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Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion

Middle AP Shyvana Mid: The Lizard Wizard

Middle AP Shyvana Mid: The Lizard Wizard

Updated on September 15, 2020
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Veralion Build Guide By Veralion 273 34 1,024,035 Views 26 Comments
273 34 1,024,035 Views 26 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Veralion Shyvana Build Guide By Veralion Updated on September 15, 2020
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Runes: Duelling/Splitpushing

1 2 3
Hail of Blades
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Ravenous Hunter

Nimbus Cloak

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


1 2 3
Flame, Fang, and Claw
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

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

Champion Build Guide

AP Shyvana Mid: The Lizard Wizard

By Veralion

Drem Yol Lok. Greetings.

I go by Veralion and I’ve played Shyvana obsessively since she was released back in Season 2. I’ve played many thousands of games on her over the years and currently have over 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 that can be built to win or break even with nearly every matchup in the game.

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 relatively weak in the early game with limited playmaking potential, with lane experience and farm she can completely dominate a game if she isn't immediately shut down and kept under control. There is very real power here just waiting to be unleashed. Executed properly, you can destroy entire teams with one perfectly placed Flame Breath.

I’ve peaked with this playstyle at Diamond I last season on stream (, and I’m still making lots of mistakes, learning from them, and improving. I'm currently doing quite well with it in Diamond II-III. 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 against certain matchups 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 actually much safer and beneficial for the team. A solo lane offers much more experience and a bit more gold than powerfarming the jungle, and so allows you to scale up and dominate the game more quickly if picked into a favorable setting. It's also a more consistent environment, allowing you to stay even on levels with your counterpart no matter how much CS you are forced to concede. Shyvana has trouble defending herself against many meta jungle champions like Olaf and Nidalee in the early game, and with the removal of catchup XP a confident player can put you behind for the entire game with just a little bit of early aggression if your lanes refuse to back you up. Additionally, she struggles when ganking lanes before level 6, so most other junglers will be able to get something done and boost team morale in the early game. Said another way, I would much rather play mid into a good matchup than jungle into a bad one.

Finally, playing AP jungle Shyvana is becoming more and more popular. I have a guide that goes into heavy detail on how to to so here. Take a look if that's more your speed!

So read on, fellow dragon!

+ Capable of very early 100-0 burst potential, can kill priority targets before they can react
+ 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.
- Relatively weak levels 1-5, easily abused and zoned by several matchups
- Complete lack of early priority for crab battles and skirmishes without Hail of Blades
- Reliant on Dragon's Descent availability to meaningfully contribute to fights
- Very matchup and composition dependent (Winning lanes and strong CC very important)
- Requires team to know how to play with you (Not killing things when you need fury, not fighting when you cannot Dragon's Descent; get used to spam pinging)
- Extremely weak to MR stacking, tanks, and bruisers.
- Countered by Banshee's Veil, Spellshields, and other anti-projectile abilities
- Almost useless if behind, brings damage to the team and nothing else
- Off-meta pick gives weak mental teammates an easy scapegoat and excuse to give up, regardless of how well you are doing. Expect to be flamed regularly, justified or not.
When to pick AP Shyvana Mid
I said above that you are very comp reliant with this build, and truer words were never spoken. Unless you’re an absolutely obsessed mad lad like me, this isn’t something to go every game or blind pick if you want to climb quickly. You're looking for 5 main things in the draft to set you up to burn villages and kidnap princes (like Jarvan IV). If you check 3 or more of these boxes, I'd say you're good to go.

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

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

2. Enemy composition: As squishy as possible

You want to be shooting soft, squishy, immobile champions who can’t stand up to your firepower. You bring heavy burst to the team and have very little in the way of sustained damage for beefy targets. A bruiser or tank will shrug off your one big chunk and proceed to make life very difficult for you if your team can't cover that weakness. If are 3 or more very tanky bois on the enemy team (for example Dr. Mundo top, who is your actual worst nightmare and was just buffed, Sejuani jungle, Alistar support), I’d advise against going AP and instead a more standard tanky on-hit build which would be more useful than going for the Rylai's Crystal Scepter + Liandry's Anguish 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 who are also relatively immobile and easily killed by an all-in. Veigar, Anivia, Twisted Fate, Lissandra, Lux, that sort of thing. Weaker melee champions that can be easily comboed and chunked down by Hail of Blades are also great, like Yasuo, Irelia, and Katarina. The most common worst lanes include Corki, Cassiopeia, Akali, Azir, and Orianna. These champions cannot easily be caught, do a stupid amount of harass, and when played well are simply too abusive to play into without going dozens of CS behind 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.

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 Rek'Sai, 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. If running Hail of Blades, you only need a second of crowd control to completely unload on someone and ruin their day. 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. Post 6, your gank assist with Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath is EXTREMELY powerful no matter what build you're running, 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 to counteract your biggest weakness will allow your team to reliably hit the midgame on even footing, where you can start pulling your weight and deleting people.

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. Imagine Zoe, but with a much wider AoE. Off meta, indeed.

Passive: Dragonborn

Lackluster passive in all honesty. However, that extra 20% on top of how much damage Flame Breath scales up to on its own makes stealing drakes (and particularly Elder) relatively easy with careful timing. Though it's most valuable in the jungle to solo drakes quickly, mid lane is right next door and you should rotate down to help mulch drake whenever possible (make sure you don't rat your jungler out if they snuck in to solo it, though). 5 Armor and MR per drake is nice, but negligible. I seriously wish Riot would revert her passive to double while in dragon form like it used to; then I might actually care about stacking it.

Q: Twin Bite

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

Keep in mind that both hits of Twin Bite must connect in order to get the full 4 fury. If your target dies on the first hit, you only get 2. That sounds trivial and not worth paying attention to until the first time you die at 99 fury, which I can promise is ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. Spare no effort to get Dragon's Descent back up as fast as possible.

Twin Bite's cooldown is also reduced on structure hits, making it an obscenely strong pushing tool with a high AP build. If you get a chance to hit a structure in the lategame, it is not long for the world. Dragon form Twin Bite has also FINALLY been fixed in 10.14 after nearly a year to deal appropriate amounts of damage to structures on its second hit. Bite away, but remember that in some situations you may wish to cleave the wave instead for the fury for one last Flame Breath.

Dragon Twin Bite also now finally does 2 points of damage to wards, but still does not to other champion created objects like Illaoi tentacles and Gangplank barrels.

Though human form Twin Bite works as intended with Hail of Blades, dragon form Twin Bite does NOT and is still not giving another stack. For full value into tanky champions that will survive your combo, try to auto 3 times and then Q while in dragon form.

Small indie company Pepega Clap!

W: Burnout

AoE damage and speed buff. Early on it is indispensable for dodging incoming fire and taking quick moments to dart forward, last hit a creep, and retreat. It's also useful for early last hitting under your turret since you don't have enough attack speed to prep caster minions fast enough yet. Two ticks of the ability will do enough damage. Three or four ticks is risky. Five ticks is too much and will ruin the entire stack. Move in and out of range as necessary to get as much farm as possible. The first tick is also applied instantly, so this ability is your only option to kill 1 hp creeps before your minions finish them off.

Though its movement speed decays over time (for reasons that are no longer valid in the current state of the game), this ability lets you reliably finish your Hail of Blades combo on your unsuspecting lane opponent, chunking them to next to nothing in the blink of an eye. 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.

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

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

E: Flame Breath

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

Flame Breath while transformed with an AP build is one of the most reliable, safe, and 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 1600-1800 with infernal soul behind 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 below Shyvana. And since you must place Flame Breath below your snout, a quickly moving target can rotate around you and avoid the hit. Not only that, but if your mouse is too close to Shyvana, your Flame Breath will fire sideways or even backwards, missing even with its huge hitbox and completely screwing you.

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

Besides that, 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 a second 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.

In patch 10.18 the size and tick rate of the flame patch were substantially buffed to match the explosion radius. This makes getting that follow-up Dark Harvest proc much more reliable after the big chunk. The indicator now matches both, which is nice for everyone. Easier to aim and avoid.

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

There is another much more pleasing bug with Flame Breath that will reset the cooldown if you cast it at the very instant Dragon's Descent expires. It's not reliable or very reproducible, though; it used to be, but Riot "fixed" it a while back. They didn't do a very good job (imagine that) and just made it much harder. Details below. Definitely don't intentionally go for it and risk not getting your empowered Flame Breath at all, but if you do incidentally cast it at the very last second, check the cooldown real quick. You might have gotten lucky.

How it works, apparently

R: Dragon's Descent

Objectively the coolest ult in the game. Unstoppable dash with a 1.0 ratio limited only by fury generation, having an extremely low effective cooldown with just a little bit of attack speed. Though it hits like a truck, it is fairly slow and allows your target to juke you easily or simply run back if cast from max range. Close distance with Burnout before hitting R if you need it to hit to pressure a kill. You only get a baseline 20 seconds in form before dropping out and you need to make the most of it, which makes CDR vital. You are half a champion without it, so it's a damn good thing it's so accessible. Managing fury to make sure you always have it when you need it is crucial, as is properly extending it through frequent auto attacks and Twin Bite cleaves for as long as possible to get as many Flame Breaths off as you can.

Cloud drakes now grant 10% extra fury generation per stack, so Shyvana isn't left out in the cold anymore. As your ult is so vital, this easily makes Cloud her best dragon to have. The wording seems to suggest that all fury gains are increased, so this should mean that you can extend dragon form for a few seconds longer in addition to building fury faster.

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. You are much larger while transformed, and your hitbox reflects this, making you very tough to miss. Remember, Flame Breath has a cast time and there is plenty of time for you to get nailed by a stun before getting it off.

DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO HIT Dragon's Descent ON A STACKED TEAM HEAD ON WITHOUT ANY SETUP. I don't care how high the ratio is. You will get killed instantly and contribute absolutely nothing. 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. If action is likely in the near future, go straight to the closest available minion wave or jungle camp and begin hitting it. Do not use Burnout or Flame Breath. Only auto attack and Twin Bite until that bar is full. If you will kill the camp before reaching 100 fury, reset it and keep hitting it for as long as you need to. Ping your team away from your fury batteries and ping them to not pick a fight while you're becoming relevant again.

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. I've accidentally shot through plenty of walls thanks to this strange interaction.

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. Aim to clip targets with your muzzle on ganks whenever possible. This is tough to take advantage of, so will take practice.

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


I don't need to tell you this, but Ignite is your bread and butter summoner if you've got a decent matchup and are looking to get some kills to your name. In conjunction with Hail of Blades and Hextech Gunblade, you can 100-0 somebody in the blink of an eye. Your jungler only needs to keep somebody still for a second or two with this setup, starting at level 3. Post-6, if they do not preemptively Flash away as you are ulting in and wait to eat your combo before doing so, Ignite will usually burn them down and finish the kill while they look very, very foolish. If running Dark Harvest for teamfights, Ignite is also a great idea to bring against high healing champions like Vladimir, Kayn, and Soraka.

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

Anti-burst, anti-diver

Exhaust makes champions who do all their damage in one fell swoop (especially Zed very sad. Freshly buffed, it will allow you 3 seconds to kite back and escape danger. Pick against assassins and press-button-get-kill champions like Camille and Vi that you cannot escape. Great to run with full AP Dark Harvest, but may also find use with Hail of Blades against certain champions. If it would ruin the enemy splitpusher in a duel, take it.

For tougher lanes

Teleport is the go-to option for many scaling champions to ensure that they can take a bad recall and not miss a stacked wave. A good choice against extremely oppressive matchups like Orianna and Ryze if you can't count on your jungler to give you a lot of attention.

Draconic Savagery: Early Aggression

Hail of Blades
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 18.75% 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, and let you tear squishy casters to bloody pieces once your jungler swings by and keeps them still for a second. 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.

NOTE: Hail of Blades is currently bugged in dragon form. Twin Bite is not giving a stack as it should, hurting damage potential quite a bit. If jumping on a target that will survive the full combo, consider autoing 3 times and then using Q so as to not lose value.

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

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

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

Nimbus Cloak
I swear to God, they did something this season that made creep blocking happen more often and behave even dumber than it used to. The Ghosting component on Nimbus Cloak prevents this from happening while we are chasing down those early kills and makes us fast enough to keep up with our prey while they frantically retreat. Using both summoners on top of Burnout is a LOT of movement speed. Having 30% movespeed on your Flash also makes escaping from ganks a hell of a lot easier if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

This is your best early game option. An extra 15-20 damage per Flame Breath poke adds up quickly so long as your aim is true. With this much damage potential, every little chip becomes very important. Before they know it, they'll be whittled down into kill range and looking at a grey screen.

Ashes to Ashes: Dragonfire Scaling

Dark Harvest
Though it’s been overnerfed for most previous users (looking at you, Karthus), Dark Harvest is still your best bet if you're looking to embody Fire. 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 long range damage from merely unreasonable to downright disgusting. If your jungler is at a significant early disadvantage (say, Karthus into Olaf), you don't think you can smash your lane alone, and you know your team will be forced to concede objectives for a time, run this build.

Take the same minor Domination runes as above.

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. Since Luden's Tempest and Nashor's Tooth components get you to 40% nice and early, this rune lets you get good value of of excess CDR. Zhonya's Hourglass is frequently necessary, so being able to convert that extra 10% to 20 AP is thus very nice. It also makes blue buff worth 20 AP, which would otherwise be completely useless. With Zhonya's and blue, this rune is worth about 1300G. Not bad!

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

Fierce Survivor: Beginner's runes

Fleet Footwork
Fleet lets you 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. The burst of movement speed is also extremely valuable to avoid retaliatory damage against certain champions like Rumble and Akali.

I 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. 5 Rejuvenation Beads, Refillable Potion, and Teleport should be more than enough sustain for a skilled player in any matchup. I no longer ever run Fleet, instead choosing to pay the 225G from selling 5 beads with a better keystone.

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 to stack it up until you get to several hundred AP.

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

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

Transcendence/Gathering Storm
You still want the same secondaries as above; I don't think you can afford skimping on these two runes in particular in favor of defensive options no matter how bad your lane is. They're worth suffering for in the early game since they let you scale into a game-winning monster. You really shouldn't need any more sustain than this, though Second Wind is an extremely tempting rune. Not having an offensive keystone hurts enough; without them, you'll have too much trouble getting the ball rolling.

For stat shards, 2 Force 1 Resist for Hail of Blades, always. You want to empower your burst trade as much as possible, so don't run attack speed.

For Dark Harvest, go double MR VS any burst mage. 2 Force 1 MR is the way to go against more control oriented mages. A single armor shard is typically sufficient against AD lanes since you will get plenty of armor from rushing Seeker's Armguard.
Your hoard: Item selection
Every dragon needs their stash of fancy, powerful artifacts. These items will be the wind beneath your wings, carrying you to greatness so that you may carry your team to victory.

Core build

Aggressive start: Long Sword, 3 pot
The fastest way to hurt things, and hurt them quickly. Hail of Blades gives us all the attack speed we need, so we're just looking to put more power behind the trade and maximize its value. Don't go for Doran's Blade, 300 health from the extra Health Potions is more valuable in lane than the 80 health and paltry lifesteal you get from it. You also want to get that Bilgewater Cutlass as fast as possible to help keep things in range for your weedwhacker of a combo.

Scaling start: Dark Seal + Refillable
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 and it makes Mejai's Soulstealer well worth the investment if you find yourself at 10 stacks in the midgame.

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

Defensive start: 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 way higher resale value than any Doran's item. 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, 3 beads offer 18HP/5 100% of the time. We have a clear winner!

You should buy as many beads as you need to secure your lane phase. The 3 you start with are sufficient into many champions. The toughest matchups may require 4 or 5. Don't be shy about buying more. 5 Rejuvenation Beads will give you about 8 HP/sec and make you an immovable object in lane as long as you aren't reckless. Remember, you only lose 45G per bead.

VS AD midlaner: Seeker's
If running Dark Harvest, you should consider building 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.

Hail of Blades rush item: Hextech Gunblade
To be perfectly honest with you, this item should not exist. It's just way, way too damn good. Multiple champions are balanced around it and are relying on it like a crutch to keep them relevant in the current state of the game. Shyvana also makes fantastic use out of it. It gives you 40 AD behind your Hail of Blades combo, 80 AP to add to your 1.0 ratios (remember that Flame Breath also has a sizeable AD ratio), and a completely bonkers active that is as strong as a 5th spell and gives you the time you need to 100-0 your unfortunate target. That's nuts enough already, but it also offers a disgusting amount of omnivamp, much needed sustain and dueling power that would otherwise be lacking in the build. On top of securing the last few minutes of your lane phase, the vamp lets you counterjungle while you are splitpushing later on and remain parked at full life.

Dark Harvest rush item: Luden's Echo
This item is a ridiculously powerful powerspike for any long-range poke mage, and Shyvana is no exception. Unfortunately, now that Smite has been made non-viable and we can no longer rush Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes, we have to make do with its bigger cousin. Though 700G more expensive, it gives another 10 AP and 10% CDR over Runic. The proc is also 40 base damage stronger, adding 100+10% AP to your Flame Breath. It is much less efficient stat wise (it feels pretty bad paying for that much mana), but Transcendence still lets us get great value out of the item.

The Luden's proc is the fastest way to make massive chunks possible. A single hit onto more than one person will force an entire team to concede objectives. The extra damage will chunk even a perfectly healthy target into Dark Harvest range, giving you many stacks that you otherwise would not be able to get. The splash damage will also proc Dark Harvest in case you barely miss a low health target.

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 harass deny you under turret, regardless of matchup.

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 all by itself.

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

Consider these first

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 REALLY WANT to go Oblivion Orb with Dark Harvest. It's practically core. Skip it if running Hail of Blades to get a faster Rabadon's Deathcap or Guinsoo's Rageblade for splitting, though.

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. Even if they do buy it, having the redundancy on the team in case something goes wrong is very valuable. 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 Cease and Desist 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.

For Inflection Points

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. 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 per-target 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. It's close to 75 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.

To ruin people: Deathcap
Rabadon's Deathcap will make your Flame Breath terrifying and is the correct choice if you're up against several really squishy carry champions who are just refusing to build MR. 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.

It will also make you kill towers from full in about 8 seconds. Highly suggest building this 4th if looking to splitpush with Hail of Blades.

For tanks/bruisers: Lich Bane
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.

Best option right after Rabadon's Deathcap for Hail of Blades once you have that massive AP value behind its 0.5 ratio. Towers will never be the same!

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 Tempest 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.).

Final HoB item: Rageblade?
Potentially! If all you're looking for is more DPS and you're stupid far ahead, this is probably your best bet. Twin Bite is currently double stacking it, so a Hail of Blades combo will instantly activate it in either form. This much attack speed will reset your Twin Bite fast enough to give you a Lich Bane proc every 2 seconds. You could end the game with half a creep wave with this item.

If the enemy top is still weak but built a lot of MR for lane, and they may require some sustained damage to bring down, consider grabbing this right after Nashor's Tooth.

In case it needs to be said, never build this with Dark Harvest. That's just silly.
DH Dragonfire Scaling: Gameplan

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.

Placing your first ward in the enemy chicken camp is a very good idea. It's the only camp that is easily accessible from a lane. Almost every jungler paths to chickens early because it's worth a lot and is quick to kill. This will give your side lanes peace of mind to go for a play once they do and let you know to be careful for a while.

Early playstyle: be patient and defensive

Your goal for the first few levels is just to farm up and soak experience no matter which build you're running. 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. Not only is it free damage, it's also a Taste of Blood proc to take the edge off the harassment coming your way.

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 you're still a padawan and 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.

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 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 Mobility Boots. 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 1000-1300 gold. Blasting Wand+ Refillable Potion+ Boots is a great first buy. Seeker's Armguard is another great back timing into an AD lane.

If you're in a very bad matchup and are getting clobbered, spend your health to farm as much as you can, back at 450G for 2 more rejuvenation beads and a Refillable Potion, then Teleport back to your turret. This will help immensely.

You really want to have some AP ready for level 6, which begins the next significantly more fun stage of the game.

Ward drake at 5:00

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 may wait until level 6 to go get vision.

Starting at level 6, look to all in

The second you hit 6, look to dive onto your lane opponent and vore them. You should only need to land one or two pokes against most champions to have serious all in potential. Put your wards down and once you have proof that their jungler isn’t waiting around the corner, wait for them to use their big 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 Luden's Tempest 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 with a scaling build 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. If their jungler shows on the map, you force that midlaner back as far as you can.

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 or break a freeze from a safe distance. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than getting starved out. In this way, there is only so much you can be denied after 6. 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 your first item. 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 Luden's Tempest 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 if secrecy isn't critical. You still do a ton of damage to it even without a jungle item. Jungler looking to invade? Shove the wave and float behind him to back him up if required.

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

Punish roams

With turret plating, roams can be punished much harder and may not even be worth it. If your opponent is a roamer like Talon, LeBlanc, or Aurelion Sol and leaves to go kill your bot lane, it’s oftentimes better to simply ignore them and take the chance to obliterate their turret. If you didn’t catch them leaving and you won’t catch up in time, don’t even try. The fight will be over by the time you arrive, and following such champions into fog of war is oftentimes suicide. Just tunnel that turret, murder those waves, and pick up your 320-460 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 without interference. 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 into Flame Breath range from behind the wall and give no time for them to react. Line up your Flame Breath and collect your free kill. It's very common for damaged carries and supports to huddle together when pushed in for safety, so there's a good chance you can hit both. If they barely survive and you know their jungler isn't around, sit behind them in the lane and spam recall or something until your Flame Breath comes back up. You'll have them pinned, so there's no reason to dive. 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. You only gain a passive 1 fury per second at rank 1 of Dragon's Descent. 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. As stated previously, if you're against a jungler who can solo it effectively like Vi, Kha'Zix, or Udyr, it's well worth nipping over and keeping that pit warded if your support hasn't already done so. The first drake will do a significant amount of damage while being taken. With Dragon's Descent and Flame Breath, you can easily pick up a kill and finish off the drake if you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar. 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, so you and your jungler can snag them together in as little as 8-10 seconds. If the enemy team is behind on their rotations or has let vision lapse, spam ping away and snap it up. Ulting for it for the extra flame patch damage is worthwhile if you don't think you have much time. Your Flame Breath mark has just been significantly buffed against objectives, so you will absolutely melt the poor thing, even without a jungle item.

If a 2v2 fight starts top and you aren't pinned mid, Control Ward the pit and take it by yourself. It's worth losing a wave for 1/4th of a win condition. You probably won't even drop below half health. Just make sure you aren't seen and set up your last hit to be either a Flame Breath or a Twin Bite onto a Flame Breath mark; these are almost as good as a Smite.

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. If their jungler made the mistake of starting drake while injured but isn't quite in kill range, 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 win the fight instantly, 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.

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

Knowing when to use Dragon's Descent is absolutely crucial. Being overzealous and wasting it on a bad pick attempt, getting caught out and being forced to use it defensively, or simply misreading the 5v5 dance and ulting for a fight that doesn’t end up happening can very easily concede Baron and throw the game while you are frantically trying to build fury in order to become relevant again. That’s a lategame nightmare scenario. Be patient while the teams dance around and feel each-other out, waiting for one side to make a mistake. Eventually someone will get caught by CC and start the fight, and you must have a full bar of fury when that happens. Ult availability is your number one priority in the lategame. Spam ping your team away from creeps when you need to hit them and tell them to leave at least one jungle camp up for you. Spam danger ping when you have no ult and it looks like someone wants to engage. They may not listen, but you need to try. If it looks like they aren't getting it, find a few seconds to spell it out for them in chat.

Ambush predator

If possible, you want your team to engage in the jungle. Fighting in the jungle forces the backline to huddle together to do damage, allowing you to easily fire extremely high-value Flame Breaths. The area denial of your fire patch is also much more valuable in jungle choke points; by this point in the game it will be ticking for 200+ and seriously melt people. You also have enough range to stay back and use walls as shields if necessary. On top of all of that, being able to Flame Breath from over a wall or in an unwarded bush can work wonders since your enemies will have less time to react, especially if you also used Dragon's Descent out of vision and they have no idea it’s even coming.

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

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

Draconic artillery

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. AP Shyvana at this stage in the game functions as a force multiplier for your team's push and is hilariously unfair with a lead. It's just indefensible.

HoB Duelling/Splitpushing: Gameplan
Much of the above still applies here, but running with Hail of Blades is different in a few key ways. I won't be repeating myself, so make sure you take a look at the Dark Harvest section first. Since this strategy is tougher to execute and requires more decision making than the scale up, group, and teamfight gameplan with Dark Harvest, I highly suggest learning the above first anyway and then graduating to Hail of Blades once you have a handle on it.

Level 1-2: Same as above

The super earlygame when running Hail of Blades is very similar to Dark Harvest in most cases, with the exception of you being MUCH more threatening level 1. Weigh invading more heavily in your gameplan. Definitely skill Burnout to help you stay in range of the focus target if a fight breaks out. You'll do over 200 damage to them damn near instantly.

In lane, you still want to hang back and wait for level 3 before thinking about being aggressive since your abilities work so well together. Keep that wave in front of your turret as described above. You don't want to compromise your wave position until you can threaten a kill. The further forward they are forced to stand, the more room you will have to run them down when you are able and the more likely a gank is to be successful.

Level 3: Look to rotate and trade

Once you have all of your abilities, it's time to look to use them. Your trade pattern with Hail of Blades is honestly ridiculous. Almost nobody can compete with your level 3 all in as long as you can close the distance and stick to your target. Even champions famous for their early powerspikes like Talon break even.

There are opportunities for level 2 aggression into a select few champions. Zed for example takes Living Shadow at level 3, allowing you to easily chase him down with Burnout and chunk him for lane priority after he goes for a last hit. Katarina also likes to start fights at level 2, but cannot outtrade the Flame Breath and Twin Bite barrage. Burnout is not necessary here as long as you stand on top of her dagger and are ready for her. A Yasuo who recklessly mispositions without his knockup ready may be beaten on before he decides to retreat. But most of the time, you are going to want to wait until level 3 before looking to fight.

How you trade is important. If you can't finish the kill, it is wise to retreat after getting all 5 of your hits off and look to Flash on them to secure it after Hail of Blades has reset. Thanks to a usability improvement this year, this now takes 8 seconds regardless of combat state, so it will always be ready when your Flame Breath comes off CD.

Sometimes it is best to retreat right after Twin Bite to avoid chasing them into their creep line. It is unfortunate, but we must shove the wave a little bit since the movement speed from Burnout is vital to enable our combo. Reckless and fruitless attempts to trade will only succeed in pushing your wave and forcing you into a disadvantageous lane position. Taking more than 1 or 2 attacks per creep is also a ton of damage coming your way and may even result in you losing the trade. It is always best to look to engage while most of the current wave is dead to mitigate these factors. NEVER engage into a stacked wave unless you have help.

Poke your opponent with Flame Breath and Scorch whenever possible. Once their health drops below 500, they are in kill range. This is about how much damage a full Hail of Blades combo can do at level 3 with a Long Sword and without Ignite. Wait for them to use any CC or movement abilities they have, land your next E, then Flash + Ignite and mulch them. This will take them completely by surprise and their reaction should be slow enough for you to get first blood. If they do manage to Flash away, your movement speed from Burnout and Nimbus Cloak should allow you to catch up since they will have probably shoved you in thinking you're harmless.

ALWAYS look to rotate to assist your jungler for early crabs. As long as he has some form of reliable CC, it is extremely easy to kill their jungler for first blood. Don't be shy about using Flash as a gap closer if the CC is applied before you can march up to the target. Just yeet them straight into the wood chipper and watch them get turned into mulch.

When receiving a gank, do not telegraph it by charging forward before he is spotted. This is a drastic change in playstyle against a ranged champion and will not go unnoticed. Play as if he is not there, then jet forward the instant he's spotted. Pretending to make a mistake by intentionally inching into harassment range and backing off is a great way to bait them forward for the gank as long as you can spare the health. The second your jungler lands CC, Flash on them and eviscerate the target. They will almost certainly die from full health.

If your opponent leaves lane for a rotation first, you may attempt to catch them in a bush on your way back. As long as you initiate at point blank range, you can very easily kill almost any champion without a self-peel ability from full health. Demonstration below:

A nice part of running 2 adaptive force runes is that once you take your first back and grab either a vampire scepter or another Long Sword, you will have enough AD to last hit casters under turret without needing to prep them with Burnout. However, you also have enough AD to push the lane very fast if you last hit creeps right when you are able. Make the effort to let creeps get as low as possible before popping them.

Once Hextech Gunblade is completed, usually by the time you get level 5 Flame Breath, anyone who gets anywhere near you will get slaughtered like a turkey on Thanksgiving. Landing Dragon's Descent is often unnecessary, you just need to get within Gunblade range to rack up a kill. Make sure to lead with your Gunblade active to make your Flame Breath harder to dodge and wait the usual quarter second for a potential Flash. At this point, your all in is ******* terrifying. And here's what that looks like.


Once bot lane resolves one way or the other and rotates mid, you are going to want to find yourself a sidelane to push. Sitting mid and splitting resources 3 different ways is hilariously inefficient. On top of that, this build is meant for 1v1 instant kill potential and struggles to contribute to teamfights without a good flank. So, we are going to do what we can to pull the enemy team in different directions, control vision, and look for picks to get even further ahead. That means splitting.

First, Control Wards are ESSENTIAL. Never leave base without at least one if going for a split. Having an area of known fog of war to fall back to while you make judgments is key. Otherwise you will be set up on, cornered, and killed fairly easily. You will be walking vision with your trinket wards deeper into enemy territory when enough people show on the map and it is safe to do so. Proper splitting is a patient dance of vision control and risk assessment.

If your bot lost and the their tier 1 is still up, pink ward the tribush behind you and stealth ward the river bush. This will make it difficult to catch you. Float out of vision in the bot lane bushes and alcove until you see at least 3 on the map, then start pushing up and threatening the tower. If you can kill whoever rotates, do so. If not, farm it out down there for a while. Eventually you should find a moment to knock the turret over and start moving up.

Now pink their tribush and wait again for 3 to show. Then green ward the center of the jungle. You are now set up to chill and wait for a misstep. Push up, but do not go for the turret unless you see 4 or 5 on the map far away.

Though the top laner gets split duty in the lategame, many carries will rotate to pick up pushed waves at their tier 2 turrets in the midgame. Thinking it is safe to do so, they will oftentimes be alone. This is what you are looking for.

Wait for a carry to rotate for the wave. When they do, they will typically push one more wave out from the turret, just far enough to be vulnerable. Pounce and kill. Jumping onto a lone carry with this build will more often than not instantly kill them.

While you wait for your prey, take the enemy gromp/krugs as they spawn. Take more if you can get away with it. Without catchup xp in the jungle, anything you can take will hurt them even more than it helps you. The omnivamp from Hextech Gunblade will keep you healthy.

If you can't handle whoever rotates for the wave, look to make a play with your team while they are stuck under turret collecting farm. If your team is weak and will lose a 4v4, same deal. Doing this for extended periods of time is only advisable if you can get a pick, the rest of your team is strong, or they are weaker with powerful disengage tools like Monsoon.

Once Baron spawns, splitting bot becomes very risky if you did not take Teleport, especially if your team isn't doing so well. While Baron is up, I highly recommend avoiding bot and letting your toplaner collect those waves instead. Push out mid and split top instead. Get vision control topside and use that to look for a flank onto the backline when the fight starts.


As discussed previously, this build does not like to teamfight head-on. Though incredibly powerful, it is insanely squishy, close range, and will be killed with a single hard CC ability. If your team needs your help, we will be forced to join them and do what we can. Though not ideal, we get around this limitation by flanking the enemy and pouncing the backline.

A perfect flank is tough to setup and requires a good bit of foresight. You must know that they cannot see you while you wait for your moment, and you must be sure that when you pounce, important cooldowns that can ruin your dive such as Whimsy are down. Go in with a strong CC ability like Unstoppable Force or Call of the Forge God if possible. Do this right and you'll be seeing "ADC in 2020 LUL" in all chat.

If no opportunity presents itself, if you don't have the vision to safely set up an ambush point or if the enemy's pick tools are just too strong for example, teamfight normally using the tactics described for Dark Harvest. You will be much less effective without Dark Harvest and Luden's Tempest, but your Flame Breath will still do respectable damage to squishy targets. Think about sitting on your ADC and comboing a squishy diver. You should cut it in half right away and give your carry plenty of peace of mind to play confidently and do damage.
Full-length VOD examples
And finally, I thought I'd start keeping a list of exceptional games here to really show off what this build can do when everything goes according to plan. I want to have a good example for every lane matchup eventually. Watching a few of these should be quite helpful!

Dark Harvest teamfighting:

Hail of Blades aggression:

Old Smite strats:
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

And I think that about covers it!

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

May you be blessed!

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide