Orianna Build Guide by Mystdragoon
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
First off, this is my first attempt at a guide on this site, so please bear with me. Please leave feedback for me so I can improve upon this guide as well as guides in the future. Constructive criticism is welcome, but please try to refrain from using derogatory remarks if you simply disagree with something said. I will be adding pictures and videos to the guide as soon as I get around to it. Please don't give negative feedback if they aren't quite up yet.
Orianna is an extremely versatile character, and can be played successfully in many, many ways. With that being said, please realize this is just my ramblings about this champion, and what has worked and hasn't worked for me. Your experiences may be different if you have already tried this champion, or may feel like something may work better than stated in this guide. That's fine! Orianna is by no means a champion that has one definitive build for every situation. Experimentation in builds (runes, masteries, AND items) is highly encouraged. It is how we all grow as players.
So, why play Orianna at all? Aren't there 'better' choices for AP carry or support?
First off, LoL is supposed to be fun. Orianna provides a unique playing experience that can benefit her team, and this is fun. She is not a gimmick hero with a unique playing style that sucks in ranked games. But, she is tough to play well, and takes a lot more practice than any other champion to play to her potential. This is part of the fun, and mastering her feels oh soooo good. It is definitely worth your painstaking efforts to learn this hero inside and out, because she is very high risk high reward. (people who say she isn't high reward are not good enough yet, and should continue to practice. Again, this takes longer than usual.)
As a final note: any guide can recommend runes, masteries, items, etc. My hope with this guide is to give a little bit more substance than simply 'do this and win.' That is not how Orianna works, at all.
Orianna's Niche and Viability
Upon release in June, Orianna was banned in most ranked games because she was incredibly strong. Her range enabled her to poke and zone enemies with ease. Since release, she has received three nerfs and three buffs, leaving her in a current state with reduced range, damage, ap ratios, % slow/speed on dissonance, and higher mana costs, but slightly better mana regeneration. Because she was hit so hard with the nerfbat, the majority of the community feels Orianna is currently underpowered and outclassed by many other ap carries, and thus isn't used very often. In fact, Orianna is currently in the bottom three for usage % in the game ( Trundle and Karma are the other two).
Many people that play Orianna today don't even play her as an AP carry anymore, choosing instead to focus on her as a support in bottom lane. While there is nothing wrong with this situation (leaving the ball in the brush is very, very powerful in this situation, and enables gold to be used on non-wards early game), the truth of the matter is that Orianna is still a very strong pick for an AP carry, moreso than is realized by the community. Orianna brings so much more to a team than standard ap carries, who typically have burst damage and 1 CC skill. Orianna brings slightly less burst damage, but higher sustained damage, two forms of CC, and an ally-castable defensive steroid that can deal damage.
Because she can do so many things to benefit her team, she is an asset no matter which role she is thrown in to (believe it or not, I've even jungled with Orianna. This isn't viable, I just did it to prove it could be done). As an AP carry, she can still support her allies in teamfights, a simple fact that is often overlooked when making the 'carry vs support' argument. Orianna's presence as the AP carry allows the traditional support role to open up to a wider variety, allowing champions like Leona or Blitzcrank to babysit the AD carry (or even roam), knowing there is a 'support' champion already on the roster for mid to late game that can protect important allies and help set things in motion in a positive way. By this definition, Orianna is viable as an AP carry, assuming she doesn't fall behind her enemy counterpart in the early stage of the game.
Pros / Cons
Fits into many roles
completely underestimated by most players
Tons of utility for a carry.
potential game changing ultimate
Tough to play well
Prioritized as a target
...Not seductive? (up for debate I suppose)
The "Orianna Mindset"
What is this section about, and why is it important?
Orianna is not 'standard' by any definition of the word. She is a completely unique champion that requires a unique mindset to play to her potential. She may be labeled a 'mage,' but she will lose fights just about every time if she walks up to someone and expects to trade bursts. Positioning, timing, and mind games are all extremely important facets of the game that are easy to overlook with many champions.
Orianna should be able to commit to fights without committing to them, run while still fighting, and carry while supporting her allies. Many of these seem counter-intuitive to most people, but to Orianna they are vital.
If you like analogies, it is best to think of her as a fencer. Any fencer fighting anyone with any knowledge of the sword who went for a lunge (killing blow) immediately would be countered, then struck down with minimal efforts by his opponent. The objective in many of these fights was to simply inflict numerous small wounds on your opponents arms, shoulders, legs, etc that were non fatal. While these cuts were not life threatening, as the battle continued the wounds would cause fatigue due to the bleeding. While fatigued, a fencer is not as able to defend from the lunge as well, opening up the killshot. A successful Orianna player approaches LoL in much the same way. Advance with the advantage, back off when you need to, and always keep a keen eye open for when the positions have reversed. Failing to recognize openings or capitalizing on mistakes is usually the difference between a win and a loss.
This approach to the game takes a while to truly appreciate, but I feel it is worth mentioning because Orianna is very, very commonly misunderstood and underutilized, and I feel a hefty portion of this misuse is due to players being in the wrong mindset while playing her.
I run magic penetration marks, so my spells hit harder. I feel this is a no brainer.
Scaling mp/5 seals allow for less fear about running out of mana, especially later game when having your spells NOW is critical. Scaling runes catch the flats around level 5 or so, and scale well with the Chalice of Harmony.
For glyphs, there are two sets I use regularly: Scaling AP blues, which are standard for most mages, are one set. I use these when I am laning against a mage I feel I can be aggressive with, such as veigar.
Most games, particularly in ranked (or blind normals), I use scaling MR blues. This allows for more beneficial tradeoffs in lane, allows safer farming against aggressive mages, and makes you difficult to take down late game. Around level 6-7, after completing Chalice, you will have around 80 magic resistance while carrying the ball. Laning against a mage of similar level and farm, this will make you VERY difficult to take down alone, providing you with more than adequate ability to out farm your lane opponent.
For Quintessances, I run flat AP. +15 at level one gives small bonuses to your harass and last hitting ability.
I could make an argument for movement speed quints also, as Orianna has a low base ms of 300, but I personally have had more luck starting off with a little more firepower.
I run 21-0-9 masteries in a traditional sense, going all the way down column 3 in offense for mage damage, plus two points into havoc for +1% damage, a point into summoner's wrath for Ignite mastery, and executioner for more damage. In utility, I master Flash, help my early game mana issues with 3 points into each expanded mind and meditation, and one point into scout and runic affinity. 5% vision increase in ward sight isn't much, but it helps enough to be worth 1 skillpoint. Runic affinity is very important, as Orianna craves the blue buff early and often, and 20% increased duration is important.
I run Flash on Orianna just about every time. Even after its nerf, the ability to flash over trees or up ledges, etc is too powerful, especially for Orianna, since she can still see whats going on, and battle from hard to get to areas with her Ball.
For my 2nd summoner, I run Ignite. Mostly, I use it just because I'm used to it, but it has really helped me get the Ball rolling with early kills in lane, and has given me good momentum. It becomes a staple when you fight champions like Tryndamere, Dr. Mundo, Volibear, Sion, etc that have a heal source that can be unbearable, or even champions that get too much lifesteal.
If you did not want to run Ignite, you have a few options. Heal and Clairvoyance]] are good options if you are going bottom lane, expected to fill the support role. Surge works well on Orianna, because she's probably the only champion that can effectively use both attack speed AND ability power. In fact, in sustained teamfights, Surge is much more effective than Ignite as a summoner spell.
Teleport and Ghost are options for increased mobility, but Ghost + Flash is usually overkill. Orianna already has a pretty reliable movement steroid in Command: Dissonance, and shouldn't really need both. Teleport is a good option if no one else on the team grabs it, allowing you to easily join teamfights or defend towers from anywhere.
Clarity, Exhaust, Revive, Smite, Clease, and Promote are all not very effective on Orianna.
***Full explaination will be completed on 2/21/2012***
The Q vs W debate: A back and forth
"I see that you max W first, which is a huge mistake. The skill that lets Orianna actually move the ball before you can even W is Q, and the cool down on the spell is 6 seconds. As you level up Q, the cool down decreases, where as if you level up W, the cool down remains the same (a whopping 9 seconds, which hits you hard early game). Q lets you farm better and harass and zone your enemy constantly, which is why Orianna's laning phase is so strong. W is strong, but you won't get much opportunities to take full advantage of that AoE at early levels when you maxed is first."
"To elaborate a bit further on the Q vs W debate:
I do not like to compare the two skills head to head, but rather think of the debate in the following terms:
Maxing Q first, it would be a huge mistake to level E over W. Thus the skill build becomes R > Q > W > E.
The main reason to avoid this is leaving E at such a low level early and mid game. The addition of armor, magic resist, passing damage, and shield is FOUR things gained per level.
If we don't want to leave W or E unmaxed early, the only skill left to leave is Q. Damage and cdr are tolerable losses compared to E's 4 benefits and W's 3 (damage, slow, speed). This is why i like R>W>E>Q"
"E has by far the least utility in the lane. It gives you absolutely no control and its damage is negligible compared to Q and W"
"In lane, E allows better opportunities to win trades in lanes by utilization of auto attacks. However, the whole game is not spent in lane and E is much better in teamfights than Q. The cd reduction on Q is nice, but a healthier shield and resistances can save an ally or completely swing the outcome of a battle. Minimal cd reduction per level off of Q means almost nothing for ball position if you still have to wait on R and W cooldowns to utilize combos."
Q -> E "the yo-yo"
The Q -> E combo is used to harass then protect yourself, causing the ball to deal damage as it passes in both directions. The most common use of this is in the early laning phase when you poke with Command: Attack and expect immediate retaliation. Typically, because of the travel time delay, the shield won't block the first nuke. Because of this, it is a good time to further your harass and get in an auto attack or two to ensure the tradeoff was in your favor. Most other Q -> E combos will also utilize Command: Dissonance, defined in later combos.
Q -> W "Basic Harass"
The bread and butter combo, this is a quick, heavy hitting harass, but can take a serious toll on mana consumption if over-utilized early game. Most games, this harass starts at champion level 5 when Command: Dissonance hits level 2. Prior to that, the mana cost is too high for the damage output. This combo should almost always be followed up with auto attacks in lane, especially if the enemy tries to retreat after being hit. The slow from Command: Dissonance should ensure an extra hit or two, ensuring a proper tradeoff. If the enemy retaliates instead of running, simply self-cast Command: Protect and judge your current position to decide whether to continue with heavy-hitting auto attack harass, or back off and wait for cooldowns / return to farming. Many times, this situation can turn into a game of chicken, which Orianna excels at compared to most mid-laners.
Q -> R -> W (or QWR) "Self-initiation" /league-of-legends/ability/command-attack-390 E -> W "Boost"
The premise of the E->W combo is simple: movement. Getting ganked and need to gtfo? Self-cast E -> W and run, boosting your own movement and leaving a slow in your wake. This can be done on allies as well if they've over extended or need to get out of a teamfight gone bad. The combined speed boost / slow is an extremely powerful escape tool, which can open gaps in a hurry.
Use of brush with this combo while escaping is one of my favorite tricks in the game. Simply duck into brush with your pursuers on your tail. Once in the brush, simply wait for them to catch up, casing E->W and running the opposite direction once they enter the brush. This juke technique ensures maximum slow duration on your pursuers, confuses them, AND damages them in the process. Oftentimes, proper use of this technique can get you out of really bleak spots.
Additionally, this combo can be used to chase fleeing enemies. Cast Command: Protect on the person most apt to catch the enemy, and give them a nice boost with Command: Dissonance. It is critical to follow your chasing ally, because they may need a 2nd boost or help taking down the enemy quickly, or even getting them back out if enemy reinforcements show up.
Finally, as shown in the following video, E - > W is a good protective combo against gap-closers, shielding yourself, damaging, and slowing an enemy can turn the tides. In the video, I was trying to bait Shaco knowing my jungler was waiting in the wings. Note that you might have to move closer to the enemy for damage, because the range on Command: Dissonance is smaller than some melee attack ranges. Things ended up going smoother than expected because Ziggs didn't commit to the fight... (this is just a simple example for illustrative purposes, played in normals)
E -> R -> W "Initiator's Initiation"
Another common initiation combo, E-R-W is used in conjuction with an ally with a strong initiation technique centered around themselves. Simply shield your ally, let them initiate, then R -> W around them, pulling enemies to and slowing them in your ally's deathtrap. Good allies in this instance are Amumu, Rammus, Galio, Fiddlesticks, and Wukong. Keep in mind, all it really takes is a gap-closing ability on your ally (even something like Poppy can work here).
Q -> E -> R -> W -> Q "Reversal of Fortune"
This combo, pulled off correctly, will instantly make you a memorable Orianna. This is a tool to be used to counter-gank or turn the tides of a bleak looking situation. This mostly works with melee enemies actively trying to kill a low-health, seemingly defenseless Orianna. Keep in mind, to try this, the enemy has to be killable: Don't try this on a 4,000 hp Singed. Make sure you have enough self-burst, health, or help (ally, or probably your lane turret) to take them down cleanly, or simply running would be the better option.
Steps to the proper RoF combo:
- Command: Attack through and behind the enemy, while running
- Command: Protect before your Ball leash breaks (still running), damaging the enemy again while protecting yourself
-Just outside the turret range, stop to fight. Since they aren't targetable by the the tower, it isn't a perceived threat to them. They'll be happy to trade blows with you at this point, still having the upper-hand, even with your shield on.
- Command: Shockwave immediately. This throws them behind you, and into tower range, drawing aggro.
- Command: Dissonance. Additional damage, and a crippling slow in tower range.
-Get out of their attack range and turn to fight again, throwing Command: Attack fresh off cd. They have to decide to either dive for the kill (you'll run) or they will run from the tower (you chase) Keep in mind Ignite may be necessary to finish the kill also.
The final step is to have the enemy call you lucky in all-chat, wtf, or something to that degree, because that series of events was too complex for anyone to plan.
An example is posted below. This is also a very, very good argument for Chalice of Harmony
For Orianna, there are a few objectives we have when deciding which items to purchase. In order of importance:
Survivability is key, as Orianna is naturally frail and a high prioritized target. For this reason, it is important to have multiple items dedicated at least partially to survivability.
Cooldown reduction: This needs to be maxed every single game, period. One extra Command: Protect, Command: Dissonance, or even Command: Attack can swing the tides, so having these tools available more frequently is vital to good Orianna play.
Ability power: Increased damage on spells and synergy with Orianna's passive, Clockwork Windup, this is pretty important. It comes 3rd in priority, however, because the survivability and utility on Orianna are more important overall.
My typical build is as follows: Meki Pendant and two hp pots to start with, into Chalice of Harmony, tier 1 boots, 2 Doran's Rings Ionian Boots of Lucidity Needlessly Large Rod into Rabadon's Deathcap, Nashor's Tooth then either Abyssal Scepter or Zhonya's Hourglass depending on team composition. Late game, I replace Chalice of Harmony with either Void Staff or Lich Bane depending on enemy MR.
Items listed below are all the items I have actually seen purchased on Orianna. If you would like feedback on any other items, please ask me, but chances are if it is not already listed, it probably isn't viable.
Chalice of Harmony (recommended): Under-appreciated and game changing, just like Orianna. This cheap item severely helps Orianna's mana issues early game, and allows more lane stayability in lane because of the increased magic resistance. Going up against other mages mid, there isn't enough emphasis I can place on getting this item as soon as possible, just about every game.
Tier 2 Boots: 2-3 options here make sense, with mercury treads in 3rd place. These should only be bought against HEAVY CC teams. Most games, I go with Ionian Boots of Lucidity, because it is a cheap and fast way to get an additional 15%. Sorcerer's Shoes are also viable, but again, CDR > damage.
Doran's Ring (2 Recommended): Very, very strong early game, these cost only 238 gold after selling them back. The mana regen synergizes well with Chalice of Harmony. I usually buy two after completing Chalice, giving me enough oomph to transition into a Deathcap.
Rabadon's Deathcap (recommended): Every AP carry should be striving for this item at some point. 140 AP +30% is too good to skip.
Abyssal Scepter (Recommended): Most games, I buy Abyssal Scepter over Void Staff. Why? It accomplishes TWO of our objectives at the same time (+57 MR), whereas Void Staff only fulfills the damage role. However, I do buy this item in conjunction sometimes, if enemies are stacking MR late game. If I see that the enemy team isn't AP heavy AND they are stacking MR, then Void Staff can completely replace Abyssal Scepter.
Zhonya's Hourglass (recommended): Great for survivability vs AD, +100 Ability power, and a stasis active that can help in dire situations.
Nashor's Tooth (recommended): 25% cdr, +65 ability power, and attack speed for passive synergy. Whats not to love? Keep in mind, the most important part here is the CDR. This item is cheap, effective, and works wonders on Orianna.
Void Staff (recommended): Good for those situations when many enemies start stacking MR. Usually this item will replace my chalice if the game goes on for too long.
Lich Bane: Lich Bane works well with Orianna's passive and provides a little MR and some movespeed. This is all well and good, and can replace Chalice of Harmony if enemies aren't stacking too much MR. Don't buy this item before your AP is over about 400 in order to fully utilize the active.
Rod of Ages: Survivability, mana, and ability power, this is a powerful item on Orianna. The problem with RoA is it doesn't do really well as the pieces are being purchased, leaving a weakish mid game. In order to be fully effective, this item has to be purchased very early game. I do buy this item frequently, usually starting right after completing Chalice of Harmony if the enemy lineup looks threatening.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: 500 Health is nothing to sneeze at, nor is 80 ability power, but there are better items for Orianna. The slow from Rylai's is reduced, as all of Orianna's spells are AoE, and Orianna already has a powerful slow.
Will of the Ancients: Another decent item, WotA has been purchased much more frequently lately. The ability power is mediocre on this item for spellvamp that is only 33% on AoE spells. With the recent nerfs on the spellvamp of both this item AND the Hextech Revolver, there are better options available, UNLESS there is another mage on your team that wants to buy this as well. Two auras of WotA is still very powerful.
Wit's End / Malady:
Morello's Evil Tome: Cooldown reduction is nice and the ability power is pretty good too, this item isn't too bad on paper. However, Nashor's Tooth is typically better, as it gives more CDR, comparable AP (difference of 10), mana regeneration, and tons of attack speed for just a little more gold. Skip this item, and buy tooth instead.
Death Fire Grasp: Not very cost efficient of an item on a champion that won't have enough AP to make full use of the active. Again, look to Nashor's Tooth for CDR and AP.
Guardian Angel: Provides armor and MR, but that is about all it does. Other items ( Abyssal Scepter, Zhonya's Hourglass, Lich Bane, etc) can provide offense AND defense, and should be purchased ahead of GA.
Force of Nature: Pretty good item vs a heavy AP team, but only provides the one benefit. Typically skip this item unless you are in dire need.
Banshee's Veil: Great item to purchase against champions like Blitzcrank, where getting hit with one spell can be crippling. Most of the time, MR from Chalice of Harmony or Abyssal Scepter, or HP from Rod of Ages is enough survivabilty, but sometimes it is necessary to invest in this item.
Archangel's Staff: In order to fully utilize the mana portion of this item, tear needs to be purchased early. The problem with this is mana in itself is a bad stat in an actual fight, and takes a while to build up to be effective. That said, a fully stacked AAS can provide a good mana base and a ton of AP, especially in conjunction with Rabadon's Deathcap.
I just about always go mid lane with Orianna, as I play her as the AP carry. Make sure to leash for your jungler if necessary (buffs spawn at 1:54). Be sure to scout for the invaders, just in case.
Most players who play Orianna today still try to use her like release Orianna: dictate the lane, zone, harass the hell out of the opponent, and steamroll the lane. Because of her range nerf, however, this is not easily done anymore, especially with champions like Xerath and Ziggs that have superior range.
The best thing to do is let your opponent dictate the lane. By this, I don't mean let them push you around or anything, but rather that your playstyle is heavily dependent on who you draw as your lane opponent. Orianna should be played OPPOSITELY of what your enemy wants to do. If they want to trade harass and play aggressively, Orianna should play more passively and focus on farming, dodging spells, and only trading when it is possible to come out ahead. With emphasis on farming, you should be able to gain a gold advantage relatively quickly, which can be exploited later. In most games, this is the route Orianna has to take in lane.
With more passive champions, such as Veigar, Kassadin pre 6, Akali pre 6, etc, you should play more aggressively, encourage harassment and a violent lane. Use Command: Attack to poke and attempt to zone more actively against these champions. Keep in mind, however, that once Kassadin and Akali hit level 6, they typically become much more aggressive, and your playstyle has to account for this.
The most important goal is to farm up for Chalice of Harmony by level 5-6. This is key, because the increased magic resist against strong level 6 combos is typically the difference between life and death. It is a good goal to have enough gold for boots and a couple hp pots by this point too. 900 gold by level 6 is a good goal. (500 for Chalice, 350 for boots, and 1-2 hp pots)
Sometimes your lane opponent will make an error, and your job is to capitalize on it. As Orianna this is a must. In the following video, Ziggs gets caught out of position. Because of that, it is a good time to try a trade with him, knowing a few auto attacks as he runs will easily win the trade, especially because I had just gone back and completed my Chalice of Harmony
Mid game usually starts between levels 7-10, depending on the game. The most common indication you've reached the mid game is a tower goes down, on either side, and that enables champions in that lane to roam more actively. Smaller 2-3 person skirmishes become common and the emphasis on farming starts to wane for most people.
In this phase, Orianna is quite strong if she's farmed effectively. Look to start ganking overextended lanes, which can be a breeze if done in conjunction with your jungler. She also defends towers very well, oftentimes able to hold off 2-3 champions gunning for it because she can clear waves fast and poses the threat of pulling champions back into turret range. It is important while defending that you DON'T use Command: Shockwave in this case unless you can get a kill, because the perceived threat of Orianna goes out the window if the enemies know your ultimate is on cooldown.
Orianna end game should be looking to find a good spot for teamfight initiation, either with Q-R-W or on an ally with E-R-W. Staying alive is the most important thing here, so don't get caught out of position. By this time, most of your build is done, so you can take a hit, but don't test this theory more than necessary. Stay toward the back of the team, usually near your AD carry, but don't be afraid to utilize Clockwork Windup if anyone gets too close. Cast Command: Protect on who is taking the most punishment, keep your ball moving with Command: Attack (you should only have a 2.4 second CD on it by now) and use your spells as you see necessary. You have short CD's, so just spam spam spam, trying to prioritize targets properly. Utilize proper combos listed in the combo section. Keep wards up, particularly at Baron, and use them to try to initiate suprise teamfights if you have the advantage.
When you win a teamfight, make sure to push for the win. At this stage of the game, usually all it takes is one ace and the game is done. This is why staying alive is key.
Nuances, tips and tricks
Command: Protect may be Orianna's most important ability, and casting it promptly is key. With that being said, holding ALT while pushing E will auto cast the spell on yourself. This can speed up the process of shielding to get away, or harassing with Q -> E.
Orianna's shield will NOT be removed if you cast it, then move the ball. The shield stays on for its full duration or until it is destroyed.
The colored arrow, indicating leash range goes from green to yellow to red, based on distance between Orianna and the Ball. Each successive color has a smaller radius than the previous, meaning a red arrow indicates the leash is about to break with very little wiggle room.
The Ball provides sight in a small radius. Use it to check bushes, or safely check Baron or Dragon from up on the ledges. You can also use it to steal Baron or Dragon if you time your spells right, and it is worth using Command: Shockwave if you think you can steal one.
"Why do you max W before Q, while most guides recommend Q before W?"
-See Skill Sequence section for a back and forth about the common Q vs W debate.
" Orianna doesn't trade well with others. I can't poke with Command: Attack without retaliation because the range on it is too small."
-This is true to an extent. Orianna's base damage and AP ratios, on average, are both lower than most mages. That is why adding additional auto attacks is extremely important after the exchange. Orianna's attacks tend to hit harder and faster than other mages. Also, if problems persist, try to keep the ball on your person while trading (cast 2nd) so the extra magic resistance helps alleviate damage taken. Also, starting with the Null-Magic Mantle can help win trades pre level 5 if you're constantly losing trades game after game.
Added BB code to entire guide, then accidentally removed it. >< Working on re-applying my changes. (yay for a waste of 30 minutes...)
Some of my editting was also lost with the removal of my BB code. Seems I published an older draft of my guide because I had too many windows opened and got confused. More editting and tweaks will be implemented when I get home from school tomorrow.
Added my first of many to come videos! More to be done after work tonight.
Didn't have as much time as anticipated tonight to work on the guide. Total of 4 videos now posted with more to come. Plan to finish the items section, neaten up the runes and masteries sections, and start working on the lane opponents section shortly.