Fiddlesticks Build Guide by Lolnub
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So, “why fiddle?” you may find yourself asking. Surely it must be preferred to have the tankyness of shyvana, the engage of malphite, or the jungle clear (and all of the above, actually) of Amumu.
Indeed, the path of the rapelsticks is not for everyone, however, while there are better junglers for all of the above, I maintain that Fiddlesticks is one of, if not simply THE BEST jungler for climbing out of the cess pool of bronze and low silver.
You see, Fiddle is unrivalled in one aspect: Dragons and global gold baby. If you enjoy slaying them dragons to start snowballing ahead, Fiddle is the champ for you. The only other champ that can solo dragon comparably early is Nunu. Now Nunu is a great champ, especially against opponents that actually know what they're doing. But those aren't the opponent's I wrote this guide for you to defeat. If you want to escape the clutches of Bronze noobs you need to be able to put the team on your back when the time comes. So that makes it simple: Fiddle can do that, Nunu can’t.
Lets begin shall we?
By now you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. “No level two boots till WHEN!? Fiddle isn’t the fastest champ man!” You’re right, he’s not. But you know what else fiddle isn’t? A *****. Nope, when he’s ganking he needs to get right in there and start slaying noobs. He has no way of catching up to them if they have some form of escape, and he can’t move while using his drain anyway, so your mindset playing fiddle is much different than that of a more mobile champ. There is no chasing and no retreat. There is only the sweet sensation of making your opponents poop their pants as you appear behind them, a murder of crows flocking around them as you begin draining their life.
Moving on, you'll notice that without the right masteries this item build doesn't work. You need the +40 starting gold to get that faerie charm. The first question you're likely asking then is, is that worth it? In my opinion, absolutely. First of all, if you don't get that mastery then you're forced to choose between not getting the hunters machete (though it's by far the best option now that the jungle items are a necessity), or getting sight wards (not such a great option anymore due to the trinkets) or buying health or mana potions. You absolutely will never need health potions as fiddle, his whole thing is about trading mana for health, and if you're buying mana potions then you're buying things that you will only use for about a minute before you get your blue buff. Now that minute CAN be important, but why not replace those mana potions with an investment that you'll use throughout the entire game?
Not only is the faerie charm a wise item choice in terms of logic, but it fulfills a couple critical functions. First there is the aforementioned time between blue buff running out and the second blue buff. It can be PAINFUL to try to basic attack down a creep for the last few hit points because you didn’t have enough mana for a drain. With the faerie charm this is generally not a problem, you WILL get enough mana pretty quick for that drain, or at least dark wind to finish it off.
The main reason that it’s important however is if something goes wrong. If you go for the level four gank and die then you NEED to be able to continue your jungle route as efficiently as possible, and the faerie charm will get you there (not to mention that it will almost certainly be able to be upgraded to a spirit stone).
The sweeper lense is the trinket of choice for fiddle (and for most junglers) and sweeping should eventually be built into your jungle route. Sweeping before ganks is often just a formality, as the clearing out of the ward will often give away your position anyway, but at least you gain some gold and set yourself up for a gank in the future. The really critical sweep is before dragoning which is often the difference between a successful one and an unsuccessful one. With any luck the support will start warding dragon around 6:30, which should give you insight to whether or not your opponent’s are warding dragon. If they are, sweep out the ward before blue.
By about 7:00 you’ll be able to get your Spirit of the Spectral Wraith. From there you start to play it by ear a bit. If you’re ahead then a good move is to rush your needlessly large rod to keep putting out more damage than your opponents can handle. Especially dumb opponents will try to out DPS your drain, which if you have a Rod will be good times for you :). If you start out 0-1 though, then I reccomend grabbing your Boots of Speed and just farm and concentrate on dragons until you see a really good opportunity. After Zonya’s get your Sorcerers Shoes.
Previously it was always a difficult decision between Rabadon’s next or Rylai’s. Unfortunately the change to fear means that it’s no longer worth it to try to rush as much damage as possible and as the Rylai’s adds damage, health, and utility, I almost always go Rylai’s first now. The value of the slow on Rylai’s should not be underestimated. The slower they are, the longer it will take for them to escape your Drain and Crowstorm. In addition your more mobile teammates can close the gap and finish them off.
Rabadon’s of course is any caster’s bread and butter, and Fiddle is no exception.
The final item is often a difficult choice. The main choices here are Liandry’s and Abyssal Sceptar. While Deathfire Grasp is a fine choice too, I generally get that to replace the Spirit of the Spectral wraith after a late game baron, so it doesn’t really contend for this slot. My rule of thumb is if they have two or more tanky characters and your AP teammates aren’t carrying, get Liandry’s.
Don’t forget to get elixers once you’re at max build!
This whole build is geared towards getting an advantage at the start of the game and maintaining it throughout, the masteries are no different. Yes, there are some powerful offensive masteries that we sacrifice, but the utility masteries we get more than makes up for it.
The movement speed masteries mean we can put off getting our boots while still maintaining a reasonable clear speed. Less summoner spell cooldown means more smites, and more flashes. The gold masteries are what we’re really here for however. These masteries allow the most efficient item start, and enable that 7:00 Spirit of the Spectral Wraith timing. The other key is getting both spell cooldown reduction. In combat fiddle is kind of a one trick pony: he drains. You want to be able to keep draining as soon as possible and these masteries (along with blue buff and spirit of the spectral wraith) are your tools to achieve that goal.
Disclaimer: due to the recent change in runes there may be changes soon to this section. However, the premise behind it will remain the same.
The gold quints are the final commitment to this strategy. They, along with the gold masteries allow you the shortest possible time to your Spirit of the Spectral Wraith. In order to make your early clear a bit easier, and to give you a fighting chance against counterjunglers the glyphs of flat AP are there. Finally the armor seals and marks of mana penetration have long been AP jungle staples.
Early game basics: Farm, own, repeat.
As mentioned in the intro, fiddle does not have the fastest jungle clear. That's okay though, what he lacks in mobility he makes up for with epic dragon slaying.
In any case, you start at blue and while a leash is nice, it's not absolutely necessary. I'm beginning to think that on purple side only mid should help as you don't want your ADC to fall behind in creep score.
From there you clear the large wraith and do wolves. Crossing into the other side of the jungle is your first decision: wraiths first or red first? If you're against an ADC jungle like lee sin or xin zhao hopefully your top or supp warded red to prevent the early steal, but there's still potential for them to go for it at level three. Against guys like. That I like to err on the side of caution and go red first. I say err as it does slow you down ever so slightly, but it's worth the risk of giving up your red in my opinion.
After wraiths and red you have another decision to make: level four gank, or keep farming. Of course, you're still one creep camp away from level four, but the decision gets made now because it influences how you continue. There's three main factors here: whether you are on blue or red side, whether top or mid is pushed in at a
L, and whether or not your top and mid teammates are on Skype. Of course there are other factors (how easily top/mid can escape, whether flash is down on them, if something ****ed is happening on bottom), but those are very situational things you'll generally have to use your best judgement to react to.
In most situations if you're on blue side you'll want to skip golems to get closer to mid and top. If one of them is pushed and on Skype, go for the gank. If neither of them is pushed then I'd recommend keep farming. When in doubt farm, because you WILL become a force to be reckoned with in the mid game and your objective is to get there faster. If both is pushed in go for the one who you're on Skype with, and if they're both on Skype and pushed in go top. Top gives you a better angle, less possible paths to escape to, generally they have fewer outs in terms of skills at level four they can escape with.
You might be surprised to not see warding among those factors. Warding IS a big factor but its easily dealt with: Go where it's not warded. They ward top bush in mid you come from below, they ward river up top you come through lane. Simple as that.
It took me a long time to come to those conclusions, but I'm pretty confident in them. The thing with bottom is there's two of them, you can't really impact it enough to confidently get a kill at level four. Besides they'll usually get the lions share of your ganks starting level six.
One more thing, your early game timings are very precise. DO NOT GANK AT LEVEL FIVE. It's arguably when fiddle is weakest, top and mid often hit six before you slightly, and there's still two of them bot and the support can usually disrupt your drain. It's always worth it to wait the extra five to fourty seconds to get blue/big wraith to level you up to six. Go back to town and get your codex and spirit stone if you failed your level four gank and have about thirty seconds till blue, or just keep jungling till its up so you can grab it and gank bot or do drag. Your team mates might rage but if they do then they haven't thought it through. It'll pay off in the long run every time.
At level six it can be a difficult decision whether to gank first or dragon first. If your bot lane is managing well enough then dragon first is usually the safer play, but if they're farming under turret and all of bot lane is still level five might as well use this window of opportunity where you have an ulti and your opponents don't.
TLDR: Do what you have to to get 1520 gold by 7:00 giving you about twenty seconds to get to blue. Then use your judgement to decide whether to gank bot first or dragon first but dragon is usually safer, especially at lower ELOs.
Mid and Late Game
Mid game: Gank city.
Going into the mid game it is important to try to keep your conservation stacks low, and in doing so get the AP buff on spirit of the spectral wraith going, but that shouldn't be all that difficult considering you rarely need to go back to town due to the wonders of spirit of the spectral wraith and drain. In fact generally my first return after I get my spectral wraith is when I'm at 1925 gold to grab a large rod and tier one boots.
Fiddle doesn’t have the fastest jungle clear, so in the mid game (especially once you’ve already grabbed dragon). Generally, I prefer ganking bot lane for most of mid game, there’s a few reasons for this:
1. Snowballing your support and ADC means that at least three of you will be doing well, and can help the other lanes out after you’ve taken down their tower.
2. The later the game gets, the more people will be prone to running up mid, so it’s good to get that first lane in your favor first so their team, not yours, has to decide when to split to take down the tower.
3. Last but certainly not least, keeping control of the dragon pit is key to moneyball fiddle.
Of course, even with all that said, it’s a decision that has to be made every game. Gank what you’re comfortable, and what you think needs help. However, if one lane is getting shat on hard, it’s sometimes better to let bygones be bygones and not fight a fed champ. Comebacks are always possible, especially if you maintain control of dragon.
The key to any mid game gank is patience. If you can get both of them in your crowstorm and your ADC and Support are still alive at least one of them is dead for sure, and if their jungler isn’t around chances are they won’t be able to hold their turret 1v3.
- combo with other area of effect abilities for best results
Aim for the Bushes.
In the late game you slowly become quite fragile in comparison to most junglers. To alleviate this concern slightly I tend to try to branch off the lane slightly to seek good places to launch your ultimate from. This strategy requires good warding, which is kind of up to your allies. If you don't have good warding, or if their jungler is a major threat, then stick with the group.
Ganking from wraiths is one of the most consistent spots to gank from. When you ulti in ping that you’re OMW for your allies, and aim to separate their team.
Activating your Zonya’s is an art that takes some work. The more shots that they use on you is less that they’re using on your teammates. At the same time, there’s nothing more embarassing than ultiing to your immediate death. Generally, the more in control of the game you are, the more you can take liberties on waiting on your zonya’s. If you’re behind and squishy, or if they have a lot of disruption, then zonyas just after arrival is reccomended.
Sometimes you can’t afford to seek cover to ulti from; you need to get to your team NOW. When that is the case knowledge of their team is key. If you see them use their disruption go for it. If you’re out of range of most of their abilities that could stop your ulti-channeling, especially if you have flash, then that’s not a bad situation. Try to seek out your tank. Not only can he protect you, but if you zonya’s next to him while they’re turning all firepower at you suddenly a bunch of them will have turned their focus to your tank: good times.
- seek out your tank