A Guide to Countering Champions

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YoungBlade

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Senior Member

08-16-2011

I've noticed many threads revolving around the idea of a certain champion being overpowered or impossible to counter. Every champion has a counter, not just through another champion, but with items found in the shop. I've decided to create a guide, showing how to build against certain types of champions.

Let me know what you guys think I need to change/add.

TL;DR - This is a guide, read the parts relevant to you...

What this guide is:
*A guide letting you know how to use items to counter various classes of champion.
*A guide designed to help those who struggle when playing against certain champions.

What this guide is not:
*A guide telling you how to build when using these types of champions.
*A guide telling you how to pick counters in Ranked matches.
*A magic spell that instantly makes you good at League of Legends.

Advantages of this guide:
*This guide lets you counter champions in-game, making it useful when you don't know who you will face in a Normal game.
*Because descriptions of the classes are provided, you can determine what class a champion is when new champions come out, and if the champion you are looking for is not listed.

Limitations of this guide:
*This guide doesn't tell you what items have synergy with every champion. For example: if your champion doesn't use mana, building a Banshee's Veil may not be the best choice. (Although it usually is still beneficial.)
*This guide only covers the most common builds. Some champions may fit into multiple classes or may have multiple ways of being built. If so, this guide may not work for them in that particular match.
*Not every champion is listed.
*I did not include tanks in this guide, because they typically shouldn't be focused and I rarely see threads about them. If you want me to include tanks, let me know.
*I also did not include supports, because they are getting a large overhaul next patch and fighting against them will change soon.


Burst Casters: Annie, Brand, Fiddlesticks, Le Blanc, Ryze, and Veigar

Description: These champions deal massive amounts of damage at once thanks to high-damage/high-ratio abilities, typically after using CC to hold you in place, but after that, must wait for their cooldowns to end before they can continue to fight effectively.

Defensive Counter: Building magic resistance, especially a Banshee's Veil, will help you to survive their damage. If you are a melee champion and still having issues, consider purchasing a cheap Hexdrinker to increase your survivability even further against their burst. If you are a caster, buying an Abyssal Scepter can also be effective at countering these types of mages. After these purchases, their burst should be less effective and you will be free to kill them yourself afterwards as they typically have low health and won't have damage until their cooldowns finish.

Offensive Counter: As these casters typically forgo tankier items in favor of flat AP builds, they generally have low health, armor, and magic resistance. In this case, it is a simple matter of focusing on killing these champions once their burst ends. Building high damage items like Rabadon's Deathcap and Infinity Edge should make quick work of them. If they do decide to go with a tankier build, getting flat armor/magic pen items like Youmuu's Ghostblade or Haunting Guise should let you deal more damage.

Melee Physical Casters: Gangplank, Garen, Nasus, Nocturn, Poppy, and Udyr

Description: These are powerful melee champions, but they all rely on abilities as well to do the most damage.

Defensive Counter: If you build a Thornmail they should find doing damage to you is not only more difficult, but also can be detrimental because of Thornmail's passive. A Banshee's Veil's can also help, because while magic resistance may not do much against them, they often rely on a single-shot ability to deal heavy damage. Blocking that one shot can keep you alive. If they are still causing you trouble, getting a Randuin's Omen is a good choice because they are melee carries. Its active will slow all nearby enemies and, if they attack you, there's a 20% chance they will get slowed passively as well.

Offensive Counter: These champions often build tankier and have defensive abilities, like shields, that can make damaging them seem difficult. If they build high health, an item like Madred's Bloodrazor or Deathfire Grasp (depending on if you are melee or a caster) can allow you to deal significant damage to them no matter how much health they stack. If they build armor and magic resistance, then items like Last Whisper and Void Staff can help you to cut through their defenses.

Tanky Casters: Katarina, Morekaiser, Rumble, and Vladimir

Description: These are casters which typically have melee auto-attacks and either have large health pools or typically build health items.

Defensive counter: Magic resistance will help, as with the burst casters, but because they have damage over time abilities, and don't rely on initial stuns to force damage on you, a Force of Nature may be more beneficial than a Banshee's Veil as the healing and movement speed boost can help you to stay alive and get away from them if you know you can't win.

Offensive counter: Consider buying a Madred's Bloodrazor or Deathfire Grasp to deal large amounts of damage to them despite their having health items like Rylai's. These champions also typically buy a spell vamp item like Hextech Revolver, which can be countered with healing reduction from an Executioner's Calling, or from Ignite. On melee champions that benefit from attack speed, getting a Wit's End can let you deal hybrid damage, and help to give you more magic resistance when fighting against them. On AP/AS champions, getting a Malady to shred away their magic resistance can help you to bring them down.

Ranged AD Carries: Ashe, Caitlyn, Corki, Miss Fortune, Tristiana, and Vayne

Description: These are ranged champions that deal high physical damage. They are typically played mid and thus are likely going to outlevel other players until late game.

Defensive Counter: A Thormail is one of the most effective ways to counter these champions. Additionally, getting a Banshee's Veil can help, as they all have at least one ability that deals magic damage, and Banshee's Veil will even stop physical abilities.

Offensive Counter: These champions are typically more squishy then their melee tanky-DPS counterparts, so any damage-dealing item should help you. However, because of their range, they can stay out of the fight and let their tankier allies protect them. Still, because they are a high source of damage for your opponent, they should be the focus of your teamfights. Try to either outflank the enemy to fight them directly, or use champion abilities/summoner spells to get past their front line. After a few seconds of focus, they should be dead.

Melee Bruisers: Jarvan IV, Master Yi (AD build), Pantheon, Tryndamere, and Xin Zhao

Description: Champions of this class typically build heavy damage and some tank items as well. What sets them apart from other melee tanky-DPS characters is that they typically deal massive damage in very short amounts of time, using their abilities mainly to catch up to, or CC you, so they can keep doing more damage.

Defensive Counter: Thornmail will also be very effective here but remember to also build magic resistance if they counter with a Madred's Bloodrazor or if you find that their magic abilities are still doing too much damage. A good MR item here would be a Quicksilver Sash to properly counter their CC, or an Abyssal Scepter if you are a caster. Randuin's Omen can also help to get them off of you in a chase. Also make sure to stick together as a team unless you know this champion is on the other side of the map. These champions thrive in 1v1 situations and, even with a proper defensive build, can often either CC you or deal damage too rapidly for you to respond.

Offensive Counter: Armor and/or magic penetration items like Last Whisper and Void Staff, along with heavy damage items like Infinity Edge and Rabadon's Deathcap should help you start dealing the damage necessary to bring these carries down. However, items can only go so far in these situations. Teamwork is essential in taking down bruisers properly, especially if they have been fed too many kills. They do well 1v1, but often fail in team fights because they lack heavy AoE damage. It is typically a bad idea to engage them directly unless they are already low on health. Try to focus them down together when a teamfight occurs and you should make quick work of them.


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solarsonic666

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Junior Member

08-17-2011

Building mag resist against bursters only goes so far, soon as they build voidstaff or something similar they could care less about your resist. That's my opinion anyway.


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YoungBlade

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08-17-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by solarsonic666 View Post
Building mag resist against bursters only goes so far, soon as they build voidstaff or something similar they could care less about your resist. That's my opinion anyway.
This is why a Hexdrinker and Banshee's Veil are recommended over flat MR items like Quicksilver Sash and Force of Nature. Both passively give you a shield that can stop magic damage and, therefore, a portion of their burst, in addition to giving you magic resistance. (Abyssal Scepter is recommended for casters because it also gives AP and reduces the magic resistance of nearby enemies, including their burst nukers, making them easier to take down if/when you do survive)

Learning how to play against specific burst champions is also important. For example, Veigar and Annie rely heavily on their stuns to deal the most burst damage. For this reason, getting Tenacity and/or a Qucksilver Sash can be life saving.


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Xythera

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08-17-2011

You should really have in big caps...

QUICKSILVER SASH this item is so underrated.. what does it cost, 1400 gold? It removes ALL debuffs, it's better than cleanse. It will remove Mordekaiser's ult, Malzahar's / Warwick's / Urgot's suppression (although you still take the damage.) Stuns, snares, slows, even ignite.. it's one of the most underrated items in the game

It's even possible to use this item offensively, like when they are slowing you, preventing you from getting to them. Of course, against more AD-centric teams it's not as effective, but still great to get out of CC.

Another thing worth mentioning is if you are being heavily denied creep farm, buy gold / 10 items. They all cost around 750 gold and will pay for themselves after 20 minutes. Philosopher Stone is quickly becoming one of my favorite early game items. By the time you get to the heart of the game it's generated enough gold to pay for itself and continue to generate gold for you.


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YoungBlade

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08-17-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xythera View Post
You should really have in big caps...

QUICKSILVER SASH this item is so underrated.. what does it cost, 1400 gold? It removes ALL debuffs, it's better than cleanse. It will remove Mordekaiser's ult, Malzahar's / Warwick's / Urgot's suppression (although you still take the damage.) Stuns, snares, slows, even ignite.. it's one of the most underrated items in the game

It's even possible to use this item offensively, like when they are slowing you, preventing you from getting to them. Of course, against more AD-centric teams it's not as effective, but still great to get out of CC.

Another thing worth mentioning is if you are being heavily denied creep farm, buy gold / 10 items. They all cost around 750 gold and will pay for themselves after 20 minutes. Philosopher Stone is quickly becoming one of my favorite early game items. By the time you get to the heart of the game it's generated enough gold to pay for itself and continue to generate gold for you.
Quicksilver Sash is underrated, but it is harder to use than Banshee's Veil, and the cooldown on Banshee's Veil's passive is lower. QQS's main benefit over Banshee's Veil is that you can control what CC/debuff you want to stop. If the enemy is smart, they can pop your Banshee's Veil with something less harmful so they can start going after you again. I remember once I played as Shen and used my Vorpal Blade to pop an enemy's Banshee so I could taunt them and my team picked up the kill.

Let's say you get hit with Shaco's Shiv, Banshee's Veil will pop and you won't be slowed or damaged at all, great. Then Malzahar Ults you... If you had a QQS and knew that Malzahar was on the way, you might forgo stopping the slow and save the active for Malz's ult.

Countering zoning with gold per 10 is also good, but it can actually be more beneficial to counter the zoning by either buying more defense items to counter their attacks, more offensive items to poke back with, or by requesting a gank. It depends on the champion and build.

If you get a Kage's Pick, knowing that you'll upgrade it to a Deathfire Grasp, then that's a great way to counter the zoning. If you get a Philosopher's Stone with the purpose of also using the additional Hp5 to counter their pokes, wonderful. If you get an Avarice Blade strictly for the gold per 10, you're wasting your time. The item may pay for itself in 20 minutes, but it only sells back for half gold so, in reality, you've only earned 10 minutes worth of gold from it in 20 minutes. Only by upgrading or keeping the item do you actually earn the full gold potential.


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Alex Chen

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08-17-2011

I know I'm being a ***** for critiquing one aspect of your post and not reading the whole thing but...

Banshee's Veil is an excellent item even on champions that don't use mana. I get it all the time on Katarina because the unique passive is invaluable.


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YoungBlade

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08-17-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxCactuar View Post
I know I'm being a ***** for critiquing one aspect of your post and not reading the whole thing but...

Banshee's Veil is an excellent item even on champions that don't use mana. I get it all the time on Katarina because the unique passive is invaluable.
You're fine. It's a valid point.

I've built Banshee's Veil on Shen before and Katarina is a fine champion to build it on. I was simply pointing out an example of how the guide may not apply to all champions. Another good example would be building a Hexdrinker on Warwick. Warwick doesn't benefit from AD that much, and so a Hexdrinker, while a good defensive item against burst casters, might not be as good as, say, a Wit's End, which provides even more MR and also works well with his build.

Banshee's Veil is quite possibly the best item in League. Period. However, some champions, like Mordekaiser, Dr. Mundo, and Garen can actually benefit more from a Force of Nature due to its passive complementing their play style better. Tryndamere typically benefits more from a Quicksilver Sash because it allows him to control when he wants to remove CC during his ultimate. This can be better than Banshee's Veil, which will likely get popped right at the start of a fight.