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Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion

Middle diamond

AP Shyvana Mid: The Lizard Wizard

By Veralion | Updated on November 30, 2019
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Runes: For scaling lanes and experts

1 2 3
Domination
Dark Harvest
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Sorcery
Transcendence
Gathering Storm
Bonus:

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist

Spells:

1 2
For nearly every lane
LoL Summoner Spell: Chilling Smite

Chilling Smite

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

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Jungle Role
Ranked #14 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

AP Shyvana Mid: The Lizard Wizard

By Veralion
Overview

Why hello there.


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 3 million mastery points on her between my two accounts (Veralion and RAWRARAWRAWRRAWR). I jungled her playing standard to Diamond V in seasons 7 and 8, so after Riot buffed the AP ratios on her Flame Breath and Dragon's Descent, I fancied a change, gave her a shot in the mid lane, and got hooked. It turns out that she's a perfectly functional midlaner after you cultivate a very patient and deliberate playstyle.

AP Shyvana is an extremely fun to play burst mage who scales like a monster and excels at late-game teamfighting and objective pressure. Though off-meta and very weak in the early game, 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.

I’ve peaked with this playstyle in Diamond I so far this season on stream (https://www.twitch.tv/veralion/), and I’m still making lots of mistakes, learning from them, and improving. I don’t believe I’ve realized her true potential yet, and in the hands of someone with real talent and favorable drafts I bet she can be played mid to master tier at the very least, though her unavoidable weakness and passivity in the early game may hamper her ability to compete against the very best of the best in this fast-paced priority centered meta. I guess we'll see about that in time!

Compared to playing her in the jungle, whether as traditional Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor- Frozen Mallet or the new AP hotness, I’d say that with a little bit of practice playing her AP mid in the right situation is at least as powerful but in different ways, and is much more high risk/high reward. A solo lane offers much more gold and experience income than powerfarming the jungle after its repeated nerfs, and so allows you to scale up and dominate the game much more quickly if picked into a favorable setting.

Finally, playing AP jungle Shyvana is becoming more and more popular. Though this guide focuses on mid lane (for now, check back later!), there's still a lot of good information for someone interested in the more consistent and reliable role. The build and runes are identical, and it also plays exactly the same in fights. My advice is to powerfarm to level 6 and then camp the hell out of bot lane. That seems to work rather well.

So read on, fellow dragon, and I hope my ramblings are useful!

Strengths Back to Top
+ Insane burst potential with two 1.0 scaling abilities, Flame Breath and Dragon's Descent
+ Manaless, can stay in lane indefinitely and simply outlast some early mana pools
+ Absolutely absurd roams, converts winning lanes into kills risk-free
+ Extremely strong, safe siege with empowered Flame Breath
+ Very high structure damage through AP scaling and Twin Bite
+ Significant splitpush and backdoor threat
+ Very safe, reliable objective steals ( Flame Breath outhits Smite with 5-6 items)
+ Can stop enemy pushes safely by nuking the creep wave from afar
+ Mulches super creeps; one inhib down just means more money for you
+ Snowballs LUDICROUSLY hard and is downright unfair if significantly ahead
+ Dark horse effect (People constantly underestimate your damage and disrespect lethal fireballs regularly)
+ Is a motherf***ing dragon. Rawr XD.
Weaknesses Back to Top
- Very weak levels 1-5, easily abused and zoned by several matchups
- Complete lack of early priority for crab battles and invades/skirmishes
- Reliant on Dragon's Descent availability to meaningfully contribute to fights
- Very matchup and composition dependent (Winning lanes and strong CC very important)
- Requires team to know how to play with you (Not killing things when you need fury, not fighting when you cannot Dragon's Descent; get used to spam pinging)
- Extremely weak to MR stacking, tanks, and bruisers.
- 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 weak mental teammates an easy scapegoat and excuse to give up, regardless of how well you are doing. Expect to be flamed regularly, justified or not.
When to pick AP Shyvana Mid Back to Top
I said above that you are very comp reliant with this build, and truer words were never spoken. Unless you’re an absolutely obsessed mad lad like me, this isn’t something to go every game or blind pick if you want to climb quickly. You're looking for 5 main things in the draft to set you up to burn villages and kidnap princes (like Jarvan IV). If you check 3 or more of these boxes, I'd say you're good to go.


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


You really love anything on your team that can reliably initiate and lockdown priority targets to give you a strong setup for your Flame Breath. You’re looking for stuff on your team 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.

2. Enemy composition: As squishy as possible


You want to be shooting soft, squishy, immobile champions who can’t stand up to your firepower. You bring heavy burst to the team and 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 are 3 or more very tanky bois on the enemy team (for example Dr. Mundo top, who is your actual worst nightmare and was just buffed, Sejuani jungle, Alistar support), I’d advise against going AP and instead a more standard tanky on-hit build which would be more useful than going for the Rylai's Crystal Scepter Liandry's Torment combo. Ryliandrys would function and give you a good amount of damage against bruisers and carries alike, but it takes a long time to get to a threatening point because the items synergize strongly together and thus your major power spike is incredibly delayed. They are also elsewise itemized terribly for AP Shyvana, having no attack speed or CDR.

3. A good lane matchup


For mid, your matchup is even more important than team comp. Don’t pick her into any ridiculously abusive mids or things which have a similarly bad early game but scale much harder. You want champions who have slow, telegraphed abilities that you can weave around to farm and return fire. Veigar, Anivia, Vel'Koz, Lissandra, Lux, that sort of thing. The most common worst lanes include Kassadin, Neeko, Corki, Ziggs, and Orianna. These champions when played well are simply too abusive to play into without going 50+ CS behind or feeding without constant jungle attention. Don't pick her into them if you can help it. I've got pages of notes on how to handle every common matchup under the threats section above. Anything ranked even and below you can learn to play against and do quite well into. Anything higher... Godspeed.

4. An aggressive, proactive, 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 Twitch, Hecarim, Nunu & Willump, Evelynn, Shaco, and Rammus. With how weak to early harass you are, many opponents will be baited deep into your territory to deny you under tower, 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. 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 Dragon's Descent+ Flame Breath will net you some free gold. Alternatively, powerful early game bruisers like Warwick, Xin Zhao, and Udyr, who can fend for themselves while you're weak counteract your biggest weakness and allow your team to reliably hit the midgame on even footing, where you can start pulling your weight and deleting people. My current duo partner is a Warwick one trick, and that's been working out spectacularly. We won 70-80% of our games up to mid Diamond together. That dog is fantastic at early skrimishes and initiating on weak enemies, and Shyvana is one of the few champions who moves fast enough to keep up with his rotations and guarantee victory.

5. A strong, winning bottom lane


Lastly, you want a winning bot lane to enable roam opportunities. The holy grail auto-win Lucian+ Braum lane, Draven and pretty much anyone, Jhin+ Vel'Koz, Leona+ Caitlyn, Zyra and pretty much anyone, etc. Empowered Flame Breath will one hit a low health target stuck farming under their turret from well outside of its range. As long as you take the time to aim well, they cannot escape without using Flash. 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. This is the absolute fastest and most efficient way to take over the whole game. You only need about 3 or 4 kills to become completely unstoppable.


Again, you only need 3 of the above in order to make the build work. If you've got all of them, then AP Shyvana mid becomes one of the strongest picks in the entire game. You'll bait their weak, immobile mid too deep while trying to deny you, get fed and farmed by spam ganking them repeatedly, get every turret plate, 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 no counterplay. She just hits Flame Breath and one hits half a team from half a screen away. It's like Zoe, but in a wider AoE. Off meta, indeed.
Abilities Back to Top

Passive: Dragonborn


Lackluster passive in all honesty. However, that extra 20% on top of how much damage Flame Breath scales up to on its own makes stealing drakes (and particularly Elder) relatively easy with careful timing. Though it's most valuable in the jungle to solo drakes quickly, mid lane is right next door and you should rotate down to help mulch drake whenever possible (make sure you don't rat your jungler out if they snuck in to solo it, though). 5 Armor and MR per drake is nice, but negligible. I seriously wish Riot would revert her passive to 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, Burnout, and Nashor's Tooth. 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) will extend dragon form far beyond its base duration and allow you to fire several additional Flame Breaths.

Keep in mind that both hits of Twin Bite must connect in order to get the full 4 fury. If your target dies on the first hit, you only get 2. 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.

Thanks to a bugfix that shipped with 9.22, Twin Bite now properly gets its cooldown reduced by hitting structures. This is a nice little buff that may let you get more turret plates to start your snowball rolling and will definitely let you chew through the enemy base in the blink of an eye once your team gains an advantage. Since the ability was already chunking turrets for a third of their life in the lategame, this change has the potential to turn Shyvana into a splitpushing monster if you know what you're doing.

Despite the above, dragon form Twin Bite is still unfortunately bugged on towers. The second hit deals physical damage no matter how much AP you have, and does a pittance. Like, literally no damage. Riot also decided to bugfix her human form Twin Bite in spring 2019 to no longer do 100/100 with an AP build from rank 1 (which was REALLY FUN by the way), and though it honestly was ridiculous and needed to be nerfed, it shows how little they care about the champion that this bug is still in the game despite two separate passes on the ability. You may still wish to Twin Bite incoming waves instead to extend Dragon's Descent if someone is nearby, or drop out of form first if already low on fury before using Twin Bite on the turret. You'll do more damage to it and get Dragon's Descent back a little bit faster.


W: Burnout


AoE damage and speed buff. Early on it is indispensable for dodging incoming fire and taking quick moments to dart forward, last hit a creep, and retreat. It's also useful for early last hitting under your turret since you don't have enough attack speed to prep caster minions fast enough yet. 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.

In the mid to late game once you have a few points in, it will help you position in fights, chase people down, and make your Flame Breath absolutely inescapable for most champions in the game.

It does literally nothing special in dragon form. It just gets a little bigger to match your larger size.

I miss my fire trail. Give me back my fire trail, 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 potentially damaging 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 a 1.0 ratio and massive range, which is nuts enough, the fire patch it leaves behind is also extremely threatening. It can tick 4 times before it expires, often hits priority targets for 200-250 damage per 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 Dark Harvest proc. That's a one hit kill. I've seen initial hits as high as 1800 with triple stacked infernal drakes and a max AP build. 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 on top of yourself. And since you must place Flame Breath below your snout, a quickly moving target can rotate around you and avoid the hit. If you are getting hit by two melee champions from opposite sides, you will only be able to hit one of them. If you’re being hugged, Burnout away for a half second and gain enough distance to be sure of your shot. Think of it as a dead zone extending about 50 range from the dead center of your model and never try to hit a target that’s inside it unless you are in a do-or-die moment. Once you have Nashor's Tooth and can do an appreciable amount of damage outside of your Flame Breath, I’d suggest simply autoing them down for a second until they expend their mobility and you force them to move in an easy to predict direction out of your dead zone.

Second, if you land Dragon's Descent on someone and they see their health get chunked down, they will typically immediately Flash 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. If you don’t know if their Flash is up or down, wait 1-2 seconds for them to respond, then fire after them. Aim your Flame Breath at max range directly behind a fleeing target so that if they do Flash late, you’ve got a good shot of hitting them anyway. That goes double for champions like Ahri and Ezreal who have built-in dashes and blinks. If your target is not fleeing or if you know their Flash and any movement abilities are down, aim at their feet to not risk the shot going wide. Trust me, it feels really bad to have your shot go right over someone's shoulder because you tried to lead them when it wasn't necessary. 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.

The explosion radius on empowered Flame Breath is significantly bigger than the skillshot indicator and resultant flame patch radius. The patch gets 20 units wider with each ult rank. The indicator most closely matches rank 2 flame patch; the rank 1 patch is smaller and the rank 3 larger. However, the explosion radius DOES NOT scale with level and remains constant. It's even larger than the rank 3 flame patch. This creates quite a large visual disparity between the apparent and actual range of the ability, especially at rank 1. I highly suggest smart casting Flame Breath for this reason and learning its true range intimately, since the indicator does not accurately portray it.

There is a bug which will make your shots pass through a target if fired from a very specific range. It happens at something close to half of your max attack range and is thankfully extremely precise and tough to replicate. You’ll probably never see it happen in a real game, but just know that it’s a thing. Rito pls.



There is another much more pleasing bug with Flame Breath that 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 1.0 ratio limited only by fury generation, having an extremely low effective cooldown with just a little bit of attack speed. Though it hits like a truck, it is fairly slow and allows your target to juke you easily or simply run back if cast from max range. Close distance with Burnout before hitting R if you need it to hit to pressure a kill. You only get a baseline 20 seconds in form before dropping out and you need to make the most of it, which makes CDR vital. 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 for as long as possible to get as many Flame Breaths off as you can.

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

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. 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. Unless the setup is perfect or you have a Stopwatch, use it only to position for your first Flame Breath in a 5v5 setting and then hang back and pretend you're a siege tank. If you want to use Dragon's Descent for damage in a big fight, most of 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.

After reverting to human form, gaining fury is your first, last, and only priority. 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 have Lich Bane and are short on time, don't use a single ability. 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.

If cast with your cursor at the midway point in a medium thickness wall, Dragon's Descent will catapult you through at twice the usual speed. It works sort of like Flash; you attempt to jump in the middle of it and get pushed through the rest of the way. This can catch people off guard and potentially give you the extra half second you need to catch up to your prey and line up a Flame Breath. However, this risks bonking on the terrain and is thus quite risky to execute on the fly. Also, only very specific lengths of wall work. Basically, anything thick enough to barely be traversible with Dragon's Descent normally. You can't use this to jump farther than you ought to be able to, only to speed it up a bit. Be careful that this interaction does not jump you through a wall that you do not want to go through; if ulting at a target that has their back to a thick-ish wall, mind your cursor placement.

The knockback effect also 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.

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

Why Smite mid?


Alright, I know this is a weird one, but hear me out. Smite mid became popular about a year ago in high ELO for contesting OP scuttle crabs and taking chickens at level 1 for a free level on certain champions. After crabs were nerfed a little bit and anti-funnel measures were put into place, it stopped being a thing. However, those were only two benefits of the spell and it still has a lot more to offer than people realize, especially now that Ignite has been heavily nerfed. Taking Smite on AP Shyvana shores up her key weaknesses in lane while greatly accentuating her core strengths as a champion. It also offers a veritable Swiss army knife of utility that this build is uniquely positioned to take full advantage of.


1. Lane Sustain


First, running Smite in the mid lane functions as a better summoner Heal on a much shorter cooldown. Starting with a Control Ward and getting permanent vision of the big raptor allows you to just barely reach it with smite over the wall from your turret, gaining 70+10% of your max health in healing (129 at level 1) every 90 seconds. For reference, Heal gives 90-345 based on level on a 240 second cooldown. There is no comparison between the two, especially in the early game. Shyvana struggles heavily against lane bullies and mages with frequently applied harass patterns, so having access to this much extra health is critical to stay in lane and avoid being denied farm.

This strategy is obviously less useful if you have a farming jungler who likes to take chickens frequently, but you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to gain hundreds and hundreds of health back over the course of the lane. If you have a single target spam ganking jungler like Pantheon or Twitch who does not take the chicken camp often, you simply cannot be forced to take a bad back on your first outing against almost any matchup. Worst case scenario, they will run out of mana before you run out of health.

2. Guaranteed Cannons


Smite also means that almost nobody will be able to deny you cannon creeps, which are worth an absolute ton. Good players who know how to lane well will frequently position themselves to block your Flame Breath while you are weak to deny you farm and will make extra sure to deny the cannon if possible. They will even take a turret shot to do so if they can afford it. Smite allows you to safely secure these bags of gold from range and swiftly retreat to avoid retaliation. It also allows you to use Flame Breath on a low health group of creeps and still have a safe way to secure the big one if the need arises. This flexibility can get you several hundred extra gold over time in a bad matchup. As a streamer, this also lets me avoid C A N N O N spam in chat. So that's nice too!

3. Runic Echoes Powerspike


Taking Smite allows you to build Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes as your first item. Jungle items are intentionally over budget to allow junglers to have a disproportionately large impact on the game with reduced income. Runic is therefore a very potent, early powerspike that makes your Flame Breath a very serious threat. AP Shyvana most often gets ahead in games by chasing down and finishing off low health targets set up by your team with one last massive chunk, and no item accentuates this playstyle more quickly than Runic Echoes. However, the one flaw to going for one of these items in lane is that you CANNOT buy any tier 1 or 2 jungle item and MUST upgrade directly to tier 3 to avoid the monster hunter debuff. This is expensive, costing 1600 gold to upgrade from a Fiendish Codex, but the previously described healing makes staying out on the map for the required long period of time relatively easy.

Another critical property of Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes is that you get a very clear audio and visual cue when your Flame Breath lands on a target. This is incredibly useful when firing over walls or into unwarded bushes, since the only other way you'd have to detect the presence of enemies is if the projectile lands a direct hit and stops early. The absolute maximum range of Flame Breath is also just barely in fog of war, and with how hard it hits, knowing for sure if it chunked that Ahri for 800 can drastically affect your decision making.

4. Full Benefit from Jungle Denial


Once Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes is complete you gain 50 bonus experience from jungle camps and crabs just as if you were a jungler, and this is probably Smite’s greatest advantage. Shyvana's kit absolutely destroys jungle camps with the tooth and nail passives, as it was specifically designed to do so through very high percent and AoE damage. If your team gains map control off of a successful push or a won teamfight, make sure to rotate through the enemy jungle and steal away as much as you can on your retreat, particularly the chicken and krug camps. After a few repetitions, this will cripple their jungler and give you several extra levels by the time the game ends.

If your jungler is busy across the map and is not likely to take his camps anytime soon, feel free to nom them up as well. Keeping your side of the map respawning means more benefit for your team as a whole. It only takes about 25 jungle camps or crabs over the course of the game to give you a full level that you wouldn't have without this item, and considering you can steal 2-5 camps per successful push in the blink of an eye on top of whatever you decide to take for yourself back home, this is very possible. As a bruiser class champion, Shyvana's base stats scale up exceptionally well, making her incredibly hard to deal with when several levels ahead. Using this strategy, it's not uncommon for me to end games with their jungler 2 levels down and 40+ CS behind my own.

5. Objective Control


This goes without saying, but having two Smites gives your team much more objective control. If your jungler happens to be topside while drake is up, you can still nip over and nab it for your team if you see an opening. You'll melt it with Dragonborn and it makes for a great fury battery. If you're both together, you can take it damn near instantly at all points of the game. For some bloody stupid reason, Riot's decided that drakes should only be worth 25 gold now, so who ends up getting drake is no longer critical. I highly advise against trying to coordinate a double smite without voice comms; you will almost certainly leave frames between smites and leave yourselves open to a possible steal. Whoever gets the drake isn't important, but try to nab it if you can. It's still worth a chunk of XP.

Two Smites also melts Baron faster, and you won't have to trust somebody else to secure that crucial buff. Be like Thanos and do it yourself. You could also easily duo Baron very early in the game with 4 Smites while your team holds attention elsewhere on the map. Look to make that call when it makes sense to do so. It will catch the other team completely by surprise. Use your ult while doing so; your fire patch will do another 1500-2000 damage to Baron and it could be the difference between getting away and being collapsed on and having it stolen. I've heard that you can even solo it with a full build and max Ravenous Hunter stacks, though I've never done so and don't know exactly where that breakpoint is yet.

Stealing Baron with Dragon's Descent stacked with Smite is extremely reliable, more so than it would be if you were jungling. You'll have plenty of AP behind Dragon's Descent from mid farm, along with at least one level up over the opposing jungler. More if you've had opportunities to counterjungle him. You'll be able to last hit Nashor from as high as 1300-1500 life, and since Dragon's Descent is unstoppable, they just have to watch it happen. Very few champions can match this.

6. Dark Harvest Synergy


Crucially, Chilling Smite procs Dark Harvest. Ignite does not. Being able to instantly point and click pop someone on low health from range and take them out of the game with your Dark Harvest stacks is most efficient, allowing you to get more value out of your Flame Breath by hitting a healthier target. The slow on Chilling Smite makes it much harder to dodge your nuke or other threats being flung out by your team. It also makes you faster, which on top of Burnout lets you reposition quickly, chase down effectively, and outrun almost every champion in the game for the duration.

7. Fantastic Answer for Spellshields


Finally, Chilling Smite pops spell shields. Since all your damage is in one or two big abilities, this solves the problem of being hard countered by Banshee's Veil, Edge of Night, and champions like Sivir, Malzahar, and Nocturne. The range on Smite is obviously much shorter than your Flame Breath though, so it won't help in situations where you aren't allowed to close the distance.

8. Access to Challenging Smite Dueling Power


For these reasons, you'll want to be going Chilling Smite in nearly every game, but Challenging Smite remains a strong option against champions who ignore slows and must be fought head to head, or can reliably jump on you and start beating your face in ( Olaf, Master Yi, Vi). It's an obscenely strong tool for early dueling, basically being a mini combination Exhaust+ Ignite, and I can definitely see it making a world of difference in small skirmishes.


So, what does Ignite offer over Smite? Damage wise, Chilling Smite does about 2/5th of Ignite's damage on half the cooldown, so on a pure DPS level it's not all that different, but all that damage is applied instantly, which as a burst champion you care about. If a fight drags on for more than 15 seconds and you have both charges, you end up losing a negligible amount of damage even if you don't proc Dark Harvest. Challenging Smite on the other hand will do nearly as much damage in the midgame if you can keep the DoT rolling over the full 4 second duration while also reducing its target's damage by 20%, though its damage component doesn't scale as well as Chilling Smite. You also get the 4 seconds of grievous wounds which may or may not be useful depending on composition. That’s pretty much it.

I’m sure that many other midlaners with weak early games can make great use of Smite too, but people haven’t realized it yet. Experiment and let me know what works well. Go forth and innovate!
Runes Back to Top

For experts in nonthreatening lanes


Dark Harvest
Though it’s been overnerfed for most previous users (looking at you, Karthus), Dark Harvest is still your best bet. It’s the only keystone that will trigger on that one guaranteed tick of fire patch damage after a direct Flame Breath hit and still do appreciable damage. You will do more than enough damage for the impact to take carries into proc range by the midgame. The resetting component also makes it the most valuable rune to take for early skirmishes and game-deciding late 5v5s. It’s basically a resetting Electrocute that is much easier for you to trigger and pushes your damage from merely unreasonable to downright disgusting.

For specific dominance: Hail of Blades
This is a neat bit of tech I've been trying out with promising results into certain champions. Hail of Blades turns Shyvana into a wood chipper that will mulch anything foolish enough to get a little too close to her jaws. It neatly complements her trade pattern and there exists no better option for early aggression. You'll proc your Flame Breath mark 5 times in quick succession for 16.25% max health damage on top of everything else, doing over half of someone's life bar in an instant. With a Long Sword (to become a Hextech Gunblade later) and Ignite behind it you'll do an obscene amount of damage, taking people completely by surprise. This rune will give you lane dominance and priority into low mobility melee champions without much CC, which unfortunately isn't many. Even a low magnitude slow will prevent you from getting the full combo off and essentially leave you without a keystone. So far, I've found this works well into Katarina, who is more popular now than she's ever been, and Irelia. You'll also be able to pile on quite a lot of damage in early game skirmishes and contribute meaningfully to crab battles, which is otherwise not possible. Because this is a radically different and risky playstyle I'm still learning how to apply its power curve, but believe quite strongly that it's worth figuring out.

Taste of Blood
The only real option in the row is some much needed sustain. Shyvana is very weak early and vulnerable to being bullied, so we need something to help us survive the early game. You have to have good aim with your Flame Breath to take full advantage of the rune, though. We still don't have a timer for it unfortunately, so you'll have to guess when it's up. Try very hard to kill a creep or two and hit your opponent with every other Flame Breath; that should end up being close to every 20 seconds and make staying in lane a bit easier. You should get a few hundred health out of it per outing, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Eyeball Collection
Eyeball gives 2 AP per takedown and a solid 30 AP after 10, and we love us some free AP. We don't like to take sweeper so Zombie Ward isn't an option, and since yellow trinket's cooldown scales down from 4 to 2 minutes on all 10 player's average level, Ghost Poro would take longer than 10 takedowns to stack up most of the time, though its effect is potentially very useful. I'm not even sure if you get credit for it if your wards are swept and killed early. You ought to have your 10 stacks by the end of the first major midgame fight.

Ravenous Hunter
This will get you a little extra lane sustain and keep you scaling up. It's not much until you start stacking it; it's been pretty nerfed at its base level, but every little bit helps. You'll get 1-2 health per thing you hit, which adds up. If you're in a hard lane and are getting zoned away from the wave it won't be nearly enough, though. A neat little factoid is that popping the Rift Herald's eye does count as damage done and will heal you for several percent of 1700, which is quite a chunk. So going to punch Shelly for a bit for fury if you have nothing better to do will actually end up healing you a bit, too.

Transcendence
CDR is vital to making the build work since your only source of real damage is your Flame Breath, which is where Transcendence comes in. That, Nashor's Tooth, and one situational item gets you to 40% nice and early. Many items that AP Shyvana loves to build have CDR, so overcapping on it is likely. Being able to convert every additional 10% to 20 AP is thus very nice, especially if the game goes late enough for you to consider Luden's Echo.

Gathering Storm
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 minutes. 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 only one spicy drake and a hat, you get 67.5 AP from this rune at 30 minutes. That's a free Needlessly Large Rod. If it goes to 40, you'll get 120 and will probably start one hitting people.


For beginners and extremely oppressive matchups


Fleet Footwork
Fleet is essential to shore up your terrible early game and survive the laning phase against the worst matchups. For an AP melee champion, the ratio on it is 0.3, and you can proc it every 5-10 seconds or so, depending on how much access to the wave you have to generate charges. This is a large amount of sustain and will let you eat auto attacks and moderate harass no problem with just a Fiendish Codex, keeping you in the lane and farming towards relevancy. The CD on Flame Breath starts at 12 seconds, so you can’t just sit back and Flame Breath creeps, you have to be able to walk up to the wave as well or get starved. With my new Smite mid strategy, taking Fleet Footwork became less of a necessity, allowing for higher carry potential in more games, but you'd better believe you want to take this into a Diamond level Azir or Orianna.

I also highly suggest starting off learning the build by playing a few games with Fleet Footwork no matter what lane you're up against. Once you're comfortable and know how to farm without taking too much damage, you can take off the training wheels and unleash your true carry-roasting potential.

Triumph
Triumph is a very good rune and your only option in this row. You'll be getting lots of takedowns in teamfights to keep you going and it will save your bacon when you barely kill your enemies but still have Ignite ticking you down. More gold per kill is nice too, and honestly it shouldn't even be on the rune with how much healing it does. You need significant amounts of lifesteal and/or a healing support tunneling you to make Overheal shine; the marginal amount you get from Fleet is nowhere near enough until you get to several hundred AP.

Legend: Tenacity/Alacrity
Tenacity is by far the highest value Legend rune since you’ll be buying Sorcerer's Shoes in every game. 30% CC reduction is absolutely massive and will frequently be the difference between life and death if you misposition in a fight or get pegged by something that is instant and unavoidable. If their composition has very little hard CC, then you may as well go Alacrity for fury generation and to synergize with your multiple sources of on-hit damage (this is very rarely the case).

Coup de Grace
More damage on hurt, squishy targets. You shouldn't be hitting tanks with Cut Down if you can help it (though unusually beefy compositions can make it a viable option) and you also shouldn't be taking damage to use Last Stand effectively. Only option.

Transcendence/Gathering Storm
You still want the same secondaries as above; I don't think you can afford skimping on these two runes in particular in favor of defensive options no matter how bad your lane is. They're worth suffering for in the early game since they let you scale into a game-winning monster. Not having Dark Harvest hurts enough; without them, you'll have too much trouble getting the ball rolling.


For stat shards, select as appropriate for the lane. Always take AP in the first row to assist with Flame Breath last hitting. Go double MR VS any burst mage. 2 AP 1 MR is the way to go against more control oriented mages. A single armor shard is typically sufficient against AD lanes since you will get plenty of armor from rushing Seeker's Armguard.
Your hoard: Item selection Back to Top
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 #1: Dark Seal, 1 pot, 1 ward
Dark Seal is your sit back and scale starting item. It switches your adaptive stat to AP, allowing you to more easily farm with Flame Breath from a distance. The extra potion healing is nice and gives a good chunk of value over the course of the lane. You get even more value from stacking it over the course of the game and it makes Mejai's Soulstealer well worth the investment if you find yourself at 10 stacks in the midgame. It did just take a bit of a nerf by losing 5 AP and 100G of sale value, but the item was busted and totally deserved it, particularly when several were stacked with Corrupting Potion (cough Singedcough). It's still great. They could have just made the extra healing passive unique, but whatever.

You will also be starting with one Control Ward to spot the chicken camp for Smite healing and one Health Potion. See below for placement information.

Start #2: Triple beads, 1 pot
These beads feel really good, and are great to have for situations where you know you're about to get pounded. They give another 12HP/5 at level 1, scale with your level, and have a high resale value. They cost 150 and sell for 105, so by the time you sell all 3 you've only lost 135 gold. A small price to pay for that much sustain! By comparison, Doran's Shield only gives 6HP/5, does NOT scale, loses you 270 gold after sale, and even with its unique passive maxed (which is at 25% remaining health) only offers 26HP/5. You are also playing with fire if you are trying to get full value out of said passive. By level 6, beads offer over a flat 18HP/5. We have a clear winner! Usually, you'll want to run these in conjunction with Fleet Footwork. Between those and Smite healing, it will take quite a lot to force you back to base, and you'll just outlast most early mana pools.

Generally speaking, for champions classed as tiny or minor threats you should run Dark Harvest + Dark Seal, for even run Dark Harvest + 3 Rejuvenation Bead, and major/extreme run Fleet Footwork + Rejuvenation Bead. Mix and match as needed for your skill level, elo, and confidence.

VS AD midlaner: Seeker's
Build Seeker's Armguard first thing against any threatening AD lane, especially Zed. The item is over budget and absolutely busted. It’s only 1100 gold for 45 armor and 35 AP; around 150% gold efficient. It will secure your early game by itself and is well worth delaying your core build for. Remember that you are a hard scaling champion, so investing in early safety is well worth it. If your opponent is not pressuring properly, is playing very defensively, or is just flat out awful, you can skip it.

First item: Runic Echoes
This item is an extremely early and ridiculously powerful powerspike. Aside from offering 80 cheap AP and 10% CDR on its own, the proc adds 60+10% AP to your Flame Breath and is the fastest way to make kill securing chunks possible. An early Echoes also gives you a ton of lane pressure, allowing your human form Flame Breath to finish off melee creeps and one shot the casters. This does wonders for your CS and drastically limits your opponent's ability to deny you under turret, regardless of matchup.

It's worth saying again and you need to remember this, though: you CANNOT buy a tier 1 or 2 jungle item and MUST upgrade directly from Fiendish Codex to avoid the monster hunter debuff, which would cripple your lane farm. This costs 1600 gold and may take till your third back to manage it. Do everything that you can to get it on your second recall; steal crabs and other jungle farm, roam and tax lanes, int for a kill or turret plate, sell everything else in your inventory, whatever you need to do. All that matters is you complete this item as fast as possible. If you really can't get enough, just finish Sorcerer's Shoes and sit on the remainder of your money.

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. Damage resistance scales logarithmically, so reducing a small number by 18 translates into TONS OF DAMAGE . Let's assume that a Vayne has neglected to buy any MR while rushing her 2 item 1v9 powerspike and is currently at 40. This reduces her damage taken by 28.5%. Subtract 18 and we get 22. Now she only has 18% damage reduction. That's a boost of 10%. If we have 200 AP and our empowered Flame Breath hits for 580 before mitigation, we've gone from 420.5 to 475.6 damage. That's equivalent to building an extra 76 AP. If there were boots that gave 76 AP for 800 gold, you bet we'd all be calling them busted and demanding a nerf. And magic pen only gets more valuable from there as you build more AP. 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.

Fury generation, objective pressure, and CDR: Nashor's Tooth
Nashor's Tooth is a necessity on AP Shyvana. This item has everything that you want out of life. It gives you much quicker access to Dragon's Descent through its hefty attack speed bonus, which you are next to useless without, and it also lets you take objectives much faster. The chunk of CDR is necessary for any extended fights, and the on-hit proc synergizes with your Twin Bite, letting you defend yourself outside of dragon form with some light sustained damage. It's an incredibly efficient and over budgeted item because there aren't many champions in the game who value both attack speed and AP, so it has to hold up this niche by itself.

Double Penetration OwO: Oblivion Orb
As explained above, flat penetration is just mathematically the best and most efficient choice for raw damage against soft targets and until Riot decides to fix it, we have to abuse it. Now that Vayne has only 7 MR. She's only mitigating 6.5% of incoming damage. Our Flame Breath now hits for 542. Together with Sorc shoes, the flat pen on this item alone is worth 80 ABILITY POWER. You are paying a 765 gold combine cost for 1600 gold worth of effective AP. It's literally over half off. Buy one get one free. And that's just to start; again, you get more and more value out of it as you build more and more AP. With a full build at 800 AP for example, the flat pen you get from sitting on Oblivion Orb is equivalent to 165 AP. They went through an entire AP item rework and didn’t touch this lunacy, so I’d say it’s here to stay for a while. And as predicted, they didn’t fix the problem and just made it 100 gold more expensive, which changes absolutely nothing. They really have their heads in the sand sometimes…


You will be building these four or five items, usually in this order, in every game. After you have your Nashor's Tooth and pen, it’s time to begin specializing for the situation.


Consider these first


VS heavy healing: Morellonomicon
You may have to finish Morellonomicon immediately vs red Kayn, Soraka, Vladimir, etc. Pick it up later for other enchanter supports like Sona and Nami once the game progresses enough for them to pick up some throughput. Your AD carry really should be buying an Executioner's Calling in these situations, but if they're dumb and refuse to (as is so depressingly often the case), you need to provide this for your team or heal spamming enemies simply will never die. If you don’t need healing reduction, sit on the orb and upgrade it dead last. You’ll hurt for inventory space, but it’s so worth it.

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. 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. You just lose a few hundred gold for a potential payoff of 90+ AP. 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 you’ve racked up a big bounty, grab it since you’ll be trying very hard to not die anyway. It might not be the best idea if they have powerful pick tools like Assault and Battery or a fed assassin, though, so check for those first. It will make you a bigger target and attract their attention for sure. If things start heading south and you lose the stacks, sell it to grab your next big item. It’s not a big deal.


Next, you have a big decision to make



Deathcap
VS

Lich Bane
Rabadon's Deathcap will make your Flame Breath terrifying and is the correct choice if you don’t think you can close distance to the enemy or if you will get immediately killed if ever in melee range. A CC heavy lineup on your side is another point in the hat’s favor since you’ll have guaranteed hits set up for you, sometimes on multiple targets at once, which is where the true value of the build lies. Reset mechanics on your side are more reasons to go hat, since one good Flame Breath will set your boy Darius up to demolish their entire team. If you’ve got a couple Infernal drakes and/or a stacked Mejai's Soulstealer, build hat to further amplify your stacked AP. Go Lich Bane if there are many melee champions on the other team that will allow you to reliably proc it multiple times in a fight. You’ll need it to do a damn thing to bruisers and it will give you a lot of very reliable chunking power against melee assassins and fragile carries. It also is the correct choice in extremely fast paced scrappy games that may not always give you the chance to charge up Dragon's Descent before fighting, as it will let you contribute much more to fights while dragon form is not available. Facing anti-projectile champions ( Yasuo, Braum, Xin Zhao, Sivir etc.) also favors this route. Lastly, it's the best anti-structure item in the game, though you'll do that fine no matter what you build. If you're looking to splitpush (not my playstyle), go Lich Bane for sure.


I firmly believe that Lich Bane and Rabadon's Deathcap are absolute priorities and you should pick up at least one of the two before considering any other item. You’ve gotta make a judgement call each game as to which one is the right tool for the job and adapt your playstyle to match. With Rabadon's Deathcap, hang back and look to line up devastating multi-man Flame Breaths while your team has them locked down together, or just pop some poor soul who strayed too far from his team and pressure objectives with your numbers advantage. With Lich Bane, while fighting those pesky bruiser meatballs make sure to Flame Breath, auto- Twin Bite, back off, and repeat. Any attempt to do sustained damage against that class of champions will likely get you killed with how fragile you are; you’ll be a very tempting target and they'll wreck you if you let them. Look for opportunities to chunk them safely in teamfights and use your Burnout to retreat before they can retaliate. The best defense is a good offense in this meta; don’t build defense before this point if you can help it. It’s really nice to have both of these items, so feel free to build both in either order as you see fit, but it’s not strictly necessary.


Now get these


For safety and Dragon's Descent - Flame Breath plays: Stopwatch
Stopwatch is the single best item in the game. There’s a reason why you’re seeing any pro worth his salt buy one for critical moments, turning the next teamfight into League of Hourglass. Being able to Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath onto the backline and not be killed instantly opens up so many opportunities to instagib carries and make game-winning plays. You will also be a priority target in fights once people realize that they’re being chunked for half or more of their life, and a few seconds of stasis can buy your team the time they need to punish any greedy pick attempts. Even more so if you're stacking and have a huge bounty; staying alive is paramount in that case. It will also stall for half of your Flame Breath cooldown, and usually will let you get another shot off that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to while under pressure, which can be a game changer. I almost always finish Zhonya's Hourglass right after Rabadon's Deathcap/ Lich Bane for these reasons. If you’re behind and really need the stasis for that fed burst mage or assassin ( Zed especially), you may be forced to build it before your priority damage items. Don’t be too proud to make smart decisions. Once you've used the watch, look to upgrade it right away to Zhonya's Hourglass unless you are truly under no threat in fights, especially if you started Seeker's Armguard.

For game deciding fights: Blue Elixir
The blue soda has quite a kick. Not only is 50 AP nothing to sneeze at with your 1.0 ratios (probably even more because of Infernals and Deathcap), it adds 25 true damage to every hit on a small cooldown. And that cooldown is... 5 seconds. Almost exactly what your Flame Breath CD is at 40% CDR. Funny how that works out. Make sure you have one running for Baron/Elder fights, Baron pushes, and last-ditch defenses. You're looking at as much as another 100 damage per target per hit, and it could very well be the difference between winning and losing.


Situational items: build as necessary


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. Sell Oblivion Orb to get it and free up the slot if you notice this too late right before a big fight (unless you also need healing reduction). The flat pen won’t do nearly as much as 40% against even a single MR item. You're losing 600 gold to do this though, so don't be lazy hitting tab and find yourself in this bad position. It's rare, but sometimes you have to build Void Staff right after Nashor's Tooth if your comp is high in magic damage and the entire enemy team gets fast MR.

If against heavy AP and high threat spells: Banshee's
I almost never buy Banshee's Veil since Zhonya's Hourglass is infinitely more useful in almost every situation. Take a fed Lux for instance. You can buy Banshee's Veil and avoid Light Binding once every 40 seconds if you’re lucky enough that it doesn't get popped by a Luden's Echo proc or some other stupid and irrelevant spell right beforehand, or you can take Zhonya's Hourglass and avoid her full combo whenever you get hit anyway, MR be damned. It’s just so much more versatile and synergistic with Shyvana’s kit. I wouldn’t even look at Banshee's Veil unless they have 3 heavy AP champs and an Ashe or something, but there are situations where it is the correct buy as a 5th or 6th item, especially against champions who must start their rotation with one specific spell in order to be threatening ( Fizz, Vladimir, Diana, Annie, etc.).

Omnivamp: Gunblade
Hextech Gunblade is also a good item that is worth considering for 1v1 dueling power and endless sustain, but I can’t fit it into the build anywhere and think that other options are more versatile and overall superior for a full AP build. Still, it’s worth mentioning. Try it out and slot it in somewhere if you like it. I do think that it is probably a decent rush item in some situations, like if you know your lane opponent is autofilled or drunk and you just want to smash him as hard as possible as fast as possible. It's the best item to rush if you're taking Hail of Blades for Katarina and Irelia since it's such a strong 1v1 all in item and it gives AD for your HoB combo.


Here's a very useful spreadsheet built by Reddit user 1GimmicK and posted to r/Shyvanamains (Shoutouts). It lets you play around with all of the above items to see how they affect your Flame Breath damage, calculates gold/dmg values to help you find the most efficient purchase, and has fields to plug in target MR, Infernal drakes, all sorts of stuff. Check it out and play with it a while!
Early game (Levels 1-5) Back to Top

Level 1: Take command and place wards


Once all champions are locked in and while the game loads, you should come up with a plan for level 1 and spam ping before you're even let out of the fountain. Look at how much CC and level 1 damage each team has and call accordingly. Champions with hooks or long range bindings love to invade the enemy bot side jungle and look for a free pick with their team. If you've got one or two of these and your level 1 is stronger, call to invade if it hasn't been done already. If the other team has such abilities but your team's got the stronger level 1, call to 5 man stack in a bush along their predicted invade route and kill them when they show up. If they have strong CC and also win the level 1, call to watch both entrances and be ready to Flash away if you see 5 goons running toward you. If they invade, you'll have to concede the buff and your jungler will have to steal theirs to match. And 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.

On the way, put your pink ward in the chicken bush at this precise spot. You can have it in the bush and still spot the big chicken, but there's not a lot of room for error. Practice placing this a few times in the practice tool. Make sure to hug the wall as shown before attempting to Smite; the game will try to path you around the entire wall if you're not in range. Your ward should stay alive for the entire early game unless your jungler gets chased past it. The chickens are also the most popular camp to steal, being worth a lot while being pretty squishy and quick to take, so having constant vision on it can let your team collapse and catch their jungler with their hand in the cookie jar.





Then go and ward the pixel bush on the opposite side that your jungler is starting at about 1:20 to keep watch for an early buff steal attempt. In a world without level 2 crabs, many junglers have returned to attempting to 3 buff their opponent in the early game. Catching this will allow your teammate to path towards vertical jungling and end up losing nothing, or let your team collapse for a free first blood. If your jungler asks you to ward somewhere else instead, oblige him. Knowledge is power, especially in the jungle.


Early playstyle: be patient and defensive


Your goal for the early game is just to farm up, soak experience, and hit 6 without inting. 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. If you will be hit for 10% or more of your life (or 20% for a cannon), don't walk up to the wave and just take what you can get with Flame Breath. 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. As a bruiser class champion with very high base damages, AP Shyvana scales very well with levels and ranks in her Flame Breath, and falling behind in experience seriously ruins her effectiveness.

If you have the choice between using Flame Breath to last hit or go for harass, prioritize the farm unless your opponent is a potato. Ideally you want to line up shots which kill a few creeps and also hit your enemy, but that is not always possible. Your CDs are very long early game and so you must be efficient with them. Look for and take those opportunities where you see them.

If you’re against a level 2 cheese jungler like Twitch, Shaco, Camille, or Pantheon, stay the hell back until you know where they are. Don’t go up to farm or step into the middle of the lane for ANY reason. These champions are popular because brainlets don't respect them and immediately int, and many of them LOVE to go mid first. Just let the wave push into you. Flash immediately if they still manage to get a good angle on you. Pantheon especially will always Flash stun you if he gets into range. Dying for first blood at 2 minutes is the fastest way to ruin your entire game. Since all you bring to the team is damage with zero utility, it’s very hard to come back from a deficit with this build. Don’t risk it.

If running Fleet Footwork, you want to always stay in motion and take whatever chances you get to peck the wave to charge and proc it. More auto attacks equals more sustain. Unfortunately charging Fleet Footwork is an "on attack" effect like Guinsoo's Rageblade and not an "on hit" effect, so Twin Bite won't charge it twice as fast. Unlucky. With Dark Harvest and therefore Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter, your sustain depends on being able to poke your opponent every 20 seconds and on what little you get from farming, which isn’t much until you get some stacks going. Smite your chicken as needed and make sure you're never sitting on two charges. If you're doing okay but you see your jungler coming to kill the camp, nip back and Smite to top yourself off before he does so. Use your potions once your health drops below half or in preparation for a gank or skirmish. Don't leave any opportunity to die to an all in or mistake. Keep that health bar high to discourage aggression and potential tower dives.


Wave management and last hitting


Ideally, you want the wave to settle a little in front of your turret and intentionally keep it frozen there with precise last hitting. Don’t shove 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, it may not be worth it if you had to hit the entire wave to do it and your wave pushes forward, especially if you’re against a press-button-get-kill jungler. Alternatively, a misplaced Flame Breath can seriously mess up your last hitting under tower if the wave is shoving into you. Be precise with Flame Breath and only hit what you need to.

You will be doing a lot of early last hitting under your turret in the vast majority of matchups since you'll be too weak to directly contest your opponent for a few levels. To last hit full health melee creeps, hit them after 2 tower shots. Caster creeps die in 2 turret shots and have 2 auto attacks worth of life left over after the first hit, so you’ll need to prep them ahead of time. You don’t have the attack speed to hit them all once before and once after the turret fires yet. Flame Breath does too much damage, but 2 ticks of Burnout will do it. 3 is risky and 4 will ruin the entire stack though. Let your Burnout expire once it’s prepped the casters.

A bunch of creeps hitting the turret all with different health levels becomes a puzzle. 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. Try to get as much as you can, but missing a few is unavoidable, especially if you're also taking harass while doing so. Once you have level 5 and a Fiendish Codex/ Seeker's Armguard, you can just unload on the wave and get most of it. 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 your Flame Breath is down and there are a lot of creeps hitting the cannon, you may want to just Smite it to be sure you don't miss it. If your lane opponent is playing passive and you won't lose too much health, consider tanking the wave for a few seconds in front of your turret while your next wave arrives. This will make sure you lose as little farm as possible.


You are very weak: Skirmish with care


Be very careful about rotating anywhere at this point. You are very weak in the early game. Shyvana’s abilities all synergize together, so until you have access to all of them you are of very little use in a fight. You will need to cede priority against all but the easiest matchups, which will probably make your jungler very angry. Make sure he knows that and tell him to not contest crabs or enemy objectives too hard before your level 6, because you will almost certainly will lose a 2v2. DO NOT commit to a bad fight and int just because your jungler went and got himself collapsed on. You cannot fall behind, so don't risk it. That being said, if your jungler's early game is significantly more powerful than his counterpart, you can still win these early skirmishes. The recent buff to Flame Breath mark damage seriously helps with this. Just approach with care and make sure you come out on top.

Try to keep ward control in the pixel river bush on bot side, especially against any support that likes to roam a lot ( Bard, Thresh, Leona etc.). Check the scoreboard for Boots of Mobility. That's a huge red flag. If you see those boots and their bot can push out, you know the roams are coming, so keep your wards on the bottom side of the lane and be prepared. If their top laner is getting destroyed, be aware that they may just leave lane, roam down, and try to kill you, desperate to be useful and stop chain-feeding. Mid lane gives you the most options and opportunities on the map, but the central positioning also potentially makes you a target from all directions. Keep those flanks warded.

If your opponent goes for a back, stay in lane and take what you can get if you’re struggling, which unfortunately will be often for the first few levels. 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 still must reset right away). Take any alone time with the wave that you can get and scale, scale, scale. Ideally you want to take your first back with 1100-1350 gold for your Fiendish Codex+ Boots of Speed+ Refillable Potion, or Seeker's Armguard to have some AP ready for level 6, which begins the next significantly more fun stage of the game.

Season 10 is more or less a drake meta, so dragon control is exceptionally important. The thing spawns at 5 minutes, and you should be level 5 by this point. If possible, Burnout over and slam a ward down on the drake pit when it spawns, especially if the enemy jungler can solo it easily ( Warwick, Vi, Kha'Zix to name a few). If it's someone like Kayn you probably don't need to worry unless bot lane goes missing and wait until level 6 to go get vision.
Mid-game (Level 6-20 minutes) Back to Top

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 use a spell on the creep wave or whiff one aimed at you and GO. Your burst is absurd if you get close enough to land your ult; Dragon's Descent- Flame Breath-auto- Twin Bite will kill nearly any champion in the game from 3/4 health. With Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes and Sorcerer's Shoes, you'll start killing them from full.

As I said previously, Dragon's Descent is a very telegraphed and slow ability, so make sure you activate Burnout beforehand and close distance to 200-300 range so they can’t juke you. It’s unlikely you’ll finish the kill on a healthy target without landing it. If they barely escape and back off, which until you finish Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes and Sorcerer's Shoes is more likely than not, make sure to cleave the wave with your empowered Twin Bite to shove in and extend your dragon form. Position to hit as many as possible (you’ll hit anything in a full semicircle in front of you). You only get a base time of 20 seconds in ult, barely enough time for 3 Flame Breaths without CDR at this point, so you must stay in form for as long as possible to zone your enemy and threaten a kill. Once pushed in, you can zone a low health target out of experience range under their own turret for as long as Dragon's Descent lasts.

It's worth saying again: make absolutely sure that you put all of your available wards down before going for an all in. 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 and very safe then suddenly starts to toe into range, you should think to yourself that it's too good to be true. Watch for those 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 just to secure stacked waves of farm. 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. If your team loses a fight and you’re left standing against a push, transform far away from them and Flame Breath as many creeps as you can to take the wind out of their sails. You can usually safely save a turret if you can sneak a fireball around their front line and nuke most of the wave.

Once you climb high enough and start facing decent players, opportunities for solo kills become few and far between. 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 before you finish Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes and Sorcerer's Shoes. One of my favorite tricks is to dip into fog of war after chunking my lane opponent down to one shot from death and shoving the wave in. Very few players have the discipline to resist watching a full creep wave dying to their turret; it makes for really good bait and they'll walk back up while you're still transformed. From there, it's an easy Flash for the kill. Be careful you don't run into their jungler while doing so, though. Here's a good example.




In most games, however, you will need to gain leads off of early skirmishes with your absurdly powerful Flame Breath. With Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes and Dark Harvest, you are as powerful as two champions while transformed and you can easily chase down and finish fleeing targets from as high as 30% life, converting small advantages into kills and snowballing the game out of control off of one or two fights. Tell your jungler to be aggressive while you have Dragon's Descent available and play around him while he looks to invade and attempts to start a skirmish. You'll almost certainly win.

A good way to think about the game is the following: the winning team is the one who 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. Keep one eye glued to your minimap. TFBlade, who has climbed to rank 1 in several different regions, says that he frequently watches his minimap more than the actual game. Take that to heart and get used to executing your lane in your peripheral vision while you focus on what really matters. Watch your jungler's pathing and make sure you're there to back him up if at all possible. If your bot lane is shoving in and your jungler's in bot side river? Shadow him in and look to 4 man dive. Is scuttle crab about to spawn and your jungler is heading over? Be there, help him secure it, and try to kill the other guy while you're at it. Jungler trying to sneak drake? Ward a bush for him and hang out on the bot side of the lane ready to rotate down, or just go help secure it with your Smite if secrecy isn't critical. Jungler looking to invade? Shove the wave and float behind him to back him up if required.


Come and get me


If you find yourself with an early lead and you're against a relatively weak combination of mid and jungle, while you have Dragon's Descent available, channel your inner Rorschach, position confidently, leave yourself open, and dare them to come for you. You're not locked in here with them; they're locked in here with YOU. When they go in, land Dragon's Descent on the weakest one, position to hit both with Flame Breath, and cleave them down with Twin Bite. They almost certainly will be completely unprepared for your burst. You will kill at least one from full health and probably get the other shortly afterward.

You're Rorschach, not Dr. Manhattan, though. Don't try this against something like Udyr LeBlanc and just get chain CCed and killed or something. That would just be embarrassing. Good targets to just turn on include Kha'Zix, Nidalee, Elise, Shaco, and especially Kayn. Base form Kayn is one of the weakest champions in the entire game. Never run from him. Kick his ***.

Keep this in mind if you find yourself chasing their jungler down for the kill: dragons are natural predators of chickens, and the raptor camp will be your best friend for extending dragon form. If it's up, it’s well worth taking a second to Twin Bite the camp and gain 24 fury instantly. This will easily give you enough time for one last Flame Breath to secure the kill. Unfortunately Riot decided to stealth nerf draconic Twin Bite to no longer reset per target hit, so we can't turn into a weedwhacker and get a full bar at once in the lategame anymore.





Punish roams


With turret plating, roams can be punished much harder and may not even be worth it. If your opponent is a roamer like Talon, LeBlanc, or Aurelion Sol and leaves to go kill your bot lane, it’s oftentimes better to simply ignore them and take the chance to obliterate their turret. If you didn’t catch them leaving and you won’t catch up in time, don’t even try. The fight will be over by the time you arrive. Just tunnel that turret, murder those waves, and pick up your 240-360 gold. That’s the safe and consistent play. Now that Twin Bite gains CDR on structure hits, you can usually take 2 plates per crashed wave. 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.

You’ll probably have Dragon's Descent available 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 and burst potential, and if you’re doing well, there’s a good chance that you can just kill them if they mess with you. If they don’t come, 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 half health 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. If you go for this play, make damn sure you put a deep ward down first and don’t get pinched by their jungler or mid in enemy territory. I’ve made that mistake a lot. Always shove in before leaving, though; even if you get a kill, losing a wave of experience seriously hurts. You cannot afford to fall behind on experience. Never sacrifice a wave for a maybe and don’t waste any time between lanes being indecisive. Here's a map.



First, check for pinks in the bushes, especially the pixel bush. That's a very popular warding spot that will spot you on the way. If their mid warded his bot side river bush, you may be able to 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 the bush from behind the wall and give no time for them to react. You'll be right in range at the end of your flight. 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, sit behind them in the lane and spam recall until your Flame Breath comes back up. You'll have them pinned, so there's no reason to dive. If your support goes for the dive though, just go in and chomp 'em.

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. I put mine by red buff to catch their jungler pathing between camps later. If you do this, you'll need to Dragon's Descent over the wall beside Krugs blind. If their jungler just happens to be there, evacuate. If they aren't though, their bot lane usually will not have the closest bush warded, falsely assuming their tribush ward to be good enough. You take a second and wait for a good chance, then go in and they'll have no idea. If you can hit them from over the wall, just do that and don't go into the lane at all. They will have no idea it's coming and won't be able to react. Only go into the lane if they're hugging the tower like they're playing WoW Arena and would be out of range.

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 or attempt to steal


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 in a 4v4 setting will practically concede it to the enemy, and you can't generate it that quickly this early in the game. Do not let that happen.

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. If you're against a jungler who can solo it effectively like Vi, Kha'Zix, Jarvan IV, or Udyr, it's well worth nipping over and keeping that pit warded if your support hasn't already done so. With Dragon's Descent and Smite, you can easily pick up a kill and finish off the drake if you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar. Wait for the drake to hit 1500 life before going in. By that point, their jungler should be hurt enough to easily finish off or force away while you take a free objective. Thanks for the leash!

The first two drakes have also been made significantly squishier, and with two Smites on the team you and your jungler can snag it in as little as 4-5 seconds. If the enemy team is behind on their rotations or has let vision lapse, spam ping away, ult for it, and melt the thing with your buddy.

Stealing drakes is very possible. You can’t outhit Smite yet, but it’s close, and a properly timed Flame Breath can nab it from complete safety if their jungler is asleep at the wheel. The recent buff to passive damage makes it even more likely, and 4 drakes in season 10 is an extremely powerful win condition. If you're confident in your own Smite skills, jumping in and inting for a drake steal is always well worth it. If their jungler made the mistake of starting drake while injured, hanging back and shooting him instead to force him off first may be the better move, particularly if your team is set up to contest. Then you can saunter on in and secure it for free. Your human form Flame Breath can barely hit drake from behind the pit as well if they don’t pull it out, so may as well go for it if you have vision but no ult. PSA BTW, always pull drake out when on red side. No sense risking a dumb steal like that.
Late-game Back to Top

Your time to shine: late-game teamfighting


Once lanes end and the death balls start roaming, it’s time to gib some carries. Navigating fights is tricky and you aren’t allowed to miss. In most situations you should Dragon's Descent in place and fire from a distance over trying to RE over the enemy in a big fight, at least until you have a Stopwatch. 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 ulting into a fight without a godly setup is a one way ticket. Unless you know you can kill or cripple 3 or more priority targets or you know the fight will be won before they can retaliate, don’t do it. Look to sneak fireballs around their frontline and decimate their squishy targets, or if your carries are fed, stick by them and look to use Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath to instagib any diving assassins. Death is the best peel, after all. 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 max CDR, Flame Breath is on a 4.8 second cooldown, just enough time for 4 shots without autoing mid-fight (which is why 40% is mandatory), so you need to make them count. Do. Not. Miss. Be as patient as you need to and always look to land guaranteed shots while a good target is CCed. If you manage to hit multiple carries with a single shot, you should carry the fight single-handedly, but this is not always possible. 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 with one ability.

Pay special attention to abilities which self-root your enemies and take advantage of them. If you’re up against Miss Fortune for instance, watch her like a hawk and make sure you peg her with a fireball when she goes to Bullet Time. If you watch your team's positioning, predict and are ready for her ult, and fire quickly, she’ll either be forced to cancel it or roast herself to death. Forcing one of those powerful channeled ultimates to be cancelled is a very big deal. Xerath, Jhin, same deal. If you see Ezreal or Lux go to ult in a fight, you know for a fact that they are stuck in place for the better part of a second. Plenty of time to hit Flame Breath and make them regret their life choices.

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 the teams dance around and feel each-other out, waiting for one side to make a mistake. 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 team away 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.


Ambush predator


If possible, you want your team to engage in the jungle. Fighting in the jungle forces the backline to huddle together to do damage, 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 be ticking for 200+ and 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 when your enemies know it's coming, 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.


You can camp a bush in wait for a carry and immediately kill them with your burst combo when they walk by, but this is incredibly risky. If you miss either ability and don't instantly kill a fed marksman, there is a good chance that you die instead. If you don’t miss and successfully get the kill, you can still be collapsed on and slaughtered while you’re away from your team. Make sure that the map is lit up like Christmas and that nobody saw you set up before you even think about doing something like this; dying for free this late in the game will likely throw the whole thing. That means take a pink ward to sit on or grab a sweeper. That being said, if it works out, it pays off huge. A single pick with Baron on the map usually means you get it for free and build an insurmountable lead with it, if not outright end the game. Red buff in particular makes for fantastic AD carry bait, and you can usually count on someone important to rotate alone for a big side lane wave. It’s best to go for a play like this with at least one buddy for additional security and ideally some hard CC to make the kill quick and easy.


Use the Force. Think.


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. One lapse in judgment will lose the game for your team. Against nearly every composition, if someone manages to even touch you, it’s because you screwed up and let them. Intelligent positioning to avoid being caught out by taking full advantage of Flame Breath's range makes AP Shyvana an absolute nightmare to play into.


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 to do damage. 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 and try not to let anyone block your shot.




Draconic artillery


If your team sets up a siege with or without Baron, wait patiently for a good setup then fire away on whoever was dumb enough to get caught. If your team has no initiation, then you can just ult in place and look to chunk a carry or two. DO NOT dive the turret unless you have Zhonya's Hourglass and your team is far enough up that you can afford to be reckless. Very few champions can effectively waveclear from outside of your Flame Breath range, so sit back and be artillery. A single hit will create enough kill pressure to force them to concede turrets and inhibs, which you will absolutely melt at this point. The game is practically guaranteed if you can get to this point as they simply will not be able to repel firepower of that magnitude unless you get yourself caught and killed while fishing for hits.

Teamfight case studies Back to Top
I think it’s worth going into a few 5 on 5 teamfight examples and explain my thought process and decision making therein. I imagine I'll be expanding on this section quite a bit with time to point out all sorts of things to watch out for and how to play around them.




We’ve just knocked down an inhib and are currently pressing Baron. The game’s been pretty mediocre for me, and I’m not strong enough to make a play without support. Ideally we would just wait until super creeps force someone to base and then start Baron to draw them in and turn on them with a numbers advantage, but Renekton puts himself in harm’s way and Sejuani jumps on him for a moment. I know not to Dragon's Descent here since their carries are too far away and I’m not strong enough to put a dent into that Sej. They would just disengage, wait the 20 seconds, and then our team would be in an effective 4v4 scenario while I frantically try to gain fury off jungle camps and someone gets sent back to clear supers. Don’t be baited into early ultimates while the tanks are just feeling eachother out like this. I see Ahri coming up from mid and realize she’s in range, but decide against it because Glacial Prison has not been used yet and I’m not fed enough to instantly kill her with my combo anyway. She’d just Spirit Rush back, I’d get Sej ulted and Charmed in one order or another, and killed. Thankfully, she whiffs charm on Renekton, who manages to escape. Not one to be deterred, Renekton goes right back into the river and Sejuani throws her ult with Jhin’s cast right behind it, clearly telegraphing that the full fight is about to start. I hang back well out of range, wait until their Pyke goes in and Graves walks forward, then finally Dragon's Descent into Flame Breath range. If I were to position any closer and try to ult for damage, I would die 100% into that much CC. Renekton gets deleted from the stacked ults, then they quickly retreat… right into a choke point and my incoming Flame Breath. This finishes Sejuani off, and Pyke and Ahri get hit for 600+ damage. These opportunities for multi target nukes are what you want to watch for and take advantage of in fights. Pyke is now low enough for Kai'Sa to cleanly pop and get out, and Master Yi and I run down the rest of their team.




Going into this fight, our Thresh gets caught and killed for free, so we're already at a disadvantage. Luckily, I'm fed, so I know we can still fight if I play my cards right. Unluckily, their Tristana is even more fed, and I know that she has to be my first target. I also know that I cannot go for her until Malphite uses Unstoppable Force, though. I'll just get popped and murdered before even being able to cast Flame Breath. If he just holds that ability, I cannot go in, and they get to push a lane 5v4. However, my Aatrox and Lucian group up, baiting Malphite to ult the both of them and freeing me up to do some serious damage. Tristana walks too close to the wall I'm waiting behind, I see that she is relatively isolated and can get no peel from her team in time, and I pounce. LeBlanc Distortions in at the wrong time and gets hit by my ult on the way, Tristana is hit for 775 and then 1105, killing her instantly and incidentally chunking Lee Sin and Morgana. I have killed their main carry and taken 3 others to half life with only two abilities. Now I'm in the middle of 3 people who have very threatening CC, so I immediately Flash away and wait for my Flame Breath CD. From here, it's mere cleanup. My next shot kills LeBlanc and Lee Sin who decided to huddle together for safety, and I just lazily walk up and slap Malphite with Dark Harvest. This is a good demonstration of when it is okay to use Dragon's Descent for damage to gib a serious threat, as well as your sheer damage potential in teamfights when your targets are foolish enough to group up for your abilities.




This next fight is a great example of how to use Lich Bane against a threatening bruiser. Darius is absolutely huge and more than fed enough to dive. I'm also very fed and should be the priority target. Nocturne ults me to start the fight, forcing me to ult back right away to break his fear tether, and they rush forward to dive. Right now all I care about is getting away from Darius, but he Flashes on and kills Kai'Sa instead of me; a very bad decision. I do have a Stopwatch, but chances are I'm too far forward and die anyway once it's over. I just Flame Breath him here since the rest of his team is too far back to hit for a while, and I know the CD will be back up when they become viable targets. Darius once again picks the wrong target and wastes Apprehend on Lee Sin, messing him up a bit. His team makes the crucial mistake of rushing forward in a group after Tahm Kench as he retreats, and I see my moment. I chunk 3 with Flame Breath, taking them dangerously low. Vayne smartly completely retreats and my next shot kills both Lulu and LeBlanc. Now, it's me VS the big man. He once again Apprehends Lee Sin, allowing me to dart forward, combo him, and back off. You see how hard he's hitting? If I were to stay in his range to keep autoing, he focuses me and I die very quickly. If he were smart and Apprehended me, I would have to Stopwatch immediately. Our Zed shows up and deals with Nocturne, forcing him to back off. My next combo does enough to pop his Guardian Angel and let me get my CDs back. When he resurrects, I mess up and allow him to grab me before I can set up a clean combo. He was always going to pull me as his next target, so using Stopwatch to buy time was always my plan, but NotLikeThis. I still get my Flame Breath and Lich Bane proc off, but don't have time to Twin Bite and lose much more health than I needed to. If Tahm Kench didn't Devour him and create distance, I probably die because of this mistake. Thankfully, he's got my back, and one last Lich Bane proc picks up the kill. If I don't have Lich Bane, there is absolutely no way that Darius dies here. It did over 1200 damage from the proc alone. Make sure you get it for those bruisers!
Conclusion Back to Top

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, and I'm actually mainly hitting publish right now just so I can send it to my buddies and finally get feedback, heh. I think I went a little overboard with the highlighting, so that can definitely be cleaned up a bit for instance. I'm sure I'll be obsessively 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. With your help, I know I can turn this thing into something truly great. Or drop by my stream and do the same (https://www.twitch.tv/veralion/)! Keep checking back every so often; I promise this guide will look better and be more comprehensive every time!

Now get out there, turn some heads, and be a f***ing dragon!