top vs. Olaf:
He actually manages to keep very close to me in minion kills the whole time, which is to his credit. Not to his credit is the 3 times I kill him in lane, which is the way I was winning that lane. Good examples of stand by your turrets, measure your life span by the cooldown on your next stun/blind. Unfortunately, our team couldn't cohese after the laning phase ended and while the lane was a victory, the game was not.
Here's me top vs. Udyr:
This lane is won on the same concept, shoving minions under their turret, (keeping my own healthy as a side-effect). I was fairly reckless this game, but it's because I picked up first blood off a free-week Wukong jungler and wasn't scared of him trying to gank me until later. You'll notice a particular example of objective-pushing here with the super-early 3 man Baron.
Udyr does what Olaf did in the prior video- every 5 minutes or so, he would try and see if he could kill me (which neither of them could). The difference obviously being that while the Udyr couldn't keep up with my minion kills, he did manage not to die when he was "testing the waters". A victory in lane for Heimer either way.
Top vs. Wukong AND another Heimer:
This is the hard thing for most other champions playing top- the 1v2 lane when the opposition doesn't have a jungler. Here my minion kills are comparable to (and at times better than) both of my opponents separately, I stay alive, and keep my tower healthy. That's generally winning your lane when you have to fight two people, and we go on to win the game. If the Wukong had jungled (even just passively, with no ganks) and I had gone even with the other Heimer on minion kills, their team would have been better off overall. Instead, we win.
Sometimes you're getting owned in lane and just can't put together minion kills. If you keep getting killed or forced out of lane, pick up some gold-per-10 items and consider roaming to help other lanes with ganks. Once your initial turret in your lane goes down, you can actually farm more safely in your lane- stay close to your tower still, but the benefit is that opposing champions will have to heavily overextend to farm themselves. Just last-hit minions, don't auto-attack constantly, you want the engage line to stay near your end of the field.
Watch this video:
That's not my video, but it's very good. I start Doran's and do mag resist-per-level blue runes because they're better later (though they could also be ap-per-level blues), and you don't really need the health potion. If you look at other Jungle Heimer videos, you'll see completely irrational things like cloth armor. You are not the tank for jungling, your turrets are. I will emphasize that early on, you are initiating the fight with the camp and pulling it past your turret, and then letting it leash back onto your turrets. This is not only efficient, but necessary for the first few camps, because otherwise your turret will die too quickly. Later on, you can just drop a turret and a grenade and keep walking to the next camp (as detailed in one of the prior sections). But you yourself are taking virtually no damage while jungling past the first blue buff kill of the game.
This means that your runes and masteries can be very different (more aggressive) than when laning. You can remove all the mana regen and just use blue buff and be dependent on blue buff until you get catalyst. In the same vein, you can go down to the cooldown mastery in Utility instead of picking up the defensive talents (9/1/20 build, picking up the bonus gp/5 and exp talents, and no mana regen. I could also see 8/1/21 to get more gold from smiting). You can go almost purely offensive runes, if you'd like.
Your ganks are very bad until level 6, and should only be done on super weakened targets. At level 6, you can go far behind them, drop one turret, then run towards them to initiate the gank. As you get close, drop the second turret. If you think you're going to kill them immediately, activate ult. If they need some softening, let them go past the first one (the 2nd turret you laid) and then ult to make your further back turret re-assess targets and slow them. Stun whenever it's guaranteed. This kind of gank is awkward, and takes some practice to do well.
You can solo Dragon at about level 9, but it's messy. Better to get people to help around level 5 or 6. Once you have your Rod of Ages (about level 11) you can solo it more cleanly, leashing the dragon past your turrets like you did with the early camps, and you will probably need to either ult to heal your turret, or anticipate dropping a 3rd turret after the first one dies. Drop missiles and grenades whenever possible (blue buff makes this whole thing easier).
After your first blue buff wears off, steal the opposing blue buff by shoving turrets through the wall, as detailed in a prior section, and let your mid have your team's blue buff, if they're a mana user. When your turrets are level 5, you can usually drop turret-turret-grenade-missiles and leave, and your turrets will finish the golem off for you. This is good because it's safer. You don't want to wait around to "make sure" you get the blue buff, because it's often warded, and you don't want the team converging on you while you're by yourself.
Here's a rundown of important notes as you progress through the game.
Grenade. Kill creeps with auto-attack, harass with grenade. You are safer from ganks when your grenade is available.
 Rocket. More harass.
 Turret. This is about when you should be expecting the first ganks from junglers.
 Turret. You can lay two now. Positioning is key, as detailed above. Managing your turret charges and mana is hard to describe, but be aware that that's what you're doing. You always want the ability to lay at least 1 turret, so unless it's a major engage, consider laying 1, then waiting until the second charge comes back before laying the second turret. If your Jungler is one that can solo dragon at level 6, then that's his job. If not, you should consider going bottom lane to push the lane, then doing dragon with your Jungler or bottom lane support tanking. See above, about encouraging your team to push objectives.
 Ult. You've got slow! Breathe a sigh of relief, barring very unfortunate laner/ganker combos (for instance, Maokai root-stunning you while Katarina Ults you), you should be able to escape most ganks. This is, however, the time when people start considering tower-dives. You yourself do not, your tower dives are awful. If your grenades and rockets can't reach them, that's fine, damage their tower with attacks instead. Bad players will tower dive you. Stun them, slow them, exhaust them, let the tower kill them. If two people tower dive you, do this all while running away for the NEXT furthest tower. As a good rule of thumb, you should equate a tower to a stationary level 6 champion that you can't kill. If you can't handle the real champion and the theoretical level 6 champion both hitting you, you should not be tower diving. Neither should they.
 Turret. Encourage Dragon control. Definitely steal opposing blue buff. Often you can judge when their blue buff is up by when yours respawns. You should have enough gold for Lucid boots around now (+/-1 level).
 Grenade. Seriously, dragon, blue buff. Steal opposing wraiths through the wall if possible (actually, consider doing this any time it looks like you can safely).
 Turret. Turrets now have AOE splash, and you can grab jungle camps and push waves while on the move easily. This is also where you should really start worrying about being tower dived by the jungler and the laner, because your pseudo-level-6 guardian, the tower, is no longer really sufficient against good players.
 Grenade. If your team doesn't have good ward coverage now, you should consider it your job. This is about the earliest the laning phase may end.
 You should be finishing your Rod of Ages about now, and thus should be able to reasonably solo Dragon, should the need or opportunity arise.
 Once any single team's AVERAGE level is 12, Baron should be what's on your mind. Consider pink-warding it to clear opposing wards, and then suggesting your team does it. Perhaps someone distracts in bottom while the rest of the team grabs baron. Usually it takes 4 or 5 players to make a reasonable attempt on Baron right now, but you can do it with just Heimer turrets and a healthy tank, if you find a good time to do so (such as when the entire enemy team is elsewhere or dead). You are AMAZING at taking Baron. I've done Baron as soon as he spawned the first time with just Heimer (with Rod of Ages just built) and a jungler Mundo to tank. Laning phase is frequently over now, and if it's not, you should probably force it to be, unless your team needs it to continue. This is because tower dives are easy for any pair of opponents now, and sometimes for individuals.
 Seriously, Baron. Ward dragon, when opponents go for dragon, you go for Baron. Push down towers as a group. Force team fights where the enemy needs to engage you on your turrets to stop you from taking an objective.
 Your CDR is at 39%, you don't need blue buff any more. You should have your Zhonya's. You should push objectives.
 Seriously, get up in their business. When pushing objectives, your turrets are generally side by side, with a gap of roughly their firing range between them:
 level 18. You don't want the game to go on longer, because your power diminishes because full-build people can 1-shot your turrets. HOWEVER, if your team has had a very rough game up until now, and is behind, this is where the team as a whole can catch up. If everyone has full item builds and is at max level, gold/exp from kills no longer matters. Getting aced or losing 2 people and not killing any in return are almost equally bad, because it opens up an almost uncontestable Baron opportunity, but level 18 with full builds at least somewhat equalizes the anticipated capabilities of the two teams. But broadly speaking, you would rather avoid using the "level 18, level playing field" strategy.
Specific champions match-ups, and wrapping up.
Aside from the turret placement notes above, here are a few match-up specific recommendations:
Karthus - Buy something with mag resist early. Even the cheapest one is good enough to throw off his ult accounting, and will give you harass advantage in lane.
Cassiopeia and LeBlanc - These guys hit hard very early. Hide behind your minions against LeBlanc, don't go near them against Cass, maintain range (your range is longer than theirs, generally speaking). If you've got half HP, you are dangerously low and should farm safely at max range. If you're poisoned or have LeBlanc's debuff on you, hang back out of range until they wear off.
Kassadin and Fizz - people are scared of these guys, but they farm with melee. Hit them every single time they step forward to kill minions. Do not try to run from them, you can go toe-to-toe as long as you are healthy (similarly with most melee characters, because of your blind), and their ability to chase and tower dive (with Kass' ult or Fizz's playful trickster) are what make them deadly. Don't open up that opportunity, be ready with your stun/exhaust/slow, because they WILL eventually decide they can take you. Don't run, unless the opposing jungler is there too.
Jungle Nunu - has smite and consume. Always always always have 2 turrets on the ground, ALONG WITH 1 or 2 charges of turret waiting to replace them for if he comes out and Smite/consumes your initial ones.
Master Yi - This is essentially a hard counter to you. If for some unfathomable reason he's in your lane, you're good until level 5, and should outfarm him. When he gets his ult, you should ask to switch lanes with someone. His alpha strike ACCIDENTALLY kills your turrets with its proc, so your turrets will die when he's farming, set them far away. They also die if they're near you when he engages with it, which is where they need to be for them to be useful. To add insult to injury, his Ult ignores your slow. Cleanses it, and then prevents it from being re-applied. You cannot escape him. Hide under your tower. Seriously. Even bad Master Yi players will win engagements with you, just by pressing all their buttons and trying to attack you.
Syndra can throw your turrets away from the lane at a lower cooldown than your turret recharge rate. This sounds devastating, but really it just means you have to play against her like you're a normal AP carry, last hit with wrenches and harass with spells, and don't level turrets early. It's awkward, but not a losing lane like it is against Yi.
Ahri, Xerath, other people with long-range pass-through skillshots - lots of lateral movement. you don't dodge by moving backward and foward, you dodge by moving left and right. Keep moving left and right constantly when not in the process of attacking. Same with Karthus' ground bursts. Zyra also falls into this category- essentially you need to not get hit by her roots, and keep your turrets spaced out from each other and the minions.
Kennen - Because he uses energy, you are only doing attrition on his HP. That's fine. If you get a lightning charge on you, hang back out of his range until it wears off.
Players who keep up with your minion kill score (CS) while farming under their tower - Be scared. This is what they should be doing, and if they are doing it well, it probably means they're good enough to be a threat late-game.
Mordekaiser - Pushes hard. One of the few champions who MIGHT be able to push you under your tower. Watch your minions, when they get low he'll step forward to kill them with melee or low-range abilities. Drop harass on him as soon as he moves forward, before he does the ability, so that he takes the damage before he gets his shield from using his abilities.
Again I'll stress caution when people hit level 6, because they tend to get very frisky when they've got an ult to use. Malzahar and Katarina, for example, will ALWAYS look for an opportunity to ult you. Consider porting back when they hit level 6 if you're not at full health, so that if they do flash at you and ult, they'll probably die trying. Malzahar is also one of the few champions that you dodge forward and back, rather than side-to-side against. Remember to step back when his damage-over-time is on a nearby minion, so it doesn't get on you. Bully Katarina hard levels 1 through 5, then just make sure you've always got your stun ready from level 6 and on, and stun her when she jumps to you, and she'll die.
Please don't concede games - If you're truly going to lose, it will be over quickly enough. Tons of teams can ace you, but don't know how to push their advantage. Know when to go guerrilla warfare on them, push 2 waves of minions (turret-grenade-missiles, walk to next wave immediately and repeat) and then LEAVE and go elsewhere. Repeat. Steal objectives when you see the enemy pop up where you used to be (which you'll see because of your turret acting like a ward). Encourage players to fight on top of your turrets. Conceding is saying that not only are you bad enough that you're in a losing position right now, but that you also don't want to ever get better, or to ever learn how to come back from behind. Because you don't get better playing people who are worse than you.
Are you conceding before an inhibitor is down? You're conceding early. Are you conceding when you haven't had a couple of full 5v5 team fight yet, or when you're winning team fights about as consistently as they are? Then you're conceding early. People get demoralized when they get aced, but if your team aced theirs 5 minutes ago, then you shouldn't be conceding. Don't be short-sighted.
If you're losing, don't blame your teammates, try and figure out what YOU could have done differently. If the answer was "I played perfectly, they just messed up", you're almost invariably wrong. This is true in almost all competitive games.
Understand that if you died once to your opponent, but have 20 more minion kills than they do, you are roughly even on your lane. Farm minions. Push your minions into their tower so they die and don't get the gold from them. You are gaining gold so you can win fights, not winning fights so you can gain gold. Go play a team game against AI - only kill the bots, don't kill any creeps. When you're level 6 and have 12 bot kills, your teammates will be level 9 with 1 bot kill, and on top of that, they'll have more gold than you.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this guide was useful to you, whether you decide to explore Heimerdinger's capabilities or not!