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Annie: Small girl, hard nukes
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I'm someone who enjoys playing AP champions a lot and even after playing nearly every AP champion Annie is still my favorite. I like to play very aggressive when I'm AP and it is so rewarding when you play Annie. An aggressive play style with Annie nets you a ton of kills, this combined with the fact that she snowballs very hard can lead to you absolutely dominating games. She is also easy to pick up and master mechanically making you focus less on playing your champ correctly and more on playing the game correctly.
Your passive, this is the only ability you need to master in order to master Annie. Pyromania works very simple: every spell you cast gives you a charge, once you have 5 charges your next offensive spell (your Molten Shield isn't an offensive spell) will stun your target('s).
When your in lane you should almost always have this up because without it you can't pressure your opponent. If you don't have this up your opponent can play aggressive against you which is not what you want; Annie is very squishy and most champions outrange her so you're harrased very easily.
Keeping Pyromania up during laning allows you to:
- Zone weaker opponents / play more aggressive
- Scare opponents out of harrasing you
- Make junglers think twice about ganking you
- Your last hitting under tower and you need to use spells.
- Your opponent is very passively and you need to use spells to get last hits.
Annie's standard single-target nuke, it deals a decent amount of damage, has a short cooldown and scales very well with AP. This spell also makes last hitting a breeze, because of the mana it refunds.
I level this spell second because Incinerate deals more damage.
Like all of Annie's this one is pretty straightforward; it's an AOE cone that deals alot of damage. Uses for include single target nuking, AOEing, AOE stunning when Summon: Tibbers is on CD and clearing minion waves really fast. Also when you pick this up at level 1 you can charge your stun in base which helps a lot if you get in a level 1 team fight.
I level this first because the damage of it is higher then Disintegrate.
A shield that adds some MR and armor, it's a pretty weak spell. Only use this to reduce some incoming damage or to charge Pyromania other then that it has no uses.
I level this last because it adds very little to annie.
Annie's ultimate; this deals huge AOE damage and summons a controllable bear that does constant AOE damage and can autoattack. Combined with your Pyromania this can stun an entire team and win you the game right there if used at the right moment.
The bear this summons is also great, you can control it by alt+clicking, you can use it for attacking your opponents, pushing towers, checking bushes, and blocking skillshots from opponents.
Disintegrate-> Summon: Tibbers-> Incinerate
Always use Disintegrate first when nuking single targets, if you start with Summon: Tibbers you have a chance to miss it. It is essential to follow up with Summon: Tibbers so you can get a few melee hits and aura ticks in from it.
Summon: Tibbers-> Incinerate-> Disintegrate
Or start with Incinerate depending on positioning, just make sure you use your AOE before using your disintigrate because it is easier to hit people while they are still stunned.
My personal favorites are:
Only spell that is a must have on Annie, it's almost impossible to make plays without it.
Flash allows you to:
- Initiate on single targets/teams
Essentially this is another nuke for Annie, this is not as mandatory as Flash in my opinion but it's a great spell to have nonetheless. Since your most likely the only AP champ on your team you'll probably have to take this.
Ignite allows you to:
Great for ganking early game and defending late game, I usually don't take this because your solo-top will usually take this. It is Also hard to communicate Teleport ganks in solo queue so keep this in mind.
Great if you want more mobility, Ghost allows you to gank, kite and innitiate like a boss. I personally don't like it because I prefer the extra damage from ignite and Annie doesn't have the consistent damage needed to make the most of this spell.
Take this instead of ignite if the opponent got like 6 hard CC's; you will need it to survive then. Don't think to yourself that you won't get hit by CC because you will be one way or the other.
Take this if no-one else in your team takes this, exhaust is just to good to not have in your team. Usually your tank/carry will take this because they get the most use out of it; but like I said exhaust is just to good to not have in your team.
If you take Teleport, Exhaust or Ghost be sure to pick up the corresponding mastery for it.
As for the remaining 9 points; I like to put them into utility for the increased movement speed and slightly lower flash CD. It is mostly user preference though; you can put 9 into defense taking magic resist and increased health. You can also redistribute your points in a different way in utility, taking improved blue pill and extra mana.
Riot designed the new masteries with user preference and diversity in mind, keep this in mind when picking masteries. Try out new things, have fun and you will find a set that suits your playstyle.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
The best marks on any AP champion by far, these are the only marks you want; they make you do a lot more damage throughout the entire game.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
I chose these marks because later in the game you want to be able to use your spells as often as possible and these runes allow you to do just that.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
These give you a bunch of AP late game, because of Annie's high AP ratio's I prefer these over Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration because she scales better with ap. I've never done the math for this but it just feels like I do more damage with these glyphs then with the magic pen at any stage in the game.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These allow you to seriously hurt you opponent in the early stages of the game. I really like these because they allow me to play very aggressive early on; even if my opponent can hurt me, I hurt them more.
These are runes you could use, again: personal preference:
Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power
Take these if you don't have any mana problems late game and you want to do more damage.
Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration
After playing a lot of Annie i just found that Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power is better at all stages in the game. But if you feel these suit you better feel free to pick them up.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Pick these if you want to do crazy damage early on, I personally prefer the scaling AP glyphs but feel free to try these out.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
These help immensely during the laning phase, you take a lot less damage when using these. You sacrifice a little bit in offence but especially against tough laning opponents these can be the key to wining your lane.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
I've never tried these because I can't afford them yet. From what I heard these are really good because they allow you to outrun your opponents at all times, making it easier to haras + escape.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
Never tried these either, I don't know how good these are because I've never done the math for how good Annie scales with them. Still I've seen people run these or at least 1 of these(with 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration) to penetrate the base 30 magic resist most champions have when you get Sorcerer's Shoes.
Greater Quintessence of Health
Pick these up if you are new to Annie or if you know you will be facing a really though lane. I personally only pick these up when I know I will be against a LeBlanc or another caster that can out burst me.
I consider DFG core on annie now because it is really cost effective now. However you still want to rush a deathcap first because without AP annie's spells won't do enough damage.
With just DFG you can 1 shot someone and then do very little damage in fights, with just deathcap you can 1 shot someone and still do huge chunks of damage to people. However getting a kage's lucky pick early will help you out in the long run so pick that up if you don't need the immediate power of deathcap.
After this just get items like void staff, abysall whatever you feel works best vs their team.
Partially outdated item builds.
Never ever have a set in stone item build in mind when entering a game. The items you buy during a game are what make or break your champion; due to the dynamic nature of this game you always need to be able to switch up your item build on the fly. Being dynamic in your item build allows you to survive your lane if you are getting beaten by picking up that extra Doran's Ring for extra survivability or completly crush an already weak opponent by rushing a Rabadon's Deathcap.
That said being dynamic is something that is hard to explain and is best learned by playing a lot of games. What I will give you is 2 item builds and it's up to you to learn how to deviate from them.
Quick Deathcap build
This is the build I go most of the games, I focus on getting an early deathcap because with deathcap your burst is HUGE. After deathcap I go either defensive items or more damage depending on how the game is going.
Boots+3x Health Potion
I take boots because the extra mobility lets you haras easier and makes you more mobile, it also allows you to take 3 health pots which lets you stay in lane for a long time.
2x Doran's Ring
This gives you incredible power in lane; 200 health, 30 AP and 10mp5 is nothing to laugh at this early in the game. Always pick up 2-3 health pots and 1-2 wards if you can afford it to sustain yourself and prevent ganks.
Pre-Mid game goals:
Rabadon's Deathcap+ Sorcerer's Shoes
You can either go straight for deathcap if you are doing really well or pick up sorc boots if you need the extra mobility in lane. I always try to have both deathcap and sorc boots finished before the laning phase ends.
Quick Rod of Ages build
Not as strong as the Rabadon's Deathcap build, however this build is great when you're laning against a very strong champion like Brand, LeBlanc or Orianna because the catalyst helps you sustain and the early RoA gives you the extra health you need to survive.
Boots+3x Health Potion
Same reasoning as with the other build: more mobility and you can stay longer in lane thanks to the 3 pots.
catalyst the protector
You should go back as soon as you have the money for your catalyst. Once you have catalyst you should be able to sustain yourself in lane pretty well. But play careful nonetheless because someone like Brand can still burst you if you're 3/4 health.
Pre-Mid game goals:
Rod of Ages+ Sorcerer's Shoes+ Rabadon's Deathcap
Your RoA should has priority because you want to have it fully charged as fast as possible. After RoA get your sorc boots and unless you need a lot of survivability get Rabadon's Deathcap.
A note on tenacity:
Mercury's Treads/ Moonflair Spellblade
Tenacity is awesome, when facing teams that have a lot of CC these can give you that slight edge needed to win. I would only take merc's if you need to shut down someone in lane, since the magic resist helps a lot early game. I would pick up Moonflair Spellblade when I know that I can win my lane but I'm afraid of the amount of CC on the opposing team, I'd pick this up after my deathcap.
Mid game goals:
Void Staff/ Banshee's Veil
You should always get these 2 items before the end of the game, void staff's damage is just to good and banshee's is the best survivability item for ap carry's. The order in which you get them differs on a game by game basis.
Void staff you should build when your team needs the extra damage or if their team is getting mass magic resist.
Banshee's I almost always get first because of the survivability it provides and since you are rushing deathcap first most of the time you are really squishy.
Late game goals:
Zhonya's Hourglass/ Guardian Angel/ Abyssal Mask
A game usually never gets to the point where you will be able to get these items, if you do get to this point it is however very important to decide what to get, because the final item you get might make or break the game.
Zhonya's I usually get if I get focused a lot because I'm fed, Banshee's can't save you from people diving you with Zhonya's you will while also giving you a ton of AP.
Guardian angel is also a good choice when you get focused a lot and you don't need any more damage items. Or you can take it as a final item when you know that, that last teamfight will decide the end of the game.
You might want to get Abyssal scepter instead of banshee's sometimes if your not that afraid of getting focused, most of the time banshee's is the better choice though. You should also only get this item when you have more AP champs on your team.
Always take mid lane on Annie, you can't control top lane as easy because you lack mobility and sustain. Playing Annie in a sidelane is viable but your team is much better of putting an support+ ad carry in bot lane.
Annie's early game should consist of the following in this order of importance:
- Dragon control
- Zoning opponent/ Harasing
- Getting kills
Farming is such an important part of LoL and a lot of people don't get that, 15 creep kills is worth a champion kill so don't underestimate it. You can go for a kill if you're confident you can get it or if your jungler is ganking but don't spend all your time trying to get kills because you will fall behind in farm.
Zoning is only possible in some occasions but if you get the chance: do it.
Don't bother with harasing alot if your opponent picked a strong sustain champ against you like Warwick; you're just wasting mana that way. The best way to haras is to use Disintegrate+ Incinerate when you have your stun up and your opponent comes into range.
Getting kills has the lowest priority during laning, this is to emphasize how important farming is. If you have the possibility to kill someone at half life with a quick flash + stun combo by all means go ahead. Just don't run around all laning phase trying to haras/kill your opponent like a maniac because you will surely attract their jungler and/or miss out on tons of farm. It goes without saying that if your jungler shows up to gank you should stop farming an try to go for the kill.
Mid+late game consist out of grabbing farm when possible, securing team objectives and sticking together with your team. Annie doesn't do anything well besides being an absolute beast in teamfights so don't even consider things like split pushing.
When you get into teamfights there are 2 things you need to do:
CC the right target(s)
This has the highest priority in teamfights, don't go in blindly blowing up their AD carry while your team gets torn to shreds because the remaining 4 opponents pull of a perfect chain CC. If you are capable of stunning your opponents Brand out of position, or 1 shot that Sona before she ults your entire team your doing much more good then just tunneling their AD carry. Also because of the stun potential of Summon: Tibbers Annie is a great initiator: if you get the chance to stun a few people that are out of position so your team can follow up on them then do it.
Blow up their highest source of damage
90% of the time going straight for your opponents AD carry and taking him out of the fight is the right thing to do. Just be aware that CCing the right target at the right time has higher priority.
Other then this the only thing you need to do is just use your spells whenever they are on cooldown inflicting as much damage as possible while staying alive.
Feel free to vote and leave a comment; all feedback is much appreciated and I will take it to heart.
Special thanks to:
Jhoijhoi's guide on making a guide this helped me alot to make this guide.
All the voters and commenters.
[8/21/11] After publishing this way to early by accident and a lot of delays I finally have a decent format. I'll be doing a lot of editing when I come back from vacation but at least this version is functional.
[8/23/11] Fixed some formatting and stuff I'll leave the guide like this until I get some actual comments :P
[3-5-2012]Haven't played Annie in a loooong time, I feel there are alot of ap's that outshine her at this point even after her recent "buff". I'll just leave this guide how it is now.