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Season 4 Markswoman Ashe
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what is ashe's role? how does she fit on a team?
what runes, masteries, and summoner spells do i use?
what should i buy? avoid? why?
what do ashe's skills do? what should i level?
what do i do in lane and team fights?
So you've decided to play Ashe. A smart choice indeed. First, let's understand what kind of champion Ashe is so you know what you're getting yourself into. Compared to other AD carries, she's valued for her utility and strong initiation with Enchanted Crystal Arrow. She's not known for her early laning phase. She needs to be able to farm minions and get stronger through itemization to be a relevant source of damage for her team late game.
Crowd control is one of Ashe's selling points. She's a strong kiter by nature, making her a large annoyance to champions without gap closers who she can kite for days on end. When it comes to team composition, Ashe can fit in with any team as just a ranged damage dealer, but she has special synergy with team mates who she can chain status effects with. Ashe, Twisted Fate and Nocturne make a strong fear and stun combo with their long ranged ult presence. Ashe and Zyra is also a popular combination due to their wealth of crowd control that can be used offensively for kills or defensively to peel enemies off of Ashe.
However, Ashe herself has no gap closer and she's weak versus champions who can jump in and burst her down in seconds. She needs a solid team to protect and peel for her while she deals damage from afar and kites down stragglers.
Using flat runes gives you more stats for early game. During early game, there will be lots of farming and harassing. AD marks give you some flat AD to help you last hit minions. Minions have low armor so armor pen is wasted on them.
Since you're facing an enemy marksman and their support in bottom lane, load up on armor seals, then split your glyphs between flat mana regen and flat magic resist. Magic resist helps reduce damage from enemy supports. Taking a few mana regen glyphs helps you harass with Volley and ensures you have enough mana for Enchanted Crystal Arrow at level 6. This setup would also be suitable for Kog'Maw who relies on Bio-Arcane Barrage.
Ever since the rune changes, it's effective to do ASPD quints and ditch life steal while taking Feast . You can do 3 ASPD quints, or 2 with an AD quint. If you're interested in fortifying Ashe's weaker early game, then you can make a page with flat HP seals, 2 armor quints, and an attack speed or AD quint. This works best with a support who you can help you wave clear early game.
For summoner spells, Flash and Heal are pretty standard for marksmen (and women). Flash is always going to be required for positioning. For a 2nd summoner spell, 99% of the time, Heal is a great choice. After the buffs, Heal now grants you a movespeed buff which is very useful for kiting or escaping. It now replaces the previous common marksman summoner spell, Barrier.
For the 1% of the time when you don't take Heal, there's also Cleanse to take when going against teams with a ton of crowd control , Ghost which is a playstyle preference spell for kiting with Frost Shot, and Barrier can be used to soak burst damage.
Ignite and Exhaust make okay summoner spells, but Ignite is better with some kind of early game killing power (not Ashe's forte), and Exhaust gets better mileage on a support - they can AoE Heal you or Exhaust/ Ignite an enemy for you, but they can't take Barrier, Cleanse, or Ghost to use on you.
The mastery page I recommend is 21/9/0. The 21 points in Offense increases your damage output, and the 9 points in Defense are to help you survive the onslaught of assassins and bruisers. Due to the new masteries for season 4, I am going to try and be as in-depth as possible about masteries.
are all self-explanatory - they're all damage-related masteries.
helps you last hit ranged minions if you're under your tower.
(combined with Doran's Blade and Greater Quintessence of Life Steal) helps you sustain in lane, and
helps you sustain in team fights. Later when you have Infinity Edge and Statikk Shiv, you'll be critting fairly frequently to make use of
The filler masteries in the Offense tree are Fury and Warlord . Fury is a tier 1 mastery, so you'll need at least 3 points of it to unlock tier 2. Warlord scales on your bonus AD. At perfect conditions with a 6 item build and AD masteries, max Warlord adds around 10 bonus AD. 10 bonus AD is nice, but all of the conditions you have to fulfill before Warlord gives you 10 bonus AD are not nice. Maxing Fury or Warlord is your choice.
Double-Edged Sword also deserves a shout out. Theoretically, with Oppression , you'll nullify the increased damage from Double-Edged Sword and then some. However, you won't be able to perma-slow until later so you could potentially mess up your early game.
In the Defense tree,
help you trade damage with the enemy laners and
gives you some flat HP for early game and general survivability.
could be used for filler. Neither of them are particularly amazing.
's 2 HP/5 isn't much, but it will always be in effect.
sucks on a champion who isn't building many defensive items. Like
scales on your bonus stats. Until you build Guardian Angel, it'll only be scaling off of your armor and magic resist runes. And even once you build Guardian Angel, it'll only give you around 3-4 armor and 2-3 magic resist. You may or may not find that to be better later in the game than
's 2 HP/5.
For the 9th point in Defense, Oppression works since Ashe can slow enemies with Frost Shot. If you'd rather have HP, then there's Juggernaut . 3% HP probably doesn't seem like much, but for only 1 mastery point (remember you spent 3 to get 36 HP with Veteran Scars ), Juggernaut is pretty solid. And of course, it gets even better if you build Banshee's Veil.
Defense is pretty important, but if you really want to do Utility, the only setup I would recommend is 21/6/3 to get
. Ashe can burn through mana, and it sucks to not have enough to Enchanted Crystal Arrow when your jungler is there to gank.
Summoner's Insight , Fleet of Foot and Phasewalker are all decent, but they not worth completely ignoring the Defense tree for. Alchemist / Culinary Master are unnecessary with your other sources of sustain, and Runic Affinity is better suited on AP mids who need Crest of the Ancient Golem .
>> Standard Marksman Build
You can start Doran's Blade for additional low level strength and sustain. Ashe's level 1 Focus crit and Volley can be potent with the additional 8 AD. Early game, you'll want to save for your B. F. Sword so you can work on Infinity Edge. If you're struggling in lane, you can buy a 2nd Doran's Blade, or get Pickaxe if you don't have enough cash for B. F. Sword.
Your first big item is Infinity Edge for the impact it has on your autoattacks. Ashe doesn't have much AD skill damage so she doesn't benefit from going Bloodthirster first. You should also get Statikk Shiv for the stats and added damage proc and eventually Berserker's Greaves too. You get a slight mid game power spike from Infinity Edge buffing Statikk Shiv's proc damage.
During the later stages of the game, you'll want to build a Last Whisper to deal with tanks and a Banshee's Veil to protect yourself against pokes and engages. Finish with a Bloodthirster for more damage and life steal. If a game goes on long, you can also replace Statikk Shiv with Phantom Dancer since it scales better once you had more AD items. You can also replace Berserker's Greaves with Zephyr if a game goes on even longer.
|Enchantments are iffy as they delay big items. Generally, there's Enchantment: Alacrity for the additional movespeed. It helps marksmen with positioning and kiting. Alternatively, if your base is being sieged, you can get Enchantment: Homeguard instead. Enchantment: Distortion is also pretty powerful for the Flash cooldown and the bonus movespeed effect. Like Heal, this has uses for kiting or escaping.|
>> Other Defensive Items
|My top recommendation for a defensive item is Banshee's Veil for it's anti- crowd control passive, the HP, and the magic resist to reduce mage burst damage. I don't find the other items as feasible. If you're ahead or about to make a game ending final push, Guardian Angel's is a possible items as it'll keep you in the fight. Randuin's Omen is another possibility for kiting and self-peeling, but much more of a tank item. Overall, you can't really go wrong just sticking to Banshee's Veil unless the enemy team really has little to no crowd control.|
The item build gives you a fairly general idea of what items a marksman needs and when they need them, but the order you purchase them in might vary game to game. Use your best judgment. If you come back to town with 1.5k gold on your first recall, you might as well buy a B. F. Sword. If you only have 1k gold, then get the Pickaxe. If you're behind and enemies have already started buying armor, then you might need to build a Zeal then Last Whisper. And if you have to build your aspd/crit item after Last Whisper, then you might as well skip Statikk Shiv and build Phantom Dancer instead.
>> Why start Doran's Blade? Why not Long Sword?
Doran's Blade gives you everything you need for lane - the flat HP for burst/survival, the passive for additional healing, and it's 2 AD shy of what Long Sword would give you. Combined with Feast , you can sustain well.
>> Why Infinity Edge first on Ashe? Why not Bloodthirster?
Being an AD carry, Ashe builds primarily for damage output. And since she doesn't have a powerful AD scaling skill, she is reliant on autoattacks. All in all, you will want to build an Infinity Edge as your first major item for autoattacks. Infinity Edge compliments autoattacks by enhancing both your crit % and your crit damage.
This contrasts with Bloodthirster which can have higher base AD but doesn't enhance your crit. The 30 higher base AD and added life steal is more useful for carries who primarily use skills or are reliant on skills with AD scaling early game (most skills don't/can't crit).
In contrast, Ashe's only non-ultimate damage skill is Volley which has a very long cooldown until you max it and its primary function is to apply Frost Shot from long range. Additionally, Infinity Edge has synergy with Focus. The crit chance from Focus and the crit damage boost from Infinity Edge gives you a guaranteed high damage crit once you walk back into lane. Combined with Statikk Shiv and Volley, Ashe is able to do a burst damage. This makes her much stronger in lane.
>> Blade of the Ruined King vs Bloodthirster
With the nerf to the active on Blade of the Ruined King, I recommend Bloodthirster as your life steal item. Blade of the Ruined King is by no means a bad item though. For Ashe, the active can help her kite, and the passive synergizes with her reliance on autoattacks. Doing damage based on HP will help against tanks who build Sunfire Aegis, Locket of the Iron Solari, and/or Randuin's Omen too. However, Bloodthirster has a nifty shield that helps you soak damage in team fights. I find that more valuable since Ashe has no mobility skill to help her position, but it's up to you to make the decision on which life steal item you want.
>> Why Statikk Shiv? When would you build Phantom Dancer?
Generally, carries who buy Statikk Shiv early on get additional pushing power, slightly more movespeed for kiting, and some burst damage for lane. In the case of Ashe, Statikk Shiv has a particular synergy. The lightning can crit, and is affected by crit modifiers (hello Infinity Edge). So when you come back to lane and autoattack, you'll proc Statikk Shiv's lightning thanks to Focus. Getting off an autoattack crit, the lightning crit, and Volley's skill damage gives you some burst damage.
If you can control Ashe well (refer to: animation canceling), you should be able to stack Statikk Shiv while attacking and moving very quickly. The only time when I would recommend Phantom Dancer is when you can't build your ASPD item until way, way later. Phantom Dancer is stronger single target DPS that scales as you get more AD items, thus it's better later. Additionally, the lightning is magic damage, and you don't optimize for magic pen. In a very long game where you end up being 6 items with Statikk Shiv, you can also replace Statikk Shiv with Phantom Dancer.
>> What about Youmuu's Ghostblade?
Youmuu's Ghostblade is an interesting AD caster-ish item that can give a marksman some useful stats, but in smaller amounts than other items give. In a 6 item marksman build, it would actually replace Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer as an ASPD item because of the active. Currently the only marksman who builds it sometimes is Lucian because of how The Culling works. I don't think it has that type of synergy on Ashe unless you're also going to build Blade of the Ruined King and chain the actives together.
|I advise against replacing your Statikk Shiv with Runaan's Hurricane or Muramana. Neither of them give crit making them inferior to Statikk Shiv on a crit-reliant character. Runaan's Hurricane makes you consume up to 3 * 8 mana per Frost Shot. Also, Ashe has no skill for Muramana's active and Tear of the Goddess makes your laning phase incredibly weak. Black Cleaver is just not an item for a marksman. The stats make it better on an AD casters and assassins (such as Riven) who use their skills for damage at all stages of the game and benefit from the CDR. It's also important to note they usually build it in addition to Last Whisper rather than in place of. If there's an AD caster on your team, they will probably build their own. Even if they don't, it's not worth sacrificing the extra armor pen.|
|Focus is most relevant early game. It'll charge while you walk to lane. It also has synergy with Infinity Edge and Statikk Shiv. But in team fights, you will be autoattacking quite frequently.|
|Frost Shot is a toggle (turn on/off). This is the skill that defines Ashe as a kiting champion. In lane, you won't use it too much because of the mana cost. You'll likely use Volley a lot instead. During team fights, the slow helps you reposition and lock someone down.|
|This is Ashe's basic minion wave clearing ability. Aside from being used to clear waves, Volley can also be used to apply Frost Shot from longer range and in an AoE. Later, when it has a much shorter cooldown, you can use it casually to poke enemies and break spell shields.|
|Another utility skill. Hawkshot is useful at all stages of the game as a scouting tool. In example, if you don't have vision of dragon, you can Hawkshot the area to check it.|
|This is Ashe's big skill - a global stun. Once you hit level 6, you open up the possibility of being a playmaker with global presence. Team fights can also start off with an effective use of Enchanted Crystal Arrow.|
Take Volley at level 1. Hawkshot might seem like it would be okay at level 1, but it's actually a weak start. It's better to grab Volley since it does damage and allows you to return some harass/poke to enemy laners. That way, they won't be able to freely harass you at level 1. This is especially important with the Doran's Blade start and using LS quints. You need to be able to attack minions to heal. Grab Frost Shot and Hawkshot at levels 2 and 4 respectively. You can change this up, but ideally your support should be warding and you also have your Stealth Ward so there isn't a huge need to grab Hawkshot earlier.
After, your biggest priority is to level Enchanted Crystal Arrow for the shorter cooldown. Your 2nd priority is to level Volley primarily for the cooldown. Having a way to clear minions is very useful, and it also doubles as poke/harass damage. Your 3rd priority is Frost Shot for the increased slow. Even if you aren't using the toggle, your Volley will still apply the slow in team fights and it can help with peeling.
Your last priority is Hawkshot. Some players have a fetish for maxing Hawkshot 1st, buying Avarice Blade, and hoarding gold. It's an amusing gimmick (especially when Twisted Fate is on your team), but in a more "serious" game, maxing Hawkshot first makes Ashe's weak laning even weaker.
Ashe is generally considered a weak early game AD carry. If you can get an autoattack crit from Focus and Volley damage on an enemy champion at level 1, you have a bit of breathing room. But in general, Ashe needs to focus on last hitting minions while getting in basic attacks on the enemy AD or support between minion kills when possible. It's difficult for Ashe to win straight 1v1 duels because she has no consistent damage/aspd steroid ( Focus goes away after one attack), and no high damage skills.
Ideally you want to trade damage by using a basic attack followed by a Volley. If you think you can continue, turn on Frost Shot and start chasing. Otherwise, simply whittle the enemy laners down with basic attacks and Volley here and there until they're out of potions or sustain. But by using Volley, you risk pushing the lane. Later, once you have Infinity Edge, you can do a bit of burst damage with your first autoattack and Volley's skill damage. Once you get Statikk Shiv, that will also add to your opening burst.
Once you hit level 6 and have Enchanted Crystal Arrow, you can put serious kill pressure on the enemy lane. Coordinate with your jungler and support to setup ganks where your jungler can follow up on your arrow for a kill. Ideally you'll want to arrow the AD carry, but sometimes that won't be possible and going for the support is acceptable as well. If one of them used Flash earlier, aim for that champion. If they Flash to dodge your arrow or Heal so they don't die, consider it a good trade - Enchanted Crystal Arrow's cooldown is shorter than Flash and Heal.
You can also use Enchanted Crystal Arrow to assist other lanes. If you come back to base and see the enemy mid is around 60% HP, your mid might be able to kill them if you just fire your arrow straight along mid lane and create an opportunity for them. On a side note, I find it easier to land arrows that are aimed along the path your target is walking in. The angle also sometimes skews their perception of the arrow's hitbox.
With the introduction of the Stealth Ward and its big brothers Greater Totem and Greater Stealth Totem, marksmen and other champions help the support with warding duties. Start the game with a Stealth Ward and use it to scout around bottom lane by placing it in a bush or the tribush on blue side. Throughout the game, remember to utilize your ward to help at areas like buffs, dragon, and baron. Additionally, if the enemy team has a stealth champion like Evelynn or Rengar you might need to help out with Vision Wards since each champion can only have one on the map at a time. (You don't need to continuously buy them through the entire game though.)
Because of her weaker early game, Ashe isn't the best choice to go alongside an aggressive support like Leona who wants to go balls deep and get things done. In fact, one of Ashe's best friends in the laning phase is Janna who provides additional disengage and protection to keep Ashe safe. But you don't need to switch your champion selection from Ashe if your supporter has picked Leona. Games go on beyond lane phase, and even if you don't get kills in lane, a combo like Ashe and Leona will supply a wealth of crowd control to any team.
As mentioned, Janna has excellent synergy with Ashe because of her disengage. Zyra is similar with her root and knock up. Lulu is also a slow machine with Glitterlance and her ult acts like a 2nd Barrier. Sona's level 1 damage with Power Chord and Ashe's Focus crit can chunk someone. A passive, peeling Blitzcrank works just fine in lane with Ashe, and once they hit 6, they can do an Enchanted Crystal Arrow into Rocket Grab combo.
Leona and Ashe or Braum and Ashe are a couple of stun bots, though Ashe might not have enough damage to turn their stuns into kills especially if you're laning versus a tankier marksman like Graves. Thresh might sound like someone who'd rather be with a higher damage carry, but he still provides plenty of utility for Ashe, such as adding a blink to her kit with Dark Passage.
Every support can do something for Ashe, so instead of fussing over who your support is, worry about who the enemy support is. When it comes to match ups, knowing what enemy champion do is half the battle. If you see that Annie has her stun up, she's a huge threat to you. If Thresh is in a bush that you don't have warded, then he's a huge threat to you as well. Additionally, because Ashe has no escape other than Flash, crowd control and burst damage supports are very threatening. Taric's stun in example is deadly when paired with a high damage marksman ( Lucian, Jinx or Sivir).
With Volley and Statikk Shiv you can quickly push lanes so that you can either take objectives (towers, buffs, dragon) or return to base. If the enemy marksman is freezing the minion wave outside their turret, it's not the best idea to just kill minions near their turret. That makes you very easy to gank. You can often pretend like you're going back to base or life steal a bit by resetting the double golems (blue team) and they'll start pushing up more.
If the enemy laners have recalled, push the minion wave to their turret so that your minions die to their tower, thereby denying them the gold and exp. But don't forget to use Hawkshot to check unwarded areas for potential enemy ganks. You can also leave Frost Shot on while attacking the tower. Tower hits won't consume mana. If the enemy team decides to engage, or your team decides to engage, you won't have to worry about turning it on.
Depending on the situation, you might just want to kill the enemy tower. If 4 enemies gank top lane and take the tower, you should definitely take the bottom tower to make it an even trade. If they keep going further down top lane without sending someone back, you should keep pushing too. Otherwise, they're going to get both your top outer and inner turrets without losing anything.
Once you take a turret, you can leave your lane and help your team push another lane (most likely mid for dragon control) and get more global gold. Remember to return to bottom lane and push the minions out though. Having minions pounding away at bottom can be detrimental when you're doing the baron dance.
Note that with the removal of ASPD from potions and Zeke's Herald, the marksman has slowly become overall less effective. At the moment, killing towers and wave clearing are your primary jobs.
Enchanted Crystal Arrow is a very strong initiation spell that can turn a losing or close game around. All it takes is one arrow to catch an enemy out of position and suddenly it's 4v5 in favor of your team and you can force a team fight or push an objective. On the other hand, most AD carries aren't used to the pressure of being an initiator. Just ignore the haters - Enchanted Crystal Arrow is a global skillshot. It's not uncommon to miss or use it on a bad target. Just be sure you communicate with your team to ensure they're aware you may initiate if you see an opportunity.
Although Ashe has no damage or attack speed steroid, so her strength comes through her kiting and initiation capabilities. Positioning is very essential for Ashe, and also one of her advantages. She can be hard to reach because she can use Volley as an AoE slow and Frost Shot as a single target slow.
As the AD carry, you need to be tucked away safely behind your tanks and hit whatever you can, but also do so effectively when enemies don't pose threats to you. New players often have the idea that they're supposed to hit the enemy carries. If you catch them by themselves, then yes you should be killing them. But in a 5v5 team fight, this isn't true. You yourself have built damage. You're not super tanky. You need to work your way through the enemy front line, or pick someone off if they have poor positioning. As they say in Mother Russia, "kill the closest."
You can quickly dispose of even tanky targets by auto attacking with Frost Shot activated, running backwards until your auto attack resets, then auto attacking again. If you rinse and repeat this successfully, it will be hard for bruisers and tanks to reach you. You will absolutely ruin Udyr's day and make him cry. If they use a gap closer, you can continue to kite until you believe you’re in serious trouble, in which case you can Flash, use your secondary summoner spell, or Quicksilver Sash if you bought that.
But while kiting, you need to manage your mana well. It's actually not optimal to leave Frost Shot on. Frost Shot's slow lasts for 2 seconds and you attack very fast with attack speed items. You can conserve mana by switching Frost Shot on and off, making it re-apply the slow every other attack instead of every attack, but this can be a bit of a chore. It never feels good to see someone get away on low HP because you ran out of mana and couldn't slow them.
Lastly, you can use Hawkshot either as a scouting tool for potential Enchanted Crystal Arrows initiations and to scout key locations that may not be warded (e.g. to check if the enemy is doing Baron Nashor). Alternatively, it can be used in combination with Volley for a long ranged slow to cleanup after a team fight and kill low HP stragglers.
While not an Ashe clip, this replay clip from Marn vs CLG at MLG Dallas shows an extreme example of AD carry positioning and awareness as well as a team working to protect their carry. At the beginning of the fight, each team jumps on the other team's carry. Elise eliminates Tristana while the rest of Tristana's team leaves her for dead and bum rushes Vayne. This strategy actually makes sense for Marn's team: All 5 champions on Marn have a gap closer. They really want to jump in and blow someone up in seconds flat.
By constantly repositioning and switching targets, Vayne survives the fight with tons of help from her team. She doesn't stand in one place the whole time, rather she constantly positions herself using Tumble and animation canceling. She doesn't dive into the enemy team to focus Tristana either.
Also notable is how Vayne prioritizes her targets. She not only targets the closest, but she also assesses each enemy's threat to her and switches targets accordingly when they're no longer threatening to her. An example of this is how at 10 seconds, Shen misses taunt on Vayne and instead taunts Ryze. Vayne switches targets to Shen. A big part of being effective is knowing what the other champion can (and will) do, and also anticipating it.
Improving Your Gameplay
- Learn how to cancel your animations. Generally remembering to "move while attacking" instead of just standing there like a big derp while you autoattack will improve your AD carry gameplay.
- Get better at last hitting. The Creep Score Calculator illustrates just how much gold you're missing by not last hitting very well. You can walk around to dodge enemy skills, or you can hit "S" to hold your position while waiting for a minion to get low health before you last hit it.
That concludes the guide. Thanks to my friends and guinea pigs for their assistance in taking screenshots and such.