Lots of good guides have been written about Anivia, you can find them here:
I'm gearing this towards the new player, so bear with me if there's a lot of text here. I'm focusing on how to do things, not just abilities / masteries / runes. I'm not pro, but Anivia is probably my best champ. I can't remember the last time I lost when I played Anivia (I'm sure it wasn't that long ago, my memory is just poor )
First of all, let's see if Anivia is the champ for you. Anivia in my opinion represents a bigger cup for your skill to go into. She is "harder" to master, and for that reason she might not be for everyone. Some folks can't stand how slow she is--building speed for her isn't really a priority, either. That means you are a more tactical champ. You have to use your head during team fights and keep your cool . You're not an assassin, but if you know what you are doing, you'll be the reason your team dominates.
What does Anivia bring to the table?
- CC. She has a stun, an AOE slow, and wall. These are on pretty low cooldowns.
- Damage. She has both spike and sustained dps. She's monstrous. I've seen entire teams build Magic Resist just to keep from being annihilated by the frosty bird.
- Support. Anivia is surprisingly good at saving teammates, because she can wall off and keep high-threat melee away from your own team. She can also zone well, because stepping into her frosty circle death is a poor idea most times, and enemies are going to tend to avoid it.
- Survivability. You're the only one that gets a free Guardian Angel right from the start of the game (your egg passive). I always get a chuckle when the enemy team focuses me down to egg status, only to have my team wreck them. It's lose / lose with Anivia, because if you don't kill her, she's killing you.
What do you have to be careful of playing Anivia?
- You are the black hole of mana. Of all the champs I like to play, Anivia is the biggest mana wh*re. If too many summoners get wise to Anivia and start picking her, soon there won't be any mana left in the universe. As long as you have mana, your team cannot lose a team fight. As soon as you're out of mana, your teammates start dropping like flies. This is not an exaggeration. If you don't know your teammates, your pro play will soon convince your team that you should always get priority on the Blue Golem Buff.
- You're slow. Not turtle slow, more like quadraplegic slow. Maybe it's just her movement animation, but you're definitely not the fast-response champ of your team. Once again, this means you have to play smart. Positioning is everything. Also, because of your lack of speed, you're easy to gank. Don't push lanes out too far by yourself if the enemy team is map-aware. You are the siege engine that your team brings up to break a stalemate, the mobile artillery that wins team fights.
How to play:
- Conserving mana. If you are new to Anivia, I recommend playing conservatively to start. If you are solo mid, grab a Doran's ring and a health potion. If you're confident and efficient, you might be ok with just a sapphire crystal in a side lane. You will build this into a Tear of the Goddess as soon as you can. Until this happens, the key is efficiency with Q, Flash Frost. When you fire Q, pressing Q again will cause it to explode, doing damage, stunning and applying chill. This is all in a small AOE. Although the slow projectile speeds makes it challenging at first, I find I almost never miss with Q. You will get a feel for what I'm saying as you get better with Anivia. Use Q for finishing off the 3 caster minions. Auto-attack to get their health low, finish with a Q. Let it pass over them (applying damage), and pop it just behind them (and killing them). Resist the temptation to over-harrass the enemy champ with Q. Don't fire Q, attempting to chip away at your opponent's health, especially if they have health regen or healing. Save your mana for when your opponent makes a mistake, or for farming. I consider Anivia to be a caster carry, so it's OK to play it safe at first, trying to maximize your last hits for desperately needed gold.
- Capitalizing on mistakes. If your opponent gets frustrated and tries to kill you, flash frost and frostbite. Even without any AP, the amount of damage this does is astonishing. The damage spike should teach your opponent 2 things: first, you never miss with your Q. Second, they can expect you to follow Q with E. Good players calculate if they can kill you before you can kill them. Show them that in order to get close to you, they have to accept an immediate loss of up to 50% health in one short sequence. Once you get your ult at 6, they need to be even more cautious, since death is a very real possibility if they press you too hard.
- Ganker Gankee. Another common opportunity is when your teammate helps you gank, or when enemies try to gank you. If you are the gankER, don't let on that your teammate is hiding in the bushes. Wait for that magical moment when they over-extend, then be sure to hit them with that all-important Flash Frost. If you're past 6, open with your ult, frostbite, and then immediately follow with flash frost. This sequence is absolutely devastating, and should occupy your opponent long enough for your friend to get in on the ganking fun. Get used to this sequence, because you'll be using it often. Sometimes you'll Q then E, sometimes you'll R, then E, and then follow with Q. Either way, position yourself so you can follow with E. Don't waste mana with long-range Q shots that won't do significant harm. If you are getting ganked, don't forget that you have an egg. You are one of the hardest champs to turret dive because of this. Don't miss with Q if you're not 6 yet--be deliberate in your aim. At any rate, when getting ganked, the key is staying calm, going through your damage sequences as if you don't have a care in the world, and staying close to the tower.
Using the Wall
What separates Anoobias from good Anivias is the wall of ice. I rather think this ability is the sneakiest OP ability in the game. With it, you can single-handedly turn a team fight, keep enemies from escaping, and save yourself and teammates from certain death.
- Using the wall in team fights. Team fights usually go like this: an intiator runs in, his carries / casters follow, and then mayhem ensues. They will try to focus your squishies. So what if you separate their intiator from the rest of the team with a wall? Uh-oh, their plan is foiled and their initiator dies horribly. Try to literally divide and conquer the enemy team with your wall. You will find this works especially well in the forest. Anyone trapped on the same side of the wall as the rest of your team, dies.
- Using the wall to chase. You should almost always place the wall farther than you can actually reach right now. This ensures that the instant Anivia gets in range, the wall gets placed. If the wall is not as wide as the lane you're trying to cut off, put your ult into the gap so they have to run through that slow. If the wall is wide enough, as in the forest, sit back and laugh as you and your team insta-gib the poor sap that's trapped behind your wall.
- Using the wall to get away. Just throw it between you and the enemies. Easy.
- Using the wall to save a teammate. This is tricky at times, especially if the chaser is melee. Be deliberate in your wall placement, don't rush. Make sure the wall position is in your range so that placement is immediate. If you have to move into range, you're more likely to position the wall in the wrong place because your friend will have moved by then. Place the wall between your teammate and his chaser. Again, don't rush this! If you screw up, your teammate will be trapped behind your wall with his killer, and you will be asked to uninstall LoL.
The key to teamfights with Anivia is good positioning. You are never the first one in. Your responsibilities during team fights are as follows:
- Disrupt the enemy formation with your wall and your ult. Your ult creates a "no-fly" zone where enemies will hesiate to enter. Take advantage of this.
- Do damage. If the enemy is short-ranged, this is easier. Wait until your tank intiates, and then rush in with your ult. Enemies will either have to disengage or be prepared to take your icy combo to the face. If your team has an AOE snare, so much the better. Your ult is great in combo with Pirate's cannon AOE, Nunu's channeled AOE, and Gargoyle taunt, just to name a few. As long as your mana holds out, you are trying to chill enemies and follow up with E as quickly as possible. Maintain positioning so that you can E your target, but aren't vulnerable to getting focused. This is key to being effective as Anivia. If you egg out too early, you might die and you definitely cut down on your damage output. It's easier said than done as Anivia, so practice on keeping aware of where their carries / disables are so you don't over-extend.
- Keep stragglers from getting away. Of course you won the exchange, your team has Anivia on it! Use your wall and ult to keep any survivors from getting away.
- Make sure your team gets away. If, through a miracle of superior tactics your team loses the fight, be prepared to wall so that your team can make it out alive.
- Stay with the group. Some champions should push a lane by themselves while the rest of your team pushes together. You should always be with the group. You are vulnerable by yourself, but with meatshields, er, teammates you are an absolute monster.
- Don't creep when your team needs you. Much like your team tank, you have to stay with the group. You are such a combat multiplier that if your team is even thinking about going in without you, you should ask them to wait up. After a team fight, when your mates are dead / shopping is the time to do a little farming for gold.
- Get good at timing your second keypress of Q. Position yourself so that it passes over the enemy champs, then explode it right at the rear edge of a group. If you get good at timing this correctly, you will become unstoppable.
- Don't keep R on needlessly. Turn off R as soon as it doesn't need to be on. You really don't want the universe to run out of mana, so do your part.
- Buy blue elixirs. This is especially good if you can't convince your team that you own the blue buff.
Ok, to qualify for an actual guide I have to go over the technical stuff. Yeah, I guess you need to read this if you're new to Anivia:
I go for magic pen(reds), mana regen (yellows), cooldown reduction(blues), and health (quints).
- Ghost. Always Ghost. You are so slow, you need this to have a hope of getting away, especially if your team doesn't realize how powerful you are and run like babies at the first sign of trouble. You won't be running faster than any of your teammates, so you need this. Ghost also lets you get back in the lane, especially if you went back to finish your Tear of the Goddess.
- Flash / Cleanse / Ignite. I always debate my second pick. Cleanse got nerfed, so now it's not good against Ignite. Flash is really helpful for placing walls. Ignite works for lots of people, so I listed it. Personally, I almost never pick it. Why? Anivia does so much damage all on her own, getting Ignite seems like a waste. There's no doubt that you will get more kills early with Ignite. I just like the way Flash lets me place myself to be most useful to the team. It really shines when you need to put a wall exactly right there, but don't have a lot of time to do it.
I pick 9/0/21. Getting the 15% spell pen and cooldown is the key to the offense branch. For utility, you want +experience, +mana regen, +cooldown, and +speed. If you do your masteries and runes correctly, you can be sure to max out your cooldown by using elixir / golem buff without having to buy a dedicated cooldown item. This is good, because you want to max out mana / AP with Anivia.
R > E > Q > W, sort of.
Q, E, Q, E are usually my first 4 picks. Why? You don't need your wall really early. Pick up wall before team fights start becoming frequent.
Solo laner: Doran's ring, health pot.
Otherwise: Sapphire, 2 health pots.
Tear of the Goddess (from Sapphire)
Boots of Speed > Sorceror's Shoes (you might get away with delaying Sorc boots until after RoA is done)
Catalyst > Rod of Ages
If the game goes long enough:
Zhonya's Ring (don't forget about the active ability on this thing. It's great for delaying death by 2 sec. A lot can happen in 2 sec.)
If everyone on their team is stacking MR because you are frosty vengeance incarnate:
If somehow they are dishing out more magical smackdown than you are, or have more CC than even you do:
If the enemy team is full of melee dps:
Keep stacking AP / magic pen. When melee tries to get on you, 1) stun and 2) kill. Be sure to fit maniacal laughter somewhere between steps. (Note: If you didn't pick Clease like I did, watch out for Silence! Don't let Garen hit you with his Q, or you will be an egg again. Or dead.)
If the enemy team is full of ranged dps:
Cry when they focus you. Seriously, armor never quite seems to do the trick. More damage does the trick. Just spike them before they kill you. That seems to work better than building to absorb lots of auto-attacks. That's not what you're going for as Anivia. Life steal? They can't steal your life if they are stunned / running away. (One possible exception is Ezreal. You can't catch him in a foot race, since you don't have legs, you can't stun him, because he just blinks away from Q. What do you do? I'm not quite sure yet at this point. Maybe come to the forums and QQ instead?)
Thanks for reading! I'm sorry if you've fallen asleep several times while doing so. I tried to make the guide shorter but Anivia is not really that noob-friendly. I read other guides and I felt there wasn't enough how-to for new players to understand what they are actually trying to do.
swiftness/mobility >>>>> sorc boots.
other than that this looks solid.
before you downvote me, try it yourself. if you actually NEED that extra magic pen just get a void staff.
EDIT: with those boots you don't need ghost, and can take teleport/ignite/cleanse or whatever.
Any tips on landing Q on a ranged target? I keep trying to practice it. I watch how enemies walk normally, their dodge tendencies, try to lead them...and usually miss. Melee and short range I can wait until they move to attack me, and harass with auto attack, but wtf do I do about Cait w/ boots prior to being able to E-R?
Landing Q takes practice. It's all about anticipation. You can use it in a number of ways:
1) Last hit back row creeps with it, waiting until it just passes over them and then hit Q again. Some lane opponents like to hang out with their back row creeps for whatever reason, so this sometimes hits them.
2) Forcing move: put it where the enemy would like to be optimally to force them to choose between getting stunning or being where they want to be. One example is a champ running away. Fire it along their escape route--they either have to move to one side (slowing down), or get hit.
3) When enemies are distracted. For example, during a large team fight, try to burst it over a group of champs.
Eventually, you just the hang of it. The key is to put yourself in the enemy's shoes: what would you do to win if you were them? Once you figure that out, you can place your Q to effective prevent optimum manuvers or land the hit.
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