Magic Resist Options
More Damage Options
Full Standard Build Selfish
Vs Full AP Tank Style
Vs Full AP Offensive Style
side wave pressure
Support Build Option 1
Poppy is a very tanky champion that when built full tank can output considerable damage and in many cases solo kill squishies. Poppy can be played in an offensive or defensive playstyle, although she is better on defense. Poppy can be thought of as a meat shield that can itemize well against AD or AP threats, although Poppy does slightly better against AD threats. Poppy can be played in the Top lane, as a Jungler, and while not as optimal as the previous two positions she can be played as a tank defensive support. Best of all, you can blind pick Poppy and go neutral in just about any matchup, and Poppy doesn't need a large amount of gold to be effective so shutting down a Poppy isn't as possible as say shutting down a Renekton or damage threat like Yasuo. This guide is here to help you understand why certain runes,items, and masteries are good on this specific champion.
Ability Leveling Order
I prefer to max Q because that is Poppy's primary damage, wave manipulation.
I prefer to max W, most people max E before W, because I prefer to have the stronger move speed buff instead of the 0.5 seconds extra stun time and the increased damage on Poppy's E. If you want to max E before W go ahead, I just prefer to max W so I can use the move speed to make more plays and dodge more situations.
Pros and Cons
1: Does lots of damage to champions with base values
2: Can work well with almost any tank item
3: great defensive champion
4: Can be an offensive champion
5: Has build in 15% bonus resistances, a move speed buff, and small wave manipulation
6: Can be blind picked into just about any top lane and is a proficient Jungler. technically can support, but it's not optimal.
1: Has a mana problem due to constant need to Hammer Shock
2: Is Flash reliant for engages
3: Needs some help with weak base kit wave manipulation.
4: Heroic Charge has a "wonky" hit box and requires practice to hit many different stun angles
5: You have to be ready to Teleport at a moments notice... if you are late on TPs you are useless to team.
Quints: Attack Speed or Attack Damage, pick one of these options. I prefer Attack speed but both options are viable.
Marks: Attack Damage to help farm top lane or help you farm jungle camps faster.
Seals: Flat Armor or Scaling Health Per Level. Due to Poppy getting a 15% bonus resistances from her Steadfast Presence Poppy doesn't need scaling per level health. If in a blind matchup, Flat Armor and Magic Resist are a perfectly acceptable option. If you are against a more magic damage based team, then Scaling Health per level are more appropriate.
Glyphs: Flat Magic Resistance, in most cases these will work. However if you are against an all AD team, or if you have trouble with Jungling, you can try Flat Health.
Masteries for All Positions.
You want to have 12 points in the Ferocity tree and 18 points in the Resolve Tree
Tier 1: I take Sorcery gives your Q and E more damage, so you take this over Fury .
Tier 2: I am a personal fan of Expose Weakness because it helps my AD and AP carries deal more damage to those on the enemy team I damage, and with my usual build having Sunfire Cape that usually means everyone is being damaged by me. In my opinion Expose Weakness is the most reliant Tier 2 mastery for teamfights. Now Fresh Blood can help you better trade in Top lane, but I think she trades perfectly fine with base values and doesn't need this mastery. I also think Feast is too weak right now and really becomes useless in mid- late game teamfights.
this choice comes down to personal preference: Vampirism can help you survive fights for much longer than the enemy expects, but Natural Talent gives you more outright damage, which isn't a stat Poppy usually builds and can help Poppy trade in lane and helps her last hit minions. try out both masteries, they both work in some way.
Tier 4: I prefer to take Battle Trance . All of the Tier 4 masteries give an extra 5% damage in some way, I feel that Battle Trance is the most reliable of them. Since I don't expect to get many kills as Poppy, I'm playing her as a defense and utility bot, I don' like Bounty Hunter and since I fully expect to be smack dab in the middle of the enemy team I don't like taking the extra damage from Double Edged Sword .
Since Poppy doesn't need armor penetration and Poppy doesn't work well with any of the Ferocity Keystone masteries we won't go any farther in this tree.
Resolve Mastery Tree
Tier 1: since I build Poppy as a full tank and build a heavy amount of Armor and Magic Resist I love getting extra resistances as I go through the game. At a 6 item build it is possible to get an extra 15 armor or an extra 13 magic resist depending on your build. I don't like Recovery because this low amount of health regen is useful for laning phase and nothing after that. Recovery has absolutely no useful transition to teamfights.
Tier 2: I prefer to take Tough Skin since I always want to take less damage and soak up more attention from the enemy team, also I can steal a jungle camp or two if I have the time during a game. If you are playing Jungle Poppy you really want to take Tough Skin . With items like Dead Man's Plate or boots you don't really need Explorer . Siegemaster is a weird mastery: it's only useful if you are next to a turret. If you know that you are going to get shoved in hard during laning phase, or you know you are about to face a team that likes to turret dive then this Mastery will really pay off when you survive for just 1 second longer and make their lives just 1 second harder. This can mean the difference between a successful tower gank and a failed tower gank. However, since this mastery is useless during Jungle fights and isn't "reliable" I usually don't take this mastery in a blind pick scenario.
Tier 3: I usually take 5 points in Veteran's Scars . I do like having the early extra 50 HP, for either laning phase or Jungle clearing. While Poppy's passive shield can benefit from the increase in shield strength the extra 8% doesn't mean a lot without having tank items. I just haven't felt a huge improvement on Poppy when I take Runic Armor since she doesn't have any special type of health regen and Poppy's passive isn't "consistent. If you don't kill the target you are auto attacking Poppy's passive has the Zac problem where going to collect your shield can cause you to go in a sub optimal spot. I just think that since poppy gets enough tankiness in the late game I can afford to get the early game HP to make the tankiness transition from early to late game smooth.
Tier 4: I never take Perseverance because I don't like health regen without any massive boost from Spirit Visage or Warmog's Armor. Health regen feels too weak in early game and irrelevant during the teamfight phase of mid and late game. Fearless is a new and tempting mastery, giving 10% extra resistances on its own is certainly a benefit. However at the current time I am old fashioned and prefer Insight so that I have Teleport, Flash, Exhaust, or Smite off cooldown sooner. In fact this mastery is worth it if nothing else for having Flash come off cooldown sooner so you can make more Flash -> E -> wall plays.
Tier 5: I personally prefer Swiftness because Tenacity is such a rare stat to find in LOL that I get it whenever I can find it. Legendary Guardian isn't bad, it's just that I buy so many resistances and HP that this mastery never feels like it's helping me all that much, also this mastery only really kicks in during 5 v 5 teamfights and not scattered scirmishes.
Tier 6: There is an interesting choice to be made between Grasp of the Undying and Courage of the Colossus . Grasp gives Poppy more damage and survivability tied to her max HP, which makes it even harder for the enemy team to deal with a backline diving Poppy. On the other hand Collosus is a mastery that lets you dive and stay in the middle of a teamfight longer than you ever could before: Collosus gives poppy a minimum shield of 132.72 Hp at level 6 and 229.89 HP at level 12 and 334.9 HP without buying any Health! With my standard build (Iceborn gauntler + Sunfire cape + Deadman's Plate + guardian Angel + banshe veil + boots) and at level 18 you can get a 429.4 shield for a teamfight, combined with Poppy's already tanky nature that is almost guaranteed to make Poppy a backline nuisance. Just to note, Heroic Charge and Keeper's Verdict both activate this mastery. Iceborn Gauntlet empowered auto attacks do not activate this mastery, sadly ;(
My Standard build for Poppy is Bami's Cinder -> Iceborn Gauntlet -> Mercury's Treads -> Guardian Angel -> Dead Man's Plate + Situational item.
This build, with flat Armor and Magic Resist runes, gives: 3120 HP, 387 armor, 429 Move speed (including Dead Man's Plate bonus), and 177 Magic resist at level 18. This right here is a very beefy Poppy, leaving you room for a 6th item of your choice. Note, this build is made with the assumption the team is running a standard AD Carry + AP Carry + Mostly physical threats and I can just ignore the support damage.
Detailed Item Analysis
Corrupting Potion: due to Poppy using/needing Hammer Shock for trades and any kind of wave manipulation Poppy has a little bit of a mana problem. Until we can get a full Iceborn Gauntlet this should help alleviate the burden.
Iceborn Gauntlet: gives much needed 20% CDR, much needed mana, much appreciated armor, and an AOE slow. The only reason that I wouldn't buy this item is if the enemy team has absolutely no attack damage threat.
Sunfire Cape: Gives strong HP, good armor, and the AOE burn helps with wave manipulation and teamfight damage. The only way I don't build this item early is if there is no AD threat on the enemy team.
Ninja Tabi: Are you facing an ALL AD team? If yes, buy these boots. If the answer is no and they have a magic damage threat or they have lots of hard hitting CC then don't buy these.
Boots of Swiftness vs Mercury's Treads: If the enemy team has high magic damage and hard crowd control, then pick up Mercury's Treads. If the enemy team has lots of SLOWS, but not necessarily hard hitting crowd control, then buy Boots of Swiftness. I usually prefer Mercury's Treads so i can buy M Treads + Guardian Angel and have plenty of magic resist so I can buy pass having to buy an early Banshee's Veil.
Guardian Angel: this item makes you a PAIN IN THE *** to kill, and it gives you much appreciated/relevant resistances. I love getting this item 3rd after I. Gauntlet and S. Cape
Dead Man's Plate: This item gives Poppy map roaming potential, that's about it and that's an extremely important commodity.
Warmog's Armor: A great 6th item to compliment your heavy resistance builds. Can be bought late in many circumstances, but against all AP teams (think ARAM or unusual troll games) you can think of this as a first major purchase.
Sightstone -> Ruby Sightstone: If no one on your team is picking up the slack on vision control then you may have to suck up your pride and put this item on.
Eye of the Equinox: I rush this as a support to streamline my tank support build and make room for more tanky items.
Righteous Glory: want to run fast? Want a little bit more mana? If yes, then this item will work for you. Warning, no resistances come with this item and it sets you back from becoming a truly unkillable tank, but this item is fun.
Zz'Rot Portal: This is a cool item that can be used to help you apply pressure to a side lane, or help you defensively hold onto an inner turret. The big idea around this item is to coordinate with your team to make sure that while the portal is up you are on the other side of the map helping with teamfights.
Zeke's Harbinger: While the AP is a waste on Poppy you buy this item with the intent on slapping on one of your carries, preferably the ADC however if you have a consistent AP threat( Ryze, Casseopia, Azir, etc) then chose one and help that person snowball harder and do more damage. This item isn't really good in the 1-5 slot but it makes a decent 6th item.
Thornmail: I usually don't buy this, mainly because most other items offer some better tank or utility options, but if you are against a full AD team this item will round you out to be 99% indestructible.
Randuin's Omen: does the enemy team have a crit heavy threat that is becoming hard to deal with? If yes, buy this item. If not, you don't necessarily need this item because other armor items offer better utility.
Knight's Vow: an interesting option, kind of using the mentality behind buying F.O.T.Mountain, I wouldn't buy this early due to the low "individual" stats wouldn't be great for laning phase. While in theory this item would be better for the 2 of you to stay alive, if you are against more burst oriented champions, cough cough assassin meta, then I don't think this item is good enough. It's ok, but I prefer the on command press of F.O.T.Mountain as a 6th item to keep my squishy alive.
Frozen Heart: does the enemy team have a damage threat that is based on auto attacking and needs high attack speed (Kog Maw, Vayne, xin xao, Yasuo, etc). If yes, this item is perfect for your team.
Locket of the Iron Solari: This is a cheap item powerspike that gives your team a temporary shield. Not a good early purchase for a top laner, I think they need to be more rock solid, but as a 6th choice to protect your team with a strong shield, it's good.
Talisman of Ascension: this is more of an ARAM strat, but you buy this item so you can still have gold gen and help start fights. It also comes with armor so pretty good bang for a 2400 dollar buck. It is fun to buy this as a 6th item in top lane, just not a dependable top lane item. Please don't buy this early in top lane, seen some people do it recently, it doesn't go well for them.
Banner of Command: gives Armor + Magic resist + more split pushing/side wave management. An possible strat is to buy Zz'Rot and Banner of Command back to back and have the top lane perma push, and coordinate this with your team so you can prepare elsewhere on the map. This can help you make cross map plays and save Teleport.
Banshee's Veil: if I need a magic resist item NOW I go to this item. it's cheap, it has high magic resist, the unique passive (blocks one spell) arguably make it one of the most rock solid tank items in the game and magic damage gets shut down. Very effective item.
Spirit Visage: I almost never buy this item. It's more expensive than B. Veil, it has less magic resist, I can get CDR from other items, Poppy doesn't have any champion specific health regen modifiers so the unique passive on this item is kind of useless. As a 6th item if I'm against a consistent AP threat that is causing me problems then I add it to my standard build. If I am against an all AP threat I pick this up after Warmog's Armor and Banshee's Veil.
Maw of Malmortius: This is a more offensive option, it either goes as as 6th item in a standard build against AP threats if I'm feeling more confident or you can build this early against an AP threat if against an AP team.
Mercurial Scimitar: similar line of thinking that I used with M.O.Malmortious, except this item comes with an on command "cleanse" which can be really powerful.
Edge of Night: Similar line of thinking to M.O. Malmortious except this item can be paired with B.Veil, with strategic timing you can negate 2 spells when trying to engage and be less likely to fail.
Tiamat -> Titanic Hydra: In a standard game there is no reason to buy this. I. Gauntlet + S. Cape fix your wave manipulation problem. However if you play on Summoner's Rift and find yourself against 5 AP treats then you can't rely on on these items to fix your problems. Since there aren't any good mana items that go along with magic resist you have to work around Poppy's need for mana and I chose to buy a Tiamat and later on turn it into a T. Hydra so I still have damage and wave control.
The Black Cleaver: If you want more damage, this item offers armor shread (useful for the whole team) and it helps you stick to your targets.
Trinity Force: due to how cost effective, and just how effective, Iceborn Gauntlet is you will/should almost never buy this item. However, if you find yourself snowballing the game early then go on ahead and buy this item, I would be lying to you if I told you it wasn't fun.