Ekko Build Guide by spark2
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Threats & Synergies
If at all possible, avoid picking Ekko into Malz. Most of his abilities are point-and-click, giving him really easy, unmissable harass and lockdown. Always pop his passive shield before trying to engage. He pushes extremely hard and is vulnerable to ganks, so just try not to die too much and ask for help from your jungler when he inevitably pushes the wave! Investing in a Quicksilver Sash to negate his ult is also definitely worth it if you're having trouble.
The only reason Kass isn't at 10 is because you dumpster him pre-6. Try to trade around his Q shield and you'll wreck him. He also doesn't have any mobility pre-6, which means easy W's for you. Once he hits 6 though, he's a nightmare if he got even a little bit fed. His ult makes it impossible to run from him, so reeeeally don't let him get ahead. He's extremely mana-gated and relies on hitting minions with his W to replenish his mana, so make him pay every time he tries to farm.
Diana does great against squishy assassins, since she's a tanky assassin. Her double gap closer and E makes her really hard to run from, and her W shield makes trades hard. You've got the advantage early game, but once she hits 6 it's almost impossible to trade. Dodge her Qs as best you can, since she depends on them to jump you.
Fizz is the most annoying champ in the game. However, this incredibly annoying move (his E) is also his only method of waveclear. So, push him into tower (and ward up!) so that he either misses a bunch of CS or burns his E. If he does waste his E on minions, he's basically powerless against you, so Q-E in and bash his face in. If you've got good timing, you can even dodge his ult with yours by using the invulnerability. I hate Fizz with a burning passion, but Ekko's actually got one of the best matchups against him.
Ahri is a very binary lane. If she whiffs her E (Charm), you can go in on her and trade very hard. If she hits her E, you're going to lose half of your health. She's got good harass, much of which is undodgeable, so an early Negatron Cloak is a good buy to even out the odds. She's also very hard to gank with her ult up, so just rush 30% CDR, farm from a distance and dodge her E!
Cho is not a fun matchup. You don't usually see him mid, but when you do it is not a fun day to be an assassin. His Q-E-R combo can basically one shot you if you get hit, so do your best to not get hit. Thankfully, he's actually pretty squishy early game and has bad mana problems if he can't farm well. Use this by predicting when he'll farm with basic attacks and using your W to either zone him or catch him by throwing it right in front of your minions. Once he gets some tank items he's a pain to kill (and his silence is the worst) so exploit your early game advantage.
Azir is extremely oppressive when the person using him knows what they're doing. The best thing to do is rush 30% CDR ASAP so that you can effectively farm from a distance, since he can easily zone you from melee farming with his soldiers. He's also got very high mana costs early game, which makes his early laning a bit less insane. Basically, just try to land a W on him and then run away after proccing your passive. If he knocks you away with his ult, you can't E across the wall, but you CAN ult across it once your clone crosses it!
Reworked Cassiopeia is a bit trickier to play against than the old one, between her constant E spam and the Grounded effect on her W. Grounded will prevent you from using your E and ult, so be careful of it! Thankfully, Cass scales a lot less hard now, so you're under less pressure in lane to beat her into the ground. Relax, dodge her Q's and play around her missed skills. She's also extremely mana-gated early game, making early trading strange. Even if you end up taking more damage, she'll often burn far more mana than you did, which can sometimes be worth it!
Brand has super high damage but next to no protection--if he whiffs his Q (Sear), jump on him and make him pay. Also, when he ults you, try to Rewind when the blob is bouncing AWAY from you, since rewinding while it's coming for you will still make it target you. The rework moved a bunch of his damage off of his skills and onto his passive, so he's a lot weaker early on and a lot better in teamfights. Try not to let him land his stun and he'll do way less damage than he used to, but he'll punish you harder than before if you let him bully you.
Food. Her Q is super easy to dodge and her wall (her only real protection) is useless against Ekko and his double dashes. She can trade a bit better once she hits 6, and is a monster late game, but in lane she is a three course meal for you.
I straight up loathe Annie. She'll one shot you if you get too close, but if you can survive her burst and rewind it, you can actually kill her. ALWAYS rush a Banshee's against Annie, it'll ruin her combo when it's up! With her ult down she's a bit less of a threat, but keep in mind that she's tankier than you'd think with her E. Make sure your team spreads out, and farm from a distance with Q. Since her rework, Tibbers got even scarier--don't be afraid to Chronobreak away from him if you manage to kill Annie, because he will demolish you otherwise.
Reworked Galio is interesting. You've got the tools to outplay him, but if his jungler ganks he's got the tools to lock you down. Ward up and roam, since he's hard to kill. If he leaves lane, always ping that he's missing, and if he ults to another lane, shove the lane in and make him miss farm, since you'll never catch up.
Karthus is the freest kill you'll ever get. Dash in, proc your passive and run out of his E before he knows what happened. If he catches you in his W, try to either dash again or move unpredictably. He's a danger to your team come late game, but he's the easiest lane you'll ever have.
TF is annoying because of his Gold Card stuns, but here's the thing: he has crazy mana problems because of his Q. He solves this with his Blue Card, so when you see him use blue card on a minion or you, he is utterly defenseless. Dodge his Qs and ping when he tries to roam to other lanes, and he's almost impossible to lose against.
Heim is a weird matchup. On the one hand, he's incredibly hard to trade against when he has his turrets set up, and he's got great poke. On the other hand, he tends to sit in the middle of his turrets, which means his movements are very predictable. This means really easy Ws for you, and the shield will help against the turrets. Exploit that, kill his turrets with Q, and he's not so bad.
Post-rework Kat is interesting. She can trade very hard if she positions correctly with her daggers, but she's much harder to play correctly than before, and has much more counterplay, which is great. The most common Kat combo is for her to prepare a return dagger with her W, throw a Q at you, then E onto you, pick up her dagger to slash you, then E back to the dagger she set up. This is a very effective trade, but can be countered. When she throws a dagger down with her W, put your W right on top of it, because that's where she'll be returning. You should also move away from where the Q dagger is going to land so she can't slash you with it (it lands behind you relative to where she threw it from). Do this, and laning against Kat is much easier than it was pre-rework!
Kayle is just annoying. She's got huge mana problems early on, so you can trade when her E is on cooldown and make her blow a bunch of resources on you as you run away. She'll usually try to ult when you go in for the kill, so back out when she does. She'll usually chase when you back out, so just rewind back in once her ult goes down and kill her!
LB is much fairer post-rework. She has terrible waveclear--the only way for her to efficiently clear is to W a wave, wait for her passive to come up on them, and then Q the wave. This is mana intensive, takes time, and consumes the CD on two of her abilities. So, shove your lane into tower and force her to burn abilities and mana to farm or miss CS. When you're actually fighting her, your ult and shield are your best tools. She's much more combo-reliant now, so interrupting her with a sudden heal/invulnerability or a clutch shield/stun can be devastating to her ability to trade. Dodge her chain and try not to freak out too much when she ults (the clone dies quickly), and this matchup is much more winnable than it was.
Liss is a rough, rough matchup. She doesn't have a ton of burst, but she's got a lot of lockdown with her W and R that can prevent you from dodging the rest of her kit, and which prevents you from ulting back to safety. Play real safe against her, because a fed Liss can be a real nightmare. She's weak against long-range poke, so try not to pick Ekko into her if possible.
Lux is actually a pretty fair champ. She's very long range, but all her stuff is skillshot based and therefore dodgeable. If you can get around her Q, you can dive her very easily in lane. Just try not to hang around your minions too much, which will make her choose between farming with her E and harassing you with it.
A good Orianna can be rough. She's got very low cooldowns and can harass you constantly. You need to keep track of where her ball is at all times, which on top of all the other stuff you need to keep track of with Ekko (W, R clone) can be a lot. The matchup is definitely winnable, but it requires very careful positioning.
Quinn is actually shockingly rough. With her, you shouldn't Q-E. Instead, E in and hit her. She'll Vault off you, at which point you should Q her, which will slow her and allow you to chase her down. Try to do this when her Q is on cooldown, or else you'll take a lot of damage.
The changes to mana items made him a monster, and he's a much tougher matchup now. His waveclear is still real bad, so if he's kicking your butt in lane you can still shove and roam easily. Play around the cooldown of his root and you should be able to win this one.
Swain's a bit less of a pain in the butt nowadays since his mini-rework, although that's not saying much since he was easily one of our hardest matchups beforehand. His Q is ground-targeted now, so if you can get outside of its range his damage drops off significantly. He's still a tough matchup (tons of sustain, CC and tankiness along with good sustained damage) but it's a lot more winnable now as long as you don't get comboed. Buying an early Morellonomicon (even if you're in the Bruiser path) can help immensely since he really does heal for ridiculous amounts, especially in teamfights.
I actually haven't played against many Syndras recently. Her E can mess up your Q-Es and her harass is constant, but you can rewind through her ult and cause it to completely miss--watch for when all of her balls go towards her (as seen in the Champion spotlight!)
Varus has a butt ton of poke but zero mobility. Go aggressive on him and dodge his Q's, but try not to push too hard. He's incredibly vulnerable to ganks, so try to leave some room for your jungler in the lane.
Post-rework, Talon is a much more winnable lane. The key early game is to dodge the return trip of his W--when he throws it out, dodge to the side with your E so that the return trip misses, then go in on him. He loses early trades without his passive, and before he has his ultimate he can't apply his passive without hitting the return of his W. His kit's power is now much more balanced around his roaming ability, so ping both bot and top the second you notice he's not in lane. He's honestly a rougher matchup for your bot and top lanes than he is for you right now. Don't bother trying to follow him when he roams, since he'll get where he's going much faster than you will because of all the out-of-combat movespeed he builds and his E. Instead, just shove in the lane and try to either take his tower or at least just cause a bunch of your minions to die to tower to deny him CS and experience. And PING!!!
Zed is actually a super fun (if tough) matchup. It's pure skill on your part--if you can dodge his Qs better than he can dodge yours, you'll win lane. Rush Zhonya's to negate his ult. Also, you can dodge his ult with yours, either by getting out before he damages you or by styling and going invulnerable when the delay pops. It's a really fun matchup, but really annoying if he gets ahead.
Veigar is a nightmare if he gets ahead, so it's your job to not let that happen. Build Merc Treads to get out of his stun ASAP. If you're super good (and if so, why are you reading this) you can dodge his ult with yours, which looks super cool and negates almost all of his damage. He's relatively easy to kill when his E is on cooldown, so use those windows. Dodge everything he throws at you and whatever you do, don't let him scale. His ult now has execute damage, so back early if you need to--don't let him get free kills!
Lots of poke, but all very dodgeable and fair. A lot of his damage got moved from his abilities and onto his passive procs and his ultimate (which requires his passive to proc to do true damage). Build an early Catalyst against this guy, since so much of his damage is true damage, and don't let him hit his knockup. If you can stay moving and not stunned, he'll have a hard time proccing his passive and therefore not do much to you.
Another pain in the butt poke champ. Dodge his stuff, and if he ever E's you offensively he's defenseless. His only mobility (E) requires set up, so try to land Ws on him in lane. Try not to leave him alone with your tower, because he can take it really quick between his passive and his W.
One of my least favorite champs, but Ekko does okay against him. He's at his weakest right after he misses his tornado Q, so trade then. Stay away from your minions so he can't get that BS mobility, and know that he can Wind Wall your Q. Also, be sure to pop his shield before you try to trade. If he ults you, ult him right back to undo some of the damage.
Your E lets you dash out of his stun, basically negating that move entirely. He's got good poke and a bit of mobility on his upgraded Q, but he's overall not bad at all. Just try not to feed him or he'll poke you out of lane and make you useless.
Ezreal is crazy annoying, but not too bad of a matchup. He's got a lot of poke and a lot of safety with his E, so you'll have trouble catching him when it's off cooldown. However, its cooldown is longer than your Phase Dive, so you've got a brief window where you can catch him. He's also got godawful waveclear, which means you can push and roam really easily.
You mostly see her top lane nowadays. She's not in a strong spot in mid-lane, so just don't let her snowball off of stupid kills. When she stealths with her W, throw a parallel convergence on top of the smokescreen and you might catch her. You trade waaaaay harder early game, so abuse that!
Xerath is tricky, but very winnable. He bullies you early game with his poke, and since Arcanopulse and Eye of Destruction are pretty hard to dodge, it's important to build boots against him ASAP. The good thing is that he's only good at long range, since his stun ( Shocking Orb) only stuns for a decent amount of time if he hits it at range. In other words, he's got almost no self-peel, similar to Brand. This means that if you can dodge one of his spells with Phase Dive and jump in on him, he's defenseless. He also has no mobility and charging Arcanopulse slows him down even more, so landing a Parallel Convergence on him is actually pretty easy.
You have the mobility to beat this guy hard. He farms well and can zone you with his passive, but you're just so much more mobile than him that you can outplay him easily. If he knocks you away with his ult, rewind back in after a few seconds!
You read this guide, so obviously you're going to do better than the other guy.
Ekko doesn't do great against heavy sustain like Vlad in lane, since his combo is so mana-intensive that you'll run out of mana before they run out of health. Rush a Catalyst and maybe an extra Doran's ring and you'll be fine. Apply pressure with your Q-E, and if he ever goes into his pool, you can easily land your W on him. Stay away from him when his 3rd Q is about to activate, and trade outside those windows.
You should be so lucky to go up against a Middlesticks. He literally stands still for most of his damage and sustain, so you can land W's all day and make his life hell. He's got a lot of CC, so early Merc Treads is a good idea to shut him down. Keep your bushes warded and this is a free lane.
Every assassin's least favorite matchup. She'll harass you endlessly with poke from her Q and passive, and if you ever go in on her she'll just polymorph you and run away. Try to stand in your minions so that she has to hit them to hit you (her passive damage works like a skillshot, so standing behind minions blocks it) and she'll autopush the lane as she harasses you. If she pushes up enough, you can kill her by landing a parallel convergence.
This is just a farm lane. You should be able to dodge every one of her Q's and your ult can save you from her ult, but her black shield will nullify your CC and burst and her spell vamp passive will keep her healthy. Rush a Catalyst, push as hard as you can and gank other lanes while keeping yours warded--she receives ganks very well if she can lock you down with her Q.
Nunu & Willump
This lane straight up doesn't exist to you. You will never do enough damage to him to outdo his healing, so don't even bother. Shove the lane (he's got no waveclear outside his ult) and roam, and outdo him in teamfights. Nunu mid isn't really a thing, but it's annoying as crap when you see him.
Similar to Lulu, he's incredibly annoying while still being not that dangerous. Dodge his bombs and he can't do anything to you, but you can't really kill him either. He doesn't heal and he doesn't shield, but he can run away very effectively and slow you down at the same time, making sticking onto him impossible. Push and roam.
Oh man she is fun to play as, but she's absolute hell to play against as Ekko. Step on all the plants you can to prevent yourself from being trapped by five of the damn things. Her plants really hurt now, so dodge her E at all costs and REALLY don't stay in her ultimate unless you want to get shredded. If she whiffs her E, she's defenseless, so trade then!
Taliyah is a utility caster, so she's got plenty to mess with you from a distance but no way to fight you up close. Watch out for her shove move, try not to dash through her rocks, and ping when she leaves lane to ult other lanes. She's not too much to worry about.
Hello, I'm spark2! I've been playing LoL for way too long (since 2011), although ranked has never really been my thing. I've got a ton of games on Ekko, and he's easily my favorite champ just in terms of sheer fun.
Tank Ekko is the most popular way to play him thanks to the whole tank-meta thing that was going on for a while there, but after the midseason update, I don't think tanks are going to be nearly as strong. As such, this is a great time to learn how to play Ekko like you actually know what you're doing--full AP, in the mid-lane. Is it tougher? Yeah. Is it more fun? Oh yeah.
Learning to play Tank Ekko gives you horrible habits once you go AP, but if you can play AP Ekko well, you can build him full AD for all I care and still carry. Tank Ekko is good, sure, but it takes forever to kill people. AP Ekko doesn't need forever, or hours, or even minutes to kill people and win the game. He only needs Sekkonds.
Season 8 Update!
Lord it's been a year since this has been updated. Pre-season is a whole thing, so forgive me if some of the stuff I say is totally wrong, we're all figuring out the new runes!
+ Great trading in lane
+ Tons of CC
+ Can fill multiple roles in teamfights
+ Okay even when behind
+ Ult makes him forgiving
+ Awesome outplays once you get good!
+ Just the greatest theme song
+ Also the greatest remix to that theme song
- Vulnerable to CC
- Melee range makes him vulnerable to harass
- Has some nightmarish matchups
- All of his skills have a big learning curve
- Not as useful when behind as other champs
- Takes a while to learn when to do what
- Keeps telling you not to blink
- Hairstyle is a bit much
Ekko is an incredibly fun champion to pick up, but it takes practice to actually get good with him. Everything about him rewards planning and foresight, and it takes time to get to the point where you can automatically keep track of your Chronobreak clone, predict where your opponent is going to be in three seconds for your Parallel Convergence, and play the game like a normal person. However, if you put in the work, Ekko is able to outplay just about anyone and anything in the game, and having a good game with Ekko feels better than almost any other champion. He's tough to learn, but incredibly rewarding once you do.
So, with all this in mind, why play Ekko? This is an important thing to think about every game, even when you're not playing Ekko: why are you playing what you're playing? If the answer is "I just want to have fun" or "I just like this champ", that's fine, as long as you know the champion's strengths. Conveniently enough, this is a very easy question to answer on Ekko, since the best answer is just why not? Ekko is what's known as a flex pick, which means that he's a jack of all trades--he can do almost anything any other mid laner can do, all mashed together in one package. Burst? Check. CC? Check. Assassin-level mobility? Check. Waveclear? Check. However, because he's such a generalist, there's always another champion that could be better at whatever job you need to get done. AOE CC? Annie is way more reliable. Assassination? Zed is way safer and easier. Waveclear? Anivia eats super minions for breakfast. Burst? Syndra or Veigar can do it from range and without the possibility of missing.
Long story short, Ekko can fill a bunch of jobs, but he's not the best at any of them. Above all else, Ekko gives you options on how to play him, which is why there are two whole separate builds in this guide, and I don't even touch on Tank Ekko, which is a whole other thing. I'll cover this in more detail later, but knowing all the myriad things you can do with Ekko is important to fully mastering him, since you never have just one job to do.
TL;DR: Ekko is a flex pick, so you can pick him almost any time, almost any place!
The two most useful primary trees are Domination and Inspiration.
Domination is the obvious Assassin primary tree, giving you a butt ton of damage no matter what you pick. You'll either take Electrocute or Dark Harvest, and it's an open question as to which is better. My advice is: take Dark Harvest if you think you can stomp the lane, and take Electrocute if you'll play safer. Dark Harvest scales better into the late game and has a lower cooldown early game, but depends on you being near kills to be better than Electrocute. Electrocute deals more damage in one burst and is easy-ish to apply (hit them with Q, hit them with E, detonate with passive), but it has a long cooldown early game and still has a long cooldown late game, and it's harder to apply than Dark Harvest. If you're not sure which to go with, take Electrocute!
The other, more gimmicky choice is to go into Inspiration! This one's a lot of fun, but doesn't actually deal direct damage like Domination does. Kleptomancy is the obvious choice in Inspiration, since it will trigger every time you use E on a champion. Selling the consumables you get from Kleptomancy will get you a pretty decent amount of gold and could potentially snowball you if you get lucky! The other choice is Glacial Augment, which I think could work with some kind of weird hybrid Tank build that I'll work on in the future. It sort of gives us our old slow-applying passive back, which is fun!
No matter what you choose, Domination should be one of the trees (whether Primary or Secondary). Always take Sudden Impact since it's pretty overtuned and will give you a lot of damage coming out of Phase Dive. Ravenous Hunter is also pretty cool, since spell vamp is awesome and the other stuff available isn't as useful. If you took Domination primary, you should also take Eyeball Collection, because why not. Ghost Poro is also fun.
If you spec into Inspiration, Perfect Timing is dope as heck and gets you a head start on your Zhonya's (and makes it more useful once you get it)! Approach Velocity is a fun way to further increase your gap-closing abilities (since it activates on anyone hit by your Q or stunned by your W). Cosmic Insight is also fun for a little extra CDR if that tickles your noodle. If you're crazy enough to take Inspiration primary, take whatever the heck you want in the middle tree--Magical Footwear is fun for extra MS, and Futures Market is gimmicky as all get out but gets you further in your build.
The only other secondary tree I'd advise is Sorcery, although none of the Keystone runes are really all that great for Ekko. Ultimate Hat is awesome for more Chronobreaks, and Celerity is great for extra movespeed, and when your passive triggers you get a burst of AP along with your movespeed!
Alright, that's what I've got so far. Get out there and experiment--it's preseason, the points don't matter!
You've basically got three choices with Ekko.
Flash is mandatory, even on someone as mobile as Ekko. If you get caught out of position, a Phase Dive -> Flash will get you out of almost anything. Same goes for if you're chasing!
Ignite is the usual second spell, helping to secure kills early to mid game and helping to shut down problematic late-game healing (usually from the ADC).
If you're up against a tough lane, or one that you don't have any kill pressure in (like Galio for instance), Teleport can be a lifesaver. If you take too much harass, you can back, heal up and teleport back in without losing CS. Or, if you don't have kill pressure, you can roam to other lanes instantly with this. Late game, this helps stop split-pushes (or start them) and is just generally useful for map mobility. Also note that if you teleport somewhere and kill whatever you need to within 4 seconds, you can Chronobreak back to where you teleported from instantly!
Long story short, take Ignite if you think you can kill your lane opponent without getting killed yourself, and take Teleport if you can't (see: almost anything in the red on the matchups table). Always take Flash!
Ekko's passive, Z-Drive Resonance is what allows him to have such great trades in lane. By hitting an enemy three times with any of his damaging spells or basic attacks, Ekko procs additional damage (that scales with 80% of your AP!). If they're a champion, Ekko also gets sped up. By like, a lot.
The easiest way to proc this in lane is using your Timewinder and Phase Dive. Since Timewinder can hit twice, all you need to do is get two stacks on your opponent with it and then dash in with your Phase Dive to proc your passive damage, resulting in a huge chunk of damage to your opponent. Then, the haste allows you to run to safety before they can retaliate!
This passive is also why Ekko's waveclear can be so great. Once you hit around 30% CDR, your Timewinder can proc all three stacks of this all by itself, due to its delayed nature. By simply tossing two Timewinders through a minion wave, Ekko can clear every minion without a single autoattack if you have a decent amount of AP, although pinpointing a precise time/level/AP amount is tricky because of how minions scale through the game. This is why CDR is so important against tough matchups--this passive, combined with your Q, allows you to farm from a distance, which is a huge deal on a melee champ like Ekko.
It sucks that we lost the slow on this, but it's not the end of the world. It makes trading and ganking much harder, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more buffs incoming, but this was really the only actual nerf we got in pre-season-7. Every other change was a buff, so I've got hope that things will work out. It would be nice if Riot could throw us a bone by increasing the haste by ~20% at all levels to up the speed differential and actually let us trade, but I assume they're not reading a guide on Mobafire.
Ekko's Q is Timewinder. It's sort of similar to Sivir's Boomerang Blade, but it does a lot more stuff. Ekko throws out a damaging time grenade in a decently-ranged skillshot, which stops when it reaches max range or hits a champion. Once stopped, the grenade activates, expanding into a field that slows anyone trapped in it as it drifts forward for a second. Lastly, the grenade rewinds back to Ekko, snapping back towards his current position and dealing increased damage to anyone it hits on the way back. This skill has a ton of uses, and understanding them all is key to success with Ekko.
Firstly, and most obviously, it's a great source of damage in lane and the easiest way to apply your Z-Drive Resonance stacks. It applies stacks both on its way out and in, so the easiest way to farm or push is to just toss this through a minion wave and hit them each once before it returns. The return will deal damage and pop your passive, dealing a bunch more damage to the minions. It's also useful as a zoning tool--if you're winning lane or your opponent is low, and you've got spare mana, whack them with this any time they go up to farm to discourage them. Consistently doing this can scare them off the minion wave, making them lose CS!
In addition to trading and farming, the slow gives this skill great utility. It lets you chase people, run from people, and lets you set up ganks for your jungler. You can also set up yourself, by tossing this on someone who's trying to run out of your Parallel Convergence sphere--it can sometimes give you the extra second you need to get them in the stun! Come late game, you can even peel for your carries with this if a juggernaut like Darius or Nasus is coming for them by tossing a Timewinder at the enemy.
In addition to its peeling abilities, it's also your only source of poke in teamfights. Before the rest of your team goes in, you can harass the enemy team with this, and sometimes catch someone out with the slow. If someone is out of position away from the rest of their team and accidentally gets two Z-Drive Resonance stacks on them because of this, don't be afraid to jump on them with Phase Dive. It'll do a ton of damage and the speed from your passive will get you back to safety quickly!
Okay, buckle up. This is one of the most complicated, overloaded and flexible abilities in the game, so I apologize in advance for the wall of text.
Parallel Convergence is Ekko's weirdest move, and in my personal opinion his best. Passively, Ekko gains execute damage against weakened champions, dealing a percentage of their missing health once they drop below 30% of their total health. This passive is nice, particularly when jungling or trying to finish off a low-health enemy. However, what it's most useful for in lane is last-hitting, especially when you're as bad at it as I am. Think of it like a slightly weaker version of Zed's Contempt for the Weak, if you've played him!
The active portion is one of my personal favorite skills in the game. An alternate dimension clone of Ekko jumps back from his current position, then lines up a projectile. The clone then hits the projectile, which expands into a slowing sphere once it reaches its destination. In total, there is a three second delay between when you activate this ability and when the sphere actually appears, which feels like forever. Your opponent can see the clone, but don't know where the sphere will be until half a second before it is in place. The clone will face in whatever direction you were facing when you cast the ability, and will also hop back in the same direction. This means that if you can angle your cast so that the clone jumps back into a wall, a bush or around a corner, your opponent won't be able to see it! Use this to get super sneaky with this ability, although often the weird positioning this trick forces you into is enough of a clue for your opponent.
There are three possible outcomes with this skill, depending on how well you predict the future locations of both you and your opponent (well, four, but I'm assuming you don't just completely waste it):
Couple other things to note about this spell:
- The sphere lasts for around 1.5 seconds, so you don't have much time to get in there. However, it slows, which means that tossing a sphere way out ahead of you while chasing an enemy can give you the little extra boost to Phase Dive onto them before the duration runs out.
- Parallel Convergence has a massive range, which is why movement speed is so useful on Ekko. The faster you are, the further away you can use your W and know that you can catch up with it.
- If you see your opponent coming in to trade with you, throw this on yourself and let them come to you. Sometimes they'll back off when they see the clone, sometimes you can shield some of their damage, and sometimes they'll even get stuck in the shield with you and get stunned!
- Another great time to use this is when your jungler is ganking. The sudden appearance of your jungler will scare your lane opponent into running for either their tower or the opposite side of the lane, which makes their movements easy to predict. Try and predict where your opponent will run, and toss this out a second or two before your jungler comes in, then catch them as they run!
- Alternatively, if you're getting ganked, toss this where you think the enemy jungler will catch up with you. If you're right, you can often stun them as they close in for the kill (since most junglers are melee), giving you time to either make your escape or turn the fight around on them! This is especially dangerous for them if they try to tower dive--if it looks like they're going to come in on you, throw this right on yourself and let the tower do its thing.
- The area that this spell targets is revealed for one second before it detonates and while the sphere is there (so two seconds total). This makes it useful to scout and check bushes instead of facechecking, although the two-second delay can be annoying. (Another way to check bushes is to throw your Timewinder and see if it expands early, although this only really works at close ranges!)
- Lastly, this skill is bomb as all hell in teamfights. Wait till people seem to settle into their positions, then throw this where it'll do the most good (and where you can reach). This usually means onto their carries, but it can also mean in front of your carries to peel!
Phase Dive is Ekko's simplest ability, but like all of his other abilities, it can be used for just about anything. Upon activation, Ekko dashes in a target direction. This can go over walls, and is otherwise just generally useful as a dash, kind of like Graves's Quickdraw. Once this dash is completed, Ekko's next basic attack gains 300 range for a total of 425. This is around Gnar's range in the beginning of the game in mini-form. Take together, this skill is a maximum 750-range engage, which is pretty big (7.5 Teemos!) It applies both spell effects and on-hit effects, so if you've got both Luden's Echo and Lich Bane, you'll chunk hard with this ability. Combine that with the third proc from your passive, and this can hurt.
Also note that it can cancel the animations on your abilities, most notably your Timewinder. The second it leaves your hand, dash forward to cancel the rest of the animation and make your combo even quicker! Another good thing to know is that since this spell counts as both a spell and an on-hit proc, it actually gives you two stacks of Thunderlord's Decree whenever you hit someone with it, which is why that mastery is so good on Ekko.
This spell makes Ekko almost impossible to gank. You can jump over any of the river walls (although the thicker ones are tricky sometimes) and can also jump over the wall to the raptors if you're really in trouble. If the jungler has a gap-closer like Venomous Bite or Leap, try to use this after they use their mobility--otherwise they'll just catch up to you after you use this!
Ekko's ultimate, Chronobreak, is one of the coolest moves in the entire game, bar none. Once you get it, and as long as it's off cooldown (or less than 4 seconds from being off cooldown), a clone will follow you on a trail that maps out where you were over the last 4 seconds. Upon activating the ability, you'll briefly turn invulnerable and teleport back to where your clone is. Once you arrive, you'll heal for a flat amount plus a percentage of the damage you took over the last four seconds, and bomb the area around you for a butt ton of damage.
This ability is, to put it mildly, cuckoo bananas. It can be used to reposition out of a bad spot, reposition into a good spot, counteract burst damage, dodge a big burst of damage, or just nuke your opponents, all depending on where your clone is. Mastering this ability is very hard, but oh dear lord is it ever worth it when you pull off a good one.
You can dodge anything with this, from an Ace in the Hole to a Requiem, using the brief (real brief, like half a second) window of invulnerability this gives you. If you get really good, you can even dodge shorter-range stuff like Primordial Burst or Unleashed Power. You can also dodge stuff like Final Spark by just repositioning with this. This ability to dodge an ability, along with the healing and damage, makes Ekko an incredible duelist against many people, and makes him slippery as all hell in a teamfight.
In addition to skillful uses of this, you can also use this to cover up any...well, not-so-skillful things you may have done. If you flub an assassination attempt or get caught out of position, Chronobreak gives you a redo button as long as you don't get chain-CCed or bursted so hard that you're dead before you can use it. Getting out and waiting for your cooldowns to come back up is way better than dying for free because you were waiting for a good ult!
Really, the most important thing to remember with this ability is that you should just use it. Hitting a perfect ult is awesome, but it will rarely happen, since it depends on your opponent to do something stupid. Chronobreak can do a lot of stuff at once, but even if you're just repositioning, or just dodging a Requiem, or just using it for damage, it's still worth using. Once you build some CDR the cooldown on this is basically nothing, so if you think it's worth using, don't hesitate.
You should get Timewinder first for some level 1 harass--if you can manage to get your Z-Drive Resonance off level 1 along with a Thunderlord's Decree proc, you'll chunk for a huge amount.
Get Phase Dive level 2 so you can start harassing with your Q-E combo and to help escape from any level 2 jungler ganks.
Then get Parallel Convergence at level 3 to help with last hitting, zoning and trading!
After that, prioritize:
Timewinder is our most flexible and dependable ability, giving us poke, waveclear and a slow, all of which scale with levels in the ability, so we rank it up first. Next, rank up Phase Dive for a lower cooldown and higher damage. Finally, rank up Parallel Convergence last since the only things that increase with level are the shield strength (slightly) and the cooldown. Ranking up Chronobreak increases its damage and its base heal while also reducing its cooldown, so obviously level it whenever possible!
You almost always want to start off with a Doran's Ring, 2 Health Potions and a Warding Totem. This gives you a decent amount of health, health sustain, AP, mana regen, and vision--everything you need for early game. No matter what you're building towards or who you're up against, this is the best start you can possibly start with--nothing else compares.
...unless you're up against something that you're terrified of early game, like a LeBlanc. Then you might as well spec into extra sustain with Corrupting Potion to get you through the early game.
For your first couple backs, you're going to want to get the same three items, whether you've gotten killed three times or you've got ten kills already.
If you were lucky enough to play Ekko in URF, you know how awesomely he scales with Cooldown Reduction (CDR). The magic number we want to aim for is 30% as soon as possible. This gives us a low cooldown on our dash, frequent resets with our ultimate, but most importantly, it lets us easily farm waves from a distance and hard-push with our Timewinder. Getting 30% cooldown reduction makes it so that you can proc all three stacks of Z-Drive Resonance with your Q alone, making wave-pushing brain-dead and improving your CSing at the same time.
To get to this magical number, we ALWAYS use the same exact items: Sheen, Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Fiendish Codex. Literally every single game, these should be the first three items you build. Sometimes you'll build the boots first if you're up against someone with a lot of skillshots, sometimes you'll build Sheen first to get the mana, but these are your priorities every game. It gives us 30% CDR for 2850g, which is as good as it gets.
The only time you'd change this is if you find yourself running out of mana frequently. There are basically two reasons why this would happen, and there are two different solutions. First, are you running out of mana because you just keep killing people over and over again? If so, you're probably going to head into the Snowballing build, so feel free to pick up an early Lost Chapter to help your mana supply. On the other hand, if you're running out of mana because you're struggling in lane and have to use your spells to farm (which happens a lot against tougher matchups), an early Catalyst of Aeons can give you almost bottomless mana as well as health sustain, and builds into ( Hextech GLP-800), which is a great utility item that can help you contribute to your team even when struggling. Neither of these will slow down your build much, and CDR is no use if you don't have any mana to cast your abilities!
TL;DR for early game: Buy a Doran's Ring and two health pots to start. Rush 30% CDR with Sheen, Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Fiendish Codex, and maybe get a mana item (either Catalyst of Aeons or Lost Chapter).
Once you get to this point is where things start to split. You're probably 5-10 minutes into the game, and you should have a sense of where this game is going. If you haven't killed your lane opponent at least once, then don't even think about going into the Snowballing build. If you've gotten a kill or two and are decently ahead, and feel like you OWN this lane? Go ahead and skip on over to the Snowballing build. Otherwise, stick to the Bruiser build--you're no good to your team if you die instantly.
Okay, so we've got Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Sheen, and a Fiendish Codex. Now what? Well, it depends on what you need. (Note: the answer at this point is never ' Lich Bane', since that's an awful first item--you need another AP source to make the scaling on its passive worth it!)
|The first of our defensive stat items. If you're up against an AD midlaner, this is your best option to rush, no question, and once you get into teamfights it allows you to play much more riskily due to its ability to turn you invulnerable in case you get caught out or dive too deep. You can also land safer Parallel Convergences in a teamfight with it, since the bubble will still pop even if you are stasis'ed. This is built in almost every game, since you'll be up against physical damage in every game from the ADC and the active is just so dang useful.|
|Our other defensive stat choice. Where Zhonya's is excellent at countering AD laners, this is a great choice against an AP laner you're struggling against. It gives a load of MR along with some AP and a super dope passive that will save your butt frequently. Again, this is built in most games, since your worst fear in a teamfight is all the CC flying around. If the Banshee's shield blocks something like a Dazzle, that's the difference between a Pentakill and an ignoble death.|
Pick either Zhonya's or Banshee's based on who you're up against to turn the matchup in your favor. This will use up that Fiendish Codex you built, so once you've completed your matchup-based defensive item, you can build another Fiendish Codex to get you to the 40% CDR cap! (Remember, CDR is bae).
Final Bruiser Build:
Okay, so you've killed your lane opponent a couple of times, or are just applying so much pressure and getting so up in their head that you just feel like you already own this game. If you want to close it out in style, then this build is for you. Pure AP for tons of damage, plenty of movement speed to get you to other lanes faster, and a bottomless well of mana as long as you keep killing people. This build's got it all, as long as you're quick on the trigger with your ult and E, or just like dying a lot.
|Once again, even though we've already got Sheen, we never want to go for Lich Bane first, since you need other AP sources to make its passive worth it. The best item to go for to apply lane pressure is the new and improved Morellonomicon. It gives everything you need: a buttload of AP, a chunk of raw mana AND a mana regen passive whenever you get a kill or assist, 20% CDR (<3), and the grievous wounds passive, which actually got a major buff in the midseason patch. The threshold was slightly lowered (35% health vs 40%) which is bad, but the duration went from 5 seconds to 8 seconds, and more importantly, it reduces incoming healing too again! This is a HUGE deal, and makes kills way more consistently securable in teamfights, since heals will mean less when you've almost killed someone. This is usually what you want to build first in lane to keep the snowball rolling.|
Final snowballing build:
Finishing up both builds
In either build, you want to build Lich Bane once you have one or two other AP items and then finish your build (after the above items) with Rabadon's and Void Staff!
|This really is the perfect item for Ekko. It gives you AP and CDR to make you hit harder and more often, mana to help fuel your spells, movespeed to help you roam and stick to targets, and an awesome passive that makes your Phase Dive chunk hard. Once you get this, you can really start taking the fight to people (and towers!), since this is your first real damage spike.|
|The order in which you buy the last two items depends on what the enemy team is stacking. If they're building a lot of health (or just not building any tankiness) then Rabadon's Deathcap is the way to go--it gives you a giant boost in AP by multiplying everything that you already have by x1.35, making everything hit way harder.|
|If, on the other hand, they're stacking MR, then Void Staff is the way to go. This penetrates 35% of your target's MR, so it's perfect to counter MR stacking. Now, come late game, melee champions will have a lot of natural MR from levels, so even if nobody builds any MR items, this item is still worth it just to counter this natural tankiness. Melee champs will have a base MR of 53.4 at level 18, which this item reduces by 18.65--that's already more than a Liandry's Torment, plus it shreds any MR they buy on top of that! Whichever one of these two ( Rabadon's Deathcap or Void Staff) you get first, you should almost always get the other one to finish off your build.|
There are a couple of items that exist outside the two main builds that can be useful to pick up situationally--whether in a weird matchup or because you took different runes.
|If you took Transcendence in the Sorcery tree and therefore don't need the 10% CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity, then get these for the extra magic penetration. They'll help you do even more damage! That's about it.|
|Alternatively, if you're up against a heavy CC comp or heavy AP comp (like a Veigar mid, a Morgana/ Leona support or a Fiddlesticks jungle), Mercury's Treads is a good choice. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes CDR might actually be a better choice, giving you more frequent Phase Dives, Chronobreaks and Flashes. It's up to you to know what you can dodge, and what you'd rather just reduce.|
|If you're crushing your lane (as in, like, a level 2 double kill) feel free to get this instead of a doran's ring on your first back. It lets you go absolutely HAM and snowball super hard, especially if you build it into Mejai's Soulstealer. Not a core item by any means, but situationally great.|
|Season 7 Update: Okay, due to the change to Chronobreak, it's now inefficient to build health on Ekko. See the section on Chronobreak for why! However, that doesn't mean that GLP is useless. If you are behind in lane, building a Catalyst can still help you sustain and trade, possibly getting you back into the game. The other time that you should build GLP is if you're against a fed Annie, Malzahar or anyone else that can 100->0 you while keeping you stunned the whole time. While in these situations it's still better to build a Banshee's Veil for the MR (or a Zhonya's Hourglass if you're against a fed Zed or Talon), it can still be worth it to build this for the health. However, in cases like that, it may be better to actually just build a straight defensive item--as long as you have AP, items like abyssal veil or Thornmail can be very efficient due to how much resistances they give you along with their excellent stats. You have to decide for yourself whether to build another hybrid defensive item like GLP or whether to just go for a straight defensive item! Again, this is no longer a recommended item, but it has its uses.|
Season 7 Update: This is only worth building if you're going to roll into Big Gulp! See the note at the top if it isn't clear why we don't usually build GLP!
Building an early Hextech Revolver is often a good idea if you're doing well in lane, since it applies extra damage on autoattacks every 40 seconds. This is automatically applied with Phase Dive, and so adds a good chunk of damage to your trade (~100 damage, which is close to a Luden's Echo proc!) for very cheap. This is a good item to roll into if you're looking for early damage while still staying in the Bruiser build.
|I see a lot of people recommending Nashor's Tooth on Ekko, because of his passive stacking on autoattacks and his Parallel Convergence passive being on-hit. This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what AP Ekko is. This item is great for sustained damage dealers like Azir, Teemo or even some Diana builds. Ekko, on the other hand, is focused on burst damage. You're not tanky enough or long-ranged enough to use this item effectively. The only time you'd ever get this on AP Ekko is if you were doing some weird build that focused only on split-pushing, which I don't recommend.|
|This is not a pure Tank Ekko build, as you've probably figured out by now. It can work, but that's not what we're doing here. Skip the Dead Man's Plate, skip the Iceborn Gauntlet, skip all the stuff you usually build in the jungle. We're here to look cool, not just stick to a squishy like a limp barnacle and eventually kill them with Sunfire Cape. That is just not punk rock enough for us.|
|This used to be built on AP Ekko but since its active got nerfed it is no longer optimal. There is less AP scaling on the active now and you do less damage from point-blank range, which is where Ekko always used it from. Stop building this on Ekko!|
Ekko's Parallel Convergence is an awesome initiation tool, but it's really hard to land. By comboing it with the initiation CC from this type of champ, you can double-CC the enemy team and get an even bigger initiation, all but guaranteeing a strong teamfight!
Side-note: Bard is a perfect combo with Ekko--if he can Tempered Fate a group of enemies, immediately target a Parallel Convergence at the stasis-ed group. It'll wear off just in time for your sphere to pop, guaranteeing a good initiation!
|Ekko is a great peeler because of his CC, making him an awesome combo with anyone who does a ton of damage but needs protection or distraction. These are usually ADCs, but some top laners or junglers can qualify too (e.g. Master Yi or Fiora). By giving them the protection they need, you can allow them to do what they do best. Which is kill everything.|
|Ekko has great burst when built AP, and when fed enough can sometimes one-shot squishy champions. They'll usually have some kind of CC, mobility or self-peel, but your mobility often lets you either dodge or play around it.||
|Ekko's raw mobility with Phase Dive, Z-Drive Resonance and Chronobreak make him a pain in the butt to hit with skillshots as long as you (the Ekko player) pay attention. They're called skillshots for a reason--whoever is more skilled will win.||
|Ekko's Chronobreak lets you heal up after being damaged for a percentage of that damage. However, that doesn't do you any good if you get one-shotted. In addition, these types of champions can force you to use your ultimate defensively, negating a large amount of your power. Buy resistances against these guys to help stop you from getting blown up.|
|Ekko is based around outplaying your opponents and dodging around their skills, then punishing them for missing. This is a lot harder when you can't dodge their skills, and it's especially hard when these skills CC you in the middle of a teamfight. These champions make teamfighting much more difficult, so wait until they blow these targeted abilities before you go in.|
|Ekko can do just about anything, but the only thing his kit doesn't have is a ton of long-ranged damage. He's dependent on dashing in and sticking to people to proc a lot of his damage, which leaves him vulnerable to teams with a lot of disengage or death-prevention.|
These are probably the simplest to play against, if not necessarily the easiest. You've got way more mobility than them, but they usually have the ability to catch you with some form of CC. Avoid that CC at all costs, and go in on them with your Timewinder- Phase Dive combo whenever it's on cooldown. These types of mages usually rely on their poke power and in some cases CC to push you out of lane and outfarm you, rather than actually killing you (although they'll do that too). You should do fine as long as you don't just eat every ability. A good general strategy is to stand away from your minions, so that they have to choose between using their abilities to harass you or farm with them. You win these lanes by dodging their harass and killing them. Every time you kill them, make sure you push your minions into their tower so that they lose out on the CS and experience, and you'll way outscale them.
TL;DR: Dodge their stuff (especially their CC) and go in when their cooldowns are down.
These matchups are interesting, since you're also an assassin. The most important thing is this: it is more important to not feed them than to get fed yourself. Ekko is an assassin with way more utility and CC than any other member of his class, but he trades that for pure damage and snowball potential. Think of yourself as being kind of like a Karthus in these lanes--if you go even, that means you've won the lane, since you're way more useful in teamfights than them. These are excellent lanes in which to go for the Bruiser Build, even if you're doing well! Play safe, farm from a distance if you have to, and ping every time you think they've left lane (the pinging thing goes for any matchup, but these guys especially).
TL;DR: Don't let them get kills, play safe, ping when they leave lane and be more useful in teamfights.
"Utility Mage" isn't the best label for all of these guys, but they're basically people that have a bad early game and a beastly late game. In the matchups section, I describe these guys as 'Food' a lot, because in lane that's what they are. You're way stronger than them early game, so make sure to ward up and be super aggressive, because if you let them scale then they'll wipe you out in teamfights.
TL;DR: Go aggressive and bully them early, and don't let them scale for free.
These are usually your worst matchups (see how most of the icons are from the red zone of the matchups?), since you have little to no kill pressure on them once they get a few items. They're built to ruin your laning experience, so you beat them by not having much of a laning experience. Don't try to beat them, don't try to fight them (except for super-early before they get unkillable). Just shove your wave into their tower and roam to other lanes--Ekko has great ganks, and by helping to snowball the people in your other lanes, you help them carry you through these nightmare matchups. Make sure to ward your mid lane and ping when they leave, since when you're gone they'll often try to roam as well. Teleport is a great summoner spell to take into these matchups to help you influence the whole map, since you won't be doing much in mid-lane. You also tend to outperform these champs in a teamfight (although someone like Annie or Malzahar can still be dangerous), so going for a bruiser build and surviving the laning phase should be your priority!
TL;DR: You're not going to kill these guys, so push, roam and snowball your other lanes since you have better ganks.
Okay, so now you know how to play against specific matchups, but what about more general laning strategies with Ekko, independent of your matchup? Obviously, who you're up against is a big factor in how you play each lane, but here are some tips that apply generally no matter who you're up against:
Ekko is fantastic at "zoning" people in lane. If you don't know what that means, it refers to interfering with your lane opponent's ability to move freely in the lane. Usually, you zone by pushing your opponent away from your minions, which makes them lose out on CS and sometimes even experience. A lot of Ekko's abilities create 'zones' that opponents don't want to be in. Timewinder is a good example--by hitting them with the outward hit of Q, you force them to move sideways or backwards out of the slow field for fear of getting hit with the return. This forced movement can interfere with an opponent's CSing--if they stay still to autoattack a minion and get the gold, it will cause them to be hit by the second Timewinder. Forcing these kinds of tradeoffs and decisions can cripple your opponent's lane phase. Chronobreak is also a very threatening zone--your opponent has to stay away from your clone, or risk being hit with the damage. This is harder to use than Timewinder, but is still good to keep in mind.
Arguably your best zoning tool, however, is Parallel Convergence. Once you hit an opponent with the stun (or if you have a near-miss), they'll be scared off every time they see your clone back off and ready the sphere. Using this fear can make a completely whiffed Parallel Convergence still worth something. If a couple of your minions are at low health, throw a W on top of your opponent and run at them. They'll be forced to choose between fighting you, running away, or farming, none of which are great choices for them. Bleeding CS from your opponent like this is a subtle way to win your lane, but a powerful one nonetheless.
One last note on zoning: remember that 'backwards' isn't the only direction you can push your opponent. For example, imagine that your jungler (let's say Pantheon) is in your top side bush, and you and your opponent (let's say Twisted Fate) are dead in the center of lane. This is hard to gank for Pantheon, since his gap closer isn't long enough to reach TF before he runs away or flashes. What you should do in this situation is throw a Timewinder at Twisted Fate and then run towards your bottom-side brush. This will cause a situation in which Twisted Fate's best decision to avoid the second hit of Timewinder is to run opposite you, towards the top-side brush...and where your Pantheon is laying in wait! He'll jump out of the bush and stun TF, while you Phase Dive back in and help him get the kill. This kind of 'horizontal' zoning can make jungle ganks way more deadly and easy for your jungler, and remember: if a jungler thinks your lane is easy to gank, you'll be that much more likely to get a lot of ganks!
(I'll try and get pics/diagrams of this horizontal zoning up ASAP!)
Whew. That was a long tip. Here's a shorter one: farming! You hear it everywhere, but farming is incredibly important, as it's where you'll get most of your gold through the laning phase. Farming as Ekko is actually super easy because of the passive from Parallel Convergence, which will add additional damage onto your last-hits. If you're at all good at last hitting with literally anyone else (other than Zed, who has a better version with Contempt for the Weak), then last hitting with Ekko is a breeze. Once you get some mana regen, CDR and levels in your Timewinder, farming is even easier. Use Timewinder to get two stacks of your passive on a whole wave, then just whack each one once--the pop from your Z-Drive Resonance combined with the other damage will outright kill a whole minion wave after an autoattack each. Once you get 30% CDR, you can get all three stacks of your passive using only Timewinder--no autoattacks needed!
One last note on farming--remember that since Parallel Convergence does on-hit damage based on your target's missing health, it will do extra damage to siege minions, since they have more health! This makes farming them easier than most champs.
Keep in mind that while you're not super powerful at level 1 with just Timewinder, you are very powerful at level 2. You can outtrade most people with just raw damage if you can hit your Timewinder and Z-Drive Resonance with Phase Dive, so level 2 tends to really set the tone for the rest of the lane. Some people still outtrade you ( LeBlanc, for example) but in most cases, you stomp level 2. Try and have a minion advantage (aka have more minions than your opponent by damaging minions a bit more aggressively than you usually would) so that you don't take as much damage from minions during your level 2 trades, since even perfect maneuvering won't mean much if your opponent's crowd of minions plinks you for a quarter of your health.
Capitalizing on Kills
When you kill your lane opponent, you get a bit of gold, which is nice. However, if you want to crush your lane opponent, just killing them won't do it. Getting ahead means having an experience (or level) advantage as well as a gold advantage on your opponent, and the best way to do that is to push your minions into their tower. This will cause the tower to kill your minions, denying your opponent the experience they would have gotten from those minions had they been there. Any time your opponent goes back while you're reasonably healthy (or if their jungler is dead too), try to shove your wave into the tower. This applies when they're dead, when they go back to shop/heal, or even when they go to roam. It's arguably the best way to win lane, and it's not too complicated. This is also why you should try to push a wave before you recall or gank--making sure the lane is pushed denies your opponent's ability to use this strategy on you!
Doing this when your opponents roam is worth talking a bit more about. When you see your lane opponent going towards another lane (which you saw because you warded, RIGHT?), the temptation is always to follow them and countergank. This is a good choice if you think that your team could get a kill out of it--if your opponent is low health, or if the lane they're ganking has low health people. However, if everyone's reasonably healthy and you can't get a kill, it is frequently a smarter idea to just ping a bunch of times so that the lane that's about to get ganked knows to look out and hug tower, and instead shove your wave into their tower. Much like zoning, you're forcing the enemy team into a lose/lose situation. If the gank works for them, then they helped their other lane and maybe got a kill for themselves, but lost out on a bunch of CS and experience because a bunch of your minions died to their tower. If the gank doesn't work, then not only does the ganked lane not really change, but your lane opponent lost out on a bunch of CS and XP for nothing. This puts you ahead of them, and makes your laning easier! Knowing when to countergank and when to shove takes practice, but a general rule is that you shouldn't gank for protection, since their tower can do a better job than you. Countergank if you think your team can net kills from it, and otherwise shove your lane whenever your opponent roams.
Lastly, yet another reminder to ward. Ekko has a ton of escapes and mobility, and with Flash up he's basically uncatchable, but it's best to use that mobility to actually kill people, instead of using it to save yourself because you forgot to ward. Always try to have a Vision Ward out on the field, usually in one of the bushes in the middle of the river on either side of mid-lane, since that gives you good vision of any entrances into lane on that side. Putting a vision ward into one of the long border bushes also denies your opponent vision there, since it lets you see (and destroy) any wards they put there, making it way easier for your jungler to gank. You tend to push, making you vulnerable to ganks, so generally, if you have wards, use them--they aren't doing anyone any good just sitting in your '4' slot!
When you gank, be sure to watch the movements of the lane you're going for. If they suddenly backed off, that means you walked by a ward--keep that in mind and go back to your lane, then gank again in a minute once the ward disappears.
You have three options when ganking a side lane as to where to gank from. The easiest is to gank straight down the middle from the river bush. This works if your opponents are pushed out, but can be tricky if the lane is even. A better way to go (but a riskier one) is to gank from the tribush, which is usually less likely to be warded and gives you a better angle of attack, particularly if you're ganking the lane that has the tribush near the enemy tower. This allows you to come in behind them, catching them in a pincer between you and your laner and almost guaranteeing a Flash or kill. The other (super risky) alternative is to go from the opposite side of the river as tri-bush, near the enemy's blue buff, by jumping over the wall near the turret with Phase Dive. This allows you to sneak-attack them and usually catch them in a pincer, but uses up most of your mobility, making it harder to stick to your target.
If you make it to a lane and it looks like they don't know you're there, try to wait till your laner commits to a fight. This will usually make your victims blow all of their CC and abilities, giving you free reign to come in and wreak havoc. The temptation with Ekko is to immediately toss Parallel Convergence, but you usually want to wait until after your targets have used their mobility spells. Comboing your W with allied CC also makes it much easier to land. Don't use Phase Dive immediately either. Just hit them with Timewinder to slow and run at them, then Phase Dive after they use their mobility. Even if they CC you, your movement speed from Z-Drive Resonance is often enough to catch up and finish them off. If they retreat under tower, never fear-- Parallel Convergence's shield can let you survive dives and finish them off if they're low!
One last note on ganking--don't gank a lane if your laner is 0/5/1, unless you're even more fed than their lane opponent. You'll just feed them more otherwise--focus on lanes that aren't hopeless, and tell them to play safe!
Ekko is very good at getting to carries and blowing them up, using Phase Dive to get in and Timewinder with Z-Drive Resonance to do a load of damage. Your combo is relatively simple, but very effective against squishy targets. You can also use Parallel Convergence to shield yourself while you burst, and then reposition back to safety with Chronobreak once they're dead.
You should go for assassinations if you're very fed (especially if you're specced fully into the Snowball build) or if their team is relying on one really fed person to carry them. If you can take out the carry, you can often single-handedly win the fight for your team. However, if you get caught while you're going in and get blown up yourself, you just turned the fight into a 4v5. So hang back until the enemy team has blown their peeling abilities!
Ekko's generous amounts of CC from Timewinder and Parallel Convergence can make it almost impossible for someone without massive gap-closing abilities to get to your carries. If you see someone like Darius or Nasus coming for your Kog'Maw, hang back and peel for the little guy. This is a great role to fall back on if you didn't do amazing in a game, but someone else on your team went beast mode. By protecting them, you're allowing them to do all the damage they can do, which is usually way more than what you could do when behind!
This is why Ekko is great--if a Talon gets behind and can't blow someone up, he's straight up useless. If Ekko's behind, he can still help his team--it's a lot harder to totally bomb a game as Ekko!
As a side note, Ekko's peeling prowess makes him an excellent counterpick to enemy juggernauts-- if the enemy team is something like a Garen top and a Volibear jungle, Ekko is a great choice!
Now we're getting into the weird ones. Ekko's Parallel Convergence is an AoE stun, and landing a good one can win a teamfight singlehandedly. However, this is usually pretty hard due to the 3-second delay, but there are ways around this.
The best way is to just have an actual initiator on your team, like Malphite or Sejuani. If you have someone like that, ask them to let you know when they plan to initiate. When they do, throw Parallel Convergence slightly behind where your initiator locks down the other team. Dive on them with the rest of your team, and the other team will usually try to run away a bit to reposition. Since you threw your W behind them, this should put them right in position to be stunned again by you! This double initiation is devastating, and it's hard to lose a teamfight when you pull this off.
Another, much more stylish (but risky) way to initiate is to initiate while running away, with your Chronobreak. This requires your team (or at least you) to be running away from the other team, so that your clone is behind you and preferably in their team. Let your team know with pings that you're going in, then throw a Parallel Convergence right on top of (or slightly behind) where you are currently. Your clone's 4 second delay and the sphere's 3 second delay should sync up if you aimed it right, resulting in a sphere right on top of the enemy team with your clone in the middle of it. Chronobreak in, detonating the sphere, stunning the enemy team and dealing massive amounts of damage with your ult. If your team follows up properly, this is an awesome way to win a teamfight, but if they don't follow up then you'll just die really stylishly.
Another good spot to initiate is during tower sieges, since people tend to stay in around the same place (either under their own tower or just outside the range of the enemy tower). This static sort of team fight is perfect for Parallel Convergence--just always ping before you go in!
Remember, even if you've built towards the Snowballing Build, you've still got this utility inherent in your kit--you can still peel and still initiate, even though you've built for assassination! Sometimes there's not a good spot for an assassination (like if the enemy Alistar is riding their Jinx's back so close he might as well be in her backpack), so it's better to help your team however you can rather than always think "AAAAH I HAVE TO KILL EVERYTHING".
A split-pusher's role is to be so large a threat to an enemy's lane that they have to commit disproportionate resources to stop you, e.g. sending three people to take you alone down before you take their towers/inhibitor. This allows the rest of your team to fight unequal battles in other lanes or take objectives like towers, dragon or even baron.
To be a good split-pusher, you either need to be really good at running away or really good at killing people alone. Thankfully, Ekko is great at both of these things! Phase Dive and Chronobreak are great tools for getting out of a sticky situation, and your kite/burst/CCing nature makes you a great duelist. Chronobreak is a great tool for dueling, since it lets you undo a good percentage of the damage that your opponent did to you, and often lets you dodge a dangerous spell while you're at it! Use your Phase Dive and movement speed from Z-Drive Resonance to kite around your opponent(s) until your clone is in the right spot, then blow them up and heal up at the same time.
In addition, Ekko is great at pushing and tower killing with this build. With 30% CDR, your Timewinder can kill a wave in 4 seconds, and the damage from your Phase Dive can proc on towers. Combined with Lich Bane, you can chunk towers hard and take them down in no time if left alone.
Split push with Ekko when your team is able to stall out--the weakness of split-pushing is that it can create a 4v5 if you're not that big a threat, so a team that can stall out an engagement is helpful for this strategy. Don't split push if you're far behind, since they can just send one person to kill you, which doesn't create the imbalanced teamfights you need for split pushing to be worth it.
Now, as we've seen, Ekko has a lot of strengths that you can use, so his win conditions are a lot less clear-cut. It's not just 'always split-push' (like Tryndamere or Nasus) or 'always go for the ADC' (like Talon or Zed). Like I keep saying, Ekko's role in a teamfight is very flexible, but that means you're going to have to actually think about what would be most valuable to your team in the moment. Yeah, I know--it's yet another thing to think about with Ekko, but that's why he's so rewarding!
To help out, here's the thought process that I usually go through with Ekko:
In Champion Select: Ekko can compliment almost any team, but his playstyle changes based on what kind of composition he's in. By seeing what the rest of your team wants to do to win, you can orient your playstyle to compliment theirs.
- If your team has a lot of poke ( Varus, Nidalee), peel ( Nautilus, Maokai) or kiting ability ( Ashe, Karma), then that means they usually want to siege objectives and prevent the enemy team from engaging on them. You can help with this by peeling for them and keeping them safe--assassinations aren't as important in this type of comp, since you're more focused on killing towers than champions. Use your Parallel Convergence when your team has the enemy pinned under their tower to set up engages, since this type of team is usually really good at keeping the opponents in one place!
Alternatively, if your team seems to prefer stalling out teamfights and doesn't already have a strong splitpusher (like a Jax jungle), you can also splitpush while they kite the enemy team and stall. Be careful of doing this against enemy teams with lots of hard engage (like Malphite or Sejuani), since kite/siege teams get blown up fast if they get caught 4v5 because you're splitting top.
- If your team has a lot of hard engage (like Alistar or Hecarim), your primary role will be a secondary initiator (see the 'Initiator' section above). Follow them in and combo your CC with theirs, and the rest of your team will have an easy time cleaning up. You won't have to peel as much with this kind of composition since your enemies should be CC'd for a long time in teamfights, so go for assassinations if you think you can kill people!
Before the engage happens, soften up the team with lobbed Timewinders at the front line or anyone who gets caught out of position! It'll do some damage and get some Z-Drive Resonance stacks on them in advance, which is never a bad thing.
- If your team likes to get picks ( Elise, Morgana, or especially Blitzcrank), then your role will likely be that of an assassin. You've got great burst damage, so if someone on your team can catch someone out of position with CC, you can jump right in and blow them up. You can also help your team get picks, by throwing a Parallel Convergence on someone that looks like they're about to get snagged by a teammate. This chain-CCing is like a mini-version of your follow-up initiation I talked about above.
- Lastly, if you're in a "protect-the-hyper-carry" comp ( Kog'Maw, Jinx, etc.) then you can both peel for the carry and do some damage yourself. These are usually similar to kite comps, since there's a lot of peeling and running around trying not to die.
During the Game: Depending on the course of the game, and how you and the rest of your team is doing, the roles I sketched out above can look more or less appealing.
- If you're super fed, split pushing starts to look like an even better idea, since you can probably 1v1 anyone on their team. This will cause them to commit disproportionate resources to stopping your split-push, giving the rest of your team a favorable teamfight. This is, of course, provided it was already an okay idea to split-push given your comp (e.g. your team is able to stall out while you push and draw the enemies away). If your team is all super underfed, the enemy team might say 'Hey, the one dangerous person isn't here--let's kill them all!' and win a fight 4v5. Split-pushing is risky, but can be the right choice when the stars align.
- If you're underfed, but someone else on your team is doing well, you may be more useful to your team as a source of peel for the fed person, rather than as a primary damage source. The first rule in LoL is "Protect the Carry", and you can't carry every game--recognizing who can lead you to victory (including yourself!) is key to winning consistently.
- Lastly, if there's one super-fed carry on their team, prioritize assassinating that carry. I don't care if you blow everything on it--removing a team's primary source of damage is what assassins do best, and succeeding at it can often singlehandedly win a teamfight. If you're only doing okay (e.g. the rest of your team can survive without you), it can even sometimes be worth it trading your life for something like a fed Kog'Maw or Azir. Don't throw your life away, but always be aware of how valuable you are to your team versus how valuable the enemy's carry is to their comp.
Shoutout to Riot's Champion Spotlight for Ekko, which I cribbed a couple of gifs from! That guy playing has no idea what he's doing, though.
Also, thank you for reading! I'm always looking for ways to make this guide better, so if you have feedback or criticism, I'd love to hear how I could make it better!
(Brag, as of 3/23/16):
(It was good while it lasted--thanks, two downvotes)
Also also, I really appreciate all the questions and feedback people have been giving to make this guide as great as it possibly can be! I think I'm about as done with this guide as I'll ever be (aside from keeping it updated with future patches), although who knows what I'll add down the road (maybe even pictures/gifs/videos!). If you have suggestions for anything I can add or change, please let me know--the feedback I've gotten so far has been incredibly useful (special shoutout to utopus who reviewed the guide and helped immensely)! You guys are the best, and I wish you luck with the Boy Who Shattered Time!