Are they experimenting something new?
Annie has been the highlight reel in the latest matches of professional play. Thanks to the recent buffs that Riot Games gave her in League of Legends Patch 13.3, she has been rising up in popularity in both solo queue and professional matches.
Her buffs were so impactful that Annie can now be flexed between support and mid lane, opening up for new draft strategies and team compositions. In the LCK, the Dark Child has been played seven times so far across the two roles, according to stats site Oracle’s Elixir, with a total of five wins.
Aside from her gameplay, however, there is one intriguing element that we have started seeing in the LCK and that is Annie’s mid lane build. The pros have been going for a new build that we haven’t seen anywhere else and it’s worth taking a look into.
Out of the seven games played in total, Annie has been played three times as a mid laner so far, twice by Kwangdong Freecs’ player BuLLDog, and one game by Faker in T1’s series against Gen.G.
According to Games of Legends, the two mid laners have gone for two similar item builds. Both of them rushed Rod of Ages as the Mythic item, compared to the more popular Luden’s Echo.
After that, neither of them built the usual Sorcerer’s Shoes but instead opted for either Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Mercury’s Treads. While the builds were all different from game to game, the items that Faker and BuLLDog chose were either Shadowflame or Voidstaff, paired with a Rabadon’s Deathcap.
This item build is a lot different from the solo queue build you typically see: but why is that?
Annie is a mid lane mage that offers good all-in combos and burst damage. Therefore, her best build should be one that grants her loads of magic penetration and ability power, which is what is usually built by solo queue players.
That being said, her role within professional matches is a little different. While Annie still wants to deal as much damage with her all-in combos, she also wants to make sure she doesn’t get taken down immediately. This is why the Rod of Ages is built: the item still guarantees a good amount of ability power, but it also makes Annie tankier. On top of that, she also gets more sustain thanks to the item’s passive: Annie usually wants to spam spells to stack the stun, so those mana expenditures will turn into extra healing for her.
LCK players lose out on the magic penetration given by Luden’s Echo, they rush Void Staff to compensate for it. Shadowflame and Rabadon’s Deathcap are the remaining items to guarantee a good combination of ability power and magic penetration, which we explained is essential for a champion like Annie.
While we only had three games so far, it looks like LCK teams have already found the new build for Annie in competitive play.