Hard Main: Annie Bot, Challenger Annie Main

#HARD MAIN http://i.imgur.com/NGjzLza.png Annie Bot (NA) is a Challenger level player who has been playing {{champion:1}} Annie in every lane for three years. He hit Challenger in Season 4 and has remained there (and sometimes in Master Tier) ever since. He’s here to share the story of his climb, his playstyle, and his tips for winning as and against Annie. In addition to playing the Dark Child, he also [streams](http://www.twitch.tv/anniebot) and writes top-rated [guides](http://www.lolking.net/guides/188692). He also has a Youtube channel, which you can check out and subscribe to [here](https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnieBotNA). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsAX8BU_7Rw ***** _**Let’s start with some questions about you, and why you chose Annie. Why did you start playing her in the first place?**_ When I first started playing League, I wasn't sure about any of the champions or how they worked. I tried a few different champions, including {{champion:32}} Amumu and Ashe. I was having relative success with Amumu (or so I thought), all the others I was just no good at. My friends decided they wanted to practice in a Co-Op vs. AI match, and decided to invite me. I went mid with Amumu because my friends wanted to try some crazy duo lanes top and bot. In loading, I saw the other team had Annie Bot. I asked my roommate if Annie was a good champion and he told me she was strong. I wasn't really that scared, though, I had been practicing with Amumu a lot and was starting to feel comfortable with the game. I remember buying my items and going mid, not really prepared for what was about to happen next. http://i.imgur.com/N0g4w2K.jpg I ended the game 0/14/2. The only times I got assists were when all 4 of my team came to five man gank her and even then she always found a way to kill me before dying herself. At that point, I had only gotten my account to level 10, but that's when I decided I wanted to main Annie. _**That’s a pretty crazy story-- getting into playing Annie because of the actual Annie Bot. What’s your favorite thing about Annie as a champion?**_ Her reliability and damage. She is an extremely reliable champion because in terms of engage and damage, there's nothing really like a Flash-Tibbers combo in all of League (Malphite, Leona, and Sona come close, but all of them have delays on their engages, while Annie's is nearly instantaneous). Further, her incredibly high AP ratios on her Q, W and R make her combo mid-late game insanely strong, especially against damage characters that don't build resists against it (or even those that do - Void Staff OP). http://i.imgur.com/py7x8K2.png http://i.imgur.com/UmKTN6P.png http://i.imgur.com/8r5d4mN.png http://i.imgur.com/2bfiXmk.png _**You sound pretty confident in Annie’s power. What makes Annie a strong champion in the larger sense? And, more importantly for some of your opponents, what are her weaknesses?**_ Annie is an extremely strong champion because she is one of the best, if not the best, champions for making a pick [deleting out-of-position champions]. By that I mean that with damage items, she can make a play on her own without needing her team with her to help her. She's also a terrific teamfighter because of her AoE damage on her W and R and reliable ulti engage/counter-engage with her stun passive. Her weaknesses are ranged champions like Xerath and Syndra, who can CC and harass Annie from a distance. When Syndra was popular and strong I remember crying a lot at night. Other weaknesses include her predictability without Flash - an Annie without Flash is an easy target for ganking or just killing in general, since a lot of ranged abilities have CC associated with them (and one CC on a squishy target like Annie in a teamfight usually means death for you). Furthermore, her (lack of) mobility is also a problem. I take movement speed quints and get tier 2 boots sooner rather than later on Annie when I can to combat her mobility issues, though. _**Annie is played in mid lane and as a support. Let’s talk about some of her mid lane matchups. Which matchups are great for you, and how do you make the most of those? Which matchups are miserable for you, and what do you do to survive?**_ Some of my favorite lane matchups are Yasuo, AP Nidalee, Lissandra, and Twisted Fate. **All of them are squishy and easy for Annie to burst down.** In an easier lane, like Twisted Fate, I sometimes start with flat AP runes just to take full advantage of him and abuse him out of lane. Having pressure against TF is one of the best things you can do because it inhibits his ability to roam. Or if he does roam, he loses out on a lot of creeps / his tower. Viktor, AP Kog’Maw, Azir, and Diana can all be annoying to deal with. The first three outrange you and poke you down a lot in the laning phase, while Diana becomes a tanky burst mage that's pretty hard to deal with if she gets any sort of lead. I also really dislike the Cassiopeia matchup. That champion is ridiculous in lane. She just harasses you down. http://i.imgur.com/j8vX3Md.jpg **In a tougher lane, I play passively.** Against a pokey lane like Azir, I will start flask and pots to sustain the damage and farm under my tower and usually wait for a gank. If I ever get the chance to push the wave to his tower, I will try to roam and make a play on another side lane. _**Most people think of Annie as a pretty simple champion. What do you think is the trickiest part about her?**_ The trickiest part about her isn't really about her at all really. It's about knowing what the enemy's next move is and playing around that. Annie is a simple champion. That makes her really predictable. So the hard part comes in trying to predict what the enemy is going to do and playing around that. I feel like you have to wait for the enemy to make a mistake before you can make a move, especially if you don't have your flash up. For example, if you're laning against {{champion:101}} Xerath, you can't just walk up to him and combo him. He will use his stun on you, blast you with his W and Q and probably try to finish you with his ulti. Instead, with movement speed you need to pretend like you're walking up to him, anticipate the orb stun and dodge it by walking at a 90 degree angle and then try to trade with him. The same can be said about Ahri - there's just certain matchups that your positioning and ability to get inside the enemy's head that will determine whether or not you are successful in winning it. _**So there’s a lot of ‘know your enemy’ and a lot of skillshot-specific micro play in laning phase. When laning phase is over and it comes time to teamfight, which enemies just ruin your day? Which teammates are your favorites to have around?**_ Annie's nemeses, at least late game, would be someone like Xerath or Nidalee. Poke champions are extremely frustrating to deal with, especially if you don't have flash. If you do have Flash kill them all. **Just, do it!** http://i.imgur.com/EHGr5Xm.png The longer you stall, the worse it is for your team. Annie has a quote that is incredibly important: "Don't be a scaredy cat." This is so true for Annie, hesitation usually results in a lost game, because if you are engaged upon or if you're poked down to low you lose 9 times out of 10. AoE engage champions are Annie's best friends. Some examples include Malphite, Leona, Alistar, Sejuani, Orianna, Fiddlesticks, Hecarim, Jarvan IV. All of these champions can set up a nice situation for Annie to use her Flash-Tibbers on. _**Speaking of Flash-Tibbers, that’s Annie’s number one iconic, devastating, game-changing Big Play. How do you make the most out of that combo? And what do you do when your Flash is on cooldown, but you still need to make an impact on the game?**_ This is situational. *Against a poke team, engage immediately.* No question about that. If there is ever a time where there's two of the enemy team on top of each other trying to siege a turret, just go for it. The longer you wait the worse it is for your team. *Against a melee team comp, wait.* Let them engage first - you don't need to flash ulti in. A melee team has poor engage usually, so if you wait for them to come onto you, most of the time you can kite back and kill them as they run at you. http://i.imgur.com/bJ1rfz9.jpg **For example, Lee Sin.** Lee Sin is awful against Annie. As soon as he jumps in to try to do one of those Insec plays to brag to their friends, simply W stun him and then focus him with your team and before you know it, he's dead (don't use ulti to kill him though, save it for the squishies on their team). Same with Yasuo, there's so little Yasuo can do in a teamfight against Annie. Say a Wukong ulti-engages onto your team and Yasuo follows up with his ulti. Just drop Tibbers on both of them and they both explode. Then they will complain in all chat about something like how Annie is an "op freelo champ get gud" as you take down their Nexus. If you don't have flash, you need to focus the frontline with only your Q and W. Wait until the enemy team tunnels on one of your OTHER teammates before you go in with your ulti to kill their carries. Try to stun the frontline with your first line, then build another stun while the fight goes on. Once you have your second stun, look to kill their carries with Tibbers. http://i.imgur.com/aSEs1EE.jpg _**We’ve been talking about mid lane Annie for most of the time, but Annie also sees a lot of play as a support due to her high base damages and on-demand stun. Do you prefer solo lane Annie or support Annie? What is the main difference between the two types of roles?**_ I prefer Solo Lane Annie because Annie with damage items is an unstoppable monster. The main difference between the two roles is the gold income, and the expectations the team has for you. I can't just buy damage items on support Annie. My team relies on me for providing vision as well as controlling vision. That means wards. That means money out of my pocket for a Sightstone. They should call it a "sigh" stone. Because that's how I feel when I spend 800 gold to buy it as a poor support. Furthermore, although everyone on the team should buy pink wards, it's primarily up to you to control vision with a sweeper and pink wards yourself. {{item:2044}} {{item:2043}} {{item:3341}} _**What happens when Mid and Support are taken? Do you play Annie in other lanes?**_ Annie top lane can work. However, if you can't control the wave very well, or your lane opponent gets the slightest lead over you, it can snowball drastically [in your opponent’s favor]. Annie is easy to gank. She's made that way because of the sheer power she gets from the rest of her kit. Therefore, **if the enemy freezes the wave near their tower, Annie is a super easy target to gank, which is why wave control top lane is really important.** You need the wave frozen near your turret most of the time, or at least pushed to their tower when you want to reset the wave. Unless, of course, you have a massive advantage, in which case you can push. You just need to ward the river so you can back off if someone comes. http://i.imgur.com/XjL8tTH.png I've been running Smite on Annie top lane recently as well and build it (blue smite) into a Runeglaive {{item:3708}} to help when my enemy gets a lead -- I can farm jungle camps fast with it and still be relevant for mid game when the time comes. It's not as bad as most people at first might think. It’s worse after the changes, but it doesn’t matter. The idea behind it is that after you’re done farming top, you can go down and take the Gromp/Krugs from the jungler (depending on which side) really easily with the Runeglaive passive. Since you get an additional 30 gold from it, it’s like you get get whole additional wave of gold from killing the camp. It’s quite nice. I've tried jungle Annie as well! The first clear is not too bad; however, **she is extremely vulnerable to being counterjungled during her first two jungle clears.** http://i.imgur.com/zzpaO0I.jpg Once you finish the jungle item (I usually go purple smite {{item:3724}} for early clear) you're in the clear - jungling is super easy with Runeglaive. At level 6 I usually look for more ganking opportunities, although sometimes if I start purple side you can try to do a gromp > blue buff start and then level 2 gank bot with a stun proc (assuming your bot lane helps you get gromp and you're healthy enough). I've done ADC Annie, it’s surprisingly OK (lol). I believe the last time I did ADC annie I went BOTRK > Statikk Shiv > IE > Last Whisper. {{item:3153}} {{item:3087}} {{item:3031}} {{item:3035}} It's actually really strong, a little like Caitlyn with the range, and having the E shield for increasing your resists makes you a bit harder to kill and a stun for engage / disengage. People don't expect the tiny fireballs Annie is chucking at you to deal so much damage. http://i.imgur.com/l9RHLG5.png _**Got a cool Annie trick for us? Teach us your secrets.**_ I don't know if I have a coolest trick that I've learned, but I will give you a couple off of the top of my head. You can control Tibbers to farm the remaining minion wave while you recall without cancelling the port. If you're chasing an enemy and you have Q targeted on them, Annie will do a cool 180° spin when she throws the Q. _**Those are some serious knowledge bombs. Ziggs would be proud. You played for a very long time to learn all of this perfectly. Tell us about the three-year climb to glory and the struggle to improve.**_ I played Annie a lot, back to back games, for a long time. One of the setbacks I encountered from this was tilting. It was a huge issue for me because since I played so much, the game prior was still fresh in my mind and usually I carried that feeling of hopelessness into the next game. My first season of starting ranked (Season 3), every time I would reach a new tier, I would go from the first division with a high amount of LP and tilt straight back down to the lowest division in that tier with no LP. This happened in Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. It was a really hard rollercoaster for me. Over time, the reason I improved was because I would always give myself a hard time when I made a mistake. When I made the same mistake again, it rang a little louder in my head, until eventually I stopped making that mistake. If you took a look at my ranked stats on my way to Challenger, it looked a lot like a chart of the S&P 500 - a lot of crests and troughs, but if you were to draw a linear trendline of the behavior, you would see a slightly upward sloping trendline over many months. It was certainly a gradual process. _**As you developed as a player, the game was constantly changing around you. How has your gameplay evolved over the years? Any specific changes to the game that forced you to adapt?**_ http://i.imgur.com/Fn9XeF5.png I used to be an extreme roamer with Annie in Seasons 3 and part of Season 4. I built Mobility boots with movement speed quints on Annie every game and roamed hard in order to snowball the game as fast as possible. As you climb higher in elo, people are more aware of Annie's roaming, and it becomes harder to make a play. In high elo you are punished harder for roaming because they will pressure your tower immediately when they know you are out of lane. I think one of the biggest changes that made roam Annie more difficult was the introduction of Sightstone. Once bottom lane gets a Sightstone it's extremely hard to gank, because the tribush, river, and one of the lane bushes will usually be warded. And if you waste time roaming in an area that's warded, you lose a lot in terms of creep / tower health. Further, with mobility boots rush you don't have a lot of damage during the early mid game. If you run into the enemy jungler you're probably dead. Lately I haven't done such a hard roam setup, instead I get Sorcerer’s shoes over Mobility boots (I still take movement speed quints) and WAIT for an opportunity to arise instead of FORCING a play. That way, my roam is more likely to be successful, because when bottom lane starts fighting, they are more likely to tunnel on the enemy even with wards out, and they will be less likely to react in time to escape. Top lane is a lot easier to gank than bottom lane, but has less impact overall than ganking bottom lane (two people bot, one person top). That being said, I won't hesitate to gank top lane if a very favorable ganking opportunity arises top side (enemy jungler dives your laner with the enemy top laner but they don't kill him and end up low as they try to run away. Time to send in the Tibbers reinforcement squad!). _**How about the recent changes pertinent to your role-- the 5.13 AP item changes. What adjustments have you made to your builds as a result?**_ http://i.imgur.com/MHZHMBG.png http://i.imgur.com/rZgYE6j.png http://i.imgur.com/MLiMNPr.png http://i.imgur.com/Apl0l3w.png http://i.imgur.com/At71kF7.png http://i.imgur.com/7y0qfJf.png At first, I was obsessed with the ROA + Seraph’s combination because of the insane AP potential you get from the two items. At level 18, Seraph’s gives 90 bonus AP on top of 80 flat from the item. With the 100 AP from RoA, those two items on their own give 270 flat AP, with tanky stats on top. It's crazy. Nowadays, I've been trying out Runeglaive Annie top (see above). I only try it mid against more of a farming opponent (Anivia or Karthus, for example). The only downside is your jungler tends to scream bloody murder at you sometimes for taking their camps. I've also tried the Liandry’s + Rylai’s combination - super powerful catch potential with the two items. I find Rylai’s to be an effective counter to the summoner spell Cleanse too, since you can't cleanse the perma-slow from Tibbers with the Rylai’s. I feel like Liandry’s is really strong atm, since it gives nearly the same AP as other AP items on top of the 15 magic pen - this combination is ridiculously strong for the mid game, especially on a champion like Annie. _**Who is your second-favorite champion behind Annie (and why)?**_ That would probably be Vayne {{champion:67}} . She is the only other champion I have all the skins for. I'm god awful with Vayne though, so I have other champions that I fall back on a lot if Annie is banned or taken though, including Veigar and Brand (mid), Vladimir (top), Janna and Leona (support), Jarvan IV (jungle), and Graves and (like I said) Vayne (ADC). _**Well, that was a heck of a lot of questions about the game. What’s your favorite thing about Annie the character? Do you have a favorite skin?**_ http://i.imgur.com/7qwn90w.gif I like the irony of Annie - a little girl with a stuffed teddy bear. You wouldn't expect her to be able to kill multiple people with a single flash Tibbers combo. My favorite Annie skins are Classic Annie and Red Riding Annie. _**What do you think of Annie fanart and cosplay?**_ I do like Annie fanart, I keep a folder of pictures that people draw/make for me in there. As for cosplays... usually they are good. :P http://i.imgur.com/P4XhKUU.png http://i.imgur.com/7IPeDeB.jpg [art by Mizoreame](http://mizoreame.deviantart.com/art/Reverse-annie-508280013) [cosplay by Shiroi Ookami](http://ravenakashiroi.deviantart.com/art/Annie-League-of-legends-cosplay-374785829) _**Finally, how does being known as the guy who only plays Annie (but plays her the best) make you feel? How do you stay motivated to just keep playing Annie?**_ Honestly, I have an obsessive personality, so I am able to do one thing over and over without ever being exhausted of doing it. Further, I really really like to be a "one trick pony." When someone calls me that, I am not insulted at all, but I take it as a huge compliment. **I want to be known for only one thing.** If I spent the time learning other champions, I fear I might lose something - that consideration that people know me for only playing Annie... if I do learn other things I lose what makes me unique. In terms of what makes me want to play her every game, she is my best champion for ranked. If I pick other things, I am just not mechanically good enough to pull it off, especially at the higher tiers. I’m happy to just keep being the guy who plays Annie. _**I think people value your mastery even more highly than you do. If someone asked you to put into words the value of mastering Annie, what would you say?**_ Well, Annie is one of the easier champions to learn, because she does not require as much mechanical skill as other champions. But she is strong once mastered, so the value of mastering Annie in terms of your elo is terrific. She carries games very easily. Pick her up if you want to climb ranked. _**For players looking to improve, what is the value of putting a ton of games into one champion?**_ Really worth it. You learn all the matchups for the champion, good and bad, so you're able to at least go even in matchups that don't favor you. Furthermore, if you main a champion, you're more likely to get it in champion select if you tell your team you main X champ, since they want the greatest chance of winning. _**Finally, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your path to mastery?**_ http://i.imgur.com/rUZdxU9.png [Art by Mizoreame](http://mizoreame.deviantart.com/art/League-of-Legends-annie-and-Tibbers-358144630) **You win more if you're having fun. No, seriously. ;)** ***** For those interested in picking up Annie, you can learn more about her at her [champion page](http://gameinfo.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/game-info/champions/annie/). You can find Annie Bot at his [stream](http://www.twitch.tv/anniebot), [YouTube](https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnieBotNA) and [Facebook page](https://www.facebook.com/AnnieBot). For more detailed information on runes, masteries, and matchups, check out his [guides](http://www.lolking.net/guides/188692). Leave your questions and comments for Annie Bot in the Comments section below! He'll come by to see what you have to say and answer a few questions. If you have any feedback, or if you know a player that you’d like to recommend for a future Hard Main interview, let us know! #**[Find more Ask a Champion Mains here!](http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/tag/ask-champion-main)**
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