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Annie Build Guide by Steppenwolf91

AP Carry I'm rubber, and you're... ON FIRE! (Annie for Casuals)

AP Carry I'm rubber, and you're... ON FIRE! (Annie for Casuals)

Updated on April 29, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Steppenwolf91 Build Guide By Steppenwolf91 9,825 Views 16 Comments
9,825 Views 16 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Steppenwolf91 Annie Build Guide By Steppenwolf91 Updated on April 29, 2013
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Hello there. I'm SteppenKat and I'm a mildly competitive League of Legends player. I'm currently Silver I in EUW.

If you're here it means that you're looking for a noob-friendly Annie guide. Which should be basically:
  • A quick explanation on how to use this champion efficiently with clear, yet simple reasonings.
  • Some tips about complicated matchups and how to improve your gameplay using these sugestions as an ocasional reference.
  • You want to get better at playing Annie but not at the cost of reading a wall-of-text Calculus treaty.

By no means I'm despising in-depth guides: it's just that this guide isn't meant for competitive play, just for casuals who want some tips.
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Basics gains and Trade-offs

The basic things you should know about Annie


+ Noob-friendly and easy to learn, compared to the average AP Carry.
+ Great AA range (625), one of the best of the game.
+ Superb burst potential and deceiving tankiness due to usual build options and Molten Shield.
+ Hard CC, both clickable and AoE (with passive).
+ Her roaming potential is very high (important for success in SoloQ).
+ She has few negative match-ups contrary to popular belief, making her a very safe pick.

- Her skillset range is rather short compared to most of the AP mid roster.
- She doesn't have any repositioning tool (no dash/blink).
- She's a combo-reliant burst mage, making her skillset less effective against HP stacking.
- The previous reasons forces her to depend a lot in Flash to make plays.
- She's a little girl, so no sexy skins.
- Goth Annie is exclusive to Digital Pack Collectors. EXCLUSIVE!

Annie is a easy-to-learn, yet hard-to-master champion. This is because her kit is simple (few skillshots), complete (damage, defensive tools and hard CC) and it teaches good habits (such as last-hitting with Disintegrate).

If you're new to League of Legends or to the AP Carry role, I sincerely advise you to start with Annie. There are few champions that offer so much in such a simple way, compared to other picks who have similar tools in their kit, but require a superior grasp in mechanics ( Syndra).

Breakdown: Quick Analysis of Annie's Kit

She has hard CC with Pyromania, giving her the chance to have a single-target clickable stun using Disintegrate) or in an AoE using either Incinerate or Summon: Tibbers.

Her burst damage is incredible, one of the bests of the entire game. An average-fed Annie will delete any kind of squishy ( Vayne, Caitlyn, Graves) after landing a full combo. Summon: Tibbers also gives her sustained damage for a short while since he deals an AoE DoT while he's in melee range, along with his own AAs.

Annie's basic weakness is the short range of her abilities. This forces you to build some early tankiness by picking up Rod of Ages and later on Zhonya's Hourglass for team-fights. Having short range means that you must walk a lot towards your enemy to deliver the pain, making your moves very predictable. This is why you need Flash: its the only effective way to close the gap quickly without warning, allowing you to insta-gib anyone with a full combo.

The ninja- Flash is an old trick and its part of the issue that made Annie hard to balance in the past. Basically, you're either tanky enough to survive her combo or you're dead. The counterplay against Annie is to be able to either survive her burst or never let her get close enough to gib you.
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Ability Explanation

  • Pyromania: This is one of the best passives of the entire game and what makes Annie hard to balance. You gain Pyromania stacks with each spell you cast. After 4 casts, your next spell will be empowered and deal stun. Molten Shield doesn't burn Pyromania's charges once collected, so you can keep using it.

    This passive is more effective in duels when you use it with Disintegrate since there will be no chance to miss your opponent unless he has some kind of skill that makes him/her untargetable (like Playful / Trickster or Blade Waltz). In teamfights, however, its more useful when combined with Summon: Tibbers as it will make Tibbers deal extra damage with his AoE aura for the duration of the stun without taking any himself.
  • Disintegrate (Q): This is a clickable medium-range, single-target nuke that refunds its mana cost if you use it to last-hit. Max it second as you benefit more from Incinerate 90% of the time. You can use it to poke along with AAs or just to last-hit (a better option in early lanephase).
  • Incinerate (W): This is a short-range damage cone that deals a huge amount of damage to all enemies within. As previously stated, its mostly a waveclearing tool during the laning phase and a good harass skill in close quarters.
  • Molten Shield (E): This skill, at first, doesn't look very useful. Its a shield that doesn't mitigate burst damage (as it doesn't give temporary HP), though it boosts your defensive stats and deals damage each time you get hit by an auto-attack. It's more advantageous against AA DPS champions rather than casters for this reason. In lane, you usually want to use it to mitigate some poke and to gain Pyromania stacks.

    I'll talk about Pyromania's synergy with this skill later on.
  • Summon: Tibbers (R): You land an AoE nuke that summons a huge bear pet in the spot. Tibbers can be controlled by using the Alt Tab like Shaco's Hallucinate. He deals AoE damage each second when he's on melee range, making him very useful in duels. As an ultimate skill, the nuke damage is very good and its overall a good skill.

    Along with other unconventional uses, Tibbers can block skills such as Ace in the Hole or Javelin Toss. He has a leash range and he'll port back next to you the very moment he steps out of it.

Ability Sequence Order

> > >
Even though Disintegrate is an effective last-hitting tool, Annie benefits more from maxing Incinerate first. As a rule-of-thumb when playing midlane, you usually want to max first your waveclearing tool. This gives you a lot more lane control: you can push hard if you want to roam, counter-push effectively and miss less CS in the long run. Obviously, you should try to max your ultimate skill whenever possible (levels 6/11/16).
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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells: A Song of Fire and Flash

Ignite: Basic finisher spell against low HP opponents that also gives you a healing reduction mechanic. Needed versus Swain, Vladimir, Akali or Fiddlesticks.

Flash: Annie lacks a repositioning tool, so let's give her one. It's fundamental when you want to gib opponents - otherwise they'll just kite you until you die.

Teleport: This spell is useful to defend lanes and to pull off powerganks with a properly placed Sight Ward. It's actually a very good alternative if you play vs Pantheon or Twisted Fate.
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  • Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Flat AP is useful during the laning phase as it boosts all your abilities. You can switch them between Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed if you're facing heavy skill-shot dependent opponents and you can't dodge them effectively ( Nidalee, Xerath)

  • greater mark of hybrid penetration: Why not Greater Mark of Magic Penetration instead? Because these runes take advantage of your auto-attack range, which is fairly good compared to others. Remember that Caitlyn has 650 AA range!

    AA-poke is very efficient in the early-game, since you don't need mana to harass and usually as Annie, you can't 100-0 with your burst before your opponent is already chunked down. Those who are weak against sustained poke ( Kassadin, Fizz, Mordekaiser) will find your AA poke a lot more painful and annoying.

    The opportunity cost between Hybrid Marks and Flat MPen is very low. You lose about 2 MPen (which is roughly 2% less damage in abilities) while gaining 8 ArPen (which gives you about 10% AA damage increase early on). It's a personal preference in all honesty, but you'll notice that with these runes, your AAs will hurt a lot more. And every little advantage you can gain in lane isn't a waste.

  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: Scaling AP is the best stat offered by Glyphs. You can trade them for Greater Glyph of Magic Resist if you face heavy burst-poke lanes ( Malzahar, LeBlanc, Fizz, Zilean).

  • Greater Seal of Armor: These runes offer the best mitigation against AD Junglers (which are basically the average) and ranged AA poke from the enemy laners. They're basically overpowered and should be picked with any character, regardless of the lane you play. Though if you really struggle early on with mana management you can try Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration.
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Naughty Girls are Offensive (21/9/0)

I usually go 21/9/0 because even though Meditation is a good investment, you don't really need it if you start with Mana Potion and due to the fact that Catalyst the Protector is one of your early purchases. The Defensive tree bonus are superior as an investment compared to what you gain in the Utility Tree. Resistance is free damage reduction against AP Casters and Veteran's Scars helps against earlygame burst damage. Butcher helps with last-hitting early on.

Since Annie is a combo-mage, you want to deal as much damage as possible with your burst in a quick sequence. The reasoning behind 9/0/21 setups is that you gain 10% cooldown reduction and lots of mana regeneration. This favors DPS mages like Ryze (who also finds Spellvamp yummy) or poke mages like Lux. Both of these kinds of champions want to have their skills reset as soon as posible, since this either increases their dueling capabilities or their ranged harass with skills.
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The Average Annie Build

Item Sequence

Rod of Ages 2600
Rabadon's Deathcap 3600
Void Staff 3000
Zhonya's Hourglass 3250
Deathfire Grasp 3100
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100

This is THE item for Annie. You shouldn't skip it as it gives everything she needs: sustain in lane, damage and beefiness to compensate her squishiness and short cast range. Catalyst the Protector is the best earlygame purchase you can make: since Season 3 started, it's cheaper and there's no reason to even buy Doran's Ring anymore if it sets you back on this. Since the Rod takes 10 minutes to fully charge and give all its stats, you should get it before anything else.

These are the core boots for any AP Carry. You shouldn't need other ones, though against a heavy CC team or vs. a very hard magic damage opponent, you could consider purchasing Mercury Treads instead.

"So I heard that you like AP... Then here's some AP and extra AP, so you can build AP while building AP!" This is the damage multiplier item that will make you transition to mid/lategame better. The problem about AP is that it scales poorly the longer the game is, so extra scaling lets you cope up with it. You shouldn't rush it unless you are super ahead since you'll be really squishy without Rod of Ages.

After Rabadon's Deathcap you'll probably need some Magic Penetration because AP doesn't scale well against MR stacking. This will allow you to partially counter tanky builds, though MPen doesn't counter HP stacking - keep that in mind.

This item allows you to survive any kind of burst focus, gives you some resistances and it's a wonderful bait tool in teamfights. It will enhance your survivability a ton if used properly and since Annie is most of the time almost in the middle of the fight, it's very useful.

The tank-melting can-opener. This item gives a chunk of AP, some CDR (not really needed for Annie but always welcome), and a neat active. It's a nuke that deals % damage based on maximum HP and a debuff that amplifies all magic damage taken , so you want to use it right after you land your first empowered Pyromania spell. Together with Void Staff it pierces through the target's defenses like butter and there's no chance an ADC can survive your full combo.

Situational Purchases

You may want Kage's Lucky Pick when you need to roam a lot. Maybe you're losing lane hard, so it's not a bad idea to try to make plays elsewhere. Morellonomicon is the most recommended upgrade: it gives very good stats for its cost (and it helps you a lot against regeneration mechanics in the case you didn't pick Ignite).

Twin Shadows is also a niche alternative if the enemy team has more than one magic-damage source in their roster and your team lacks some serious CC (let's say that your jungler is Shyvana and your toplane is Nidalee or Zed). It makes up for some neat engages, though it will hurt your damage output a bit.

You should build Seeker's Armguard early on if you're facing an AD Caster midlade ( Kha'Zix, Pantheon, Talon). It was specificly made to give a chance for AP Casters to lane against AD Assasins. You can upgrade it later on into a Zhonya's Hourglass, so it's worth a lot (even if it sets you slightly behind Rod of Ages).

Abyssal Mask has the same purpose as Seeker's Armguard, but when facing very strong AP midlaners. The best examples would be Veigar or Elise (though she's seen more frequently as a toplane pick).

Seraph's Embrace is a damage multiplier item that takes a good amount of time to farm up, so it's not suited for midgame. It comes with an opportunity cost (you should build it instead of Rod of Ages). Combined with Rabadon's Deathcap it provides the most cost-efficient AP gain in terms of gold and it actually works like a mini- Rabadon's Deathcap as it also gives you an AP scale based on your maximum mana pool.

If you have a lategame comp and you think that your lane will be absolutely passive, with few chances to roam, it can be a good idea to build this since it will make your damage scale a lot more than with Rod of Ages.

ONLY, and I mean ONLY in this case, I would actually suggest building a Doran's Ring along with Tear of the Goddess in your first trip back, just for the sake of having a tad extra bulkiness and a reason to spam abilities in lane (since if you don't, it will take forever to fill your Tear of the Goddess).

Summary: There is no such thing as the perfect build and you must take in account that each game is different and sometimes you have to skip or delay common purchases in order to improve your perfomance. Besides the core suggested ( Rod of Ages, Sorcerer's Shoes and Needlessly Large Rod), anything else is situational and regarding who you face and the needs of your team. Sometimes buying a Warmog's Armor or even a Thornmail can mean victory since it will prevent you from feeding and snowballing your opponent, even though I don't even mention it in my guide because those situations are very rare. Take my item selection as a general guideline, you are free to build whatever you think it's best.
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Stages of the Game - The whats, whys, whens and whos

Getting started: Champion Selection

In-depth Explanation

There are several picks that synergize with Annie and you should always advise when building a comp. All of these have in common one thing: they have hard CC or heavy AoE burst.

AD Carry: Varus, Urgot, Miss Fortune, Ashe.
Support: Thresh, Sona, Taric, Alistar.
Toplane: Singed, Malphite, Nunu & Willump, Darius.
Jungle: Xin Zhao, Zac, Vi, Amumu, Trundle, Sejuani.

Team comps that favor Annie: Heavy-engage compositions.
Team comps that don't work so well with Annie: Poke compositions.

Early-Game (Levels 1-5)

Early-Game In-Depth Analysis

The early levels are mostly a level grinding fest for both sides. Annie doesn't have a very strong early-game due to the fact that she's combo reliant, can't stack Pyromania quickly and she cannot harass efficiently with her skills. You should focus on CS-ing and annoy your opponent when he tries to CS.

Getting kills in this stage requires a great sense of opportunism, but before 6 it's harder to do so unless you get some help from your jungler.

Annie's Power in this Stage: Medium-low.
Your main objective as Annie should be: Quickly get to 6 and farm up.
Examples of match-ups stronger than Annie in this phase: Ziggs, Syndra, Zyra, Jayce, LeBlanc.

Mid-Game (Levels 6-11)

I consider this to be the strongest phase for Annie since it is when you have enough levels in your skills to deal a decent amount of burst. Before the 15 minute timer you should already have a Rod of Ages and about 100 CS.

Your combo is indeed stronger now and you can duel your laner most of the time. You should try to chunk them down first using Disintegrate. As soon as you took 30% HP, you can attempt a kill by using a quick sequence of an empowered Disintegrate (with Pyromania + Summon: Tibbers + Incinerate.

You should ask for blue buff whenever its available (usually at minute 7, 14 and so on) and roam to apply map pressure.

About Roaming: In-Depth Analysis

Annie's Power in this Stage: Medium-high
Your main objective as Annie should be: Push lane, get kills, roam and apply map pressure.
Examples of match-ups stronger than Annie in this phase (roaming): Twisted Fate, Pantheon, Ahri, Evelynn.
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Frequently Asked Questions

This wouldn't be a proper guide if it didn't take in account player feedback and questions. In this sections I shall try to explain more in-depth anything related to my guide, and it shall be updated accordingly.

If you have a question, you can post it in the Comment Section. If it adds something new to the discussion you shall probably see it posted here.

Q: Why Liandry's Torment? Annie is a burst mage, this is an item meant for poke mages.

A: Yes and no. While it's true that Liandry's Torment offers a very nice damage boost to sustained poke for the gold invested (meaning that champions like Teemo, Singed, Vladimir or Kayle will greatly benefit from building it), this doesn't mean that the item's stats are worthless in burst mages. They're actually pretty good: Haunting Guise is actually the only item that provides flat Magic Penetration besides Sorcerer's Shoes and it adds more total damage to your build than a Needlessly Large Rod.

Liandry's Torment greatly enhances Disintegrate as a poke tool. It will also add a current 6% of the enemy's HP as a DoT bonus, besides its own AP enhancement and MPen. But if the enemy's impaired ( Pyromania), this bonus damage will be of 12%. Though this means that the item has diminishing returns, (12% of 1000 HP is less than 12% of 1500 HP), it gives your burst an additional scaling taking in account the enemy's health pool, so suddenly you're making HP stacking less effective against you.

Mind that I suggest Liandry's Torment as a 6th item because it's mostly situational. Some will say that Deathfire Grasp is better for Annie, though it doesn't offer any kind of penetration: a stat more valuable the longer the game goes on.
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April 24, 2013 - Beta guide created and published. Fixed Glyphs (SAP instead of FAP). Added a couple of sections (Stages of the Game, FAQ) that shall be updated pretty soon.

April 25, 2013 - BBCode and format update in order to get less hate. Also rewritten a few chapters. Added Thanksgiving section.

April 26, 2013 - Fixed some more typos.

April 27, 2013 - Major updates. Rewritten some sections, added a question on FAQ, added Early-Game and Champion Selection information in Stages of the Game.

April 29, 2013 - Updated and revised item-path in cheat sheet. Removed Barrier from Summoner Spells and put Teleport instead. Updated Items and Stages of the Game chapters. Masteries revised and updated.
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Credits and Thanksgiving

// SPECIAL THANKS: Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
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