Twitch, A.K.A Ratigan / that pedophile janitor at your school/work
Thanks for taking the time to click on this guide. (I'd thank you for reading it but you haven't actually done so yet.) I'm a level 30 summoner with somewhere around 300 games played. My record with Twitch is pretty good, I think - 76-42 - so I thought I would try to help some players out with this guide.
So here's the deal. You're Twitch, the Plague Rat. Formed from a puddle of pernicious pollution (LOL, alliteration), you rely on your trusty crossbow and stealth capabilities to harass, harangue, and ultimately destroy the enemy. With the aid of this guide, your enemies will soon come to fear not only the zzzzz-thunk of your crossbow bolts smacking into them, but the sight and creepy laugh of your smelly husk of a body. A well-played Twitch will be quite the cause for concern even amongst experienced players who have dealt with him plenty before, and can cause outright panic in anyone else.
A small note - this guide is written for Twitches who solo mid. I don't lane very often, so I thought I'd write in my realm of relative expertise.
A proper Twitch begins his scheming and sneaking before the game even begins. So let's take a look at how to best prepare.
I used to utilize a defensive rune page, which focused on early-game survivability. It was as follows:
Quints - Flat HP
Marks - Flat HP
Seals - Flat Armor
Glyphs - Flat MR
The above setup, with the Doran's Shield you will purchase at the start of every game, offers a whopping 683 HP at level 1 - a fair amount for anyone, and an especially large amount for one of the squishiest characters in the game. The armor and magic resistance are there to provide early game staying power, as well - in my mind, the key to a strong endgame is an even stronger early game. With the beefiness these runes add, you'll be able to harass your lane opponent very early - I usually get first blood at level 3 or 4, and sometimes as early as level 1 if my opponent is especially foolish.
Recently, though, I made a switch to the following setup and it works pretty well. It gives you a bit more offensive kick, especially in the early game.
Quints - Flat Armor Pen.
Marks - Flat Armor Pen.
Seals - Flat Armor
Glyphs - Flat MR
These runes will reduce your opponent's armor remarkably low at early levels. After all, the more time they spend dead, the more time they aren't getting experience and aren't pushing the lane (consqeuently, more time you're free to wreak havoc by ganking all over the map).
I use the following to maximize damage output:
21 Offense / 0 Defense / 9 Utility
1/3 Archmage's Savvy (useless, but required to get to the next tier.)
(Alternately, 1/1 Cripple if you choose exhaust as a summoner spell)
2/2 Offensive Mastery
3/3 Brute Force
1/3 Good Hands
(alternately, 1/1 Haste if for some reason you take Ghost as a summoner spell)
1/2 Utility Mastery OR 1/1 Greed (The last point is really up to personal preference)
As a Twitch player, I will ALWAYS swear by Flash and Cleanse. Flash is taken because, well, it's Flash. The perfect multipurpose spell - great for chasing, ambushing, escaping... really, you can use it in any way. The only limit is your imaaaaaaginaaaaaation!
Cleanse may seem a little odd. Every game, though, it proves its worth to me again and again. It's your tried-and-true escape mechanism, as well as your tool to success in teamfights. Blinded by an Exhaust or Teemo? Cleanse. Stunned? Cleanse it. Got a pesky Ignite on you? Cleanse that too!
AND IF YOU CALL NOW WE'LL GIVE YOU DOUBLE OFFER!
No, seriously, though. Cleanse is still my favorite as a second summoner spell. Here's an example situation - let's say you're facing an Ashe in mid. She's a pretty common choice to solo mid, so you'll learn to love dealing with her. Picture this: You're minding your own business, maybe farming a creep wave or two, when... BAM! Ashe blows her Enchanted Crystal Arrow load all over your ratty little face. Her teammates pour out of the bushes in droves, and they all want your blood. You're stunned. Literally. You can't mov - oh wait, you took Cleanse? You cleanse it, stealth immediately, and trot off while everyone furiously swipes at the air where you just were.
The Game (which you just lost, by the way)
Here's the current item build I run.
1. Doran's Shield + Health Potion
This is your starting item. Bread and butter. Health, armor, and HP/5 - all things that will help you stay in the lane and get dat exp. Mmmyeah.
2. Boots of Speed + Pickaxe or Long Sword or Faerie Charm and Rejuvenation Bead
On your next trip back to the fountain, you've got a choice to make. First, you'll want to pick up your basic boots. Next, your decision depends on how your game is going. If you're got a kill or two under your belt, you probably have enough money to buy a pickaxe. You're going to be building Tiamat, so buy that component first if you can. If you've been a little less fortunate, buy a Long Sword to up your damage a bit. If you're really getting stomped, you can buy a Faerie Charm and a Rejuvenation Bead to give you that extra bit of health and mana regen. Maybe it'll help you. Maybe it won't. But anything you buy will be another step towards Tiamat.
3. Tier 2 Boots + Tiamat
When you return again, you'll want to buy some manner of upgraded boots. If the other team is CC heavy, you'll want Merc's Treads - valuable for both the CC reduction and the magic resistance. Otherwise, you might want to look at Boots of Mobility or Swiftness. The former makes a decent Teleport substitute, while the latter gives you more mobility in combat. It's up to you, really. Also, if the entire opposing team deals physical damage, you could try Ninja Tabi. It's a flexible sort of thing. Also, you'll want to be finished with Tiamat by now.
Note: Tiamat as the first "major" item has come under fire, so I'll add some justification. The reason I rush Tiamat as opposed to a (cheaper) B.F. Sword is because it adds a lot more utility to Twitch both in farming and teamfights. The way Tiamat interacts with Spray and Pray, those piercing missiles of yours will be splashing onto everyone. Say you have two targets in line - they both get hit with the missile, and the splash from the first will hit the second, and the splash from the second will hit the first. Also, with Tiamat, you have a makeshift AoE. Twitch suffers from poor farmability due to not having one. Not only will this let you farm more easily, but later in the game if a creep wave sneaks up to one of your towers, you can jet over there and rice the entire thing down in seconds without having to waste your ult.
4. Infinity Edge/Black Cleaver
Ah, yes, the wonderful Infinity Edge. This item is indispensable on Twitch - who doesn't want increased crit damage? Black Cleaver is a great alternate choice, especially if you took armor pen runes. You'll be able to negate 89 armor if you can get all 6 stacks on an opponent.
That's about where I stop with the routine build. The next items I get depend on the makeup of the other team. If they're stacking armor, Last Whisper is fantastic (it's great even if they aren't stacking armor). They have an enemy Jax who's destroying us? Sword of the Divine it is.
Analyze what the other team is doing, and buy items that counter their strengths. Lifesteal will help you a little. The most I'd recommend getting is a Malady, or a Bloodthirster if it's not too late in the game.
The reason I don't stack attack speed in my item build is because Twitch already gets an obscene amount from his abilities. Anything additional is overkill. True, some attack speed early on is beneficial (which is a good reason to pick up Last Whisper earlier in the game), but if you get too much you'll find yourself capping before you've maxed your abilities.
Also, I'm not a big fan of crit chance. I prefer to just stack flat damage for a couple of reasons.
1. While it's true that crit chance will probably increase your DPS (I'm not sure about the math behind it), crit chance doesn't mean a thing against towers. Since you're going to try to help push every tower on the map, you're going to want to be able to actually deal damage to them, right? And besides - crit chance is wasted without damage to back it up.
2. A reliable damage output means that you'll be able to predict just how quickly your opponents will go down. In this case, the crits are just gravy.
Alternate Item Build:
With the relatively recent changes to Sword of the Occult, we now have an item that gives us more than two B.F. Swords worth of damage for a little more than the price of one.
That being said, here's how I build most of my games:
Doran's Shield + HP Pot
First trip back, get Boots of Speed, a Long Sword, and an Elixir of Fortitude.
Merc's Treads, Sword of the Occult
(other luxury items)
Edit: I'm going to add more justification to this section, but I'm headed out to a mother's day dinner. Go moms.
1. Ambush-------------10. Ambush
2. Expunge------------11. Spray and Pray
3. Expunge------------12. Debilitating Poison
4. Ambush-------------13. Debilitating Poison
5. Expunge------------14. Ambush
6. Spray and Pray-----15. Debilitating Poison
7. Debilitating Poison-16. Spray and Pray
8. Expunge------------17. Ambush
9. Expunge------------18. Debilitating Poison
Okay. You take Ambush first. Stealth is great at level 1. It's what Twitch is known and loved for. Anyone who tells you to take anything else is playing the game wrong. What's the point of playing a stealth character if they can't stealth?
Next, you're going to start maxing Expunge. Even a few ranks in it makes it a brutal finishing move early on. Remember, you don't need to DPS your opponent down to zero. You just need to get them down to 150-600 or so. Then you can burst them dead with Expunge. Later game, you're going to use it mostly for stealing last hits on enemy champions. If anyone argues with you, claim that you're the carry and you need it the most. Alternatively, pretend not to speak english.
Take ranks in your ult as soon as they become available. The signature sound of Spray and Pray (pfffff! pffff! pyowwwww! pfff!) is enough to do one of three things: 1. Send an entire team running for the hills. 2. Kill an entire team. 3. Make them all start attacking you, immediately. Hopefully it's the first two, and with proper positioning, the third option will be all but impossible.
Debilitating Poison isn't taken until 7 because you really don't need it before then. (If you're in a side lane, though, and could get more collaborative use out of a slow, then by all means take the slow. A good time is level 4, when you can't keep putting points in expunge.) Its main purposes are to slow a solitary target so you can chase them down and finish them off and to be comboed with Spray and Pray to slow an entire team. Level it after 13 as you see fit - if you'll get more use out of a slow, do that, otherwise, take Ambush instead.
Strategy in next post! I had to split this up because it was so long.
(One quick pre-game note - at the loading screen, MAKE NOTE OF EVERYONE'S SUMMONER SPELLS! You especially want to watch out for people who have Exhaust, as they will wreck you every single time Cleanse is on cooldown. Keep in mind players with Heal will try to bait you into attacking them and then summoner healing at the last second to turn the tables, and an opponent with Teleport can materialize to pester you at any moment. Ignite isn't too much to worry about, since in the current patch it can actually be Cleansed.)
Even if you follow the advice I've put out in the previous sections, if you don't play your character well you won't be able to do a thing. As I mentioned earlier, this guide is written for people soloing mid. Adjustments will be necessary if you're laning.
When you get to around your tower, you're going to want to stealth and saunter up to get a look at your lane opponent. Odds are it's another common solo like Ashe or Tristana. In higher tier play you may see a Twisted Fate or four.
If you're up against Sivir, be prepared to play a much more defensive game. As soon as you leave your lane to gank, expect to have your mid tower pushed down immediately. So, don't leave the lane unless you can kill her or have a fortify waiting. Ultimately, towers are what matter, not player kills (although you never hear people boasting about how many towers they've taken down).
In any case, wait for the first creep wave. You should NOT be seen. I'll repeat this. You do not want to be seen by your lane opponent until you drop stealth and start attacking them. Seriously. Your stealth won't last long at level 1, so after you get a look at them go hide in either bush on the side of the lane.
So the minions are doing their thing, mindlessly attacking one another. You're still nowhere to be found (as far as they know). If they haven't yet guessed something is up, stealth and sneak to the side of them or behind them. Wait for them to push forward a decent distance, then drop stealth and peg them a few times, just to show them who's boss in this lane. Most opponents will panic and run, which is great. However, you get the odd duck every now and then that keeps attacking you. This is even better for you. Odds are they have a trump card up their sleeve that they think you don't know about - say, an Exhaust. But, your Cleanse will triumph over Exhaust every single time. All day, every day. Anyway, they might keep attacking you in some foolish bravado. Thanks to your runes and choice of starting item, you either have more health than them or more DPS than them. Either way, you should come out on top. If at the last second you realize "Oh, no! I'm going to die!" immediately Cleanse if you have any DOTs on you, Flash away (preferrably over a wall), and go into stealth. Then you can reassess the situation and lick your wounds as you please.
If you handle things properly, you can get first blood (or at least a kill) - and thus an opportunity to push mid unopposed. Always keep an eye on the minimap for MIAs - if you see someone missing, it's not a bad idea to assume they're moving to an advantageous position to kill or gank you. Twitch tends to be a high priority target, in or out of a teamfight.
Also, a good Twitch should constantly be flicking through the enemies' inventories. Keep an eye out for purchased Vision Wards and Oracle's Elixirs - if you unwittingly bumble into an area where your stealth is useless, expect to get stunned, slowed, and generally abused like a red-headed stepchild.
Killing your lane opponent becomes exponentially easier as soon as you hit level 3 or 4. As I said earlier, a few ranks in Expunge makes it a brutal finishing move, especially at low levels. Ideally, and especially if your lane opponent isn't a strong pusher, you should aim to knock down the opposing tower as soon as possible. This will free you up to go gank in other lanes while the enemy team curses and rages over losing the first tower. Spray and Pray is great for pushing towers - unfortunately, you can't backdoor quite like you used to since its range nerf - but it provides a good attack speed boost to knock things down quickly.
If you're being outleveled or are just looking for that extra oomph, don't hesitate to invest in an Elixir of Fortitude or Agility. I find both to be extremely helpful in early/mid game (a little less so as the game goes on), and even one kill will make you break even. Be sure not to pop it until you're about to start attacking, though. Waiting to respawn while you have an elixir burning is an agonizing feeling. Obviously, Agility is more useful if you already have a decent amount of attack damage, but Fortitude is a more common choice both for the health and damage boost.
Once you hit level 6 and get your first rank in Spray and Pray, your goals change a little. They are as follows (and are admittedly quite lofty):
1. Help push every single tower on the map. Be very careful when doing this by yourself, especially when the supply of minions to eat turret fire is running low. Any competent player with a hard disable is going to wait until you're about to run out of minions, then stun you so YOU start taking turret shots instead. Ashe loves to do this with the previously mentioned Enchanted Crystal Arrow, so don't give her the chance!
Also, something of note. This may not be an issue any more, since Spray and Pray can't outrange a tower, but I think it's worth mentioning nonetheless - as soon as Spray and Pray expires, your character will move forward to continue autoattacking your target. If you aren't careful, this will bring you into turret range, enemy auto-attack range, or enemy CC range. Regardless, those are all things that will hurt you, and thus want to avoid.
2. Become an invaluable resource in teamfights. (I know, much easier said than done.) But a well structured team will have an initiator to make these fights happen - Twitch makes a really bad initiator due to his tendency to get focused first as-is and his extreme squishiness. Avoid dying by waiting until your enemies have all committed to your teammates as targets, then opening up with Spray and Pray out of stealth. The best time to strike is after your enemies have exhausted (all puns aside) most, if not all of their CC and (if you're lucky!) damage-dealing abilities. You should be stealthed and nearby the whole time, close enough to jump in and swing the fight in your teams favor at any time, but far enough away to avoid AoE from the opposing team (worst-case scenario, far enough away to turn tail and run if the fight really turns sour).
As the game goes on, the focus shifts from laning to ganking to team-based tower pushes, and it's in these upcoming teamfights that you'll have your true chance to shine. Arguably more than anything else, what separates Twitch players by skill are their senses of timing and positioning. Being in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time will usually ensure nothing more than your getting absolutely wrecked in a teamfight. Conversely, if you're well-positioned and strike at the most opportune moment, you can be nigh unstoppable.
Here are a couple of handy diagrams to help out with your positioning. (I'm pretty sure I've seen similar diagrams somewhere before. I don't want to plagarise, so if someone links me to the original post with them I will gladly credit the proper author.)
(all diagrams not to scale)
In the first diagram, you're way, WAY too close to the action. At that range, you're susceptible to all sorts of hurt: CC, spells, Flash + melee from enemy heroes, Blitz's Rocket Grab... just don't. Don't be there.
In the second diagram, though, any of the three marked positions is a better idea. In the middle position, you're behind your team. Feel free to use them as meat shields. That's what they're there for. It's not quite as desirable as the side positions, though. From directly behind your allies, your Spray and Pray bolts will be going straight at your enemies. All they have to do is run side to side to dodge them (Case in point: I was finishing up a game with some friends a while back. We were steamlolling through their base, so I decide to blow my Spray and Pray on a group fresh from their spawning pool. Two of them ran, but the third, and enemy Taric, literally ran in circles around me until my Spray and Pray expired. I raged).
The side positions are nice. They let you approach your opponents from an odd, unexpected angle, and it cuts off an escape route of your opponents. Instead, you gain that escape route. Also, your Spray and Pray has the potential effect of splitting the enemy team into two groups as they run either way to dodge your stinky missiles of death.
In any case, once a teamfight breaks out, you need to size up the situation and answer several questions as quickly as possible. I formulated these few points as a quick-and-easy way to determine whether or not you should get involved. For a Twitch, there is absolutely no shame in just leaving. Sometimes, you can be of much more use to the team by popping your Spray and Pray at a tower to hold off a push instead of blowing it while you lose a teamfight.
1. What are my team's chances of winning?
2. Will my presence and attacks help the team win?
3. Am I properly positioned?
4. Does the enemy team have an escape route?
5. How likely is it that I will die in the course of this fight?
These questions are put roughly in order of importance. If you can answer all five and still retain a positive outlook, then what are you waiting for? Jump in! If you can greatly aid your team by killing more than one opponent or knocking down a tower, it's usually worth it to throw caution to the winds and start shooting. (Note: this becomes much more perilous in the end game, as one failed teamfight can mean the end of the game. Always examine what you have at stake in the fight before jumping in!)
Ultimately, the goal of a well-played Twitch (or any stealther, really) is to create a presence without actually being there. If your opponents cannot see where you are on the minimap, which should be as often as possible, you want them to force them to rethink every move they make. After all, as far as they know, you could be squatting right in the middle of them, waiting for your chance to strike (Note: Don't actually drop stealth and start shooting from the middle of the enemy team. You will die. Immediately).
By creating this psychology of fear around your presence (or lack thereof), you can torment the other team into hesitating whenever your appearance in a teamfight is even the slightest bit questionable. Scare them into refusing to commit until they know where you are, and then force them to commit anyway with your team's initiator. Twitch's effect in a game is as much physical as it is psychological - by slinking around in the shadows and attacking only in advantageous situations, your opponents will soon make the connection between your presence and a gruesome, untimely death.
That's all, and thanks for reading. It was a real chore, I'm sure. Constructive criticism and feedback are always appreciated!
I personally find that rushing IE doesn't give Twitch as much oomph as BF sword + some attack speed.
That said, I tend to start with a Vamp Scepter. Twitch gets shut down enough at higher ELO games that the "lost" money spent on a starter item that isn't going to upgrade can cost you a lot. And without fail, upgrading to Bloodthirster, Malady, or Executioner's Calling will be a useful choice every game.
I'm not a fan of Tiamat at all either, but it's a valid build
So if you build tiamat first, that's even less reason to rush IE, as you have +damage. And even if you unstealth and pop SnP, you don't cap your attack speed at level 18 alone.
If you build Tiamat, I'd recommend picking up Last Whisper before any further +damage.
For those who don't like Tiamat, Phantom Dancer is solid with the Infinity Edge.
On Twitch, I get Boots of Mobility almost every time. Paired with a PD and 3 movespeed quints you get moving quite quick between ganks, which leaves the enemy even less able to predict where you will strike from.
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