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Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion

Middle AP Shyvana Mid: Dracarys Simulator

Middle AP Shyvana Mid: Dracarys Simulator

Updated on March 19, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Veralion Build Guide By Veralion 281 35 1,038,584 Views 31 Comments
281 35 1,038,584 Views 31 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Veralion Shyvana Build Guide By Veralion Updated on March 19, 2023
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Runes: Standard page

1 2
First Strike
Magical Footwear
Minion Dematerializer
Cosmic Insight

Second Wind

+8 ability haste
+6 Armor
+8 Magic Resist


1 2
The go-to
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

AP Shyvana Mid: Dracarys Simulator

By Veralion

Drem Yol Lok. Greetings.

I go by Veralion and I’ve played Shyvana obsessively since she was released back in Season 2. I’ve played many thousands of games on her over the years and currently have over 5 million mastery points on her between my two accounts (Veralion and RAWRARAWRAWRRAWR). I pioneered Shyvana mid using Runic Echoes and Smite back in seasons 9 and 10, eventually peaking in Diamond 1, ladder rank ~4000. Not bad for a bit of off-meta homebrew. It worked, and it worked well, and so I first wrote this guide to spread the word. I genuinely loved my build and the game.

Then Riot took it away from me. Funnel Master Yi became popular and several rounds of funnel nerfs completely destroyed Smite mid. I found myself facing two impossible challenges: a lack of sustain without chicken Smite, and a lack of wave control without the Runic Echoes proc.

It was over. I was forced to jungle for a few years and was not particularly happy about it. Playing jungle in this game is basically scapegoat simulator, starring you. You have 4 idiots who all have main character syndrome and no concept of wave management screaming for ganks from a champion that is useless until level 6. It's miserable and I hate it.

Season 13 is a whole new level of misery, though. Riot Games, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to ruin jungle again. XP and gold was substantially nerfed, bringing back low-econ perma-gank meta, everyone's favorite. Jungle Shyvana, as you might expect, is seriously struggling with a 46% winrate in skilled play.

So, I gave mid another look-see. And what do you know? I'm excited to say that both problems have now been solved! The durability patch made surviving lane phase possible again, and the buff to Flame Breath's AP ratio in patch 12.19 indeed fully makes up for our lost proc. I climbed back up to Diamond quite smoothly with a 55% winrate and can easily see taking it up to Masters. Shyvana mid is back and I couldn't be happier!

AP Shyvana is an extremely fun to play artillery mage who scales like a monster and excels at late-game teamfighting and objective pressure. Though extremely weak in the early game with limited playmaking potential, with lane experience and farm she can completely dominate a game if she isn't immediately shut down and kept under control. There is very real power here just waiting to be unleashed. Executed properly, you can destroy entire teams with one perfectly placed Flame Breath.

So read on, fellow dragon, and learn well the art of flame!

+ Capable of very early 100-0 burst potential through Dragon's Descent
+ Manaless, can stay on the map indefinitely
+ Very high base health regeneration, can outlast early mana pools
+ Absolutely absurd roams, converts winning lanes into kills risk-free
+ Unbelievably fast with AP, Burnout scales to over 100% bonus MS
+ Extremely strong, safe siege with empowered Flame Breath
+ Insane structure damage through AP scaling and Twin Bite
+ Significant splitpush and backdoor threat
+ Can stop enemy pushes safely by nuking the creep wave from afar
+ Snowballs LUDICROUSLY hard and is downright unfair if significantly ahead
+ Dark horse effect (Particularly regarding roams)
+ Is a motherf***ing dragon.
- Pathetic levels 1-5, easily abused and zoned by several matchups
- Complete lack of early priority, cannot defend early invades
- Reliant on Dragon's Descent availability to meaningfully contribute to fights
- Very matchup and composition dependent (Need CC and squishy targets)
- Extremely weak to MR stacking, tanks, and bruisers.
- Hard countered by Banshee's Veil, Spellshields, and other anti-projectile abilities
- Almost useless if behind, brings damage to the team and nothing else
- Off-meta pick gives psychotic teammates an easy scapegoat and excuse to give up.
When to pick AP Shyvana Mid
So, those are some pretty feast-or-famine strengths and weaknesses. Unless you are as obsessed with dragons as I am, you're probably not going to want to pull out the Shyvana mid in every single game. You're looking for 5 main things in the draft to set you up to burn villages and kidnap princes (such as Jarvan IV). If you check 3 or more of these boxes, I'd say you've got the green light.

1. Your composition: strong front line, reliable initiation, AoE CC, reset mechanics

Since you're going to be very squishy and Flame Breath is a slow and highly telegraphed ability, you really love anything on your team that can reliably initiate and lockdown priority targets to give you a strong setup. Stuff like Malphite, Sion, Amumu, Rakan, that sort of thing. The more CC the better; if the initial hit doesn't outright kill their carries, being forced to stay put in the flame patch for a few seconds will. Later on, you'll be doing so much damage to so many enemies at once that you can set up a teammate with a reset like Tristana, Kha'Zix, Pyke, and Darius to go to town and clean house before they know what hit them.

Look at your damage profile, too. No more than one other teammate should do a lot of magic damage. Success becomes much harder when every enemy builds Maw of Malmortius or Wit's End second.

2. Enemy composition: As squishy as possible

You want to be shooting soft, squishy, immobile champions who can’t stand up to your firepower. While a single hit will take a carry out of the fight, you have very little in the way of sustained damage for beefy targets. A bruiser or tank will shrug off your one big chunk and proceed to make life very difficult for you if your team can't cover that weakness. If there are 3 or more very tanky bois on the enemy team (for example Dr. Mundo top, who is your actual worst nightmare, Sejuani jungle, Alistar support), consider building Demonic Embrace over Rabadon's Deathcap or outright dodging the game.

3. A good lane matchup

For mid, your matchup is even more important than team comp. Burst mages are exceptionally good matchups. These champions were dumpstered on by the durability patch and you will have little difficulty outlasting their mana pools. Veigar, LeBlanc, and Syndra are free lanes. All-in opportunities are plentiful.

Certain control mages that have spells jukeable with Burnout are also good. Lux, Anivia, and especially Malzahar are examples of these. They will also be easy to roast up.

Many popular fighters and assassins can be farmed into, but are too dangerous to challenge without help. They'll need to play badly to give you an opening. Yasuo, Yone, Akali, Zed, and Irelia come to mind. You may consider these neutral matchups. Look to shove and roam, or ult in place and poke to keep them too low to risk a fight.

Don’t pick her into famously abusive mids or things which have a similarly bad early game but outscale you. The very worst lanes include Kassadin, Ziggs, Rumble, Ahri, Jayce, and aggressive Orianna builds. These champions cannot easily be caught, do a stupid amount of harass, and will deny you more than you can afford to lose. Some of them are so obnoxious that the only winning move is not to play. Remember that dodging is an extremely powerful tool in your kit. Thankfully, many of these are not common.

I've got pages of notes on how to handle every common matchup under the threats section above.

4. An aggressive, unfair jungler

You also really want a strong early-game ganker in the jungle. I’d advise duoing with one if possible. The more aggressive and unfair, the better. Stealth champions as well as those who move too fast to react to are great, like Rek'Sai, Nunu & Willump, Evelynn, Shaco, and Rammus. Many opponents will be baited deep trying to poke you down, leaving them wide open. Even if you can’t get a Flash or kill, just being able to coordinate a strong presence mid and strike paranoia into the heart of your lane opponent will force respect your way and give you some much needed breathing room to scale up.

Alternatively, powerful early game bruisers like Warwick, Xin Zhao, and Udyr, who can fend for themselves while you're weak will allow your team to hit the midgame on even footing, where you can start pulling your weight and deleting people.

Post 6, your gank assist with Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath is EXTREMELY powerful, and being able to set up ganks on demand with CC to guarantee your full combo will net you some free gold.

You do NOT want a powerfarmer like Karthus or Master Yi. A single invade while you're weak will ruin them and they'll blame you. They'll probably Smite your cannons over it. Kayn is also not great since he's not a champion until he transforms. Red ends up being great to play with, if he can get there, but they're all going blue again and being useless nowadays.

5. A strong, winning bottom lane

Lastly, you want a winning bot lane to enable roam opportunities. High pressure poke lanes like Caitlyn Lux and Ashe Zyra that keep enemies perma-stuck at 200 hp under their own turret are ideal, as are early bullies such as Draven. Empowered Flame Breath will one hit a low health target stuck farming under their turret from well outside of its range. Carries and supports like to huddle together even more than usual while on low health, so there is a very real chance of killing them both with one shot if you arrive at the right moment. A well-timed bot roam converts into multiple turret plates and the drake for good measure. This is the absolute fastest and most efficient way to take over the whole game.

Roaming engage supports like Alistar and Blitzcrank are fantastic since they'll return the favor and scratch your back in the mid lane when they get the chance. You'll find no shortage of guaranteed Flame Breaths in teamfights later on, especially with Rell. Rell is the queen. Don't forget it.

Scaling ADC/enchanter pairings make these opportunities few and far between. Vayne or Zeri aren't going to be doing much of anything for a while. Avoid running Shyvana mid with Soraka in particular. She does absolutely nothing for you.

Again, you only need 3 of the above in order to make the build work. If you've got all 5, Shyvana mid basically becomes Exodia.

You'll bait their weak, immobile mid too deep while trying to deny you, get fed and farmed by spam ganking them repeatedly, get all 5 plates in 2 pushes, roam down to slaughter their crippled bot lane under their own turret with no possible escape, and turn all of that gold into pressing Flame Breath and killing 3 or 4 squishy enemies instantaneously after your front line locks them down and sets them up.

It's seriously disgusting how hard she can snowball a game under the right circumstances. There's actually no counterplay. She just hits Flame Breath and one hits 3 champions from half a screen away.

Off-meta, indeed.

Passive: Dragonborn

Terrible passive in all honesty. AP builds don't really feel the 20% increase, especially since her Flame Breath proc is hard capped to 150 damage anyway. 5 Armor and MR per drake is nice, but negligible. I seriously wish Riot would make her passive double while in dragon form like it used to; then I might actually care about stacking it.

Q: Twin Bite

Auto reset which hits twice and synergizes with the on-hit damage from her Flame Breath mark and Burnout. While in dragon form it cleaves every target in a full semicircle in front of you and generates fury for each target hit, which can add up to quite a bit. Proper positioning to cleave groups of creeps (and especially Raptor camps) extends dragon form far beyond its base duration and allows you to fire several additional Flame Breaths.

If your target dies on the first hit, you only get 2 fury. That sounds trivial and not worth paying attention to until the first time you die at 99 fury, which I can promise is ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. Spare no effort to get Dragon's Descent back up as fast as possible.

Twin Bite's cooldown is also reduced on structure hits, making it an obscenely strong pushing tool with a high AP build. If you get a chance to hit a structure in the lategame, it is not long for the world. The second hit still does a percentage of the first after being converted to magic damage, so you end up biting structures for nearly 1000. Only Master Yi and Nasus can demolish a base faster than you.

Be very careful about using this in a teamfight. Going in for a little extra damge only to get locked down and turned into paste is how you throw leads and lose games. You should only be meleeing once the fight is clearly already won.

W: Burnout

AoE damage and speed buff. Early on it is indispensable for dodging skillshots and taking quick moments to dart forward, last hit a creep, and retreat. This is also how you prepare caster creeps to last hit under turret. Two ticks of the ability will do enough damage. Three or four ticks is risky. Five ticks is too much and will ruin the entire stack. Move in and out of range as necessary to get as much farm as possible. The first tick is also applied instantly, so this ability is your only option to kill 1 hp creeps before your minions finish them off.

Burnout has an extremely high AP ratio, but on its speed, not its damage. An extra 8% per 100 AP, in fact. When this dragon hits 700 AP, you're gonna see some serious ****. A full build will boost your MS to well over 600 for a few ticks, and with all the haste we'll be building, you can get where you need to go faster than nearly any other champion in the game. You can literally just run away from a ghosted Darius and take a few frames to spam laugh in his face.

With access to this much speed, catching you is an absolute nightmare so long as you position respectfully. Kiting back from threats and chasing down crippled targets for that last Flame Breath is a breeze.

But it does literally nothing special in dragon form.

God forbid it do something useful and exciting like the rest of her kit, like grant slow immunity, or at the very least not decay over the duration.

I miss my fire trail. Give me back my fire trail at least, Rito.

E: Flame Breath

Basic medium speed skillshot which passes through creeps and stops on the first champion hit. Though initially on a long cooldown, it enables Shyvana to farm, poke, and scale up in the mid lane ecosystem.

Flame Breath while transformed with an AP build is one of the most reliable, safe, and lethal basic abilities in the entire game. It surpasses most ultimates, in fact. Not only is it an AoE nuke (and believe me, that IS the right word for it) with an absurd 1.2 ratio and massive range, which is nuts enough, the fire patch it leaves behind is also extremely threatening. It will hit priority targets for 100-125 damage per half-second tick in the endgame, and will always tick once before your target leaves the zone on a direct hit. You'll hit carries who neglect to build MR for well over 1200 damage with a full build on the nuke, plus at least one tick of patch damage, plus a First Strike proc. That's a one hit kill. Using this ability well will carry games harder than you thought was even possible.

Some key things to remember about dragon form Flame Breath. First, it’s very tricky to hit targets that are on top of you and inside your model (OwO). Since the ability has a short cast time and cannot be aimed directly below you, a moving target is very difficult to hit at point blank range. I say again: you cannot E directly below Shyvana. And since you must place Flame Breath below your snout, a quickly moving target can rotate around you and avoid the hit. Not only that, but if your mouse is too close to Shyvana, your Flame Breath will fire sideways or even backwards, missing even with its huge hitbox and completely screwing you.

Practically speaking, this spaghetti creates a small dead zone. Never try to hit a target that’s directly under you unless you are in a do-or-die moment. Remember this when you go to tackle someone with Dragon's Descent for your full burst combo.

Besides that, if you land Dragon's Descent on someone and they see their health get chunked down, they will typically immediately Flash or otherwise dash away anticipating your follow-up Flame Breath. If you cast it right away at their feet upon landing, you’ll miss and feel like an idiot.

Patience is key; with the unfair range and area that Flame Breath covers, landing it is entirely in your hands. Do not fire unless you’re sure of your shot. Allow your target to react, use their Wind Wall, untargetability, Flash, whatever, then nail them once they’re a sitting duck. Aim small, miss small.

Second, do NOT press E at all while you are flying in Dragon's Descent. The ability will buffer based on the first location you cast at and will automatically fire there upon landing no matter what. A lot can happen between when you press R, when you land, and when your Flame Breath cast finishes. Don't do it.

There's a bug that's been in the game since her release in 2011 which will reset the cooldown if you cast it at the very instant Dragon's Descent expires. It's not reliable or very reproducible, though; it used to be, but Riot "fixed" it a while back. They didn't do a very good job (imagine that) and just made it much harder. Details below.

Definitely don't intentionally go for it and risk not getting your empowered Flame Breath at all, but if you do incidentally cast it at the very last second, check the cooldown real quick. You might have gotten lucky.

How it works, apparently

R: Dragon's Descent

Objectively the coolest ult in the game. Unstoppable dash with a 1.3 ratio limited only by fury generation, having an extremely low effective cooldown. You are half a champion without it, so it's a damn good thing it's so accessible. Managing fury to make sure you always have it when you need it is crucial, as is properly extending it through frequent auto attacks and Twin Bite cleaves to get as many Flame Breaths off as you can.

Never use Dragon's Descent if it's not necessary. If a simple human form combo is enough for the job, save the ult. Just because it has a very low "cooldown" doesn't mean you can't wind up needing it before then.

Though it hits like a truck, it is fairly slow and hard to land on someone with a working mouse. Get close before pressing R if you need a hit for lethal.

Dragon's Descent has a minimum range and cannot be cast in place. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this distance in practice tool. If you are not cognizant of this fact, you can very easily go to land a Flame Breath on stack of targets only to put yourself in range of CC and die before you get the chance. You are much larger while transformed, and your hitbox reflects this, making you very tough to miss. Remember, Flame Breath has a cast time and there is plenty of time for you to get nailed by a stun before getting it off.

DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO HIT Dragon's Descent ON A STACKED TEAM HEAD ON WITHOUT ANY SETUP. I don't care how high the ratio is. You will get killed instantly and contribute absolutely nothing.

Instead, use Dragon's Descent to take advantage of fog of war and position for your first shot. League of Legends players, much like babies, lack object permanence. If the enemy team can't see you, they are much more likely to misposition and give you the perfect shot at their backline. Stay out of sight away from your team and plan out your vector. Use Dragon's Descent to hop a wall when the fight starts and flash broil their carries.

In order to use Dragon's Descent for damage in a fight, their team MUST be CCed and unable to retaliate, or you MUST ambush their backline from out of vision to kill them instantly before they can react. If these conditions aren't met, don't even think about it.

After reverting to human form, gaining fury is your first, last, and only priority. If action is likely in the near future, go straight to the closest available minion wave or jungle camp and begin hitting it. Do not use Burnout or Flame Breath. Only auto attack and Twin Bite until that bar is full. If you will kill the camp before reaching 100 fury, reset it and keep hitting it for as long as you need to. Ping your team away from your fury batteries and ping them to not pick a fight while you're becoming relevant again.

The knockback effect behaves strangely; along most of its path it will knock targets back a short way as intended, but for whatever reason at the very end of her travel path it pulls back and clumps all enemies in front of her. It's basically a vortex effect like Moonfall tied to the end of her ult. This makes landing a multi target Flame Breath rather convenient. Aim to clip targets with your muzzle on ganks whenever possible. This is tough to take advantage of, so will take practice.

Oh, and make sure to buy Championship Shyvana and spam recall every free moment you get. It's, uh, required to do well. Honest.


I don't need to tell you this, but Ignite is your bread and butter summoner if you've got a decent matchup and are looking to get some kills to your name. Post-6, if they do not preemptively Flash away as you are ulting in and wait to eat your combo before doing so, Ignite will usually burn them down and finish the kill while they look very, very foolish. Using it to bring people into lethal range for your next Flame Breath will often take them by surprise. This also gives us access to heal cut without needing to spend 800G on Oblivion Orb.

Flash is mandatory as the best-in-class offensive and defensive tool, and when you have a basic ability that can hit multiple targets for around a thousand damage, not running it is a hard grief.

For tougher lanes

Teleport is the go-to option for many scaling champions since it allows them to take an early recall without missing a thing. My brain is small and so I tend to get poor value out of it over the course of a game, but if you're the kind of player that enjoys splitpushing, it can be much more effective than Ignite. If you got filled top lane, you should probably consider taking it. Getting dived and losing a stacked wave will ruin your entire game. This goes double if you're up against a champion that loves to split.
First Strike
This rune is just straight-up busted. It's a miniature Dark Harvest that is also the Federal Reserve at the same time. Since Flame Breath has an approximate range of 5 football fields, proccing it in a big fight and turning on the money printer is basically guaranteed. And since you're a melee champion, you enjoy full value. In a typical game, it will get you a Needlessly Large Rod all on its own. If you're carrying hard, expect to see close to 2000G gained by the end of the game. Genuinely stupid. End the Fed!

Look to proc it in lane as much as you can for a cheeky 5G here and there, but not at the cost of last hitting or messing up your wave position. Don't even think about going in to make more money at any point. Greed can kill even dragons. Just collect your safe payout from your initial chunks. I promise you, that's more than enough.

Free *** boots
Can't go wrong with these. Saves you 300G and gives you an extra 10 MS, which is the most valuable and criminally under-appreciated stat in the game.

If your plan is to build Zhonya's Hourglass in lieu of Horizon Focus, take Perfect Timing instead. But, uhh, try not to. Proper gameplay should make this unnecessary against almost every composition.

Free Space: Your choice
This doesn't happen often, but all three runes in this slot are defensible choices.

My default is Minion Dematerializer, used as 6/6/6. Extra damage is always helpful with last-hitting. I've found that, with this build's power curve, caster creeps live with 1 hp entirely too often without demat. Every time this happens, you can lose gold and expereince. It's a very important breakpoint to hit, which is why you see it taken so often in pro games.

Future's Market is a gamble to take. If the debt limit gets you Rabadon's Deathcap before a Baron fight, it's the best rune in the game. But if your recalls just work out or if the game is on the slow side, it does literally nothing for you. I don't like inconsistent value, but you can totally justify taking it.

Biscuit Delivery is very helpful into oppressive matchups, but if I personally am thinking about taking it, I'm probably just gonna dodge the game instead. This is a great rune for new midlaners to crutch on though, and I'd even reccomend starting out with it if your laning fundamentals are weak.

Cosmic Insight
This shaves ~45 seconds off of your Flash CD and ~30 seconds off Ignite. Extremely powerful rune, though not very exciting. We don't build to get much out of the item haste component, but I believe it does help with the per-target cooldown of Night Harvester.

Go-to: Second wind/Demolish
Second Wind is what truly enables Shyvana mid. 4% of your missing health back per poke combined with Doran's Shield doing something similar combined with her naturally high hp/5 turns you into an immovable object for most popular midlaners. They will quite literally run out of mana before you run out of life. This doesn't mean you can play recklessly and eat auto attacks all day long, but it does let you shrug off spells and maintain farm parity until level 6 against almost everyone.

Demolish is the clear second option. With how hard Twin Bite smacks turrets, you can easily take two plates per crashed wave and get the entire thing in only two shoves. Side inner turrets are worth a crazy amount nowadays, and by that time you'll practically one-shot them with this rune.

For Easy Lanes: Transcendence/Gathering Storm
Once you get better at laning, you may choose to drop Second Wind and pick up some more power against very easy matchups. I would not consider doing this against any champion with a threat ranking above 1, but you do you.

Transcendence gives 10 extra haste and will partially reset your nuke button on takedown. It stands to reason that you won't need to build a haste item second if you can get away with taking it, making Shadowflame a reasonable and terrifying second purchase.

Gathering Storm pairs very well with your high ratios, potential Infernal drakes, and Rabadon's Deathcap for good value at 20 minutes and gigantic chunks past 30. The later the game goes, the stronger AP Shyvana gets, and this rune plays to that strength and amplifies your ridiculous lategame 1v9 potential. With Rabadon's Deathcap you get 67 AP from this rune at 30 minutes. That's a free Needlessly Large Rod. If it goes to 40, you'll get 112 and will probably start one hitting people.

For stat shards, take haste and double resistances depending on your matchup. 8 haste shaves nearly a second off of your Flame Breath cooldown early on, a big help with safe farming. We scale just fine naturally, so all we care about is getting there in one piece.
Your hoard: Item selection
Every dragon needs their stash of fancy, powerful artifacts. These items will be the wind beneath your wings, carrying you to greatness so that you may carry your team to victory.

Core build

Start: Doran's Shield + pot
Health regeneration go brr. This is the only viable starting choice. Flame Breath has a massive cooldown early, so poking the enemy out of lane is never an option no matter how good your aim is. It's much wiser to simply ensure farm parity and hit level 6 on even footing. You're going to be trading health for gold for the entire lane phase, so you're gonna need a lot of it.

Doran's Shield gives more regen the lower you are, capping at 25%, so don't use your potions until you cross that threshold.

First recall: Codex + Refillable
Look to take your first recall at 1050G. With decent farm, this will be at around level 5.5. Your opponent should also recall at about this time. Fiendish Codex will give you a good chunk of AP ready to go for your first ult and some more haste to spam Flame Breath.

If popping off: Dark Seal
Dark Seal is still busted. In a good game, it's basically a Needlessly Large Rod for the price of an Amplifying Tome. That's called value city, my friends.

If the game is going well and you ever find yourself with an extra 350G to spare on a recall, just go ahead and grab one. Why not? It's a small investment for a potentially huge payoff down the line. Stacks only go up. Always keep it in mind!

Mythic: Night Harvester
Build toward spooky axe. Being manaless, our mythic options are limited, but this baby works just fine. An extra 125+15% AP damage on your first chunk will terrify your enemies from very early in the game. Don't sell the MS component short, either, which makes staying in range for follow up nukes or escaping back to safety a breeze. Its real standout feature, though, is its whopping 25 haste, more than any other mythic and only surpassed by Cosmic Drive. Night Troller is no longer a thing, and the item now deserves respect.

Boots: Sorc shoes
Sorcerer's Shoes are your only option. Most priority targets start at only 30-odd magic resist and gain very little over the course of the game. Resistance scales logarithmically, so reducing a small number by 18 translates into TONS OF DAMAGE . Luci boots, while nice, fall short when you consider just how much damage 18 flat pen adds to a squishy target. You won't need defensive boots if you play properly with how long range your Flame Breath is, and for this sort of payoff you need to learn how to.

Organic Artillery: Horizon Focus
I'm a firm believer that your second item should also have haste on it. The difference between a 5 and 6 second Flame Breath cooldown in a fight is MASSIVE. Players are now well aware of how terrifying Shyvana E is, and often specifically look for it and Flash away. If this happens, you're literally useless until that cooldown cycles.

Horizon Focus is by far the most powerful tool for the job. A 10% boost to an already massive Flame Breath chunk is nothing to sneeze at. Staying 700 range away is also correct gameplay, so it's cool that it incentivizes being smart. The extra information from what it reveals can also very well flip a game on its head. Imagine being able to know exactly who was in that bush you just checked. Sounds useful, right?

You may build Zhonya's Hourglass instead if you're against full AD and instant-kill buttons such as Cease and Desist. This strikes me as a reasonable choice. I would only do this if absolutely necessary, however.

To ruin people: Deathcap
Rabadon's Deathcap will make your Flame Breath hotter than hell. You have two AP ratios that are way above 1.0, as well as Burnout's MS ratio, so the fancy hat is absolutely core and should ALWAYS be built third, MR or no MR. At this point, the percentage boost will add about 110 AP. It will also make you kill towers from full in about 5 seconds flat.

You will be building these items in this order in every game. After you have your hat, it’s time to begin specializing for the situation.

For Inflection Points

Maximum power: Blue Elixir
If the game hasn't ended already, chances are that it's about to. Elixirs should now be purchased before every major objective. The blue soda has quite a kick. Not only is 50 AP nothing to sneeze at with your crazy ratios (probably even more because of Infernals and Deathcap), it adds 25 true damage to every hit on a small per-target cooldown. And that cooldown is... 5 seconds, perfectly matching Flame Breath. Funny how that works out. Make sure you have one running for Baron/Soul/Elder fights, death pushes, and last-ditch defenses. It's close to 75 damage per target per hit, and it could very well be the difference between winning and losing.

Situational items (in order of preference)

When popping off: Mejai's
Grab yourself a Mejai's Soulstealer early if your team is crushing it and you have 10 stacks on your Dark Seal. I’d say if you’re 8 or more kills up and a few turrets, go for it. It might not be the best idea if they have F*** you buttons like Cease and Desist or a fed assassin, though, so check for those first.

You get a very nice 10% movespeed buff while at 10 stacks and above, so just being able to take advantage of that for one outing on the map pays for itself in my mind. If you have a fully stacked book, a Rabadon's Deathcap, and an Elixir of Sorcery, you’re in 1v9 territory and are almost impossible to stop.

If things start heading south and you lose the stacks, sell it to grab your next big item. It’s not a big deal. I vehemently despise players who stubbornly sit on 0 stack Mejai's for the entire game. Don't be one of them.

To delete carries: Shadowflame
This is your first choice. If you can build this item, you're in a fantastic spot. Penetration becomes exponentially more valuable the more you have, so another 10-20 pen will get you very close to literally one-shotting those stubborn carries who think that they can "just outplay" Flame Breath.

One does not simply outplay Flame Breath.

Champions like Sona and Seraphine will ensure that you always get the full 20 pen. While is is wrong to think of Shadowflame as an anti-shield item as it pales in comarison to Serpent's Fang, you should still prioritize it against them and similar shield-spammers.

For MR: Void Staff
You’ll need to pick up a Void Staff if your priority targets wake up and start getting magic resist. You can only blow people up so many times before they get sick of it, so keep checking that scoreboard. Don’t worry so much if Darius or Udyr build Maw of Malmortius, you’ll need your team's help to deal with them no matter what you build, but if Tristana starts building towards one and their mid has a Banshee's Veil, you’ll need that 40% spell pen quick. This will usually be your final item.

For beef: Demonic
Demonic has always been ridiculously strong on Shyvana despite being nerfed frequently. This is your only real way to effectively damage tanks and bruisers. It may even be superior to Rabadon's Deathcap against super heavy frontline, but again, such compositions are best dealt with by simply dodging the game. Still, if you find yourself looking at an 8000 hp Cho'Gath and their carries aren't an issue, think of this.

To frustrate bruisers: Rylai's
Bruisers and fighters absolutely HATE being slowed by 30%. If one of these champions becomes a problem and your team lacks sufficient peel to keep them under control, Rylai's Crystal Scepter may cover that deficiency. It's an extremely cheap and cost effective item that pairs very well with Demonic Embrace against meatball compositions. Your flame patch will become a slow field and force champions to take another few very damaging ticks as well.

If being giga-focused: Hourglass
If you're hard carrying and have a target painted squarely between your wings, you may need Zhonya's Hourglass to survive depending on what you're up against. Some champions like Fiora can dive through your entire team and quite literally one-shot you in half a second, and if they're tunneling on you, stasis is your only option. This is a judgment call; try to avoid buying it, but if you've been getting popped and there's nothing you can do, it may be required.

This item pairs quite nicely with a fully stacked Mejai's Soulstealer and a 700G shutdown. Keep that in mind.

If against heavy AP and high threat spells: Banshee's
The problem with this item is that the on-demand stasis from Zhonya's Hourglass is just better to have than a long CD spellshield that can get popped by something stupid like a Luden's Tempest. I wouldn’t even look at Banshee's Veil unless the enemy team is nearly full AP. Every once in a long while, this does happen and it is the correct buy, especially against champions who must start their rotation with one specific spell in order to be threatening ( Fizz, Vladimir, Annie, etc.).

If your teammates are griefing: Morellonomicon
Let me make one thing clear. I do not think you should ever have to buy this item. Healcut should not be your responsibility since others can more reliably and efficiently apply it. The probelm is that sometimes, your support and ADC simply do not want to win and refuse to purchase grievous wounds despite red Kayn being 10/0. In these situations, you can either lose the game or buy Oblivion Orb early and upgrade it after Rabadon's Deathcap. Morellonomicon isn't a badly statted item anymore, and the shiny new 10 pen on it makes it comparable to Shadowflame, but don't do it unless you are well and truly forced to.

Level 1 fiestas

Invades happen more often than not in solo queue, and they happen because they frequently work. Hook and snare champions in particular love to invade. If you have one, go fishing. If they have one, ping to 5 man stack in a bush and wait.

Shyvana has an incredibly weak level 1, however. Your team may not know this. If you compare comps and don't think you can win the fiesta, say so. If one breaks out, stand in front, skill up Burnout, hit the focus target as many times as you can, then Flash away before dying. The best contribution you can make to a fiesta is to soak damage for your more useful teammates.

If neither team has a particularly strong invade, keep watch of a jungle entrance that your team doesn't have covered and provide vision until at least 1:10. It seriously triggers me to watch people just AFK at their turret being useless while creeps run to lane. Don't be one of those idiots.

Early playstyle: be patient and defensive

Your goal for the first few levels is just to farm up and soak experience. The biggest thing about early laning is learning what farm you can get away with walking up for and when you should concede CS to preserve health. This varies greatly depending on matchup. Here's a good rule of thumb: if you will take more than 100 damage to get that creep, concede it. Your real mission is to hit 6 smoothly, not necessarily to get there with a full purse. Don’t be afraid to go 10, 20, even 30 CS behind if it means you can safely stay in lane. You can always make up a CSD later on in the game once you're more powerful and start scaling into a true dragoness, but if you get chunked for no reason, are forced to back, and miss a big wave, that experience is gone forever and you are now unavoidably behind the curve of the game.

Always prioritize farming with Flame Breath over trying to hit your lane opponent. Its cooldown is simply too long to apply meaningful pressure at this point, so don't even try. Ideally you want to line up high value shots which kill a few creeps and also hit your enemy for a cheeky First Strike proc, but this is not always possible.

Use potions once your health drops under 25% in order to get maximum value from Doran's Shield or in preparation for a gank or skirmish. If the enemy has Ignite, this is risky, so use it earlier. Don't leave any opportunity to die to an all in or mistake.

Wave management and last hitting

Ideally, you want the wave to push into you just past the river and freeze it there with precise last hitting. Don’t shove at all in the early game and be very careful how you Flame Breath waves. Even if Flame Breath kills 2-3 creeps and smacks Zed for 130, that is NOT worth it if you had to hit the entire wave to do it and everything pushes forward into the danger zone. Alternatively, a misplaced Flame Breath can seriously mess up your last hitting under tower if you're being shoved in. Be precise with Flame Breath and only hit what you need to.

Your opponent will not like being stuck this far forward, however, and will likely shove you in. You'll need to get very proficient at last hitting under tower. To last hit full health melee creeps, hit them after 2 tower shots. Caster creeps die in 2 shots, so you’ll need to tickle them a little bit before they get hit. 2 ticks of Burnout will do it. Move Burnout in and out accordingly so as to not over-damage the casters and ruin your farm.

The tower will always target cannons first, then melees, then casters, and go from closest to furthest away. You've got the tools to get nearly everything, so make the effort. Missing a few is unavoidable, especially if you're also taking harass while doing so. Make sure to always last hit cannons with Flame Breath to give yourself the best chance of getting them. Your Burnout and Twin Bite won't hit very hard for a while and you do NOT want to miss them. If feasible, tank the incoming wave for a few seconds in front of your turret while your next wave arrives. This will freeze it in the ideal position and stop the turret from gobbling up your farm, well worth a little bit of life.

You are very weak, skirmish with care

Shyvana’s abilities strongly synergize together, so until you have access to all of them you are of very little use in a fight. You will need to give priority to nearly every matchup, which will probably make your jungler very angry. You will almost certainly lose a 2v2 before level 3, and likely will until level 6. DO NOT commit to a bad fight and int just because your jungler went and got himself collapsed on while you're helpless. You cannot fall behind, so don't risk it. That being said, if your jungler's early game is strong enough to make up for your weakness, you can help. Just approach with care and make sure you come out on top.

When your opponent goes for a back, stay and shove the wave in while they’re not there; you do so pretty quickly. You don't need to match their recall right away with how quickly you shove in and how fast you run back to mid lane with Burnout (if they brought Teleport, however, you must reset with them).

Ideally, you want to take your first back at 1050G. Fiendish Codex is very nice to have for your first Dragon's Descent. You really want to have some AP ready for level 6, which begins the next significantly more fun stage of the game.

Starting at level 6, look to all in

The second you hit 6, look to dive onto your lane opponent and vore them. You should only need to land one or two pokes against most champions to have serious all in potential. Put your wards down and once you have proof that their jungler isn’t waiting around the corner, wait for them to cast on the creep wave and GO RAWR. Your burst is absurd; a full combo with Ignite will kill nearly any squishy mage in the game from 3/4 health.

If they escape and back off, cleave the wave with your empowered Twin Bite to shove in and extend dragon form. You only get a base time of 20 seconds in ult, barely enough time for 3 Flame Breaths with your current haste. Proper use of Twin Bite can get you a fourth. Once pushed in, you can zone them out of experience range under their own turret for as long as Dragon's Descent lasts. If you know that their jungler is not in a position to assist, you force that midlaner back as far as you can. A smart player will just take the bad recall, but most players are unable to handle being pressured like this, will attempt to desperately farm the crashed wave anyway, and get themselves killed. Simply doing this will be enough to climb to platinum.

Don't forget to put all of your wards down first. There’s nothing more tilting than seeing an opportunity only to int because their jungler just happened to be right there and you didn’t check first. If your opponent has been playing passive then suddenly starts to toe into range, you should think to yourself that it's too good to be true. Watch for sudden changes in playstyle; bad players frequently telegraph their jungler's proximity. Don't get baited into a 1v2 situation that you cannot win.

If you’re getting destroyed and slow pushed on in lane, don’t be afraid to expend Dragon's Descent to secure a stacked wave or break a freeze from a safe distance. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than getting starved out. In this way, there is only so much you can be denied after 6.

Once you climb high enough and start facing decent players, opportunities for solo kills become rare. Being a mechanically simple champion, it's very hard for Shyvana to generate her own advantages if her opponent plays properly and respects her damage potential. You may have to get creative to finish kills. A classic trick is to dip back into fog of war after chunking your lane opponent down to near death and shoving in. Thinking you've recalled, they'll walk back up to eat the wave while you're still transformed. From there, it's an easy Flash for the kill. Here's a good example.

If you can't make a play on their mid, you will need to gain leads off of early skirmishes. While transformed, you are the strongest thing on the map, so look to fight whenever that bar is full. Shove in and shadow your jungler around the map. Look to invade, take an objective, or dive a sidelane together. You'll almost certainly win.

The winning team is always the one that can gang up on the enemy more quickly and efficiently. Mid lane gives quick access to the entire map, and you need to rotate properly to create numbers advantages for your team and unwinnable situations for the enemy.

One random note that I don't know where else to put: dragons are natural predators of chickens, and the raptor camp will be your best friend for extending dragon form. Twin Bite the henhouse whenever you get the chance. It will instantly reset, so do it again. And again. This will literally cap your fury.

Punish roams

Sometimes, your opponent may leave lane to roam while your ult is down, or they're a particularly dangerous champion that can turn on and murder you if you follow them into fog. You may have thought that they went back, only to see them walk over a ward running to bot lane, making it too late to follow. Remember that you're useless without an ult, that a turret plate is worth half a kill, and that we took Demolish for a reason. In this situation, spam DANGER ping on the targeted side lane (NOT enemy missing, DANGER is MUCH louder and harder to ignore) and take the chance to obliterate their turret. Demolish lets you easily take 2 plates per crashed wave. Even if your counterpart got a kill, you'll make it an even trade. Take advantage of this whenever possible. You seriously annihilate structures with a good chunk of AP behind Twin Bite; very few champions can kill them faster than you. Two good shoves, and that turret is dead and you've got yourself over a thousand gold for free.

You’ll probably regain Dragon's Descent while you’re hitting it, so just wail away until you pull their jungler mid. You’re pretty safe while you have that unstoppable dash. If they refuse to cover mid, there is a very real chance of you taking two turrets alone before the 15 minute mark.

The bot lane roam

Speaking of killing bot lane, this is where that winning bot that I mentioned earlier comes into play. The absolute fastest way to catapult yourself into the lead is to find a good moment to roam bot and kill two crippled targets who are stuck farming under turret. Dragon's Descent around and over vision, get behind said turret to corner them, and finish them off with some well placed fireballs. There should be no need to dive. Before doing so, make damn sure you put a deep ward down first and don’t get pinched off by their jungler or mid. I’ve made that mistake a lot. Always shove in before leaving, though; losing a wave of experience and a plate or two seriously hurts.

First, check for pinks in the bushes, especially the pixel bush. That's a very popular spot. If their mid warded his bot side river bush, go around it. You can always expect both teams to have the bot lane river bush warded, so don't go near it unless they've just committed to a fight.

The path to gank red side bot lane is extremely convenient. Just head up and ward over the wall to give vision of Gromp. There may even be a blast cone there for you to escape if you need to. They will certainly have the tri bush warded too if they're pushed in and hurt though, since junglers love to set up there and go for dives. So you're just going to Dragon's Descent over it into Flame Breath range from behind the wall and give no time for them to react. Line up your Flame Breath and collect your free kill. It's very common for damaged carries and supports to huddle together when pushed in for safety, so there's a good chance you can hit both. If they barely survive and you know their jungler isn't around, sit behind them in the lane and spam recall or something until your Flame Breath comes back up. You'll have them pinned, so there's no reason to dive too deep.

Ganking the blue bot lane is a little trickier, though. You must facecheck 3 bushes on the way down and there's no perfect place to put your ward to watch for flanks. Blast cone or Dragon's Descent over the wall beside Krugs, staying well away from tribush vision. If their jungler just happens to be there, evacuate. Your targets usually won't have the rear bush warded, falsely assuming their tribush ward to be good enough. If you can, hit them from over the wall. They will have no idea it's coming and won't be able to react.

If you're ganking the blue team bot lane and they're just farming away in the middle of the lane, ulting over the drake pit into their tribush to approach works very well. Spam ping beforehand and hopefully your support will get the message and engage.

Maintain drake control

You must have Dragon's Descent available for drake fights. If either jungler is in the area and you think drake is on the table, hold your ult until it's off again. Having no fury will practically concede it to the enemy, and you can't generate it that quickly this early in the game. You only gain a passive 1 fury per second at rank 1 of Dragon's Descent.

The first drake is oftentimes soloed while laners are still busy occupying each other. You will usually hit level 6 while junglers are level 4-5 and this enters their minds. As stated previously, if you're against a jungler who can solo it effectively like Vi, Kha'Zix, or Udyr, slam a ward down in that pit right when you hit level 6 if your support hasn't already done so. The first drake will do a significant amount of damage while being taken. With Dragon's Descent and Flame Breath, you can easily pick up a kill and finish off the drake if you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar. Thanks for the leash!

Though you don't have a jungle item, you're still Shyvana and do quite a bit of damage to drakes, so you and your jungler can snag it together very quickly. If the enemy team is behind on their rotations or has let vision lapse, hard shove mid, spam ping away, and snap it up. Ulting for it for the extra flame patch damage and mark uptime is worthwhile if you don't think you have much time.

If a 2v2 fight breaks out topside and you aren't pinned mid, you may even Control Ward the pit, ult, and take it by yourself. Just make sure you aren't seen and set up your last hit to be either a Flame Breath or a Twin Bite onto a Flame Breath mark; these are almost as good as a Smite.

Your time to shine: late-game teamfighting

Once lanes end and the death balls start roaming, it’s time to gib some carries. You almost always want to play fights by using Dragon's Descent into range from out of vision and firing from a safe distance. You’ll contribute much more hanging back and firing 3-4 well placed Flame Breaths than going in for one Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath combo and immediately dying. Though you are a dragon, you are very squishy and using your ult for damage without a godly setup is a one way ticket. Look to sneak fireballs around their frontline and decimate their squishy targets. A Flame Breath on a tank is a complete waste.

Alternatively, if your ADC is hyper fed, stick by them and look to use Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath to instagib any diving assassins. For example, being ready to R+E Katarina when she goes in is an excellent idea. Remember that Dragon's Descent knockbacks a small distance, and can buy your fed Vayne the second she needs to get away from that 15/0 Kha'Zix.

Generally, you want to identify the biggest and squishiest threat and immediately take them out of the game.

With this healthy amount of haste, Flame Breath is on a ~5 second cooldown, just enough time for 4 shots without autoing mid-fight, so you need to make them count. Do. Not. Miss. Be as patient as you need to and always look to land guaranteed hits while a good target is CCed.

Most of the time you want to aim for the marksman; they almost never build defensively and have huge amounts of reliable, sustained damage. You will also absolutely obliterate squishy enchanter supports, who like to huddle right next to the marksman to juice them up and peel for them. Look for those double hits. If you're properly fed, you have a very real chance of killing them in one hit, or at the very least taking them completely out of the fight.

Always ask yourself as you and your team are jockeying for position on the map: “How does this go bad for me?”. Who don’t you see? What abilities do you need to watch out for? Which bushes are unwarded? How many are missing? Where are they most likely? What if you’re wrong? What is everybody doing right now? Can I be flanked and killed here? What is behind that tasty looking target? Is that target really alone? What if they’re not?

Remember that you are a priority target and must stay safe. Play behind your team and wait for your moment. Against nearly every composition, if someone manages to even touch you, it’s because you screwed up and let them. Intelligent positioning that takes full advantage of Flame Breath's absurd range makes AP Shyvana an absolute nightmare to play into.

Knowing when to use Dragon's Descent is absolutely crucial. Being overzealous and wasting it on a bad pick attempt, getting caught out and being forced to use it defensively, or simply misreading the 5v5 dance and ulting for a fight that doesn’t end up happening can very easily concede Baron and throw the game while you are frantically trying to build fury in order to become relevant again. That’s a lategame nightmare scenario. Be patient while you dance around and feel each-other out. Eventually someone will get caught by CC and start the fight, and you must have a full bar of fury when that happens.

Ult availability is your number one priority in the lategame. Spam ping your teamaway from creeps when you need to hit them and tell them to leave at least one jungle camp up for you. Spam danger ping when you have no ult and it looks like someone wants to engage. They may not listen, but you need to try. If it looks like they aren't getting it, find a few seconds to spell it out for them in chat.

If your team loses a fight and you’re left standing, try to Flame Breath as many creeps as you can to frustrate the push. You can save turrets and inhibs if you can nuke most of the wave.

Ambush predator

If possible, you want your team to engage in the jungle. Fighting in the jungle compresses the enemy backline, allowing you to easily fire extremely high-value Flame Breaths. The area denial of your fire patch is also much more valuable in jungle choke points; by this point in the game it will seriously melt people. You also have enough range to stay back and use walls as shields if necessary. On top of all of that, being able to Flame Breath from over a wall or in an unwarded bush can work wonders since your enemies will have less time to react, especially if you also used Dragon's Descent out of vision and they have no idea it’s even coming.

Though you can almost never get away with trying to land Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath head on, if you take them by surprise by ulting over a wall or from a bush that you know is not warded, and you're fed enough that everyone you hit will die instantly, go for it. This is the sort of play that gets put into highlight reels and will likely win the game.

ALWAYS contest and discourage Baron attempts

You are one of the best picks in the game for contesting Baron. The enemy team is NOT ALLOWED to do it while you are alive with a full bar of fury. You have free access to the backline while their meatballs are tanking the worm. On top of that, the geography of the pit forces said backline to clump together. This is absolutely ideal for you. If they try, you stop them. One massive chunk onto that grouped backline should immediately force them to retreat if you are alone or make them concede it to your team entirely in a 5v5 setting. If they don’t respect you, keep shooting and kill them all. If your team just got picked or lost a fight and you have to go it alone, approach from a direction that they are unlikely to have warded for best results.

At higher ranks, they will have someone threatening running interference most of the time, so it may be hard or impossible to find a good angle onto the soft targets. In those cases, or if you arrive too late to discourage through kill pressure, it may be worth orbiting around the area and finding an opportunity for a steal attempt, especially if you have enough AP to realistically contest or simply outhit the smite. Fire at 1500-2500 health depending on their DPS.

If your team has set up vision properly and goes for a sneak attempt, always use your ult to help burn the baron down. Your fire patch will usually do over 2000 damage to it by itself and could be the difference between securing it cleanly and getting aced.

Draconic artillery

Once your team sets up a siege, wait patiently as usual for a good setup, then fire away on whoever was dumb enough to get caught. If your team lacks such initiation, then you can just ult in place and look to chunk a carry. Very few champions can effectively waveclear from outside of your Flame Breath range, so sit back fish for hits. A single chunk will create enough kill pressure to force them to concede turrets and inhibs, which you will absolutely melt at this point. AP Shyvana at this stage in the game is hilariously unfair. The enemy base just becomes indefensible.

Don't get cocky, though. Take them apart methodically, piece by piece, by the book. While objectives are down, ult, chunk, get a turret, and go splitpush to get your ult back and move waves forward. Group, ult, chunk, push, split, and repeat until all 3 inhibitors are down, you have Baron, you have Soul, maybe even Elder, and close in for the kill when there's no chance of anything possibly going wrong.


And I think that about covers it!

I hope you enjoyed the read and learned a thing or two! This guide is my pride and joy and you can bet I'll be keeping it up to date and improving/reiterating upon it constantly. I want to add a lot more clips, teamfight examples, videos of entire lane phases for each common mid laner, all sorts of stuff. It's still a long way from perfect. I'm sure I'll be making improvements for quite a while. If ya liked what I've got so far, throw me a rating and gimme feedback in the comments. Ask questions, let me know what worked well for you vs x champion, point out typos and inconsistencies, critique wording or formatting, just meme, whatever. Pick those nits, man. I really appreciate it all and i'll be reading, promise. Or drop by my stream and do the same (! Keep checking back every so often; I promise this guide will look better and be more comprehensive every time!

May you be blessed!

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