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100% AP Twisted Fate
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Hello and welcome to my (100%) ability power mid lane Twisted Fate guide! AP Twisted Fate is probably one of the games most underrated champions. I'll quickly go over the build and give you the details and how it plays out, and then I'll get into detail about how to play this particular build. If you have doubts about the build, there's a video and some images that will be included at the end of the video.
First, I want to make it clear that this build is not some sort of hybrid build, and that I really don't care if it "wastes" the damage effect on Stacked Deck, because not only does it use it, but it makes up for it's occurrence with a hard hitting punch.
This guide is good for people who:
- love to play assassins
- like bursting people down
- enjoy farming lanes and pushing towers like they're made of butter
- and more importantly, for people who can still manage to pick the right card while in the heat of a team fight depending on what's needed most. Do you need to stun their carry? AoE nuke their team? AoE slow their team? Or are you just about to go oom, and want all your mana back?
If one or more of those appeal to you (personally I love each and every last one of them) then I strongly recommend you carry on reading. I'll begin with a quick overview of what his abilities do, how they work with this build, and afterwords we'll discuss how the game goes from start to finish, including masteries, items, and runes.
- Wild Cards -> A skill shot which shoots 3 cards in a cone. When you get 40% cooldown reduction, this has a 3.6 second cooldown and is capable of dealing insane amounts of damage. It has a 0.65 AP coefficient, and is EXTREMELY effective at farming creeps. With this build, you should be able to one shot all of the ranged minions when you get your blasting wand, allowing you to farm like there's no tomorrow.
- Pick A Card -> Mmmmm. This is my favourite part about playing AP TF. You'll get a card above your head which will cycle between a red, blue, and gold card when you use this ability. When you use the ability again it will lock in the choice, and apply an on hit effect to your next attack; i) Red card -> AoE slow with nice AoE damage. ii) Blue card -> VERY nice mana return, keeps you in lane for quite a long time. Gold card -> The preferred choice in team fights, very nice damage and a long stun. The nice part about pick a card (PAC) is when you get the (icon=Lich Bane size=16)Lich Bane effect on top of it. When you're fed, this WILL hurt, and it WILL two shot people when coupled with your wild cards.
- Stacked Deck -> Well this ability has its ups and downs when play as 100% AP. The damage it provides is alright with a 0.4 AP coefficient, but the real selling point is the 15% cooldown reduction. Another small bonus, is stacking stacked deck until you're ready to unload it, then using pick a card in combination with your lich bane effect.
- Destiny -> Oh dear. This ultimate is so unbelievably fun and sexy it almost pains me to play other characters. It's a near instant teleport which reveals your enemies for you. I don't need to tell you why I like it, but we'll get in to detail on how to use this properly. It does no damage, but it doesn't really have to.
Well this is a fairly simple section to write; Full ability power runes. Alright, now that people have started to write seething comments below, let me JUSTIFY why I use full AP runes. First, there's the obvious reason; wild cards will hurt, a lot. Even at level 1. Perhaps that doesn't quite do it for you but I'll try again. One thing that you will soon realize about TF is that he is extremely mana hungry. In the early game you want to be able to harass a LOT (I'll detail this more in the summary where I explain how to play), and you won't be able to do that if you don't have the mana to do it with. With full AP runes, you get blue card to give you a lot of bonus mana. The mana return on blue card depends on how much AP you have, not on their resistances. Even if it does 1 damage, you'll get the full mana return back although I can't recall whether or not if it gives you mana if it gets negated due to banshee's veil.
Without further adieu, these are the runes you need:
Greater Mark of Ability Power x9
Greater Seal of Ability Power x9
Greater Glyph of Ability Power x9
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power x3
You don't HAVE To go with these marks. I find that I have more success with these marks then the magic penetration just because you get more mana from your blue cards, and a harder hitting Lich Bane early on when people don't have a high magic resist.
There's not much to really discuss about the masteries, you mainly want the magic penetration and mana per second wherever you can get it.
Here are the items, I'll go over the order in which to get the items and what items you can substitute in. There are only a handful of REQUIRED items, and everything else is situational.
- Doran's Ring
Health, ability power, and JUST enough mp5 so you can stay in lane indefinitely. I do NOT recommend getting anything else.
- Sheen / Boots
Here's your first choice. You can choose to rush Sheen so that your auto attacks hurt when combined with blue card in the early game / gold card for an easy kill, or you can get boots so you can harass more. You really shouldn't have to go back to the base until you hit level 6 and even then it should be an option. You should have enough for a sheen and perhaps unupgraded boots, but we'll discuss the strategy of it all later on.
- Blasting Wand
Get a blasting wand. I personally find that I don't need to upgrade my boots right away because most of the time I'm either ganking someone with my ultimate, or stationary farming. I don't do much running, because their either stunned / dead, or I stand still and ranged farm. This blasting wand will eventually turn into one of the following two items:
- Lich Bane / Rabadon's Deathcap
Again, another choice. Here's another great use for the full AP runes; it makes lich bane hurt a lot in the early game. If you haven't had to go back for a long period of time after your first gank (will discuss later) then you MAY have the choice of just rushing a Rabadon's. This will easily put you at +300 ability power, and allow you to just rip your way through to victory with Wild Cards. You will however sacrifice some Pick A Card damage.
- Boots of Swiftness
I recommend getting these over the other types of boots. You don't really need the cooldown from the boots of lucidity because you've got Stacked Deck's effect. You don't need attack speed because your auto attacks hit like a noodle anyway unless you have lich bane's effect up (although attack speed really won't help you with this anyway) and I don't really find that the magic penetration really helps. It might in the early game, but I find the speed allows me to catch up with people who I am ganking, and allows me to escape from people trying to gank me if I feel that I'm not comfortable at 2v1ing them at that point in the game.
- Lich Bane / Rabadon's Deathcap
Here, you'll get whichever of the two you don't already have. Pretty self explanatory if you need more reasoning then just go reread what I wrote before.
So far you'll have 4 items (Although you will eventually sell your Doran's (NOT UNTIL YOU HAVE TO THOUGH)), you'll have:
Boots of Swiftness
Here you have a bit of a choice of what to get, and you can get them in whatever order fits your game or play style best:
- Mejai's Soulstealer
Get this if you're getting kills and assists, do not get it if you are dying a lot (although you really shouldn't be dying once you get used to the build)
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Health, AP, and a nice little slow. It's definitely worth it, the only times I won't get it is if I am absolutely dominating a team and don't have to worry about health.
- Zhonya's Hourglass
Lots of AP, and some survivability if you find that the melee characters are tearing you a new one. There is however, a nice application with the hourglass' effect and TF's Destiny. If you use the ability and START to teleport and use Zhonya's, it will make you invulnerable while you're teleporting. this is EXTREMELY handy if for some reason you find yourself in the wrong territory and you're being ganked by 5 people.
- Archangel's Staff
Lots of ability power, also gives you some more mana so you don't have to use blue card as often.
- Deathfire Grasp
Here's a really good tip. A lot of people don't use this item's effect when they're in a team fight simply because they have to go out of their way to press the key binding (although a lot of people manage to do it just fine) but one thing that you can do to increase your usage of it is to bind it to your 'E' key. Since Stacked Deck is a passive effect, you don't ever need to cast it. If you bind your first item slot to your 'E' key and move your DFG to your first slot, then you can just use 'E' to cast it. I like this item, although I don't often get it for some reason.
- Rod of Ages
Health, mana, AP. It's nice. Not much more to say really.
- Void Staff
Very nice if the enemy team has a lot of magic resist. It's also a fairly cheap item to make.
- Warmog's Armor
This'll give you quite a high health pool, and at the rate you can farm minions you should have no trouble maxing it out. If you get a Mejai's, you can finish the game with ~750 AP and 3.5k health with Rylai's. It's nice, although it may gimp your damage.
Pick A Card
Pick A Card
Or, if you prefer it in words: Get wild cards whenever you can. When you can't get them, get pick a card. If you have the option to upgrade your ultimate then do so, UNLESS YOU'VE JUST USED IT! If you just used your ultimate and you level up, then your ultimate will be on cooldown for another two minutes. Level something else up instead of this, and by the time your ultimate is off cooldown you should have leveled up and put a point into it. When you have no other choice, get stacked deck.
Clarity - No. You have blue card for a reason. If you run out of mana, then use blue card.
Teleport - Your ultimate already covers this, you shouldn't have to leave your lane that often, and when you have to your ultimate should be ready for that.
Heal - The only time you need heal, is if you're taking damage. As a long ranged character, you shouldn't be getting hit.
Rally - Just no. :P
Smite - This isn't a jungling build, you should not need it.
Clairvoyance - Again, your ultimate covers this. You don't really NEED it for anything, generally if you're being ganked you should be aware of this and play back a bit.
Revive - I've seen SOME TFs get revive to come back to life and use their ultimate to get someone that is running away, but it really isn't worth it in my opinion. It depends on you dying, and although there will be times when you die, it isn't worth it.
Fortify - Eh, it's alright, but it really doesn't complement TFs play style.
Cleanse - This CAN be nice, since there will be times when you get focused, but if you're far enough from the enemy team (while hitting them from a far, I don't mean by being useless and staying 9142 yards away) then you won't get focused. If you do, that's GREAT! That means that your team gets to smash them to bits while they make their way to a TF that is extremely far away.
I'm a personal fan of Exhaust and Ignite. When you use your ultimate, you can insure that they can't flee, and that you nuke them down extremely fast. It's also good to keep people off you if you're being chased. It's up to you, all of the other summoner abilities that I didn't mention work, but it's up to personal preference. I won't tell you 'X' is better than 'Y' if your 'Y' is working out better for you.
Learn your card cycles for pick a card;
If you get the hang of this, you'll be a champ in no time. It takes awhile to get the hang of this, but you'll soon find yourself timing when to get cards without even looking. I'll post a video below, you'll see how knowing where your gold cards are can help you.
Let's say you want to kill someone, and you know you won't be able to do it in one round of abilities. One nice trick to know is that your Pick A Card cycle starts, wherever it left off. What you want to do is lock in gold card RIIIIGHT as it pops up. When you use it, it will start off on gold card when it comes off cooldown and you pop it again. That way, when you want to use it a second time, lock in IMMEDIATELY after pressing it. You'll get an instant gold card, and another 2 second stun. Prepare to be called OP (Yes, it happens often)
When I see another TF play, it pains me to see them not do this. If you want to gank, use pick a card first. Select gold card, THEN use your ultimate. You will land, with a gold card ready to go. There's nothing more annoying than someone pop out of NOWHERE and stun you when you have very little health.
Run and Gun
If you're being chased, pick a card while moving. If you know the order, you can stun them while they follow you by picking your card then ATTACK MOVING (Click 'A' then click somewhere on the screen). With this tactic, you won't right click and miss / run behind them. It's a small thing, but you wouldn't believe how many times it's gotten me a kill.
Alright, this one isn't specific to TF, but you really need to get wards. They save your life, they allow you to kill junglers, they let you steal buffs, and they give you map control. If you get a stealth ward and they have a stealther and you kill them, you've just gained your moneys worth and then some.
Harass and Back
Harass the enemy a lot in mid when you're still in the laning phase. Push them HARD if you want to kill the mid person, but make sure that no matter what you don't die. Go back, get health, maybe an item or two, and then use your ultimate. They won't be expecting you to push them all out, and then reappear with full health and mana 10 seconds later. Summoner abilities and gold cards should take care of them.
Make sure you can kill them if you do this. Make sure they won't kill you if you do this. Your ultimate can be used to gank someone in tower range, but don't get close to their faces or close to their turret especially if they have a stun. Stay farther away, and Pick A Card or wild card them down.
Stack Stacked Deck
Stack Stacked Deck, then pop gold card and get lich bane's effect. If you have 300 AP (EASILY attainable by the 20 minute mark), you can hit them for almost 1k. It hurts. A lot. Also, stacked deck's passive combined with the 9% CDR from Intelligence gives you 24% cooldown reduction from absolutely nothing. Get ONE item with CDR or even just blue buff, and you can laugh at your enemies all day as you stun them. 3.6 second CD + 2 second stun = 1.6 seconds of movement. That 1.6 seconds isn't going to be long enough if you have Rylai's and you're far away.
-- Probably more to be added, brain isn't functioning ._. --
Here you want to last hit creeps with last hits, wild cards, and blue cards. You want enough to get your Sheen as well. When you hit the creeps with wild cards, you'll want to aim the wild cards so that they will hit the champ as well. If you have lots of mana then you can also afford to just harass the enemy champion down anyway. If you get the opportunity to, blue card them in the face. If you're confident you can kill them, then run towards them while picking your card, and use your summoner abilities to kill them. Being 1 kill ahead as TF in the early game is absolutely amazing. Keep an eye out for enemy ganks, and if the mid lane has teleport than you want to back off around the time that they come back to life. The only time that you should be going back is in the next section.
Level 6+ (During laning phase)
At level 6, you go back and then get your sheen and whatever else you can afford according to the item guide. Only go back however if you have to, or if there's a good ganking opportunity. TF isn't scary when he's missing, he's scary when there's a symbol above your head saying "He's about to come punch one of your faces in, now run to the closest tower or ally."
At level 6+ during the laning phase, you should be the one that ganks the most. I don't recommend actually running to another lane, because that's not only obvious, but is really risky if you don't successfully gank or push a turret. It puts you behind in experience (which is bad), farming, and champion kills. Instead use your ultimate to pick someone off. Don't kill steal, because that's just going to make your team angry.
Level 6+ Non laning phase
Push where they aren't. If there's a team fight coming up, be there. Lich bane allows you to chew through turrets like there's no tomorrow, and wild cards allow you to get your minions there extremely fast. Don't push too far alone, NEVER go past the halfway point alone if they are all missing in action. If you see someone on their own, use your ultimate and kill them. TF's hardest match up is against a high healthed melee character as AP. Be careful when you initiate with someone like Xin Zhao who has a Frozen Mallet. You won't get away if you don't kill him, and you probably will die.
- Great ranged AP DPS (Damage Per Second doesn't always mean AD. When people say DPS means AD it bothers me :| )
- Great AoE slows / damage
- Great CC
- Great pushing capabilities
- Amazing farming capabilities
- Great scouting with his ultimate
- Amazing gankage
- Not as great vs. Melee AD DPS characters when in a 1v1 close range
- Tends to be focused down
- A banshee's veil is annoying, causing you to pop your wild cards or risk losing a lich bane + gold card combo
- Playing with someone who dodges skill shots in the early game will slightly slow down your early gameplay.
- Squishy, but you really shouldn't be in range regardless.
Farming can be condensed into a few sentences:
Wild Cards are your best friend. They will kill all of the ranged creeps instantly. Lich Bane will nom turrets.
With that, I wish you the best of luck. AP TF is one of the most fun champions to play and can do a lot of damage if built right. He provides a surprising amount of map control, and allows you to push like a boss. With that, I will leave you a short montage I made awhile ago (Mind you the editing that I did (partly by accident) was TERRIBLE) but this was when Zhonya's ring was still available. Since that montage, AP TF has only gotten better, as it is VERY possible to get upwards of 400 AP by the 20 minute mark and 2 shot people with Lich Bane. I also left a screenshot of my recent games played as TF, which are fairly regular. I don't claim to be a pro, I don't even claim to be good, but you should see satisfying results with this guide should you follow it to the tee.