Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion
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Runes: For scaling lanes and experts
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Threats & Synergies
DH/Dark seal. Almost always goes top, but every once in a while you'll get someone who takes him mid. It’s tough for him to land his full combo since you can W straight backwards out of his pull. Even with boots 1, you’re fast enough to just run to the side out of it if you’re not hit by a Q right afterward. You win handily with a Seeker’s at level 6. Abuse your movespeed to avoid his sweet spots; hug close and auto him for the first two, then ult through him for the third and he’ll completely whiff it. That third sweet spot does serious damage, so it’s crucial that you avoid it. You’re fast enough to just avoid most of his damage, so only being able to dash once per Q cycle completely annihilates his all in potential compared to the good old days. All in all, he should not be able to kill you unless you let him, but killing him through his lifesteal is also extremely hard on your own. Probably a farm lane.
Fleet/beads. Ahri is an exceptionally popular champion and very common matchup, and one that you will have to learn well. Thankfully, it’s also a pretty good lane until you start facing players who really know what they are doing. Her Q is dodgeable, but that charm is quite quick and is the only truly threatening part of her kit. Since they reworked her to be very reliant on her charm to do real damage, as long as you never let her E you, you’re golden. If you do happen to get charmed though, you’ll take a brutal amount of damage. Be safe and make sure she never has a shot. A skilled Ahri will always Q the wave and create an enormous amount of threat while you are shoved in. You will not be able to step up for creeps unless she misses her charm, so expect to go down about 2 dozen CS in the early game. Shove hard any chance you get, E the whole wave, sit in the melee group with burnout active. Use your creeps as shields when going up to farm, but also position so she has to choose between trying to Q you or shoving/lifestealing off of your wave. You can expect her passive empowered Q to target the wave over you if she’s hurt, so watch for that. Mind your spacing; if your W is down and you’re at her maximum Q range, you can get double hit by it very easily. She can reliably proc electrocute with W and autos, so respect that damage. At 6, NEVER just ult at her out of the blue, even if she doesn’t have vision and you’ll catch her by surprise. She will land a guaranteed charm and kill you with her full combo; you won’t be able to run away from her ult. Wait for her to Q the wave or whiff charm then ult on her. She will always retreat without her E and Q both available. Wait for her to ult back once, then E after her before she can dash again. You only have 1 second to shoot. Don’t let her dodge your fireball. This will secure your advantage. From there, shove in and deny. It will only take one solid all in to get you back on your feet and make up lost ground. Then you’ll be able to maintain farm parity easily with Runic killing waves before they have the chance to crash.
Fleet/Beads. Okay, I've about had it with this disgusting garbage. Akali had over a 90% winrate at MSI and 100% presence in drafts. Riot did a good thing by removing her Q healing, but added too much damage back onto her kit so she just runs Fleet and eventually runs you down. Akali has the highest skill ceiling on the game; a good one will eat you and your team alive and there's nothing you can do about it. A bad one will do nothing and feed though, so you shouldn't have much to worry about playing into her until Diamond. You can take her Q all day long and get the health back, but her passive if shroud comboed properly will chunk you out of lane. Get a cs, take her Q, back off with W, repeat. Farm safe and try to chip her down. At 6, don’t ult in if her shroud is off CD. She’ll slaughter you if she shroud combos properly and lands both ult hits, which with how ridiculously mobile she is is almost guaranteed. Instead, ult in place and poke her down unless she wastes shroud for some reason. Keep her on the back foot so that she’s too nervous to go all in on you or roam, which is where her real threat lies. E covers a good portion of her shroud so you have a good shot of chunking her while she hides. If she wastes shroud for some reason, feel free to tackle and nom her at your convenience. It will take an eternity to come back up. BEWARE once she has Gunblade. She can engage and kill you from full in three seconds flat from over 1500 range away once she has that item. I'm hoping the recent nerf to her passive finally brought her in line for all but the very best players, but she's banned so often that I don't know yet.
DH/Dark seal. Count your blessings if you get this. Anivia is the second easiest lane. You hard counter her for a number of reasons. Her Q should never hit you with how slow it is and how fast you are, and even if it does or she walls to help land it, you can sustain through two or three combos, and then she’s out of mana. It’s a free early game. After 6 it turns into a farm war while your ult is down. The one thing you must pay very close attention to is not to be within range of her wall while building fury. You can't avoid her WRQE combo without flash or your ult and it will almost certainly kill you. Once you can rawr, ult at her when she puts her ult down, cancelling it, then roast her while she’s helpless. Bird must always rush tear, so she’ll be an extremely soft target. Try to have your E deal the killing blow if possible. Your fire patch will hard boil her egg afterwards, so you should always be able to convert an egg proc into a kill.
Fleet/beads. Annie is great. Short range, which forces her close enough to jump on, and you can immune her stun, the one dangerous part of her kit, with good timing. Don’t take QWs for free, you can get forced out of lane with just a few missteps with how often you’ll be eating her auto attack to farm. Sit back, E for farm, and melee CS between her Q CDs. You should have plenty of opportunities to E her with your last hits since her spell range is so short and she’ll be trying to auto you. You’ve got the spell range advantage here, so use it. Fleet is there primarily to counter her auto attack harassment since her range is so high. The lane’s a little tougher if she’s confident enough to CS with autos and just holds her stun to QW you. Sacrifice CS to prevent getting harassed out of lane. Once you land a few good pokes and you’re in a position to all in, if she starts a trade with her stun Q, ult at her and kill her. Either that or right after she blows her stack to farm. If she holds onto it, you can still just go with a small health lead and eat the stun. Buy a null magic and run double MR shards and she shouldn’t be able to 100-0 you. Just beware the bear once she’s dead. It hurts. Look to smite it for that extra 50g whenever possible.
Rare champ that recieved significant changes in 9.17, check back for assessment later. DH/beads? The only people who play Asol are super one tricks who are very confident, so you'll have to be on your toes. They will shove you in early and then look to chip you down under your turret. It's tough to farm while he's pushed up; getting stunned into 2-3 star hits is a lot of damage, and he can do so while well out of turret range. Look to bait out his Q and W and retreat before they can land until he is low on mana, then farm what you can before he backs and returns to lane. Be ready to spam ping when he goes to roam, you won't be able to match his pressure until Runic is completed. I'm pretty sure you cancel his W if you land ult, so wait for him to have it active before going for your all in.
Fleet/Beads/prayers. Oh boy. They keep buffing him and won't stop. Expect to see more and more of this, unfortunately. Azir starts off alright, he doesn't do much damage and you can farm alright for a couple of levels, but he quickly becomes too oppressive to handle by level 4 or 5. It's very easy for him to completely deny you under turret with how his soldiers work. His soldiers deal reduced passthrough damage, so try to make sure you have a shield between you and them. Might be forced to take Fleet in addition to Smite and have a lot of jungle attention. He's squishy, but you can't just all in him through his ult and/or shuffle. Maybe building a cowl first would help? Look to roam between waves and kill bot turret ASAP; mid will be a lost cause. Then have bot go mid to deal with the chicken while you farm back up to relevance in a side lane.
DH/Dark seal. Almost always goes support nowadays, shouldn’t be too bad, but he does tons of damage and can be very unforgiving. Save W to yeet out of his pillar and never get EQ’d and you’re good. Be careful when walking up for farm, as a good Brand will put his pillar down right in your path expecting you to run into it. Feint walking up and bait it out beforehand if possible; that ability seriously hurts. I’m pretty sure he just explodes you instantly if you ult on top of him at 6 out of the blue, let him stun you, and guarantee him a full combo, so don’t do that. Wait for him to use spells on the wave (especially E, his EQW combo is what makes him truly dangerous), then charge him and R when you’re too close to miss. He has no mobility; you will easily catch and absolutely melt him.
Fleet/beads. I'm knocking Cass down a peg in this update after doing quite well into the last few I've faced, but that could just be good luck and recency bias skewing the decision. It's still a tough lane. Switching to Smite seriously helped against her in particular, as well as the repeated nerfs she's gotten over the last couple of months. That being said, you need to respect her and you have one job: not letting her land Q in the middle of the lane. With that movespeed buff letting her keep up with your burnout, you can take up to 5 E's before getting to safety if you get hit in a bad spot, which will kill your lane phase. Play well back and close to your turret so that she never has the chance to QE you more than once or twice at a time. As long as you limit her damage like that, your smite and beads will outsustain her and you'll scale up just fine. You can’t solo kill her at 6 on even footing since your ult guarantees her stun and full combo, so don't try to take her alone unless it's down or she's out of mana/health. She is very vulnerable without her ult and you can squish her quickly like any other champion; pounce at first opportunity before she gets it back up. Best bet is to call for help at 6 and hope to burst her within whatever CC your jungler brings. Try to turn away for her ult, you can usually intuit when she’ll go for it. Cass players are typically very bad at using it unless they're mains or onetricks and miss it frequently. Failing that, either roam and look to take advantages elsewhere, or spam ult to farm and poke her from a safe distance. Interact with her directly as little as possible. Thankfully, she's now been nerfed out of favor and I rarely see her anymore. Good riddance.
Fleet/beads/prayers. Gaining popularity, and it sucks. You'll be taking a ton of damage with every last hit. Save your W to run away from his Q; it covers a wide area and is pretty quick. Take fleet; it’s not for the early so much as it is for post-6. Missile harass does a lot of damage and you’ll need to heal through it. He’s a monster with Triforce, so be extremely careful once he gets it. If you manage to get Runic and Sorcs while he’s still on components, it should be an easy duel. Get close before ulting him to give him less time to dodge with his W. Be very careful when you hear him get the package; he can yeet right on top of you from fog and catch you by surprise with whatever he just bought. If that’s Trinity, you’ll be in a load of trouble. The package slows you by 90% and does A LOT of damage. If you take even a single tick, you are probably a very dead dragon. Flash out of it if necessary; you CANNOT let it hit you, period.
DH/Dark seal. Not one of my favorites, and it always seems to not go my way. Whoever gets just a little bit ahead will run away with the matchup. It’s incredibly snowbally with how bursty the both of you are. Her passive combined with her W will outtrade you every time, so don’t close distance early, but your poke is pretty similar to hers. You can peck her with a combo while her shield is down if she uses it to push, but she probably won’t give you the chance. Her Q arcs from her right side, so juke to her left and move forward to dodge. It will take some getting used to. I’d recommend double MR shards and a null magic to survive her nutty level 6 burst. QRR will probably just slaughter you without them. If you fall behind, you MUST buy a Negatron. At no point can you let her start instagibbing you. If possible, wait for her to whiff Q before your all in. It will still be tough to kill her through her shield, but just forcing her to take a bad back should be enough for you to tip the scales in your favor.
DH/Beads. A bit tougher than it used to be after a few rounds of frankly unnecessary buffs. You can trade somewhat evenly into his combo assuming you can get your Q off before he backs off with his movement speed, but you will need beads to sustain through his frequently applied harassment pattern. W is fast enough to always avoid the recall on his Q, which is where all of his early harass comes from. Most of the time they use Q for lane pressure anyhow, so just don’t hug your creeps and you’ll be fine. You just need to watch out for his stun. Hightail it out of those bubbles when they go down, as it now lasts for an eternity. Pay special attention to your lane position, as his gank assist is ridiculously powerful. If any jungler's CC touches you, you'll get bubble stunned for sure and are probably a very dead dragon. After 6, watch his shadow and do NOT let him ult on you. That s*** hurts. Wait for him to use Q on the wave, all in him, do your combo, and move to the side away from the clone. If he immediately retreats, take care you don’t chase him into his ult. You’ll probably have to all in for his ult and then again for the kill later. It’s a long CD, so you’ll have time.
Fleet/beads/prayers. Fizz is my ban right now. He's very popular and it's a very frustrating lane. You have to treat him somewhat like a ranged matchup and play well back. His trade pattern is MUCH stronger than yours, and stepping one inch too close to the creep wave will chunk you down below half and forfeit the lane. He can tower dive very easily with his mobility, strong burst with ignite, and turret dodging E. DO NOT hang around under turret at one third health or below. You will die. Do not take any damage you can't heal back and farm under turret. Play passive until 6. Then if he’s dumb enough to waste his troll pole, that’s your cue to go in. I’m pretty sure you’ll win an all in with double MR shards. If you’re down, just holding ult will give you a ton of safety since you can disengage if he ever lands his fish. Fish is also on a stupid low cooldown, so assume that it is always up. Respect his lich bane once he has it; he’ll mess you up good real quick.
DH/beads. Galio has been significantly buffed recently and is now a bit of a pain. His Q poke hurts now and his punch is much faster and will catch you if you slack with your positioning for a fraction of a second. You can still move out of the way with your W up, but you’ve gotta be quick. Never let him taunt you. If he walks up and lands a taunt into a full combo, you’ll be chunked down to one third from full. If he punches and falls just short he will probably spam and land taunt, then his Q and passive will still do about a third of your life. Stay the hell away from him until 6 and just farm up under turret. You still can’t poke him down easily, so just prioritize farm and wait for a gank. You can handle getting nicked by his Q here and there. He’s heavily incentivized to build full AP now, so he’ll squish with a little bit of help. Once you have your ult, you can kick his ass by baiting his punch and immuning his follow up taunt. Be mindful if you go for a roam that he doesn’t follow, ult the fight, and ruin your team.
Fleet/beads. Hope you’re good at farming under turret, cause you’re going to be doing a lot of it. Your E is on too long of a CD to cleanly deal with his turrets, but you can do enough to keep him on 1 or 2. 2 E’s or an E-auto will kill them; try to line up shots which get a few last hits and also hit a turret, then follow up with a melee if you think you can get away with it. One turret shooting you does very little damage. You should be able to prevent him from leapfrogging all 3 turrets too far forward, which is the real threat of Heimerdinger. Stand behind creeps to avoid full-wave missile hits. You won’t be able to avoid his missile spreads, but they won’t hurt too badly. If you get hit by a grenade, turn on W and run perpendicular to the incoming turret lasers. You’ll be able to run right out of the most damaging part of his kit. Do NOT get grenade stunned around 2 or 3 turrets or you'll be chunked right out of lane. He squishes easily, so you can kill him once he shoves in after you’ve just backed and bought, but check his inventory first and don’t get baited by Zhonya’s. He usually takes the Stopwatch rune. If he plops down a big turret and uses stasis, you’re probably dead. You’ll need to immediately go on him when you get back to lane after a buy before he chips you back down again. If you incidentally hit his big turret with your E during your all in, smite it to finish it off. Orbit him while you’re hitting him to make it harder for him to land grenade stun; the direct hit radius is pretty small, and mind those turret lasers!
Hail/long sword/Ignite. Finally, Irelia has been dealt with and is now in a more or less acceptable place. She is only one of two champions that I have had favorable results running Hail of Blades into. Take Q at level 2 and look to beat the crap out of her at first opportunity. You should melt her health quickly enough that she won't finish stacking her passive and Conqueror and choose to back off. Then let Hail reset and repeat. You should have complete lane priority. She shouldn't be able to walk up for farm, so do your best to freeze the wave out of her reach and laugh at her helplessness. Build towards Gunblade to best complement Hail. Once Cutlass is done and you’re 6, click on her and all in when she has no stacks. The hitbox on Irelia’s ult is actually deceptively small and can be sidestepped, even by a thicc dragon. Make sure you give it a shot. If that whiffs and her stacks are down, she’ll be easy pickings. She got the magic reduction on her W trimmed off of her kit, so I almost never see her played mid anymore. That’s one less thing to worry about when you go to all in. If your team's damage composition allows for it, building Conq, tabis, and either red smite bloodrazor or BoRK will also absolutely destroy her and zone her from all farm. She just can't fight AD Shyvana at any point.
DH/beads. Okay, so I've played against Jayce a few times since his nerfs, and I gotta say, they hit him HARD. His Q deals so much less damage than it used to and staying in lane isn't much of an issue anymore. Just a little bit of respectful play and smart farming is enough to go close to even against him. He still has full control of the lane early, but I haven't even really felt pressured to build Seeker's anymore and have been just skipping it half the time. It takes an absolute master to make this champion good now, and I do still think someone who knows how to do his ridiculously complicated combo properly and quickly would be an extremely high threat (which is why I still have him as major), but almost nobody is that good at Jayce. Even D1 level players aren't good enough to make him shine from my experience. Just play back early, hide behind creeps while he's in ranged form, don't let him jump on you in hammer form, build Runic, then look to squish him. He's quite squishy and vulnerable to being 100-0'd; I've been shocked by how much damage he takes.
DH/Dark seal. Riot giveth, and Riot taketh away. Without that movespeed buff, we can once again simply burnout out of her tether and avoid every mantra Q, completely negating her champion design. I expect this lane to go right back to being a farm-off that you will use to outcarry the pants off of her in the midgame. Don’t stand within mantra Q range of your wave. You can still simply run out of her tether if she does it close to max range, or at least gain enough distance that she won’t be able to properly all in after the root, but if you're closer she can now run you down and chunk you. Your W really ruins her ability to do anything in the lane if you're careful, so just farm up. Killing her though is difficult through her shield and movespeed without some outside CC. I wouldn’t count on being able to finish her off without help, but what I would suggest is paying attention to and playing around your jungler. You're much more valuable than she is in an early skirmish.
DH/beads. I never have many issues with Karthus, but not many people are really good with him. They prefer to just take him jungle, not have to deal with hitting Q in lane, AFK farm 200 CS, and press R for 4k damage in the lategame. You should be able to farm up just fine. Early boots are super valuable here; with your W you ought to be able to avoid all the skittles fairly easily. Taking a direct isolated hit seriously hurts though, so I'd reccommend taking beads as a safety measure unless you're really confident in your juke shoes. A confident Karthus could very easily force your flash if he catches you with a wall while your W is down, though, so be careful. That’s the only way this really turns against you. Just farm, poke, and eat him at 6. He shouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about it. Don’t go in unless you’re full though; expect to take a ton of damage while retreating from his ghost. Just 2 or 3 skittle hits while you’re killing him and his ult will get you.
Fleet/beads/prayers. Dodge the game. He’s just better than you. At everything. He takes 15% reduced magic damage. His Q negates your poke. Fleet negates what little damage you manage to do. His W now hits WAY harder than your EQ after getting another 30 damage recently. If you try to run at him, he uses E and laughs at you. He can ult away from your level 6 all in. He is immune to ganks after 6 if he doesn’t overcommit. A bad Kass will sit back and stalemate the lane until he farms enough to 1v9. A good Kass will hard deny you from level 3 and 1v9 even faster. This never ends well for you if you build AP. Running PtA and AD does much better and can deny him early, though. Start Q and just beat his face in whenever he tries to walk up for a creep. Continually proccing PtA in this manner along with proper wave control may be the only way to handle this champion. If you have to take the game, consider asking to swap with your top laner. Kassadin has extremely low armor and will struggle against many common top lane champions. It's better for you to suffer a bad top matchup than for Kassadin to have the time of his life and turn the midgame into his party zone.
HoB/beads/ignite. This lane is balanced on a razor's edge and one misstep will spell disaster for you and your team. Other champions are able to snowball a game off of 3 or 4 kills, but this bitch only needs 1 to start murdering everyone. You CANNOT die. Period. But if you try to take DH into this matchup, she gets full lane prioirty and can poke you down to kill range easily. Hail of Blades with skilling Q at level 2 completely out-trades her and makes even Masters level players scared to walk up for farm. Katarina lives and dies by her dagger placement. The trick to beating her is getting a feel for where her Q is going to land and being anywhere but there when it does if you aren't in a position to trade. It will always land a short distance behind the first target it hits. Once you have that figured out, you can farm with relative confidence and safety. If you're healthy, keep your mouse over that dagger and stand in range ready for her to E in. Hit that bitch with a point blank E and unload on her. She will absolutely MELT and will freak out trying to retreat. The lane dynamic changes rather rapidly if you mess this up and let her escape without retaliation, though. If you're down any health at all, you are on the defensive. Remember, you CANNOT die to her. If she Q’s you from max range, you can safely W and run back. If she Q’s you from midrange, run anywhere BUT back. The dagger will land right where you’re running and she will be in range to E and chunk you down. Do not ever attempt to tank her ult. It does too much damage and you will die. Either interrupt it with your ult or flash the hell away. If you decide to all in her from range and not hold ult to stop hers, you’d better be damn sure you kill her before her ult gets more than a few ticks off. Unless her E is on cooldown, this is a bad idea anyway since anyone without catatonic reflexes will simply dodge your ult and make you look silly. Don’t go for a roam if she can follow you. The last thing you want is to lure her to 3 half health teammates and set her up for a free triple. Keeping her mid with lane pressure is probably your best bet.
DH/beads. Kennen in the mid lane isn't actually so bad. The lane is too short for him to set up a freeze and start zoning you, so it just turns into a farm war. Smite sustain is more than enough to overpower his 3rd auto W, and even a Q here and there. Keep your lane pressure up so he can't start QW-ing you while you're last hitting under turret. Oh, and ulting on top of him alone is obviously suicide and will never work. Wait for that gank before going in. When making plays with your jungler, take care to never misposition and let the rat ult you both and you should be able to win fights and build a lead.
DH/Dark seal. Tricky, but actually isn’t bad at all anymore. You win the 1v1 quite handily at level 6 with only a codex. The problem is getting there. One misposition will kill you and snowball her into untouchability. Do not get QWed at level 2. You can’t afford to get chunked that hard so early. Sacrifice whatever you need to so that doesn’t happen. Do NOT get WEQ-Ignited at level 3. This will nearly kill you from full and forfeit the lane. Sacrifice even more to prevent that. If she W’s in and goes for a chain, don’t just run back and set her up for a clear shot. Rotate around your creeps and use them as shields until she’s forced to take her W back or be stuck in the middle of the lane with no mobility. At level 5, the matchup starts to turn and your E is now strong enough to hurt her. Just a few hits should get her low enough to discourage any aggression and set up your all in. At 6, go up and just start autoing a creep with your cursor over her. The second she distorts in, ult at her (your knockback actually completely cancels her ability if cast early enough), and if she's low, start beating her until her passive procs. When it does, E. This will kill both her and her clone at once, preventing any juke attempts. If she's healthy, just make sure all of her distortion portals are down before using E so she can't instantly juke it. She’s been overnerfed because of pro play and a lot of her teeth have been pulled out by the addition of MR shards. As long as you avoid her absurd level 3 combo, the lane is free. A lot of LBs love just leaving mid lane randomly to go roam. Just spam ping ?, shove in and don’t worry about following her into fog, where she can set up on you for free and ruin your life. A level lead will seriously ruin her.
DH/Dark seal. Lissandra has been absolutely destroyed, yet another casualty of pro-play overuse. She now has absolutely no wave pressure and very little harass aside from her auto attacks. She had a lot of damage put onto her R and W in the last couple of patches, but I doubt it's enough to offset having her waveclear obliterated. It's a free lane for you to scale up in and dominate the game. Her Q range is pitiful unless it hits something and splashes behind it. Get a feel for the size of that cone and don’t be within that distance of a low health minion. You’ll get zoned a little, but nothing too bad, and its damage is low enough after her mini rework that you can trade a few hits to farm comfortably. Her W just got a ratio buff so her full combo hurts a lot; never let her walk up to you and make sure to burnout away from her claw. Most of the time they run aftershock, which means you can’t ult at her. If you try, she W’s you, procs aftershock, becomes immune to damage, and you get chunked for free. Fish for a few E hits then ult in place and siege her down from range. If you're having trouble setting up a kill, just push her in and roam while she's struggling to farm under turret and remembering the good old days. Just keep in mind that she probably has TP and Lissandra flanks are as deadly as ever.
DH/beads. Pretty easy. Her spells are telegraphed and quite dodgeable with your W. You should be able to farm quite well so long as your positioning is solid. Don’t eat the E’s that go for your wave while using the wave to block her Q. Bait her Q then all in her at 6. Alternatively just ult right through it. You might not kill her through her W and Barrier, which most of them run, but it will force her back and you can build up a solid farm lead. Recently, her Q CD and W shield were nerfed pretty hard, so you have all day to engage after she uses Q. Her ult is now a 1.0 ratio however, so make sure you watch out for and respect that damage. Flash it if necessary. Avoid roots at all costs while she has it available and don't greed for farm while she has you shoved in early.
DH/Dark seal. There's been a lot of this going around recently. Point and click harass is BS, and Malphite’s high base damage on Q makes staying in lane aggravating for many champions. Smite healing is plenty to do so, though. It's tough to harass him down through his passive. If you hit E on cooldown you can keep his armor off, but if you lapse by a few seconds you will lose the war of attrition, so just focus on farming until 6. He does an absurd amount of damage at 6 with his full combo, and can stomp you dead from as much as 60-70% health. You do even more, though. Take a good recall timing right before 6, come back to lane fresh, and put your cards down on even ground with him before he has time to chip you back down again with his Q. He hits hard, but you’ll hit harder.
DH/Dark seal. There are two kinds of Malzahar in the world. The kind that E’s the wave and the kind that only E’s you. You can play around space AIDS on your wave and farm under turret once he has a few points in, but if he just spam E’s you things can get marginally annoying. Fleet would trivialize the lane since you can charge and proc it on his little critters and it counters his slow, steady damage, but it's totally overkill. A properly timed ult will immune and interrupt his R, but since it’s instant it’s tricky. You gotta pretty much be in his head to do it. Buying QSS delays your powerspike by a ton, so I’d suggest diligent warding and safe positioning to avoid inting to his flash R into gank instead. I do think you just need to rush one against Nocturne though; there’s just no way around that. If you think their jungler might be anywhere near midlane, do NOT be within flash R range of Malz. Taking Smite makes him much easier to handle; he will run out of mana before being able to push you out of lane early and you can pop his passive shield on demand with chilling smite, letting you easily land RE for the kill the second he walks just a little too far forward. They usually think they are safe with their shield up since you just have the two big abilities. They are wrong.
DH/Dark seal. This champion literally just shoves mid. Hur dur press W me push me farm wave xd. You’ll be farming under turret a lot so will probably go down CS until you get enough AP to one hit the back line. Just gotta not get binded. Would not recommend ulting on her unless her Q is down, but it’s pretty easy to bait it out. I wouldn’t expect to kill her through her shield, ult, and annoying passive which keeps her life bar parked at full. Should be an easy, free farm lane as long as you don’t derp and eat a few root/pool combos. You’ll outscale the hell out of her.
Fleet/beads/prayers. Overtuned garbage champion, at least against melees. Her root is quick, travels through creeps, has a long range, and guarantees two ticks of her Q plus probably her on-hit proc. Extremely abusive. You’ll get chunked to half or below every time it lands. Even if it doesn’t, single ticks of Q plus her W damage will chip you down quick. Fleet does not help much since you'll be getting hard zoned under turret by her E. NEVER let her land ult. You’ll die. Ult or flash away. If you’re healthy, going for an all in over her root or to negate her ult’s stun will give you an opening. She’ll squish if you manage to get onto her, but expect to go down several dozen farm. Highly suggest dodging.
Fleet/beads/prayers. Disgusting. Her QW is too quick to dodge and you’ll be forced to take hits in order to farm creeps under turret. Her auto attack also hurts, and actually comprises the majority of her harass pattern if she’s aggressive and confident. After recieving a flat 50 damage buff to her ult for NO reason (WTF RIOT), I'm seeing her more and more, and it's a pretty even split between aggressive Aery, Comet, Electrocute/Ignite builds and defensive Phase Rush/Heal or Barrier builds. An Ori with defensive tools isn't so bad, though the lane is still a challenge. A confident and aggressive Ori who has ignite and aery and whose mission in life is to ruin yours is an infuriating matchup that you will need constant jungle pressure to survive. It never gets any easier since it's so tough to finish her through her E and ult self-peel on your own, too. You NEED a BS early game jungler to take advantage of her incredibly obnoxious zoning. At 6, wait for her to W the wave to shove in, then jump on her and do your best, or just ult to secure stacked waves before they have the chance to crash. If your jungler was able to put her behind you can easily keep her there, but if not, don’t expect to have much kill pressure until you’ve got Echoes and sorc shoes.
Fleet/beads. Thank Christ Rumble isn’t a popular champion. This lane is aggravating, and more people are running it mid over top. Fleet and beads gives enough sustain to just farm it out evenly if you play smart, but you still can never afford to take double harpoon into a full flamespitter. Your E is slow enough that it gives him plenty of time to press W, so you can’t poke him. His Q makes going up for farm health intensive. You will take lots of little numbers of damage in this lane, and it's up to you to not take too many of them before your next Fleet proc becomes available. You can’t all in him 1v1 through his W and base stats before being E’d twice, ulted on, and roasted to death. Survive, concede farm if necessary, and don’t int. His range is very short and will force him to hang out extremely far forward for extended periods of time if he wants to deny you under turret. It’s up to your jungler to capitalize on that and even things out.
Fleet/beads. Ryze has had his damage combo streamlined in exchange for his safety and flash root capability. Good Ryze players are still annoying; they can deal tons of damage earlier, but must choose between the root or the Overload chunk. A bad Ryze will just sit back and stack tear, occasionally walking forward like a homunculus to attempt to WQ you. The way this goes really depends on how confident the Ryze is. He’s less demanding to play to his full effectiveness now, so you should expect frequently applied harassment at all stages of the game. Don't let him spread E to you from your wave if you can help it. Though he is squishy without his shields, unless he’s really bad I’d advise against all inning him out of the blue. He can roll his face on his keyboard and probably outtrade you; the champion does a disgusting amount of damage in 1v1 situations now. However, all of that costs several hundred mana. Wait for him to deplete his mana first, then go to nom him. He will want to continually cast spells to stack that tear, so look for that brief moment of vulnerability before he goes to back.
DH/Dark seal. The only thing you need to worry about with Swain is his E. It goes through creeps and has quite a far range, and will guarantee his full combo if it lands. It’s got a reasonably long cooldown, so make sure to bait it out before going up for farm. Finish Morello early. Will have more to say after a few more lanes against him; another rare parrot. Does no damage outside of his ultimate and requires you to repeatedly get caught by his E to lose the lane, which is nice. A chill lane to scale up in. It's just tough to finish him off since he usually goes RoA and gets health back with his ult. I've only been seeing him as support of late, probably for the reasons above. Champ's kinda bad now.
DH/beads. Press F for Sylas, another casualty of overloaded kits being too damn good in pro play. His winrate is something like 42% last time I looked at it, but don't take him too lightly. He can still stack Conqueror instantly, so don't ever try to fight him straight up and farm. His E is now on such a long cooldown at rank 1 that you can maintain farm parity without too much trouble. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that his E1 now blocks all magic damage for 2 seconds, so make sure you wait that out before landing poke. Stand well back and don’t let him EEQW combo you through your creep line for the first few levels. If he goes for it, juke the E2, then trade back. His W is still an extremely powerful ability which will overpower your trade for quite some time. Treat him like a less mobile Yasuo until that point. After your first back and you have some CDR, start chipping him down with your E. He has no sustain outside of his all in, so the damage will stick. Try to get him to 60% or so before going for the throat, as he can immediately steal your ult and yeet away once you do. Make sure to constantly rotate around him during your all in to dodge his skillshots, especially his E2. If it turns into a dragon duel, also stay close and rotate around him. He won’t be used to how hard E is to hit at close range and will probably miss. I actually believe that stealing Shyvana ult is a trap; he is way more threatening in his normal form.
DH/beads. A bad Syndra is food. A good one will be very annoying with her stuns, and turn the lane into a chess match of positioning. Dodging QE is easy. Dodging QWE is tougher. Dodging EWQ is impossible. Against a good Syndra, never walk up to her E range or expect to be chunked out of lane. Make sure to bait and juke Q before going in for farm. Keep in mind that her damage and mana were just buffed a fair bit, so the lane is a little tougher than it used to be. Her ult balls do more damage, as does her max rank Q. Remember this once she's level 9 and don't get lazy with your jukes. If you have the cash, grab a null magic after your Runic to guarantee your all in works. You just need to survive her full combo. Her cooldowns are long enough that she’s helpless afterwards.
DH/beads. Talon finally received a meaningful nerf through the recent Tiamat cost increase. He’s still unbelievably busted and will execute your entire team with with terrifying efficiency. You can’t hope to match his roams, so your job is to control him and keep his health too low for him to even think about it. Build seekers first as usual. Don’t underestimate his early game combos, they hurt way too much for such a slippery and mobile champ. His level 2 does an incredible amount of damage. Never let him proc his passive or electrocute. You can easily run out of his W recall with your W. At 6, immediately ult at him and force his ult. He should retreat, but if he all ins you should survive with a stacked Seeker’s. Then keep doing it. Killing him isn’t the point; it’s to apply enough pressure to force him back continually and off of your other lanes, who will int to him in half a heartbeat if you let them. A roaming Talon is MUCH less threatening without his ult. If he goes for one anyway, shove in and build a level lead, and make sure to spam ping while you’re doing it.
DH/beads. A great lane, all things considered. His W is on a low CD and is threatening in conjunction with his Q, but is very telegraphed and easy to bait. Challenge the wave, force his card, back off, let him card the wave, go up to farm a few creeps, repeat. His Q should never hit you unless you get carded like a fool. Just dance around his cards, chip him down, then all in and kill at 6. People have been building AD TF more and more recently, which has much more sustained damage after he starts picking up triforce components and is a little tougher to stay in lane against. If he tries to roam, stay on him and cancel his ult with your own if possible. His camera will be elsewhere and you’ll probably kill him for free, as well as potentially baiting his own team to overcommit and die. Keep one eye on your minimap and if those 4 circles in bot lane get real close together, charge TF with your W and keep him in vision range. Keep the bot side of your lane diligently warded to catch him looking for an ult. Don’t worry so much about top; it’s not a big deal if he spends ult for one kill topside. Two or three kills into a tower and drake, however...
DH/Dark seal. The best matchup. Veigar is a late game scaling monster, but he is unbelievably weak early. It’s a free lane. He can do nothing to you. His Q tickles. He’ll be aiming it at your creeps most of the time to stack up and not you anyway. His W will never hit you. Even if you get caged, you can still dodge his damage unless you run into the walls like Doublelift. Poke him once or twice then all in and slaughter him at 6. He’s absolutely helpless and his short range forces him into ulting distance. Unless he builds Abyssal, you will probably 100-0 him before his cage even has the chance to spawn. Your dragon form Q even has enough range to tag him through his cage as he runs away most of the time. A properly executed combo will kill him in 2 seconds flat. Additional MR is unnecessary. Veigar is another champion who has been playing around with the cancer Glacial Augment build, and it’s even easier if you get one who opts into it so long as he doesn't get ahead of you. Enjoy your free lanes, folks.
DH/Dark seal. Vel'koz is quickly becoming one of my favorite lanes as I practice it more and more, and is actually quite a lot of fun to play into. All of his spells are telegraphed and should not hit you, with the exception of the first tick of his W. Back off when that inevitably hits you; it’s a quick cast and a wide area, so it will happen. Make sure not to let him proc his passive. Most of the difficulty of the matchup comes from learning his Q, which is a unique and deceptive mechanic. Hide behind your wave so he can’t directly Q you, but be aware that he can geometry around it. His E has a very short range but will guarantee his combo if it connects, and is his most threatening ability. If you were close enough that he can follow up a Q hit with an E, you’ve f***ed up. You can wreck him at 6 if he is dumb enough to int into range; he is extremely squishy, builds greedy, and you can easily kill him through barrier, but his spells don’t force him to and a good player won’t give you the chance. If you see a moment, don’t chase after him immediately after ulting in. If he lands E and full combos, you almost certainly will die. Better to W to the side and lob a fireball after him. If he is truly determined to play safe, it’s best to just ult in place and chunk him from range or roam. He's got no mobility and won't be able to answer.
DH/beads (maybe fleet? Rare champ). The age of Klepto Fist Viktor is over it seems like, so I'm dropping this champ down a peg. I still think cancer Q Iceborn build is better against a melee matchup, but most mid Viktors are back to maxing E regardless it seems like, which is MUCH easier to deal with. E-max Viktor is more or less an even matchup. Smite back the damage you take from his laser poke and farm normally. Make sure not to let his laser hit you twice once he has it augmented. Burnout should completely invalidate his W, just make sure you don't let him get too close while it's on cooldown. It will also let you outrange and kite his ult after the intial tick. It still sucks early, but you can actually all in and kill it fairly easily after you get Runic.
DH/beads. Not the easiest thing in the world, but survivable. I’ve laned vs Zwag, who is a crazy good Xerath player, and I only exited lane like 20-30 CS behind. The real threat of Xerath is his W. You can juke his Q fairly easily with your W up and his E isn’t an issue if you don’t position stupidly, but his W is very quick and will guarantee him a comet proc and a Q poke if it lands. You have to be very careful when going into that range. And God forbid he ever lands a direct hit with W, slowing you to a crawl. That might get him a full combo and several autos, probably killing you. Play back, play safe, concede farm and gain levels. Once you have 6 and a good chunk of AP you’ll win an all in, but only a fool would walk into range and let you full combo with how long range his spells are. They usually run Barrier as well. You’ll probably be stuck farming it out and waiting for your jungler to make a play. His rank 1 ult has 5000 range now, so strap your juke shoes on. It's not too hard to dodge all of his shots with your W active.
DH/beads. Extremely frustrating matchup, but very winnable with careful play. Yasuo players have a big problem with diving and throwing and 1v5ing and generally being retarded, which is why his winrate is so low. You will concede quite a lot of CS early, but with enough finesse you can come out on top even against a very good player. He can’t be poked down through his shield, and you have a tough time hitting him through his dash spam anyway. Only target farm until 6. Be aware that he slides around like an asshole through your creep line and has deceptive engage range. Play like that range is bigger than you think it is. Yasuo is at his most dangerous while your creeps are running into lane, so stay way the hell back while they are to avoid being chunked down for free. You can’t beat him unless he loses his mind and dives 1-5, so just build towards Seeker’s and sit back, take what you can. Once you have it and ult, things change. Tag his shield with an E and then all in the second you have the cooldown back while his shield is still down. Count his Q's and try to do this while he is still stacking to his third. If he starts dashing at you with 3 stacks, he is planning to knock you up with his E to guarantee his ult. Press R when he gets to you to immune the CC and leave him completely unable to ult. This should guarantee you the win. Hold E until he wind walls and has run out of things to dash though; do NOT let him fizzle or dodge your one big ability. If he does land his ult, he will always dash through you right afterward, and neither your E nor R are fast enough to beat it, so wait for him to do so. You land that E and you have that Seeker’s, you’ll win and leave him scratching his head. Yasuos will always commit for the kill and won’t retreat until it’s too late to escape. The Conq rework made him easier to handle since he can't harass with Conqed Q's and must stack it in direct combat against you, before which time you'll have chunked him down and won the fight.
DH/beads. You do quite well into Zed. He’s like you in that his kit is designed to work together and he needs level 3 to be a threat. His Q is one of the few abilities that still deals reduced damage on passthrough, so hide behind your wave early and his poke will tickle. The biggest thing to watch early is not let him harass with electrocute. When he drops his shadow and E's you, use W and look to juke whichever shuriken is less likely to hit. Stay away from his shadow; a good Zed will look to port and beat the crap out of you when they see a good trade. Play very carefully and do not give him a single kill or he will become unmanageable. He won’t be able to 100-0 you through a Seeker’s at level 6, but will often try anyway and put himself in a bad spot. If he initiates on you, bring him away from his shadow then all in him the second he reappears. He should die or port back. You must NEVER ult at him first, or he will R and avoid its damage, and you will have committed yourself to a lost fight. Since you can't make any plays on eachother directly, the game will basically become about which one of you can outroam the other.
Fleet/beads. Third worst matchup. Dodge the game. His Q travels a mile and is deceptive. W doesn’t let you close distance. E zones you away from all farm. And even if you dodge all of that, his passive will still chip you down and force you back. You basically aren’t allowed to ever auto a creep, even under your own turret if the Ziggs has two hands and half a brain. You have one very brief window to all in him at 6 and gain some ground back, as he is fragile and will melt, but past that he will probably have too much gold on you. Fleet is necessary here. Your only hope is that you have a jungler that can take advantage of him while he’s denying you under turret. Ask to swap with top if the alternative matchups would be more beneficial. Thankfully, Ziggs is rare, so here’s hoping you’re never in this situation.
DH/Dark seal. Zilean’s early game is pretty weak. His bombs are telegraphed and dodgeable, but have a somewhat deceptive hitbox and can snap to you in surprising fashion, so be well away from their landing point. They don’t do much damage until he gets a few points into the ability, and he doesn’t have the mana pool to sustain his undodgeable EQWQ harass pattern. You won’t have much difficulty in the lane for a while and should be able to maintain farm parity. Once he gets Luden’s, the lane starts to become obnoxious. Now he’ll have the mana to guarantee chunk you if you step into E range and you won’t be able to stand anywhere near your wave for fear of double bombs. Remember that he doesn’t have to Q you twice to stun you, only something near you. It’s also very hard to all in him through his self E and ult, and the best you can hope for on your own will probably be to force the latter. Just farm up and wait for your jungler to make a play. When he comes, try to make sure both of you don’t get stunned if Zil is too healthy to get immediately gibbed.
DH/beads. Unfortunately, Zoe is making a resurgence with the new DH and is just as cancerous as ever. The early game is pretty rough. Be aware that Riot put the AoE back on her Q, and it hurts. Be well away from your creep shields when she throws it out. Do not ever get bubbled, or you’ll die from as high as 70-80%. But even if you play well, she’ll still chip you down from the free damage she gets on W and her passive. Things change at 6, however. With ult available, eat her bubble, wait a second, then R at her to immune the CC and fizzle the true damage chunk. You must be airborne and unstoppable when the ability actually procs the sleep; don’t ult at the projectile or over the trap, it doesn’t work like that. You’ll take her by surprise for sure; Shyvana is nowhere near common enough for many people to know about that interaction. She can’t stand up to you at close range. From there, just don’t let her dodge E with her R and she’ll fall over.
DH/beads. Obnoxious, but he has a very weak early game and you get the chance to ramp up with him. His Q cooldown is visible to you, so make sure to back well off when his bar is nearly full. When he charges his E, hide behind your wave to block the damage. A good Vladimir will just stand in front of his creeps to block your E's and heal the damage back, but this has only happened to me exactly once. Most of them never figure this out. Look to all in right after he uses his super Q. He will be forced to back off without access to it. Wait for him to pool before firing your E. You're stronger on even footing. Be very careful if you're low and the wave is pushing in; he has one of the best kits in the game for tower diving and can easily burst you down from as high as 600 life and effortlessly get away with it.
DH/Dark seal. Rare/commonly played Top champ recieved significant changes in 9.17 to shift power from late to early, will reassess when I've laned against it a few times. Kayle's early game is pathetic; you only have to worry about her Q and E, one of which is dodgeable, and both have long cooldowns. You should be able to farm relatively undisturbed. I'm guessing that dashing forward, tagging her with ult, then retreating out of range once she uses her invulnerability with burnout is the right way to handle her. Unlike Kassadin, I bet you can start to pressure and threaten kills between levels 6 and 11 in this manner. Her ult has a massive cooldown, plenty of time to build another bar and get her the second time around if necessary.
DH/beads. Easy to play in theory, but you do not have a lot of room for error in this lane. Her entire threat revolves around hitting her W. If she full combos you, you will either die or be forced to back. It does craptons of damage. AVOID HER W AT ALL COSTS. Consider rushing Sorc boots to make this a bit easier. If it's gonna catch you and you're hurt, just flash out. Don't take any chances. Aside from that, your W should be able to get of her Q. You probably can't match her roams, so just shove like a madman, keep her pinned mid, and scale up.
DH/Dark seal. So this is an obnoxious unstoppable meatball of a champion right now. Thing is, you don't actually ever have to fight him. Just farm and scale up. Burnout should be able to get you out of his claws. Remember that his Q deals double damage to single targets like Karthus Q, so hide in your wave while you go up to farm. A carefully timed ult can cancel his, so watch for him to point his big stick at you and press R if you've got the reflexes. The ability cannot affect an unstoppable target and as such will fail. AP can't duel him unless you're significantly ahead, so you really don't want to be forced into it. An AD build does not have this issue however, so it may be worth going Conqueror and rushing Merc's/Wit's end to gain priority and kill him if he ever tries to fight you (if your team comp allows for it, that is).
DH/beads. She has very strong poke with her resetting Q and mobility, so Seeker's is required for sure. She doesn't have much all in potential as long as you stay away from walls after 6. Her ult does knockback for flash distance, so make sure that her dash distance can never put you between her and said walls. If she manages to get that full combo off, Seeker's should keep you alive if you were healthy, but you'll definitely be forced to back. One thing to note however, your turret counts as a wall and she can ult it, too. Which is BS, but whatever I guess. This means that you don't have a lot of viable ground to stand on while you are shoved in with low health, so just back if you find yourself in this situation. Aside from that, I would hold ult and wait for your jungler to all in. It's tough to stick to her and finish her off if she can use grass empowered E, meaning that ulting at her head-on will probably just waste your fury and leave you overextended.
DH/beads. I am not impressed by this champion in lane, honestly. At all. Old Pantheon did MUCH more damage and was MUCH more threatening in the early game, for which we may all be thankful. It does so little damage that I don't even think you should build Seeker's for the lane. His new W negates all damage now, so make sure you don't all in until it's either down or you get behind him. The immunity is only in a 180 degree arc in front of him. He can tower dive and roam very effectively after he gets his ult, which is where the real strength of the champion lies. It's why he is permabanned at Worlds right now, but most solo queue teams won't be coordinated enough to take full advantage of his semi global ult. Don't hang out on low health after 6 and watch for him to join very quickly if you go for a roam.
DH/Dark seal. AP Cho'gath is a very potent cheese pick to be feared and respected. Because of his ridiculous burst potential and low mobility, he is most frequently run mid over top. You will never be able to poke him down through his passive, so don't even try. Keep your distance and don't let him E slow you, which will force you to take his Q and W. Just farm it out until 6. After 6, you CANNOT get hit by Rupture. He will flash on you and kill you from full with his 1.0 scaling ult. You MUST flash or ult away if his Q might hit you. Save your W to dodge this one hit kill ability. I'll say it again; AP Cho's combo kills you from 100% health, and I've got the matchup at even because of how unforgiving the lane is. They will frequently push in at this point and fish for those instant death Q hits. Call your jungler while he's doing so and he should go down easy. Don't just ult at him without backup, as a good Cho will put his Q under your landing position and nom you. At some point, he will give up trying to kill you and will just use his ult on a creep to start stacking health. That's when it's safe to go for him, force a back, and regain lane priority. As long as you don't get hit by his Q while he has his ult available, you'll outscale him and contribute much more in fights than he could ever dream of doing.
Tristana mid is being popularized by competitive play, and for good reason. Her all in does a crazy amount of damage to low mobility mages and she can frequently kill people with no escapes from full with a PtA buffed E and R burst. Thankfully, you are not low mobility and have this little thing called Burnout. You can W back whenever she tries to hit you and prevent the brunt of her damage. Tristana must also shove the wave and doesn't really have much of a say in the matter because of her E. You play this lane by keeping a respectful distance, never letting her have the chance to proc PtA and stack her bomb past 2 hits, and making damn sure you're never close enough for her to land her W slow, which is significant. Just farm under turret, buy Seeker's and all in once it's stacked up a bit. Tristana's damage comes from repeated hits, so you can quickly walk up to peck the caster wave under your turret without taking much punishment, so she can't really hard deny you until that point. Be mindful when jumping in that she can't ult you into her jungler or her turret, though.
Fleet/beads/prayers. This lane is a very not fun experience. It's tough to think of a more abusive champion. Dodge if possible. If you even think about going up to farm, he will E at you, insta-proc PtA, and chunk you for 30-40% of your life in an instant. Probably will only get what CS you can safely E at max range. If he freezes the wave properly in the middle of the lane, you won't even get that. You'll go down... oh, I dunno, 40, 50 CS? At least? Spam ping your jungler and hope someone else on your team can pop off. Beware at 6; Culling will do more than half of your life on its own if he manages to catch you with it.
Fleet/Dark seal. Very rarely run mid lane, and it seems like there are good reasons for that. Senna applies frequent harassment, but does not hit very hard. Her early game will whittle you down and there isn't much you can do about it due to her range. This is probably the only matchup that I would recommend taking Fleet with a dark seal into. Not having Fleet sucks and would force you to take a bad back, but stacking beads on top would be overkill. At 6, wait her her to auto you then ult at her. Her auto attacks immobilize her, allowing you to land your ult for free. Her root will deny you from chasing, so just shove in and look to deny as much as you can with your zone control.
He presses R. You press E. Triple kill. It's very hard to reflex flash a Malphite ult. One of the best setups you can ask for.
Rakan used to be the absolute best thing to have on your team. He went in instantly with no counterplay and grouped people up for your E. Now, though he's been overnerfed because of pro play abuse, he's still great to have on your side.
A properly executed Ali flank into combo will give you plenty of time to chunk whoever he hits into next week. Very strong initiation and setup.
Instant AoE root and magic damage amplification? Sign me up! He has issues ganking early, but his late game setups for you are unparalleled if he finds a good moment to press R.
Bard ult can catch groups of people for you from across the map and then he can root them together when they get out. Extremely powerful RE setup tool. You'll gib whoever he catches.
He hooks, you E. They die. Too bad he can only do it to one target every 10-15 seconds, though.
Fast AoE CC and you can proc his stun quickly with your Q. Great to have.
Unfair jungler that has been nerfed pretty substantially, but people still make it work. Her cage is a very strong setup for you on a priority target.
An ideal Darius pull will end the game with your follow-up damage. Anything that can group people up is stupid powerful. Failing that, a good E on several targets will set him up to go to town with his ult. Reset city!
She can pull people together for you. Not the worst thing in the world.
BS ganking champion who can bypass wards and take full advantage of your negative pressure in the early game. Coordinate with her and make your opponent feed like a buffet.
Decent ganks and setup on one target.
Extremely unfair early jungler who brings AoE CC for the late game. If you're getting denied under turret, he can make quick work of them.
Decent ganks, can setup off of his casks.
Galio taunt is still a very powerful multi target setup tool. Too bad he's lost most of the knockup on his ult, or he'd be even better for us.
E into an Irelia ult is pretty bonkers. The initial hit can slow an entire team to a crawl, as does passing through the wall.
it's an Ivern meta right now and he works fairly well. His ult can knock up multiple targets, he's got roots, he can give you a dash to start beating people with Nashor's, he sprays bushes everywhere for you to use as cover and fire unexpected E's, he shields you for tons and takes care of you, really not bad to have.
He's your in-canon boyfriend for a reason. Cataclysm can lock an entire immobile team in place for your E and force them to take flame patch damage afterwards, which quickly becomes ludicrous.
AoE stun, not the worst. He'll probably just instantly kill anyone you manage to E with how stupid his DPS gets.
You press E, he presses R, somebody dies. Jungle Karthus is very stupid right now. If you can handle not getting ganks for a while, the two of you will just do too much damage for the other team to contest anything for quite some time.
Reset city. Set her up by chunking 2 or 3 people and she'll just slaughter everyone instantaneously.
Any AoE Stun is fantastic, and Kennen's got the kit to get in and get it done quick.
Red Kayn gives many opportunities for multi target E's with how absurdly tanky he is.
Reset City. Land an E and watch him jump around and pentakill.
Kindred Ult can force the enemy team to clump together in it, and with careful timing can set you up for a multikill. Just make sure not to hit your death button too early.
Good, realiable CC from a screen away. Can't go wrong.
Powerful early game jungler who can go to town on silly mid laners who try to deny you too hard. Potential for multi target E setup through his kick later on.
CRAZY AoE CC bot, and now anyone you two kill helps with killing the rest of the team. Lissandra flanks are terrifying and regularly win professional games. With your damage, there will be no escape.
It's better if she has someone else to ult so you can E the pile of knockups safely. Don't look to R in to 5 and expect it to save you.
Very solid and inescapable CC bot.
I mean, whoever he ults is going to get wrecked, but it's only one person. Still, sometimes you just need one pick to win the game.
Reset City. Give this man another alpha strike and he will slaughter an entire team of fools in one second flat. It really sucks for you early game though since he's a powerfarming jungler. Better hope you have an easier lane.
Her wave is inescapable and her bubble, while small, can still catch multiple people.
Just in case someone ever thought that they can possibly survive a Lux combo.
AoE Root, always good, always good.
It's hard to find a champion who has more stacked CC than Naut. Tons of playmaking potential here.
A good Morg ult can set you up, but people tend to scatter when she goes in and half the roster can reliably break the tether. You'll kill any squishy who gets rooted, though.
AoE CC to set you up, decent ganking potential if the Nunu is clever.
Shockwave is another extremely brutal setup for your E, grouping multiple targets together for annihilation. Alternatively, tell her to put the ball on you and use your unstoppable dash to deliver it.
Though Ornn's absurd engage potential has been gutted, he's still got a strong multi target setup to contribute. He also makes you even stronger when he hits level 13. Lobby him to give you his first upgrade and you'll be a happy dragon.
BS early ganker who loves tearing squishy mages apart. After 6, if he stuns something, it dies. Period. Will buy you some respect and time to scale up.
Reset city. Pyke ult chains are disgusting and a single E will take a carry into execute range by the late game.
Unfair ganker, most mid laners cannot avoid being taunted if they are past the halfway point in their lane and RE over a taunted target is a 100% kill.
Very powerful ganker, flash unburrow is unavoidable and will kill a target for sure with your damage behind it.
Very reliable CC bot, can stack her passive quickly with your Q. She does way too much damage now for how tanky she is, so if she can find a way into mid without being seen, it will be lights out.
Unfair ganker with stupid damage and CC to set you up. Snowballs nearly as hard as you do.
If Riven can find an opening to knock up and micro stun most of a team, say goodnight. Those Boxbox/Adrian plays happen rarely, however.
Unfair ganker who takes full advantage of negative pressure. Just the fact that Shaco is in the game will earn you respect and distance from your lane opponent.
A multi-man taunt will make you a very happy dragon, and his ult shield makes RE onto backline less of a stupid and suicidal idea.
Garbage champion who can lock down an entire team with his Q for entirely too long. The strongest front liner in the game right now. He'll set you up good and make sure nobody can respond.
Flash R is still strong and can give you one hell of a setup, but she can't do a whole lot without flash.
How does he fit an entire dragon in his belly? Though implausible, his devour can save you in a pinch and buy you plenty of time to get another E up while untargetable.
Give her one good E and she'll start leapfrogging and taking people off the board like it's checkers.
A well-placed box will guarantee you a good E, and he's got plenty besides that to
Probably the most unfair level 2 ganker in the entire game. Twitch jungles absolutely love going mid first. If their mid is dumb, you get first blood for free. And then it's off to the races. Later on the two of you will eviscerate entire teams together.
Udyr needs a few points in E before he becomes truly inescapable, but he can catch and absolutely slaughter some of the more immobile mid laners in the early game. There are better junglers for you to play off of, but he will do in a pinch.
Instant roots are good, yes.
A Veigar cage can trap anyone who doesn't have flash or a blink in place, and your E conveniently covers the entire thing. Imagine that.
Vi is going to be coming back in a big way in 9.4, and her unstoppable ult is one of the most reliable setups in the entire game.
Hey, let's add 10% damage to an ability which already hits for over 1100 and is practically inescapable. That sounds fair.
Another unfair spam ganking champion. Spam ping mid and watch the kills roll in.
Your ult knocks back for a brief moment, allowing Yasuo to ult multiple targets for free. Try not to forget that, I usually do.
Wukong is one of your absolute strongest synergies. He can sneak into an entire team unseen and knock them up for an entire second, more than enough time for you to obliterate the largest clump of champions you can find. He can't do a whole lot early, but the late game payoff is more than worth it. I've 2v5'ed and come out on top with Wukong.
Whoever Zac catches, you kill. Your E will hit everyone he manages to abduct, and their team will likely be too far away from them to do anything about it. It's also impossible to ward against a good Zac who knows how to jump into lane undetected. A forgotten champion who still deserves respect.
Zilean ult enables RE oneshot plays without fear of death or a Zhonya's. Very valuable... if you can trust the player, that is. He also has potential to deliver devastating AoE stuns to set you up from afar, and his E turns a target into a sitting duck.
AoE root paired with a frankly silly amount of damage. Her knockup, while potentially extremely valuable, won't land most of the time without some other form of CC landing. Still, there are very few champions as adept at harassing their bot lane to kill range in the early game as she is. Pay attention down there and look to roam.
Champion Build Guide
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!
+ 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For experts in nonthreatening lanes
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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
|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.).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
13/3/11 vs Orianna, Diamond I
12/0/10 vs Jax (Yeah XD), Diamond III
4 vs 5 victory: 11/2/15 vs Tristana, Diamond II, S, 34:35
13/1/11 vs Orianna, Diamond II, S+, 24k dmg, 27:26
8/2/14 vs Corki, Diamond II, S, 17.5k dmg, 22:39
6/2/9 vs Malphite, Diamond II, A, 20k dmg, 26:35
9/1/6 vs Syndra, Diamond II, S-, 21K dmg, 26:35
13/5/18 vs TF, Diamond III. S, 54.6k dmg, 39:18
18/1/8 vs Veigar, Diamond IV, S+, 30K dmg, 26:09
12/3/9 vs Morgana, Diamond IV, S, 26K dmg, 26:40
13/1/8 vs LeBlanc, Diamond IV, S+, 24.7k dmg, 25:58
14/2/3 vs Karma, Diamond IV, S, 35k dmg, 31:57
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!