Orianna Build Guide by rumtag
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WARNING: THIS IS A WORDY GUIDE, BUT IT'S WORDY FOR A REASON.
Hello, thanks for reading. This is my guide explaining how I play Orianna. After struggling to find a champion that really clicked and made sense with me, I purchased Orianna and immediately fell in love. She's a tricky champion and in the beginning can be unwieldy, but after practicing, you'll see a definite shift from your opponents and teammates from saying "nub" and "Ori ur terribad" to "omg Orianna get nerfed" and "OP" accompanied by some rage quitting.
If you manage to follow the tips and hints in this guide, you'll hopefully become your team's most valuable asset, and maybe even finish a game with no deaths.
Before I delve into the guide itself, I've added a few sections just to introduce you to this champion and more specifically to my build and how I use her.
I want to stress that this guide is not necessarily the best Orianna build out there, but I found this to be the most effective with my style of play and for anyone who is new to the champion. This Orianna build is aimed at increasing her survivability/lane-staying power, maximizing bonus AP for damage AND support, and acting less as a carry and more as a high sustained-damage caster.
I am also including several tips and how-to's that might help anyone new to playing Orianna, or otherwise reveal new utilities Orianna possesses.
ALSO: Please note that the AP in the chart above is incorrect. By endgame, Orianna will have roughly 715 AP, give or take a few depending on your last few items. I've tested this out so many times, so please disregard the 400-whatever number. It's wrong.
Pros / Cons
- Very high sustained damage
- Excellent escape
- Excellent chase
- Very hard to gank
- High lane sustainability
- Very good farm
- Competent 1v2 laner
- Very good team support
- Mana-focused early game
- Squishy until you get your Rod of Ages stacked
- Cannot kite
- Useless if denied farm or zoned
Orianna certainly has a great laning phase, but for amazing staying power and harass, it's important that Orianna grab this skill. As you notice you have farmed up enough gold to afford your items (the first being your Tear of the Goddess) you'll want to return to base, then Teleport back to your lane to resume laning/farming/harassing/winning. You won't have missed any substantial amount of exp or gold, and your cooldown for Teleport can be a good measure of how long you should stay in the lane before you leave again.
After the laning phase has ended, Teleport's utility does decrease, but it can be vital for saving a turret or catching up to the rest of your teammates for a 5v5 or a turret push.
Normally I pick Ghost for this build, but after trying Flash instead I did notice a change in how I actually played my matches. Flash does provide a decent surprise jump on your enemy to land a kill, but it requires you to be decently close in the first place. Flash works better with players that use it with discretion. If you find yourself in a river fight or the jungle, this is your best escape. Not your best ally for escaping from a losing teamfight, however.
If you think you'd enjoy the extra mobility from Ghost then try that. Either of these skills works for this build, but Flash does provide a nice offensive kick. Just be more careful about avoiding ganks if you're overextended.
OTHER ACCEPTABLE SKILLS:
I usually grab Ghost more often than not on Orianna. It provides a good escape if you need to out-run someone and your Command: Dissonance either doesn't give you enough speed, or your opponent manages to get through without slowing (like Master Yi). Harder to use offensively than Flash but still useful.
I see many Oriannas running this skill in their kit. Why don't I like it? Because I feel like it allows the summoner to be sloppy and somewhat negligent with their mana. It also becomes entirely useless late-game.
If you wind up enjoying the support aspects of Orianna moreso than her AP-carry/burst-mage abilities, then CV is always a great choice. Just makes sure to grab the appropriate utility buff so you can constantly give yourself map vision. I don't really ever consider this because if I need to check brush for an ambush, The Ball can go in for me and I'll still be at a safe enough distance to run.
Well, my little friends, the range on those two skills is not large enough for us to easily pop them on our opponents without taking damage. Ignite isn't completely necessary to finish off an opponent, because Orianna is rather bursty, and Exhaust should really be grabbed by other, more tanky characters. We also won't ever be using Exhaust to escape, because we have 3 other skills for that. Orianna is a powerful champion, yes, but she's also a support/utility character, so we're going to maximize that part about her with our summoner spells.
I pick a 9/0/21 mastery tree when I play Orianna. I grab the typical 9 in Offense to add that extra punch to my abilities. For Utility, because I know I'm grabbing Teleport and Flash, I want to grab their buffs from the tree. I also want to lower my death timer, take the extra gold per 10, Neutral Monster buffs (because you'll be hogging blue all game), and finally, cooldowns and movespeed.
Expanded Mind is also important for this build, because I have chosen to make Archangel's Staff one of the core items in my build. The bonus mana from Expanded Mind thus not only increases Orianna's mana for skill spamming, but also increases her AP for extra damage. Win-win.
Quite a few Orianna guides will have you use Greater Quintessence of Vitality. You might also be wondering why this guide does NOT include those. Well, that's because you shouldn't be taking any damage. The Ball should be doing all of your work for you and keeping your opponent at a nice enough distance for you to farm without harassment. Now, there are a select few champions that are good at ignoring The Ball. Among those are Malzahar and Mordekaiser. If you find that The Ball just isn't scaring your opponent, you'll need to hang back a bit and wait for a mercy gank. This really shouldn't happen, though.
Because you'll be starting your build with the standard Doran's Ring, you'll have plenty of health and 40+ AP to help you harass and lane stay. Your Glyphs and Quints will give you all the AP you could ever want for a great early harass, and your Magic Pen marks should be enough to ensure that regardless of your enemy's runes, they WILL be hurting.
As for the seals, I recommend putting in just enough flat AP seals to give your bonus AP a nice, round number. The remaining seals can be either armor or magic resist, depending on who you are laning against.
I'm just going to put this out there... If you are not comfortable controlling the ball, and if you lose track of it often, you are not meant to play Orianna. Hopefully, practice with her can solve this problem if you're just completely intent on picking her up.
The Ball is what you use to attack, defend, escape, everything. But you probably knew that already.
What you may not have known is how to utilize The Ball properly, and some placement tactics that will help you out.
The first general rule of thumb is that you should always have Orianna's distance maker in your peripheral vision. Typically, you want that little arrow that tells you how far your ball is to stay yellow. When the ball is close to you, the arrow is green. Yellow means that it is right on the edge of your Command: Attack range. Red means it's outside of that, and should you walk much further away from the ball, it will zip right back to you. KNOW HOW TO USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
Next, you never want the ball to be behind you. By that, I mean that in-lane, The Ball should be between you and your opponent, on top of your opponent for a QUICK! harass, or on Orianna for shielding (or because you picked it up). You will regret having The Ball behind you when you go to use Command: Attack and find that it takes almost 2 seconds to travel where you told it to.
The third rule is that you want to keep The Ball at max distance from Orianna. You might be confused. Allow me to explain. With The Ball all the way out in front of you, your opponent is that much further away from you (unless you're harassing incorrectly). This means you can essentially free-farm, and it's much, much quicker and easier to Command: Attack harass. Also, when you need to make a getaway, you only have to walk a short distance away from The Ball, it will zip to you, and you can pop Command: Dissonance to prance off.
I've mentioned it before... but to recap, The Ball gives you sight in bushes. When you're laning, you should always always always use it to check bushes. If you are mid, it is essential to check either side of the river past 3:30 regularly. If you are dual-laning, NEVER LET YOUR PARTNER FACE-CHECK. They are being stupid, and so are you for letting them. Don't do it. (The biggest perk of using The Ball to check bushes is that you don't need to spend gold on wards for mid lane, which you should be taking solo.)
Orianna's ultimate, Command: Shockwave, can be a little confusing to many players. The range is essentially the same as for Command: Dissonance, so don't over-estimate its reach. The most under-utilized aspect of the skill, however, is its forced enemy movement. Placing the ball CORRECTLY with Command: Attack and then popping your ulti can mean the difference between first blood and your opponent running away with 250 health you could have nuked. More on this later.
- KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE DISTANCE MARKER
- KEEP THE BALL IN FRONT OF ORIANNA AT ALL TIMES
- ALWAYS HAVE THE BALL AT MAX RANGE FROM ORIANNA WHEN LANING
- ALWAYS USE THE BALL TO CHECK BUSHES
- KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR ULT EFFECTIVELY
Skills and Skill Sequence
Here's a quick run-down of Orianna's skills and a little bit about them.
Orianna's passive is a little bit interesting. Every 3 levels, your autoattacks become more powerful. At early levels, this just means that farming doesn't require you to wait until a creeps' health is so dangerously low that you'll mis-time your last hit. At later levels, it means that you can do some real damage with your autoattacks. By late game, you should have 700+ AP, so 20% of that is 140 extra magic damage on your INITIAL hit. Your third hit and onward will add a total of 50% of your AP to your autoattack damage. This is incredible for knocking down towers and inhibitors.
If you don't get this skill at level one, then uninstall. It moves the ball around, and it's the only skill that sends the ball to a specific location. Command: Protect sends to a teammate, sure, but you don't control where they are.
This is also your main harass/damage skill, and you MUST be comfortable with the using the damage radius and predicting your opponent's movements in order to land this for damage. I earlier mentioned to keep The Ball at max distance from Orianna. I will now further explain. When you've got The Ball out far enough and you want to move it to damage your opponent, chances are that they're right around the edge of your range because they're a-scared of The Ball. Luckily for you, it also means that they're probably now much too close to avoid it when you send it to slap them in the face. The smaller the distance The Ball has to travel to your opponent, the harder it is for them to avoid it.
Now hold on a minute here. We max this skill last? Why?
Well, my friends, because you're only going to use this to escape ganks early on. Command: Dissonance is so mana-hungry early/mid game that leveling this skill and using it earlier only makes playing Orianna harder. However, you'll always want to have enough mana stored up to pop ALT+E - W so you can recall the ball, then jet set for the turret, hopefully also slowing your enemy in the process, maybe landing some damage.
I can't stress how important it is that you NOT use this as a harass tool in lane. Since the Talon patch, the damage has gone down but the mana cost has not, so it's become less useful. I was playing this Orianna build versus another Orianna who grabbed Clarity/ Flash and started with a Meki Pendant and leveled her Command: Dissonance first. I found that I was able to out-harass her and out-perform her in the lane. Anyone playing against Orianna will be wise enough (after a minute or two) to move away from The Ball when they are hit with Command: Attack. 70% of the time, they'll move out of the Command: Dissonance radius. Don't use it.
Late-game, however, you can use this as a nuke, since you'll have made the damage a bit beefier. You really want to use it more for the movespeed buff/debuff than anything else. The slow will help you secure a kill much more often than it will secure it through what damage it does.
Outside of Command: Attack, this will be your second most important skill. It's a shield, but it's more than a shield. It can save your life, it can save a friend's life, sure, but it can also do damage. We like that.
Popping a quick Command: Attack BEHIND your opponent and then hitting a quick ALT+E to Command: Protect yourself can do a very nice amount of damage. This is your main harass tactic. Typically enemies don't appreciate when The Ball slaps against their face, so they may go in to retaliate. Command: Protect is perfect counter-retaliation because you'll absorb most of that damage, and hurt them even more. This is where the screams of "OP" start up.
You'll also use ALT+E when someone comes to gank you or you just otherwise need a quick escape. You'll also want to hit Command: Dissonance afterward to get away. Using this combination on your teammates that are behind you or going to initiate a teamfight significantly improves teamfighting and survivability. Also, if they've just run into the middle of the enemy team and they still have The Ball, popping Command: Shockwave can be a powerful enough nuke to guarantee an ace.
One of the main reasons that I choose to max this skill second, and one that I think will become more and more common on Orianna is because we need it to become viable for teamfights sooner rather than later. Thanks to the Talon patch, the ratio for the protect on the shield has decreased, so it's important to increase the base amount for the skill.
WOW so nerfed. The ratio is so low on this skill now that awareness has become extremely key. Awareness of your lane, of the enemy jungler, of your OWN jungler, everything. Orianna's survivabiity has gone down with this skill and with her Attack/Q range decrease. Balls, dude.
Ah, yes. Orianna's ultimate. Being able to use this skill properly can make or break an entire game. One of the strangest aspects of the skill is how it displaces your opponents. Intuitively, you might think that everyone gets sucked in toward the ball like some kind of vacuum. This isn't the case. Instead, everyone moves a specific distance, always in the direction of The Ball. Someone on the outside of the range will move closer to The Ball, but someone standing right next to it will be sent on the other side of it.
There are 2 different uses for this skill, essentially. One is in a 5v5 teamfight, and the other is any smaller-scale fight.
Normally this entails a 1v1 or 2v2. The best way that I've found to pop your ult, is to Command: Attack the opponent's face (either the squishiest or the most threatening) so that it is BETWEEN THEM AND YOURSELF. If they took damage from that skill, then immediately pop your ult and ALT+E. If they are dead, congrats, move to the next. If not, then your Q should have cooled down. Send it BEYOND the enemy, then pop Command: Dissonance and give chase.
You will be very tempted to initiate with this skill. SO tempted. I encourage you to wait. Just think of the delicious pentakill you could get.
The reason this isn't a great initiating ult is because you won't normally find the enemy team all clumped up in a tight enough range to hit all of them, or the most important ones. Waiting until the fight has started, skill shields have been wasted, escapes are on cooldown, etc., means that you'll be much more likely to safely land your ult and deal some real damage. Displacing your enemies to bring them BACK to your team if they were attempting an escape also makes your teammates happy.
Basically, just makes sure you wait for the initiation, then wait for a clump of enemies, put The Ball in their faces, and shock them. And always be aware which direction the enemy is going to move in relation to The Ball.
SKILL COMBO RECAP:
Simple Harass: Command: Attack
Double Harass: Command: Attack + Command: Protect
[Q BEHIND the opponent + ALT+E]
Escape a Gank: Command: Protect + Command: Dissonance
[ALT+E + W] ( Flash may also be necessary)
Lay the Smackdown: Command: Attack + Command: Shockwave + Command: Protect + Command: Attack + Command: Dissonance + Chase/More Command: Attack
[Q IN FRONT of opponent + R + ALT+E + Q BEHIND opponent + W (+ Q BEHIND opponent + ALT+E as needed)]
(If you can at any point get some auto-attacks off, you should)
((FIRST AND FOREMOST, you should ALWAYS try and play Orianna SOLO MIDLANE. She is one of the best at going solo mid and will often cause the enemy jungler to focus solely on trying to gank you, which he'll never get the chance to accomplish. If someone else has claimed mid, try to solo top or get into a lane with a babysitter so you can get all that delicious farm for yourself.))
Early Laning Phase:
This is the time in the game before junglers start appearing to gank. You will be focusing almost entirely on last-hitting. Unlike a few other champions, you won't have to wait to begin harassing. When you hit about 1300 gold, b, then buy a Tear of the Goddess and Boots of Speed. If you don't think you need the movespeed and would rather just start charging your Tear for the extra Mana, go back and buy just that.
NOTE: If you are losing your lane, it might be worth it to buy another Doran's Ring instead. Some players insist that you should buy this anyway, but I find it to be a waste of gold in the long-run, and this build IS expensive, but hits hard at nearly every level.
Middle/Late Laning Phase:
The enemy jungler has started to make his appearance. You're just now breaking level 6. If First Blood has not been achieved by now, it's time to start making your move.
!!! It is best to grab blue buff before you make your move !!!
Your opponent is likely level 6 as well, and you want to kill them before they can ult. Following the steps mentioned above for smaller-scale fighting with your ultimate, you should be able to kill them yourself, or do enough damage that they'll die given some extra help from your jungler/roaming teammate.
You'll likely have gained a couple of kills by this time anyhow, and you should rush your Rod of Ages purchase. The extra health, mana, and ability power are all excellent on Orianna at this stage, and get better as it stacks per minute.
NOTE: Orianna is great at pushing a lane, so it should be fairly easy to knock down your enemy's tower without taking much (if any) damage to your own.
NOTE: If you're not familiar with how to land a kill in solo mid lane, here are the following steps:
- Harass Regularly
- Wait for your opponent to get to around 400-500 health (they normally won't b at this point. they'll either stay and try to farm, waiting for backup, or they'll pop a health potion)
- If your abilities are off of cooldown, then approach the opponent slowly
- Flash in quickly and land your combo (see above for "Lay the Smackdown")
- They are dead.
Teamfights have begun to break out here and there, one or two turrets have been destroyed, and dragon has either been taken, or is now the main objective for each team.
Your role at this time is to play support with scouting brush in the river/jungle and provide extra mobility. As soon as a teamfight DOES break out, however, you need to dish out some damage. As always, follow the guidelines I provided for the skills above.
As the game progresses into the Late Game phase, don't be afraid to chase down any enemies you spot that you KNOW are alone. It's okay to be BALLSY. Heh heh. But really, because your escapes are so good, you should even be able to escape an extremely well-disguised lure.
After you build your Rod of Ages, it's really a matter of preference whether you build your Rabadon's Deathcap or Archangel's Staff first. Most players experienced with casters will rush the Deathcap. I choose the Archangel's Staff first because by now the Rod of Ages will be done stacking, and the Tear of the Goddess has reached at least 800 bonus mana. Buying the Archangel's Staff gives me immediate gratification for all of that charging. Putting a Deathcap on top of all of that increases the passive AP bonus at the time of purchase, which can take the enemy off-guard.
Other things you can do in this gamephase that benefit your team include fixing lanes that your opponent may have pushed, and farming neutral minions in the jungle. Your jungler should be finished with jungling, so go ahead and get that extra gold. You need it.
NOTE: Orianna needs blue buff all throughout this phase of the game. If you need to charge your Tear of the Goddess still, then grab your blue buff and just start ALT+E and W'ing yourself. You'll get a lot of mobility out of it, and if your blue buff lasts for, say, 3 minutes, you can easily max the Tear in that time. The bonus mana regen from the buff also ensures that you'll not have mana problems doing so.
By this point, every fight is a 5v5 fight. Orianna's role is simultaneously to act as a support immediately preceding and following teamfights, and during a teamfight to beat the **** out of the enemy's carry and nuke all 5 enemies with her ult to ensure your team's victory.
Below is a map to show you locations from which you can safely and effectively stay on the edges of the teamfight and let the ball go in and do all of your dirty work for you.
Probably pretty obvious, but the X is where Orianna should stand, and the arrow indicates where you can reach with The Ball. Locations near the Top and Bot turrets are also great places to snipe an enemy champion that may have run to avoid death.
These certainly aren't the only locations you can utilize to your advantage, but keep in mind that you'll likely just be using these spots for teamfights. It's not smart to walk into the enemy's jungle to see if you can grab a kill, but should you find yourself in that situation, Flash is your best friend to get away. You can also use Flash to get away should the enemy try and catch you in any of the above locations.
Orianna's items should all be centered around giving her bonus AP. As a "mage/caster," she needs to be able to deal all the damage she can, and as a support, her AP strengthens her shield, which can save a teammate's life from burst damage.
These are the items that I typically grab while playing Orianna:
These items are core items for the following reasons:
Tear of the Goddess - You will be running into severe mana problems if you don't take this item. What you build it into is entirely up to you after that, but I highly recommend taking Archangel's Staff. More on that at the end of this section.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity - Orianna's cooldowns are, by themselves, fairly short. The reason I grab them is because when they're shorter, she has that much more spamming power, and when Command: Attack alone does nearly 800 damage by end-game, that's pretty scary.
Rod of Ages - Probably the more controversial item in this build aside from Archangel's Staff. Why do we bother grabbing this at all? Well, the extra health is DIRE in your laning phase. It turns Orianna from being a squishy champion to being not-nearly-as-squishy. If you rush the Deathcap before the item, you'll be much much more likely to suffer deaths, which means losing experience, and more importantly, losing your much-needed farm.
Rabadon's Deathcap - Anyone who regularly plays AP casters knows how essential this item is in anyone's build. 140 AP plus bonus AP equal to 30% of your total AP is no joke.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - This item is a lot of fun on Orianna. I grab it for her lategame (sometimes this build is rapeface enough that I never get to actually buy it) so that Command: Attack and Command: Shockwave add an extra slow to the enemy units. This means that after they've taken about 1000 damage from those two spells alone, my teammates have the advantage in mobility to catch up and wipe them out. 80 AP and 500 Health tops off that cake quite nicely.
For the most part, the items I've included in this build are pretty essential, but for the sake of adding variety, and potentially saving your life, here are some other choices.
If you aren't okay with the cooldown reduction boots, Magic Penetration is really the only other viable shoe option. As far as Mercury's Treads are concerned, Orianna shouldn't have need for Tenacity, because you should never be getting focused. You can also get your Magic Resist from other items that also give you more AP.
This is typically the final item that I add to my build. If someone on my team already has it, then I either grab Banshee's Veil or, in some rare situations where I want to completely wipe the map with my opponent's face, I'll grab a Lich Bane to add 120% of my Ability Power to my autoattack, thanks to Clockwork Windup.
Grabbing this item earlier rather than later is best for Orianna, but I think it's best to avoid this unless you're extremely comfortable fighting and not ever dying. Skilled teams, especially in ranked games, will typically try to focus you to keep you from stacking your Mejai's to 20, or even at all. However, swapping an item from your build for this makes the total cost of your build go down significantly, so it may be worth it if you're getting denied hardcore and NEED the extra AP.
This item is really only optional because of the 100 bonus AP and the 50 Armor. When building this item on Orianna I found I hardly ever proc'ed the Active ability. It's also quite expensive, and you would probably just be better off buying Will of the Ancients for the spell vamp and utility it brings your team.
Don't forget: You ARE a support champion. Just, one that happens to murder people. Granting your allies auras like this can be a game-changer, and the added spell vamp gives Orianna some incredible survival power, considering she does around 800 damage per skill.
Extra cooldowns and extra AP, plus some really nice Mana regen. If you don't like the idea of grabbing a Tear of the Goddess and you skip it altogether, this is a great item to build. It's also a nice replacement for Ionian Boots of Lucidity if you chose to take Sorcerer's Shoes.
Has your enemy team begun building magic resist to try and shut you down? This is the answer to their futile attempts.
SO WHAT ABOUT THIS Tear of the Goddess?
So, you read this guide and you tried it out, and you may have found that you don't like to build Archangel's Staff on Orianna. What are your other options?
First, instead of building Tear of the Goddess at all (because we really don't want a Manamune) purchase a Meki Pendant. From there, you can either build it into Morello's Evil Tome, a Chalice of Harmony, or a Deathfire Grasp. Just be aware that you only need to have ONE cooldown reduction item on Orianna, so if you've decided to go with Morello's Evil Tome, you'll want to get Sorcerer's Shoes. This will help you keep yourself from spamming until you're OOM.
Above, I already listed my reasons for choosing Archangel's Staff, but to reiterate, I find that Tear of the Goddess gives me the mana I need to never have problems mid-to-late game, and since Rod of Ages is such a great mana-boosting item, I make use of the Staff to pump Orianna's bonus AP (From the Archangel's alone) from 45 to right around 150 at level 18. Can't complain about that.
Okay, wow. That was a lot of information, now wasn't it?
Hopefully this guide has provided players new to the champion with some useful information and tactics in how to perform successfully with Orianna. She's one of the best casters in the game because of her low cooldowns and thus sustained damage, coupled with incredible damage output from those skills, AND some added support utility.
Again, this guide is unique from others in that it focuses on making Orianna harder to kill, a harder hitter, and harder to waste her own mana. In essence, this is the single most sustainable Orianna build I have come across/used for myself, and so I find it to be one of the best for getting to know the champion and for being a real help to your team.
If you liked this guide or have any comments/criticism (be nice, this is my first guide) then please leave a comment below. If you think that adding screencaps explaining The Ball use in closer detail, please let me know! And at any rate, thanks for reading!
Aug 22, 2011:
Changed the Summoner Spells from Teleport, Ghost to Teleport, Flash. Adjusted certain parts of the guide in reference to those changes.
Aug 24, 2011:
Adjusted certain parts of the guide to reflect the Talon patch changes.
Oct 5, 2011:
Mad as hell about the nerfs. Adjusted accordingly.