Pros / Cons
Best turret diver
Nearly spammable 1k+ hits
Unstoppable when fed
Difficult to kill (passive)
Picked on by ranged
Vulnerable to cc
Not very powerful early game
My number one choices for Poppy's spells are definitely ghost and exhaust. There is a bit of flexibility in spell choices for Poppy, so if you really don't like one of these spells feel free to change it to one of the other options.
Exhaust is a key spell to this build for a few different reasons. One of the biggest uses is to keeping enemies from running as you dish out the big damage. Many of your kills will come from you chasing down enemies as they are running away. The speed you get from paragon, ghost, trinity force, and phantom dancer in combination with the slow from exhaust can really destroy an enemy's escape. Exhaust is also great for one on one fights with another powerful melee character. The reduction of damage the other character has while you are duking it out will often change the battle in your favor. Finally, with the mastery points set like I've shown, you also lower the opponents armor to deal some extra damage.
The other important skill for Poppy is ghost. Probably over 90% of your kills in early and mid game will come from you chasing enemies. Late game, nobody can really run away from you before they are dead. However, ghost is useful throughout the game to stay alive as well. About the only thing that can this build down late game is a full team gank, which can often be avoided with ghost and paragon.
Flash is a good substitute for ghost. It can get you to a spot fast and save your *** from huge ganks. I still think ghost compliments this build more consistently, but feel free to make that swap. Ignite can also be put in for those early kills, but in my experience the ghost/exhaust combo has allowed me to finish off most opponents. Teleport can be extremely useful on 5v5 for getting around, so you may need to make that change for ghost. Hopefully a tank has teleport instead, and you don't have to sacrifice that killing power. Cleanse is never a bad idea on any champion, but your focus here should really be bringing the pain to the enemy.
I'm just going to suggest staying away from these spells for Poppy. They definitely have their uses, but the spells I suggest above have more consistent benefits for this build.
Masteries focus primarily on offense. Your primary role is to be a carry, so you need to be getting the kills for your team. Points are placed in the masteries relating to ghost and exhaust, so swap those out if you aren't using these spells. Also, you have a point in Utility Mastery for a reason... Grab buffs as often as possible!!
Welcome to the characteristic of Poppy that sets her apart from other melee characters... She's got some sick skills.
Poppy is one of the few melee carries that is actually extremely useful in a team fight late game. The combination of damage dealing and her ult allows her to take out one or two people before being able to be targeted. This can turn the tide of a team fight in a HUGE way, and make Poppy the most valuable member of your team.
Your passive gives you huge survivability throughout the game, but it is especially useful early game. This is the reason Poppy is sometimes used as a tank. Every single hit that does more than a tenth of your CURRENT health is reduced in half. This is HUGE. This means when you are at about a quarter health, all of the attacks you'll be taking from other champions is cut in half. This build uses Poppy's passive as a way to remain slightly less squishy and still be able to go all out with offensive items. Remember though, the passive doesn't work on turret shots!
This skill will be your bread and butter throughout the game. It's what makes Poppy one of the most frustrating carries to play against, and possibly the best carry in the game. With this build, your devastating blows will be hitting for over 1k damage. Trinity force works perfectly with this item, making your damage huge. Also, the cooldown is around 3 seconds! This skill makes Poppy's DPS just plain ridiculous. Grab the blue buff as often as you can, and the cooldown will drop even further.
This skill gives you an increase in attack damage and armor for as long as you keep attacking or being attacked. This can make a big impact early game, as you can deal a lot more damage without having to invest in attack damage items yet. The real benefit to this skill, however, is the speed boost it gives you. It's like a mini ghost that recharges very quickly. Use this skill to get in and out of battles. Early game it helps you farm a bit faster and get out of tough situations.
This skill has many uses, and its what you'll start off with. It's great for closing distance between you and an enemy and will be your best friend throughout the entire game. While ganking in the beginning of a 3v3 you can easily hide in a bush, charge the enemy into a wall to stun them, and take them out quickly. Remember, when you tackle an opponent into a wall or turret, they take more than DOUBLE damage what they normally do from this attack and are stunned for 1.5 seconds. This can make a big difference. Always try to set up the tackle into an object.
Poppy's ultimate is incredibly useful. You use it on one target, and you deal extra damage to the target without taking ANY damage from ANYTHING else in the entire game. This includes turrets and other champions! This is how you will pull off some ridiculous tower dives. Be careful though; once the target is killed your shield goes away, leaving you very vulnerable. A great idea for a 5's team fight is to use immunity on a tank or mage that's out of mana and then kill their carries first while they can't harm you.
Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Mark of Desolation
Staying true to the offensive nature of this build, all of your runes are going to be going towards more killing power. Armor penetration is most important, as has been proven all over the place. You want more damage, get more armor penetration. Seals are dedicated to attack speed, which helps you farm a bit easier early game and dish out damage more quickly late game. Glyphs go to cooldown reduction to spam devastating blow more frequently and allow the use of your ultimate as often as possible.
These items are vital to success as Poppy. It allows your devastating blow to deal a massive amount of damage, but also allows your basic attacks to destroy just like any other physical carry.
Start off by rushing sheen. This is a relatively cheap item that gives you a little extra mana to the mana starved Poppy. However, it has the huge benefit of increasing your attack damage by 80% after using an ability. Use heroic charge to slam your enemy into a wall, and you will get this nice damage bonus added onto your devastating blow. As soon as you get sheen, you can start going for ganks on some of your weaker opponents.
Every pair of boots has its benefits, but attack speed will help Poppy dish out a little bit more damage. Grab boots first when you are building it, because a lot of people will have boots completely built first and you'll want a little speed after getting sheen.
This item is without question the most important item for Poppy. Every single stat it boosts helps you out in a big way. It gives you a little bit of everything... but I'll pull out some highlights. First of all, it grants you MORE movement speed. Your items are going to play a key role in you chasing down and destroying enemies. It also gives you attack speed, critical chance, and attack damage. These are the vital stats for any physical champion. Not to mention this gives you health and mana. Health is always a good thing, and Poppy is a bit short on mana. This will allow you to stay out longer without having to type the dreaded "oom". MOST importantly is the pasive abilities. You have a chance to slow the enemy, which will likely happen with all of your attack speed. Also, you deal 150% bonus attack damage after using an ability, which works great in conjunction with devastating blow.
This is a great item for any physcial dps champion. However, in this build it really shines. The biggest benefit to this item is the increased movement speed... The best increase in the game! You are going to be flying in and out of the jungle, all over the place, and you want the movement speed to match. Plus, it gives critical strike increases as well as attack speed! Need I say more?
By this time, you will have a ton of movement speed and all the tools in place to destroy your enemies. Now its time to start stacking the damage. This may be a little late in the game to get lifesteal, depending on how your game is going. Feel free to grab the vampiric sceptre after the trinity force. Lifesteal is always a great thing and the damage and lifesteal provided by this item is essential to being that nasty physical carrier that you will end up being.
This is another great item to help increase the damage you're dishing out. The armor reduction is really helpful in increasing your damage, plus it has a B.F. Sword. Ownage. It's an all around great choice to start laying on the pain in greater amounts.
At this point, you are ready for the icing on the cake. The 250% critical strikes are nice, plus the pure damage will make you unstoppable. With all your items you can run everywhere with ease, chasing down the enemy and bending them to your will.
This is a reproduction of my first build, and I'd love more feedback! Positive and negative is appreciated, as long as it is constructive.
COMING SOON: Playstyle section.
Please give this build a try, and let me know how you do!
EDIT: I'm adding this sentence from a bunch of in-game requests since this guide expired.
1/4/12: Updated to new masteries.
3/23/11: Changed "Perseverance" mastery points to "Good Hands". Thanks to RyuShinto for the suggestion!
1/28/12: Remade and reformatted this build. Posted again as a new guide so I can get a true score with comments.
9/16/12 Put back to active due to people spamming me in game. I no longer maintain this guide, although it is still very viable. Also to answer the most common question I get: this guide was originally meant for 3's. If you would like to take Poppy to 5's I recommend top lane or jungling.