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I started playing about 2-3 weeks ago. After cycling through a dozen or more champions, I've decided to try and stick with one and just practice practice practice until I finally become at least decent with said champion. I landed on Diana. But it feels to me that every single guide I've come across (at least half a dozen at this point) takes such a very long time to make Diana actually viable.
Is she just really bad early-mid game? I can do a decent amount of damage once I hit level six, but the only way I truly start shining is way late game. Any tips?
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Hi there! I love Diana a lot, she's replaced Lux as my favorite AP mid. I don't want to go balls deep and brag that I'm the best, but I enjoy her a lot, I'm familiar with her kit, and comfortable with my current build. Feel free to add me in-game and we can do some customs if you wanna just mess around. I guess this'll be less "YOU SHOULD DO THIS BECAUSE OF THIS" and more just me explaining my method, and you can glean what information you like. Bear with me, this is going to be pretty unorganized.
I take Surge and Flash. That'll have to change in S3 obviously, but I like Surge because it helps with the burst, gives meat to my shield, gives me attack speed, etc. It's also easier for me because I can pop Surge before diving in and not have to worry about popping Ignite somewhere in the combo. But, like I said, I'm going to have to learn to do that soon sinec Surge is going buh-bye.
I've got (I think) magic pen reds, AP blues, attack speed yellows, and flat AP quints.
I start boots and pots. Levels like 1-3 (really, really early) I use my Q to poke the enemy champ a lot, since it does a decent bit of damage, and helps clear caster minions for easy last-hits when the wave moves up. By level four I have two points in my Q and two points in my W. At level 5 I have a decision to make - can I nuke down the enemy champ when I get to six?
If not, then the level 5 skill point goes into the Q again, and I resume poking and trying to farm. Level six gets the ult but I likely won't engage just yet.
If I can nuke the other guy though, the level 5 skill point goes into the E. When I hit six, I pop surge and hit everything. I'm sure you know the usual combo.
I build for early cdr. Ionian boots, two Doran rings. I personally like having the cdr boots because if you're getting poked a lot you have your shield, and if you're poking a lot you have your Q on a pretty brief wait time. The flat health helps, as well. And a wee bit of mana regen.
I rush an Abyssal Scepter next, then get Fiendish Codex. At this point we're about mid-game, which was what you were concerned with. So now I have good cdr to poke and blast the combo, decent mana regen, some magic pen plus some MR myself. Those are the things I focus on early and mid, and it usually leaves me in pretty good shape.
I build the Codex into Nashor's later, but not usually before Rabadons. This is getting into later game stuff which you said you had a handle on, though.
So if I'm doing well early my build is Ionion Boots, Abyssal Scepter, Nashor's Tooth, Rabadon's Deathcap, and then I'll usually pick up a Zhonya's. But the game's usually over by then.
If the team is doing poorly, and so am I, falling to AD enemies, I'll get the Zhonya's earlier and pick up a Rylei's for the health. That's the only major alteration I can think of. I know a lot of people get Rod of Ages on her, but I just don't, since rushing it early leaves you vulnerable.
Also! Just a random note, have you practiced using your ult + Q as an escape? It's like uber clutch, but Q-ing wraiths or wolves or something and then ulting to it can save you in a pinch. It takes some getting used to since she stops moving when she Qs, but it's satisfying to land and makes you feel epic. (:
Sorry if this next bit is boring to you (I know you said you're decent with her now, but I'm just trying to give you some perspective from someone who snagged her right at release), but I'll talk a little bit about match-ups I'm familiar with and watch out for.
Against someone like Katarina, pre-six, save your W for when she shun-pos (wow, I have no idea how to spell that) and after six do not use your E when diving her. When you Q and ult to her, somewhere she might ult and your E will neatly pull her out of it.
Morgana is nasty. Stay passive until she uses her Q, then poke with yours, it's cooldown is quite long compared to yours. But you can't pull her out of her ult, so if she ults you when you jump in you're screwed. The shield is annoying, too. I think moonlight is still afflicted, but the damage is just dampened.
You can literally walk up to Karthus and kill him.
Against another Diana, pay close attention to what she's building. The usual build I see is Sorc boots, double Dorans, DFG, RoA, Deathfire, something like that. My build has cdr advantage late game, which sounds silly since her cooldowns are shorter, but when you're fleeing a teamfight gone bad, that extra shield and the potential double jump is really helpful.
You're a pretty hard counter to Akali. E-ing into her shroud makes her a sad ninja.
You cannot dash through Veigar's ring without being stunned.
Jumping on Brand can be dangerous because of the potential stun, so just wait for the pillar to be used to farm minions before diving in.
Okay, I think I've ranted enough .. inb4 someone else posts on this thread dissecting everything I've said, telling me I'm wrong. :P