Build Guide by Resmo Daimac
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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.
Let me start by introducing myself... I've long been a gamer with an affliction for automated killing, so naturally Heimer easily stole my heart out of all the champions available. In the Team Fortress series, I was the engineer. In the Starcraft series I'm a Terran player always persisting with those frustratingly difficult to overcome tank pushes. I play Heimer in a similar fashion, slowly pushing my turrets down the lane, keeping the enemy under constant pressure. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than hearing "You have slain an enemy" when I'm leisurely shopping back at base though.
Please note that this is primarily a 5v5 build, I may write a rendition of it for 3v3's at a later date.
A little more about the build and my play style.. Some of you are likely likely looking at my rune/mastery choices and wondering why am I bothering with defensive runes/masteries. Well, there are a few reasons. First, surviving both denies your opponent gold, experience, and the morale boost from killing you. Second, in this build I rely on golem buff for a the early and mid game in order to sustain aggressive lane pushing and not dying makes certain you maintain the buff on you. Not to mention, if you're alive, your turrets are alive, and hopefully your opponents are getting eaten alive by them.
My preferred two summoner spells, by far, are Ghost and Flash. I'll go into detail below about other options, but also why I don't opt for them.
Ghost - Falls in line with the masteries I've chosen. This is a great tool for escaping, kiting near your turrets, and chasing down enemies.
Flash - Another escape mechanism, which no character can have enough of. Sometimes Flash is enough to escape with, sometimes a Flash must be followed up with Ghost. Either way, both of them have saved my life countless times. Living is paramount.
Exhaust - I used to like this over Flash, because when melee characters would dive at me through my turrets, I could simply grenade them to blind them, follow with exhaust to continue the blind, then throw another grenade for a persistent blind. Usually my turrets and I had the enemy finished off by the end of the chain. It's still a viable option, but at higher ELO rating games, I've found fewer people willing to solo turret dive me. Usually it's two or more people charging in at me now, which a well placed grenade, popping Heimer's ult, and Flashing away can really damper their day.
Heal - Still a useful summoner spell, in my opinion. I'd actually take it over exhaust at higher ELO ratings. Many people will laugh at you and call you a noob, but don't mind them, because they're idiots. The beauty of it is you can heal your turrets with it as well, if you're all low health. Honestly, if I had to replace Ghost or Flash, it'd be with Heal, but I just think the escaping mechanisms of those two are better than the added life Heal gives you.
Clarity - You should rarely, if ever, be running out of mana with proper mana management. After level 9, you'll be keeping golem buff on your self constantly as well, and by end game you'll have enough mana to sustain a lane push or a defense for an extended period of time.
Smite - Meh. You do well enough on your minion killing adventures.
Rally - Without the Improved Rally mastery, it really doesn't offer much for you. From my testing it doesn't seem to affect your turrets damage. The cooldown is FAR too long as well. I wouldn't suggest it.
Teleport - Might be good if you're in the habit of changing lanes quickly to keep the pressure up in multiple areas. I'm not in that habit. Also, mobility isn't one of Heimer's strong points. You're not very safe until you get at least two turrets up, in my opinion. This takes about 20 seconds to achieve, so porting around the map can be a dangerous prospect as well if somebody catches you before you get a turret array deployed.
Cleanse - No thanks. Not since it has been nerfed.
Fortify - Can be fun if everybody on your team gets it. I think the escape mechanisms of Ghost & Flash far supersede it though.
Ignite - Again, escape mechanisms and your turrets will do more damage than ignite would while the enemy chases you or rockets & grenades do more damage when you chase enemies using the same summoner spells you would escape with.
Revive - The whole point is not to die. This almost feels like kicking fate in the balls and hoping he doesn't see that you were counting on dying. And I'm talking about fate, not Twisted Fate. Don't bet on death, don't take Revive.
As far as runes go, the return on going full "Force" runes across the board, or any rune of a similar fashion, isn't worth it in my opinion. For example, if you go with Greater Glyph of Force, you'll reap an additional 3.06 AP at lvl 18 per Glyph. Going with Great Seal of Force, however, will only give you 1.8 AP at lvl 18. For this reason, I believe it's more beneficial to give yourself a more balanced rune layout, gearing each rune type toward it's natural inclination (Seals toward defense, Glyphs toward magic, etc.).
I went primarily with scaling magic resistance and armor runes, because the key is to survive while your turrets kill the enemy with the assistance of your grenades and rockets. In my opinion, this rune setup will give you a more noticeable difference in game play than a rune setup anchored in ability power.
My mastery selection is slightly fragmented, but I feel it gives Heimer the best balance of utility, damage, and survivability.
Archmage's Savvy - 3/3 - This mastery sells itself. Considering the other options, this is the only one thats truly meant for a caster in Tier 1 of Offense. Adds 10.8 AP at lvl 18.
Deadliness - 1/3 - Just a filler point to get to Tier 2 in Offense. The only other options are for summoner spells that you won't be using.
Sorcery - 4/4 - Cooldown reduction is our friend. Not to mention, this gets us to our goal in the Offense tree, Archaic Knowledge.
Archaic Knwoledge - 1/1 - 15% spell penetration is nothing to scoff at and will give you an added edge when going against champions stacking magic resist. Galio is a major offender of magic resist stacking.
Resistance - 3/3 - I prefer magic resistance over armor in almost all cases, because so many champion's abilities do magic damage. I've seen a trend of more and more champions, even melee champions, stacking AP as well. This will give you added survivability,
Hardiness - 3/3 - Armor is always helpful. My understanding of how it works is it essentially gives you an added percentage of life towards physical attacks. For example, if you have 100 health and 50 armor and somebody is hitting you with purely physical attacks, it'd be the same as if you had 150 health and no armor. So on a larger scale, if you have roughly 2,000 health at level 18, then the 6 armor from this ability gives you the equivalent of 120 health toward physical attacks. I haven't read it anywhere, but I suspect magical resist works in a similar fashion, but towards magical damage of course.
2,000 + 6% = 2,120
Evasion - 4/4 - 2% dodge sounds laughable, but it means you'll dodge roughly 1 out of every 50 attacks. If you're getting auto-attacked by Zilean, that might only save you from 70 damage or so, but if a properly built Gangplank swings at you, it might save you from a 1,314 damage critical that drops you to about half your health. Worth the investment, in my opinion.
Nimbleness - When people are diving through your turrets to kill you, kiting is key and this gives you a bit of a boost. Also can help when just being chased back to base. Especially useful against those champions without any built-in CC, such as Mordekaiser.
Haste - 1/1 - For the occasions when you have to kite in circles around your turrets, the extra duration and speed enhancement of this can mean the difference between life and death. The only other options are for a summoner spell you're not taking and a post-death benefit, but the idea is to stay alive.
Perseverence - 3/3 - 6% increase mana and health regen. Again, the alternatives aren't much of alternatives.
Awareness - This was one of the harder mastery decisions I had to make. 5% increased experience truly isn't much, and at level 18 it is useless. I can't stand items/runes/masteries that become useless or close to it at level 18. I had considered taking Expanded Mind instead, primarily for the added benefit of extra mana to feed the two Archangel Staves in the build. After doing the math, the gain is minimal compared to having much higher level states and ranked abilities against then underpowered opponents in mid-game. For the math of the Expanded Mind Archangel Staff benefit, I'll give out some rough numbers. At level 18, you should have something roughly close to 3200 mana. Expanded Mind's 5% would add 160 mana to your max mana. The Archangel Staves will each add 3% of your max mana pool, for a grand total of 6% from each of them. So, of the 160 added mana from Expanded Mind, only 9.6 of that will appear as AP. My argument for Awareness is this.. Heimer is such an excellent farmer, that once you get your AP up enough and a respectable rank of Hextech Micro-rockets and CH-1 Concussion Grenades, you can kill waves of minions before you even have the time to run up next to them. With your ability to down minions faster than almost any other champion, you can clear out lanes and jungles to a point where the added 5% experience can get you to level 18 while most everybody else is within the range of level 11 to 13. The level difference far outweighs an additional estimated 10 AP.
Utility Mastery - 2/2 - This is truly a significant mastery if you have a team that gives you priority on taking golem buff. Essentially, what this means is that you can use the golem buff long enough for it to expire, expend the rest of your mana bar and by the time you reach the golem spawn and setup a couple of turrets, he'll arrive just in time for you to collect a new golem buff.
If you haven't noticed the trend yet, this build is very balanced in many aspects and the skill sequence is similar. The key is to first max out your turrets, because they're your bread and butter. I once saw a level 15 Heimer with rank 4 turrets. I find this highly unacceptable. At max rank, they have more health, deal more damage, and begin dealing splash damage. I attempt to keep my Hextech Micro-rockets and CH-1 Concussion Grenades at even levels, because they're both handy in varying situations. I usually give the CH-1 Concussion Grenades priority though, simply because you can use it to hit specific targets, it does more damage, can stun & blind, and hit turrets. The rockets work wonders for harassment situations when your enemies are doing a great job of dodging your grenades, but minions will easily hop in there to eat the rockets up, diminishing their usefulness in some fights. Finally, taking "Upgrade!!!" at every level possible strengthens your ability to kite when people dive through your turrets for you.
Faerie Charms - Many people might give you strange looks when you opt for two Faerie Charms over a Meki Pendant. For a comparable price, you end up with 1 less mana regen per 5 seconds by going this route, but 1 mana per 5 is truly negligible. As I stated before, I cannot stand investing in an item/rune/mastery that brings little to no benefit at level 18, and unfortunately the Meki Pendant would be such an item, even though it builds into the coveted Chalice. The Chalice isn't part of this champion build though, and it virtually pointless aside from the magic resist by the time you hit level 9. The Faerie Charms will build into the two Archangel Staves you will have by end game though and leave you with enough gold to purchase 3 health potions to start with, ensuring your ability to stay in the lane against more troublesome opponents.
Health Potions - The goal is to stay in your lane until you hit level 9, and the 3 health potions can almost guarantee that.
Tear of the Goddess - You need to get that mana pool up to sustain some consistent spell aggression early game. It'll also build into your first Archangel Staff.
Blasting Wand - Added AP and a step toward your Archangel Staff.
Archangel Staff - At long last, 3% of your mana pool just became AP! Not to mention, you have a built up mana pool from this item's passive and the flat ability power it adds.
Sorcerer's Shoes - You'll need these for kiting and getting where you need to be a good bit faster. The magic penetration is the main reason for opting for these boots over another pair of boots. Mercury Treads or Ninja Tabi are viable as well, if you wish to go for a more defensive stance.
Zhonya's Ring - The AP bonus of this alone is noteworthy, but once you add in the invulnerability for 2 seconds, it's likely your best item. When activated you'll become invulnerable, but won't be able to take action for 2 seconds. This seems almost tailor made for Heimerdinger though, because even if you're not doing anything, your turrets can still be melting faces. Enemy champions diving you through your own turrets and you're unable to kite because of CC or they're faster than you? Do your best to throw off a concussion grenade to stun them and spam a rocket. Afterwards, pop Zhonya's Ring while your turrets chip away at them. Hopefully, they'll either be dead when Zhonya's invulnerability is finished or you can live long enough to see concussion grenade and rockets come off cooldown to finish the job.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Every stat of this item is useful. No need to explain the AP bonus. The added health gives you more room for surviving team fights. The slowing effect is perfect for your rockets. When chasing enemies not near minions, hit the rockets and you'll catch'em. It's even more useful when being chased, keeping the gap between you and your enemy. There has been many times when people chase me for so long that I can take down a significant portion of their life with rockets alone, then turn to grenade them and setup a turret to put a nail in their coffin.
Guardian Angel - The armor and magic resistance this item offers are great stats alone, but bundle it with the revive it offers and you've got another phenomenal Heimer item. The beauty of this item is that if you have turrets setup and they kill you while this item's buff is active, your turrets do not die until you're truly killed. So while they wait for you to be revived by this, your turrets may force them to retreat or die.
Archangel's Staff - This seems a bit redundant, but this is the best addition of extra AP. The second Archangel's Staff is interchangeable though, depending upon your situation. If you're up against a team with loads of magic resist, you may wish to opt for the Abyssal Scepter if you have a team of casters and your opponents are heavy on the magic damage as well. If you just need pure magic penetration for yourself, then Void Staff is a great option as well.
You should ALWAYS get priority for middle lane. If somebody else feels they're entitled to it over a Hiemer, then they are confused individuals. You can take another lane as well, so long as you get to solo, but middle lane is ideal so you don't have the risk of a constant 2v1 situation in another lane. The goal early game is to last hit as many minions as you can and save up until you reach level 9. When you hit level 9, run to your golem spawn and setup a turret just outside the grass. If you have the mana to spare, then grenade and rocket the golem and two smaller minions. Run back to avoid getting hit, it's ok if the golem resets. After it comes off cooldown, then lay another turret just inside the edge of the grass near the golem. At this point the two smaller minions should be dead and your two turrets should be working on the golem. Run far enough away to recall back to base. Do your shopping, which you should have enough for your Tear of the Goddess and a Blasting Wand, maybe even your Archangel's Staff. If you don't have enough for Archangel's Staff, but enough for Boots of Speed, go ahead and purchase those. By the time you make it back to your lane, the two turrets that are near the golem should be finishing him off so that you get the buff right about the time you're ready to push. Using this method makes certain you don't waste precious time with the golem buff ticking away. Immediately start setting up your array of turrets and spamming grenades and rockets every time they are off cool down. Setup your turrets in a tripod and walk them up the lane to the enemy turret. Depending on the resistance you meet, you should be able to take out the first turret by the time your golem buff runs out or close to it. If they only maintain one enemy champion defending against you, it's a sure thing that you'll get the tower when you're spamming abilities like mad. Once the turret goes down, port back to base to purchase the rest of your Archangel's Staff and finish the Sorcerer's Shoes. If your golem buff has just dissipated or is about it, then head back to the golem spawn and setup two turrets and let them start working on getting your next golem buff. With Utility Mastery's 30% extension of buffs, by the time golem buff runs out, it takes only 3 or so minutes for the golem to be back up to collect his head again. If you have to wait, then feel free to clear your team's forest in the meantime. After you get the golem buff again, set out for another lane to push, preferably with teammates at this point because mid-game is beginning and team fights & team ganks are imminent.
By now you should have your Zhonya's Ring completed and a Rylai's Crystal Scepter nearing completion. Continue to maintain the golem buff on yourself and pushing lanes/defending as needed. Clean out your forest if you're waiting for golem to spawn to renew your buff.
Your Guardian Angel should be completed and you're second Archangel's Staff nearing completion. A well placed grenade and rocket will be able to take 60% or more of many of the squishier opponents' health (Ashe, Twisted Fate, Teemo). Continuous pressure should be easier now that you have an extended life with Zhonya's Ring and a second life with Guardian Angel. An enemy team that dives your turrets for you will be hurting if they DO manage to kill you, and your team should be able to mop up the left overs.
General Tips & Tactics
Don't be afraid to throw your grenades over walls, even for killing minions. I'll often jungle this way, because the grenade gives you sight long enough to shoot rockets off as well. Once your rockets and grenades are of a certain rank, you can kill all the jungle creeps in this manner, with exception of the golem, lizard, and baron.
When kiting, try your best to stay within range of your turrets unless you're certain to die to a barrage of enemies or a ranged champion, in which case just run back and attempt to escape, firing off rockets and laying turrets as you go, with an occasional grenade if possible.
When laning at the start of the game, your turrets will often have it so that your minions push in a little further than your turrets can reach when the next wave of enemy minions arrive. If you throw an auto-attack at the enemy champion you're laning against, then the enemy minions will start targeting you if you're close enough to them. Use this to drag them closer to your turrets so that you don't waste mana setting up new turrets until you've pushed in so far that it's truly necessary. This is actually an effective way of getting the enemy's health down in some cases as well. I've auto-attacked enemy champions one to two shots per minion wave to pull the minions back toward turrets until the enemy champions were at 30% health from my auto-attacks alone. Just be mindful of the enemy champion you're laning against, because somebody like Ashe or Blitzcrank can make you pay for such actions if you're not wary.
After you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, shooting your rockets at enemy champions before throwing a grenade can help slow them down to land the grenade on them.
After you get Zhonya's Ring, when possible throw a grenade and shoot rockets before having to pop the ring's invulnerability so that you can use the grenade and rockets again shortly after you come out of invulnerability.
When fighting against Twisted Fate, if he attempts to port to you with his ultimate, don't panick. If you have the mana to spare, throw down a turret then throw a grenade at the spiraling cards showing where he is porting in when it is about 3/4 of the way into the rotation. If timed right, he should be stunned, follow up with your rockets. Finally, if you're low on health, which you usually are if Twisted Fate is ult'ing to you, then use your Ult if it's off cooldown, and run away. This should have him at half health or under and slowed by your turret, trying to escape himself. You might end up chasing him and finishing him in some cases.
Thank you for reading my guide. Constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged. I have no illusions or misconceptions that there is always a better way to do something. This is simply my way, but I'm always seeking to improve. If you see errors or typos within the guide, please bring it to my attention as well.