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So, lately, I've been playing Ahri as a sustained DPS mage, rather than a pure burst assassin. I have yet to reach 30 on the Chinese servers, so I'm not really facing particularly skilled competition, so I'd like to ask the opinions of more experienced Ahri players. Thoughts, comments, critiques?
I typically start 2x Faerie Charm 3x HP potion, then Chalice/boots. I then build Haunting Guise and Athene's, with order depending on if I can get blue or not. Next I usually finish Liandry's, but if I'm getting dived I'll grab a Giant's Belt first. Either way my core items are Athenes, boots, Liandry's, Rylai's. Usually the game's decided one way or the other by this point, but if not I'll build a WotA, Deathcap, or Void Staff as the situation requires.
Masteries are standard offensive AP masteries, runes AP Quints, MPen marks (though I might switch to hybrid penetration marks once I have some spare IP), armor yellows, MR blues. I max Q first, then E for better roaming/ganks/utility. R as available, of course. W is mostly just for applying Liandry's and Rylais, so I max it last.
I find there's very few lanes that actually beat me if I don't make stupid mistakes. I can usually out-harass and out-trade my opponents with Q and E, and between flash and R I'm extremely difficult to gank. In teamfights I basically just stay around the edges tossing abilities as they come off cooldown, and saving R for escape or cleanup.
Any comments, critiques, tips for me? Note that the Chinese servers do not have unranked draft pick, just blind pick and ranked, so a lot of the usual pick/ban/counterpick strategy doesn't apply yet. That said, are there any lane matchups or team compositions that I should try to avoid?
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Ahri isn't a burst mage, she's an AOE Damage mage with heavy mobility.
Ahri is my main mid, I'll explain what I do with her.
Generally I'll take teleport with Ahri, because her range is so long, you rarely can get close enough to get an ignite off to get that first kill. Taking teleport with her passive allows me to start with a Doran's ring, which gives you a health advantage and gives you the ability to gain back mana much quicker than your counterpart.
Pushing out your lane mate is a great way to win mid lane. Even if they get in enough harras to make you go back, you can go back and gets pots/another dorans or boots if they have skillshots. Either way, you can bully out your opponent if they do not go the Doran's route, because you will do more damage and have quite a bit more health.
After 2 Doran's(3 if I'm losing terribly, never ever get more than 3 though.) I will usually build a Rylai's scepter. Your W is a single target spell and can severely slow everyone chasing you, meaning you can kite every melee character that chases you down.
After Rylai's its really situational. If you're getting bursted down, go for more defense such as a Zonhuya's Hourglass for AD heavy teams and Athena's unholy grail for AP Heavy teams. If its well balanced, Liandries may be your best bet given it gives you a little health as well. Just position yourself better.
Usually I'll grab a Deathcap BEFORE I get a Void staff because her Q is true damage and having all of that AP really helps with that scaling, also it helps tremendously with farming since your Q can clear waves by itself. Honestly, in most games since I have played her so much, I am great with her positioning and I buy a Rylai's Scepter for the slowing effect, then straight Deathcap -> Some form of CDR/Mana Regen(Morello, Athena, etc) - >Void staff -> Situational.
Last item(s) are always based on teams. Also, if I see people getting away or getting on my ass pretty fast I may upgrade boots early to Furor, because when your E and W hit, you get the 12% Movement speed boots, and since your W has no turn around case animation, this is just a straight 12% increase in speed while slowing your chasers.
I ALWAYS level Q First, as this is great for farming and does the most damage to your enemies. Its a skillshot, but if you can't land it then you don't need to be playing Ahri . Then I level W, you need the damage output because the per level scaling of W is absurd. I know a 2s charm sounds freakin' amazing, and it is... but without damage its useless. Please level it last.
As far as Runes go... here's what I use.
Flat MR Blues
Flat MR Yellows (Total 19 MR)
Magic Pen Reds
AP Quints/Magic Pen Quints ( I'm still testing these out.)
With her passive heal, and that extra 23 MR from Runes/Masteries, You really make great use of that MR and starting with a Doran's Ring. I'm going to round, but 25 MR is a 20% Damage reduction, and Ahri with a Doran's Ring has about 550HP. Which means they have to do 160 more damage to kill you, just from full.
Now lets add in her passive Spellvamp on a Cannon wave, which has 7 minions. AT LEVEL 1 it does 40 damage in and out, which is 80 total. 80x7 = 560 x .35 for the spellvamp = 196.
So every 3 waves you gain back nearly 200, Which means you gain 40 more life from the MR Runes in the never ending harras battle that is mid lane. And since you level Q First, you will get more life than that.
None of this counts into the fact that ahri has 5.5 health regen per 5, which means she's gaining about 1hp per second, so every minute you also get back 12 health from the MR as well.
It may seem like a little bit, but if you add it up you're almost taking double what your life is in damage over time because of the MR Runes/Masteries.
You aren't level 30 yet, but if you keep playing Ahri you will dominate as you get higher. She's a very mobile champion who excels in team fights and kiting enemies. Her 1v1 abilities are more about playing it smart and winning a poke war. Damage vs damage Ahri does not win a lot of battles. Though, she can play the poke battle very effectively.