Build Guide by yexussoldier
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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.
Many people walk into TT thinking that the best teams run a full team of 'bruisers' on TT. These same people also wonder how the heck Annie could be so high on my tier list. This guide hopefully will make you understand how to play a Annie on TT which I believe will be useful at all tiers including the very top.
Because of how valuable defense is, I usually put my 9 spare points (outside of utility) into the defense tree as Annie will likely be dived often and having an extra 6/6 in armor/MR as well as bonuses from runes/dorans shield will make Annie a extremely hard to kill target at level 1. While the 15% magic penetration is nice, my runeset/sorc boots will often render that to be less than 5 penetration for most of the game and isn't very useful early game. Utility is 21 for obvious reasons, it takes care of mana problems, it allows me to hold buffs much longer (where in TT some buffs last a very short time), gives me more exp to counteract everyone else having that mastery and allows more mobility because I can spam my summoners much more often.
At early levels, no other build in the game will give more power to a Annie than this. The extra 19 mpen at level 1 will significantly weaken the opposing champion's defenses as each point of MR for them is technically 1% effective HP against spells. So basically for Annie's burst combo, they've lost a sizeable amount of effective HP early game. Do note that flat Mpen is actually weaker later in regards to their CURRENT effective HP as people stack up MR. For example, a champion with 1000 HP and 30 MR has 1300 effective HP vs spells. Taking off 19 MR from the 30 makes it 1110 effective HP. But for a champion with 1000 HP and 100 MR, they go from 2000 effective HP to 1810. While the amount of taken off hasn't changed, proportionally in the 2nd case, far less was taken out and this is why flat Mpen is significantly weaker against high MR targets. That said, this runeset attempts to garner a huge advantage early game to the point where that isn't an issue. The flat armor pens are extra defense against people diving Annie or running large amounts of armor pen, they aren't scaling ones due to the fact it's highly likely the game will be decided by the first 11 levels.
Because the enemy is prone to be melee or champions that are fast, I run ghost/flash. These spells allow me to either initiate on fast squishies at the back instantly, or simply outrun people diving me. Flash can also be used to get over walls to escape a gank (very useful if you're top lane) and to help your jungler in case he needs help.
While ignite may be useful, it's often not needed as Singed/Mundo shouldn't be in the game anyway.
The reason for this type of build is because Annie is far more close up to enemies than say Anivia so she can't afford not to get Rod of Ages which is easily one of the best items in the game because of the absurd stats(AP/HP/Mana) it gives and the fact it builds from Catalyst. This mix of items mixes damage/durability which Annie both needs to be useful. Honestly, most of my games will end after getting Deathcap but if it drags on, simply going void staff then the eventual banshees (which until it gets nerfed, is broken against spells) as Annie's damage output doesn't scale very well because of her poor AP ratios. Keep in mind however, I am constantly buying wards throughout this and after deathcap, if I have some gold leftover and I expect a game winning push/defense to occur, I will splurge for Red/Blue pots as their boost will be significant against an opponent who doesn't have it.
I often tell my team I'd rather lane top than bottom due to the fact Annie will unlikely get away from a good gank bottom unless she blows both summoners as flashing towards the lizard area is fairly useless when you're bottom. But at top, flashes both towards dragon and lizard are difficult to follow as the exits are on the extreme sides compared to bottom where the exits are both near the middle of the lane. Annie can also help the jungler fairly easy from top as she can use flash/ghost to stun/kill whoever attempts to chase her Jungler down.
That said, Annie can afford to push (though don't attack creeps unless it's for an lasthit) which will give her a wave advantage in levels which allows her to zone her opponent by placing herself between the opponent/minion wave whenever her stun is up. If they don't retreat from that, simply combo them and retreat back to build the stun up. Between stuns, a good strat is to use spare mana to fire Qs and launch physical attacks on the enemy to whittle their HP down before an attempt/kill in the lane occurs. Also using the fact Annie's range is one of the highest in the game allows her to get free hits on enemies while carefully hit/running (as her attack cooldown is high) to prevent the enemy from responding. Thanks to Doran's shield/runes/masteries, most champions will have a extremely hard time winning in farm or living when faced with this without a gank or a champion that has 'free' spells or some kind of healing/shield type spell (say Mundo/Morde/Gragas). Usually when Annie hits 6, it'll be in time for your team to either dragon or lizard and is easily the strongest spell to have in a level 6 fight which often means her team will get the dragon/lizard with little effort.
Do note that if top lane is a 1v2, I highly suggest just sitting back and farming rather than shoving and simply wait until level 5/6 to do some real damage.
Despite being a very obvious section, in TT farming is a extremely vital part of the game as even a team thats behind 4-5 kills can still be ahead in gold if they've been power farming the camps/waves all game. Often mid-late game, Annie shouldn't be sitting at a wave slowly killing it with lasthits if there are still accessible neutral camps on the map. In these cases, Annie should attempt to kill the wave as fast as possible with incinerate and proceed to wipe the camp (unless it completely drains her mana) as often there isn't much to do between dragon/liz spawns aside from amass higher farm or prevent the enemy from doing the same. Roaming aimlessly is often another mistake lower ELO players do as it doesn't give them exp/farm or anything if their gank is poorly done. Roaming should be done if the wave is pushing towards them and camps are simply dead and there is nothing to do but ward around the map/look for ganks
In higher ranked games, often teams will be running at least 1 melee (sometimes 3 but they often get murdered) and in teamfights, that said melee(s) will be running on Annie. Often it'll require significant resources/spells to kill a Annie before her combo, say a WW ult and a Akali burst combo, often giving her team a huge advantage despite the 2v3 after. But often if a group of champions attempt to chase Annie, simply constantly reposition yourself so your AOE stun will hit at least 2 people. As Annie, I very often find myself never standing still, always repositioning myself for the next spell/living while the enemy melee wander around aimlessly as they realize every time they get close to get 1 hit in, they have to walk forward again as I'm out of range for the 2nd hit which allows Annie to vastly outdps them.
However, it is often very beneficial to start fights with Annie if say a stun on their squishy is possible or a stun on multiple people is possible with Tibbers as this is significant damage and most teams will often have lost 40% of their HP from a simple initiation combo on multiple people. However a rookie mistake most players make is trying to initiate with say ghost/flash when their allies don't have it up which means by the time Annie's stun wears off, her team is still playing catch up and won't make it in time.
For the most part, Annie will attempt to spam spells while keeping herself alive so she can make use of her lowest cd AOE stun in the game constantly.
Hopefully if you are one of the very few people who play TT, you'll understand why Annie is a top tier champion on that map and hopefully after mastering her you can see that full 'bruiser' teams are often a joke in any organized play on TT due to their weakness to kiting champions like Annie.