Build Guide by CopperWY
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
I'm a relatively casual player - with two kids and a household, my teenage days of constant gaming are long gone.
This guide is written based on my experiences with Heimer, and matching my own playstyle. I am currently level 25, and have modified my approach to Heimer several times. And, in some games I've gone radically off of this build, (All HP, Armor and MR, Full AP, Low Cooldowns) to experiment and try different combinations.
The key to Heimer and my playstyle is flexibility and adaptability to your opponents and the flow of the game. Heimer has many weaknesses that must be overcome through your items before they can be exploited by the other team.
Status of this guide
1-29-11 v0.50 Initial draft with no formatting
1-30-11 v0.51 Added Meta Heimer, Early Game and Mid Game
1-31-11 v0.52 Added End Game
2-02-11 v1.0 Published the guide and Asked for comments
2-08-11 v1.01 Added Twisted Treeline section
2-11-01 v1.02 Updated Runes to an actual Rune build I am trying.
Heimerdinger is a difficult champion to play - he has low survivability and is often targeted first in team fights, making it even more of a challenge. And even when Heimer has a good game, he is not a dominant force, winning a game singlehandedly like other characters can.
Facing well co-ordinated enemies, Heimer is very susceptible to ganks, no matter his build, and playing Heimer can lead to a cycle of feeding the other team. Further, enemies can stack magic resist to nullify most of Heimer's offensive punch.
However, the vast majority of the pick up games in LOL at lower levels do not have this level of enemy co-operation or co-ordination. A well played Heimer can dominate the tower game, and frustrate enemies into suicidal charges into multiple turrets.
My goal with Heimer are simple:
Push back the nearest enemy tower
Harvest as many minions as possible
Grab jungle minions when a single grenade and rocket will kill them
Look for opportunities to push a lane or backdoor during team fights in the main lane
Heimer can lane in mid or 2v2, but my best games have always come laning 1v2 with a jungler. Given that other characters can dominate from mid, I will look for the opportunity to cede mid to them.
Pros / Cons
Best Minion Farmer in the game
Great Tower Pusher
Best Tower defense in the game
Great Area Control
Not Dependent on Ultimate Timer
First targeted in most group fights
Easy to Drain Mana
3 of 4 abilities cannot 'focus' fire on enemy Champions
Runes and Masteries
I intentionally left the Runes section blank here. And the Masteries are also not a recommendation, just an example. As Heimer is a hybrid character, grab the runes that match your play style with him.
If you are dying too quickly, go defensive.
If you are struggling to finish off minions and enemies, tweak for offensive power.
The key spell for me is Heal. At level 6, Heimer is vulnerable to your lane opponent's ultimate. And if you are laning with two opponents, often time you will need to absorb two ultimates.
Your own ultimate cannot save you, and quick fingers on the heal button is your best bet not to feed.
The role of Teleport is very suited to my own play style, and you may choose a different spell.
In the early game, I like to port back quickly after shopping, to get a 'free' push on my lane.
In the mid game, once my grenades are powered enough to take down minions with one toss, I look around the map constantly for masses of enemy creeps to port to and feast upon.
In the very late end game, I look for the chance to backdoor the enemy. When your team and their team are engaged in a lane, Heimer can roll another lane quickly, forcing the enemy to send more than one opponent to stop you.
And, other than that, Teleport is great for the chance to save towers, quickly join team fights, etc.
Early Game - to about level 11
The early game for Heimer is all about survival and mana. This is why I start with the Meki Pendant and the two potions. You do not know if your opponents will be targeting you or your turrets, and you need the flexibility to heal yourself or replace turrets, so you can lane longer.
You will be working towards two key items - Sorceror's Shoes and an Archangel's Staff
You will be hamstrung by mana concerns in the early game, so be leery of using your grenade and rockets. You do get one 'bonus' turret - by quickly running to your lane position and dropping your first turret, your Meki Pendant will completely refill your mana bar by the time the minions hit.
I tend to use my grenade and rockets as psychological more than actual weapons. I harass the enemy with my regular attacks, and toss one grenade and one rocket in the early game to get them to back off of my turrets. In the early game my turrets stay behind the minions, in the later game I will drop the turrets in front. Don't be afraid to tank minions for a bit to keep your turret alive. Your passive heal allows you this flexibility.
Your turrets and your attacks should push easily into the enemy tower's space. Most of my early game time is spent right outside of the enemy towers, with two turrets killing the minion stream as it comes, then myself and my surviving minions dropping in to weaken the tower.
I am not afraid to use my Heal when needed, but my goal is to get level 6 with Heal being active and at 100% health - you have one or two enemy ultimates to survive at this point, and the Heal is your get out of jail free card.
This is absolutely Heimer's most vulnerable time - so be very cautious and let your turrets do the work. You keep your eye on your money, and given a choice port back at 1100, then 605, then 860, then 1000 gold.
I tend to plan my ports right after the minions and I have pushed a tower back, or right as my mana expires. If at all possible, I leave two turrets spaced to fight the minion stream, or, failing that, I drop one turret at my tower to support.
A successful early game for Heimer often ends with 0/0/0 as your score, the enemy's first tower down, and with boots and the staff, your mana and speed problems solved.
Mid game - farming and pushing
Your early habits to be conservative with your rockets and grenades will serve you well now that your mana pool and regen rates have increased.
You almost have enough power to farm easily, so my own choice to power up is a Blasting Rod. As soon as I have this, I begin looking for quick and easy farming opportunities. Jungle camps fall quickly, and one grenade toss can take out all 3 mage creeps in a wave easily.
Your next item choices are dependent on the opponent. If I am being jumped repeatedly in gank attempts, I will focus on a Warmog's Armor for survivability (this is typically if the team is losing). If I am participating in more one on one enemy fights, standing and trading punches, I will focus on a Hextech Revolver.
Both are effective in increasing your survivability. Other guides and the recommended items from Riot Games are more focused on increasing your AP. I have found, however, that your survivability is much more important than delivering damage at this stage of the game.
Typically, I am out of 'my' lane by this stage of the game, with 'my' tower dead. After each port, I look for a minion camp to kill on my way to the next lane to push. I occasionally Teleport in to enemy minion masses for grenade farming and to push or defend towers. I take particular pride as Heimer in the front row of enemy towers being dead, while all three of my team's are still alive.
The blue buff - if there is no one claiming it on my team, and I am effectively pushing, I may claim the blue buff, even though typically, others can use it more effectively. Once empowered, I tend to fire rockets indiscriminately as I do my normal pattern of pushing with grenades and turrets.
Mid game pushing a stream of minions: I stick with my stream of minions, and run past the enemy melee minions, dropping one turret between the melee and mage creeps. One grenade tends to take out the mage creeps and the melee minions fall quickly. I can push so quickly with Heimer that I almost don't stop running.
This speed and your weakness in team fights makes Heimer a great 2ndary lane pusher in this stage of the game. If you have a good team that has killed a few enemies and is successfully pushing a lane, Heimer can grab a 2nd lane and 'keep pace' with the other lane, so that as the rest of your team finishes an inhibitor, they can peel over to finish the 2nd lane with you.
End Game Heimer
No matter where you have started out, 1v1 or 2v2 or 1v2, by the end game, your minion farming prowess will typically make you one of the higher level players on your team (if you've managed to jungle).
In the end game, you need to adapt to your opponents. Be very leery of soloing a lane if the enemy has good Stun or Snare. I tend to consider a successful push at this stage to be:
1. Port to my minions pushing a lane successfully
2. Kill a tower or inhibitor
3. Recall to home base
I often in the end game will defend all three lanes, helping to kill creeps until a critical mass of my creeps has been built up to push a lane successfully.
In team fights, Heimer is really only effective in the lanes, something many team-mates do not understand. Rockets fired while chasing through the jungle, more often than not plow into a jungle camp instead of the enemy. And the jungle is never a good place to set up your turrets, significantly weakening Heimer.
As you approach level 18, your rockets gain significant punishing power, and you should use them more liberally. Be wary and check equipment on enemies who may have gone full Magic Resist, as you won't be able to touch them. Avoid them and let your teammates and turrets take them down.
In team fights, I tend to continue firing my grenades into the mage creeps - more often than not, you'll be hitting an enemy with them, too, and with the creeps dead, your rockets won't be wasted. Do your best to fight from behind, ducking forward to drop turrets and grenades. You remain one of the first to be targeted always.
Item wise, I tend to upgrade to a will of the Ancients, because it is so cheap, then upgrade my Blasting Rod to a Rabadon's Deathcap. My final item slot is 100% flexible - I will typically add a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, but more health (Warmogs), magic resist (Abyssal Scepter), or spell vampire (Hextech Gunblade) are also possibilities.
Switching it up -Heimer in Twisted Treeline 3v3
The Twisted Treeline map really emphasizes Heimer's flaws - you are often exposed to a 3 on 1 gank attempt, and much of the fighting takes place running through the forest.
Having said that, I have found that a few simple switches make Heimer viable in Twisted Treeline. First and foremost - the focus on survivability is paramount - so START your build with Warmog's Armor (Ruby Crystal as first purchase). You will still be the focus of enemy attacks, but most will not be prepared for your increased hit points, and can be killed by your allies. Also, if the enemy has any sort of stun or snare at all (and they probably will) switch in Mercury's Treads for your Sorceror's Shoes. Again, you will have the HP and escability to ensure that you are not the feeder on the team.
What this leads to is an incredibly mana starved Heimer, so I switch out my Teleport for Clarity. And I back wayyy off on rockets and grenades, letting my turrets do 95% of the work.
Request for Comments
Again, as a casual player, I know that there are others who can and do invest more time in the game than I. Feel free to fire any comments my way, and I'll adjust my playstyle and guide accordingly. Enjoy!