Lulu Build Guide by yummybluewaffle
Not Updated For Current Season
Generic Support Build
Great Items in General
Alternative Options (Situational)
Not Updated For Current Season
Greetings friends, and welcome to my guide to Lulu. Lulu is one of the most annoying supports to play against in the entire game, with incredibly strong utility that allows her to engage, disengage, protect, escape, poke, lock-in, kill, and generally annoy the other team to death. Her extremely unique style makes her the perfect support choice for the thinking-type of player, which is a much different flavor than the popular balls-deep or mechanically dependent supports that are so common now like Leona, Karma, and Thresh.
Any and all feedback is welcomed, as I am highly critical of what I do. Just make sure to leave your reasons as to why you choose to downvote if you do!
Pros / Cons
-Surprisingly painful and reliable long-range poke, fast waveclear, and has some pretty painful burst.
-Autoattacks hurt too, especially since her passive Pix, Faerie Companion now scales with AP.
-Protects teammates well that are getting focused, as well as her great disengaging ability.
-Has great engage/counter-engage/screen blockage with Wild Growth and overall great teamfight disruption with all of her abilities.
-Massive utility, with two hard CC abilities, one soft CC, a shield, and a reveal.
-Can help lock down important targets and set up kills well.
-Can bait extremely well.
-With the phasing-out of Oracle's Elixir and heavy pink ward usage, abilities that reveal stealth are much more valuable now, like Lulu's Help, Pix!.
-Compared to other supports, Lulu is less dependent on teammates, making her great for the solo-q struggle.
-Can be mana hungry when spamming.
-Making mistakes with Lulu gets punished harder than with others.
-Though her kit is painful, she's not ideal as an aggressive support. She lacks a re-position ( Blitzcrank, Thresh) or heavy burst ( Annie, Leona).
-So very squishy.
-Base movement speed is quite slow.
-Doesn't have the best scaling on abilities.
As with most rune builds, rune choice is pretty lenient with user preference. Just keep in mind all of Lulu's weaknesses, strengths, and general playstyle that I listed in the above two sections. In particular, the main parts I like to address via runes are her early mana starvation, slowness, and squishiness, all while looking to boost her damage output. With that in mind, I'll list all the good choices of runes you can have for her.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Greater Quintessence of Mana Regeneration
Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration
With 325 base movement speed, she's actually one of the slowest supports in the game. Ideally, you'd rather be casting Whimsy on people other than yourself, thus movespeed quints are quite valuable on her. Consider the fact that Quintessences are the only way to improve movement speed with runes before picking other Quints. Health Quints are great too, since Lulu is incredibly squishy. They'll give you a significant boost to your survivability. Gold Quints are an option since Lulu is a support and could benefit from the income, but with the new season's items, these quints aren't as necessary. Both health and mana regeneration are also great to allow you to stay in lane longer and continually poke.
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Seal of Gold
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Lulu is quite mana hungry, and she needs mana to be able to constantly harass as well as disengage when she needs to. Seals provide the best mana regen out of all runes, which is why I personally pick it over anything else. However, health is another great option since seals also give the most health of all runes by a huge margin. It's great to help resist against poke and all-ins, so you'll want to take these against an aggressive bot lane. Flat health is usually more valuable on Lulu than scaling, since she's not typically going to evolve into a late game tank. Armor seals, though nerfed, are still a decent choice, though in most people's eyes, it is less efficient than health. Gold is another option since she's a support, but I find I don't ever need these anymore because of the new support items. I also think that the rune slots can be used for better runes anyways.
Greater Mark of Armor
greater mark of hybrid penetration
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Armor marks are good if you went mainly Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration for seals, and you should probably take them if you didn't take armor seals. It's better than no armor. Hybrid penetration is also great to bring the pain in lane, since you should be both hitting Glitterlances as well as autoattacking for the gold with Spellthief's Edge. Magic Pen is good if you would prefer to simply use your abilities rather than autoattack, but this wouldn't normally be the case unless you were up against someone with higher range like a Caitlyn. Attack speed is also strangely viable, as her passive Pix, Faerie Companion gives her bonus damage on her autoattacks. Coupled with her decent range, a good support player can easily harass the enemy bot lane constantly with autoattacks, but you have to keep in mind that, if you cast Help, Pix! on someone besides yourself, you will lose the bonus damage output, making these runes basically useless late game when she's protecting her teammates or revealing Vayne's (main reason why I don't suggest Nashor's Tooth).
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration
Flat AP is good for lots of annoying and painful poke damage in lane, as well as giving your shield a nice extra boost. The reason why I prefer AP over penetration in my rune build is because your shield won't benefit from penetration. Scaling MR is a good option because the late game AOE magic damage you'll be up against might be enough to explode you before you have a chance to do anything, but proper positioning often will prevent this since you aren't a balls-deep kind of support (that is, unless they have an AP assassin trying to kill you). You can go flat MR if they have a support who can poke you back hard in lane (like a Sona, Annie, or Zyra). Mana regeneration glyphs are good for being annoying without going out of mana as quickly, especially if you didn't get Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration.
Season 4's masteries provide supports with some awesome choices in the utility tree. While masteries are generally up to personal choice, there are always some masteries that should be taken for certain champions. Here I'll list some of the ones that should highly be considered, if not required, for Lulu:
- Scout : This mastery is great for any support, letting you put wards from safer places. A notable example is if you are on the purple team, as you can actually put a ward in the river bush without having to go in the river or going around the tri-bush to put it in the wall like you normally would (you just stand by the wall next to the turret and click inside the wall! I'll include a video of how to do this).
- Fleet of Foot: Lulu really needs the extra movement speed to be able to harass successfully, since she is incredibly slow. You really don't want to cast Whimsy on yourself when harassing, as you will run out of mana quickly.
- Alchemist and Culinary Master : One tactic that is common to use on Sona is to simply buy a bunch of Health Potions and Mana Potions every recall so you can continue spamming annoying spells in lane. This aspect of Sona's playstyle is quite similar to Lulu's, thus adopting this tactic works great. Taking these two masteries will drastically increase the gold worth and effectiveness of each potion you buy. Not to mention, Lulu's squishiness and mana starvation makes her red and blue bars drop fast.
- Intelligence : This mastery goes great with Frost Queen's Claim, Greater Stealth Totem, etc. It allows you to use item actives more often. Frost Queen's Claim's active is great, functioning similarly to Talisman of Ascension, though it slows the enemy team rather than speeds yours up. It's more of a counter-initiation tool and can be used as a disengage, letting you save your Exhaust for when you need the AS and AD reduction rather than simply the slow. The mastery's item-CDR also works with your Greater Stealth Totem and allows you to put a free ward down more frequently, effectively making it a GP-10 mastery as well! Lastly, being able to pop your Twin Shadows, Mikael's Crucible, and all the other item actives more often is great for supports in general.
- Oppression : This mastery will make your Glitterlance dramatically better at disengaging and trading. The reduced damage lets you be a bit more aggressive in lane.
- Recovery : The fact that you will be attempting to poke at the enemy leads to retaliation, as nothing is free. Thus, allowing yourself to regenerate health will greatly allow you to stay in lane longer as well as be more aggressive.
Other great considerations:
- Meditation : Lulu is quite mana hungry, and thus benefits from the mana regen so she can harass.
- Block and Unyielding : Every little bit of defense helps with poking and surviving to poke some more.
- Hardiness : This actually gives quite a significant boost in armor, so it should be highly considered.
Sometimes you can op for the offense tree. I'd normally recommend putting your points in Defense since sustained poke is much more annoying to deal with, but sometimes if you feel really confident that you can poke for free, these are good options to take:
- Executioner : Taking all 3 points for Executioner means you will do quite a bit of extra damage when the target is even 50% health. This mastery is great for people who poke a lot, as the entire idea behind harassing and poking is to zone the enemy away to discourage farming, deny experience, and even force them to recall. The lower the health is of an enemy, the more scared they naturally become to enter your zone. Punish low health enemies by stabbing them with your Glitterlance to completely discourage them from entering your zone.
- Sorcery : Of course, some extra CDR is great, and it's probably better than any of the other tier-1 offense masteries.
I take these two 100% of the time. There really is zero reason not to take Flash. Every champion benefits from either Flash or Ghost, as both spells grant much needed emergency mobility. 90% champions are flash-champions, while 10% are ghost champions. Lulu is a flash champion, as with most supports.
As for Exhaust, it serves a great niche on support, as it provides a great combination of debuffs for a single target with a relatively short cooldown. There is a slow, a basic attack damage reduction, and an AS reduction. It's fantastic for saving your ADC who is only a hit or two away from dying, since it dramatically reduces the damage done on them. It locks a target in during a gank. It really dramatically hinders autoattack reliant champions like Jax or Tryndamere.
I don't take any of these, but they can be viable.
Ignite is great to get that extra bit of damage off to finish off a low health target. Not as ideal on Lulu, since she's not the strongest all-in-er, but often times Ignite can make the difference between a kill and an escape.
Teleport helps to return to lane quicker, which is pretty fun if you are trying to annoy their bot lane with endless annoying spells. I don't think Lulu really benefits that much from having a large map presence, since she isn't particularly terrifying. However, she is great at helping out teammates, so a clutch teleport to save a teammate in distress could be great too.
Heal, as with all supports, is generally always somewhat viable but is definitely a crutch. Fun to bait with, and it scales decently well late game, but usually if your team really needs it, you guys probably aren't doing that well in the first place. And winning teams don't need it. So yeah, a crutch.
Ghost just doesn't seem viable to me since you have a move speed ability, but the one perk it has is its bearable cooldown, making it a decent alternative to Teleport rather than Flash. Just, not sure why you'd take it over others.
Barrier maybe if you catch yourself taking a ton of damage at random, certain times. But you really shouldn't need it ever.
Clairvoyance, I mean okay if you're into that but idk buy wards lol.
Clarity maybe on ARAM or something.
Everything else is no.
Now, the thing about Lulu is that her playstyle can drastically vary to fit different situations and matchups. As a result, what you end up maxing first will also end up varying. For a general matchup, I'll usually max Glitterlance, though in this section, I will explain each ability and its stats, as well as the situations when and why you would decide to max that ability first, finishing off with a few tips on the ability. But first, I will start with her passive.
Pix, Faerie Companion (Passive)
Pix is Lulu's special faerie friend, whose location is determined by where Lulu targets her Help, Pix!. Pix, by default, follows Lulu around. When Pix is on Lulu or allied champions and this person autoattacks a target, Pix will fire 3 homing bolts at this person's target, dealing magic damage. Pix cannot exceed 2.0 attack speed, and the bolts don't apply on-hit effects. The bolts can also be blocked by other enemies. Pix has a leash range of 2000 and will return to Lulu if he is moved beyond the leash or if whoever Pix is on dies. Lastly, if Pix is on an ally and his bolts kill someone, the ally is accredited with the kill, rather than Lulu. The base damage increases every odd-numbered level.
This passive is a Lulu trademark. It makes her autoattacks actually hurt. Better off is the fact that they recently made Pix's attacks scale with AP, meaning starting off with some early game AP can actually cause her to do some surprisingly strong autoattack harass in lane (landing all 3 bolts amounts to bonus 45% AP per attack!). Building AP late game also works well with her passive. Usually, Help, Pix! would basically be cast an ally only as a shield, since Pix's bolts would tickle late game. But now with the scaling, it can be used similarly to Janna's Eye Of The Storm, noticeably boosting damage output along with the shield with AP. Unlike Eye Of The Storm, Pix continues to stay with the ally when the shield wears off, allowing the ally to continually deal bonus damage until Help, Pix!'s duration wears off.
Lulu and Pix both send out a somewhat slow moving, piercing skillshot with a 925 range. The base damage is respectable, especially at level 1, and the mana cost isn't terrible. The enemies hit are slowed initially by a huge 80%, and the slow decays to zero as the duration ends. Duration increases as it is leveled, and the decay amount scales with AP, meaning building AP will cause the slow to decay less and less to a max of zero decay. A key component to this ability is the fact that Pix will also shoot a Glitterlance from his location, greatly extending its range when used with Help, Pix!. However, a target can only be affected by one Glitterlance. An exception to this is enemies with a spell shield, where one Glitterlance can pop the spell shield, and the second one, if timed correctly, can damage the enemy.
Cost: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 mana
Slow Duration: 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2
Slow At End Of Duration:0 (+15% per 100 ability power) (max 80%)
Why max it?
This is Lulu's main tool for poke and damage. It does quite a respectable amount of damage, though it is somewhat hard to hit. Luckily, the mana cost isn't that terribly high, and neither is the cooldown. Getting hit by these constantly can annoy the **** out of their ADC, as well as put a good amount of dents in their bot lane. It's also a great source of utility, letting Lulu disengage well since the slow duration increases with rank. Generally, you will max this first in a lane that you can poke relatively safely in.
A key component in using this ability correctly is to chain it with Help, Pix!, though this shouldn't be done all that often because it can really cause some mana problems. However, using this combo correctly literally gives Lulu potentially the longest non-global, non-ultimate poke in the entire game. Together, you can make all sorts of whacky trajectories and surprise people, as well as clear waves quite well. It's also great for catching enemies who are just about to get away. In particular, it's great to use when chasing and a minion wave is approaching!
Whimsy can have two effects, depending on whether the target is an ally or enemy. It can only be cast on champions and has a range of 650. When cast on an ally, the ally gains a base 30% increase in movement speed that scales with Lulu's AP for 5 seconds. When cast on an enemy, they become polymorphed, one of the funniest debuffs in the game. The target becomes a fluffy creature, unable to cast spells or attack, and have their base movement speed reduced by 60. It's considered hard CC, meaning it can cancel channels and the overall power to do anything, though the target can still control movement unlike fear . There is no cast time when cast on allies, but a slight cast time and projectile travel time when cast on enemies, which must be kept in mind.
Polymorph duration: 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 / 2.25 / 2.5 seconds
Cost: 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 mana
Cooldown: 18 / 16.5 / 15 / 13.5 / 12
Why max it?
Maxing this first is similar to maxing Terrify on Fiddlesticks. However, with the 3.15 patch, Terrify's duration is actually shorter than Whimsy's duration at all ranks. The only downside is that Polymorphed champions can still control movement, unlike those who are feared. This duration increase per rank is literally the only reason you would level this up, as nothing else scales when increasing its rank. The mana cost overall is pretty decent, and it doesn't scale too high with levels. This would be the ideal ability to level if you want to play Lulu more all-in-ish, rather than pokey or defensive, as the debuff applied is really annoying and relatively (hehehe) longer than most other hard-cc debuffs.
The key to using this ability correctly is deciding when to use this on an ally and when to use it on an enemy. Choosing the correct target isn't as hard as it is with Help, Pix!, though you must take into account a few things:
-Secondly, know that Whimsy on an ally has no cast time, while casting it on an enemy has a cast time and projectile travel time, which could make it harder for you to catch back up and land a Help, Pix! and Glitterlance on them.
-Also, know that becoming polymorphed means the target can't cast abilities like Flash or autoattack, and it can cancel channels, making it more important to cast it on the enemies in cases where these enemy actions are of more direct concern.
-Remember that does not damage enemies, making it great to use around enemy turrets. It's fun to annoy enemies who are defending their turret while you're hitting it by turning them into a fluffy creature without ever taking turret aggro.
-Lastly, some junglers might benefit from the movespeed more than the polymorph. Examples would be like a jungle Dr. Mundo or Olaf that might miss their skillshot by the sudden polymorphication of their target, a Hecarim that can benefit from the bonus movespeed to bring the pain with Warpath and Devastating Charge, or making your Rammus unescapable when he flies in with a speed boosted Powerball for a devastating Puncturing Taunt that also tops the list in "longest, most annoying CC abilities in the game" (despite its nerf with patch 3.15).
With that being said, I do like maxing this second instead of Help, Pix!, because though both abilities have the same range, you generally will be casting Help, Pix! to benefit your own burst, letting you poke hard deep and far. However, leveling and casting Whimsy not only will benefit your own burst since your target will be CC'd and unable to dodge your Glitterlance, your ADC and teammates can actually follow up to help you bring the pain because the target will be CC'd for quite a while and thus can't react or escape. I also think that the disengage power this provides is more valuable than Help, Pix!'s shield in terms of defensive playing.
Help, Pix! (E)
Lulu commands Pix to follow a target in a 650 range for 6 seconds, with a 2000 range leash. There is no cast time. If the target is an ally, Pix shields the ally for the duration. If the ally is a champion, Pix will also fire bolts from Pix, Faerie Companion when the allied champion autoattacks for the duration. If the target is an enemy, the enemy is instantly damaged and revealed for the duration. If the target dies during the duration, Pix will return back to Lulu. The shield provided by Pix on an ally continues if Lulu dies or if Pix returns to Lulu due to leashing before the duration ends, but the vision of an enemy target will not persist in the same situation. Lastly, Pix naturally drifts behind the target as they move, a key concept in landing a point-blank Glitterlance when Help, Pix! is cast on an enemy.
Magic Damage: 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+ 40% AP)
Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 mana
Why max it?
Maxing Help, Pix! isn't the same as maxing Janna's Eye Of The Storm because the bonus damage from Pix, Faerie Companion does not scale with levels in Help, Pix!, unlike Eye Of The Storm. Therefore, it's not really ideal to max offensively. It is also not as good to pick this over Glitterlance when trying to poke, because the damage is much less (especially with the 4.5 patch nerfs), mana costs are higher, has a higher cooldown, and has lower range. Rather, it's much better to max this defensively, as it's good to max when the enemy is poking down your lane a lot and you can't really retaliate. An example would be playing against a Nidalee, Zyra, or Lux support, who can poke harder and further than you more frequently and is harder to retaliate against. A lot of ADC's tunnel vision while farming, so to help prevent them from eating a spear to the face, maxing Help, Pix! will help shield your ADC and stop them from feeding. I hate resorting to maxing this, but #soloqueuestruggle.
The key thing to remember about this ability is how it affects different types of targets (allies or enemies), making it one of the hardest abilities to really master. On allies, it provides a shield and a damage boost, two things that are seemingly opposite and, as a result, necessary for seemingly opposite situations. For example, if a teammate is being chased, it would be great to have a shield, so you'd cast Help, Pix! on your ally. At the same time, if your teammate is chasing someone for a kill, bonus damage would be great before the prey gets away, so you could also cast Help, Pix! on your ally. Despite the situations being completely opposite, Help, Pix! would benefit both situations.
When cast on enemies, it deals a good bit of damage and grants vision of the target for the duration. It can be used offensively, boosting your burst and allowing you to follows up for an easy Glitterlance at point blank range. This often times makes it better to use a Help, Pix! on a further away target to make it harder for them to dodge the Glitterlance. It's also great to simply extend Glitterlance's range, or even morph the shape of the Glitterlances into curves and L shapes, as it can be cast on allied or enemy minions too. Though a majority of the time when cast on enemies, it would be used offensively, the fact that it grants vision is also a key thing, namely when playing against champions that can stealth. With the new season and riddance of Oracle's Elixir, abilities that can grant vision of stealthed units are much more valuable. It's important to cast on a Vayne as soon as you see her use Final Hour, or on an Akali right before she disappears into her Twilight Shroud. Again, two different effects for two different situations.
To summarize, it's basically one spell with four effects, two for allies and two for enemies. As a result, it's drastically important that the scope of Help, Pix! be fully understood and practiced to quickly react and recognize who to use it on and when to use it. Using it as a shield is useless if the enemy Vayne can't be seen or stopped, because she will simply eat right through it and more. Casting it on the Vayne would be useless if someone on your team has an Oracle's Lens, as the ability could be better served as a shield since your team has true sight. Recognizing the the best place for Pix to be is what separates good and bad Lulu players.
Wild Growth (Ult):
Lulu's ult has a 900 range and causes an allied champion to grow large for 7 seconds, knocking up surrounding enemies by the target ally for 1.5 seconds when cast. The knockup does not cause damage. The ally gains a large amount of bonus health on cast and for the duration, and they gain a slowing aura for the duration as well. The bonus health scales with Lulu's AP, and the bonus health is delivered as basically a heal for the full amount along with the corresponding increase in the ally's maximum health. Grievous wounds (heal reduction) does not affect the health given. There's also a size limit of a champion, but it's always fun to ult a stacked Cho'Gath.
Cost: 100 mana
Cooldown: 110 / 95 / 80
Why max it?
It's an ult! Always max it!
Lulu's ult functions as a heal and a knockup with a slowing aura. It can serve a ton of purposes, like a simple heal, a peel, an initiate, a follow up to an initiate, and a counter-initiate. Picking the right target and time to ult is quite key. I personally like to lean towards using her ult more offensively than defensively, despite the fact that it is pure utility with no damage, as I believe that Lulu's other abilities allow her to peel and protect quite well anyways. It's great to ult the tank, who will end up taking up most of the size of the screen, and as a result can potentially shield your teammates from being able to be clicked on. It's even better with a giant Renekton, giant Nasus, Nautilus, Shyvana, Zac, or a stacked Cho'Gath, since these champions are one of the physically largest champions in the game, giving the enemy team more chance to accidentally click on them rather than others. The knockup duration is quite long and has a pretty wide area, making it great to ult your teammate who has just engaged into the enemy team.
However, it can serve it's defensive purposes, particularly if the entire enemy team is focusing one person. The heal amount is actually immensely high, and the hard and soft CC it provides, when combined with your other abilities, can easily save someone who 99% of the time would have probably died. Just keep in mind that there are also times where you can save these people with your basic abilities alone, letting you save your ult for your Aatrox when he kamikaze's the entire enemy team.
Early Items and Core Rush Items
With the new season's new items, supports can now make much more gold than in previous seasons. As a result, supports are granted much more versatility in what items they decide they want to build.
The standard item start for supports is:
-A GP10 starting item
-A Stealth Ward
-A Health Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
-A GP10 starting item
-One or two Stealth Wards
-Two or no Health Potion, depending on whether you picked up the extra ward or not
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
The reason I prefer to get a Spellthief's Edge on Lulu is because how it works with her general playstyle and kit. When used correctly, Spellthief's Edge will grant you more gold than the other items. The bonus gold from autoattacks and abilities encourages you to harass in lane, which is what you should be doing anyways, and the small bit of ability power gained from this item class will help you hurt a little bit more. Lastly, the most annoying part of playing against Lulu is her seemingly endless slows from basically every ability, and thus the Frost Queen's Claim active allows you to chain slows and never let your enemies move.
I don't like to get Relic Shield on Lulu because she makes much less gold from this item, doesn't benefit from the minion execute because she is ranged, doesn't benefit from the bonus health because she's squishy regardless, doesn't benefit from the health regeneration if you play her correctly, doesn't get any mana regeneration, and using Face of the Mountain's active with her is useless because, as I said, she is incredibly squishy and the shield provided will be very small. The shield from Help, Pix! will end up being way higher than Face of the Mountain, and Pix's shield doesn't cost health
Also, Ancient Coin is an iffy buy, and I usually don't get it on her. Talisman of Ascension is great as it allows your team to speed up, but this is similar to Frost Queen's Claim as it causes the enemy team to slow down. The health regeneration is a wasted stat on her, and the mana regeneration isn't as high as that of the Spellthief's Edge line. She makes less money with this item than she can with Spellthief's Edge, and it doesn't boost her poke potential as high as that of Edge. However, if you feel like you will be taking more poke damage during laning than you can deal with (for example, they have a Zyra, Annie, Caitlyn, etc. who can just constantly harass you) and you need the health regen, then Ancient Coin is a great option over Spellthief's Edge.
One start that's pretty popular now is starting with a Doran's Shield:
-A Doran's Shield
-A Health Potion
- Warding Totem
-A Doran's Shield
-Either one Stealth Ward or two potions (I like to do one Health Potion and one Mana Potion)
- Warding Totem
This only works now for season 4 because of the fact that both you and your ADC have Warding Totems, so you practically won't need any Stealth Wards with proper teamwork. Nothing gives you tankier stats early game than Doran's Shield, allowing you to be quite a bit more aggressive or play more defensively in lane, since it's much harder for you to die.
In my opinion, starting with a Doran's Shield is the safest starting build. It will protect you when the enemy goes all-in on you, it will protect you against early ganks since your vision is a tad bit limited, it will allow you to absorb more damage when you decide to engage, and it will help you shake off the harassment from AA poke, which is particularly effective if you're playing against a Caitlyn or an Annie.
And while your early game obviously will become tremendously easier to play since you are practically twice as tanky as normal, the trade-off is the fact that you won't get the passive gold or mana regen from Spellthief's Edge, and you also won't be able to start building your items as early since you spent gold on your Doran's Shield. Also keep in mind that Doran's Shield becomes useless as the game progresses, so it itself is exclusively an early game investment.
In my opinion, this starting build should only be taken against bottom lane comps who have strong early kill potential, can poke you down hard, or have a vulnerable early game (if you have a strong early ADC). For example, it might not be a great idea to take a Doran's Shield against a Janna/ Tristana lane (they have low early kill potential), Nami/ Vayne lane (can't really poke you much, not to mention the disengage), or a Taric/ Sivir lane (laning phase isn't particularly weak; difficult to all-in for a kill). But, if you're playing against a Leona/ Draven lane (they possess strong early kill potential), an Annie/ Caitlyn lane (can really poke you down hard), or a Sona/ Twitch lane (relatively weak laning phase with low disengage; easy to all-in for a kill), you can highly benefit from picking Doran's Shield.
-The reason I prefer Sorcerer's Shoes over Boots of Mobility is simple. Lulu already can speed herself up with Whimsy, allowing her to roam and ward acceptably quick. As a result, instead of boosting a stat she doesn't need as badly as others supports normally do, a great alternative is to get Sorcerer's Shoes to increase her damage output.
- Boots of Mobility still serve their place though, and it can't hurt to have the fastest little rascal running around the jungle to ward.
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity are also a good option, as with many AP support champions. They allow her to spam annoying spells in lane more frequently, though the CDR may go to waste once later support items are built.
- Frost Queen's Claim is a great item to rush quickly, as it provides you with another slow to help with locking enemies in or disengaging. It's quite cost efficient, granting some pretty nice stats for such a good price.
- Sightstone is an absolute must. It's one of the most cost effective items in the game. At max efficiency it's a 12.5 GP10 item, and it gives you bonus health! Rush this early!
- Sweeping Lens should ALWAYS be bought after you finish building your sightstone. The warding trinket is useless by then, and sweepers are extremely important later in the game.
-Lastly, Chalice of Harmony is great as it grants you some pretty high amounts of mana regen for more harass, and it can be made into either an Athene's Unholy Grail or a Mikael's Crucible, both of which are great on Lulu.
Late Game Items
The great thing about Lulu's late game is that she still remains relevant, filling out a different role than she did during laning phase. Rather than focusing on poking the enemy team, Lulu provides insane amounts of teamfight utility and protection. By playing to her strengths through corresponding items, Lulu can completely direct a teamfight, dishing out tons of crowd control and team protection with ease.
I will run down some great options for Lulu:
One practice that must be mastered is the correct usage of item actives. Managing items is a support's specialty, which is actually quite an advanced skill that's hard to learn. In particular, Lulu is, as I said, the director of teamfights, standing in a safe position while administering spells where they can be as beneficial as possible. With this role in mind, Lulu is the perfect person to give items with actives that support the team, as she focuses more on proper spell administration rather than mechanics.
- Mikael's Crucible is by far one of the best, most trademark support items in the game. Even better is the fact that it is a huge 900g cheaper than it was last season. Though it doesn't provide as many stats as it used to, the item's active alone makes this item practically priceless. It further extends Lulu's ability to peel and protect by providing a significant heal and a half-cleanse. Not to mention, it provides some much needed mana regeneration, and some MR never hurts. This item literally will set the difference between a live and dead teammate, so mastering the timing and proper administration of this item is key.
- Locket of the Iron Solari is another great option, if no one else has gotten it. The only problem with this item is the fact that it is quite annoying to build, since the recipe has no intermediate items between the basics and Aegis of the Legion. But, the aura is incredibly useful against the AOE magic damage that always does the majority of the damage against teams, and the item active provides a pretty significant shield to allies in teamfights. It also gives some CDR and decent defensive stats that never hurt. Make sure to communicate to see if someone else is buying it, as only one person on the team should have this since auras don't stack. Also, if there is no AOE AP damage on their team, this item is much less useful since the aura is MR only.
- Twin Shadows is another great item, adding another link to Lulu's chain of slows, as well as provides her with much needed movement speed. This item's active can be used in many ways, most importantly for scouting and chasing. Since Lulu is a support and thus given the majority of the burden of warding, the item's active helps scout dark areas. Lulu's slows also aren't that great at chasing enemies down, mainly because of how slow Glitterlance travels. The active helps catch the stragglers at the end of fights. Not to mention, the bonus ability power and CDR are great in general. It is an iffy buy, however, because it doesn't particularly fill a necessary niche; it's more of a luxury, especially when you already have several active slows.
- Morellonomicon and Athene's Unholy Grail are two items that work quite well with Lulu, though I recommend only choosing one. Either of these items in the end, when in conjunction with the rest of your items, basically gives Lulu an endless mana pool and max CDR, which is actually awesome. Enemies will become so annoyed with you because you will be spamming ability after ability, and the bonus damages provided by either item is great too. I'll pick Morellonomicon with offense in mind, as it provides a bit more AP and a nice debuff against healers, while I'll pick Athene's Unholy Grail defensively for the MR and higher mana regen for less trips back home.
Alternative Options (Situational)
Often times, there will be situations that will benefit more from alternative items.
zeke's herald is a great offensive item for teams that have extremely strong and preferably snowballed physical damage. Though the stats are barely useful for you aside from the CDR, the aura often can be a huge advantage, literally handing your ADC and AD bruisers more damage and sustain in teamfights. Generally only take this if your team has strong autoattacks or on-hits, as the lifesteal is the greatest benefit from this item rather than the bonus AD. I like to consider it to be a manlier, riskier version of Locket of the Iron Solari.
Zhonya's Hourglass provides high amounts of AP and is particularly useful if you are getting targeted early in teamfights (not the craziest thing to happen if you are a masterful Lulu player). This item is great to save yourself with, allowing you to cast Help, Pix! and Wild Growth on teammates rather than to save yourself with.
Liandry's Torment is a pretty funny item to get if you personally are really strong. This item will massively increase the amount of damage you end up doing with your Glitterlance because of the bonus damage against movement impaired units, which is great for both poking and teamfighting.
Abyssal Scepter is also a great option if the enemy team is stacking MR. Just make sure that no one else is buying this. It also gives you a nice bit of damage boost and personal MR.
Lich Bane is another funny item to be used mainly if you have gotten really strong. It provides a pretty significant movespeed boost, which you probably know by now after hearing a million times how badly she needs movement speed.
Rabadon's Deathcap is great. It's just hilarious. Only buy this if you are at the status basically having switched roles with your ADC, emphasis on carry. It happens. Lulu's strong.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter isn't as good as expected on Lulu. Her slow on Glitterlance is already a whopping 80%, Whimsy's slow is only a small portion of the overall more important aspect of its CC, and Wild Growth doesn't even proc the slow. More slows are great for Lulu, but Rylai's only enhances her slows, which she doesn't vitally need. She can fill most niche gaps with Twin Shadows and Frost Queen's Claim and Exhaust when needed, which Rylai's can't. However, slows are slows, and thus if you ever find you need or want more of them, Rylai's is a great choice. It also provides some nice AP, as well as some extra health which you shouldn't need but never hurts.
Hopefully this guide helped give you a some new knowledge on Lulu. Simply reading this guide won't make you a better Lulu player, especially since playing her correctly requires incredible amounts of practice to be able to maximize the potential of her abilities.
Feel free to leave comments and criticisms, as I am a bit of a perfectionist and get really picky with what I do. I'll leave you guys with a little bit of background info on me:
I started playing League of Legends in the summer of 2012, only casually playing. I got more into it as more of my friends got into it, and I really enjoyed playing weird champions that weren't played often, like Cassiopeia, Kog'Maw and Syndra before she got popular. I eventually settled with playing jungle and support as my main roles, since these roles fit my personality more. After playing countless games as support, I felt confident enough in my experiences to start writing guides! I can play all other support champions well, with Alistar, Zyra, and Nidalee (lol yes, she's not a support champion but ftw pokes for days) being my favorites (besides Lulu of course!).