[Guide] Twitch -- AKA John J. Rambo, the Rage-Inducing Steamloller
TWITCH, AKA JOHN J. RAMBO, AKA THE QTIPS BUILD (cuz that's basically what it is!)
*** Updated on September 11, 2010 for League of Legends v188.8.131.52. Not much is different, but I've done some mathcrafting, and I have some new thoughts about runes. I've also added some happy fun words about Elixirs in the gear section, if your game somehow lasts that long. ***
Not all carries are created equal. Some are amazing wusses, like Ryze the One-Trick Pony, who races out to be a hero with his prison and subsequently dies like an idiot. Others, like Ezreal and Annie, kill everyone ever just by looking at them. But they all quake in fear at the mere mention of Twitch, AKA John J. Rambo, who pops out of nowhere to gun entire teams down in four seconds flat with his big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death, much like his invincible namesake. If you want your enemies to scream obscenities at you in blind rage before posting the one-thousandth NERF TWITCH thread on the forums and throwing their monitors through a window -- all because you killed them 23 times in a row without a single death -- then John J. Rambo is the champion for you. You will make good teams seem invincible, and you will single-handedly carry terribad teams to victory. Once the steamloller gets going, no one and nothing can stop him. For anyone wondering, I have played an estimated 300+ games as Twitch since release (not even counting beta, and I played him there some too), with wins outnumbering losses by a good margin (one I can unfortunately no longer check, since they took out losses in non-ranked statistics).
ADDENDUM: OK, my tough talk might be a bit of an exaggeration these days. As you may or may not know, the range, cooldown, and attack speed on Twitch's ult got nerfed pretty hard back in January 2010. While he probably deserved this (more or less, anyway), he's still a great character. As you read this guide, note all the OH JESUS MAN TWITCH MURDERS EVERYONE ALL THE TIME talk -- but remember that it's SLIGHTLY less true than it was when I first wrote all this stuff out. Look at it this way: The nerfs basically separate the good Twitch players from the bad, because they demand that you exercise good judgment and decision-making to really excel with him. As long as you're smart about the choices you make, you will do well. Just don't expect to pentakill an entire enemy team with your eyes closed.
As far as masteries and runes go, your primary concern is to make big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death, and your secondary concern is to give our squishy John J. Rambo a bit of extra defense, as he goes down like a bum on a sandwich otherwise. Health, dodge, armor, and magic resist are all great for early-game staying power, and you've got plenty of good damage-dealing options. I run 21/9/0 (favoring resists and health regen in the Defensive tree), and I recommend armor penetration marks, critical chance or dodge seals, magic resist glyphs (a roughly even mixture of flat/scaling), and critical chance or flat health quintessences. These days, I tend to err toward the more offense-minded seals and quintessences; defense is nice early on, but in the long run, you want raw killing power -- and you'll do just fine early game if you don't act like an idiot. I used to recommend armor penetration quintessences, but the extra crit chance is (once again) a better long-term option for where we're going with this.
Attachment 57100 Attachment 57101
Exhaust: These days, I go for this over Rally, as it accomplishes much the same thing (i.e. magnifying your damage thanks to the Cripple mastery), while keeping the opponent in your sights just a little longer and providing some extra crowd control in team fights.
Cleanse: Great for escaping ganks during those times when Ambush isn't up, for pulling a triple kill out of a mid-Spray and Pray stunlock (if you're dying, you're sure as hell taking people with you), and for extra insurance against smarties who invest in anti-stealth items.
Rally: Bigger mother****ing crossbow bolts of death equal more killing, more killing equals more winning, and more winning equals more internet ragenauts foaming at the mouth and making increasingly stupid mistakes, thus perpetuating the cycle in your favor. Improved Rally is the real reason for taking this, though -- the extra AP turns your Expunge into a serious early-game threat, perfect for sealing that first blood. As noted above, I find Exhaust to be a better pick at this point.
III: Implements of Death
Step 1: Use your cheddar wisely, and buy Doran's Shield and a Health Potion. This, combined with your pro rune/mastery selection, gives John J. Rambo some excellent early-game survivability. If you're good, and you use all your tools wisely, you can usually start ganking your lane enemy by level 3 or so.
Step 2: You should be able to harass (and likely kill) your opponent long enough to save up for two Avarice Blades and level 1 boots (Boots of Speed). Avarice Blades mean bigger mother****ing crossbow bolts of death AND more cheddar, which will speed you along to the all-important Infinity Edge, where the real bloodbath begins.
Step 3: Get your Infinity Edge, favoring the Cloak of Agility and B.F. Sword if you buy it in pieces (if needed, you can go ahead and sell Doran's Shield to help fund it). This makes your crits bigger and badder -- by now, your enemies should start scattering in sheer terror at the mere sight of you, preferably as you gun them down with toxic bolts from halfway across the map like a true John J. Rambo.
Step 4: Buy yourself a Last Whisper. The added armor penetration will do your ults good, and the extra attack speed is a fine side benefit. If you're dealing with a team full of mages, you might consider Wit's End instead. And if it's a team full of tanks or ridiculously high-HP champions, Madred's Bloodrazor comes in handy.
Step 5: Upgrade your boots to Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi, depending on the makeup of the enemy team.
Step 6: Build a Bloodthirster and go murder everyone until they ragequit.
Step 7: Go ahead and upgrade one of your Avarice Blades to Youmuu's Ghostblade. Put that bad motherf***er on the 1 key, pop it before Spray and Pray in every team fight, and enjoy all that winning.
Step 8: At this point, you can really just do whatever you want -- if the game lasts this long, I recommend replacing your second Avarice Blade with a Phantom Dancer for quite a bit of extra crit chance. You won't even need to push buttons anymore; you'll just flop around wherever they're at and right-click to kill, with optional "Push E and/or R to Win."
Step 9: Save up enough for all three Elixirs (they now apply automatically when your inventory is full), and you'll become a glowing deity of death. Repeat as necessary.
It's also always a great idea to buy Sight Wards and drop them in the brush -- map awareness wins games. Recalling to base? Got 90 extra gold? Buy a ward and use it. Your team will thank you.
Item Build Summary
1) Doran's Shield + Health Potion
2) Avarice Blade
3) Avarice Blade
4) Boots of Speed
5) Infinity Edge (you can sell Doran's Shield at this point)
6) Last Whisper (or Wit's End/Madred's Bloodrazor, if the enemy team has tons of mages/tanks, respectively)
7) Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi (depending on comp)
8) The Bloodthirster
9) Youmuu's Ghostblade
10) Replace your other Avarice Blade with a Phantom Dancer
11) Triple-Elixir cocktail
NOTE: Don't forget to buy Sight Wards whenever you've got a little extra cash
Here's a Leaguecraft build for my setup, if you want to see all the math.
IV: Steamlolling Skills
You want enough ranks in Ambush to travel undetected through the jungle and get the drop on clueless fools (rank 3 -- which gives you 40 seconds of stealth -- is usually enough); after that, your primary goal is to max Expunge and Spray and Pray, as that's how you'll carry out most of your remorseless steamlolling. Debilitating Poison's not worth taking until mid-level, when you have the mana and the damage output to capitalize on it. If you're partnered up in one of the side lanes, you might want to take Expunge first if you think you and your lane mate can score a fast pre-creep kill. Once you hit 9 and max out Expunge, you can do as you please.
6) Spray and Pray
7) Debilitating Poison
11) Spray and Pray
12) Debilitating Poison
13) Debilitating Poison
14) Debilitating Poison
15) Debilitating Poison
16) Spray and Pray
V: First Blood (Early Game)
First things first: Good John J. Rambos pay attention to the opposing team's setup. Make special note of anyone who has Exhaust, as you don't want to get caught by those *******s unawares. You should also keep tabs on which of your likely lane enemies carry Heal, as that's valuable information when you're going for early-game kills. You don't want your would-be victim popping his Heal and then just barely killing you, now do you?
When the game starts, feel free to take the solo lane. John J. Rambo is a capable mid solo, though he's not bad with a partner either -- just so long as you're giving mid up to another game-winner like Sivir or Annie. Either way, I like to start off by hustling to the grass and popping Ambush as the first creep wave shows up, then sauntering up to my opponent and plugging him once or twice. This immediately establishes that you are not to be ****ed with, and if you've done a good job with your pre-game setup, this opening volley will inflict enough damage to make them think twice about entering your auto-attack range again. Always keep an eye on your enemy's items -- especially health potions. Your goal is to get them to pop all their healing abilities as soon as possible.
With any luck, it should only take two or three creep waves to teach your opponent to tower-cling like a terrified child anytime he can't see you. At this point, one of two things will occur: He'll tower-hug all day, thus allowing you to push the lane for free... or he'll muster some foolish bravado and attempt to press onward, which is exactly what you want. When this happens (and if you stay out of sight for long enough, it will), stealth behind the dumbass and fill him with big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death, then Expunge him to the land of black-and-white (optionally using Exhaust or Rally, whichever one you took). Once you've fed your opponent's ********s to him once or twice, you can recall back to the shop to pick up an Avarice Blade or two...while your scared-senseless enemy cowers next to his tower, since he can't see you. Well, either that, or he starts foolishly pushing again, in which case you rinse and repeat for as long as he lets you. Once you get Spray and Pray, unload it on the tower whenever you have a safe opening, and keep at it until the tower falls.
Special word of warning: Be careful if you're up against an aggressive and capable pusher like Singed, Teemo, or Sivir. Singed can end you quickly and unexpectedly with his throw, and Teemo can shut you down pretty hard with his blind and insane poison. Sivir's only as good as her aim, though; if you can consistently sidestep and/or out-range her skillshot, her day shouldn't be that hard to ruin. In any case, your first rank of Spray and Pray makes for an excellent lane-clearing GTFO maneuver if you're getting pushed too hard, and it's virtually guaranteed to send your enemy running to perceived safety.
At various points during your thorough lane domination, your enemy's teammates will probably try to gank you. A good John J. Rambo pays attention to the mini-map and scoreboard at all times (and buys wards whenever he's got enough leftover cheddar), and knows when a gank is incoming. You generally shouldn't push your luck early-on versus multiple opponents, but again, Spray and Pray is a quick and easy way to signal that they need to get the **** back. If you have good teammates, the ganker's absence will allow them to push hard and force your lane into solo mode again; otherwise, call a friend in and coordinate an Ambush/Debilitating Poison-powered reverse-gank of your own. Carries and casters should be your preferred targets -- never gun for the tank when you can kill his carry friend instead. Whatever the case, if you do it properly, your opponents should once again be reduced to tower-hugging *****es, which is just the way John J. Rambo likes it.
Sometimes, an enemy will get smart and buy a vision ward to counter your invisibility. We can't have that, so if you notice a ward in his inventory (since you are, again, paying careful attention to scoreboards and item loadouts), stealth near the middle of the lane, and unload your ult on the ward as soon as it goes down, before its invisibility kicks in. Presto! 150 wasted gold. If you can't bring it down in time, go ahead and buy your own ward -- if you're both fighting to keep wards up, it's a battle John J. Rambo will almost always win. Pay attention to the ward's placement, too; if your opponent plants it too far up, you can just sneak up behind him and punish him with a heaping helping of big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death.
Oh, and you should treat anyone with an Oracle's Elixir like a big-ass target -- coordinate with teammates to make them pay dearly for that 400-gold waste. Always, ALWAYS check opponents for this. Tanks tend to be the preferred carriers, but you should always make sure you aren't giving someone a free kill.
So, if you're on top of your game, you should have a tower down, you should be well-fed with at least a couple kills to your name, and you should be well on your way toward building an Infinity Edge. With your lane secure and pushed, start coordinating ganks in other lanes. Gun down some jungle creeps for red and blue runes (both work wonders on Twitch), see who needs the most help, use your teammates as bait, jump out of the bushes, pop Debilitating Poison, and Expunge those poor *******s until they've given you enough cheddar for your next big purchase. Remember: A good early game means a killer late game.
VI: Rambo: First Blood Part II (Late Game)
Assuming your teammates are halfway decent and you've scored a few kills, the game is over the minute you a) hit level 11 and b) get your Infinity Edge. Your second rank of Spray and Pray turns you into a machine-gunning menace, and the Infinity Edge makes your crits hit much harder. From here on out, you're a roving, invisible AoE death cone on a 90-second cooldown. Your main job is to help push every single tower on the map, since you can rip them apart faster than any champion this side of Master Yi.
Your other main job is to kill every champion you run across with Expunge, and rack up more kills than the entire enemy team combined. You can pretty much just ignore creeps (thanks to your dual Avarice Blades) and focus exclusively on stalking players. If the enemy team hasn't yet mobilized into a five-man gank squad, you'll have a field day picking off solo farmers. I try to identify the weakest links and kill them relentlessly and repeatedly, which serves the dual purpose of farming John J. Rambo up right good, and frustrating the guilty feeder (and likely his entire team), ideally to the point of prompting a ragequit and swinging the game even more drastically in your favor.
Once the five-man team fights start, you should begin exercising some discretion. Like I said earlier, John J. Rambo only gets into fights he can win. You don't want to engage multiple enemies alone, you don't want to focus beefy tanks, and you want to avoid engaging from less than max range whenever possible. You also want to avoid getting your hands dirty when Cleanse on cooldown, because it can make all the difference in a close fight. A dead John J. Rambo is a useless John J. Rambo, unless he takes four opponents down with him -- which, for our purposes, falls squarely into the "fights he can win" category.
The key to this is smart positioning: When a team fight erupts, park yourself in an opportune spot (far enough away to give yourself an avenue of escape, but close enough to pepper as many champions as possible with big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death) and keep yourself hidden until everyone's committed to their targets. When the moment's right (this obviously works on instinct, which a good John J. Rambo will hone), unload, then hit Expunge when you see those red health bars plummet (and pop Debilitating Poison if anybody tries to get clever). If you're good enough and beefy enough, you can decimate half the enemy team before they get the chance to focus-fire you... and if you go down, you'll do so while sealing a numerical advantage. Make sure to prioritize carries like Yi and Cardmaster above all else, and learn when to run if things go south. John J. Rambo does not concern himself with bravery or cowardice, only death and frustration.
And nothing says frustration like dropping towers and inhibitors from stealth in seven seconds flat, which -- again -- is John J. Rambo's late-game specialty, especially if the rest of your team is struggling. He's called a carry for a reason, folks. Eventually, you'll invade the enemy base, where you'll wave your Ghostblade around like a feather-duster, casually murdering anyone within reach. For added steamlolling fun, yell "MY BASE" in /all chat as you score a quadrakill and drop their nexus towers. It's funny because it's true.
And don't forget about Ambush's attack speed bonus. Try not to obsess over the stealth timer TOO much, but be mindful of it -- it provides a significant DPS boost if you time your massacres right.
VII: Rambo III: Chronologically Confused (Twisted Treeline Addendum)
More elaborate guide coming soon. Brief summary: Roll in a group from minute one, use your stealth to scout for possible ambushes, buy some wards (doubly important here), and murder everybody with your ult as per usual. I usually skip the second Avarice Blade on this map. Twisted Treeline doesn't favor squishy champions -- especially item-dependent ones like John J. Rambo -- but you can still hold your own here. He might not be the best choice on this map, is all I'm sayin'.
Q: Wow, isn't Twitch pretty OP if he can single-handedly win games like this?
A: No, perhaps you don't understand the definition of a carry. If you allow John J. Rambo to murder everyone and get fat and win the war himself, it's your own **** fault for not putting your best curb-stomping foot forward.
Q: Don't anti-invisibility items make stealth characters useless?
A: John J. Rambo is a steamlolling menace with or without Ambush. Half his game relies on positioning, and he's a beast in team fights whether you see him coming or not. Not to mention the fact that a good team will treat anyone with an Oracle's Elixir as a big walking target, and rightly so. Stealth detection items are definitely a deterrent -- and, quite honestly, a royal pain when used well -- but they're not insurmountable. Use brush and fog to your advantage, and pop up behind teams with your ult to prove how clever that Oracle carrier isn't.
Q: Durp durp Avarice Blades aren't real items, l2play newb!!!1!11
A: Big crits mean big mother****ing crossbow bolts of death, and the ability to basically ignore creeps and make cheddar off of your items and your psychotic rampages is a nice one. The dual Avarice Blades let you get big and mean before everybody else. Plus, you can turn them into Youmuu's Ghostblade now. Duh.
Q: I see a lot of Twitch players running Malady builds. Why don't you use Malady?
A: Building John J. Rambo for attack speed is a great plan. You know, if you plan things like Raymond Stantz did at the library in the first Ghostbusters. If you haven't picked up on the subtlety here, Malady's a bad item. You want big damage first and foremost; Ambush and your ult have you covered where it counts with regard to attack speed, and there's better items for it anyway. Last Whisper is the only straight-up attack speed item you should bother with (unless your game lasts long enough to get you to a Phantom Dancer, that is), and it also comes with some nice armor penetration, so it's well worth it. Unless you're stupid, steer clear of Malady and attack speed stacking (at least, not at the cost of raw damage and crit %).
Q: What about snowball items? Sword of the Occult is awesome!
A: Sword of the Occult is awesome, but snowball items are risks I'd rather not take. If you're dominating hard enough for these items to be of use, you're probably already making enough to buy all the awesome items you need anyway. And if you're having a bad game, you just wasted almost enough gold to buy a Last Whisper.
Q: Twitch takes no skill to win with, why don't you learn a non-noobcharacter?
A: Yeah, you can go right to hell. John J. Rambo takes finesse to play well, just like any other champion. If you can't quickly size up fights and position yourself well (and it requires a bit of practice), you'll be taking plenty of dirt naps no matter how much damage you can pump out. Maybe you should quit complaining about the perceived ease by which John J. Rambo won, and think more about why you got steamlolled and how to avoid the same mistakes in future games.
Q: I talked to you in-game and you said Twitch sucks post-nerf! What gives?
A: I was being all bitter and emo. The fact is, you definitely have to be more careful with him now -- Spray and Pray's range, attack speed, and cooldown were all affected. And while I think it's best that Twitch doesn't blatantly outrange towers anymore, the nerfs definitely hurt his game a bit. Fortunately, you can make up for it in items (notably Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade), as my revised guide indicates. All told, John J. Rambo is still a good character and well-worth playing; Riot just made it a bit harder to prey on others' blatant stupidity.
IX: Special Thanks
Qtips: Pro Twitch player, whose item build greatly informed this guide.
condon: Epic and hilarious guide-writer, whose format I shamelessly copied.
TheHeretic: His Playing to Be Evil guide is useful, must-read material.
John J. Rambo: For the steamlols.
Kick ass guide by a kick ass dude. Listen to what this guy has to say.
Care to offer a mastery build?
Nice guide, Rydog. I saw that you were playing a lot of twitch lately and your first item slot was BF sword or IE. Now I understand how that works. Going to try this out tonight after work!
All the guide's missing is some frame-countin' and it's PERFECT.
thanks for the props. u musta saw me in action how are u still alive?
Never seen a twitch rush Infinity.
Everybody seems to stick with the (more usual) mid-game items (malady and/or wit's end and zeal) and then moving on to late game items (cleaver, upgrade phantom dancer and finally IE).
While I have dual avarice blade-rush-IE allot of times on my other carrys (tryndamere especially) I have never thought it could work on Twitch.
Reason? It gimps his midgame too much. And it doesn't take advatage of his insane attack speed. Executioner's calling, malady, wit's end (and black cleaver) all do this. Not that I buy all of those.
Anyway I will give this a shot and repost what I think :)
Wits end is a not good on twitch malady is a little hit and miss since people seem to think malady stacks for the ability.
As for malady, I don't know what you're saying exactly.
Edit: You take wit's end for it's +42 unmitigated damage and not for it's pathetic mana drain.
Though I like the build, I have to say that I always seem to get Sword of the Divine for that extra edge. Too many times I see "Dodge, Dodge, Dodge" when I pop Spray n' Pray, and the armor pen is nice too. I know that it's not damage, and Ambush/S&P gives a **** good attack speed bonus by themselves, but Phantom Dancers/Fleet of Foot piss me off. That being said, I always approve of rushing damage if the game is going well.
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