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Diana Build Guide by zigui98

AP Carry The moon will rise, the night will last forever!

AP Carry The moon will rise, the night will last forever!

Updated on August 29, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author zigui98 Build Guide By zigui98 23,251 Views 8 Comments
23,251 Views 8 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author zigui98 Diana Build Guide By zigui98 Updated on August 29, 2014
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Hello, my name is Arrizen and this is my first guide so, please, be give me feedback on how well this guide is written and how I can improve. Also, please note that my native language isn't English and if you happen to find any spelling/grammar mistake let me know.

I've been playing Diana since her release and through experience and watching others play I've been perfecting my play style alongside my build. I've experimented a lot with other people's builds and finally found a setup that can actually fit the way I play. In this guide I'll be telling you how I play, why I play like that, and how this build affects this plays tyle.

I'll try to make this guide as detailed as possible, with item descriptions and lane matchups, so be prepared for a long read!
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Pros / Cons


+ Huge, huge burst
+ Can adapt her build according to the enemy team
+ Has a shield and an overpowered passive to help her trade and lane and survive later in the game
+ Very fun to play with her unique Crescent Strike

- Very dependant on good decision making
- Has a somewhat weak pre-6 (not that bad after level 3)
- Useless in teamfights if underfed
- Reliant on her ultimate to do the most damage and chase

As you can see from the pros, Diana is a very versatile champion and can do good in most team compositions. However, there are a few exceptions.

Avoid picking Diana when:

  • Your team has no sort of initiation. Although Diana can be a good initiator with Zhonya's Hourglass, it's best if you wait for your team to initiate in order to straight up go and kill their carries. If you are the initiator you will either spend the whole game looking for their carries' bad positioning or go in on the tanks, who aren't the best target for your damage.

  • Their team has too much CC, for example a team with Leona, Elise, Amumu and Ryze. Hard CC will make it impossible for you to play when you are starting to get used to this champion. I will do my best to try and teach you how to counter those heavy CC teams further into the guide, but I wouldn't advise going against one as Diana. She's an assassin, and assassins are extremely weak against CC.

  • If their team has Kayle. Yeah, it's not funny going in on their carry and he suddenly gets invulnerable. A smart Kayle will save her ulti to counter you.
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Summoner Spells

Well, first about Flash. It's pretty obvious why you should take flash - it's used to go trough walls, position yourself better in a teamfight and escape from tough situations like ganks. This is a must have!!!
Next, about Ignite - In the early game, Ignite will be part of your burst. It can secure kills without having to do extensive dives and grants healing reduction against healers like Swain or Ahri. I always pick Ignite on Diana, it's just too good to miss out.

Alternatives to Ignite

Well, Heal is a rather defensive spell. If you are not confident you can sustain through lane even with all the pots and the flask, then you may take this. It's a permanent effect contrary to Barrier, but I wouldn't really bait someone with Heal. If you are learning how to play Diana then this might help you, but don't forget - Ignite will reduce the healing on this spell by 50%. If you take this make sure to not use this when Ignited, except for surviving the 100HP Ignites

Ok, I can see some use in Barrier. Feel free to take this spell when you are facing heavy bursters who can 1 shot you easily, like Annie, Fizz or Syndra. Just remember to time it well. A mistimed Barrier is worthless and it's a waste of summoners if you can't use it properly.

Ugh. I'm terribly bad with this summoner and it pains me to say that a good player can make wonders with this spell. It's extremelly good in teamplay and even on Solo Q.
If you are against a champion like Twisted Fate or even Pantheon you might take this to counter their roams. It's really useful and it gives you an advanted later in the game to go split pushing safely.
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Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

Reds: Attack Speed vs others

I started trying these marks after watching and hearing Scarra's stream once. He was talking about attack speed said something among the lines of "it helps me have control over the lane (by controlling which minions to kill and when) and it makes my passive proc faster when trading".
I was reluctant to try it at first but soon discovered why he liked that stat. It really pays off, and compared to having a few penetration points it's really much better. Clearing the wraiths is faster and last hitting in lane is also much easier. If you aren't convinced, please try it at least once. I promise you will like it!

Feel free to take the greater Mark of hybrid penetration if you aren't convinced about the runes above. They are also great and can counter more tanky matchups and tankier junglers like Sejuani.


Greater Seal of Scaling Health - So, Armor Yellows got nerfed? Ok, sure, we can use health instead. It makes you tankier and so more difficult to kill. They help you take a bit more of the harass your opponent has for you, you know, those auto attacks of the ranged champions that don't do much damage but are annoying? Yeah, no need to get armor just for those. Get the health yellows instead, it'll pay off!

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration - I used to run these before I bought the health seals. I start every AP mid with these runes so that I can learn how to spend the mana. Run these if you have mana issues.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power - Hmmm, those are the strongest glyphs you can go for on an AP assassin. They'll give you the AP needed to harass and burst everyone down in the early game.
With my setup you start the game with 40 AP, and with the 70% Ratio on your Crescent Strike it's 28 extra damage. That's at level 1!

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - Sometimes I run these against huge burst champions like Syndra and Annie for the damage reduction. Enough said!!
I said sometimes because I usually kill them before they kill me! When I'm feeling like playing safe yes, in those occasions I pick magic resist


Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - 15 AP at level 1 just from these? Awesome :D Same reason I pick the scaling AP blues. They help you burst and all that. You are probably sick of reading this on other guides so I won't really go any further!

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Now this is an interesting choice! I sometimes pick 3 of these when I know that my other lanes are going to have trouble. When my bot and top get countered I usually take them. It makes you roam a lot faster and thus reduces the chances of the other lanes reacting to your roam by a lot!
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Defense tree

When I started this guide I had a different opinion on the Defense tree, but thanks to Emikadon I've changed them.

I came to realise that Block and Unyielding are actually benefitial masteries and you can benefit more from them than from the added resistances from Enchanted Armor . After some maths done (Check the spoiler bellow, written by her) it's plain obvious that these two shield you more than Enchanted Armor , plus the fact that resistances can be countered by penetration!


As for the health masteries I don't think I need to explain. Health helps you survive, enough said!!
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Passive - Moonsilver Blade

Diana has 20% increased Attack Speed. Every third strike cleaves nearby enemies for 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 105 / 120 / 135 / 155 / 175 / 200 / 225 / 250 (+80% of ability power) additional magic damage.

This is seriously one of the best passives in the game. It gives you 20% attack speed, it deals a lot of damage AND it has a ratio of 80% AP on it!! It's like a fifth spell, just a little weaker, and what's best is it stacks with Lich Bane and synergises with your runes and Nashor's Tooth in case you buy any of these. This helps you push and melt tanks easily.

  • This passive works on turrets, it helps you push faster
  • The range on this is weird, it's not a circle and I really can't explain what it is. Experiment around with it, I've missed tons of CS because I thought it would hit the whole wave and it didn't, back in the days

Q - Crescent Strike

Diana swings her blade to unleash a bolt of lunar energy, afflicting enemies with Moonlight for 3 seconds and dealing 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+70% of ability power) magic damage in an arc before exploding.

Your bread and butter! Use it to harass your opponent in lane and max it first 99% of the times.

  • Try playing around with it a few games without smartcast to learn how it works before smartcasting it. It's a curve!! I really like that unique part on it.
  • It gives vision. Use this to your advantage to juke people in the jungle with your ulti
  • The moonlight proc on this applies before it reaches the target if it hits, so a common combo is to Q and immediately R if you are sure you will hit. I'll put a video about this later.

W - Pale Cascade

Diana creates three orbiting spheres for 5 seconds that detonate on contact with enemies to deal 22 / 34 / 46 / 58 / 70 (+20% of ability power) magic damage per orb in an area. She also gains a temporary shield that absorbs 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 / 100 (+30% of ability power) damage. This shield is refreshed if all three spheres detonate.

This skill was REALLY nerfed since her release. At max level the base shield used to be 155 and the ratio was 40%. Nevertheless, this skill is still awesome. You are the only assassin with a shield, make use of it. Also, don't forget it procs twice - once on activation and another time when you explode the orbs.

Max this first if you are facing a champion that's mostly on you, such as Fizz or Katarina.

There are a few occasions where you'll want to pick this at level 1, while still maxing your Crescent Strike and that's when you know the opponent will harass you as much as he can. I will explain this further in the Lane matchup section (still under work).

  • Use this to escape those sneaky Ignite.
  • Position yourself in teamfights so that this hits the most champions possible without putting yourself at risk.

E - Moonfall

Diana draws in and slows all nearby enemies by 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 / 55 % for 2 seconds.

This functions like an Orianna ultimate. It pulls the target to you and slows it. Use this to make sure they don't run away.

  • Can be used to peel for your adc in case there's one last tank going after him.
  • Can be used to make plays with other skills such as Malph's Unstoppable Force
  • When you are ganked and the enemy jungler is already on you, use this for the slow.
  • Disrupt channeled ultis like Absolute Zero

R - Lunar Rush

Diana teleports to an enemy, deals 100 / 160 / 220 (+60% of ability power) magic damage, and consumes all active Moonlight debuffs. Lunar Rush has no cooldown when used to teleport to a target afflicted with a Moonlight debuff.

This is what makes you an amazing assassin. Use this as a gap closer and damage source. Yes, it does an incredible ammount of damage if you are fed!

The tricky part about this skill is choosing if you want to use it to gap close without hitting a the Q, or if you want to wait for the Q to be able to use it twice. From my experience, Q - W - R - Passive in lane can kill your opponent when used twice. Just back off after the first rotation and then come back on the next Q, it's as easy as that.

  • Use it to juke when in trouble! The minions are everywhere!
  • Don't waste this skill on tanks during teamfights. Even though the cooldown is refreshed if you hit your Q before, the Q cooldown won't be refreshed if you hit your R and it'll be a waste of damage.

RapidStar on LCS (for a good Diana combo)

Ok that was a good Diana play. First off he saved his ulti when he missed his Crescent Strike on Kha'Zix and used the passive to do damage to Cho'Gath and Zac.

He then used Flash to close on them after they used their own and was able to hit Pale Cascade on both of them, which resulted in the proc of Zac's passive. The snipe on Kha was also well done.

Now for the most important part - The Q - R combo on the minions to gap close:
  • You can use you Crescent Strike and your ultimate at the same time and the cooldown on your ultimate will still refresh as long as Crescent Strike hits the target
  • Use this on strong minions.

    If your ultimate kills the minion by itself the cooldown won't refresh because the Q can't hit a dead target

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Core items

Sorcerer's Shoes - Pretty much the go to boots for every AP damage dealer. They give you the penetration you need against those early Chalice of Harmony that most mages build right now as well as their natural magic resist.

Rabadon's Deathcap - Duuh! You know what this is for. DAMAGE! Yeah, you need the AP it gives to burst and insta-kill their AD carries. If you don't pick this up then well, I don't know what to say to you.

Zhonya's Hourglass - One of the best items to go with your kit. It helps a lot in teamfights because you can burst the carries, use the active and they will have to switch focus to the rest of your team. When you come back up you are probably ready to burst down the rest of the people in their team. In case you catch someone off position (like a wild ad carry in the frontline) don't hesitate to go in. Use Zhonya's after you kill him and that'll give your team time to react and go in.

What first, Rabadon's or Zhonya's?

I usually start with Rabadon's Deathcap for the burst when I'm ahead. When the lane is even I start with Seeker's Armguard and then buy the Deathcap.
The armor from seeker's will help you gank bot more safely and that means getting an advantage over your lane opponent, while it still gives you the AP to increase your burst. And let's be real, Ad carries are squishy and you won't need much AP to burst them down...

The only situation where I build Zhonya's Hourglass first is when I'm facing an AD mid like Zed and he's winning against me. If you are losing against an AP champ you should go for Abyssal Mask instead as it'll help you survive the respective burst damage.

After the core

After the core items, you are free to build accordingly to your enemy team or your situation

This is usually what I pick to be my fourth item when I'm ahead. Because you picked two of the most expensive items as a core, you'll be getting this at around 25 minutes (when ahead). That's the point where tanks start to get tankier, and this item will nullify that factor. 35% magic pen eats away almost half of their resistances, and you don't have to care about their health because you picked two of the most bursty items as a core and that will do the damage necessary.

My #2 choice for a fourth item. I pick this up most of the time to be honest, because you already have the damage and now the teamfights start. GA is essencial in teamfights because it allow a not perfect engage or slight mistakes to pass. It takes around 2 seconds to revive, plus the 2,5 secs from Zhonyas, that's almost 5 second of invulnerability. Of course during that time you can do nothing, but by the time this is proc'd you should have killed at least one of their carries.

Taking a lot of magic damage? Pick this item. This is the defensive version of Void staff. The aura gives you a small magic resist reduction on the opponents while giving magic resistance to yourself.
This as a first item: Pick this as a first item when you are losing lane against an AP. This will help you survive and it still gives a bit of damage. You won't be killing them in 1 shot but you won't be dying in 1 shot either.

After the nerfs I rarely pick this item. Don't get me wrong, this is still crazy strong but you would benefit more from other items that give you more survivability. If you are a fan of this, try Nashor's Tooth instead, it works just as fine, if not better, and you'll notice a bigger difference in extended teamfights

My replacement for Lich Bane. It synergises with your passive pretty well with all the attack speed it gives, it procs more damage, gives you 60 AP... what's there not to like? I see the use for this item but I also seldom pick this.
Why do I rarely pick this: I don't play Diana as a bruiser, and even though I pick attack speed runes, that's more for the early game than the late game. I find the burst you get more benefitial than more passive procs on a teamfight, because if you build more AP the fights won't get as prolonged.
When do I pick this? Mostly when there's a tank member of the enemy team who likes split pushing or being away from the team. This item will provide you the ability to 1v1 him faster and then get to your team to finish a 5v4

Actually, I only put this item in here because I've seen other people build this on her and it worked quite well. The only way I can see myself building this is when I can't 1shot anyone on their team because they are too tanky (yes Graves, you are a pain in the ***)

I used to build this as my second item on release. Back then Diana scaled much harder and this was actually pretty good. Now I only build this when I pick Ninja Tabi It'll give you AP and HP, and the magic penetration this gives will make up for the lack of the sorcerer's shoes.

I loooove this item. This is really a personal preference. The slow it gives is really useful and it stacks with your Moonfall. It'll also make you tankier while still giving you damage. If you build this, make it your last item. Other stuff has higher priority. If you are playing this game right you probably won't reach this item before your game ends, but slowing one entire team with 1 Q is still pretty neat.

This is my last item when their team has an heavy AP damage, or has one of those deadly skillshots like Blitz's Rocket Grab. I started picking this more often when they changed the recipe to build this. It now gives more HP and the ammount of MR it gives is still huge. Pick this instead of Rylai's whenever their team is killing you with a huge burst or catching you with a deadly skillshot.

Do you have any other item you would like me to add to the guide? comment and let me know why and I'll test it and add it here if it makes sense.
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Early game

Levels 1-4

At lvl 1-4 you will want to farm, farm, farm. The problem is - you are a melee, you will most likely be harassed. Well, it happens, and you have two choices:
  • Do not farm and stay on the back
  • Last hit from a distance with your Crescent Strike

Of course, we will choose the second one. However, the mana used to farm with only Q's will make it hard later on to do anything. So, only use this to farm when you know you can last hit more than 1 minion with it, or it'll be a waste

When you get to lvl 3, your Q's damage is actually noticeable, so you can start harassing with it. The cooldown is quite low, and you'll see that your opponent starts backing off after a few hits. If they don't, stack up your passive and flash - auto - Q - ignite and you should get a kill.

Levels 4-6

At this time ask for a gank. It's extremely helpful to get a kill now. If it happens you can go back and buy items to get an advantage so that when you are level 6 you can kill them again easily.

Always aim for at least a Blasting Wand, a couple health pots and Stealth Ward when you back.

Warding is EXTREMELY important and will let you go aggressive when you know the jungler isn't there, as well as let you escape from ganks.

Levels 6-10

Ask your jungler for the blue buff, it helps you out so much...

By this time you can probably kill your opponent easily. If you can, do it -> push the lane to the turret -> gank another lane

If you can't, don't worry. Push the lane to the turret and go do your wraiths. when you come back freeze the next wave, push the other and repeat. Your wraiths spawn every 2 minion waves (considering you killed them after you finished the wave) so:
  • Kill the wave -> wraiths -> kill the wave -> kill the wave -> wraiths

Dealing with your opponent's roams

When your opponent starts roaming you can either be behind, even or ahead of him.

1) You are behind
DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR OPPONENT IF YOU ARE BEHIND UNLESS THE JUNGLER IS WITH YOU OR YOUR BOTLANE IS AHEAD! If bot lane is even and you are losing, well, it'll turn into a 3v3 where you will lose and worst case scenario the other team gets a triple kills.
Instead, push their turret and punish them for roaming, then you can roam too when they try to even it back and build an advantage.

2) You are even or ahead
Push the lane to the turret and then follow him, it's that simple.
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Mid game

From lvl 11 on, mid game usually starts, the team starts roaming and trying to get towers.

You should roam too. Get in groups of 2 and go steal the other teams buffs.

You already got the second rank on your ultimate and you are getting stronger. Diana shines in mid game.
The more Dragon fights happen the better you should be and the stronger you should be getting. Remember, play smart and don't dive them when you are outnumbered, no matter how fed you are.

Is your team losing?

If so, communicate with your team. Instead of trying to force skirmishes, group as 5 and push turrets. That way, the gold, experience and map pressure you get from the turrets will make you come back. Having every lane pushed means the other team will have to split or else they'll see themselves without inhibitors really fast. When that happens kill the people who aren't split pushing.
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Late game and teamfighting

By this time, your team should be around together warding all the places and getting control over the map.

Be with your team, if you don't you will lose

There isn't much to say about this... Push, push, push and win.

One death later on the game means losing, the respawn times are big and the other team will win a 4v5 teamfight even if they are behind.


Teamfights with Diana are compeltely different than with other AP mids.

Diana is a melee champion, so you should focus on not dying when fightning.

When you are about to teamfight try to get to the perfect position where you will not die if you charge to their team. This is usually from the back, where the carries are. Use the bushes to fake a 4v3, 5v4 situation and sneak from behind. Insta kill their carries and the teamfight will be in your favour.

The problem is, not ever situation is a dream situation. If the other team engages, back off, locate the carry and do that quick Q - R combo to get to him. If you are the one engaging but are grouped up, do the same - wait 'till they have wasted their CC spells and go in on the carries.

Never, but NEVER, go on a fight where your team is on disadvantage.

Never be the one initiating (unless their adc is out of position), your tanks should. Getting focused? Pop your Zhonyas and wait for your CD's to refresh.

Bjergsen on the LCS

From the early parts of the video you can clearly see the power of Diana. Bjergsen could 2v1 their team early. The problem came when teamfights started.

SK had a team full of CC. A Vi, a Malphite, a Thresh yeah... bad team to go against as a Diana...

They are both pro teams and know what to do, and SK showed just that. They focused most of their CC on Diana, specially the Vi ulti. That ultimate allows for the rest of the team to collapse on her and stun-lock her.

That last teamfight before they won was really well played by Bjersgsen, he waited for the CC on the other team to be blown and then went straight in for the ad carry. He then went and helped ezreal stay alive by killing Ocelote.
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Champion Matchups


  • Difficulty: 9/10 -> Extremely hard
  • Explanation: Well... you know those early creep waves? Yep, you're not getting most of the minions there. This guy Ziggs has enormous range and a strong auto attack passive that can be compared to yours. He'll poke you down in your entire laning phase while still being out of the range of your Crescent Strike.
  • My advice against Ziggs is - Play as passive as you can. Back off as much as you can without losing EXP and try to CS as much as you can. Follow his roams because you can always 1v1 him if you hit your Crescent Strike.
  • Take Pale Cascade at level 1, but still max your Crescent Strike. This will help you get at least 3 minions from the first minion wave.
  • Consider getting an Abyssal Mask as your first item to reduce his poke damage for quite a lot, and get Zhonya's Hourglass as your second item because that'll allow you to dodge his ultimate in 1v1 situations.


  • Difficulty: 4/10 -> Easy in lane, harder in skirmishes
  • Explanation: When Diana was released they called her Akali 2.0. You completely beat her in lane. Harass with every skill except Moonfall (duuh, it does no damage!).
    After laning she's quite a pain - she has 3 jumps, you have 2 at most. And those two are situational. Be very careful when fighting an Akali out of lane after level 6. She'll use her dash to dodge your Crescent Strike and that will HUGELY reduce your damage potential, and you won't be able to kill her.
  • My advice against Akali in skirmishes - Your burst goes off faster than hers, and if you won your laning phase then she'll need two combos to kill you while you will need one only. Make use of that and let her engage.
  • Buy and upgrade a Sweeping Lens to reveal her from stealth during teamfights.
  • Buy an early Negatron Cloak and keep going with the rest of your build.

<========== Section under construction ==========>

I'll add one or two matchups a day
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Well guys, this is my Diana guide.

Please vote and comment with suggestions and what you think is right or wrong and why.

Also, if you have any success with this build then send me some feedback and I'll happily add it here.

That's it guys, thanks for reading and see you in my next guide, hopefully.

Special thanks to jhoijhoi even though he doesn't know me at all for a few templates on the guide
League of Legends Build Guide Author zigui98
zigui98 Diana Guide
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