Foreword - Philosophy of AP Blitzcrank
This guide is for building a hit-and-run Blitzcrank with AP and reasonable health. It lets you survive initiating while dishing out burst damage, at the cost of sustained damage. Since Blitzcrank's AP scaling is good (0.8 for rocket punch and 1.0 for static field) you can often vaporize an injured non-tank as soon as you reel them in. This affords them little room for reaction - as soon as they realize you are gunning for them, they are dead, which greatly helps your chances of successfully ganking.
Unlike standard builds using Triforce, it is an "unnatural" way to develop Blitz because it focuses on 2 of his abilities rather than improving him across the board. However, depending on your play style and matchup, this may offer slightly better survivability while retaining the ability to gank in mid-game.
Note that it is not an actual tank build; you are only a hard initiator and gank machine. You will never tank like Cho'gath or Alistair.
Spells - Teleport is a must, enabling you to roam the map and still show up back at your tower to defend it. Beyond that, Exhaust is good for an early kill, whereas Flash is much more versatile later on.
Skills - Favor Rocket Grab and your ultimate, Static Field. This is counterintuitive, but you won't be raising your DPS, so there's no need to get much power fist. You only want it for the stun. You need to level up Rocket Grab so its cooldown and damage improve. You need to level up your ult for farming (passive) and burst damage (active). Again, AP scaling is in your favor at 0.8 for Rocket Grab and 1.0 for ultimate, so you have substantial burst damage unless the enemy goes overboard stacking magic resistance. You should get Overdrive only to chase/escape, with the understanding that Overdrive is not that helpful until you get some boots. Do not assume that you are faster than you really are.
Don't be too rigid in your skill build, but it should look something like this:
1 - Rocket Grab - deals 60 (+0.8) magic damage, stuns the enemy, and pulls them to you.
2 - Power Fist - stuns the victim of your next autoattack (also 2x damage)
3 - Rocket Grab - now deals 120 (+0.8)
4 - Power Fist - cooldown improves
5 - Rocket Grab - now deals 180 (+0.8)
6 - Static Field - 250 +(1.0) area magic damage. 40 sec cooldown.
7 - Overdrive - +16% movement, +30% attack speed for 8 seconds
8 - Rocket Grab - now deals 240 (+0.8)
9 - Overdrive - now +20%, +38%
10 - Rocket Grab - now deals 300 (+0.8)
11 - Tesla Coil Concert - now does 375 +(1.0) magic damage.
12 - Overdrive - now +24%, 46%
13 - Overdrive - now +28% 54%
14 - Haven't you won the game yet? Just fill in what you're missing, continuing to get your Ultimate and Rocket Grab maxed, with Overdrive and Power Fist as lesser priorities.
There is no early overdrive because you are using Exhaust/Flash, and without boots or Zeal, there's not that much to boost anyhow.
Items - Your item build is COMPLETELY different from what most people would consider a sane build, because you are not building a triforce. Nor will you build Philosopher's stone, because you are rushing a Rod of Ages. AP build, remember?
1. Sapphire Crystal (200 mana) + 2 heal potions
Comment: I feel that due to Blitz's passive Mana Shield (which turns half his mana pool into hit points when he's low on health) this extra mana pool helps prevent you from dying early on in case something unexpected happens. You shouldn't need this, and you shouldn't rely on it to save you from terrible decisions, but just in case, the extra mana is there. You are Blitzcrank; you CAUSE ganks. You should not GET ganked by anything short of a 4v2, or having a worthless partner. You don't have mana regen, but you're only going to use mana to harass/kill champs, so you should be OK.
In case you get harassed so hard that you use up your pots and have to pill and heal, swallow your pride and do so. You can always teleport back. It's sad, but dying early as Blitz due to harrassment is even sadder and will set you back far more than the 10 seconds it takes to heal, buy new potions, and teleport back to tower.
2. Catalyst (290 hp 325 mana, +300 hp 250 mana on levelup) -> Rod of Ages (380 hp 425 mana 50 AP, which upgrades itself +18 hp/20 mana/2 AP every 2 min.)
This is the real reason we got a mana crystal instead of mana regen. Catalyst's levelup heal provides you with the hp and mana you need to stay in the field. Rod of Ages gives you an AP/hp/mp boost that grows over time, so get it early. At this point you should be ganking people, if you haven't started already. Punish anyone trying to push a lane by introducing them to your tower. Pop out of bushes behind enemy towers to yank injured people, exhaust them, and fist them to give you time to get your hits in. Burn your ultimate if you have it - you should still have enough mana left to soak 1-2 tower hits as you run away.
Remember that missions behind enemy lines are always risky business, so get the hell out soon after they see you, and go heal. Don't dawdle around hoping for a second shot at that injured enemy, unless they're stupid enough to be at their front line turret with low hps, your minions coming in, and an enemy Blitz gunning for them. The success of this phase of the game depends on you killing, but also on you NOT DYING.
3. Boots -> Mercury Treads (Speed 2, 30 MR, 40% reduction on stun/sleep/snare)
Everyone loves merc treads for chasing down enemies, surviving spells, and running away when they try to gank you. If you have overdrive + boots, don't be afraid to tower dive to nail an enemy with a sliver of health. Ult is good for this as it also gets rid of enemy creeps you might otherwise collide with on the way out.
5. Cooldown item - Haunting Guise (+9 hp regen, +8 mana regen, -10% cooldown, +20 magic penetration) or Glacial Shroud (500 mana, 36 armor, -20% cooldown)
By now you ought to have a few kills and a few assists. You ought to have a decent amount of change. Blitz needs cooldowns to participate in team fights. If you need more damage, you want the haunting guise as it adds magic penetration. If you need more survivability, you want the glacial shroud for its armor/mana. Fortunately, the prices on the items subtly support this: having fewer kills and less money means you can afford the Haunting Guise but not the Glacial Shroud. Taking more risks and having more kills means you can afford the Shroud.
6. Rylai's (500 hp 80 AP, slows victims of your spells for 2 seconds)
Yes, this is a mage item. You benefit from every part of it - more hps, AP, and a spell proc. At this point, when you grab enemies, they will automatically be slowed. When you trigger ultimate while standing in the middle of a group, they will ALL be slowed. Obviously, there are many ways in which this can be bad for the enemy. Anivia will love you, because this counts as a cold effect, and she gets bonus damage against people you chill.
For better or for worse, the game should be over soon after you get Rylai's. Either your continued ganking and team playing starved the enemy of gold and levels, or your teammates fed the enemy so much that even your awesomeness couldn't turn the tide. If you were the one who fed, this means you probably spent the game not being a force to be reckoned with and thus making the guide invalid. Re-read the section on laning partners, or spew epithets at your teammates who put you next to someone they should not have put you with.
7. Continued build - Glacial Shroud into Frozen Heart (99 armor 500 mana, -25% cooldown, -25% enemy attack speed), Banshee Veil (450hp 400 mana 57 MR, blocks a spell every 30 sec)
If the game goes on longer, you want to get more survivability, and continue picking off enemies and being an annoyance. Your Rocket Grab should be down to 10 seconds and your Fist should have a 3 second cooldown. Count on your enemies having Veil, meaning you can no longer hard initiate without getting creative. Cry deeply; demand a refund.
Yellow - dodge. We are not building a ninja tabi or a phantom dancer. This is our only way to get dodge, and even a bit is worth getting.
Red - magic penetration.
Blue - cooldowns. AP Blitz needs lots of help with cooldowns.
You do NOT want people who must last hit a lot (Annie, Veigar), or people who push early game (Heim.) These are BAD. You want to be near your tower at all times, so that if the enemy slips up trying to last hit / harass you, you can yank them into tower range. Last hitters are bad because you need lots of gold, so you will be trying to get each last hit you can between harassing the enemy, and this means one of you will wind up screwed.
You DO want people like Evelyn, Kassadin, Twisted Fate, Katarina, Huntress, or Jax in your lane. Eve is great because either of you can initiate or chase, provided you get the timing right. TF and Kass have wonderful harassment. Jax, Katarina, and Huntress can all finish what you start. You'll get more assists than kills with them, but that just means you need to kill the enemy more often to get the gold you want, right?
You can solo mid, but you'll have to tower hug - which is not as big a problem as it might seem, since the threat of a grab + stun into tower range is a great deterrent against fragile carries. If your enemy is fearless, it won't be a deterrent, but it will quite possibly net you a kill, which is even better.
Destroy, Destroy, Destroy
Two ways exist for you to net kills: tower assisted, and non tower assisted. The former is pretty intuitive: an enemy forced to stand in front of your tower's merciless glare for more than a few seconds is a dead enemy. As long as you can get a clean shot, this kind of killing is uncomplicated. Thus, enemies do not push or tower dive against a Blitzcrank standing next to a tower unless they are suicidal or confident of an overwhelming advantage.
The second kind of killing is where Blitz goes to find the enemy. This bears explanation.
Ryze or Annie can take out an enemy's full health bar given a few seconds with which to work (and they can often provide that time themselves with stun/snare.) You can stun, but you cannot do a full nuke from 100% healthy to dead. What you can do is take risks that Ryze or Annie cannot, and get away with it. Two things work in your favor: your better health and your ability to grab the enemy from a distance.
In laning, each side is generally harassing the other to deny them last hits on minions. This denies them gold, which puts your team ahead in the arms race. Both sides know this, and therefore have an incentive to continue to operate in the field with dwindling levels of health. This is where you come in.
Remember how I said you cannot nuke an enemy who is fully alive? Things change dramatically when they're already half dead. You should constantly check other lanes for successful harassment by your allies. Get a feel for which enemies are likely to be injured when you switch lanes for a gank attempt. At level 6, with 50AP, you deal 220 damage on a rocket grab, roughly 100 damage with a power fist, and another 300 damage with your ultimate. That is over 600 hit points, and disregards any damage contributed by your allies, who will probably join in. (Welcome them - they did the work of harassing the enemy for you, after all.) The characters you will be targeting at level 6 have maybe 1100 hit points or less. If they're injured from harassment, they often have fewer than 600 hit points. As long as you can catch them, you can end them.
This leaves them with several unattractive options:
1. Go back for healing constantly after being harassed, thereby falling behind in gold/XP.
2. Buy more defensive items, thereby gimping their build but remaining on par in XP.
3. Keep doing what they were doing, thereby feeding you gold/XP.
4. Form a gank squad to try to kill you, which generally results in several enemies abandoning their lanes only to watch you Overdrive and run away. As long as you don't die, this also means they fall behind in gold/XP.
Forcing them to make one of these terrible choices is your contribution to the game.
- How does your build stack up against condon's build or Critzcrank?
If they survive your initial burst, you will probably lose. AP Blitz is not built to go toe-to-toe in a slugfest. It is for burst damage only.
- So why the hell would I play it?
Because shooting people to death with your 400+ damage rocket grab while they recall at towers is hilarious. Don't forget to /all "ROCKETTO PAAAAUNCH!" after ending someone at their turret with just the initial grab damage.
More seriously, AP Blitz is played so that when you jump out of the bushes and nail someone, they WILL die, after which you will run away and live to kill someone else. This focuses on what Blitz is already good at - early/mid game ganks - leaving the DPS to DPS types.
- What's this about survivability?
Basically, the AP build is more conducive to juking and less conducive to standing still and fighting. You are not a tank. Don't think you can 1v1 Warwick. That said, the extra hps/mana this has over semi-dps builds makes you more likely to get away with grabbing an injured enemy, nuking him, and running for cover while the enemy team pelts you with spells. (Remember, mana matters because of mana shield - 2000+ mana left after firing abilities becomes 1000+ hp to tide you over while you run for it.)
- Run? What is this nonsense?
Sadly, you're not able to contribute to a late game fight after you dash in and ult, thereby drawing fire from all enemies in range. The only thing you can do is overdrive and run back 500 yards, then heal or wait for your cooldowns to recover. On the plus side, the other team should have burned a lot of their burst damage on you, making it easier for your allies to take them down. On the minus side, you may well die doing this, without getting any kills . . . but your death means victory for the team, and for every death you should get 2-3 assists this way. If you initiate late game with grab and fist, that's much more survivable, but you're unlikely to pull anything but a tank, which is going to get you called a noob and probably not win the team fight.
- No Sheen?
You're not building triforce, nor do you have the gold for lich bane. You could add a Sheen after your cooldown item if you wanted, but that might prevent you from finishing Rylai's in time for it to make a difference.
- But doesn't your guide depend on the skill shot? Isn't that unreliable?
Yes. Yes it does. However, no matter what version of Blitz you play - no, in fact, no matter what char you play - if a skill shot exists, you must be able to make a majority of your skill shots. If you play poorly at the start of one game, you lose, unless the other team sucks even worse somehow. That's just part of the game.
My mistake - just a careless listing. My point is, get ult when you can get ult. Get Rocket Grab when you can get Rocket Grab. Get two levels in Fist early and dump the rest into Overdrive.
When I play the character, I don't think "This is X level; I need Y skill." I just look to see if I can add Rocket Grab and/or Ult and add accordingly. However, in this forum there is no end of complaints that there is no "proper" skill list if I don't have a blindly literal list, so I made one to forestall that.
You should be adjusting your skill list to suit the situation anyhow.
You should list what the items do (stats), to help clarify why you choose to buy those items when you play Blitz. This way, you can also start a discussion on why, say, Haunting Guise instead of Glacial Shroud. You're just saying people should go [this] if they want [this]. Right now, it's more of an item build and skill build, not a real guide.
Also, level 6, 11 and 16 is when you take your ultimate.
You should also list important things like your Power Fist missing because of the blind mechanic, especially because you seem to rely a lot upon it in this build. For example, you take two levels in it in early game, but if you had taken overdrive, you might have been able to run away/chase that person running away.
And like I previously stated, not only should you list what the items do, also list how the skills scale with AP. You're suggesting I go AP, but I don't even know how well the skills scale with it! (I do, because I play Blitz, but I'm saying this as an example.)
Otherwise, interesting approach. I like the synergy with Rylai's + Ultimate combo.
Apparently I neglected to respond to this part:
Decent guide, but it's all been said before. You could have posted your item build and been done with it.
Having said that, you are relying on your opposing team being stupid, a lot. Most people know how to counter a blitz, and will never let you tower hug. If they are autoattacking creeps, they are scrubs. Also, saying "gank" doesn't magically make it possible. There is a reason this is a team game, and the minute you go MIA, t hey should be reacting.
I play a lot of blitz, and while yes, I do get laned against people who play bad like you described exploiting, most of my kills/assists come from being an initiator in team fights.
You also don't mention flash/grabbing (one of the only things in this game with almost no counter) or using clairvoyance to wall grab. Taking clairvoyance on blitz is almost a must in a good game, and when I see a blitz with flash/clair I know he's probably a better player than one with exhaust/teleport.
Also, focusing on something other than sheen/lichebane as lightning blitz is completely gimping a lot of extra damage you could be causing with your rockpunch. The whole reason to level this early is to keep proccing sheen for the extra damage.
Thanks for your feedback.
Good counter points, and thanks for taking it constructively! Not something that happens a lot on these forums.
I still think Rylai's is a poor choice compared to lichbane (and I say sheen as well, because at the point you get it, it is a substantial damage increase).
My reason behind this logic is that you have three abilities that change up move speed. Q, W, and E all have some effect. Q moves them, E stuns them, and W lets you chase. A q-e-r combo will kill a no-defense carry most of the time, and if it doesn't a w-chase-q will almost always end them.
In team fights your job is to start it by yanking one of them in so your team can demolish him turning the fight to a 4v5. After that, you are supplimentary damage and a chaser. Also you can help shutdown a carry with E. There isn't really much need for you to have a 1.5sec slow, especially when the only time it would come in handy is for getting a KB, and that's what you have Q, W, and E for.
I can't imagine the scenario where you (as blitz mind you, as another tank I can see it a lot better) would need to slow the entire other team. Or, where you would even need to slow an individual. Your other abilites should more than make up for that, allowing you to focus on a bit more burst. And, with sheen early game, your E can do ~300 damage. At level 6 you have an amazing combo of Rocket Grab->reg attack for ~500 dmg, rocket punch w/ sheen proc for ~300dmg, and then R for ~400 dmg. Without sheen you turned that into ~400dmg + ~200dmg + ~400dmg, which I think you would agree is a bit of a loss.
When it upgrades to lichbane, it's just that much more burst.
edit: I also just prefer stacking mana to stackign HP, which is another point in favor of LB.
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