Countering a champion by changing your playstyle

Summoners Rift is the place where champions in League of Legends meet to challenge each other. Even as a beginner you will go head-to-head with online opponents that may have much more experience than you. It is still perfectly possible to play versus a much better player and not do a bad job. But the main ingredient of doing so is that you have to know what you’re up against. The trick to getting ahead in League of Legends lies in learning your champion. But the trick in not getting behind lies in you knowing the other champion. Not all champions telegraph their strengths as much as others do. When you see an Udyr or Darius running towards you it learns you to get the hell away. They’re the melee hulks of LoL and you can see that, even as a new player. When you see Jinx or Ashe you will know that you have to gang up on them and take them down fast. But what about assassins who blink and dart around the battlefield taking out priority targets?

We take Ahri as an example. Ahri is one of these assassin characters you would learn to hate pretty fast. She is nicknamed the ‘Nine Tailed Fox’ and highly connected to the magical world, with spells that can stop enemies on their track, dupe them or finish them off in one blow. Ahri has a lot of magic tricks up her sleeve that help her get out of harms way or or assassinate highly valued targets in the blink of an eye. As a new player it’s not weird to be thrown off by her tricks. How does she keep healing, where did that insane amount of damage come from and why can she jump three times?

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An example: How to counter Ahri?

Imagine you’ve chosen your champion and you get matched up versus Ahri. Last Ahri REKT you, so now you want to do better – but how? We go through her spells and find ways for you to learn from the abilities on the fly. Note that the methodology is more important than the example here.

Ahri has five magical abilities to corner and eradicate her enemies. Her passive, Essence theft, you wouldn’t know about that other than looking at the buffs on her hero portrait. So this is a good thing to do early on. It shows you that Essence theft increases her power whenever her spell hits the enemy. The more charges she gains the faster she starts healing from the next spells she hits enemies with. This means that Ahri can’t heal for big spikes and negate burst damage but she sure can sustain her health pool over a long time. You should react on this by not playing an attrition war against her.

Her next spell is Fox-fire; she releases three orbs that surround her and destroy enemies lurking close. Even if they come from behind or the sides. These orbs are temporary and automatically blast the closest enemy, prioritizing enemy champions over minions. Playing against this isn’t hard. Just stay away from her. And make sure that minions can soak the blunt of the damage by positioning these closeby and get yourself out of range just at the right time.

Then there’s Charm, a powerfull spell which causes her enemy to walk towards her harmlessly. In addition it amplifies the damage dealt by Ahri while it lasts. So during charm she delivers her deadly blow. Charm travels slow thus is telegraphed. It can’t move through minions. Use these as a barrier. Same as with Fox-Fire. Like most strong crowd control spells Charm has a hefty cooldown so if she misses this opens a window. See a pattern here?

Her bread and butter spell is the Orb of Deception. A blue orb that Ahri throws out and then it boomerangs back to her. The orb causes damage while hitting the enemy and even more damage when the orb travels back to her. Again, it’s not the fastest spell and moving around incomprehensibly makes you a hard target for Orb of Deception and Charm.

Her ultimate, Spirit Rush, gives her three charges for a short forward dash that she can execute multiple times in a short time window. Keep track of the amount of dashes that she used so you can’t surprise you by quickly repositioning The dash also shoots Fox-Fire-like projectiles to nearby enemies. Again, minions and distance are your friend. It also means that locking down Ahri with crowd control is mandatory if you want to kill her. She will get away if she has three charges. Tell your Jungler whether the ultimate is used up or not.

As you can see there’s a clear pattern in how to play versus Ahri. She needs Charm and the return damage of Orb of Deception to get her maximum amount of damage. You stay out and try to dodge these. Doing so opens a window for you to lock her down and strike back. If she uses her ultimate this means you only have to do it once again before her ultimate is up again. This pattern differs greatly from how you would play against Lux or Ryze for example.
I hope this way of thinking helps you in learning to develop strategies against the more exotic champions around there. How do you play against champions that you don’t own?

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