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Anivia - Ice Ice Baby [In-Depth]
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In this guide I am going to explain you everything about Anivia, a.k.a. BIRD. Yes, bird is the word. NOT YOU Swain.
Please read the full guide. Nothing on a champion as Anivia is self explanatory, and thus reading only the cheat sheet is like ... nothing.
Finally I would like to point out that I am not a native English speaker so I will have made errors from time to time. I thank you in advance for keeping this in mind.
Anyway, let's get started!
But wait...! with the guides name, this is very appropriate:
These are my stats with Anivia, in both S2 & S3. I am gold rated in both of these seasons. (1513 and 1535 rating) and even hit platinum as of the 25th of April!
If you still feel the need to check on me, you can find my LoLKing profile here:
I also try to stream regularly, check it out :)
CS: Creep Score, the amount of minions you have farmed. One creep is around 20 gold.
AP: Ability Power -> magic damage
AD: Attack Damage -> physical damage
MR: Magic Resist
CD(R): Cool Down (Reduction)
CC: Crowd Control (Silences, stuns, suppresses et cetera)
AoE: Area of Effect -> Multiple target spells
DPS: Damage per second
+ Very unique champion
+ Game changing
+ Super high AP-ratio's
+ Amazing late-game scaling
+ Easy farming with Glacial Storm
- Hard to master
- Game changing, this can backfire
- Very mana hungry / blue dependant
- Early game can be tough
- Slow auto-attack animations / hard last-hitting early game
|This removes one third of the enemy magic resist early game; this is a huge chunk of damage-increase, and should never be left out.|
|Flat magic resist has been proven to be the best by many pro-players and they really help your early game survivability. You can trade more effectively and more easily win one-versus-one fights, thus I recommend these in your setup.|
|To keep up some damage early game, we use flat AP quintessence's.This gives you damage and in combination with your other runes this will give you the perfect early-game balance you need.|
Other Viable Choices
|While I mention to prefer scaling seals, when your goal is to be as aggressive as possible early on (when facing a champion that needs to be beaten BEFORE level 6), flat mana regeneration is the better of the two.|
|These are especially useful when fighting an AD-mid, because you start with such a painful amount of armor. These will give you the amount of armor that you need to survive that early game.|
|I mention I prefer flat magic resist instead of these, but when you know you are not facing an AP-mid, it might be more useful to use flat AP.|
|These are mainly useful when you want to pack as much utility as you possibly can. Since Anivia is painfully slow, these help you catch up, in order to e.g. place a perfect Crystallize.|
My standard page:
Usually I go for 21-0-9 with mana(regeneration) in utility and improved ignite in offense. This is the page that scales best into your late game, but not leaving out the stuff that keeps you rollin' early game.
A few other plausible pages are:
Use this when you are painfully countered and need the extra health, magic resist and health regen in order not to get zoned too hard. Make sure to keep the point in Arcane Knowledge because that is a must-have. The downside of this is the lack of extra mana regen and damage. I think this page is most useful when facing an ad-bruiser mid
My preferred spells:
|This is a must-have on Anivia. You are slow as **** and without this, escaping is nearly impossible. This is your only reliable escape-mechanism. This spell is even better because it allows you to jump over your own 'misplaced' Crystallize. (Which I hope never happens!)|
|Great to finish off low-health enemies, when you have just used your full combo. This is also useful to stop enemies regenerating huge amounts of health (like Dr. Mundo or Swain). Also it adds 5 AP and AD when on cooldown (with your masteries).|
Other Viable Choices:
Skilling priority: -> -> ->
One side note: you can decide to take your wall at level 8 instead of 4, and take an extra point in Flash Frost at level 4 for that little bit of extra damage.
The great importance of this is, that when you position correctly, you are nearly impossible to kill. First they have to kill a 2.5k hp Anivia (while your allies should be killing them) and then your egg; this also works great for baiting tower dives early game.
Remember that you still die very quickly because you are naturally squishy, and you can get moved by e.g. Blitzcrank Rocket Grab.
This is your opening to any attempt to harass or kill pre-6. This is a very slow travelling skillshot-nuke that stuns everyone at the end of the range or when activated again. The stunning range should be imagined as big as your champions hit-box.
It also adds the chilling debuff.
The catch with this is that the damage gets doubled when you let it both fly over your enemy and then let it explode, to get the 1huge damage. Usually hitting the stun should also be the sign to throw your Frostbite, because then you will also get the double damage on this.
You should not use this to farm with, as it has a decently long cooldown and high mana costs. What the easiest way is to hit this, I will go over in the combo and trading sections.
I never max this first, because it is hard to hit, even once you hit you are not sure about the double damage.
A few tips on how to use this spell more effectively:
- Use it on enemies going for a last hit, this is usually very predictable (when your minions are low...) and they usually react too late to dodge.
- When playing against a champion with good evasive maneuvers, wait until they have them on cool-down, because otherwise they will dodge and counterattack you. In order to harass, you can always use your ultimate. (Especially important versus Katarina or Fizz)
- When the enemy tries to harass you, throw this in their path and follow up with Frostbite. This makes for extremely effective trading.
This skill might be the most iuseful spell you can have in the game. An Anivia player can never claim to have mastered her without making great use of this wall. If you watch the Froggen stream when he plays Anivia, you can see how great use he makes of this. He even turned a 20k-down game against Moscow 5 single handed by splitting the team with an amazing wall. I hope I have stressed enough how important this is.
The different uses:
- Scout bushes when you fear a gank. Crystallize gives vision of a specific part in the Fog of War
- Trap people in specific spots; for example in the baron or dragon pit.
- Force people into the direction you want them to by blocking off a specific part, but leaving a gap open.
- Block off whole paths in the jungle, in order to stop enemies from escaping
- Split the enemy team in two by e.g. closing jungle entrances.
- Allow better sieging / turtling (further explanation in the special chapters)
A few final notes on this will be in the killing and combo sections.
The wall faces perpendicular to where you are looking at with the champion itself, so sometimes you have to make weird angles to make the wall fit where you want it.
Plain and simple:
This is your personal single-target nuke. You should always use this in combination with the chilling effect to get a massive 350+(100% of your ap) damage nuke. As this travels only very slowly, you can cast your ultimate after using this and still get that double damage.
In contradiction to Flash Frost, you can use this spell to last hit whenever it isn't possible with regular auto attacks, but obviously do not overdo it.
Your personal low cooldown ultimate. The ap ratio is not great, but as it deals damage per second the damage it does will increase greatly over time.
Use this to farm (whenever you have enough sustain/blue buff), harass (follow it up with your Frostbite) or just to do great damage on the whole enemy team.
Remember that this uses so much mana over time, that you do need to use it with care (unless you have blue buff). A few more notes about
Always buy wards whenever you have any change
The faery charm start generally allows you to really rush your Tear of the Goddess and get on with stacking as quickly as possible. Also, the early ward and potions allow you for some extra sustain and safety while in lane.
sight wardsight ward
On your first buy, you should most certainly have your Tear of the Goddess ready and some health. You can stack the tear very easily with your ultimate, which is really awesome. Tear of the Goddess is such an awesome item because it stacks really well (each three seconds you have your ultimate on, you get a stack) and when upgraded, it gives ability power based on your mana - which proves a good motivation to build lots of mana and just have tons of ability power.
End of lane phase
Always make sure to grab Sorcerer's Shoes because this takes a huge bite out of the enemy magic resist. Also, Anivia is painfully slow so this solves a slight bit of your problems. The Rod of Ages should be your first major item, it is a great all-round item because it gives a bit of everything you need. It is also important to get this as quickly as you possibly can, because the earlier you get it, the faster you have the maximum amount of stacks on its passive.
In mid game you should go for as much ability power as soon as possible and that is why you get the Rabadon's Deathcap. For any ap-carry this item is a must-buy and this increases your damage greatly. This item is even better when you take into consideration that, if you play her well enough, her main skills have a 1:1 ap ratio. Also, at this point into the game (up and around the 30 minute mark) you should have your tear fully stacked, and ready to upgrade it. Once upgraded, this item gives massive amount of AP and mana, and a cool defensive passive.
End game main items/viable items
For end game there is no general line to build, however, there are a few items I generally choose from.
The Zhonya's Hourglass is a great boost for your ability power and adds an astonishing 156 ability power (with rabadon's passive).
The Liandry's Anguish is a really awesome item because it does damage based on the enemy (current) health, and since health stacking is the current meta, this is the best way to destroy tanks in season 3. Even better, is that when your enemy's movement is impaired (slowed, stunned, snared etc), they take double damage - this works with your ult slow. So you will be applying double damage stacks all the way.
Also viable items throughout the build:
The Void Staff used to be my way-to-go item all along season two, but since it has been slightly nerfed, I don't really think you really need it, unless the enemy stacks real heavy magic resist. Replace Liandry's with this if you want this item
A Warmog's Armor is cool when you really need to get tanky. Essentially you get twice the 1000 hp because of your Rebirth, so you will become extremely hard to kill. Replace Zhonya's with this if you want this item
The Athene's Unholy Grail is a bit more of a defensive item, it can give you some early game magic resist which helps in a difficult lane. Also, the extra mana regen and cooldown reduction is sweet. Replace Tear with this if you want this
Mercury's Treads can be used when facing heavy cc, just keep in mind that you will end up with very little magic penetration if you don't combine this with a void staff.
Abyssal Mask is another great tool when facing a difficult lane, for when you think you need to go a bit more defensive. Generally replace Rabadon's with this, but sell it later on when you need deathcap more
Will of the Ancients is cool for any double-ap composition, where both champions benefit from this item. Otherwise, its a bit meh...
I don't think Anivia needs mana regen in any way - I play her without Chalice, mana regen runes and mana regen masteries. I do appreciate blue buffs ;)
So here is the catch. While obviously everybody appreciates blue, you can never be guaranteed of having it all the time you need it. When you are losing the game, being pushed back to your towers, you cannot sustain without these items (unless you want to recall every minute, and to be unable to teamfight any well).
I can easily name a few scenario's where you have no blue buff where you DO need it:
- You have just died but an even more important fight is coming up... OUCH!
- You are being pressured to the towers and you need to keep killing waves quickly, but you just run out of blue buff and cannot go out because of the enemy dominance... OUCH!
- The enemy sees your buff has ran out and decides to force a baron fight... OUCH!
In my opinion the Archangel's Staff is no must-have. While LATE GAME it is the single best item to solve all your mana problems, it does take out a bit of your early game potential because you need to stack this baby. After the changes to the way this item stacks, it is my way to go, but it definitely is not a must-buy.
When you decide to leave this item out, you do get the awesome Athene's Unholy Grail passive, giving you 12% of your mana back on a kill.
And finally a short correction: you get around 2.3k mana with this build since the passive from the Rod of Ages is not included within the cheat-sheet.
How does stacking of the Tear of the Goddess work?
So this is the thing that most people (myself included for a long time) did not understand properly, this is how it works:
- You get 3 mana for each spell that you cast, but this has a short cooldown. (so do not use all your skills simultaneously because that does not work)
- You get stacks for every time you leave your ultimate on and the cooldown is reset on your tear.
As of recently, these changes (your ultimated used not to stack Tear as well as it does now) allow us to go tear and get crazy amounts of mana (:
Try hitting your stun from time to time. Once you have succeeded in hitting it, and you feel you are close enough, throw down Frostbite. This is the most basic play of Anivia.
Once you feel your enemy is getting low and still not keeping enough distance to you, you should start making plays. The first step should be to place your wall, just so that there will be one way back that is clearly shorter than the other. Once your enemy clicks back, he will go one clear path along your wall and now you throw your Flash Frost down that path. Usually he will not be able to dodge it, as the only way back is to get closer to you. Finish it off with Frostbite and if needed Ignite.
This tactic works exceptionally well in any allied ganks, when walking back is nowhere near an option.
A short video of this:
Another fairly basic combo. Here you just throw down Glacial Storm, the slow will allow you to catch up and hit your Frostbite aswell.
You can also do it a bit more stealthy, as Frostbite has a short travel time, you can cast that first and still get the double damage. However, to cast frostbite you usually will need the slow first as it has only very short range. In order to do this, I recommend smart-casting your ultimate.
Not much difference with the pre-6 combo, but the main difference is that you are going to use Glacial Storm in one of the two different ways; you can use it to create a zone where the enemy must want to stay away from, and then throw Flash Frost in the other direction, OR you can use it to make Flash Frost an easier hit.
Farming can be one of the most difficult things with Anivia. There is not really a trick for this. A few general tips I can give you are the following:
- Have a good look at which enemy minions are being attacked and how fast their health is being drained. Try to get a good view on this and try to calculate half a second ahead when last-hitting. This is because of the slow animations.
- When last hitting under the turret: melee minions take 2 turret hits and 1 auto attack, mage minions 1 turret hit and 2 basic attacks (only one if there are allied minions attacking)
- Once you hit level 6 and get blue (which should usually be around the same time), you can first quickly clear the minion wave and then eventually take (perhaps even enemy-) wraiths or wolves. When using your Glacial Storm, always make sure to try to get the last hits with auto attacks so there is less risk that they are getting killed by your own minions
Generally speaking you should aim to have around 100 farm after 15 minutes, if you are doing really well, you can hit it at the 10 minute mark.
This is a very important aspect of laning, it does not matter which champion you play. Trading effectively can make your game. On Anivia, you can try to poke with auto attacks since she has 600 base range, whenever your enemy comes in range. One or two attacks are usually enough to inflict 100 damage. If you do this often enough (once in a lifetime does not help!), you will be pushing your enemy out of his lane in a fairly short time.
Another trick is when you see your opponent coming in for a last hit, to throw your Flash Frost right in his path. Usually they will not be able to respond to this, giving you a great opportunity to stun him and hit your Frostbite.
A final thing is to attack once you know your enemy has cooldown on his spells. For example, when Brand has just used his Pillar of Flame, you know you will have a few seconds before it comes back. In that time you can effectively poke him, because you know he will have less power to trade.
Obviously these things work both ways. You should always be weary of your enemy doing the same to you.
This is obviously very important on any champion. You can do this in lane, but also by ganking other lanes. This is a very important role as mid champion; ganking other lanes and giving you and them the advantage. In the video I head down bot because I see the enemy jungler getting low. I easily pick up the kill and head down to dive them. Nothing difficult, but very effective.
Result? 3 kills for 0 deaths. I finished the game going 21-0-9 because from that moment I could just snowball the lane.
You can also counter the enemy mid ganking. For this there are two options. When he is chasing your team, have them turn around suddenly and pick up the kills, OR, when you feel you are stronger, predict the way he walks back (past dragon/baron or one of the jungle paths behind these camps) and lie in wait.
First of all, I have mentioned this quite a few times, but warding is the solution to all of your problems. For a mid champion, the places to ward are the following (As blue team, the purple team wards exactly the same jungle entrances, just on the other side):
Pay attention to the fact that this only covers the ways the jungler could cross. It is your own team's responsibility to ward the other lanes/dragon/baron as well.
When they DO take your by surprise, there are a few things you can do:
- Stun one of your enemies, wall in their face, run back. This is when you feel you can easily walk off without getting cc'ed and bursted down.
- Flash out. This is when your enemy gets too close to you and you fear certain death. When doing this, remember to first place your Crystallize in front of you and then flash over. You can also place it behind you if you have enough space.
- Once you feel you are dead for sure, fight! Anivia has a great amount of burst and this can result in a kill.
Where Anivia comes in, is the fact that she is one of the best Sieger/turtler in the whole game, since you can have constant AoE damage, with the only restriction being your mana. You can also stop enemies from advancing with strategically placed walls, or zone them from specific parts in order to advance yourself.
The best example I could possibly give, is the following game between two professional teams, CLG.EU and M5.
- Keep unpushing waves with your ultimate. If the enemy tries to force the fight on the tower, place a wall to make sure they cannot advance.
- Never go out of your base too far when you are not 100% sure about the enemy location. Stay grouped because otherwise your enemy will force a fight onto them.
- Sometimes you have to let the outer and inner turrets get destroyed, because they might flank you.
- When sieging, you can place your wall next to the enemy tower to prevent them from attacking you while you are taking it down.
First of all,
When and how to initiate a teamfight?
Only commit to a fight when you are sure about being able to win the fight. While that might be obvious, it is harder than it looks like.
First of all, never fight, or even get close to your enemy when they enemy has the numeric advantage (take global ultimates or teleport into account), because that can end horribly. Second, do not fight when you are behind, no matter the circumstances.
Now how to initiate fights? Now with Anivia, you can easily engage a fight on your own. Do this by
A: Close the enemy escapes with a well-placed Crystallize.
B: Catch someone off-guard with Flash Frost.
Obviously you can always let your other team mates engage :)
Positioning is key
So, yes. Positioning is key for Anivia. You cannot just throw down your burst and then die, because you deal lots of DPS and it would be a waste. Also, when you get egged, when you are behind your frontline, it is a lot easier to survive then when you are the frontline yourself.
Never go in front of your (off-)tanks. Sometimes (when the enemy has a lot of assassins) you do not even want to be near them until the fight has really begun.
After initiating you want to follow up with your main combo (Q-R-E). Try to time your skills so, that you can always get the double damage on your E whenever it is ready.
When you have just used all you skills and have them on cooldown, back off shortly so you will not get caught with your pants down.
But seriously now,
in this list I hope to give you all possible matchups for Anivia in mid. Please keep in mind that these only tell you how difficult or easy a lane can be. Obviously you are going to have a hard time versus a 2000 elo player, no matter what he plays. But this can help you to give an indication when to pick Anivia or not.
Ahri can be a very tough mid when you let her the initiative. She can easily use Spirit Rush to e.g. dodge walls or possibly other skill shots aimed at her. However, generally she is unable to stop you from farming or harass you out of your lane. The best thing you can do here, is to stay defensive and try to keep poking whenever possible, but never go for an all-out fight. In teamfights you should try to focus others while she is using spirit rush. Once that is on cooldown, you are free to go. (but otherwise you will waste your skills on someone that dodges everything)
I tend to have little trouble with Akali. The catch is to keep the initiative and try to harass as much as possible. Since Akali has to get into close range for last-hits, you should have fairly easy hits on Flash Frost. Also you can make great use of your amazing range on basic attacks. Once she is 6, make sure to always have your Flash Frost ready to use, since when she bumps onto you, you can counterattack with a good stun. So only use Frostbite and Glacial Storm to harass with.
Annie is not such a hard matchup, but a very dangerous one. The catch is that when she gets the initiative on you, she can egg you within half a second (QWER -> dead). You can easily beat her if you keep poking her constantly so she cannot take that initiative. A huge addition to this lane can be Mercury's Treads to counter her stun (she needs it for any kill)
I never have had ANY problems with Brand in lane, and I really mean never! While his burst and range are great, he is extremely squishy and vulnerable to poking and pushing since he is a pretty bad farmer and has little sustain. Remember that once he hits you with one of his spells, you should back off very quickly because once he gets a second skill onto you, you are stunned and he can easily burst you into egg. In late game you beat him just as well, he cannot burst you after you get into egg form.
Cassiopeia is possibly a very dangerous target. Her harass is outstanding and has huge sustained damage. Early game all you can do is hang back and hope to farm well, because in 1v1 she beats you, even with egg on. Late game you can make a comeback, where she is very squishy and has fairly limited range on her ultimate. Try to abuse this range to win fights.
I feel like Diana is the hardest matchup I have had yet. The thing is that she has such huge burst, mobility and still good sustain. Do not try to fight her at any cost after level 6, because you have literally 0(zero) chance of winning that. Late game you can make a comeback, but you will need to build to survive her burst. Try not to let her roam by pushing the waves with your ultimate.
I decided to add Evelynn since she is recently seen a lot mid, and this is a bit complicated: early game you beat her without any problems, but her roaming can give you and your team a very hard time. A side problem is that you cannot follow her everywhere because you need the mana too badly. The best thing is to warn your team of this and when you see her leave, take all the farm you possibly can away from her by pushing the wave into the tower.
Fizz is the second hard counter to Anivia, with Diana. He too is very mobile, has high burst and is not too squishy. Same rules apply with him as with Diana: Try to poke a bit with basic attacks and build to sustain that burst. Try to out farm him and make sure he cannot roam too much by pushing the wave with your ultimate.
Galio is more annoying than really strong. Galio is in fact an early/mid-game champion so if you again build to survive his ultimate and then get enough damage to even kill him, its okay. Important thing in this matchup is Mercury's Treads, since his ultimate deals damage after the FULL 2 seconds, so you can get taunted without taking any damage in the end. Try to keep at least equal in farm (he farms like a beast...) and you are settled for late game!
I have never really played against Heimerdinger in a game, but I can imagine that you can do fairly decent with enough sustain (buy Will of the Ancients in this matchup) by just healing his poke and killing his turrets. Make sure to place your ultimate on his turrets to get rid of them very easily. Also, keep the cooldown of these turrets in mind: if he has just placed both, you have around 20 seconds cooldown on them.
Karthus will never be a problem for an Anivia player because you just have too much burst, while still keeping up in sustained damage. In lane you can just go for any all-out fight because you should have more damage in early game.
Late game you can still burst him very easily because he needs to come close to you for maximum damage output (good use of Crystallize helps a lot here) and that is where you can beat him.
Katarina can be one of the most annoying champions to play against as Anivia. While you have good crowd-control, you can never be certain that it will hit to interrupt her ultimate. Furthermore she can be very dominant in lane, and that can be really hard.
Your best shot is to hang back and try to follow her when she roams. Exhaust is a good pick for you and your team if you have only very little CC. Use it on her ultimate to shut her down.
Kassadin is considered to be an anti-mage and that is why he can be dangerous for you. Important to this is to never let him get dominant in lane, so try to zone or even kill him before he gets level 6.
Important in this lane, is to buy Mercury's Treads so his silence is not worth as much to you. When he tries to burst you, react with your full combo and you should be okay. Make sure to ward both sides of the river to counter his roaming.
A Kennen - Anivia matchup can easily work both ways, but I feel like Anivia has the edge here. While his all-out damage and poke are better than yours, you with a few good executed combo's you can start dominating your lane very easily.
Very important is to always stay behind your minions and to back off when you have stacks, because otherwise you can let him engage onto you easily.
While LeBlanc 'officially' counters Anivia, I feel like she does not have to be such a problem when you build to counter her. Your build should include an Abyssal Mask and Mercury's Treads and when you do, you should be fine for a while.
In lane you can hang back and farm with your ultimate, but again ward both sides of the river to counter her ganks.
Lux can be terribly annoying because of her range. She can just hang back and annoy you with her way better range. Early game you stand little chance versus this, BUT you can easily outfarm her (lux is a weak farmer) and while roaming you can usually be more effective than she is because of Crystallize. Also in late game you are usually capable of beating her, so just be careful in lane-phase.
To be completely honest I have never played against this dude with Anivia, but I can feel he can be very annoying. One thing that I am sure of, is that you can completely shut him down with purchase of a Quicksilver Sash.
Mordekaiser already starts with being a total pain-in-the-neck at level 3, because he just pushes so awfully. When he gets any spellvamp he will become practically unkillable for you alone.
There is, however, one thing that can work very well in your advantage. Since he is completely stuck in melee range AND pushing that hard, ganks from your jungler are usually great for you because he just dies.
I feel like Morgana is not such a great counter on Anivia. While she can survive your stun with her Black Shield, it has too long cooldown to keep her safe at all times. She only gets really annoying when she can hit her Dark Binding, so keeping good vision on her and yourself (warding helps!) should free you of any troubles.
The danger with the Morgana matchup is when she starts roaming. You must perserve some mana to be ready to follow, because her CC is just astonishing when she can get it onto any of your allies and will usually end up in a death or two... or three...
Orianna is my preferred pick when playing against Anivia. This is because she can just be so dominant in lane when she gets level 2. She can zone you away from CS by just strategically placing her ball near you, and when she hits it, the poke is just amazing.
Again, I feel like a few good ganks can completely shut her down and when you get a bit ahead, you should not have too much trouble in bringing your lane home.
Also, when her Command: Attack is on cooldown, you can have a few seconds to counter all her attacks because she really needs that skill for anything.
2nd of August 2012: wrote a few parts I hadn't finished yet.
27th of September 2012: Reworking some major parts of the guide: will be finished by the end of this momth
16th of March 2013: Skipped a few minor reworks out here. As of now, I finally took the time to rewrite big parts of this guide, and add in new masteries/items.