League of Legends - Don't you trust me? Ahri builds


In this guide, I want to touch upon the duality between the two different kind of mages, since there’s generally two of those. To do this, I will use the example of Ahri, the Nine Tailed Fox, provide a guide to her detailing both playstyles. There’s generally speaking two kinds of mages. There’s burst mages, and sustained damage mages. The first kind focuses heavily on murdering one specific target as soon as they possibly can, before making a run for it at the risk of being murdered before they even get to do their thing. The other kind is the sustained damage kind of mage, the one that keeps at the back of fights (or somewhere halfway in the middle) and tries to make picks on champions, either catching them off guard at a clutch moment and killing them, or providing the setup for an ally to kill them. The fun thing about Ahri is that she can fulfill both roles relatively well.

League of Legends

A quick overview of Ahri’s abilities. Her Q, Orb of Deception, sends out and retrieves her orb in a line, dealing magic damage on the way out, and true damage on the way in. Her W, Fox-Fire, summons 3 foxfires that surround Ahri for up to 5 seconds. These foxfires lock onto either the nearest enemy champion or the nearest minion, dealing magic damage upon striking. Her E, Charm, sends out a skill shot that charms the first target hit. Additionally, all damage Ahri deals to this target within 6 seconds is increased by 20%. Her ultimate ability, Spirit Rush, allows Ahri to dash up to three times. Each dash unleashes up to three bolts that deal magic damage to the targets they lock onto, prioritizing champions.

Just reading her kit reveals two things. One, Ahri has a free Deathfire Grasp built into her kit through her Charm. Secondly, Ahri has amazing mobility through Spirit Rush. In the two fashions named previously, Ahri has both the capability to dart around combat and damage multiple targets throughout the course of a fight, or jump forward, Charm and kill a high priority target, and quickly jump back out, giving her team a man advantage. Personally, I like the former of the two, providing a larger chance at getting a multikill – I like pentakills, okay – but the latter of the two is also a viable way of going around things, since Ahri has a very high kill potential.

League of Legends

Assassin Ahri

The latter build relinquishes most survivability and safety for pure and straight damage, often rushing a Deathfire Grasp alongside Sorcerer’s Shoes to combo extremely well with both Charm and all of Ahri’s other abilities. After that, a Void Staff will often penetrate any and all magic resistance along runes and masteries (23 flat Magic Pen. from runes and boots, and 40% from the combination of Void Staff and Devastating Strikes, and as Marksmen usually run MR Glyphs putting them at 42, 42 ×0.5 – 23 = -1), and from there it’s basically rushing as much damage as you please, combining that with resists or safe items if any. It does all depend on what the game allows you to buy – if there’s a heave dive comp on the other end of the Rift, it’s not the best idea to actually relinquish ALL resists – but with Ahri being as mobile as she is, there’s also the idea of utilizing that mobility to keep safe from harm as well as be mobile to deal the damage she wants to deal. An example build could be:

Sorcerer’s Shoes – Deathfire Grasp – Void Staff – Rabadon’s Deathcap – Guardian Angel - Lich Bane

Don’t question the Lich Bane. There’s many a pro player that has proven the Lich Bane to be an amazing asset to both sieging towers, dealing finishing blows, and otherwise taking down structures (I’m looking at you there, Shiphtur).

League of Legends

Mage Ahri

This is actually my preferred build. Although I state often that I’m a more offensive mid player, I don’t fancy building and picking a champion for the sole purpose of one-shotting someone and essentially doing no more than that; although Ahri provides a kit perfectly designed to do so, I don’t find Ahri a mage worthy of such a restrictive role.

My preference goes to a more sustained mage, focusing on a balance between damage, defense and cooldown reduction. Taking a new mastery book of 9/0/21 taking a total of 10% cooldown reduction and standard AP caster runes (MPen Marks, Mana Regen Seals, MR and MR/Lv Glyphs and Flat AP Quints), we head out with getting a quick Athene’s Unholy Grail. While Ahri obviously carries the ‘assassin’ tag, there’s amazing farming capability, and should Ahri be paired with some CDR, there’s a real big team-wide damage threat right there. From the Grail, I will note that although I state that the two mages are different in playstyle, there’s not exactly a large difference in build pattern, considering I tend to get either a Zhonya’s Hourglass or a Deathfire Grasp afterwards.

My reasoning is this. Being a Deathfire Grasp-only Ahri essentially means that the only thing you’ll be doing is pushing your lane (more so with a blue buff), and then roaming to a different lane to pick up a quick kill. This is the assassination I speak of. And while I believe this to be a very potent playstyle to Ahri, I think that she can essentially forsake the ‘Assassin’-tag for as long as the laning phase goes on, that proceed to be more of a farm-heavy powermage, similar to how Ziggs or Karthus work in lane. Granted, those two have an amazing (next to) global ultimate they can work with, but aside from that, they have the ability to power farm with ease. Ahri has the same potential: give her a Needlessly Large Rod or an item that builds from it, and she can clear the back line of a creep wave. And completing the Athene’s also means you’ll be at 30% CDR which means your rank 1 ultimate is on a 77 second cooldown. Not bad for a high-damage ultimate with that much mobility.

Back to building. Athene’s into Deathfire Grasp puts you at 40% CDR, no questions asked. Then for some more safety – since we don’t carry any Armor in our runes nor masteries – Zhonya’s Hourglass. Zhonya’s functions as an added safety policy. While Spirit Rush can get you out of most things without too much problems – especially targeted ultimates like Zed’s and Vi’s – more localized or otherwise single targeted damage can be negated through proper use of Zhonya’s Hourglass. Don’t forget to finish your Sorcerer’s Shoes (or Mercury’s Treads) sometime in between since those could very well be vital to making it out alive, or getting a kill. Then there’s a few options: Rabadon’s Deathcap – While I would consider it quite necessary, if the enemy is stacking Magic Resist then there’s no actual need to rush it as magic penetration is far more vital -

An example build for a more team-fighting oriented Ahri could be as follows:

Sorcerer’s Shoes – Athene’s Unholy Grail – Zhonya’s Hourglass – Rabadon’s Deathcap – Void Staff – Deathfire Grasp

The main difference between the two item builds is mainly the playstyle and the item purchasing order. A more assassin focused Ahri will get a Deathfire Grasp as soon as she possibly can – alongside Sorcerer’s Shoes, obviously – and quickly roaming around the map, most likely to the botlane, and quickly getting a few kills to get the gold coming in and the enemies going down. The teamfight Ahri – I’ll call her that – focuses more on farming creeps as effectively as possible and trying to get a pick on your lane opponent. This doesn’t mean that team fight Ahri can completely forsake her assassination duties – the fact that this kind of Ahri focuses more on dealing sustained damage throughout a team fight does not mean she doesn’t need to help out her teammates whenever she can – marksmen often make for good targets, forcing them to base and allowing your team to siege objectives such as a bottom lane tower or perhaps even a Dragon.

There’s another difference between the two types of Ahri, and this manifests in the later stages of the game where the all-famous standoffs take place. Looking at the item lists, you could see that both Ahris have a Deathfire Grasp added to the mix. While the team fighting Ahri doesn’t actually rush nor require it, it’s still an amazing item, as both Ahris have the same task during team fights: catch a high priority target off-guard. Assassin Ahri doesn’t have the items to be able to contribute to sieges, however. As soon as the Crest of the Ancient Golem wears off, there’s a significant drop in her mana regeneration, and thus in her ability to continually throw out her Orb of Deception and her Charm since they cost 90 and 85 mana respectively. The assassin Ahri really needs to focus on the squishy high-priority targets she can instantly pop using a Charm-DFG-W-R-Q combination, whereas the team fighting Ahri can both throw out continual Orbs of Deception, and a rain of Charms. And should Ahri land a charm, the same process applies: pop DFG, initiate or reposition with Spirit Rush, use Fox-Fire and Orb of Deception for damage, and use the last two casts of Spirit Rush either for additional damage, another repositioning, or a disengage. Remember that the build does utilize a Zhonya’s Hourglass, so using the remaining dashes offensively and immediately using Zhonya’s Hourglass when the attention is properly drawn and enemies are distracted, allowing your team to reposition, engage, and damage the enemy team as you use the last charge to disengage or reposition amongst your enemies. Remember that the combination of Athene’s Unholy Grail and the masteries we selected earlier adds up to a cooldown reduction of 30% - 40% should you have purchased an Elixir of Brilliance – which allows a vast stream of abilities and magic damage to come through – as well as some sustain should you actually hit enemies with your abilities to proc your passive.

I hope this article has shed some light on how assassin champions can be played. By no means does this mean that this is the only way that Ahri, or any assassin for that matter, can be played. I merely wish to portray two ways of playing Ahri, namely the pro’s way and my own way. Both have shown great success – you don’t see my success, but it’s there – and the pros know what they’re doing, especially with a champion as adept at killing single targets. Hope you enjoyed.


Nigel Wiersma