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Poppy Build Guide by Awkward Penguin

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Awkward Penguin

Hongmoon Secret Technique for Top Lane Poppy

Awkward Penguin Last updated on June 17, 2016
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Top Lane
Ranked #58 in
Top Lane
Win 48%
Get More Stats

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Poppy with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Nasus Easiest. Harass him with Q and deny him as much farm as possible.
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Hello everyone, I'm Awkward Penguin and I'm currently at Platinum in the PH server. I started playing League around 2010-2011 (post Season 1 I believe) so I'm pretty sure I know my stuff: I've seen teams and pro players rise and fall, champions buffed to heaven and nerfed to hell. Also, I've been sitting at Diamond Tier for the past three seasons as a top lane main, so my knowledge with the different builds and match-ups for top lane kinda speak for themselves. I also love Blade and Soul, in case the title didn't give it away.

I made this guide to help my friends Aina and Anje, as well as other summoners out there, to learn and enjoy top lane Poppy the Hongmoon Way.

Being my first guide here in Mobafire I'll do my best to update it and hopefully make it more visually appealing in the future.

I'd like to personally thank my good friend Lance for teaching me this Poppy build. Now, it's my turn to share and teach it to others. Enjoy and have fun out there!

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Pros / Cons

Why play Poppy?

  • Cutest reworked champion in the game.
  • Her Hammer Shock makes tanks cry.
  • High base damage.
  • Tanky as hell, yet has the potential to burst squishies.
  • Can execute impressive TP ganks.
  • Ridiculous CC machine with max CDR (which you will get with Iceborn Gauntlet + The Black Cleaver
  • Not easily jumped on thanks to Steadfast Presence.
  • Can easily peel for her carries with Keeper's Verdict.
  • When you feel like slamming people into walls.

Why not play Poppy?

  • No reliable sustain.
  • Your Iron Ambassador can be stepped on by other champions.
  • Hammer Shock has a really short range.
  • No real way to deal with ranged top laners other than pinning them to a wall.
  • Somehow team reliant unless you're insanely fed.
  • No Legendary skin.
  • She can't tell good jokes. :(

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
These rune choices are pretty straightforward.

Poppy's abilities scale well with AD, she isn't autoattack reliant, and is highly combo-based, hence Greater Mark of Attack Damage is our best bet for marks.

For seals and glyphs, we get Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist for optimal survivability and it's excellent synergy with Steadfast Presence. Of course you get Greater Glyph of Magic Resist against an AP top laner ( Lissandra, Rumble, etc.) so you have better chances of surviving early in the laning phase.

For quints, you can swap the recommended with Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. Your call.

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For masteries I have two suggestions: The Beginner's Path and Path of Hongmoon.

The Beginner's Path

With Grasp of the Undying as keystone, this path focuses on stacking hp and basically just surviving the laning phase, playing it safe, and scaling hard into late game.


  • Sorcery - Ability damage over attack speed for a champion such as Poppy.
  • Feast - In a nutshell if you have this and the enemy doesn't, you're in a big advantage. GET IT.
  • Natural Talent - You don't really lifesteal that much anyways, but yeah feel free to get Vampirism if you want.
  • Oppressor - You're jampacked with cc. You need this, trust me.


Path of the Hongmoon

Once you get the hang out of slamming people into terrain and beating them up, you can actually switch Grasp of the Undying into Thunderlord's Decree for a more combo based Poppy. Works wonders when you want to 100-0 squishies.


  • Sorcery - Ability damage over attack speed for a champion such as Poppy.
  • Feast - In a nutshell if you have this and the enemy doesn't, you're in a big advantage. GET IT.
  • Natural Talent - You don't really lifesteal that much anyways, but yeah feel free to get Vampirism if you want.
  • Oppressor - You're jampacked with cc. You need this, trust me.


  • Savagery - For easier last hitting.
  • Secret Stash - Upgrades your potions into cookies. Tip: you can use cookies while being Ignited or while near death to make you survive at least one tick of damage. If you're running Corrupting Potion, however, get Assassin .
  • Merciless - You wanna be bursty. You wanna kill people. You need this.
  • Dangerous Game - League of Legends IS a dangerous game. You need this.
  • Intelligence - Wanna know what's better than 40% cooldown reduction? Yep, you guessed it right, 45% cooldown reduction.
  • Thunderlord's Decree - They won't call it League of Thunderlords for nothing. As much as I hate this keystone mastery, it's really great on Poppy.

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The only summoner spells you should bother getting.

Flash - You Flash, he Flash, they Flash, EVERYONE used Flash. Hands down the best summoner spell in the game. Don't bother getting Ghost, Poppy already has her Steadfast Presence if you wanna go zoom zoom.

Teleport - It's a harsh, Teleport gank world out there, so if you wanna make impactful plays that will help your team win the game, you get this. Win easy 3v2's at Bot lane. Teleport in like a bad boy when your team is doing Dragon and the enemy wants to spoil the fun. Splitpush a side lane and make people chase you while your team is doing Baron Nashor , then Teleport to the opposite lane. Teleport to defend a turret being chunked by the enemy splitpusher. To a champion with cc and gapcloser in her kit such as Poppy, Teleport simply outshines Ignite any time of the day.

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Now we discuss Poppy's awesome abilities.

Iron Ambassador - Passive

Poppy's rework changed her old OP-as-f*ck passive into a range poke that makes her throw her shield for her next autoattack. This deals bonus magic damage, and the shield bounces off like a Draven's Spinning Axe that can be picked up, giving Poppy a shield that absorbs damage equal to 15% of her maximum health.
Tips and Tricks:
  • The shield lasts for a decent amount of time. Abuse it by forcing trades.
  • If you use it to last hit someone, the shield automatically returns to you and you instantly gain its bonus.
  • The enemy can see where it lands and can step on it to destroy it. If they do, make them pay for it by using Hammer Shock where the shield lands.
  • It applies on-hit effects, so if you have Iceborn Gauntlet you can activate W first then auto attack for an AOE slowing shield boomerang! Neat, huh?

Hammer Shock - Q

Poppy slams the ground in front of her, dealing flat amount of physical damage and bonus damage equal to a percentage of the affected units' max health, as well as slowing them. After several seconds the area erupts, again dealing the same amount of damage to units inside.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Mastering the AOE is crucial to learning Poppy.
  • Use it after a well-placed Heroic Charge for better results.
  • With enough mana and CDR from items this skill becomes ridiculously spammable. Abuse it.
  • You can stick to people like glue with this spell and your E.

Steadfast Presence - W

This ability has a passive and an active component. The passive component increases your armor and magic resist by a percentage, doubling the effects when you're below 40% of your maximum health. The active component increases Poppy's movement speed by a percentage for a short duration, and emits a barrier that prevents enemy champion dashes (happens only once per enemy champion) and dealing magic damage to them.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Try not to spam it in lane. Using it at the right moment makes or breaks a Poppy player.
  • Activating it when near enemy champions prevents them from dashing out of your range.
  • With bonus mana from items you can now use it to roam around the battlefield.
  • This ability alone makes defensive stats so worth on Poppy. True damage still screws you over, though, so be careful around Irelia and Darius.

Heroic Charge - E

If your Hammer Shock is the bread and butter, Heroic Charge is what defines Poppy in teamfights. You dash to a target unit, dealing physical damage to them. However, if you hit them to a wall or any other terrain (turrets, turret debris, inhibs, Cataclysm, Pillar of Ice, Anivia's wall, etc.), you deal double the damage AND you stun the target for a duration, making wall-hitting as crucial to Poppy as Condemn is to Vayne.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Always aim for walls. Though if no terrain is near, go ahead and do your combo.
  • You can use it to minions to continue the chase, Sweeping Blade style.
  • Sometimes this ability alone f*cks up the combos of your other teammates. Be careful.
  • Works best in conjunction with your teammates' cc for an easier wall stun.
  • Getting Red and Blue buffs is a breeze with this ability.
  • You can use it to cross thin walls assuming you have vision of a valid target on the other side.

Keeper's Verdict - R

One of the most unique ultimates in the game, which can be used both offensively and defensively. On first cast, Poppy charges up her hammer, pretty much how like Vi charges up her Vault Breaker. Then, on second cast, she slams the hammer into the ground, sending a shockwave that knocks opponents away in a direction always pointing to their summoner platform, dealing physical damage. Take note that units affected are untargetable mid-air. When used prematurely it acts like a souped-up Alistar Pulverize, knocking up opponents in front of her instead.
Tips and Tricks:
  • In a teamfight, the choice between using it as part of your burst combo or as a peeling tool all depends on your judgment.
  • If used in a burst combo, land a Hammer Shock first after a successful Heroic Charge wall stun, then quickly double tap R. This way, the second part of Hammer Shock still hits the target and you have time to wait for another Q.
  • If used as peel, aim for the tankiest member of the enemy team and send them flying.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Hammer Shock - Your bread and butter ability. Max this asap to abuse its high base damage and ridiculous percent max health damage.
Steadfast Presence - One point wonder. Get one at level 3 or 4 and max it last. Nothing much to say about it other thanDON'T SPAM IT DURING LANING PHASE, else you'll run out of mana really quick.
Heroic Charge - Max this after Hammer Shock. You need to level it up to reduce its cooldown and increase its damage, things that make it much better to max first than W.
Keeper's Verdict - Put points in it every time you can. No questions asked.

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Item Choices

Moving on, let's discuss the reasons behind the item choices in this build.

Core Items

The Cape of Suns
I consider this item as my "fail-safe" item: you can never go wrong with it because the stats it gives are always essential throughout the game for a Tank such as Poppy, and it's much less riskier than rushing, say, a The Black Cleaver. Improves your survivability, makes tower dives easier, and makes you be on top of most trades. Overall, it ensures a good game. :)

Try to farm at least enough gold for a Bami's Cinder before your first back. Also, be careful not to push the wave too much during laning phase to avoid ganks.

Giant Gauntlets of Fisting
Gives more armor, much needed CDR, mana for days, and that sweet, sweet passive that makes your passive into a nasty slowing shield boomerang. Makes you chunk turrets extremely fast (spam Q while autoattacking turret in between). Tower dives would be a breeze now that you have two armor items. Since Poppy doesn't really need attack speed, this item simply outshines Trinity Force for her.

NOTE: After several ranked games, I found out that when against an AP Top Laner such as Maokai or Vladimir, getting Hexdrinker after Sunfire Cape is enough but DO NOT rush to upgrade it to a Maw of Malmortius. Instead, work on your Iceborn Gauntlet first. I realized that you really really need that AoE slow to reposition for wall stuns, making you much more useful and effective in mid game teamfights.

Screw You and Your Magic Damage Burst
Ah, Maw. The item that makes AP Top and Mid laners alike cry tears of blood. Maokai can now hang himself on another tree because he's never gonna win against you in a 1v1 fight now. This item gives you a respectable amount of AD (which are always welcome for 3 of your spells scale nicely off it), much needed magic resist, and the godsend Lifeline shield passive.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Lifegrip passive also gives you both lifesteal and spellvamp as long as you're in the thick of battle. And since you're Poppy, you always will be, and this item will make you stay much longer.

Offensive Options

The Big Black Cleaver
As mid game comes to a close, you might feel the need for more CDR to catch up on people faster and lesser down time on your Q and E. Well, look no further: The Black Cleaver is here to scratch that itch. This item plus Iceborn plus the +5 CDR mastery already puts you into the 45% threshold. That means your Q is now on a 3 second cooldown and your E for 5-6 seconds. SWEET MOTHER OF GABEN THAT'S RIDICULOUS FOR A TANK CHAMPION.

To top it all off, it gives you the ability to shred your opponents' armor. You can easily stack that armor shred to 6 with a full blown wall combo (since you'll be doing mostly physical damage with that). Everyone needs his/her own "selfish" offensive item, and for Poppy that's The Black Cleaver. It's just too good to ignore.

The Tankier One of The Hydra Twins
I'll be honest here: I RARELY get the chance to purchase this bad boy, because I only get it when I'm fed as a guy who went into an eat-all-you-can buffet and when my team's so far ahead. Since most of the time it's just even, I mostly find myself getting Thornmail. However, if you get that chance to purchase this, oh boy...


Defensive Options

Dear Enemy ADC: Please Kill Yourself
The final word against notorious AD Carries, melee and ranged alike. This is basically a giant middle finger lovingly sent to their Top lane Tryndamere, Jungler Master Yi, and ADC Vayne. They will literally kill themselves if they don't have enough sustain, and if they do the damage return somehow negates that sustain. GOD BLESS THIS ITEM.

A nice lategame choice when you're having trouble deciding between another armor or magic resist item (since, well, it has both). Put the active near a side lane, push with your team at mid (or secure a Baron/Dragon) and you're golden. You do get the gold whenever the Voidlings kill a minion, and they do need to find the portal if they don't want their turret chunked, hence giving your team windows of opportunities for a 5v4 and other objectives.

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Parting Words

Welp, I guess we're done here, folks. But before you go, some final remarks:

  1. The choice of using your ultimate, Keeper's Verdict, as peel or burst mainly depends on your judgment, hence the name. It's totally okay to send the wrong person flying or wasting it on your first tries: always remember that practice makes perfect.
  2. Be patient with Poppy. Sometimes you might be frustrated with your E not stunning the target when it's supposed to, or with the painfully small range of your Q, and well my friend that's normal. There are reasons why I don't recommend Poppy for low elo play: she's really team reliant, and contrary to popular belief, is really NOT easy to play. I may sound like a broken record now but I can't stress this one further; you really need to invest some time to play her properly so you can get the feel of the range, damage, cooldown, and duration of her spells. Eventually, you'll be making montage-worthy plays yourself, but before that, practice. Hard.
  3. Whatever happens, stay calm and collected, and have fun. Seriously dude, bashing that 0-5 Caitlyn on your team or that fail smite by Warwick isn't helping anyone at all. Toxicity kills games. Stay positive, wait for opportunities of comeback, and never forget to enjoy the game, win or lose.

And that ends this guide. Thank you for wasting your time in checking this baby, and I hope you have fun with my favorite champion, Poppy. Good luck out there, and may honor find you.