Annie Build Guide by dani16king
Not Updated For Current Season
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
|Hi there fellow Summoners. I'm Dani16King, a Gold player who's trying to master this amazing Champion called Annie. I hope you do not judge this guide solely on my Elo/MMR, given that I'm doing my best to present it to you.
I may say too that all the builds present here are based on the player's way to play the game, and some may or may not adopt your way, as happens to me.
Why Pick Annie
Yeah. Why pick Annie?
Well, Annie is an High Burst champion with a great amount of utility, capable of dealing high damage while stunning many targets in the process.
You SHOULD pick Annie when you feel confortable in your lane (e.g. You're against an Akali for example) and the enemy team has low Ranged Poke.
You SHOULD NOT pick Annie when most of the enemy team outranges you (e.g. They've a Lux, Caitlyn, Jayce ...) or when your lane matchup is stronger than you (having more range, or being able to shut you down pretty badly) like Orianna and Syndra.
Be aware that Annie is extremely versatile, and if you have an High CC engaging team, Annie will fit there perfectly, as her Summon: Tibbers + Pyromania will stun a whole team instantly.
Annie is strong against AP Assassins too (e.g. Ahri, Fizz, Akali) and even low-ranged mid champs (e.g. Ryze, Lissandra).
Pros / Cons
|+ Extremely High Burst
+ Really Good Farmer
+ Great Utility
+ High AoE Damage
+ Tibbers is fluffy
|Annie can "One-Shot" nearly any high value target (Being ADC, AP Carries or even Assassins) if well fed/farmed. Early on you can simply farm with Disintegrate, because if you last hit with it, it'll consume no mana. Later on, you can simply use Incinerate to farm entire minion waves. As I said before Summon: Tibbers + Pyromania have great utility, since you can Stun everyone inside the area of Summon. Both Incinerate and Summon: Tibbers are really High damaging AoE abilities, plus Tibbers deals AoE damage around him.|
|- Low Range
- Low damage in early levels
- No Natural escaping Mechanism
- Low Poke
|Compared to Champions like Lux, Xerath or Brand, Annie has a low range, meaning that she can be damaged without being able to deal any damage to her enemy. Her early levels are not that damaging (until 4-5), making her vulnerable to poke and even engages. Annie has no natural escaping mechanism, meaning that if you're ganked, you'll probably have to "burn" the Flash, unless you're lucky to have your stun ready at the moment. Annie has an high burst, but she has not that much Poke. To "Poke", she has to Stun the enemy and deal all the damage, without wasting her Summon: Tibbers, meaning that she has only 2 skills to Poke.|
I chose to max Disintegrate first. The reason is that you can farm more easily early on, and you'll have a great burst in 1on1.
Next, you max you Incinerate, for teamfights and mid/late game farming potential.
Last, Molten Shield which will prove pretty useful against ADCs later on, but not that useful before that, unless for charging your stun.
You should always level your Summon: Tibbers when you can, being it at lvl 6, 11 an 16.
// After casting 4 spells, Annie's next offensive spell will stun its target for 1.25/1.5/1.75 seconds. The duration changes every 5 levels.
// This Passive is where all your utility comes from. After casting 4 Skills, Annie's next Offensive Skill (Being Disintegrate, Incinerate and Summon: Tibbers) will stun the target. Pretty Simple. You should always try to have your skills counted, so you can stun someone in an emergency or you can engage without the enemy noticing.
// Annie shoots fireball at an enemy. Disintegrate's mana cost is refunded if it deals a killing blow. NEW: This skill now also refunds half of it's CD if it kills an enemy unit.
// This skill will be your early game farming tool. If you last-hit a minion with this skill, all the mana will be refunded and also half of it's CD, meaning that you'll waste no mana and be able to farm most minions with it. Just be careful not to push unnecessarily. It is awesome to poke too, when you've your stun ready and your enemy is in range. It is really good because of it's low cooldown compared with your other abilities, meaning that you can almost always shoot it twice each fight.
// Annie casts a cone of fire dealing magic damage to all enemy targets in the area.
// This Skill will be your main farming tool at mid/late game. It is also an good tool to stun enemies when you're ganking a Duo-Lane for example, or even escaping a gank when you have a stun ready. It deals more damage than Disintegrate, but has twice the cooldown, meaning that you can almost always use it only once each fight. It is also a great engaging too when you don't have your ultimate, but you need to engage.
// Places a shield around Annie for 5 seconds, increasing her armor and magic resistance. Additionally, enemies will be dealt magic damage whenever they use autoattacks on her while the shield is active.
// This Skill is mainly used to "charge" your passive early on. It has a really low mana cost, but it stats are not that good, so this is probably what you'll be using it for. But remember, if you're going for a fight, activate this when you're taking damage, as it will reduce any incoming damage (unless it's true damage). It is pretty useful later on, when you're fighting Hit-based champs (as most ADCs and Fiora and Master Yi) as it'll work as Thornmail, dealing damage to your enemies too, depending on your AP. This will probably NOT outdamage them, but when used with your other Skills, it can turn around a fight.
// Annie releases her bear Tibbers from his toy prison, dealing magic damage to enemy units in the summon area. For a limited time of 45 seconds, Tibbers can move and attack at Annie's will, while continually dealing magic damage to surrounding enemies.
// This skill is devastating, either as a Burst or as an Utility skill. Being part of your burst, this skill is your main damaging one, and you should try to ALWAYS initiate with it + Pyromania. Why? Because the time that your enemy is stunned, it'll be taking damage from the Tibbers AoE damage, so he'll take damage from Summon: Tibbers + Tibbers AoE Damage + Disintegrate + Incinerate. This Skill DOES NOT have more range than Disintegrate as many think, but given that it is a circular AoE Cast, and it has the same range as Disintegrate, you'll be able to cast it further. Note that Tibbers has it's own stats depending on it's level. You can check them on skill description.
//Pre-6 Poke Combo - Ready up your Stun, get in range and shoot Disintegrate, while the target is stunned follow up with an auto + Incinerate. Now the tricky part - be aware who you're up against. For example, if you're up against Orianna she'll probably try to fight back with Command: Attack + Command: Dissonance and autos. If you're able to dodge this, you can hit her once again and use your Q for maximum damage. If you can't dodge or the enemy is stronger than you when this close, like a Fizz or Ahri who can charm you, you should just Q + Auto + W and get back. Remember, you can Q + Auto + W + Auto + Q if you're stronger than the enemy, but don't do it if it's too risky!
//Anti-gank Combo - YouMUST have you Stun ready or close to that (2 stacks on your passive will do, most times). Wait your enemies to get close and use your Incinerate. If they don't get close, simply use your Disintegrate on the enemy who is CCed, or go for a kill if any enemy is low. Assuming that you still have Flash, you can Incinerate> Disintegrate> Ignite someone and if you're in trouble you can just flash to safety. If you don't have the stun ready when you get ganked, and assuming you have 2 stacks, just use Molten Shield > Incinerate > Disintegrate on the enemy who has most CC. If an enemy is half HP and has no healing mechanisms and no escapes, for example Vi after she just used her Q, you can do the other way around - Molten Shield > Disintegrate > Incinerate and then follow up with Disintegrate again. If this is pre-6 and she's half HP, with this combo she'll be dead most of the times, if you ignite her, but always be aware that your laning opponent is there too.
//1on1 Burst Combo - Ready up your Stun, get in range and use Summon: Tibbers on your enemy. Use Disintegrate followed by an auto-attack, Incinerate followed by another auto, if the enemy is low enough just Ignite him. If he isn't going down that easy, right after you use your Incinerate try to move side-by-side with him, and auto him. This will make you able to land another Disintegrate soon after, probably signaling their demise.
//Teamfight Combo - Ready up your Stun and wait for someone in your team to engage (a Tank probably). When someone do, use your Summon: Tibbers either on an High Value target (as a fed ADC or a fed Glass Cannon), or use it on at least 3 enemies close to each other. Then get close to an enemy group and use your Incinerate, followed by Disintegrate on the Highest Value target.
NOTE: You can also engage using Pyromania + Summon: Tibbers if the enemy team is really close. A 5-Stun engage would be the best you could get for your team.
Tips and Tricks
Try to be unpredictable. Don't ready your Stun and go in on an enemy just like that. Get 3 stacks of Pyromania, and when you're close to the enemy use Molten Shield > Summon: Tibbers or any other Skill. That way, enemies wont play so defensively when they see you coming, and you'll be able to get your full combo on them easier.
If you get engaged on a 1on1 fight and you have your ultimate, even though you don't have your stun, don't simply run away (unless your enemy is stronger than you, being fed, or your hard counter, as Syndra). Try to Disintegrate and Incinerate as you go. If you have 0 Stacks (which is highly unlikely) you'll need 2 Disintegrate and one Incinerate and Molten Shield to get your stacks up for Summon: Tibbers. Although this seems alot, stacking this high hardly takes 6 seconds. Just use Q + W + E, run away, and then Q + R. Even if you're not in range for W, you can always just shoot it in front of you for the stack.
Molten Shield can be casted while moving, so if you are in a sticky situation, keep on spamming it until you have a stun, so you can easily stun the enemies and get away. If the enemies are getting closer and you're one stack away from stun, you can simply use Disintegrate > Incinerate so you can run away safely.
If you have Deathfire Grasp and you're low HP being pursued by an enemy, you can most times burst the enemy down if you have your stun ready. Just turn back, Deathfire Grasp active > Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite. If you dont have ultimate, do the same combo, or stun the enemy and run away. If you don't have stun, follow the previous tip.
You can scout area covered by fog of war with Tibbers. You can, for example, make Tibbers facecheck a bush, making you safer. Tibbers can also Tank turrets and even deal damage to them. Tibbers can also be buffed by your teammates, but it can also damage you while under the effect of Time Bomb or similar effects.
You should always be aware, as Tibbers has a Maximum Distance that he can be away from you, so if he reach that maximum range, he'll be Teleported back to near Annie.
// Most Recommended
|// Flash is your main Escaping Mechanism. It is really good to engage against champions who outrange you too. For example you're playing against a Syndra, you've been poking him but he's keeping at max range now. You can simply Flash + Summon: Tibbers with Pyromania + Disintegrate + Incinerate + Ignite. There aren't many champions who can survive to this entire combo, but be aware that after burning your Flash you will need to play defensively unless you have your mid well warded.|
|// Ignite helps you with your burst and helps you shuting down those high Regen/Spellvamp/Lifesteal champions, who can turn the fight around because of that (e.g. Volibear, Swain, Aatrox). It is also good to finish off running enemies, as it deals damage over time.|
|// Teleport is good if you want to farm alot early game, as you can simply teleport back to lane after going B. You can also gank lanes that have wards (Mainly Bot-Lane) and if you have your stun ready, your ganks can be devastating, and you can give your team a really good advantage. Generally, if you use your Teleport to help your team and to gank it'll probably help alot, mainly on full premade team games.|
|// Barrier is a good spell, but used mainly by ADCs and High Range Champions, so why use it on Annie?
Well, there are burst champions that can easily outdamage and even outplay annie. If you think you'll have some problems at mid, take Barrier. I recommend to take this spell against Champions like Fizz, who can dodge part of your combo, if not even all, when well timed. You counter Fizz, but you probably can't handle a all-in combo by him, so Barrier is a good choice.
// Not Recommended
// Ghost simply loses to Flash in every point, when it comes to Annie.
Clarity and Heal are not viable at all. They're not good for Annie because you can farm without spending any mana, and if you build Hextech Revolver you'll heal alot while farming.
Cleanse is a good spell, just not for Annie. If the other team has a lot of CC and/or they're focusing you, just rush Zhonya's Hourglass or even Quicksilver Sash.
Exhaust wont help you that much. It is good against ADCs and to be able to chase someone effectively, but if you're building Rylai's Crystal Scepter you wont really need it at all.
Clairvoyance and Smite talk for themselves. They're really specific roles spells, and as you aren't playing either Support or Jungler you wont need them.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: // This will give Annie a really good potential early on, being it farming, poking or bursting an enemy down.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: // It lets Annie deal more damage to
and Champions. Many players use Magic Resist Runes at mid, so Magic Pen will be pretty useful.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: // It will give you some defenses early on, and make you more resistant to poke and harass. Also will help you out-trade your lane opponent.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Armor: // This runes will not prove very effective early on, but if you're up against Zedor Yasuo you'll probably need them, or you'll get poked alot and burst down.
- Greater Seal of Health: // Since the flat armor runes were nerfed, and you will need to resist and stay more time in lane, these will help you ALOT against both AD and AP enemies, and you will become a bit harder to kill early on.
// Other Viable Runes
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: // Some people use Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed instead of Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. They are viable if you're up against a champion with high-range, but you'll become a bit weaker, since you'll probably start off without any AP from runes.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: // If you'd rather be stronger later on than earlier, this runes are the best for you. I prefer Flat AP ones because it'll make it easier to snowball, and Annie is a great Snowballer.
- Greater Glyph of Ability Power: // You can use these when your lane opponent is weak early on, or is an AD champ who deals no magic damage at all. You'll start off with 50 AP (with doran's) but you'll have no magic resist, so you need to be careful who you take them against.
- greater seal of Mana Regen: // You should use this ones if you're against a melee enemy AP and you'll need to poke him really hard early on in order to shut him down. This is the case of Akalifor example.
Masteries21 OFFENSE 9 Utility
// Pretty standard AP Masteries. We will want to have all the damage boosting masteries we can, Dangerous Game because it'll really help you out against groups of enemies and in fights, and Sorcery because cooldown is always useful. You can also take the point from Arcane Blade and place it elsewhere, but I like to chain an auto in between every skill, so I recommend you use it as it is for maximum damage.
// For Utility, we want Fleet of Foot because of those annoying high ranged champs and Runic Affinity because you'll probably get a Blue from your jungler. The remaining ones are based on your playstyle, you can even take all the points from Meditation and Strenght of Spirit and max Scout and Summoner's Insight instead!
Q: Why not 21/9/0?
// Well, you can always go for defense, but given that you're playing as a Burst Damage Champion, you'll be better using the utility tree instead. It gives you cooldown reduction on Summoner Spells and Mana related buffs, so I find utility better than defense.
|// Doran's Ring is probably the most used starting item at mid-lane right now. It's gives you tankyness, damage, and helps you keep your mana topped. With Disintegrate, you'll even RECEIVE mana if you kill a unit, instead of using it.|
|// If you can get one of these in your first back, your doing it right! I mean, this item gives you 80 AP just like that, and given that your first back will be at level 7 or so, you'll probably be able to burst down 3/4 of your opponent's HP, unless he has a shielding/healing skill or is building MR (mainly Negatron Cloak). This is probably the best item you can get in your first time base, but you'll probably not get it all the times, since it's expensive. if you can't do so, get a Fiendish Codex.|
|// In case you can't just rush a Needlessly Large Rod you can probably always get this item. It's not as good as the Needlessly, but it's still a strong item, and you should get it anyway. It gives you CD which will let you farm easily, but the AP it gives is way lower than Needlessly's, so you'll probably not be able to burst your enemy so fast.|
|// This was my early-game item of choice. It gives you a nice AP (for early-game), and it lets your stay in lane or without going base for a really long time. I believe that this item used to be viable before all the Annie changes that happened, and although it's still a good item, going for Deathfire Grasp is a way better choice now.|
|// A great early item on Annie. It does not give you a lot of Early AP, but it's awesome because it also gives you 200 HP and Magic Penetration, so if your opponent is build Magic Resist (usally champs that counter you like Orianna and Syndra start off with Chalice of Harmony), you will be able to counter that. You should get this item if you're up against someone stacking Magic Resist really hard, or if you intend to upgradeit to Liandry's Torment.|
|Catalyst the Protector||// A good early item if you want a lot of Lane Sustain. It gives you HP an Mana, and every time you level up it'll restore a portion of these stats. With the no mana consumption on your Disintegrate, you'll probably stay a lot of time in lane, after you buy this. The really con of this item is that you'll only build it if you're going for Rod of Ages, and it gives no AP, meaning you'll have to rush the full item as soon as possible.|
|// A Core item if you're going to build an Archangel's Staff. It does not boost your stats that much, as it only gives Mana and Mana Regen, but you'll need to buy it early so you can start stacking. Buying this item will make you a bit weak early on, but after you stack it and upgrade it, it'll make you have a great lategame. So, if you're betting everything on your lategame, this is the right item to build.|
|// A Core item for most AP Casters. Gives you the Magic Penetration you'll need in order to deal a lot more damage from every Skill and to every target.|
|// These are great for many Casters, just not for Annie. She doesn't need CDR that much, and MPen is way more valuable for her.|
|// Before all the changes that went down with Annie this season and last season, I would've placed a Rylai's Crystal Scepter here. But after all that happened, she's now all about the burst and the early-game snowballing. So what you gotta do is rush this item, and try to give hell to your lane opponent as soon as possible. This item will help you burst down, and even make them go from 100% do 0% most mid-laners. It gives you a nice AP boost, a bit of CDR which may come in handy, and above all a Damage-Boosting ative ability. You should always try to use Deathfire Grasp > Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite + Auto-Attack > Disintegrate. This will probably kill your opponent, if not, he'll be really low and have to back out of lane. Try always to poke your enemy to 3/4 or half HP before you use this whole combo, just to make sure he's going to die.|
|// This item gives you a REALLY sweet AP boost, and gives you some sustain and defenses against most bruisers, while giving you an awesome active that will probably help you turn around alot of fights. You should always aim to build this as third item (being first Deathfire Grasp and second Sorcerer's Shoes) as it gives you an AP boost, and a really effective way to survive longer on fights. When you dish your damaging combo in fights, you should always be aware for assassins or strong bruisers like Irelia and Vi that can focus you and deal you alot of damage, or even kill "serve" you to their team, like Wukong or Skarner. If one of these gets close enough to you, and you don't have a way to burst him down and your team is around, you should use Zhonya's Hourglass, so your team can kill him, or at least get him away from you. You should also RUSH this item if you're up against Zed or Syndra and you're losing your lane. When you finish Zhonya's Hourglass you'll be able to avoid both of their ults, if well timed.|
|// This is another great item for Annie. Mainly if the other team has many Health-Based Champions (e.g. Volibear, Dr. Mundo, Cho'Gath), because it'll deal damage based on their Current HP, so if you "poke" them while they're full, you'll deal a lot more damage than you would if you didn't had this item. It will also boost your HP, give you MPen, and boost your damage even to non HP-Based Champions.
As situational, this item is still great. It is a safe item to buy when you are being focused by tanky bruisers but you already have Zhonya's Hourglass and it's not working, as it gives you a slight HP boost, and has a good utility against them tankies.
|// A good item for Annie if you want to get a nice damage and being able to get really Tanky. You should combine this item with Rylai's Crystal Scepter so you can get nearly 3000 Max HP, and still being able to deal a nice damage to enemies. You should always build this item as your first, because it stacks each minute, to a maximum of 10 minutes, meaning that you'll need 10 minutes to get it fully stacked, which is 1/4 of a moderately long game duration.|
|// This item is great if you're going all-in on late-game. Tear of the Goddess will take a long time stacking, but after it is stacked and you get this item (which will upgrade automatically to Seraph's Embrace when full stacked) you'll be getting a lot of AP. The active of this item is pretty useful when you're being focused, as it gives you a great shield (nearly same as Barrier).
I recommend you to always combine this item with Rod of Ages, as the more mana you have, more AP you will have too. If you're really going for Rod of Ages I recommend you to get an early Tear of the Goddess, getting Rod of Ages and only then upgrading the Tear to Archangel's Staff.
|// I consider this item situational because sometimes you need more Survivability than sustain. However, I use it in almost every build as 5th or 6th item. It helps you a lot destroying tanks or even bursting ADCs down with 2 skills. You should try to get this item ALWAYS and you should forget it only when you're being focused a lot, and Zhonya's Hourglass is not enough to survive a fight. You're playing Annie as an AP Carry, being so, you should be able to deal damage even to tanks, so that's why this item is so important.|
|// This item is great, and given that Annie has a low range, she can use this item's passive to the maximum. It gives you AP and Magic Resist, being that all you need against an Ability Power based team, later on. You can also rush this item if you're up against an AP enemy laner, so you can cap his damage, and be able to win fights. Overall, I build this item when I'm not being that focused being it normally my 4th or 5th item.|
|// This item is viable to buy ONLY if your team has a lot of AP. Otherwise you should sell your Hextech Revolver later on and exchange it for another Situational item. NOTE: This item stacks twice within the players who have it.|
|// Although Situational, this is still one of the best items on Annie. It gives you chasing potential, it gives you a easier way to escape enemies, and it makes enemies being "sticked" closer to Summon: Tibbers more time, making them take more damage from its AoE. It also gives you a good AP and HP, so it's pretty useful. If there's no abnormal situation (like a fed bruiser, or being focused alot) this is the item I get most of the times as 5th or 6th, depending on Void Staff.|
|// You should ONLY build this item if you're going to build Archangel's Staff. It gives you AP, Armor and Mana, so you'll be getting AP twice (from the item AP and from the Archangel's Staff passive). The armor it gives is quite nice against AD Casters, and you can get the Glacial Shroud early on, if you're going for Archangel's Staff and you're up against an AD mid.|
|// You Last Resort when it comes to Survivability. You should get this item ONLY if you're still unable to Survive teamfights, even if you have Zhonya's Hourglass and Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This will make enemies stop focusing you, and probably you'll be able to do what you want in teamfights.|
This build is based on straight up damage. All you want is to burst down a squishy target (or your lane opponent early on) and get him dead in seconds.
This is the most used build. It is good for nearly any situation, but not specially good for any. What I mean is - It is generally good, but not specific. It is still the build that I prefer above any others, given that any enemy team will not have only one specific kind of champions/composition, and you'll need to be good at anything, not only be good against high HP targets, or only be good in lategame.
Pros / Cons
+ Good at nearly everything
+ High Burst
+ High follow up potential
+ Can erase enemies in a matter of seconds
+ Really high AoE damage and sustained damage
- Not specific to any kind of enemy
- Squishy and low mobility
- Needs good positioning
Old Hextech Build
This build is based on Lane Sustain. You'll be able to stay in lane longer if you buy [health potion]. This build is all about having sustained damage and being able to survive fights by using it. The spellvamp provides a good sustain in lane, and it'll help you fight off enemies with higher Poke.
Pros / Cons
+ Good at nearly everything
+ High sustained damage
+ High follow up potential
+ Health recover per skill
+ Alot of sustain
- Not specific to any kind of enemy
- Lower burst than the previous one
- No stronger stage during the game
- Disposable Item
- Low utility
Liandry's Torment Build
This build is also great. It lets you deal aditional damage depending on enemies current health, making it easier to fight tanks, and also making it easier to burst someone down from full HP to null HP. It is also great because Tibbers will proc the effect on Liandry's Torment with his AoE damage, meaning that everyone around Tibbers will be dealt the damage to current HP too.
Pros / Cons
+ Good against tanks
+ Higher Burst
+ Good Over-time damage
+ Tibbers procs Liandry's Torment
+ Great AoE Over time Damage
- Not really good against MR Tanks like Galio
- No stronger stage during the game
- Damage goes down the less HP enemies have
- No spellvamp
Really Tanky Build
This build is the tankiest of all I present. It gives you a good sutain in lane, since Catalyst of Aeons gives you HP and Mana every time you level up, which will help you stay in lane more time. If you finish this build (or at least the core, and you're at lvl 18) you'll have nearly 3k Max HP, which is a lot for an AP Carry. With this, you'll be able to deal tons of damage [Morello's face here] and be tanky as hell.
NOTE: You can always combine this core with Liandry's Torment for Maximum Tankiness.
Pros / Cons
+ Really Tanky
+ High Burst
+ Good follow-up potential
+ High Lane Sustain
+ You wont really get that focus
- No specific strenght
- No stronger stage during the game
- No early AP Item
- No spellvamp
- Takes 10 minutes to Stack after purchase
Archangel's Staff Build
This Build converts you early/mid game power into late game, meaning that you'll have a really good early game, but you'll have kinda weak early/mid games. You'll be really strong later on, the item will give you a really good shield and you'll probably never run out of mana. The Con about this is that you need to build Mana in order to get AP.
NOTE: Iceborn is a good item if you're going for mana, which would be good if you're up against an AD champ or even a full AD team.
Pros / Cons
+ Really High late-game damage
+ High Burst
+ You'll never run out of mana
+ Great shield will save your life
+ Kinda tanky too
- Weak Early/Mid games
- Takes time stacking
- No early AP Item
- No spellvamp
- You have to build Mana
First of all, I need to explain what "Early-game", "Mid-Game", and "Late-game" stand for.
Early-game is the first phase of the game. This is the phase where players (excluding the junlger) stay in their lanes mainly farming and poking each other. This phase starts when the game starts and usually ends when all the players are around level 8, but it can be longer or shorter, depending on the game. There are various champions that are really strong early on like Renekton, Draven and Lee Sin for example.
Mid-Game is the second stage of a game. It starts when both teams start roaming around the map, helping other lanes and trying to secure objectives (like Dragon for example). Usually, when Mid-Game starts there are already 1 or 2 Turrets down. It usually ends when players are around level 14, but as Early-Game, it can be longer or shorter depending on the game.
There are also champions who are particulary stronger in Mid-Game like Vladimir, Kassadin (you should really take care with Kassadin's Mid-Game) and Nidalee.
Late-game is the last phase of any game. It starts when both teams start pushing a single lane (usually mid-lane) and having fights 5on5. It is also when teams prepare ambushs near the main objectives ( Baron and Dragon ). Teams start fighting for these objectives more often too, and Baron Nashor is usually a great advantage for whoever takes it, being able to turn all the fights around.
There are many champions who shine later on, like Vayne, Nasus, Twisted Fate and even Soraka.
This explained, lets start with the actual In-Game Strategies.
Level 1 to 5:
In this phase of the game you should last-hit minions with your Disintegrate anytime you can. When you have your stun ready, approach the enemy with caution (Approach only if you think you'll win the trade) and try to stun him with Disintegrate and then follow with Incinerate and go back to safety. If the enemy has more range than you and you can't hit your Q on him right away, don't "chase" him, as you'll probably be poked. If he goes back, keep last-hitting with your Disintegrate, unless you think you can Harass you enemy by getting closer and away to him, denying him farm. You should either shoot your Disintegrate at your enemy when you have the chance ( Disintegrate > Incinerate), or you use your stun on a minion and go back farming with Disintegrate if you're missing too much minions.
Keep in mind that at level 3 you can probably deal 1/3 of the enemies Max HP with each "Poke" Combo.
Level 6 to 8:
If you hadn't been countered, you should play really agressive now. Try to get your enemy with Half HP, or at least 2/3 HP. When you do, get 3 Stacks of Pyromania and advance on to him. As your stun isn't visible at 3 Stacks, he probably wont go back, and there's where Molten Shield shines. When you're in Range for Summon: Tibbers use Molten Shield (and your stun will be ready) quickly followed by Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite > Disintegrate. This will make sure that the enemy dies without even being able to put up a fight, and you'll probably still have more than half HP, and if you do, keep on your lane farming.
NOTE: If you've been able to poke your enemy before 6 (and he has Half HP or 2/3 HP) but now he's playing at Max Range and he outranges you badly (e.g. Brand, Lux, Cassiopeia) you can always ready Pyromania and then Flash > Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate > Incinerate > Ignite > Disintegrate. Be aware that this combo will give you lane advantage as you get a kill, but it also will put you in a dangerous position, as you have no escaping mecanism and you have no way to approach your opponent. Being so, even if you're ahead of him you'll have to play defensively.
Playing as Annie in mid game, you have various choices of what to do. First of all, you can roam around the map helping your team. You'll probably get some kills (as Annieis an AMAZING ganker since she has stun nearly whenever she wants) and some assists too. The counterpart is that you wont be getting that much farm.
Second option is to push "to infinity and beyond", meaning that you'll push a lot and try really hard to get the enemy's turret. The good part about this is that you'll probably get to late-game with monster farm and probably some kills (if you're dominating your lane), and you'll probably get a turret too. The counterpart about this is that you wont be helping your team directly (you're giving them 150G indirectly by getting the turret) and you'll have to get your mid well warded so you wont get caught by a gank.
NOTE: If you're playing this way and don't want to get their turret down too soon, you can play Mordekaiser's style. You push to their turret and then steal their wraiths . When you go back to lane the minions are probably pushing to the middle of it already, so you just push to turret again and get wraiths again. Just repeat this without getting caught, and you'll probably have 200 creeps at aproximately 25 minutes.
The third and last thing you can do is Follow your lane opponent. If you're winning your lane against an Assassin champion or an Strong Ganker like Ryze, Malzahar, Lux they'll probably start roaming as soon as they hit level 6. This strategy is simple. You stay in lane as long as your Opponent does. If he goes away, you follow him without the enemy team knowing and you signal you team that your lane opponent is going to gank them (at bot for example). When they do engage you simply counter engage (luckily they'll be close and you'll be able to get 2 or 3-man stun on them). This will give your team a really good advantage in that fight and probably in the ones to come.
NOTE: This is the harder strategy, as staying unnoticed is kinda hard, but it is also the most rewarding one (you'll probably be getting 1 for 3 trades or even 0 for 3 trades). This strategy also lets you farm a bit, as long as you lane opponent is there.
Remember to ALWAYS be aware of your map. If your team is going to Dragon you should help them. If your team is fighting for Dragon or any Buff you should help them fighting. If any of your teammates is in trouble and is running towards mid, you go there and try either to kill an opponent, or Stun and run. If your jungler is counter-jungling, you should take care of his back, and follow your lane opponent if he leaves lane.
Map awareness is probably one of the player's most important "skill", as it will help you win the game.
This phase is where the REAL fights start happening. This is where you either win or lose the game, by winning or losing teamfights. Stay close to your team and either wait for someone to engage (a tank like Malphite, or Amumu, or another AoE CC champ like Sona for example) or you do it yourself. Note that you should always be able to Stun at least 3 opponents with Summon: Tibbers in order to get a proper engage. You should also always focus high value targets with your other abilities (mainly Disintegrate, as it is single-targeted]]. High Value targets are mainly ADCs, AP Carries or even Assassins, who can deal a ton of damage [Morello's face here]] and will make you lose a fight.
Your teamfight combo should be Summon: Tibbers > Disintegrate (on an High Value Target) > Incinerate (in the highest number of enemies you can) > Disintegrate (either on a High Value target, or in order to protect someone).
Remember to keep Molten Shield activated whenever you can. If you activate it by the time you use Summon: Tibbers, your next skill after the second Disintegrate will be a Stun. This means that whoever is trying to flee a fight after you land a full combo, will probably not be able to do so, since you'll have a stun ready.
1. Annie is NOT a split pusher. If you're underfarmed at late game, you leave your team to farm a maximum of 2 minion waves and then you get back. Otherwise will be either caught and killed, or the enemy will engage a 5on4 fight with your team, and your team will be losing trades.
2. You must ALWAYS use Molten Shield between your skills. It has no Cast Time (or channeling), it can be cast while walking, and it'll give you one stack of Pyromania. You should also activate it when you're up against a Hit-Based champion, or at any equilibrated fight in general. I've seen many people playing Annie that wouldn't use Molten Shield unless to charge his passive. This skills gives you defenses, and if you're running from an assassin, or fighting an fed target you should always activate it, and then do it again as soon as you can.
3. The most important thing as an Annie player is to keep track of your Pyromania stacks even if you dont look at the stack icon. This way you'll be able to get a Stun ready whenever you need, mainly when you're in a bad situation (being chased when you're low HP for example). Remember that all your 4 skills have nearly no cast time, so if you have 2 stacks on Pyromania you can simply use Incinerate > Disintegrate to get a stun. And even if you have no stacks, you can simply Molten Shield > Summon: Tibbers > Incinerate > Disintegrate and you'll get a stun.
I will divide each grade of difficulty presented by an enemy champion in three tiers.
Easy - Easy matchup, you probably counter the enemy or he isnt really strong against you.
Medium - You do not counter the enemy champ but he doesn't counter you either. Sometimes I'll use it for Champions who you should care in a specific stage of the game.
Hard - They probably counter you. If they don't, they're are really hard champions to play against, generally talking.
Ahriis not the most difficult opponent there is, but a good Ahri will give you some trouble. She'll be trying to poke you with Orb of Deception, so you MUST dodge. If she's able to land a Charm on you you'll probably go down to half HP, so you should try to stay behind your minions. Your level 6 Burst is stronger than hers, but you CAN'T be charmed, or else you'll be going down pretty quickly. A good Ahri will see when you're trying to engage, and will use Spirit Rush when you're getting too close to her, causing you to miss your ult and stun. This is why, against Ahri, you should always try to engage with Disintegrate, as after cast it can't be dodged (unless by skills that make your enemies untargetable). After she's stun, you just use Summon: Tibbers > Incinerate > Disintegrate > Ignite.
TL;DR - Dodge Orb of Deception. Stay behind minions to dodge Charm. Engage with Disintegrate instead of Summon: Tibbers.
Akali is one of the easiest champions you'll be laning against, as Annie. She is really weak before 6 (as her only ranged skill, Mark of the Assassin, deals only nearly 50 damage), and she needs to be in melee range to farm. You can simply poke her badly with Pyromania + Disintegrate > Incinerate, and after the 2nd or 3rd time you do she'll be forced to go B. You'll probably outfarm her, and you'll be able to kill her easily when you reach 6, as she'll probably be low HP or even lower level than you. You should only be careful with Akali's Roam. After 6 she'll probably roam a lot, so make sure you either push mid a lot, or you follow her, or she'll be getting really fed.
TL;DR - Poke her a lot. She'll be unable to counter-poke you and eventually be forced out of lane. At level 6 you can take her down easily.
Before 6, Anivia needs to land her Flash Frost on you in order to deal good damage. This skill has a high range, but is fairly easy to dodge, as it moves slowly. You should dodge it always or you'll be taking a lot of damage. The problem against Anivia is that a good player wont be getting close to you unless you are stunned. This is good and bad. It is good because he'll probably not going for the "Easier" high damage Anivia's Combo (Being it Glacial Storm > Frostbite) because of it's low range. It is bad because it'll be either a farm battle, or a trial and error Flash Frost battle. What you gotta do is simple and yet complicated. You got to wait Anivia to miss her Flash Frost and then try to get some "Poke". Remember that Anivia has low HP Base, but she has Rebirth, so dont go all in when she has her passive. Keep trying to poke until she loses her passive, and then you can go all-in. This easier written than done, but it's your only hope.
TL;DR - Dodge Flash Frost at all cost. Anivia wont probably be getting close to you, so you gotta wait her to miss Flash Frost and then "Poke" her. Remember her Rebirth. You should not go All-in unless she has her passive down.
Brand brings the real mean of "Fight fire with fire". He'll burn you down, literally. It's kinda hard to burn someone who's body is already made of fire so...
Without joking now - Brand counters you in most ways. I've won my lane to some Brands, but they need to let themselves being poked by you, and a good Brand will always stay the hell (oh I see what I've done here) away from you, and damage you with Pillar of Flame > Sear Combo. Most good Brands dont even get close to you to use Conflagration, as they know if they do, you can simply turn the fight around. A REAL problem about Brand is that he'll make Tibbers kill you. If you're fighting Brand and you somehow achieved to Summon: Tibbers on him, he'll simply use Pyroclasm on you, and it'll bounce between you and Tibbers, melting you down with TONS OF DAMAGE [Morello's face here].
What you gotta do against Brand is trying to poke him a bit, and when he's half HP just Flash and whole combo on him. As I said before, this'll give you advantage, but you gotta play even more defensively after that. And you should try to dodge his Pillar of Flame obviously.
TL;DR - Brand counters Annie badly. He wont be getting close to you unless he's bad. You gotta poke him a bit and then Flash + full combo to burst him down. If you dont, he'll use Pyroclasm on you, and it'll bounce between you and Tibbers, killing you easily.
Cassiopeia has a good range and low cooldown on her main damaging skill, being so, she'll probably poke you a lot before 6, but you should always try to Dodge her Noxious Blast. It wont be easy, but the less damage you take until you get to level 6, the best. After level 6 this lane will be pretty much "The one who stuns first wins the fight". She'll probably keep on Poking you, but she may also commit the error of getting too close, and it'll be fatal. Just dodge and farm until you see an opportunity to strike.
TL;DR - You gotta dodge Noxious Blast and wait until Cassiopeia makes a mistake. After 6, who stuns 1st will probably win the fight, so make sure it's you.
Cho'Gath has a good range and damage early on, but his skills spend too much mana, so you'll have to exploit it. Take care with his passive, as he'll have a lot of sustain in lane. His hit range is melee, but most players use their skills to farm as Cho'Gath. You'll probably be able to poke him a bit, but as soon as he reachs 6, you're the one who doesnt want to get too close. If he gets in melee range with you, he can ult you dealing at least 300 True damage, which is a lot, early on. You can still Burst him down, and you should not let him stack his ult, as it'll make it harder for you (and anyone in your team) to kill him. Be aware of Feral Scream as it'll silence you.
TL;DR - Cho'Gath spends to much mana early on. Exploit it. As he's Melee ranged on his hits, you can poke him when he tries to hit. After he reachs 6 don't get too close, and do not let him stack his ultimate.
Diana has only 1 ranged skill that doesnt deal much damage (less than 100 damage in lane, unless really fed), and her hits are melee, so you can poke her when she tries to farm. Her Crescent Strike is kinda hard to dodge, given its uncommon form (it is shot like a crescent moon so...) but you'll get used to it. Be aware that her shield can absorb a good part of your damage, so dont be too confident. After 6 she'll have a great damage + gap closing ability, so you need to play with caution. I recommend you to engage with Disintegrate, as she can use Lunar Rush when she predicts you're engaging with Summon: Tibbers. Also, don't let her hit you 3 times, or you'll be in a bad position.
TL;DR - Try to dodge Crescent Strike. It'll be hard because it is shot as an crescent moon, but try at least. Poke her when she moves to farm. Take care as her shield will absorb a good damage. Try to engage with Disintegrate so she can't dodge it by using Lunar Rush to you.
Elise has 2 forms. Human Form is mainly ranged, as Spider Form is mainly melee, with a Gap-closing skill. Elise has nearly the same range as you in human form, and her mana consumption is somewhat high, so exploit it. Stay behind minions so you wont get stunned and you'll be okay. Since Elise has been nerfed, she's a lot more weak, so she'll need to poke you alot in order to burst you down in Spider Form. Her damage scales the more ( Human Form) or the less ( Spider Form) HP you have, so she'll not be threat when you're low and she's in Human Form, as she'll deal you nearly no damage when she's in Spider Form and you're full HP.
TL;DR - Elise's Human Form is ranged, and Spider Form is melee. You can poke her because she has the same range as you. She has high mana consumption, exploit it. Human Form deals more damage if you're full, and Spider Form deals more damage when you're low. You outdamage her nearly always.
Evelynn is not really Viable now at mid, but you may see some. She has a low range and needs to be really close to you to deal damage, so you can poke her a lot, and as soon as you see her running towards you, you just get a full combo on her and she'll probably going down.
Only thing you should be aware is the shield from her ult. It'll absorb a great damage, so dont waste it all if you think she'll survive, as she may even try to kill you after she survives and you're out of skills.
TL;DR - Easy lane. Poke her as she tries to farm. Engage when you want or when she runs towards you. Be aware of her shield, as she may survive and try to kill you when you're out of skills.