The Buckler Build
Not Updated For Current Season
I am a platinum top lane main and this guide is how I play Poppy. I'll keep it short, simple and straightforward. For match-up guides I suggest you look elsewhere.
Now, I do believe without doubt, that this is the strongest toplane build at the moment. Jungle and support don't have the gold income to support it, and midlane Poppy is hard to pull off unless matchup is favorable.
These items might seem confusing at first glance, so I'll do my best to justify them.
Why no armor pen? Q does % Health damage.
Your goal with this build is not to be a disruptive tank, shredding the armor of other tanks. Your job is centered around squishies, poking them with passive or all in them for the kill.
You have almost no cdr in your build, isn't that a concern?
No. Your passive gains decreased cooldown per level unaffected by cdr. So instead of building tanky cdr items to do damage with multiple rotations, we do damage by BUILDING damage to kill priority targets in ONE rotation.
Why is this build superior to the standard tank builds or adc builds?
Because it has the best from both worlds. Poppy's high base damage, base stats and steroids allow you to build bruiser items like Titanic, Triforce and Steraks to do hard damage. And Rapid firecannon allow you to safely apply your damage. You can oneshot anyone not building armor or hp and you can't get singlehandedly one shot yourself. Full tank won't do comparable damage and full adc won't have any survivability.
All logic tells me that Grasp of the undying and Thunderlords decree are far better keystone masteries.
No doubt Poppy synergize well with them, but I'd rather take those masteries in the jungle or botlane. Toplane is A) farming or B) stomping, to get the gold you need for late game. And late game you'll find stormraider surge far more useful. It can help early as well, to run away from retaliation, towerdives or ganks, or to chase people to apply your ignite without wasting flash.
Speaking of ignite, isn't teleport better?
This is a tough one, as I have to go into the whole toplane "meta". Here's the short version. Do you have no kill pressure early? Do you have a global ultimate? If no, take tp. Otherwise ignite is simply better to try to snowball and stomp.
You mentioned that this won't be as good bot or jungle?
These items are REALLY expensive. You can't finish them at a viable point in the game as jungle or support, getting sightstone, gp5 and machete upgrades simply doesn't support an expensive build like this.
Why should I listen to you? Or read this guide?
Well... I've played the game for 4 years now... So despite being bad, I know a thing or two at least. As for why you should read this, you're already here, so why not?
However, you don't have to take my word for granted, simply test it out for yourself. If you do like it, hit that like button though. ^^
Any further questions can be made in the comment section below.
Pros / Cons
- Lane bully with a lot of snowball potential.
- Decent sustain and trade potential with passive management.
- W and ult can peel for both yourself and others, so decent utility.
- Q+E is enough frontloaded burst damage to one-shot anyone with a wallstun not building armor or health.
- Your passive will chunk a squishy for 1/2-2/3 of their hp late game.
- One of the strongest late game poke abilities in the game.
- Situational stun, and telegraphed damage abilities.
- Suspectible to ganks due to lack of escape.
- Can be hard to recover if you fall behind.
- Struggles against tanks with sustain and sustained damage.
- This build might be beefy, but you're not a tank, so you'll be squishy late.
- Expensive core items on a melee champ.
- Low magic damage output, no built in resist shreds/penetration, no true damage, meaning easily itemized against.
Scaling resists are the most beneficial runes for Poppy, as her W scales with resists and we'll build alot of hp.
Since her passive and rapidfire cannon deals magic damage (which this build is centered around) I run hybrid pen. You can however run AD or Armor pen if you prefer to do so.
Given Poppy's lack of sustain, I like to run lifesteal quints. This is personal preference however, and can be swapped for defensive, offensive or utility runes.
These masteries are pretty straightforward. It's to get every damage amplifier they have to offer. The only noteworthy mastery however is Stormraider Surge as your keystone mastery over the more popular Thunderlords Decree.
The reason for this, is that Poppy's full burst WILL damage over 30% of someone's max hp. This makes her an excellent towerdiver earlier than most other champs. As you can stun someone under their turret, lay down your burst, and run away before taking too many tower shots or suffer retaliation.
And since your passive will nuke as hard as it does after your core, you will proc stormraider along with your passive as long as you hit a carry. Giving you both chase and escape during assassinations or 5v5's.
Usual Purchase order
Long Sword, x3 Health Potion, Warding Totem, Tiamat, Refillable Potion, Boots of Speed, Phage, Corrupting Potion, Ninja Tabi, Sheen, Trinity Force, Jaurim's Fist, Titanic Hydra, Zeal, Rapid Firecannon, Jaurim's Fist, Sterak's Gage
- Amazing item on Poppy. More bonus ad for you burst, tiamat active and Q clears caster minions, sustain, everything. Feel free to buy Ravenous hydra if you need more sustain in lane, but remember to swap it once you finish trinity force. Titanic hydras active can empower your passive.
- My personal boots of choice, any other makes me feel to squishy and with poppy's means to disengage, I rarily feel a need for tenacity. I'd rather get Mercurial Scimitar or Banshees instead.
- While Poppy can't weave sheen procs continuously unless capped with cdr, your passive will be empowered by sheen procs. It also gives crit, hp and ad, more stats to add to your survivability and burst.
- This is what allows you to transition from a tanky bruiser role, to a hybrid melee/ranged carry. As it will increase your passive range up to 675 units. That's longer auto range than a level 18 Tristana. It also deals additional magic damage, and like your passive it can be applied to structures, creeps and enemies alike.
- This boosts your defense and offense more than any other item. The base ad increase will make your sheen hit harder, the hp will make titanic hydra hit harder and the shield will allow you to survive burst better to retaliate with your ult or turning on people with your stun.
Late game options
- Increases your damage by a large margin, note that it offers little survivability other than it's synergy with red pot.
- A great item if you need to survive magic damage burst, or sustain through it. It's passive compliments your W passive, and the bonus lifesteal and spell vamp can turn and clutch alot of bad situations. Oh, and flat armor pen, yaaay.
- A go to item if a team has point and click unavoidable cc or a debuff strong enough to kill you. Has nice combat stats, despite being pricey to complete.
- Vs crit adc's, Yasuo and Tryndamere this is your go to defensive item. 20% reduced crit damage will make you hard to kill. The active is nice to kite or stick to targets as well.
- A nice armor item to further compliment your passive. Slow and bonus damage is always welcome, and the passive movementspeed allow you to roam and splitpush safer.
- Great item vs strong initiators and adc's with only one peel spell. It also gives ALOT of mr now, making it arguably stronger than Maw as a magic defensive item.
- Good against mix damage, and allows you to play more recklessly in late game team fights. It also compliments your high hp pool well.
- Should you get chunked as you step forward to poke, nothing shrugs it off like a warmog. It will also allow you to regen while waiting 10 seconds for your next passive charge. Highly situational item however.
Summary and Guide history
Now that everything has been explained for you, I hope you understand how these items synergize with Poppy's kit, and the damage potential she has when not built full tank. Depending on popularity/questions, I might add more to the guide. This is however a fun build worthy of trying.
Anyhow, thanks for reading, and GLHF if you decide to try it. :)
December 22, 2015: Made guide.
January 04, 2016: Added a FAQ, despite no Q's made.